Ups & Downs

Last week I had some of the most intense and tragic events in my life, EVER.  And, that’s saying something.  I think I was reeling in shock most of the week.  Coupled with depression, some of it nearly fatal, and news that really knocked me over, it was not a great week, hence the title of my last blog, My week from hell

Since then, I’ve felt like I’ve slowly been coming out of my fog.  Literally as well as figuratively.  Living with the long-term effects of Covid, I literally have had this fog for two years now.  The last 2-3 days though it lifted enough that I’ve been working my butt off, getting work out that I’ve procrastinated on because I couldn’t concentrate.  Except for a headache that has been there for about three months, I’m coping and able to ignore it.  I have to wonder if the headache is from the brain mass. (Ya think?).

So, over the next few days (those of you not interested you may wish to ignore the next three dozen blogs about Spanish books) I’m releasing various books that I’ve been formatting, making the covers for, and editing (yeah, my Spanish isn’t great, but some things are universal, thank goodness for the basic Latin languages).  I even signed a contract to do about half of them in Italian so I get to do all this AGAIN in about six months (I actually love doing that once it’s all figured out, making the covers, formatting the e-books).

Not only have I been working like mad (you do have to work while you have the time, the energy, and the fog has lifted) but…I’ve been in an extraordinary GOOD mood.  I’m a fairly optimistic soul (even when the glass is half-empty, cracked, and leaking ~ Oh look, more room for alcohol (I rarely drink)) and I try to always find the silver lining.  That silver has been tarnished of late and the blows kept coming, but I have to say the last few days were GREAT!  As a good friend say, the REAL me IS inside there, Alive and Well.  Well, it’s nice to see me again and it inspires me to work while I can because I honestly don’t know HOW LONG this will last.  That’s what worries me, falling back into that abyss.

I’ve been trying to get in to get the three scans that the neuro-doctor ordered.  The knee jerk reaction of all insurance companies is to refuse, because, you know…COST!  The fact that people’s lives hang in the balance of their paper-pushing decisions really sucks.  I get that there are doctors out there who order tests that not only are unnecessary, but expensive.  However, some of these are necessary and waiting on them is part of the stress. 

I got a phone call on Monday but because I am a night-owl, she called too early for me to get the call.  She left a voicemail and talked so FAST I could NOT understand her.  I had to listen to it 3x before I understood what she was saying, really!  Then, about 7 minutes later another call came in, a computer calling me to say the same thing, that the coverage was denied but they added that I could appeal their decision by calling a number.  When I woke up, I called within a half an hour, once I’d had time to process what I had heard.  They told me they would allow the scans with contrast but not without contrast (oh joy, another IV in my arm).  That was on Tuesday (because you know, worrying over the weekend was fun and all that, and it was a holiday weekend to boot).  I called my doctor’s office immediately (try to get through THAT switchboard, wow) to let them know that the scans were approved and hopefully to schedule them.  They hadn’t heard that.

I also called later on Tuesday (to several departments), again on Wednesday, and today on Thursday.  Finally, today someone called me back and I kind of gave her hell for how rude it is not to return phone calls.  Now, I realize I am NOT their ONLY patient, I even said that, but returning a call is important because MY HEALTH is important to ME.  I have plans and they are put on hold as I contemplate my health issues.  As of now, I’m STILL waiting for them to schedule the scans because they still don’t have word (that I got 3 days ago) that they are approved, WTH!

Ah well, watch for the many, many, many blogs coming through.  I’ll try to keep them down to a minimum, but there are a lot of short-stories translated into Spanish that I’m putting out.  One in Italian, and more on the way!  Thanks for following my blog and check out my website.

Meme, because, it’s funny … and true in a lot of cases.

My week from hell

As mentioned in my last blog, I’ve been having a hard time with the after-effects of covid, menopause, and mental health issues as a result of these. 

On Friday, January 7, 2022, I began to plan out my suicide.  I’m a planner after all and there are details I wanted to get right.  I didn’t want them to find me naked, so what to wear was a concern.  The thing is, I didn’t want to call anyone and give them a heads up.  I had tried to get help from doctors who didn’t care or didn’t want the responsibility to help me.  I had TRIED.  I had even gone to therapy years ago at $200-$300 an hour only to realize for FREE I could get the same help and advice by talking to my friends.  What stopped me, literally, from actually doing the deed was that there are stories I want to get out, stories I want to publish and share, so many on my laptop that I stopped counting at about 200, no kidding.  I know that doesn’t sound like a good reason, but I grasped onto it.

See, I KNOW that to think about suicide is a no-no taboo in our society.  I knew that me having these thoughts is NOT me.  That alone told me a lot.  Something was wrong that I would stoop that low to have such thoughts.  I am a strong woman, have had to be for all my life and I have taken pride in that strength.  To cop out by suicide would mean a weakness in me that I could not allow.  Something was wrong.  I’d had some thoughts about it last May, but I put it down to the hormonal changes from my surgery and menopause.  Having been depressed a lot all summer long, I was relieved by the supplements I took that helped lift the covid-fog long enough so I could write.  But, by August when I once again entertained those thoughts and told my doctor, their reaction turned me off by telling the very person or persons that were supposed to help me.  Something was wrong and I told them so but they blew me off.

On Saturday I went to call a friend of mine from my college days.  Carrie and I had lived in the same residence for young women in Milwaukee, called Saint Catherine’s that took in women from all over, provided them with a woman’s only residence, safe, clean, and a fantastic experience.  We’d been friends since 1984.  Something was weird with her phone.  I’d tried a couple of weeks ago to reach her only to have the phone be wonky.  I had left a message of, “Don’t make me call your mother.”  It was a standing joke between us, because if something happened, of course you’d call family to find out what happened.  In the course of looking up Carrie’s mother’s phone number, I came across Carrie’s obituary.  I was absolutely stunned and devastated.  It had to be wrong, right?  I got a hold of her brother only to learn she’d had a brain tumor.  She found out in August and was gone within four months, almost to the day.  She died on December 16, 2021.  It was only after two days of on and off crying that I realized she had tried to call me once last fall and I ignored the phone call because I didn’t want to be depressed, bummed out because Carrie could be a bit of a mood killer.  I was dealing with my own health concerns and depression was something I was fighting.  Still, over the years we had been able to let six months to a year go by and then talk for four hours straight, it was that kind of friendship.  I will eternally live with the regret of not returning that one phone call.  I spoke to her mother who apologized for not calling me, they hadn’t known my last name.  She said Carrie tried to write me several times but had lost the ability to use her right hand from the tumors and later couldn’t even type.  She was in the hospital for the last seven weeks of her life.  Carrie had wanted to be an author and I was more than willing to get her stories into print, but she was too shy to get them out there and we both thought, simply not ready.  It’s too bad really, she had a wonderfully twisted mind and the stories of hers that I read, they should have been out there.

On Sunday I called a friend of mine to tell her about Carrie and she was like, ‘I thought you were calling about Mikki.’  I asked, what about Mikki?  Mikki had been a friend of mine from the fifth grade on.  We weren’t close but we were friends again after all these years on Facebook and she looked to have a nice life.  She was found dead on December 29, 2021.  The cause of death is still pending but it is thought, by some of her friends, that it might be suicide.  What a weird coincidence of timing.  A horrible one.  She had children and grandchildren, and I don’t know her state of mind, but I can relate.

On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, I finally had my MRI, with contrast.  Within half an hour of me going home, my doctor (not the nurse practitioner) phoned me.  He sounded excited, agitated, and in a tone of ‘better get on this quick’ he told me that he was referring me to specialists.  They had found a mass in my brain.  It was on the right side in the front lobe (which, if you google what that area does, explains a LOT of my behaviors over the past two years).  It has lesions in my brain and cysts around it.  It also explains the headaches I’ve had for two years.  Almost always behind my right eye and forehead.  It hasn’t been fun and now, I know why.

On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, I went to see a specialist in Wausau, WI.  He told me that not only was the mass in the middle of my brain but showed me the MRI.  In one picture, it looks like a starburst.  In another, it looks like a white nugget (not of gold, I assure you).  It wasn’t anywhere near the front cortex.  It’s almost smack dab in the middle, the area that controls your vision (headaches possibly explained).  He wants to send me down to Madison, Wisconsin because that is where the University is and (according to him) the best surgeon in the country who handles this sort of brain mass.  That’s about a two-hour drive one way, not too bad. 

So, the problems I had with the booster turned out to be a good thing, because that weird after-effect where I went numb on my left side (see the previous blog), caused an even weirder reaction.  I’m calling it brain-quake (if this catches on, I want credit for it).  It’s like an earthquake only the only thing moving is something inside your brain – – or, so it feels.  You don’t get dizzy, it’s not vertigo, you don’t get disoriented, but you feel ditzy as all get out, and only for a brief moment.  This may be the reason why, over three weeks after the booster, they found this mass in my brain, because of the symptoms I was still experiencing.

A funny side note, they were concerned about my sinuses since I seemed to have inflamed them. I explained I’d been crying since Saturday when I found my friend of nearly 40 years had died and on Sunday a friend since the 5th grade had passed. (and, I didn’t need to add that on Tuesday, finding out about the mass). So, that probably did a number on my sinuses with all the tears shed and the nose being blown time and again.

Before I go, they want to take scans of my chest and stomach, to make sure I don’t have cancer anywhere in there that may have metastasized into my brain (oh joy).

The fog-brain, the words that are on the tip of my tongue, the sleeplessness and then fatigue, and other symptoms I’ve been bitchin’ about for two years, those are all from the long-term Covid effects.  They still don’t know why, and they don’t really know how to treat it or how long it will react.  The distractions, the lack of motivation and concentration, all that may remain until they can find something to help restore those aspects of whatever is wrong with me. 

Anyway, I wanted anyone who reads my blog to hear what is going on and why, from me, rather than whispers through social media.

2021 Health

As many of you know who follow my blog, I had covid right at the beginning of the pandemic.  That was January 2020.  The doctor I had then refused to test me, after all, ‘there couldn’t POSSIBLY be covid in Milwaukee at that time’.  Um, hello, everyone knows Milwaukee is a 90-minute drive from Chicago that had some of the highest numbers right off the bat with an international airport that brought people through its hub.

Something I noticed right away was the fog-brain that affected me in so many ways.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I couldn’t write.  Getting out the Lesfic Bard Awards was such a chore.  Doing accounting was nearly impossible.  Even now, two years later, writing this blog has taken me two days (no friggin’ kidding).  Everything is on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t get the words out when speaking, concentrating and getting it out on a keyboard, just as bad.

I’ve written about this phenomenon previously on my blog so I won’t repeat too much of it here.

Fast forward to March 2021, I had my ovaries out because of cramps I kept getting (it didn’t stop the cramps, unfortunately) and this affected me in ways I hadn’t completely anticipated.  I knew I’d go into full-blown menopause, but I didn’t think of the highs and lows, the night sweats, the way it would affect my wonderful brain. 

I’d always been proud of the brain that the fates bestowed on me.  The capacity for recalling minute details that were useless facts for the most part but that could be put into books and stories at will.  Now, things tend to still be there but take deliberate recall, and a lot of the time I can’t get them out into a book much less this blog.

By April the depression was getting to me.  By May I found myself having suicidal thoughts and I made sure to make my doctors aware of them.  My nurse-practitioner suggested I commit myself to a mental health facility.  What she didn’t realize is for me to reach out for help, any help, was a lot to overcome given my upbringing.  For her to make such a suggestion instead of just giving me the ‘happy pill’ I sought was abhorrent to me.  The surgeon who removed my ovaries had stated that his office would help me ‘anytime’ during this transitional period into menopause.  They were absolutely of no use; I suspect because I reported his anesthesiologist for incompetence for administering narcotics when I clearly stated I had a bad reaction to them.  But that, is another story for another time.  They refused to help me at all, referring me back to my GP.

I determined that if I was to get mental health, out of the fog brain, that I was going to have to treat myself, find it on my own.  And, I did.  I found a supplement that took a while to build up in my system and clear enough of the fog brain that I was able to write Religious Experience and work a bit on other things, such as accounting and other books.  I still had these severe ups and downs from menopause.  I was beginning to realize the rage, the hot flashes, and what I determined were manic-type episodes, were my new norm.

In August I had a health check-up.  I have to take thyroid meds for the rest of my life because when I had cancer all those years ago, they accidentally destroyed my thyroid from the radiation therapy.  You do NOT want to mess with your thyroid.  It controls so much of your body that they still don’t even understand its full functions.  My nurse-practitioner told me I HAD to STOP taking the supplement I had found that had helped me clear some of the fog brain because it ‘might’ interfere with my thyroid meds.  Sigh.  Personally, I think they didn’t like that I had found something on my own that worked.  Still, I wasn’t going to mess with my thyroid meds which had taken years to find the right dose that worked.  And, just for fun, she attempted to trick me into committing myself to a mental health facility when I admitted I was still depressed.  That angered me.  After all, I was asking for help from the person I was supposed to get help from, all she’d done was write a prescription for muscle relaxants to help with my depression, yeah, like sleeping eighteen hours a day is going to help me get things done.  S M H.  I’ve pretty much lost faith in the medical profession.  Still, I knew things were still wrong, that my brain wasn’t working right with the fog brain, and I was seeking medical attention from the people who obviously didn’t know how to cope with the after-effects or long-term effects of covid.  I’d told them all this time and again and they had pretty much ignored me.

In December I was due to get my booster shot.  For some reason, it was difficult to get an appointment up here in the Northwoods.  I’d had Pfizer and the first two shots, no problem (that I recalled).  This third one though, WOW.  I was told at Walgreens to report ANY adverse reaction.  On the drive home from the booster, my tongue started to go numb, like Novocain.  That funny tingly sensation.  It spread to my jaw, down my neck, up into my brain.  My hand went tingly, my arm, down to my foot, then my whole left side was tingling.  I called my doctor’s office but couldn’t get through.  I called Walgreens and they were like, why are you calling us?  Call your doctor!  I tried again and got through.  They told me not to go into the walk-in clinic but get to the ER as soon as possible.  They emphasized that TWICE!  I drove myself, still tingling and going numb.  It’s only a two-mile drive from my village and as I was going over the freeway, I started having trouble breathing.  I really didn’t think it was a good idea to be driving myself to the emergency room, by myself.  I walked in; the tingling had gone completely to a numb feeling. 

I started to feel that Novocain feeling into the right side of my tongue, little feeder tingles like whatever was happening was seeking out new pathways.  My right hand started to tingle too, maybe even my right foot.  They hooked me up to an IV and the nurse who put it in, did a bad job.  I’ve had countless IVs over the years and I can tell the difference at this point.  It hurt!

They gave me a full work-up, asking stupid questions, the doctor checking to see that I wasn’t having a stroke.  I told them I wasn’t having a stroke.  I’ve had one before about 22 years ago and I wasn’t having things go limp, I wasn’t losing the power over my left side, it was just numb.  The tingling had gone away to this numbness.  They decided to do an MRI.  Then, because I refused to have a closed MRI (not because I’m claustrophobic but because they pinch my broad shoulders), they delayed it.  Then they decided to do a cat scan. 

Then they decided to do a simple X-ray.  All this of my brain to see if I had had a stroke.  By the time they stopped jerking me around, had all these monitors hooked up, and decided on a course of action, four hours had gone by and the numbness had worn off. They did tell me that normal reactions to the booster took two to two and a half hours. Mine had occurred within an hour, unusual. Glad I could be a percentage case for you all.

I got tired of waiting for them to do something, anything.  I’d been patient with all their stupid questions, including one about if I might have a penile implant.  I get it, they can’t assume anything in this day and age but I was amused that they have to ask everyone that question for the tests they were about to do.  After all, for all they knew I was transitioning.  Finally, I’d had enough and I rang for the nurse.  I asked her politely to remove the IV (which still hurt) and take off all the monitors.  I was going to leave.  Even if it may be against medical advice (which they didn’t say it was).  It took them forever to come in to remove all this stuff.  I was about to remove it myself when a guy popped in to FINALLY take me to my X-ray.  I told him no thank you, I was going home.  They came in soon afterwards to remove everything and I went home.  I took a nap and felt much better after all this hoopla.

Man, it was nice to feel 2021 coming to an end!

Amor Fantasmal (Spanish)

Enamorarse de un fantasma que resulta ser tu mejor amiga

Amor fantasmal

¿Qué pasa cuando te enamoras de tu mejor amiga? ¿Y si esa mejor amiga es un fantasma?

Stacey es una adolescente normal, que vive los momentos “normales” de angustia adolescente. Resulta que tiene un amigo que es un fantasma. Esto la lleva a emprender un viaje que, si bien hubiera sido normal para la mayoría de la gente, está guiado por su amiga Renata, que casualmente está muerta. A medida que pasan los años y Stacey experimenta la vida, se da cuenta de que el amor se le escapa hasta que se da cuenta de que ha estado ahí todo el tiempo. ¿Qué haces cuando el amor de tu vida resulta ser un fantasma?

Fuera En La Posada (Spanish)

Una casa antigua, un verdadero “fixer-upper”, y un desafío para esta mujer… ¿Mencionamos los fantasmas?
En la posada

A lo largo del majestuoso litoral de la costa central de California se esconde un secreto. Leah Van Heusen ha descubierto una antigua casa entre un follaje excesivo. La casa es sorprendente y espeluznante. La mayoría de las mujeres no habrían dado un paso dentro, pero Leah está intrigada y se siente atraída por la vieja mansión.

Tras buscar al propietario y comprar toda la finca por un solo dólar, Leah se pregunta si ha adquirido más de lo que esperaba. A medida que comienza la restauración, aprende quiénes son sus verdaderos amigos y su verdadera familia. ¿Qué son unos cuantos fantasmas entre amigos?

Entre las reparaciones, las mejoras y los secretos de la vieja casa, Leah tiene las manos llenas. Cuando encuentra una escalera oculta, Leah se da cuenta de que enfrentarse a su sexualidad y a las citas es ahora la menor de sus preocupaciones. Entonces, justo cuando su amado sueño de dirigir una posada está a punto de hacerse realidad, descubre de repente que está en peligro.

¿Descubrirá Leah quién está dispuesto a matar por la posada y la inmensa fortuna que ha encontrado a tiempo para salvar su sueño?

Erótica (Spanish)

Una serie de cuentos muy eróticos

Historia 1 Doblándose hacia atrás

Inesperadamente, se apoderó de mi escritorio

Historia 2 Fantasía¿Qué harías para estar con la persona que amas? Este cuento de fantasía responde a esa pregunta, pero no necesariamente de la manera que esperas.

Historia 3 Mojada

¿Qué tan mojado puedes ponerte?

Casi me ahogo mientras hago el amor con mi chica en una piscina …

Historia 4 Noche familiar

Melinda y Em tienen Noche Familiar el jueves por la noche.

Una relación amorosa cálida, un cuerpo amoroso cálido, ¿quién no querría volver a casa con eso? ¿Qué les sucede a Melinda y Em en la noche familiar …?

Historia 5 Los biquinis son peligrosos

Esto es lo que pasa cuando me pongo un bikini por primera vez. Una breve historia erótica que cuenta una historia para aquellos que entienden que los BIKINIS SON PELIGROSOS

Historia 6 Ràpidito ~ Contra el coche

Basado en una telenovela española de Madrid, España, esta historia corta es mi opinión sobre lo que hubiera sucedido si hubiera estado allí.

Estaba muy enojado cuando me atacaron …

Historia 7 Guardada

Hay muchas formas en que una mujer puede ser MANTENIDA, no solo financieramente, sino también emocional, físicamente y muchas más.

Alexis no se mantiene en el sentido estándar de la palabra. Tiene su propia vida, su propio dinero, es su propia mujer y, sin embargo, Sasha sigue retirándola … Una idea intrigante para todos los que nos preguntamos cómo sería tener fondos ilimitados para hacer lo que queremos. , cuando queremos, y con quien …

Historia 8 Rapidito ~ Contra la pared

Estoy contra mi voluntad (tipo) contra la pared …

Estoy demasiado cansada para pensar con claridad cuando mi novia me ataca …

Historia 9 Ràpidito~ Sobre el sofá

Mi novia me ataca y me lleva al respaldo del sofá …

Historia 10-Mile-High Club (El Club de la Milla)

Unirme al Mile High Club no es exactamente lo que pensé que iba a ser.

Una historia corta que no es exactamente lo que esperabas. Cálido, cariñoso y erótico, unirse al MILE HIGH CLUB no iba a resultar como se esperaba.

Historia 11 Amor fantasmal

¿Qué pasa cuando te enamoras de tu mejor amiga? ¿Y si esa mejor amiga es un FANTASMA? Stacey es tu adolescente normal, que vive con los momentos de angustia adolescente “normales”. Da la casualidad de que tiene un amigo que es un fantasma. Esto la lleva a un viaje, aunque hubiera sido normal para la mayoría de la gente, es guiada por su amiga Renata, quien resulta que está muerta. A medida que pasan los años y Stacey experimenta la vida, descubre que el amor se le escapa hasta que se da cuenta de que ha estado ahí todo el tiempo. ¿Qué haces cuando el amor de tu vida resulta ser un FANTASMA?

Coração Pirata (Pirated Love in Portuguese)

~ Uma incrível aventura ~

Da China à Índia, à África e de volta à Inglaterra … O amor compartilhado entre Bettina Carmichaels e sua esposa, Claire, resistirá ao teste do tempo? Vai sobreviver ao segundo ano de casamento?

Comércio, pirataria, lutas de espadas, batalhas marítimas, quase afogamentos e prisão… a vida de um marinheiro pode não ser para todos. Acompanhe Tina, também conhecida como “Black Betty”, e Claire tentando reparar o casamento abalado e sobreviver navegando em alto mar…

Barcos (Ships, in Spanish)

¿Alguna vez has conocido a una persona con la que simplemente estabas en sintonía?  ¿Sabías inmediatamente que era alguien especial para ti?  ¿Sabrías lo afortunado que eres?  ¿Sabrías que era la persona indicada?

¿Qué haces cuando te enamoras de una mujer, cuando creías que eras heterosexual?  Enfrentarse a esta inusual relación supone un montón de “primeras veces” en la vida de Joan.

Joan es una artista de renombre mundial que siempre se ha identificado como heterosexual, tiene tres hijos y está satisfecha con su vida cuando conoce a Grace, una respetada psiquiatra que también resulta ser lesbiana.  Joan se encuentra en conflicto y tiene que lidiar con sus sentimientos, con la increíble mujer de la que se encuentra enamorada y con la relación que se produce durante los siguientes veinte años.