Hello, Summer!

It’s been a fairly chilly spring in my neck of the woods and, if you know me at all, you know I’ve been loving it. It’s warming up in a hurry though and tomorrow, the a/c’s will be getting their first workout of the season.

For a change, maybe the first time ever, I’m going to try to embrace my least favorite season. For those who just fainted, I apologize if you wound up with any bumps or bruises when you hit the floor, but it’s true.

Gratitude makes a big difference in how people view life. At least for me, it does. After the past few months, I find I’m viewing most everything with a grateful heart, and I’m ready to live the rest of my life with enthusiasm and joy. Even if it means I have to choose to enjoy summer. 🙂

I’m also determined to resurrect my love for writing – and doing whatever it takes to start meeting goals. Being back on my thyroid medicine, along with being very diligent about my supplement schedule (and getting more diligent about my diet), is making a huge difference in lifting the brain fog that’s plagued me the past few years.

And I’m excited about what the rest of the year is looking like for my writing goals. Yeah, there will be a bit of a ‘hiccough’ next month when I have the reversal surgery, but I plan to come home to at least one finished book (yes, I have a few that are nearly done) so all I’ll need to do during my recovery is edit and polish. And plot out more books.

Amazing the attitude change you go through when you realize how precious and how fragile life can be. I feel like God has given me a second chance – probably more like a millionth chance, but this one got my attention more than the others. I don’t want to waste another minute.

Time to make more of my dreams come true! And I’m grateful to all of you who are hanging around for the ride. 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Health, Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yikes! My Summer is Starting with a Bang!

I’ll be going in for more surgery this week. And then again in five weeks or so.

Me, who hadn’t even seen a doctor in almost six years before being diagnosed with skin cancer in early February (So I Got a Phone Call Yesterday…), then having emergency surgery exactly two weeks after that call to remove a cancerous mass from my colon (The Unluckiest Girl on the Planet?).

This week, it’ll be about three and a half hours of outpatient surgery for the skin cancer. The reversal surgery, next month, was originally planned for late August but I guess I’ve healed miraculously fast so it’s being moved up.

That one will be a little more involved than the one in February. Why? Because thanks to the complete blockage, I guess my colon stretched out so much that another perforation formed a few days after the surgery – and the end of ‘surgical drain #3’ managed to find its way in, up, and to the left. Meaning several inches of the tube healed inside the colon! According to the radiologist my surgeon trusts the most, it’s only the second time he’s seen this happen during his thirty year career. Lucky me to be be case number two, right? 🙂 🙂 🙂

So anyway, rather than schedule another surgery to have it removed, I decided to just live with it until the reversal surgery in August. But now I don’t have to wait that long! And you know what? I think I’m actually more excited about getting rid of the drain.

Not that I’m not excited about getting rid of the ‘ostomy’ bag but, believe it or not, the drain affects my life more than the bag has ever done. Because the drain includes about eighteen inches of tubing, and something I lovingly refer to as ‘the grenade.’ I’ve got to be careful that I don’t accidentally pull it out, so it impacts my sleep, my clothing choices, some of the things I do, and even fastening my seat belt.

All of this to say … I keep trying to get back to ‘normal,’ but it’s going to be a little while longer. I am nearly finished with the first book in a new series, and plotting out the second one though. Hopefully, before the arrival of fall, the first one will be published.

If any of you pray, please – feel free to send some up on my behalf, for both successful operations as well as me not stressing over them. It didn’t take long to figure out that I didn’t worry much over the first surgery because it I didn’t have long to think about it. Now, I’ve had weeks for the skin cancer, and three months for the reversal/drain removal. So thank you. I’m definitely open to God blessing me with a few more miracles. 🙂

For whatever reason, I’m finding I relate to this song this year…

Posted in Health, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shelter at Home…

Before all this COVID-19 business started, I’d have said I was a homebody. And I’d have meant it too. I could easily stay home for a week or ten days and been totally okay with it. But I’ve never been especially fond of people telling me what to do. With the exception of laws. I totally obey traffic laws, don’t steal or kill, or commit any other sort of crime.

Tell me to shelter at home, along with the rest of the residents of our state though and suddenly, I’m not as content at home as I would have been had I chosen to do it. For no other reason than I tend to be a little rebellious. But, I’m not stupid either. I don’t want me, or anyone I care about to get sick, so I stay home. Except for grocery runs and doctor’s appointments.

I imagine I’m not the only one with a case of cabin fever, so I’m taking this opportunity to help. At least I hope it will help some of you. For a limited time, digital copies of the Coach’s Boys series will be discounted to .99 cents each. This includes Cooking with the Coach’s Boys and Holding Out for Love, a Coach’s Boys companion story.

The blue links are affiliate links. Click here to learn more about that. In a nutshell, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission, but it doesn’t change the price for you.

Happy Easter, everyone! Stay safe.

 

Posted in Book Sale, Coach's Boys Series, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Update – and a Sneak Peek

So…

The surgeon wanted me to have a CT scan last week. With oral (yuck!) and IV (ouch! – not really, surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad) contrast. I worried from then until yesterday because the last surgical drain keeps putting out some really yucky stuff.

But the scan came back, in the words of the doc, perfect. There’s no gunk in my abdomen and he’s a little stumped. Sort of. I asked if it was possible that the end of the tube somehow healed inside of my colon. He said he’d wondered the same thing. If the drain isn’t just pulling the ‘uck’ from my colon. (if that was TMI, sorry)

Long story short, after 14 1/2 days on a liquid diet (with 1-2 servings of thin instant potatoes with canned gravy or a little butter), I can eat real food again. I’m also supposed to leave the bulb at the end of the drain alone. Quick explanation: after emptying it, I’ve been squeezing it, then putting the plug thing back in so it’s flat. That creates the suction to drain stuff that shouldn’t be there.

That was almost 24 hours ago. So far, I’m loving being able to eat meat again! Especially chicken! The drainage has slowed dramatically, though a tiny bit of – who knows what – is still getting into the bulb. Hopefully, that will slow down to nothing before too much longer.

So enough with the updates. Since I’ve been back on medicine for my hypothyroidism for almost a little over two months now, and am 5 weeks out from the surgery, and 4 from the flu, I’m starting to feel a little better – and itching to get back to my writing. 

Since book 4 in the Casteloria/Royal Sweethearts series (affiliate link – click here for details) is 3/4 of the way done (and I’ve kind of started writing book 5 in a notebook), I decided it was probably best to finish it and move forward with that.

And to kind of back myself into a corner – which used to work when I felt better – I’m going to share the first scene with you. Since I do feel better than I have in a couple of years, here’s hoping it will keep me on track. 

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below. 🙂

~~~~~

Heart pounding like a jackhammer, Quinn MacMahon could feel beads of sweat breaking out on his upper lip. Willing himself to calm down, he lay in the dark room trying to focus on slowing his breath from panicked gulps of air to a more relaxed and normal rate. But he couldn’t break free. He could never break free.

“It’s a dream,” a disembodied voice chanted like its owner was reading a child’s nursery rhyme, but it was his voice too. “Just a dream. It’s all in your head. Wake up, wake up before you’re dead!”

But no matter how hard he willed it to happen, the scene continued to play out in a nightmare that had been haunting him for the past five months.

It always started out innocently enough, trying to fool him, to make him think it was all in good fun. Nearly everyone he cared about was there, in the courtyard. Prince Cameron and his family. Nolan and Abby. Fin and Princess Briannon. Some of the other guards.

Unseasonably warm temperatures had melted most of the snow more than a month earlier than usual and the volleyball net had been set up as soon as the grass dried.

He heard the laughter and good-natured insults as each team gave their best effort to win the game.

Yeah. It had been a perfect spring day.

Or it had seemed to be. He knew what was coming. Knew he couldn’t stop it from happening this time, any more than he’d been able to stop it the dozens of other times.

Fear set in and he could feel his heart begin to pound harder when the white ball sailed out of bounds and rolled toward the edge of the cliffs.

“It’s just a ball, let it go. The voice was frantic now, shouting.

But, as though sitting in a theater, he watched himself run after it. Like it mattered. Like they didn’t always bring extra balls because the odds were better than good they’d lose another to the icy Atlantic.

But he was determined to save this one, laughing as he chased it. And then the dog appeared, as if from nowhere, probably thinking it was a game. Whatever the reason, the warnings came too late.

“Quinn! Look out!”

“Quinn, stop!”

“Quinn, no!

One step too far to the right to avoid crushing the little ankle biter and the ground gave way beneath his foot.

In that instant, he accepted the fact that he was going to die. Not protecting his king. Not protecting the king’s family. Those would have been noble reasons to give his life. But no. He was going to die because he tried to save a volleyball.

And then he was falling. Somewhere in the mess that was his mind, he remembered that part happening fast. But now, as he tried and failed to escape the clutches of the dream, it took forever.

The sky above him seemed larger than life, a vivid, impossibly brilliant blue. The sun was bright, and perfect cottony clouds looked as though they’d been painted by the hand of the world’s most gifted artist.

He tried to concentrate on those, grateful he didn’t have to watch the jagged rocks below getting closer by the second. Once had been enough. More than enough. Like the impact. At least he always woke before reliving that moment, though he seemed to get just a little closer each time.

Being forced to remember the brief moments before he’d lost consciousness would have been too much. He’d never known such pain. He’d never prayed to die before either, but he’d done so that day.

Heart pounding so fast now he could barely catch his breath, Quinn woke, his body jerking so hard he felt the bed shake.

Except for the drug induced sleep in the first few days following the accident, and each surgery thereafter, he’d relived the accident so often he was almost afraid to close his eyes. He never knew what might trigger dream, or what he might do to prevent it from happening.

His skin clammy and his body trembling, he commanded himself to calm down, to focus on the waves washing up on the shore outside his window. A soothing, relaxing sound, it should have helped, but it never did.

“It was just a dream,” he muttered, echoing the voice in his head, knowing that it really wasn’t. More like memories he couldn’t get rid of no matter how many ‘happy thoughts’ he tried to think after the sun set each night.

He wished he could forget it. Or that it had never happened in the first place. He wished he was back on Casteloria doing his job instead of recovering here on Bois Blanc Island, praying he’d walk again. Knowing he never would. At least not like before. Before he was ruined.

His heart beginning to slow back down to normal, he could finally hear low voices in the hall outside his door. Whenever he woke like this, he always hoped he hadn’t cried out, but those hopes were always in vain. Someone always heard.

“It’s all right, Mrs. MacMahon. I’ll see to him. You go back to bed and get some rest.”

His mother put up a sleepy token protest, but it didn’t take long for Kyle to convince her to follow his advice.

Kyle was one of several nurses King Liam had hired to look after him until he was better. Better? What a joke. That was never going to happen. He knew it. They knew it. But he was the only one who had the guts to acknowledge it.

His gaze went to the wheelchair in the corner. It sat there, the moon shining on it like a spotlight, mocking him. A cruel reminder of what he used to be—and what the future held for him now.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in #contemporary romance, Love, Romance, Royal Sweethearts Romance Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Unluckiest Girl on the Planet?

“How does it feel to be the unluckiest girl on the planet?”

This was the greeting from my sister after I was diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer – and Influenza A – during the first 14 days in February. At that point, I was still waiting to hear what stage cancer I had, what the plan of action to treat it would be – and had just been put in isolation for the flu.

It had the desired effect. I laughed.

Of course, Kristy + morphine + another pain med (or few) = a jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings. Because during that time, I guess I thought I posted more about the situation than I actually had. So now, I’ll take a few minutes to do a quick update.

I’d already told everyone about the skin cancer (in an earlier post) but, before I could get to the plastic surgeon to get the rest of that cut away, I woke up doubled over with pain on February 13th.

The next day, not only was it not better, but my stomach felt like I was about 9 months pregnant … and in the middle of a labor pain that was pushing up into my diaphragm so hard I couldn’t catch a decent breath no matter how hard I tried. Finally, I asked my daughter to take to the emergency room. I just didn’t think I could deal with that level of pain for another night and, add in the breathing issues- Yeah. I needed to be seen.

To my surprise, after a ct scan, I was admitted with what that doctor felt was something called colitis. I didn’t care because between two doses of morphine, as well as another pain med, I was sort of comfortable for the first time in almost 48 hours.

Fast forward through the weekend. The on-call doctor wasn’t sure it was colitis. In fact, she wanted a surgeon to check it out because she saw something she thought was suspicious. So, late Monday morning, I was transferred to one of the bigger hospitals in a nearby town, one where their surgeon could see me.

The plan had been to do a scope on Tuesday but thanks to the first miracle – a very brief window of opportunity (that wouldn’t have been there if I’d arrived even 5 minutes later), I had the scope within an hour of my arrival in my room at that hospital.

The scope revealed a mass growing in my colon. Definitely cancer.

I’m kind of foggy on what happened the rest of that day, and part of the next. But after another ct scan, where I had a bit of a panic attack because not only could I not take a deep breath, I also couldn’t hold it, I was set up for emergency surgery. Why? Because there was a perforation allowing air and ‘other stuff’ into my abdominal cavity. That’s why it had been so hard to breathe.

The surgeon explained that I would have to have a temporary colostomy – up to six months. I told him fine. Whatever it took as long as I was going to live. He thought that was a great attitude. I didn’t realize until later that I’d lied to him. And to myself.

Over the next few days, my daughter let some people know what was going on. And I added a few more to the list as soon as I could actually sit up and type for a few minutes.

That was actually the hardest thing about the whole situation. Telling people about it. After I hit send, I started crying because, while it sure beats being dead, I still don’t want a colostomy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 weeks, 4 months, or 6 months (hopefully, the max before I can have the reversal surgery). I hate it. I hate having it. I hate looking at it. And I hate emptying the bag 2-3 times a day. But I can mark 2 1/2 weeks off of the worst case scenario – 26 weeks. I’ll get through it. And I’ll be grateful because it could have been so much worse.

I’d like to say I’ve accepted it. And on one hand, I have. I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. But I’m still in a bit of denial, trying to pretend for most of each day that I don’t have it. And I’m fully prepared to cut myself off from any sort of social life until the surgery that will ‘fix’ everything sometime this summer. At least I hope it will.

Since I’m starting to zone out, I’m going to finish up now.

I alluded to another miracle. And it’s a pretty big one too. Some might suggest that to be a true miracle, God should have prevented this from happening in the first place. True enough – if He was a genie in a bottle. But He’s not. He does answer prayers though.

Not only was ALL of the cancer contained, I don’t even need chemo. And, instead of removing almost half of my colon, as had been the original plan, I’ve still got most of it left. But, thanks to the perforation, I have to let it heal, which is why I have the ‘ostomy.’

So, I hold on to that miracle when I’m feeling down. And that’s still more often than I’d like. I’m really very, very blessed. I know that. But I’m also still very tired and in more pain than I’d like to be. As those things ease up, I expect I’ll return to my cheerful self. And, maybe I’ll figure out ways to escape my self-imposed isolation from time-to-time.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on. Hope this hasn’t been too disjointed to follow. I’m afraid concentration isn’t my strong suit right now.

But to answer the original question – am I the unluckiest girl on the planet?

Not even close. 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Health, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So I Got a Phone Call Yesterday…

I knew who it was when I saw the number, even though I’d only called it once – to set up my first appointment with a dermatologist. I figured they were calling to tell me all was well with the mole I’d had removed about a week ago. I mean, I’ve always been what I call a shade seeker. Being in the sun is not something I’ve ever enjoyed. I also don’t like the way sunscreen feels on my skin, so I don’t wear it. Why would I, avoiding the sun all the time?

Of course,  you know where this is going, right? And you’ll probably understand when I realized where it was going, I wanted to slap my hands over my ears or hang up on the woman.

As she said there were cancer cells on one side, I waited for that knot of fear to form in my stomach. The kind where it’s hard to breathe. Where your skin feels all prickly, and you think you might throw up.

But it didn’t come. Surprisingly, I wasn’t scared.  And I’m still not. What I am is very blessed.

I’m know I’ve alluded to what a long and horrible year 2019 was. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating when I say I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see the end of a three-hundred and sixty-five day period. 

There was one good thing did come of it though. I decided I needed to see a doctor again. I knew that after more than five years, I needed to get treated for hypothyroidism again. I was exhausted long before everything happened, but after? Holy Moses… I could barely function. So I made it my mission to get medical coverage.

Then I figured, I might as well have an annoying mole by my eye removed. And I did … two weeks after I started back on the medicine. I wasn’t worried. The doctor wasn’t worried. She was probably more surprised than I was to find out there really was a reason to worry.

What if 2019 hadn’t been such an awful year? What if I hadn’t decided I couldn’t successfully treat my thyroid with supplements alone? Who knows how long I would have waited to have that mole removed? Would the skin cancer have been caught early enough? 

From what I’ve read, in rare cases, people can die from it. It would have been more likely to have caused worse scarring though. And right on my face? 

Yeah. I definitely feel blessed. If anyone would have asked my opinion, I’d have been skeptical that much good can come from bad. But in this case, it did.

I’m also glad that my dermatologist has decided that since it is so close to my eye, I need to see a plastic surgeon.

You all know by now that I have a ‘different’ sense of humor so it won’t surprised you when I say I’ve thought about asking the surgeon if he could do something about making me look a little more like Sandra Bullock, but honestly? Walking away with minimal scarring will work for me.

It also shouldn’t surprise you when I say that I laughed until I almost cried when I turned on my computer – to find that yesterday was World Cancer Day. Really, what are the odds that I’d get that phone call on that day?  I didn’t even know there was a world cancer day until yesterday.

Anyway, on a more serious note, I want to add this. Just because something looks like it should be okay doesn’t mean it is. I’m definitely getting a few more moles checked. And it’s scared my son into deciding he wants his checked too. I hope my experience will encourage all of you to do the same.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Health, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

FREE BOOKS!

I don’t usually post twice in a couple of days but wanted to share that through February 1st, at Amazon.com, you can get 12 of my novelettes, novellas, and novels FREE, as well as 3 books that will start at .99 cents during their Kindle Countdown Deal days! Check the schedule below to see the dates each book will be available.

***If the schedule isn’t showing up for you, because it isn’t showing up for me in a regular Chrome window, you can find it on my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/kristykjames

Posted in Book Sale, free books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 2020!

How is the new year treating you? Fantastic, I hope!

We’re a full week into this brand-new decade and I have to say, things haven’t really changed. Not the run of the mill, everyday kinds of things anyway. But I find my attitude and expectations are much different than they were this time last January.

2020. 

When I see those numbers, specific things come to mind. Clear vision. Hindsight. Focus. 

I don’t really want to focus on hindsight though because, while I can learn from the past, what I’ve done, my mistakes … and the even the good choices I made, it’s all in the past.

Today is here now—and the future lies before me like the blank pages of a new book. The question is, what will my pages hold?

It’s going to depend on the choices I make when I get out of bed each morning. And I find I’m giving life, dreams, and possibilities a lot more thought than I’ve ever done before.

A few days ago, I was sorting through a huge stack of index cards (I use them to make notes for everything) and found something I copied down a while ago…

“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; and in its place will be something you’ve left behind. Let it be something good.”

This quote has been credited to several people, including ‘author unknown,’ but it doesn’t matter who originally said it. What matters is that it’s true.

Do I want the rest of my life to be a collection of dull and unproductive days? Minutes and hours that pass far too fast, with nothing to differentiate one from another?

Or do I want to exchange each day of my life for something meaningful? Something that says, “I did something worthwhile today.” Something that makes a Thursday in June stand out from a Saturday in September.

2020

Clear vision and focus. That’s what I want. No more days blending together so each one feels the same as the one that came before it. Nope. No more of that. The future lies before me … and I’m going to embrace it.

Hello, 2020! You’re going to be my best year yet!

Falling back on one of my favorite songs again. I can’t help it. It ‘speaks’ to my heart.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live or Exist?

Sometimes, when I think I know what’s best for me, I’m 100% correct. Other times, I’m 100% wrong. This time, I’m sorry to have to admit I was 100% wrong. About what? Thinking I could treat my hypothyroidism without prescription medication. While supplements do help me to feel better, I haven’t felt good for about four years.

I thought the change to a ‘normal’ schedule last month would be enough to put me over the top but, while it did help some, it still wasn’t enough. Even a little stress, over and above the garden variety, everyday kinds of stress, is enough to wipe me out for days. Sometimes even longer.

So no more pretending it’s working. I’ve got an appointment in a little over two weeks, and then another three days later. Why two? Because it’s a new doctor, and she won’t order the blood test without first meeting me. And she won’t prescribe the medicine unless I come in again. Sucks, but at least I was able to schedule both appointments in the same week.

Part of me feels like the word photo above. Like I failed. It’s a very small part though. Most of me is so excited at the thought of feeling good again, of thinking clearly again, and of having energy again, I just want to celebrate.

Having to laugh here. Aria watched the video with me and when the guy jumped in front of the truck, then rolled under it, she grinned up at me, gave me a thumbs up, and said, “Wow. He did a great job!” I responded immediately with, “No! He did something really stupid. He could have been crushed by that truck.” Pretty sure she still thinks he did a great job. Now she’s walking around singing, “It’s my life,” the only lyrics she can remember. 😀

Those lyrics are part of why I love the song though. It is my life, I’m not going to live forever, and it’s past time I start living while I’m alive. Because I’m tired of being tired all the time and not having the energy to do the things I enjoy.

Writing is one of those things. I honestly thought I’d have a new book out for Christmas but my energy ran out before I got to ‘the end.’

So, as 2019 comes to a close, I know it’s time. Time to get the medicine, to take it, and to start living my life again. Life is way too short to merely exist.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

Posted in Health, Hypothyroidism, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Night & Day

During the past eleven or so years, living a vampiresque sort of life, I’ve missed seeing the sunrise. I’ve missed the limited winter daylight hours. And, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve missed living like a normal person.

I’d convinced myself – and truly believed it – that I was more productive as a writer if I didn’t start before ten at night. That part might be true though. I don’t ever remember writing as much during the day.

But we’re going to find out if I can.

Why? Because of a huge schedule change, I’m in bed (most nights) by ten – and up by six. Yup. The babysitting grandma is back at work. But that’s all right. Y’all know I like Aria just a teensy, tiny little bit. 😀

Aria and her mama watching a helicopter a month or so ago.

Four years after I first started, things have changed a lot. Now, she can entertain herself for short periods of time. Periods of time when I can write and edit. And I’m finding it I get started right away, I can get a good hour in before she even wakes up. Kind of feeling my way around the rest of the day, working in as many writing sprints as I can. 

I can see this succeeding though. As easily as I’ve adapted to the normal schedule again, I can totally see writing productivity increasing too. And that’s good. I’ve really missed telling stories. I’ve also missed being a morning person and, as each day passes, I’m loving it a little more.

Can’t think of a better song to express my feelings about my new schedule!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment