I can only do what I can do

My desks at home and at work are piled high with work.  I have so much to do and my gout is flaring.  I keep trying to tell myself it’s okay for me to spend a day curled in a ball doing nothing more than listening to an audio book.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe me.

If I’m taking a day off – like I did yesterday, I want to accomplish a list of things whether it is crocheting or writing.  I want to see progress and feel good about it.  Yeah – I know.  Stress is bad for gout too.

I hate just being a vegetable because it hurts when I try to close my hands.  I hate it when I’m stuck home when I know people are relying on me to be at work, accomplishing all the things I need to accomplish.  If I’m going to spend a whole day at home alone, I want to have something to show for it, not just pain and frustration.

And then I take a deep breath and scold myself.  The frustration and stress I’m putting myself under are not helping so I have to have a more zen approach to life.  This is hard when I have a week filled with pain.  Yet I try to bring my mind back to the center.  I can only do what I can do.

Good news – I took the new drug tonight and don’t seem to have a reaction.  Next step – continue to take it and see if it helps to lower the uric acid levels and keep the flares from happening.  That is a long term – let’s wait and see thing.  I can only hope it does so I can lead a somewhat normal life (well as normal as I get anyways).

I sat tonight and cut out coupons.  I sat up to the table to do it because it’s easier that way.  My feet are swollen and sore.  I’ll take another dose of Tylenol (my candy apparently) and hope it will help.  Tomorrow I’ll work a longer day to make up some of the time I missed and get some of the work done I need to get done.

I have to balance that with how long it will take me to do bills when I come home.  I will have been sitting at my desk at work so I’ll have to make sure I can spend enough time paying bills once I get home.

I’ve already told Ken he will have to do the errands.  I’ll try to get a grocery / coupon list made up for him tomorrow night so he doesn’t have to do that part of it.  Saturday I want to try to get a book out if not do the prep for all three but I’m keeping that chant in my head.  I can only do what I can do.

On the plus side, I have had two more reviewers agree to read one of my books.  Ken took the books to the post office today.  I can only hope they will be so intrigued once they get them, they will read them right away and post the review.  Maybe if I’m lucky, they will come back and ask for more of my books to review.  I can only keep my fingers crossed.

This week I’m struggling with my mantra of I can only do what I can do.  I’m usually fairly zen about it but apparently my determination is outweighing my sense.  I’ll say it again and maybe I’ll actually believe it – I can only do what I can do… everything will get done eventually.

Welcome Spring!!

Spring has sprung and look we’re covered in snow again.  I’m laughing because this is Wisconsin and I know there are people who are cursing the weather today.  I say – it’s March and it’s Wisconsin, what do you expect.  It seems ironic that the spring equinox was last week and now we have about four inches of snow and it is still snowing.  If you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m not a big fan of the cold and snow but it is a fact of life here in Wisconsin.  Complaining about it won’t make it go away and won’t make it warmer.  It does bring the mood down and makes it harder to get through the season.  The thing is, it’s beautiful.  Yeah I know it’s March and people are tired of winter but if you look at the evergreens frosted with the white it’s picturesque.  If you don’t have to drive in it, (which really doesn’t happen) the puffy snowflakes are gorgeous, the ice on the trees looks like crystal.  It is a beautiful season even if it is cold and difficult.  Sometimes we get the best things when we deal with the difficulties in life. 
I’ve been laid up with gout.  I’m in pain and frustrated because I have a lot of work at both my day job and for writing.  I’m not able to sit at my desk easily when gout flares up.  My legs are painful, swollen, red and just plain miserable.  I need to let go of my expectations when my gout is being annoying, which I try to do.  This past couple of weeks I got through three manuscripts for editing.  I got the paper edits entered on the computer, read through the manuscript one more time, ran a spell check and essentially got it prepped for production.  It isn’t how or what I planned to do over the past couple of weeks but I made progress. 
Today it is snowing.  Tomorrow could have temps in the 60s.  It’s spring the time of new beginnings and fresh starts.  Everything is new, fresh, and bright (and muddy).  It’s a time to look around at all the possibilities and pick the ones which appeal the most and work on them. 
To the grumblers, I say just stop it.  It will be better sooner than you know.  To those who see the beauty in all the weirdness of our weather – I say go make snow angels or have a snow ball fight.  Make the most of the (hopefully) last hurrah of winter and enjoy it while it lasts.  It is Wisconsin after all and if you wait ten minutes the weather will change. 

Gout Equals Pain

Monday my new doctor called to tell me my uric acid levels were double what is considered normal.  I could have told him that just from the pain level I’ve been dealing with.  I went to work late on Monday after taking my drugs – gave them a chance to ease some of the pain.

Tuesday was a no go for work.  I woke up hurting and couldn’t hardly stand.  Wednesday I went to work and stayed almost ten hours.  I felt miserable the whole time.  I have work to do but every action felt like it took twice or three times the energy to perform.

Today I’m home.  I slept through my alarm – never a good thing.  When my daughter called and woke me up I knew even when I took my meds, it wasn’t going to ease the level of pain much.  Here I am four hours later and trying to hold off taking three more Tylenol for another hour and I’m finally able to sit up without feeling awful though the pain is still too high.

It’s time for me to go into hibernate mode I guess.  I have to stop letting the pain get me down, making me cranky, and I have to recognize I can only do what I can do.  Today that means I have classical music on, I pull out my crocheting or my editing and I sit in my recliner drinking lots of water and hope the meds do their job.

I’ve got two manuscripts to get edits on the computer.  I’m going to work on those until I’m too tired to work.  If I get tired of the editing, I’ve got a list of crochet projects I need to work on.  It’s the best I can do for now.

Down for a Day

At 2:30 Tuesday morning I woke up with pain in my foot.  I knew it was gout pain.  I figured I’ll get more sleep and feel better in the morning. 

I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.  I got up at 7:00 thinking I gotta go to work.  Now if I’m going to work I need to be out of the shower and headed to the car by 7:15 so I knew at the very least I was going to be LATE. 

It was a rough morning for me.  Pain, lack of sleep, and just general growliness.  I opted to not inflict my orneriness on my job and stayed home.  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  I’ve been weaning myself off it since we got rid of cable. 

Instead of surfing unsuccessfully for something worthwhile, I listened to an audio book and crocheted.  I leaned back in my recliner, kept my foot up and worked on a throw for my mother.  When she was over, she told me her legs got cold when she sat in her recliner in the living room.  I made her a small throw.  It is with fleece yarn which is yummy and soft.  My sister picked out the pink and multi colored purple / pink.  Unfortunately there wasn’t enough for what I wanted to do.  Of the fleece I had left, black was the only one that went well as there is a dark gray in the purple variegated.  So I did a border in the blank.  I did a lacy pattern which was quick and easy.  Hopefully it will work for my mother and keep her legs warm. 

Now I got a box of yarn.  I resisted using anything in that box because I had four projects going.  However, I finished a project and I wanted a small project so I pulled out this soft gorgeous yarn and made a cowl.  I went to my book that has some ridiculous number of patterns and made a cowl.  It didn’t take long, sewing the buttons on took longer as I had to find them, get a needle that would work and figure out what I was using to sew them on for thread (yarn was too thick). 

In the middle of the day, I was tired so I took a nap.  I took a two hour (maybe longer) nap.  Curling up with the electric blanket on to keep me toasty warm, I just conked out.  I had the heat from the blanket wrapped around my legs and it helped reduce the pain of the gout. 

After I woke up, I went back to listening to Holiday in Death by JD Robb and worked on a shawl for Vicki.  I finished that and still had an hour left on my book so started another scarf with more new yarn.  I didn’t get far.  I’m not happy with the pattern so I’m going to pull out my book with the different patterns and see what she’s tagged – my poor vandalized books.  I finished the book but not this fourth item.  I did go in and finish listening to the chapter in Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara.

I hate taking a day off because of my gout.  However, by the evening my foot had shape again, the red ring around my ankle was gone.  The pain level had gone from nearly unbearable to tolerable.  I got three crochet projects done.  Considering I didn’t think it would be a good day – I’d say it wasn’t all bad.  The nap was wonderful.  I’m betting Vicki will LOVE the two items I got done for her.  I’m hoping mom will enjoy her item as well. 



Finished the next Wayfarer novel.  It still needs work since it is just the first draft.  I don’t even have a name for it.  I will soon though.  My first test reader finished it last night and she pointed out some flaws.  I will be fixing those as I work through the edits.  I’m sure the other two test readers will come up with other suggestions as well.

I’ve gone back to the Defenders series.  I have one more book to write to finish that story – I think.  I started rereading the last book so I can get back in the groove with the story.  I’m hoping to finish that in the next few weeks. 

My test reader finished the fourth Wayfarer and said where’s the next one so I have to think about the next plot and how I’m going to work in the details and subplots. 

My gout decided to flare last night.  My left foot is unpleasant today.  I’ve changed my regime to hopefully nip it in the butt early.  I’m fairly certain it is stress related so I need to find some zen moments. 

I’m hoping for a calm weekend with lots of time to do writing and crocheting this weekend.  I think it will help to settle things down.  I’ve also been making a point of sleeping more as I seem to be needing that. 

It comes back to finding the balance in everything.  I’m working on it but it is an ongoing struggle.

What do we really know about gout?

I have gout.  It is painful and difficult when it flares.  I’m stuck unable to walk and do normal activities like drive.
Over the weekend I spent time with my brother-in-law who also has gout.  We were talking about what sets off our gout.  He told me turkey sets off his gout.  I was surprised to hear this because turkey doesn’t set off my gout. 
  • Limit meet, poultry and fish
  • Cut back on fat
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Limit or avoid foods sweetened with high fructose corn syrup
  • Choose complex carbohydrates
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Drink plenty of fluids particularly water 

Basically, I can’t eat anything.  Okay fruits and vegetables are good.  It does say that poultry is better the beef. 
Here’s the thing.  I know when I eat a lot of beef or chocolate or drink a lot of Coke, I have a flare of my gout.  This means I eat beef only occasionally – i.e. once a month or once every couple of months. 

When I get stressed out I lean towards chocolate.  When I get headaches that don’t go away, I lean towards Coke (from McDonalds is most effective).  The problem is these things are really bad for me.  I guess I’ll have to keep trying and see what I need to keep out of my diet and what I can keep.  

No Errands Equals Lots of Writing

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day working on my story.  The other things on my list did not get done.  I’d be disappointed but I added 10,000 words to my story and got a general list of scenes that will lead to the end of the book (I think).

Pain level is still high so instead of working in my office today I’ll be in the recliner.  My classical music is on and I’m going to work on my story.  If it goes well I might just finish it today.  I noticed last night that I had discoloration on my left knee and a red spot on my right ankle.  This is a good indicator that my gout is being obnoxious.  I put a heating pad on my ankle and took a second dose of my arthritis medicine.  Today I’ll take it easy and see if that will help ease some of the pain and flaring of the gout.

Like reading a book, I got to a good stopping point last night and opted to try to sleep.  Mostly I was successful.  I actually got a large chunk of sleep.  This usually helps the pain level.

Ken watched football and I wrote.  That will probably be our day today as well.  It felt really good to write for a good eight or more hours yesterday.  My mom and one of my sisters stopped in and then I drove my van to pick something for them that wouldn’t fit in their car.  That took an hour out of my writing time.  I also chatted with one of my daughters.  Maybe there was a bit of balance in my life.

Juggling Tasks

Swollen ankle limits the amount of time I can spend at the computer.  This means I have to prioritize everything.  Which projects do I really need to be sitting at my desk for and which ones can I do from the recliner?

Friday my ankle had a large red splotch on it and was swollen as well as painful.  This is usually an indicator that my gout is flaring up again.  I have so many things on my to do list and time at the desk is crucial to accomplishing some of them.

This morning I’m going to work on production of the Moments in Spirit.  It is already available on smashwords.com.  I just need to work on the production for Amazon and Createspace.  Hopefully both of those will get done today.

I’ll probably hit the recliner after that though because I have the perfect scene in mind for the next phase in my story.  I worked on a timeline last night because I kept losing track of how much time had passed.  I wanted to make sure things lined up and made sense.  Normally this is an editing thing but I felt out of step with timing so I knew I just had to do.  The timeline is caught up to the story so it will be a simple matter of updating it as I move forward in the story.

It is wonderful that in my head I can see the next scene, I can envision what it would look like and the flavor I want it to take.  I’m working on another bad girl scene and loving it.  Manipulation isn’t something I do and she is a manipulator, she persuades (magically and mentally) people to do her bidding.  I’m hoping it comes across as almost seductive – the more she does it the more she likes it so the more she has to do it.

After her scene, I have an info dump scene which I think I’ve found the perfect solution for giving the information without it being a “hey listen to this” type of info dump.  This scene will provide background information, a little origin myth, and teach the main characters skills they are going to need soon.

Then it will be a scene of betrayal and escape with the bad girl.  She is going to do something really bad and run away from her dominating lover.  It will lead to a series of deeds that will shock the other characters and ultimately lead to the final battle.  I can see it all in my head, I just have to get it down on paper and hope it turns out as well as I think it will.

Once the story is complete, I am going to go back through and add in details and descriptions that have been glossed over.  But that is the beginning of the editing process which this project will have to get in line with the other projects I have going.  

Sleeping Late

Yesterday I had a wonderful day with friends over from work to help me celebrate graduating in December and turning 50.  We had good food, good conversation, and a good time all around.

I indulged in one very small alcoholic drink.  Normally I don’t drink.  I just don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of it for the most part.  Yesterday I thought – one small drink with very little alcohol just for kicks.  Ken made it with less than a quarter shot of vodka.  
I’ve now found one more thing that affects my gout – alcohol.  Last night my gout flared up and by three in the morning I was in severe pain.  I could barely walk to the bathroom.  I took Tylenol.  This morning when my alarm went off I contemplated going to work.  I decided having just gotten over one medium level flare I would sleep late.  I woke up enough to take my gout specific meds, text my boss and my student workers and go back to sleep.
When my niece called after ten I was in a dozing state of should I wake up or not.  With the phone call, I did get up and chat with her.  My foot felt much better.  I’ve still got some twinges though so I’m going to take it easy and not push myself today.  I’ll forage in the kitchen for stuff I can grab and go.  
No more alcohol for me.  I’m already avoiding chocolate and beef (though I allow myself the occasional treat).  If I react this badly to alcohol, I will avoid it without a second thought.  The nice thing about this is it isn’t hard for me to give up.   
The sleep helped a lot I think.  It gave the meds a chance to work and kept me off my feet.  Sleep is very restorative when it comes to many things and in this instance helped me a great deal.  I’m just hoping I can get to sleep tonight.  

Empty My Head of Words

It was good to go back to work.  I got caught up on a lot of things.  I also couldn’t stay the whole day as my foot was too sore.

Driving home was an adventure.  I did okay so long as I didn’t have to brake too much.  Hopefully it will be a bit better tomorrow.

Tonight I was hoping to just drop off to sleep but that wasn’t to be.  I watched a tv show and then read a book.  When those two things didn’t work I played on the Kindle Fire – backgammon, scrabble and skipbo.  Still I can’t sleep.

Insomnia and I are old friends.  Tonight my mind just won’t stop rambling around to different topics from the writing tasks I need to work on to crocheting I want to get done to so many other topics.  Apparently there is no off switch to my brain.

If I thought getting up and working on something would help I would totally do that but I know it won’t.  I just need to settle my mind and center my energy to balance out the chaos in my head.  Once I do that I’ll have the peace I need to drift off to sleep.

I’ve taken Tylenol to help the gout and I’m writing this blog to help empty my head of words… I can only try these things to see if they actually help.  I know the words will pile in again but maybe by writing this small bit they will give me enough peace so I can sleep.

If none of this makes sense – blame it on the insomnia…