Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring - celebrating with tears of joy

Today is the first day of spring and a huge milestone in the fight to win back my health. 

I headed to the doctor this morning for my routine monthly checkup. I had spent almost a week preparing to renegotiate my treatment plan knowing that my lab work from last week showed another marked improvement. It is no secret that I loathe taking prednisone - especially since I can't maintain my weight even though I am a vegetarian who works out six days a week. Which is exactly why I fought taking it as long as I could. The last two months I've had to sit back and watch the number on the scale slowly inch upwards. Yes, slowly. BUT, when faced with the prospect of a small weight gain every month, for an open ended length of time, for a minimum of the next TWO YEARS, that you can do nothing about, it is very discouraging. I was prepared for this "renegotiation" to require a LOT of willpower and I was prepared to bully my doctor if necessary. I wasn't asking to change my treatment, just how long I had to endure it before I could come off of it. When she said "I agree" with zero resistance or hesitation, it threw me right off balance. Wait. You agree? What's going on here? 

Then she said the best four words I've heard in a very long time: "You are in remission."


FULL remission.

I didn't realize (because clearly she failed to tell me) that I have been in partial remission since December. And now I am in total remission.

Not sure it has fully sunk in, even still.

Yep, still crying tears of joy every time I think about it. Luckily I was able to hold it together until I got to my car...

That isn't even all the great news! I only have to be on this successful treatment plan for a year total from the time I was in partial remission. She said she'd been thinking about it and the recommendation is to do the treatment for one to two years but since I'm doing so well she didn't think I really needed the two years like she told me initially. So here I'd been thinking I had two years from the pie-in-the-sky goal of being in total remission whenever that was when in fact I only have to continue until THIS December. That is less than the time it takes to grow an entire human in my womb. I've done that twice and both times it felt like the time flew by. Eight and a half more months and I'm done. D.O.N.E. - DONE!

But wait, there's more! I'm doing so well, complained enough, and proved that my fear of weight gain was a reality so well (I love data!) that she also lowered my dose of the dreaded prednisone. It is like winning the lottery without even remembering you had bought tickets. An end in sight AND a lower dose of the worst drug I'm taking. 

I'm not sure I know how to be this happy. 

As amazing as it is, it has only been eleven months since I first showed signs of this crazy disease. I didn't even get my diagnosis until ten months ago. And now I have officially kicked it in the ass all the way to the curb. Fuck you, kidney disease, I'm way stronger and I've proven you are no match for me.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obsessions, confessions and creativity

What a week I just had... or was it ten days? I sort of lost track. It started with this book release that I've been waiting for from this one author - you might have heard of him - Brandon Sanderson. Yeah, I just listened to a FORTY EIGHT HOUR audiobook in just under twelve days. With my life, that is crazy talk. And definitely explains why I have been MIA on my blog. Sorry! But, Words of Radiance is one of those books that reminds me why I love to read so much. Luckily it takes a while for him to write a tome of this magnitude so, while I swore I would never start or commit to another series that wasn't completed after Robert Jordan died - DIED - before finishing my last fantasy obsession, I have a while between books so my life can get back to normal.

Here's another confession - I might have been obsessing about reading because I was hiding from my novel. Creativity is such a bitch some times and this writing thing is HARD work. Sigh. I'm knee-deep in revisions on my novel from November and realized that I started the story halfway through. No biggie, I just need to go back and write the beginning. Problem is, my main character came to me after she'd gotten herself into a predicament and I hadn't given much more than cursory thought about HOW she had gotten there. And every idea I came up with was totally cliche or worse, boring. I rationalized all week that I was "refilling the well" by reading instead of writing. That thinking about my story was the same as writing. After all, I was still thinking about my story. When I wasn't immersed in the world Sanderson built instead of my own that is. Truth is, I barely wrote anything all week.

Sunday I woke up early to a quiet house. Should have gone for a run but instead I brewed a pot of coffee and proceeded to drink the WHOLE thing while sitting on the couch with my headphones plugged into the last hours of my book. Nobody's perfect, right? When it was over, I had nowhere left to hide from my creative road bump I'd been grappling with all week. I dove into a project I've got going with my writer's group (hiding again) and shouted out to Facebook for inspiration. At the end of the day, kids all tucked into bed and Hubby watching his latest installment of Walking Dead, I finally took my own advice and put my butt in the seat and just started writing. I knew it would probably suck. It was first draft territory after all. And, I was probably writing the equivalent of clearing my throat by faking it till I figured it all out. But it wasn't going to write itself. Big girl panties... check.

An hour later, I had exhausted all my coffee reserves and had to force myself to stop. Yes, force. Because a few minutes into it, I found one tiny nugget of inspiration and realized I knew all along what had happened. I just had to get over myself and the irrationality about how I didn't really know (your subconscious isn't really you, right?) Hurdle cleared. Now on to the next one!

Someone this week reminded me that there is a huge difference between talking about writing and actually writing. My life is always an exercise in balance - on steroids most of the time. And while I'm good at juggling everything I'm not always so great at recognizing when I'm telling myself lies about what is really happening. Here's to it getting easier to recognize next time and not wasting any more of my writing time unnecessarily.