things

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it’s that time again, isn’t it? time for me to update this thing with a more personal post. (note: this post was started on october 7th and finished on november 2nd. it’s been that hectic.)

the spine thing

in august i went down to langley to help my husband clean up our basement suite. at some point during that clean up i pulled something in my back. somehow i made it back up to powell river, despite the pain, hoping that sleeping on my nice new bed would fix things.

it did not.

a couple days after making it back up here saw me in the ER via ambulance because the pain was so bad i thought i was going to die. the last time it was this bad was in 2012, when the back first went out.

the ER yielded me one shot of painkillers in the arm that did help a bit for a few hours, a total of two pill-version painkillers (one there and one for home), shrugs, and a prescription for a completely useless painkiller (T3). (oh, and an xray that showed no, i did not fracture my tailbone or any vertebrae when i fell on my ass in may — which is something i was concerned about.)

the sad truth is when my back is like that the only thing that works for me is heavy-duty opioids. which, you know, fucking sucks, because i have a terrible reaction to them.

but the terrible reaction is better than the intractable pain.

after that ER trip mom set me up in her bed instead of my suite upstairs, as i was in no shape to handle the stairs.

and the past 2 months have been an incredibly slow journey of healing.

there was a phone appointment with one of our family doctors after the ER trip that yielded me not only pain meds but referrals to things that might actually help me long term — such as cortisone injections into my spine.

yeah, it’s as terrifying as it sounds if you’re afraid of needles like i am, but it’s a chance to actually…have a life without pain. which i haven’t had for 8 years.

after that phone appointment, i was on opioids for a few weeks and basically just in a haze of pain, pills, and sleep. i used mom’s loaner wheelchair from when she broke her leg this year to get from bed to bathroom, and gradually regained some of my independence.

i’m now able to walk around the house again and can mostly take care of myself. i’m even able to shower almost daily, which is so welcome for not only me but the dog, i’m sure. his sense of smell is way stronger than mine. (mom has anosmia, so she’s the lucky one here.)

i’m still using the wheelchair sometimes, and my cane for some walking around. i’m still taking pain pills, but i’m — thank all the gods — off the opioids and back on gabapentin for nerve pain and naproxen for inflammation. sometimes i’ll take a robax if things are really bad.

(in really good news, i saw a doctor recently who informed me that the radiating numbness in my legs is not actually from my spine, but a pinched nerve from something else. so i don’t have to worry about suddenly being paralyzed when it happens, and can just push through it. it’s really nice to know that it’s an annoyance and not an early warning system for catastrophe.)

things have looked up a lot in the past 2 weeks, but before that… it was really depressing, and there were some very dark moments in the last 2 months. hence why i haven’t been saying much online.

the mental illness thing

i want to be truthful about my struggles but i also don’t want a repeat of someone reporting one of the pins i shared on Pinterest and them sending me a welfare check email. (yes, seriously; apparently people don’t understand that i’m mostly using Pinterest for MOOD BOARDS for my NOVELS.)

that felt…really invasive, and gross. and i’m always keenly aware that there is a line i must carefully tread when i’m open about my struggles with mental illness and suicidal ideation, because being too open can net me trouble. or even just annoyance.

there are so many times i don’t post things on my private facebook page because i know it’ll just bring an army of comments that i need to deal with from people who are well-meaning but really don’t get how unhelpful their comments are.

my desire to tell the truth — so that others as fucked up as i am know they’re not alone — is heavily countered by my desire to lead a private life so people will stop trying to give me advice or “help” me by reporting my posts to the “authorities” on social media.

i’ve lived with suicidal ideation and depression for most of my life now, so it’s a roommate i know how to handle. and the truth that i haven’t said online in the past two months, that only my mom and my husband have seen, is that this back problem is what has driven me the closest to suicide in my decades of dealing with its spectre.

i can weather any mental pain life throws at me, because i know there is help for it. i’ve found that help — currently in the form of my meds, which keep me stable and alive.

and which cannot be taken when i’m on opioids, or it’ll potentially kill me.

the first half of september, therefore, gave me not only the deep despair of the possibility of endless, forever physical pain that would never let me have a physical life worth living again, but the complete loss of the stability given me by my meds.

so yes. i wanted to die. many times.

which is why i was so grateful to get off the opioids and onto pain meds that i can safely take with my crazy pills. because now i’m only dealing with the depression associated with my physical condition, and not the underlying C-PTSD and depression and anxiety disorders that make me the worst person to spend time with when i’m off my fucking meds.

oh, hey, i was all truthful and stuff.

well, here’s hoping it doesn’t bite me in the fucking ass.

the writing thing

it’s november! which means nanowrimo! which i am totally unprepared for yet again and now trying to play catch up.

this month i’m starting work on Anala, book 3 in The Bellica Trilogy, which i want to release next year as that’s the 10 year anniversary of releasing Bellica. yeah, i know. i can’t believe it either.

i’m also still editing From the Ashes, which currently has a release date of November 23rd, but that…is probably going to be postponed a bit, as something came up in my personal life that took a LOT more time away from editing than i was expecting.

i might post Nano updates here. we’ll see how it goes. i’d like to get back into regular blogging about my writing.

the puppy thing

yes you read that correctly. we got a puppy.

“katje why the fuck would you get a puppy when you’ve got a bad back and are struggling to save money for a house and children.”

good question, random judgey reader.

the truth is it wasn’t entirely planned. a friend of ours has a lovely dog, and that dog got pregnant. we (mom and myself) were sort of talking about maybe getting a puppy from the litter. we hadn’t solidified the decision.

then my back went out and it became even more iffy.

so mom brought over two of the puppies for me to see them, at least, and to cheer me up.

and there was a Moment.

people who have had animals know what i’m talking about. the moment you share with a dog or a cat or any animal you’re thinking about inviting into your home, when there’s a bonding on a soul level and it’s clear that this animal is now part of your family no matter what practicalities might have to say about it.

that’s what happened for me and Sirius. i know it was that, because when we were discussing getting a puppy, i had my heart set on a little girl puppy. and i fell for the boy.

Sirius Li (seriously)

A picture of a black and white border collie puppy resting on a human's foot.
mummy’s feet are good pillows, yes

he came home just under two weeks ago and it has been incredibly hectic since as we work hard on training him. he is currently curled up at my feet, napping under the desk, because he likes being under my chair or desk or sleeping on me (mom makes a good pillow).

and i’m totally in love with him. he’s trying so hard to be a good boy — he wants to be a good boy, even as puppy instincts make him naughty. and he’s so smart. he’s figured out come, sit, and the puppy song,* and we’re working on housetraining (almost! so close!), wait, shake a paw, and going on WALKS. (he’s too young to heel yet, but he’s learning to enjoy the leash.)

A picture of a black and white border collie puppy sleeping.
sweet baby sleeps with me, yes, he’s spoiled

*the puppy song is a song mom made up years ago to train puppies to come running for food. it goes “puppy puppy puppy puppy puppy! puppy puppy!” in a specific way that’s easy to remember and really works.

(yes, mom had a song for puppies to come for food, because she’s raised 13 litters of puppies or something like that. actually 14 now, as we helped with this litter. number 4 for me.)

A picture of a black and white border collie puppy on a leash, inspecting some bushes.
we love leaves and plants!

the best part? Sirius’ younger sister went to live with my friend Mary on the Island — so my close friend and i have dog siblings and a perfect excuse to make more visits happen, as the puppies NEED playdates. 😉

in summary

so. those are the updates. health issues, healing from said issues, new family member, trying to write and edit as much as possible while training that new family member to stop biting mommy, ow.

(it’s like having a tiny furry velociraptor in your house.)

so, on that note — i’m off to get some work done on writing and/or editing.

i love you. 
-katje

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