Monthly Archives: March 2014

True Blonde!

About 2 weeks ago, while re-filling my ‘granny’ pill box for that coming week, I noticed I didn’t have enough non-steroidals. On closer examination of said drug, I realized that I also had no further refills… oops! Oh well, I thought, they run out on Sunday (the same day we were going skiing for the day), I’m at my rheumatologist on Thursday, I’ll get my prescription refilled then. I haven’t had a break from them in… a very long time, but you sometimes have to try these things, right? Wrong!!

So, we pop up to Whistler for the day, ski in the most appalling weather on beautiful powdery snow, and return home with two very tired little boys. Yes, I was aware that my body had done a lot more than usual, my husband did his best to beat the knots out of my shoulders, but the next morning… it was not pretty. Was it really worth it when you start your day with a T3 for breakfast? Sadly I think not.

Then on Wednesday evening, the highlight of my week… physiotherapy!! It’s been a while since an IMS needle has gotten stuck, making the treatment a million times more painful than it normally is, and a nice bruise to prove it. He was not impressed that I stupidly went skiing without meds, knowing that, even when I take them, I return from the slopes not fit for a haircut! He did think it was a good idea to periodically see whether or not they are still doing their job, but that the timing of these little trials should be thought through a bit more carefully – fair enough.

Then there was the visit to the rheumatology doctor’s office. He walked in and his first words to me in his dreamy Spanish accent were, ‘you have lost weight?’ This is true, yes, as the only things I can have that have any sort of calories in them are chocolate and wine – clearly I’m not having enough of them! Many of you who are also members of the exclusive club of invisible diseases will know it is not unusual to suffer from some sort of GI problem. Mine is a starch intolerance which, of course, means no bread, rice, pasta, potatoes etc.. All that good stuff blows me up and gives me the most unbearable abdominal pain. So, it is quite easy to waste away, and recently I have been having a particularly bad time with it. Then I mentioned my recent drug withdrawal trial; the words were barely out of my mouth and the look on his face just screamed out, ‘you dozy tart!’ I know, what was I thinking?

So there you have it, another ‘blonde’ moment (& yes I am a natural blonde, so all muppetry is entirely genuine) to add to my growing list. It has not helped my final editing; as you can imagine, sitting at the computer with a neck and shoulders like concrete has not been wise. I will leave you with another, more amusing, blonde moment that always makes my husband laugh out loud when reminded of it. A few years ago, back in the UK, I was stood in a friend’s living room, admiring the peek-a-boo view she had of the ocean, on the west coast of England. She happened to mention that on a really clear day you could actually see Wales. I was instantly impressed and surprised by this information, and promptly replied ‘WOW! I had no idea they migrated this far!’ It was as she nearly choked on her mouthful of tea that I realized what a complete idiot I had just made of myself!!

A HUGE thank you!!

Writing a book for fun is all very well and good, but once it starts to become serious and you consider self-publishing, there is a cost. As many of you will already know, there are no guarantees that you are going to get a cent of that money back, so you have to be prepared to lose all of it. The first company I approached didn’t work out because I would have had to practically re-mortgage the house. Yes, this new adventure is now very important to me and would be a huge achievement (even if only a handful of friends and relatives buy it!), but not THAT important. I don’t even gamble when I go to Vegas!!

I have touched on this dilemma in an earlier post; when that door closed, another door opened. The company that I’m now working with seems to be, so far, a better choice altogether, and yes, the cost is much more acceptable, but still, deciding to potentially throw that money away was a huge decision for my husband and I to make. My motivations were (and still are) more emotionally driven, whereas my husband was thinking more along the lines of ‘we could renovate our en-suite with that’. He had his mind on the financial risk, of potentially recouping next to nothing. Both of us could see the other’s point of view but neither wanted to be the one to make the final decision.

Then, over the Christmas holidays we were out with friends for dinner. Us girlies sat on one side of the table and talked babies, children, motherhood and general girl stuff! Across from us the boys talked about… whatever boys talk about! These friends knew about my book and my recent aspiration to become a published author. The book was discussed between the four of us at some point in the evening, and then, later, it turned out we ended up having separate boy/girl conversations about it. Unbeknown to me, while us girls discussed the content (of course!), the boys were discussing the financial dilemma. It wasn’t until I had to make a final decision about the offer Friesenpress had made that my husband relayed his side of the conversation he had had that night…

It turned out that our friend had helped my husband see that really the non-financial benefits of supporting me in this venture far outweighed the potential loss of the amount of money we were talking about. Why not throw the money into it, even if it is just to fulfill a sense of achievement, he asked him. It was apparently the non-invested outsider’s perspective my husband needed to hear to steer him towards saying ‘ok, let’s do this’!

Since then I have received my pension pay out, so the money in the end wasn’t as big a deal as it was back in December. However, we were out for dinner again with these friends at the weekend. Inevitably the subject came up again, as they are aware that things are moving along with publishing. It gave me the opportunity to offer this friend the HUGE thank you I owed him, and to get his permission to tell this anecdote.

Then there was the conversation about the content. Both these friends are anaesthetists, she being my husband’s colleague. She was somewhat in awe of the fact I had even written a book, never mind the whole publishing thing. At some point in the discussion she put herself down by saying she felt rather inadequate, as she was ‘just a boring, part-time aneasthetist’! I protested that anaesthesia is far from boring anyway, but I also pointed out that, if she watches this space, I am about to make being a female anaesthetist even more interesting and very, very sexy!!

Honestly, I’m really just me!

I don’t receive many emails. Well actually, that’s not strictly true; I usually have about 5 million every morning from various stores offering me their latest deals. So when my phone toots to indicate a new one I’m not always that quick to respond. However, I just happened to be browsing my Inbox when I received a ‘Welcome’ email from Friesenpress – my publisher. As I was waiting to pick up my youngest from school at the time I just quickly glanced at it. The content made me smile, a huge happy ‘OMG!’ sort of smile – you know the kind. It wasn’t just from the company, welcoming me onboard; it was from my very own ‘Author Account Manager’. It was the strangest feeling that suddenly confirmed that this is really really going to happen.

It was essentially an introduction to the person who will be guiding me through the publishing process; she will coordinate everything from ISBNs and copyrights to the final print. She will be my liaison for anything and everything I need to know about this crazy and exciting project that I never, in a million years, thought I would EVER be embarking on. We spoke on the phone, something I think we forget we can still do in this day and age; again it was essentially about introducing ourselves to each other. In the brief conversation we had, I had a good feeling about working with her. I also had to be up front and honest with her – she needed to know that my life is not just school runs and grocery shopping; I am more complicated than the average mum of two.

There are many situations in which I manage to get away with being ‘normal’. I look so ‘normal’ that, until I tell them, people don’t know there is anything wrong with me. This works well in most situations, and, of course, on the phone, but I’m about to begin a process that may require me to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort, so I feel it’s only fair to let the other party know why I may not be quite as capable as others. It’s like my kids’ teachers; I always let them know my situation, for two reasons. The first being obvious – this is what is wrong with me, I do what I can, when I can, the boys know no different. The second is a bit more serious. I inject my biologic every 3 weeks, my boys often see me do this, and I don’t hide it. However, I don’t want any innocent comments my children may make about ‘mummy doing her injection’ to lead to their teachers thinking I’m some raging junkie shooting up – so better to pre-empt and clarify.

It is part of who I am now; no point in hiding it and pretending it doesn’t exist. It and other life experiences have made me a much stronger character. I don’t want to be ‘the poor woman who has a crippling disease, and wrote a book’. I want to be ‘the woman who wrote a book in spite of having a chronic disease’. I am a person first, a mum, a wife, a friend, a nurse, a cook, a housekeeper, a taxi service… I am many things, in spite of what I have, and honestly I’m really just me!!

Finally…

… my neck is killing me, my shoulders are tighter than a body builder’s backside and my physio has abandoned me for a week, but I am on the last read through before I submit it. I managed to knock off 11,000 words, which I was disappointed wasn’t more at the final count, but I was reassured it was quite good considering I added another little twist to the story line. I was hoping it would be more like 20,000, but I guess I should be proud of what I’ve done so far. I think the time has come, anyway, for a fresh pair of eyes to pick it apart and make some professional suggestions. I’ve already been there once before and the feedback was good, so I know with the changes I’ve made it can only be better (she says with everything crossed!).

I’ve also done quite well for time too. I was aiming to have it submitted by now, but at least I’ve actually finished the editing and just need to read it through it again (making sure there are no grammar and punctuation errors my husband will have some sort of cerebral event over!). I think I’m now looking at another couple of weeks before I’m done – but I bet it’s more! I’m physically pretty good right now, but sitting at the computer is still a killer. In fact, I realized yesterday I had forgotten to call my pharmacy on Friday to order my biologic. I had been living from one dose to the next and not quite managing to last the full month, but since my Dr increased it to every 3 weeks, recently I have noticed that day is suddenly upon me without a second thought. Still, I shouldn’t abuse this and think I can spend hours and hours hunched over my laptop; bad posture does not look good in Hello magazine!!

So, I’ll keep reading and drinking coffee. The trainee barista who made my latté has provided a much better brew than her geeky colleague… but of course I could never tell the poor boy that – he’s only just gotten over our little chat about my genre!!