positivity, pain and productivity…


(image obtained from internet search)

Can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since my last blog post! Or that it’s coming up on June already! I write this listening to some Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Rascall Flatts this afternoon – just in the mood for some nice smooth country music to help me along on my blog.

I’m a bit late getting it done this month – those who are friends on facebook may have noticed a few posts regarding pain and pain killers so I figure it’s about time I explain what’s going on. I’ve been suffering some symptoms for about 18 months now but blood tests just before and after christmas have shown high levels of the things looked for in Rheumatoid Arthritis – this isn’t to say that’s what I have, it’s definitely an auto-immune disease. But could equally be fibromyalgia, or any of many others. Anyway suffice to say I have been suffering from quite a lot of pain and swelling, primarily to my hands, shoulders, knees and feet. It has steadily been worsening over the last 6 months and I’m now on a pain management plan until I see the Rheumatologist in 12 days. I have mentioned having depression before – and shown how supportive I am of hidden illnesses such as this and anxiety etc. It’s the same for auto-immune diseases. You can’t necessarily see them but lots of people suffer badly with them. From my perspective, I’ve been trying to remain positive and look to the future, knowing that my hospital appointment should result in some form of treatment plan and that the pain will ease. It has been hard though – the pain is bearable most days when I take my medication but it is constant. Last week I picked up a chest infection that pretty much sent my pain levels through the roof. It’s calming down again now but there have been many tears!

I think one of the hardest struggles so far of having something like this has been not being able to write. Obviously I have a day job which is working in the police control room – I hadn’t taken any time off from this job and work have been really supportive, but with my hands being so painful, all my typing has had to be reserved for work. And it’s virtually impossible to handwrite when my hands are like this – so I’ve not been able to get a lot of writing done. I think over the last 6 weeks I’ve managed about 3000 words which is definitely not like me. I know you can get software to convert speech into writing and that may be something I look into in the future if the symptoms persist after my hospital appointment – but for now it’s just been a case of battling on.

I mention often how grateful I am for my amazing friends and family – and I’m mentioning this again. They have been truly amazing – my lovely hubby has been cleaning, cooking and looking after me, holding me when it gets too much and making me believe it’ll be ok. My wonderful mum has listened to me whinge when the pain’s bad, and been so understanding when I’m walking at a snails pace when we go for our revered Starbucks. My friends, and work colleagues have all been so mindful and lovely, asking if there’s anything they can do, helping me do the daft things my hands don’t like, like taking yogurt lids off, or the foil tops off milk. Honestly, this pain is more bearable because of the people in my life.

Obviously with how I’ve been feeling, it’s been quite hard staying positive and not letting things get to me too much. I’m quite realistic and of the view that this is as it is. I’m doing what I can to assist my joints (losing weight, keeping moving etc). But being in pain has meant that I now look even more actively for the magic in every day. In order to keep positive I need to see this magic, to feel it and know it’s there for us all. It’s this that is stopping me thinking about being low – I’ve never asked ‘why me’ and I don’t intend to. Illnesses are just that – something we can’t necessarily control. So for me, this last few months has been about accepting it for what it is, and looking forward to the hospital when I shall get some relief. This week, the magic has been so visible. Rapeseed flowers coming out, the scent drifting through the car fans as I drive to work. The fledglings leaving the nests and singing to greet the dawn in the wee hours. Amazing sun rises. My mixed flower seeds sprouting up in the pots in the yard. I’ve found myself smiling through the few tears, and on some occasions banishing the tears completely.

A bit of news I can’t remember if I mentioned on my last blog – I have a publication date!!!! My first novel, With Deadly Intent, will be published in March 2016 by Caffeine Nights Publishing. It’s all so exciting now! This year when I go to Harrogate Crime Festival, I won’t just be someone working on a novel, I’ll be an actual author who’s book will be out next year! It’s been an amazing couple of months for me where writing is concerned. Me and the lovely Eileen Wharton have been to the book launch of Howard Linsky’s No Name Lane – Howard’s a top bloke – dead approachable and easy to talk to, though I do owe him and Eileen a little payback after the hotel room prank whilst we all visited Newcastle earlier this month for Newcastle Noir festival. Met some lovely people at both these events – the fab Mari Hannah who finally knows me (haha Mari – she’ll never not recognise us again!!) – the ever so friendly Susi Holliday and her other half known only as Susi’s bitch, Alexandra Sokoloff and Craig Robertson who were both a pleasure to chat to, and of course the usual crowd, Howard, Nick Quantrill, Sheila Quigley, David Mark and Luca Veste. This year’s festival at Harrogate promises to be a weekend full of time spent with amazing authors and readers and I can’t wait to go! Next year – more festival attendances are on the horizon! Being a writer definitely promotes getting to know people and making new friends. It’s a solitary job while you write, but you more than make up for that when we all get together!

The coming month will be spent making time to get some writing done. As well as working on book 4 (which is now 2/3 of the way done), I’ve also ventured outside of my comfort zone and been working slowly on something completely different. A supernatural novel – demons! It had been screaming at me for a while, and it’s been quite a freeing experience – crime writing can be difficult – there’s lots of research and fact checking involved. With something supernatural there’s an element of freedom because of the lack of restraint – basic research and then the ability to just write the story you have inside. I’m going to continue to develop both novels, albeit slower than normal, but they’re both going to get some attention this month. And of course, a lot of time will be spent seeing the magic in each day and showing my appreciation for my family, friends, colleagues and writer friends. Hope you all have a fab month too – tell everyone you love and appreciate them, look for the magic yourselves, take care and as always, keep smiling 🙂