Doing Things MY WAY…..

Doing Things MY WAY…..


While doing research for the first four novels in my Locke & Keye’ series, I was informed that publishers would not be even remotely interested in so much as looking at my final product (we’re talking the first completed novel) unless I had a blog. Not just “a blog”, but one that I manage entirely on my own, update regularly (which means more than once a month), where I connect with my readers, and that they want to see that people are interested in the every day things I have to say, not just what I write for them in printed format.

There were some other “musts”. One of which included Facebook. I have an author’s page. You won’t see me say a whole lot on there, but you can certainly friend me if you want to., just be sure I know who you are because I am not the type to just accept every single friend request sent my way. It is not a popularity contest for me in ANY way.

Twitter was another “must”, and there were a few other things I rolled my eyes at.

It is somehow the belief that you gain readers via social media, and ONLY via social media. I call BULLSHIT on that, and I’ll tell you why.

#1- Unless you have absolutely no life, you don’t care what I say or don’t say on Facebook. Why would you? There’s nothing special going on there. Anything you want to learn about me you can learn via my work, via sending me an e-mail, or via responding to the things I post. I will always answer a person, so long as they’re being respectful. If you’re going to be a jackass, I respectfully decline to communicate with you. Period.

#2- I am a reader and a writer. I read what my favorite writers’ have to say on their own blogs and web-sites, but when I’m busy and haven’t had the time to read their blogs, I stick to their books as they are released. I don’t care what they say on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else. I don’t care about their political views (In truth I think it’s important for publiuc figures to keep their political and religious views to themselves. That’s just me though.), what they had for lunch, that they just found a pair of cute shoes, or whether or not they got to the gym today. That doesn’t sell me a damn thing, the stories they write are the selling point. However, it does let me know at times that some people have way too much time on their hands and really need to quit discussing their sex life via Facebook. Why does anyone feel the need to share every single detail of their lives like that? When did we all become the Kardashians?! (And I say this despite the fact that I follow Khloe’ on Facebook and adore her.)

#3- If you have time to “tweet” all damn day, I really don’t care. It doesn’t prove anything to me, other than the fact that a lot of people can knowingly embarrass themselves in 140 characters, or less. I refuse to join Twitter. Do not expect me to be tweeting EVER. It’s not going to happen, not even on a bet.

About seven months ago I met an amazing guy who has the same thought process I do regarding Twitter. His exact words were “One day I’ll get drunk, post something completely inappropriate or rude on Twitter, embarrass myself and my family, and do I REALLY want to explain that to my mother when she sees it, even at my age? No. So I will take a pass on that whole thing. I think it’s a great promotional tool, but it’s not for me.” Agreed. Did I mention he’s amazing? 

#4- I did start this blog because of a publishing mandate, but I have grown to LOVE my blog. Unless I am really sick, or obscenely engaged in something I’m doing, I post at least one thing a day on here. I try not to miss too many days in a row without posting something. I probably lost 10 “followers” in May because I was unable to post every single day as I normally do, which sucks, but not for me, because I see it as defining the true from the fake.

I have met some really wonderful, kind, caring, hilarious, genuine, generous people because of this blog, many of whom I now have friendships with off the blogosphere. You all know who you are. For a person who values friendship to the extent that I do, for me to call you a friend is a big deal. I don’t call every single person I talk to in this world a friend. I do not use the word lightly, not ever, so if you’re my friend, be loyal and don’t discuss me behind my back. If you want to know something, ask me directly. I am an extremely private person, but I’m also incredibly direct and blunt. I will give you honest, kind, caring advice. I treat everyone the way I want to be treated in kind. If I see someone is hurting, I try to be supportive. I don’t say things to be cruel to people. That’s abuse to me, and I would rather keep my mouth shut than come off like some kind of crazed, cruel bitch. I can save that side of myself for those deserving of it.

#5- Deciding to commit to this blog and keep it going has sparked something in me and given me a fantastic sharing and sounding board. It is something I love doing and look forward to continuing. I do not expect every single person that “follows me” to buy my books. It’s an unrealistic expectation, so do not feel obligated. Buy only what you want to. I am not going to push myself on you. Everyone has the right to use their entertainment dollar as they see fit. If it’s your deal and your genre, or you simply want to check it out, then you will. You’ll give me honest feedback, maybe even come to events and introduce yourself to me in person. I will never treat you like I don’t know who you are. In fact, I will be happy for the support. I will appreciate your effort in showing up and I will listen to what you have to say. I’m invested in this, so please feel free to communicate with me whenever and however you choose.

#6- My books are important to me, but so are the people that will eventually read them. I will always do my best to communicate with readers and respond to their comments, just as I do here.

A lot has happened to me in my life. A lot has happened to me since I started this blog, and those I have linked to it. I have grown, I have changed, I have become a better, stronger person. I like and respect the woman that I look at in the mirror, even if I occasionally cringe and say “Where the !@#$ did that line come from? It wasn’t there yesterday!” I am by no means perfect. I suffer from Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain every single day of my life, but being a writer has saved me more times than I can count. I do it because it’s what I want to do and I will always do things MY WAY. Any of you with a strong personality knows what I’m talking about and why. If I don’t do it myself, it will never be done right, and I feel like I’ve got a great handle on “doing it right” here.

Thank you to everyone I can call a friend, to those that have supported me here on WordPress from day one, to the small group that supports me in my creative endeavors, to those who send me e-mails and leave me comments, and to the new people that have started following me in the last few months. I appreciate it and hope that I will continue to keep you interested, intrigued, laughing, smiling, and nodding your heads. And of course, to those who have been in my life for so long, you know what you mean to me.

Respectfully,

Lisa

100 symptoms of Fibromyalgia

For everyone who makes it sound like Fibromyalgia will get better or simply go away. Nice try. Making a photocopy of this for future reference.

Fighting Battle…

Fighting Battles

“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.”  ―C. JoyBell C.

Praying for my brother as he engages in a very important battle. I’m here for you 110% M.  

Carving Reality…

Carving Reality

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you’re high it’s tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one’s marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends’ faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against– you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.”  ―Kay Redfield Jamison

Pain: Life-Altering

Pain: Life-Altering

I’ve mentioned it in passing, and some people have picked up on it and others have not. My primary focus with this blog is to promote my writing, on whatever subject I choose to tackle on any given day, and lockeandkeyenovels.wordpress.com is the blog to promote the books I am writing. So, you get both an author’s blog by being here, and a “You can follow this author now and be able to say you knew about her work first.” blog, possibly scoring some advance reader copies along the way. Again, this one is about my writing and, to some degree, me. It’s not about me in a selfish way, but definitely in a “Lets chat about this” fashion. If sharing my experiences can also help a person along the way, fabulous.

I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2004. All the doctors that should have caught and diagnosed it did not. I remember asking my primary care physician about it a year or so before I was diagnosed, and not only did he know very little about it, but he was also convinced I had “something else”. If I had been of a lower intelligence level, I might have accepted that. I might have just continued taking medicine for pain 8 times a day, and the accompanying prescribed muscle relaxers for when I really needed them. An estimated 12 million people suffer from Fibromyalgia, and possibly another 10-12 million are being incorrectly diagnosed. The word itself carries the weight of the unknown, for doctors and patients alike.

My diagnosis took an exceptionally long time to come to fruition. It was traced back to years of pain, originally attributed to “strange growing pains”. I’d be complaining and crying about the pain that always felt like it was seeping out of my bones and spreading through my body, while still under the age of 10. No one took me seriously, but it was very hard for my mother not to notice. She had me tested for arthritis and a few other things that can pop up at a young age, and more than one doctor told her I was fine, that I’d “grow out of it”. How wrong they were.

I became a gymnast at approximately age 4 and as a result, I did end up with some residual injuries that effect me to this day. One injury in particular landed me in the hospital. I was mostly a bars, floor, and beam girl. I was addicted to the parallel bars and the uneven bars. To this day, I can still remember my routines and I often find my mind doing them in my sleep. That’s how much I loved it. I was lucky, I didn’t spend a lot of time falling onto the mats beneath me, but somehow, I still ended up with some bizarre injuries, this one being amongst the worst.

My right hip and leg had damn near popped out of the socket, of their own accord mind you, because the pain I experienced for several weeks became far too much for my body to tolerate. I could barely walk, and when I was finally brought to the E.R. by my parents (No, they were not negligent, but they believed I had a charley horse, that it wasn’t anything super serious.), I had to be carried. As a result, I ended up in traction for a week, while every single test imaginable was run on me. By this time, I was completely knocked out on codeine, pain free in the moment.

I didn’t have one doctor, I had a “team”, and let me tell you that my mother nearly threw the “leader of the team” out a very high hospital window when he informed her that HE was “in charge” and would be making “all of the decisions“. She, in her infinite wisdom, informed him that she was the parent and as such, SHE and my physicians, whom she knew, were the only ones “in charge” of anything, and that it might be best for all involved, but especially him, if he left the room and never came back. We never saw him again. I’m pretty sure he went back to England, Australia, or New Zealand after the charming encounter that clearly let him know that the only thing he’d be “in charge” of, was how quickly he could escape the room, and the hospital.

I was tested for Lyme Disease because I often spent part of my summer in Boston and at the time, Massachusetts was considered a “danger zone” where ticks were concerned. Even though I was, and remain, the furthest thing from “outdoorsy” and had only been to the beach in Maine & Cape Cod, and Walden Pond, they insisted on running a full battery of tests for Lyme. The doctors were baffled beyond words when test after test came back negative. Alas, they thought they were missing something, and continued to run tests multiple times a day, requiring more blood than a TV vampire. Every test told them absolutely nothing. In the end, right before I was released on crutches, which was how I would spend the next eight weeks, I was told that an ear infection I’d had many months prior had probably never really gone away and settled into my hip, thus causing “this incident”. Are you buying that? I sure as hell didn’t. I rolled my eyes, hopped off on my crutches, and that was seemingly the end of that extremely painful ordeal, though I did have to follow up with an orthopaedic specialist for several months after all that which wasn’t fun, because he was convinced he’d find some secret message lurking inside my bones. He never found a secret message. If he had, it would have been reduced cartilage in my knee!

The next injury occurred during my final year as a competing gymnast, and as Captain, this was serious. I was on the bars, practicing a routine, and heard an extremely creepy sound come from my neck. It’s a sound you never forget, because you know it is life changing, and the second I heard it, I was terrified. In that moment, I was paralyzed from the neck up. I have no idea how I managed not to fall. I held still for maybe 90 seconds or possibly as long as 3-4 minutes in an extremely awkward position with my arms firmly in place, holding all of my body weight. My arms and shoulders never faltered, and when the paralyzation cleared itself up moments later, I did what I normally did. I shook myself off, finished the routine, and the subject never came up until many years later when the damage to my cervical spine showed on an MRI and my neurologist couldn’t imagine how I had done such damage at such a young age. He told me I was lucky I had movement of my neck at all because the nerves going in and out of my spine from the top all the way down to about C6, were being pressed on and shifting, and that’s what was causing me all the pain I had been experiencing for months. It’s the kind of pain that makes me want to come out of my skin. It limits some of the movement in my neck in terms of turning my head, and it limits some minor movement in upper body, but most of the time, unless the pain is at an all time high, I forget it’s an issue. I often have to remind myself that it’s there if it hasn’t acted up in a week or a month, providing I’m ever that lucky. I’m rarely that lucky. On an almost daily basis, this pain surfaces in some way and causes me grief.

Anyone that suffers from any form of chronic pain knows that when we’re not in pain, lets say we’re having a good hour or a good day, it actually takes us a while to realize that we’re not suffering because our bodies have become tightly programmed to handle our pain. We’re tensed up, our muscles hurt, we’re bracing ourselves, so when we’re not hurting at all, it takes a while for the body to completely relax. The only time I have a good day, or a series of good days, is when I am on vacation. The second I get on a plane, I am able to leave a lot behind, but as soon as I know I have to go home, my body goes right back into pain mode and it can take me weeks to recover from being gone for 7-14 days. It’s not a pleasant cycle. One of my doctors suggested that my pain might just be situational, but I suffered quite a bit the last time I went away, spending an entire day of my trip in bed, not able to move a whole lot, so I really don’t buy that, though I do tend to over-do it physically when I’m on vacation. I push myself more to exercise, to eat well (being away makes me realize that I do make healthy choices and that I don’t eat anywhere near as much as I imagine I do.), to walk that extra mile, because at home, it’s extremely difficult at times just to get out of bed. I have more caring support when I’m away, and I think that has a lot to do with how I feel when I get out of dodge.

No one will ever be able to tell me for certain what truly triggered the Fibromyalgia. It could have been my concussion history, which rivals that of most NHL and NFL players. I got my first one at around age 3. I have fallen on ice and done some stupid things, but my concussions were never intentional, except for the moron that smashed me in the face at a parade with some kind of beam, leaving me with a concussion and a black eye. It could have been my gymnastics injuries. It could have been mental and/or emotional trauma. It could have been two separate car accidents where I was the passenger. The doctor that told me “Your body mass produces pain.” might be right. Or, as a few suggested, it could just be that I have a hereditary predisposition for it. Where did they get that idea? From the fact that more than one person in my family suffers from migraines, as I do, and that more than one person suffers from chronic back & neck pain, as well as the fact that arthritis is in my family history.

Every doctor has a different story, and yet, none of them are specializing solely in Fibromyalgia. Many do not believe it even exists, so you often run into doctors that treat you like you’re some kind of drug addict looking for a fix, as opposed to someone who is in so much pain, you’re truly there just to be HELPED. I’ve seen doctors turn from professional to asshole in less than a second, as soon as they hear the words “Chronic Pain” or “Fibromyalgia”.

Initially when my Fibromyalgia was officially diagnosed, I was referred to a pain clinic. I’ve heard both good and bad things about such places, but my experience with “pain management” and “pain clinics” has been anything, but positive. After going back & forth with a lot of negative things from such places, I finally called a place that came highly recommended, asked if they took my insurance, and they told me they could see me…IN THREE YEARS! I was very respectful, mildly inquiring as to why the waiting list was so long, and was given a 20 minute lecture on how burn victims suffer so much more than the rest of us seeking treatment, thus, they come first, so even if I made an appointment, it could get pushed back even further if additional burn victims come to them seeking help. I’ve suffered minor burns that hurt like hell (I’m a great cook, but occasionally my common sense when reaching into the oven is incredibly scary. I don’t even realize I’m doing it half the time, because I’m so incredibly distracted with preparing a nice meal and getting it plated and on the table.). I do not, nor would I ever, denounce a burn victim’s level of pain, but when a receptionist is basically telling me “Make an appointment, but we’ll do our best to fuck you out of it.”, I find that extremely off-putting. No one who suffers from chronic pain of any kind wants to be treated as if their pain is “not as bad as you’re making it sound”. Really? Try living with it for a week, you’d be on the floor crawling over what the rest of us suffer through every single day of our lives, with strength and dignity. Yes, this topic angers me beyond words.

The next few “pain clinics” aren’t actually about helping you manage anything. They do nothing, but perform epidurals all day long. I was beyond appalled. I called my doctor and he was mortified, immediately pulling these “clinics” out of his referral list. I told him I really didn’t feel I should have an epidural, unless I absolutely needed one, and he agreed with me, saying that if I needed one during childbirth up the road, it could fail on me BIG TIME if I’d already had too many, especially if they aren’t done correctly the first time. For me, all these pain clinics were the same. No, I don’t need you to teach me biofeedback, thanks. No, I don’t need you sticking a giant needle into my spine, possibly causing more pain and more damage. Certain types of needle based treatment involving the spine can trigger migraines for me, and I suffer enough, so I don’t go looking for new forms of torture. Interestingly enough, tattoo needles do not bother me in the least. I should be studied, I know.

Currently I am between doctors and treatment for the pain. My primary care doctor dropped me as a patient, he never even bothered to say “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. Could you come in so we can go over your treatment plan?” Nothing, no communication whatsoever. He canceled a prescription medication for my spine that I should not have been allowed to go off of cold-turkey, and then he had a receptionist call and dismiss me as a patient. Nice, right? Professional to the Nth degree. <rolls eyes> I’m not exactly weeping over this, the man is way too young to have such a gigantic stick up his ass, and my immediate reaction was not very receptive where he was concerned. I can be terribly judgmental where doctors are concerned, especially when they are unprofessional and rude. I will find another doctor, but right now, I’ve got bigger fish to fry, incredibly huge battles in front of me, and I’m delicately paddling my way through shit’s creek. It’s not pretty. I’m doing my best, but it’s sucking the life out of me. I’ve already had a pretty horrible 7 months of agony and struggle, and just found out the other day that apparently, that will continue. The status quo really lets you know where you stand sometimes.

I hope & pray that things will get better really soon (not just for myself, but for all of us who suffer), so I can go back to focusing on my health. No one that suffers from chronic pain of any kind needs huge setbacks that pull him or her away from what is truly important. You cannot win wars if your health is failing on you. You can’t fight the battles, slay the demons, and rise up out of the ashes if you can barely move.

As a warning to everything and everyone I’m about to face, please know that I am a ruthless bitch when I have to be. I’m not going down without an epic fight. I have had enough taken from me in this life, I’m not about to allow anything else to go, not when it’s within my control to do something about it.

As a side note: To the world’s largest shipping company, I am coming for you motherfuckers. Settle up and back down, or I will use every single connection I have to do what I must. That, my friends, is the power of a pissed off woman. You don’t fuck with my family. Some people really don’t get it, and they’re usually the ones that need an unlubricated size nine up their asses.

Dare To Be…

Dare To Be

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!”  ―Steve Maraboli

Marion, thank you for allowing me to DARE. XOXO.