Friday, August 22, 2014

A few bumps along the way.

I was used to walking two to three miles a day with my pups and my hubby and enjoying the beauty that is Florida. Then one day I struggled to just make it around the block while walking the pups, but I pushed through as I know they need their exercise. The pain started in my calf, moved to my hip, and now my lower back. I continued to push myself every morning to walk my normal route, but would get home and have to sit in order to relieve the pain. After much encouragement from Kit, I went to see the doctor and she thinks it may be Avascular Necrosis which is caused by the loss of the blood supply to the hip bone.I have Antiphospholipid Syndrome due to the lupus, that could be a cause.  The doctor said it happens with lupus patients. I will need an MRI to confirm what damage has been done to the hip and then I may need a hip replacement. I am hoping to avoid surgery if I can.

 Another issue caused by lupus and hypothyroidism is Peripheral Neuropathy and I have been dealing with this in my right hand for years. The pain in my hand and in my leg wakes me up almost every night and just recently realized it is due to the lupus as well. The most recent flare has been one of the worst, but I am slowly feeling more like my old self again. When you are used to a certain amount of activity and all of sudden you can't move, it can be a bit depressing. I have even set aside my camera for awhile, but picked it back up today and feeling a renewed spirit. I will post more photos soon.

Until next time,


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not Letting this Train Get Derailed

Why is it that life must always throw a curveball, when you expect a steady diet of fastballs?  Over the past couple of months, I have been really disciplined in writing (for my short stories) about 750 to 1000 words a day.  I have begun to relish getting my creative juices flowing.  But, it seems like, every time I really become immersed in something I enjoy, an old friend comes to visit.  Something similar took place several years ago when I was moving up the ranks in Tae Kwon Do, I succeeded all the way to a 2nd Senior Degree Black Belt and my 'friend' paid me a visit.  Then a couple of years ago, I became a habitual jogger, setting my personal records, losing weight and preparing to run more competitively, and my old 'amigo' stopped by once again.

It is almost as if, this 'companion' extracts, special pleasure, by waiting until I begin to achieve rewarding results before he swoops in to do his damned best at stomping all over my efforts.  Who is this 'friend' that I speak of?  He is not one, but two separate auto-immune diseases that reside within my body.  These two 'partners in crime' like to tag team me when I am at the peak of my game.

These diseases go by the names of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (or AS).  They are alike in the fact that they attack joints and connective tissues.  RA isn't real particular about which joints it attacks, but AS is a specialist that attacks primarily the lower back, fusing the spine in place as it travels upward.  In severe instances, it enjoys targeting the rib cage around the lungs, making it difficult to breath very deeply (I am not at that point, yet). When I was diagnosed with these conditions, in my mid-thirties, I genuinely believed that I could just push through the difficulties that would arise, when they arose.  And, for a while, I am able to do, just that.

In Tae Kwon Do,  I began to experience nagging injuries to my knees, ankles and finally my back that, essentially, retired me from the sport.  While jogging, I was able to avoid repetitive type injuries by a technique of 'fast walking' as opposed to a pure 'jog' for nearly two years.  But, my lower back eventually had its way, knocking me out of that activity, equally well.  I have been able to replace that activity, fairly well, with hiking.  I do enjoy hiking, but it does not have the cardio advantages that running does.  So, I have not been particularly successful at dropping the weight that I need to.

Not too surprising, I suppose, I have become susceptible to some levels of depression, as a result.  I currently take a low level anti-depressant, which has been pretty effective, along with some thought exercises.  I have also transformed my 'passion to write' into a self-help methodology.  Nevertheless, this Ankylosing Spondylitis is a cunning, insidious bastard; he can strike in the most unexpected ways.  As I was writing and putting words to paper, I noticed that my right eye was beginning to ache and the white of my eye was radiating, beet red.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw one normal eye and one very angry eye.  I hoped it was simply an allergy that, perhaps, eye drops or anti-histamines could remedy.

Ahhhhh, but no such luck.  AS has another little gift: a condition called Iritis or swelling of the iris.  Untreated, it starts putting pressure on the optic nerve causing intense pain and possible blindness.  So I am under treatment now, but my right eye is hazy which is quite distracting when you are attempting to write or work, for that matter.   It has taken me almost a week to write this entry.

But, I will recover.   I will pick the pace of writing up again.   This posting is not really about my infirmaries,  I want it to highlight that I am going to persevere.   I will not let auto-immune disease define me.

So, please bear with me for a while.   I will post some of Kat's wonderful photos soon.  I cannot possibly keep up with her.

Until next time.

See you on the trail,


Friday, August 8, 2014

What I Did This Summer

Every now and then, everyone indulges in a shameless self publicity.  Am I one of those?  Yep, I am today. While our blog has mainly been about our travels and interweaving Kat's photography into the posts, this time I am going to talk about some of my activities.

Ah yes, the lifestyle of full time RV'ers:  It isn't always about workcamping and discharging the black water tank.  Actually, that is merely a tiny part of it.  The reason we choose this lifestyle is to stop and smell the roses; we engage with nature and thoroughly enjoy the places that most people are too busy to even detect.  The 2nd component of that enjoyment is the analysis of the experiences that we partake in.  Kat does this by emptying the contents of her camera to her hard drive and editing her pictures until they become art.

I likewise have a process in which to relive what we experience.  I am doing this by writing fiction.  The scenery and people around me either become a story or drive me to include them (or a facsimile of them) into a narrative.

In the past, I have embarked on the process of writing fiction novels.  But when one lives the hectic life of a career, house payment, keeping up with the Jones's etc., It is easy to become sidetracked and lose focus on your story.  Kat has often become frustrated with me for starting and not finishing a book.  But now with the advent of e-books and self publishing, staying focused is no longer such a challenge for me.  I have also opted to modify my strategy:  instead of attempting to author the gigantic, monolithic, 'War and Peace' sized piece of literature, I have chosen to write novellas.  These short stories can then be used as a collection.

This change of strategy has paid dividends:  I have already published three short stories on Amazon.  Two of these stories are part of a serial publication that I have named 'The Pale Horse Saga'.  In literature, beginning with The Bible, the symbol of the pale horse has been synonymous with a deliverer of death.

I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:8

This is a series about a secretive vigilante group who decide to take on the vicious men in power that believe themselves to be 'above the law'.  This group recruits the surviving victims of the atrocities of the wicked and trains them as weapons to bring them down.

I thoroughly enjoyed penning these stories and continue to do so:  Volume 3 is 75% complete.  But, more joy exists when others share in it.

I would love nothing more than having my peers, my compadres (in exploration) partake in my work and provide feedback.

Hence, I invite you, encourage you and just short of 'beg' you to download these free e-books, read them and provide an honest review.  If you enjoy it, hurray!!!  More are sure to come soon.  If you feel the need to scrape your eyeballs free from the shrapnel of my prose, then, please, feel free to roast my work verbally and literally, if you wish.

Below are the links.  Did I mention that they are free. In fact, you can also buy one and get one free.  If you wish, you can buy them at 50% off, since half of nothing is still nothing.  But this price is for a limited time, so don't hesitate, get them right away.

Volume 1 - The Rise of the Pale Horse

Volume 2 - The Pale Horse Goes Fishing

So, until next time,

See you on the trail,