Developing Good Writing Habits

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When I started this blog a year ago, the words flowed and writing daily came naturally. After taking a two month break, I thought it would be easy to get back into the writing habit.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling for a variety of reasons. First, I’m having to carve out a time to write after work. That’s harder than it sounds. I’ve now got daily exercises for my shoulder. That eats into the time I have available.

Speaking of my shoulder, I’m still hurting a bit when I type. I’ve got to take frequent breaks which disrupts the flow of thoughts. I’ve started a story on my weekly writing challenge two or three times and then completely lost where I was going with it after having to take a much needed break. The pain, though less than it was, has also affected my thinking processes. I’m unable to get into the writer’s zone.

So, do I wait until I have completed physical therapy? Or do I press on and try to write every day? My thinking is the latter is preferable. I may be writing dreck for a while until I can get into the groove. I’m also not going to worry about my prompt for the week until I can sit and write for a complete hour. Once I do that, I may be posting multiple short stories during each week until I get caught up.

It’s settled then. For me to develop good writing habits, I need to write everyday. Even if it is complete garbage. Bear with me, it will get better.

Prepared To Be Tortured

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Had my first session with my Physical Therapist today. I expected it to be painful. Years ago, I had physical therapy when I broke my pinkie finger. After a couple of sessions, I quit going as it was very painful. As a result, my pinkie finger has a permanent slight crook.

We talked about what to expect. Then he tested my range of motion with my shoulder. It has improved since I saw the orthopedic surgeon except in the area of twisting. In other words, I still can’t wash my back with that arm.

I was surprised that he didn’t try to push my arm and shoulder more than I was able to handle.

Then he had me go through five exercises. As I did each one, I could feel a bit more range of motion. Instead of the physical therapist pushing me, I was pushing myself. I’m going to be a bit sore later tonight and tomorrow.

He told me to repeat these exercises daily when I don’t see him. As I’m very motivated to get back to normal, I’m going to attack these exercises with gusto! Eventually, I hope to be able to sleep in my own bed and lay on my frozen shoulder without waking up with a yell.

All in all, a very pleasant experience.

Weekly Progress Report #44

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so this is going to be a long update.

Zero progress on writing for the last two months.

About four months ago, my arm and shoulder started hurting. I would get a sharp pain if I moved my arm in certain directions. At first, the pain would subside to nothing, but after a while the pain became constant. I told my doctor about it and he wasn’t sure what was going on but decided to send me off for x-rays. I told him I had a high pain tolerance and gave him examples. Didn’t seem to faze him at all.

Then he sent me to get an MRI on my shoulder after the x-rays came back negative. Turned out I had two torn muscles and some fluid in my shoulder joint. About this time the pain was getting to the point where I couldn’t type more than a sentence or two. I stopped updating my blog and stopped writing stories altogether as it is extremely difficult to concentrate on writing when my shoulder and arm were hurting.

It got so bad that when I tried to sleep, I would naturally roll over on my right shoulder and it would wake me up. I would yell out and that would wake up Mrs. D. This happened all night long about every 1/2 hour. Finally, just to get some sleep, I’ve moved to sleeping in a recliner chair every night for the last six weeks.

Saw my doctor again and found out he couldn’t access my MRI or report due to the change over in software they were in the process of doing. We showed him the report I had gotten from the MRI. At this point, he finally realized that I did indeed have an extreme high pain tolerance. I asked him why he had discounted me when I had initially told him about it. Turns out he hears patients daily saying they have high pain tolerance in an effort to get stronger pain medication.

No wonder!

I rarely if ever take pain medication. Now I know when I see a doctor and tell them I have high pain tolerance, I also have to tell them I don’t want pain medication.

Got a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon as my doctor thought it would be likely I would need surgery. The surgeon took extensive x-rays of my shoulder and arm. Turns out I did not need surgery. Instead he said I had what is called a “frozen shoulder”. An inflammation of my shoulder joint had caused scar tissue and made it where I had lost most of my mobility of my shoulder joint.

He prescribed an injection of cortisone into my shoulder joint. This would help dampen the inflammation and start the healing process. In addition, I will be going through physical therapy twice a week for the next six weeks. Ouch!

As you can see the cortisone shot worked wonders as I’m able to actually sit down and write. I’m still sleeping in the recliner every night and more than likely that will continue while I’m doing physical therapy.

I’m going to make a renewed effort to post daily. I’ve missed writing and interacting with everyone. I’m also about 8 stories behind on my weekly writing challenge. Hopefully by doing at least 2 a week, I’ll get caught up before the end of the year and be able to complete the challenge of writing 52 stories in a year.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking about how I’m doing and I thank you very much for the concern and hopeful words. I wanted to respond, but most days all I could do was to try to block out the immense pain I was in.

Mrs. D is a firm believer in that things happen in three’s. In the past three years, I’ve had a stent put in, stage 4 cancer and now this, a frozen shoulder. If she is right, I should be safe and healthy for quite a while. I sure hope so.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #43

Not a good week to report progress. My arm and shoulder have been bothering me quite a bit. If I twist my arm or move it suddenly, a very sharp intense pain occurs. Even if I keep my arm in a good position, I have a dull ache. That ache is progressing down my arm.

I did an MRI yesterday, so I have to wait until the doctor looks at it and determines what is wrong. Then it’s time for treatment which in my case is usually pretty bad.

All of this has made it difficult to concentrate on writing. I have a prompt for this week’s challenge and I have no idea what to write. This may be a train wreck in the making. I’ll post whatever I have this evening.

Dog day’s of August starts tomorrow. I plan on starting a new series of post for this month. It will feature dogs of course. Yes, I know the phrase is actually dog days of summer which runs from about July 3rd through August 11th. Regardless, I’m making August my dog month.

I’m going to attempt something I haven’t done in over a year. I’m about to go out and mow the lawn. Mrs. D has been attending to that duty while I’ve been in cancer treatment. It’s past due for me to whack the grass. I was able to rototill a part of the backyard last weekend for Mrs. D, so I think I can do the lawn mowing.

My final revisions of my memoir are still on hold. Mostly because I have a severe case of procrastination going on with accomplishing the revisions. Eventually, I’ll get past that and buckle down to finish it.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

The Plot Thickens

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It’s Thursday and that means it is tumor board day. If you recall, my radiation oncologist that is very excited about Fenbendazole curing my cancer, said he is going to present my case.

Sure enough, he must have because I got not one, but two calls from the Cancer Center. Surely this must mean that my case interests them and they want to know more.

Au contraire my friends, both calls were to schedule me for radiation treatments. I was aghast! Why would they want to radiate me when I have no detectable cancer. My radiation oncologist had wholeheartedly agreed that radiation therapy didn’t make sense at all for me.

Then I remembered that ugly word that I’ve come to hate. PROTOCOL!

The doctors there are baffled and instead of using their brains, they fall back on protocol. Protocol may help the majority of their patients, but it doesn’t and can’t help all patients. I’m one of the ones where protocol may actually harm me.

Of course, I declined the radiation therapy and stated that I had an agreed upon monitoring plan with my radiation oncologist and my primary physician. I’m not going to follow their protocol.

Mrs. D thinks that they are trying to cover the bases to keep me from bringing a lawsuit against the Cancer Center. That sounds a bit far-fetched to me at first, but thinking about the way the medical establishment is now risk-averse, it makes sense.

I’m now waiting to see if they call again. Both of the previous callers had stated they were messengers and had been asked to call me. If I get called again, I’m going to ask who exactly wants to radiate me and tell them I won’t talk to anyone else except him personally.

I have my suspicions which doctor it is that is making this call. I wasn’t impressed with him the previous times I met with him and he is high on my suspect list.

Weekly Progress Report #37

It’s been an up and down type of week. Between the doctor visits and doing serious revising and editing for the first time, I’m not sure if my progress was good or not. After this last year with all the appointments I’ve had, I think I’m developing anxiety right before I see a doctor. Inner thoughts run through my head the night before projecting every worst case scenario I can imagine. Considering I’m a writer that comes up with stories, I can think of a considerable amount of bad outcomes. And waiting on test results? Don’t get me started.

Of course, this means my regular writing suffers. Astute readers will have noticed I didn’t post the Weekly Writing Challenge yesterday. The prompt at first glance seemed to be an easy one, but I’ve been having a difficult time with it. I’ve started four different stories and abandoned each of them after only one paragraph. I’ll keep trying today. At the very least, I’ll post a series of one paragraph stories based on the prompt if I can’t find something to settle on. Then again, they are all dreck, so that may not be a good idea. The Bowl of Doom may have finally got the best of me this week. We’ll see.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Celebration

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Saw my original radiation oncologist today. Showed him the results of my MRI and PET scan I got from the second opinion doctor. Also confessed that I had been taking Fenbendazole since last October. After reviewing everything and seeing the results of my latest blood draw, he too is convinced that my unconventional treatment worked.

He was genuinely happy for me. Also he was amazed that it worked so well. He told us he planned on presenting my case to the tumor board to show that sometimes out of the box solutions do work.

It felt like a true celebration that I’m cancer free. I must admit, my eyes did well up a bit.

He also agreed with monitoring my PSA and testosterone levels for at least the next five years. If my PSA stays very low as it is now, then there will be a 1,000% certainty that my prostrate is cancer free.

I should have been able to celebrate this news with the second opinion doctor, but he just wanted to radiate my prostrate regardless. I told my oncologist about that and he said, “Why?” It made no sense to me then and it made no sense to my oncologist now.

Cancer Free and feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally for the first time in a year.

Quick Update

Been working on editing and revising the last few days. Slowly but surely am knocking out the revision list.

After seeing my primary physician last week for my annual physical, he called me back into the office to discuss my very high cholesterol. I expected him to want to put me on medication, but to my surprise, he wants me to try to eliminate all foods that cause cholesterol for a month. Then we will see what my numbers are. If they go down significantly, then it’s a matter of slowly adding foods that I like, but have cholesterol.

In other words, he is looking for balance.

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a bland diet for a month. Ugh.

Cancer Story

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After getting my blood draw results Saturday, I am finally able to complete the first draft of my memoir “My Cancer Journey – Stage 4 to cured in 10 months” I did the first round of editing and then sent it to Mrs. D to look over. She pointed out some things that I didn’t remember correctly and has been reviewing all my medical records to ensure that my story is accurate.

In addition to that, we have been talking about the whole journey. Mrs. D liked that I shared how I was feeling even the bad times. Over the next week or so, I’ll also be interviewing Mrs. D on what she was feeling so I can add it to the memoir.

The reason for that is no Cancer journey is a solo effort. I felt like the burden was all on me most of the time, but in reality loved ones are just as involved. So it is important to get her true feelings written into the story also. Even the times she was scared I was going to die.

I believe by writing this memoir with my thoughts and feelings and Mrs. D’s thoughts and feelings is important. Almost everything I read about people going through cancer treatments is that you have to have hope. Hope is hard to come by when you are going through treatment. I also want to show that it is natural to feel depressed and hopeless at times. So many stories either ignore that or gloss over it..

I also want to share what cured me. It’s unconventional to say the least, but it did work. My primary physician said he was okay with me doing the unconventional treatment as it wouldn’t harm me.

Meanwhile, my sci-fi book is on hold as I’m concentrating my time on this memoir.

Weekly Progress Report #36

Had good progress the first part of the week, then my PC died. Got a new one and am hoping to get back on track this week. I had bought my old PC about 10 years ago. Did a few upgrades over the years. The new PC cost me way less than my old PC and runs much faster. Go figure. Got the main part of tweaking the new PC done. I’ll be doing minor tweaking as I go.

Sent Part 1 of my book to a couple of Alpha readers and got great feedback. Started a revision list of things I need to do for Part 1. I should be able to get Part 2 first draft done this week.

I missed my Weekly Writing Challenge yesterday, but I’ll make it up this evening. Just didn’t have enough time to write it due to PC issues.

In health news, I got my annual physical Friday. My PSA is still very low, which is a good thing. My testosterone is slowly rising. It’s now at 20. Normal is about 200. I can confidently say that I’m cancer free. I’ll be updating and doing editing and revision of my memoir. I hope to have it ready for publication by September.

My blood sugar percentage is still slowly going down. Unfortunately, my bad cholesterol has risen. Making some dietary changes yet again.

Due to a rash on my right underarm I got during my cancer treatments, it’s tightened up my arm and shoulder muscles. I’ll be getting an x-ray this week to make sure that’s what it is and not some other issue. Then I’ll be doing physical therapy.

I’ve started Wellbutrin again. Last time I was on it, I managed to quit smoking. I was on it for 3 months. A few weeks after going off of it, I started smoking again. Doctor agreed I need to be on Wellbutrin for at least a year so I can permanently quit smoking.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.