Suck It Up and Deal

HelpSometimes, like it or not, you just have to suck it up and deal.

I won’t kid you. The last couple of years have been fairly crappy for me. I’ve had to make some tough choices concerning my job, my writing, and my life in general. I’ve been battling low-level chronic health disorders, a bout of depression, and some serious financial woes. Every sacrifice I’ve made has been with the idea of making things better, of crawling out of that hole, of moving forward with life instead of just treading water.

2015 started out hopeful. My publisher, Dreamspinner Press, accepted the third book in the Sixth Sense series, Truth and Consequences, and not twenty minutes later, I received an email with generous offer to retool and re-release The Boys of Summer. For once, instead of chewing my nails while waiting to hear if my submitted manuscript was accepted, I’d decided to do the smart, adult writer-thing and had begun working on the next story right away. I’d been pleased with my writing progress on the new story when things in my life fell apart in a big way. To the point where friends began asking me if I was a serial killer in a previous life or if someone out there had a voodoo doll in my name, sticking pins into it. This is why I don’t believe in karma, to be honest. I know I don’t deserve any of this crap right now. There was a time, however, when I’d have wondered what I’d done to bring the wrath of the universe down on me.

Snow closeupI’m not going to bore you with all the multi-generational family stuff going on. Everyone has stuff like that going on in their lives. Nor all the animal health crises, of which there is always something when you have as many animals (especially as many geriatrics) as I do. The biggest problem, the one that outweighs all others, is that I’ve done a number on my shoulder. I probably have a torn rotator cuff, and let me tell you, I have never experienced so much pain in my entire life. Even with the ‘good’ drugs, I’ve lost ten pounds in the last couple of weeks. I’m waiting to get an MRI, but it’s very likely they will tell me I need surgery.

And I can’t do it. I just can’t. I live alone. I have big animals I take care of. Taking six weeks off from work isn’t an option, either. For days I stewed about the pain, and the possible need for surgery, and what would happen to me if I didn’t get surgery. I made my decision the other day: no matter what the MRI says, I will not pursue surgery at this time. Right now, I have about 40% use of my arm and I can deal with the pain fairly well until I try to sleep at night. I’ve got an elaborate system of pillows I use to prop the various parts, however, and I seem to have found a compromise I can live with. I’m functional enough that I can do my job. Each day I seem to be getting a tiny bit better, as long as I don’t overdo. I’ve come to terms with the decision, which has already meant missing one planned event and probably cancelling another one in July. I know, attending conventions is probably the last thing I should be worried about, but these are the bright spots in a rather grinding existence, so canceling them has been a downer. However, it is what it is. Suck it up and deal.

RockandSand pendant1A friend of mine sent me a pendant consisting of this tiny jar filled with sand and a small rock within. She pointed out that like the rock, I always rose to the surface no matter how much sand was dumped over me. It’s true, no matter how you turn the glass jar, the rock always breaks the surface of the sand. It’s kind of awesome having people who believe in you like that. Friends who have your back and help you out in so many ways. Asking for help is not easy for me. My friends make it easier to accept it when it’s offered. πŸ™‚

The one thing I seem to still be struggling with is the story I’m working on. It’s not a particularly happy story, and the characters have to work through some hard stuff. I find that I’m just not in the headspace to work on it right now. In fact, I sort of loathe it. Writing it is like pulling teeth. I decided the other evening that it wasn’t the story I should be working on at the moment. I needed to write something I enjoyed while I was sucking it up and dealing. I think that’s only fair, right?

So I’ve set aside the contemplative and angsty story I’ve been working on these last few months and have started a project I’ve been putting off for the last couple of years. I’ve been putting it off because I was afraid of not getting it right, of screwing it up. Truth be told, I’ve been holding this project in reserve as a kind of trump card, and have been afraid it wouldn’t live up to the test. As long as I didn’t play it, I could tell myself it was going to save my butt one day. Playing it, and discovering that it wasn’t as good a card as I’d hoped, was a reality I didn’t want to face. But a trump card never played ceases to have any value. So there you are. I’m setting aside a project that holds no appeal for me at the moment in order to play with one that does. It might be a dismal failure. But at least I will enjoy the process, and right now, I need a little something to enjoy in my life. The story is a totally different direction for me–but I think that’s exactly what I need.

Mountain Laurel



10 thoughts on “Suck It Up and Deal

  1. You are awesome! Just remember a lot of people out here love and support you. If I lived anywhere near you, I’d offer to move in and take care of things while you recuperated. I know horses and I know dogs. It would be a pleasure.

    Maybe someone will see this who does live close by. I’m putting this out there in the hopes it lands in the right spot.

    *fingers crossed*
    Theo Fenraven recently posted..When Is It Time to Leave the Party?My Profile

    • Aw, Theo, that is very, very kind of you. Bottom line, though, no one else can do my job, so I have to postpone surgery regardless. Maybe when things slow down in the winter, if they still think I need surgery then, I’ll reconsider. Who knows, the MRI might not be as pessimistic as I think it will be, either!

      My biggest concern at the moment is they’ll cut me off from the ‘good’ drugs, so I’m parsing them out and only taking them at night. Hopefully by the time I run out, I won’t need them to sleep anymore. πŸ˜‰
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Suck It Up and DealMy Profile

    • Heh, that was pretty much my reaction, too, Margarita! But I think this is the only solution for me right now. It’s entirely possible I won’t need surgery, but if I do, it won’t kill me to wait until the ‘slow’ time of year. Besides, at the rate I am slowly creeping toward improvement, even if I am told surgery is the only way to go, I might not need it by winter.

      Of course, I WILL have to work this into a story someday… πŸ˜‰
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Suck It Up and DealMy Profile

  2. I don`t know horses but I do love them, I can follow simple instructions (I *have* mucked out a stall and groomed a horse, though it`s been years) I know dogs, and I`d bet there are other folks like me who could spend a week or two helping if you need to get your shoulder fixed. I may be out of commission in late summer, but I`m dead serious about this. If I can help for a couple of weeks up until mid-July, let me know.

    • Aw, that is very sweet of you to offer, Lee, but truthfully, it is not so much the animal care at home as much as it is the inability to take the time off from work. It’s one of the downsides of being self-employed: there is no one else who can do what I do. At the moment, I can still work, so delaying any potential surgery until the slack time of year is the only thing that makes sense to me. I’m just fortunate I *can* choose to put it off, otherwise I’d be totally screwed! πŸ˜‰
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Suck It Up and DealMy Profile

  3. First of all *huge great cwtches* and I hope your health improves soon, and everything else as well.

    Secondly, the writing projects – yeah, that’s a really sensible thing to do. There is no point in making yourself write something you really aren’t feeling because – well, I always make excuses why I can’t do it. Much better to write something for fun until you can face the tough stuff again.

    • Thank you, Elin! I think the thing that is hardest for me to deal with is the sense of betrayal–my body has never let me down before–to the extent that I’ve abused it soundly for years. As one of my massage therapists said shortly before all this happened, “Your body is screaming at you because it can’t get your attention any other way.” Well, it has my attention now!

      And yes, I think if I keep working on the story that my heart isn’t in, I’ll just end up with a story that hurts on all levels without resolving anything. Much better to set it aside for now. πŸ˜€
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Suck It Up and DealMy Profile

  4. I think putting one project away and starting one that will bring you satisfaction is a wise decision. I hope the arm issue can be resolved without surgery. I am so sorry you are having a difficult year. Perhaps the second half of the year will be an improvement!

    • I think it’s the right call, too! At least I hope so. πŸ™‚ I’m hoping the shoulder can be resolved without surgery as well. As for the second half of 2015 being better than the first, well, I’d say it could hardly get worse but then that really would be tempting the universe to come smite me, wouldn’t it? πŸ˜€
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Suck It Up and DealMy Profile

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