Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interesting Article

 While procrastinating on working on my novel I was doing some research on writing. I happened upon Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes by Stephen King

What a wonderful gem to happen upon. He couldn't be more right about not picking up a reference book or in my case heading to Google while working on a draft. Just write. Remove distractions so that you can continue with the flow of what you are working on. How many times I have been sidetracked by checking one quick fact before I moved on with my story only to either a) never get back to my writing that day or b) forget where I was going with something.

As with most gems I find valuable in life most of these points are merely common sense. It is always nice to have a reminder no matter where you are at with your writing career. I love it when something catches my attention and makes me think.

What do you think about Stephen King's article? I know it is old, do you think it still applies today. I wonder if he wrote that article today how it would differ with the internet, social networking and self publishing.

© 2011 Rhonda


 This week I had an appointment in Toronto at Mount Sinai Hospital - Rheumatology and Auto-Immune Department. My family Dr. wanted me reassessed for Lupus. Of course being a teaching hospital I met with a flunky before the actual Dr. Spent about 45 minutes with him answering questions, family history and he completed a physical assessment. He said he would be back in 5-10 minutes once he briefed my actual Dr. Well 10 minutes turned out to be over 60 minutes.

She was quick and through. Asked some questions to further clarify her flunky's notes and did her own physical assessment. I was quickly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and she agreed further testing for Lupus was required as was Rheumatoid Arthritis (all three of these diseases are auto-immune diseases related to arthritis) as she found what she thinks is a nodule in my right hand.

She ordered a whack of blood tests and MRI's on my hands. She made some recommendations on the way I should be sleeping and prescribed a medication to assist with chronic pain and my troubles sleeping. I will see her in November for follow up since they should have all of my tests results back in by then. Yes, it can take months to get an MRI of my hands.

The diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is a hard one to take. I have been preparing myself for the obvious diseases that they have been talking about since I got sick: Rhuematoid Arthritis, Lupus and MS...Nobody ever once suggested that I might have fibromyalgia!! Blindsided ..where did this come from? How she as able to so quickly assess and diagnose! I have spent months looking for answers and well, I don't really like this answer..mind you I wouldn't have liked any of them but this one I had not been prepared for! Not to mention the concern of the fact that we need to keep looking, there could be something else!! When will it end?

© 2011 Rhonda

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Question For Writers

I am currently working on a novel that I hope to have published. I have been doing a great deal of research on how to go about getting published vs. self publishing. Interesting choices but they are for further down the road. I need to finish my book before I need to worry about which way to proceed.

All writers have their own way of doing things and I am working on finding the best way for me. I have written the outline, know the story I wish to tell, completed a few of the initial chapters and then decided I needed to stop. In order for my characters to become real and something that my readers can relate to, I need to know them inside and out. My hope is that the writing becomes easier when your characters have been so well developed their reaction to any given situation is clear.

I know that the majority of  the character development will never be used other than for my reference, a guide to keep them true to their character. I think that all of this hard work will pay off.

For those of you who write: how is it you develop your characters? Do you spend much time on character development outside of the actual story you are telling? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts, suggestions and how you approach your writing.

© 2011 Rhonda

Heartbreak in Norway

It was the early hours of the morning when I learned of the insurmountable loss of life in Norway. A deadly bombing in Oslo followed just a few hours later by a massacre on Utoya Island. Last I heard 85 people mostly youth, between the ages of 13 and 19 were hunted down and shot like animals. All those children, innocence lost. It is a sad day for humankind. It is hard to comprehend, to wrap my head around. He approached the island dressed in a police uniform and called to others to gather round. They were already on edge after hearing the news of the bombing in Oslo just a few hours prior. They were looking for news, to understand what had happened. To know their loved ones were okay. He opened fire. He chased them down. They were trapped on an Island. How does this happen? I tossed and turned trying to sleep but couldn't stop thinking of all of those families who have lost their babies and for what?

It can't be for nothing. There is something to be learned here. I just wish I knew what it was that we the human race need to take away from this tragedy. The loss of human life. The loss of children whose lives are over before they truly began. Never to reach their potential. I pray for their families to get to a place where they can hold the memories dear, when they bring a smile to their faces rather than tears to their eyes. The pain of losing a child never diminishes but we do become stronger over time and the memories become a gift that can never be taken away.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Norway and especially the families who have lost loved ones.  Perhaps they will turn the Island of Utoya into a memorial garden for all those beautiful angels.

Hold your children tight; let them know how much they are loved. It is a day to keep them a little closer and to cherish all that they are. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by children and their innocence. They are our future.

© 2011 Rhonda

A Life Turned Upside Down

 Welcome to my blog!

My name is Rhonda and in January 2011 I went from being a happy and healthy woman to having my whole world turned upside down. I woke one day in mid January feeling like perhaps I was coming down with the flu. I hurt from head to toe, was nauseated  and was oh so very tired. In the days that followed the pain became increasingly worse. I didn't think it was possible but I was wrong! Over the next three weeks I would develop symptoms that included: extreme muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, joint pain (at which point I learned just how many joints we have in our bodies...and how many I did not know existed),hip and back pain, numbness and tingling in all extremities, strange sensations on my skin, tingling on my face and head, balance issues, memory issues, brain fog and every once in a while my right leg would refuse to move (this can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 36 hours)! I was lucky enough to have the owner of the company I work for suggest that I work from home with flex hours!! Thank God for small favours! My Dr. was baffled.

He sent me to a Rheumatologist who ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus via one blood test. He suggested that I head to a Neurologist to rule out MS. I have had more tests than you can imagine: blood tests, MRI's (x3), CT Scans (x2), Nerve Conduction Study, Evoked Potential Testing, Ultrasounds, Thyroid Uptake Scans and X-Rays just to name a few. Thank goodness I live in Canada where we have access to all of these Dr's and tests without cost.

After all of that we have learned that I have 2 auto-immune diseases: Hashimoto's Disease and Graves Disease (which together are called Hashitoxicosis). My family Dr. thinks this is a side issue and not responsible for all of the issues I have. The Neurologist does feel that while I have MS symptoms it is not MS as the presentation was all wrong. I am still scheduled to see the MS Clinic (it was a 6month wait) in August. In the meantime the Hashitoxicosis has put Lupus back on the table (30% higher occurrence in people with Hashimoto's) and my Family Dr. reviewed my tests and said that it could not be ruled out by one blood test done at the very on-set of my symptoms. I head to a new Rheumatologist next week, he specializes in Lupus. It has been a very LONG 7 months and we still aren't sure what is going on with me!

We are having one of the hottest summers in memory and the heat exacerbates my symptoms. Everything is worse. Less than 5 minutes in the heat and humidity result in: my legs feel like I am walking in mud up to my thighs, I become nauseated, exhaustion sets in, poor balance and once I am back inside (where the central air conditioning is humming madly away) it can take hours to go back to how I was before I went outside.

The hardest part other than the constant pain and tiredness is watching the impact that this has on my family. Not being able to participate in my children's lives the way always have. The way I long to. Often landing in bed at night before even they have gone to bed (the youngest ones are only 8 and 9). I am blessed to have such a wonderfully supportive husband. While I know I have no control over what is happening I still feel guilty at how our lives have changed. No end in sight....ugh

I spend a lot of time in bed. Either sleeping or just stretching out to take the pressure off my back and hips. I have read and written up a storm, it keeps me sane! I am hopeful that this blog will allow me to become a better writer, inspire me to finish a novel I am working on and of course allow me to manage my stress in a positive manner by writing it out, rather than the endless thoughts swirling in my head.

Make it a great day!

© 2011 Rhonda