UTERUS UPDATE! (Cyborg Implant Month 1)

I know each and every one of you has been waiting with bated breath for an update on my uterus issues. THE WAIT IS OVER!

As I’m sure you recall, I had a nexplanon implant put in the end of August. (OMG – the bruising for this was horrific. I really, really want to share a picture, but I’m not going to, because I am a good person.) This was to help manage the horrific dysmenorrhea I was suffering for a week straight (the worst usually only lasted a day or two, but it was a day or two of sobbing, wracked with pain, emotional hellbeastiness and then 4-5 days of regularly awful cramps that would cause me to randomly double over with pain and work through headaches, back aches, and neck aches, not to mention the nausea and random dizziness).

My period tracker tells me that my period was due two days ago. That means that I am currently LATE! This is super exciting for someone whose cycle was lasting between 9-12 days for much of the earlier part of this year. I’m at an actual 4-week cycle this month (or maybe even longer! fingers crossed!).

The best part is that I’ve been having cramps. But not full-body, wracked with pain and sobbing until I practically throw up cramps! No! I am having midol ad cramps.

Wait – not this Midol ad!

 

I wouldn’t necessarily choose this one, either…

 

Yes! This one! She looks like she’ll be going on a hike as soon as she pops her midol!

Like, I have cramps. They’re twingy and uncomfortable. I literally don’t know how to deal with this. I had a craving for chocolate yesterday, so I had some. I haven’t cried, or pulled out the vicodin, or even grabbed my heating pad.

I feel…not bad. Almost good, even. It’s so weird.

I’m not sure I’m quite at “happy bitch” stage, but I’ll take this.

My doctor and all the studies I’ve read (because of course I was on pub med central searching for journal articles, I am not [often] a spontaneous decision maker*) laid out the following stats:

  1. 20% of users have a complete cessation of menstruation
  2. 20% of users have unpredictable menstrual cycles with extra blood
  3. 60% of users have regular cycles

Of women who’ve suffered from dysmenorrhea, 80% (give or take, depending on the study and what they were using as markers) have a drastic reduction in pain levels over the course of six months.

AND – most women who have the insert removed before it expires (three years, I think) do so because of point #2 above, and almost all within the first 3 months. I’m one month in and feeling hopeful that I’ll fall into camps 1 or 3 (I’d really, really like to be #1…for so many reasons, but mostly because my damn uterus OWES ME.

Maybe, if it repents and is good, I’ll let it stay a bit longer…I’d sure like to avoid major surgery if at all possible.

I’m hoping if I can get to a place where I’m not in pain 50% of the time and dopey from my borderline anemia, I’ll have more energy so I can start waking up and exercising and feeling all around better!

*fingers crossed*

All positive uterus thoughts accepted, although honestly, I don’t need you to spend a lot of time thinking about my uterus because that’s just weird.

*I can be spontaneous if you give me a heads up.

 

Three Things Thursday: Random Shit

 

  1. I’ve been having the most bizarre dreams lately. I’m not gonna share them all (THIS IS A FAMILY BLOG, in that people in my family read it), but last night I dreamed I went on a bender of epic proportions and drank all the wine. ALL OF IT. When my alarm went off this morning, I pried my eyes open, tasted that disgusting hangover tongue taste, and could tell I was going to be wicked hungover. I was so mad at myself for getting completely and totally wasted on a weeknight. It took me at least five minutes to get over my fear of hangover and realize that it was just a dream. I’d had about 1/2 glass of wine last night.

  2. When I finally did manage to drag myself out of bed this morning, happily hangover free, it looked like there’d been some kind of natural disaster in the house. I don’t know who Rupurrt Giles’s dealer is, but I’d really like him to stop giving the kitten whatever it is that makes him go on a rock-star-destroying-a-hotel-room rampage in the middle of the night. Broken mirrors, coasters everywhere, roll of paper towel reduced to its post ticker-tape parade level of existence. THE KITTEN DOES NOT NEED UPPERS, OKAY?

    The only time he sits still is when he’s on my keyboard.

     

  3. I used to have a pink unicorn onesie. Alas! It because too holy for everyday use (made my atheistic soul-heh-uncomfortable). I’d made my peace with the unicorn gods until last weekend when Amazon suggested I would be interested in a unicorn hoodie. It was getting colder. The rain was coming. Autumn REQUIRES cozy hoodies, and I require unicorn things. So, in a moment (this moment is currently on year 26) of weakness, I bought the unicorn hoodie. It arrived yesterday, I spent the entire evening in my hoodie, either frightening or amusing the food delivery person (either way, I win).

Writerly Wednesday – Nuts & Bolts Edition

I drafted most of this last week before I found out my kiddo was on his way to the ER. Obviously, I didn’t get to the publishing part of it then.

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You may or may not know that as an indie-published author, I am not raking in the dough.

I’ve published two books this year (with a third coming out in…checks the countdown clock in the sidebar…less than 48 41 days *cue panic*). In order to publish a decent book, there are a lot of things one must do in addition to being a decent writer.

One must hire a professional editor. This is not cheap. Nor should it be! You want quality! One must have a proofreader. Preferably someone who is not also your editor. Because the more eyes, the better. One must, if they are not graphically inclined, have a cover designer.

Seriously – if I was in charge of my covers, they would look like this (real sketch I shared with my cover designer):

I still have the original if you want a signed copy of this. hahahaha. My kindergartener can draw better than I can. (Full Ruby Blade Pinterest board if you click!)

You can see why I pay cash money for a cover designer, right? There are other expenses, as well. ISBN numbers, formatting (I’m fortunate that my formatter takes Amazon gift cards), copyright filing fees, and the biggie…advertising.

Advertising is something that I’ve not quite figured out the magical formula for, but I can tell you right now, that’s the second largest expense I have (after my editor).

I am not making the big bucks. I’m new, I’m unknown, and I don’t have the backing of a publishing powerhouse for promotion. (There have been two days this month where my daily GROSS was less than $1. I am not even kidding a little bit.)

All of this isn’t to complain – not in the least. I knew, more or less, what I was getting in to. I expect that as I keep publishing, I’ll get a little more traction, attract a few more readers, and get more reviews (I’ve heard that 50 is the magic number on Amazon, and I’m almost half-way there with The Cardinal Gate).

Maybe there will be a day in the future when I’m not squeezing in my writing and editing time around my dayjob. That is my ultimate goal, but for now – only two (almost three!) books in, that’s impossible. Where you run into an interesting problem is when you think about how often it’s recommended indie authors publish to stay in the readers’ minds. I’m publishing three books in a calendar year this year. Three books that average 100,000 words each. It takes me roughly 2-3 months to write a draft of that length when I’m working full time and editing on the side. Then, another 3 weeks for a second draft. Off to the beta readers, a few days to incorporate their feedback, a couple rounds of editing (that’s 4-6 weeks of work for me) and proofing (another week), final changes and readthroughs. Formatting. Uploading and reuploading and swearing. My writing calendar looks like this:

The Ruby Blade is Red (of course), book 4 is Orange, Editing is purple, blogging is yellow, novella/sekrit project stuff is green, and that’s just the writing calendar. I currently have five active calendars. FIVE.

As you can probably imagine, that’s a lot of juggling – especially since I do occasionally enjoy having a social life and because I do have a kiddo 1/2 time (which is just not enough…sigh).

**this is where I left off; talking about my 1/2 time kiddo who is awesome, but accident prone**

I’m starting to book a fair amount of editing clients, and I really love it. I love writing. I hate editing my own stuff, but it’s part of the process.

My dream – my ultimate goal, and the thing I’m working towards – is financial freedom. I don’t know how realistic that is. I know people a few years ahead of me who make enough money writing that they can also do a fair amount of travel (yes!) and others who have more books published, but are still reliant on secondary sources of income (such as a day job or a partner with a good day job or some combination thereof).

If you asked me where I wanted to be in five years, I’d tell you it’d be 100% debt free (thanks marriage, divorce, and master’s degree!) and making enough $$ writing and editing that – at the very least – I’m able to cut down to half time. (I kinda like my sweet, sweet health insurance, and if the ACA goes away, there’s no way I’d be able to afford insurance on the open market. Mental illness is a horribly expensive pre-existing condition and is the reason I’ve gone without insurance the few times I didn’t have a job that offered it.)

Ultimate dream? Doing the writing/editing and living in a country where you just get health insurance because it’s a fundamental right and not a privilege of the wealthy! (I’m not harboring any illusions that this country will be the US, of course. For a country that has such a vocal contingent declaring it a “Christian Nation” we’re sure awfully stingy about taking care of the poor and sick (Matthew 25:41-46).)

For now, though, it’s a slog. I work at my day job where, for the first time since I was 22, I’m an hourly employee which means if I take off an hour to pick up a sick kid, I don’t get paid. I spend my evenings after Bean goes to bed with my editing clients (not actually with them; I do not provide that level of service) or writing. I try to hang out with friends and Beer Guys regularly. And I’m still not making a profit. Yet.

I’m confident I’ll get there, but this is hard, hard work. It’s the best hard work I’ve ever done, but I’m not rolling around in my piles of money, laughing maniacally yet. (YET!)

 

As soon as I make it big, I promise to take a video of me making a money angel.

pinky swear

 

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Book Review: Shameless Begging

Hey readers…quick request. If you read either The Cardinal Gate or The Waning Moon, can you pretty, pretty please go post a review for them? I don’t care if you didn’t love them. (If your last name is Cissell, though, you can’t leave a review.)

It doesn’t have to be much. Just pick a title (This book was aces!) or (I liked it alright) or (Meh), a star-ranking, and a couple sentences that make it sound like you actually read the book. (If you didn’t read it, don’t review it. That’s weird.)

You can set up an anonymous name and I’ll never know who you are. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like it. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about my books (and more than enough positive things to balance it), but reviews are really awesome to help indie authors like me gain traction.

I really appreciate everyone who’s supported me by buying, downloading, and reading…and I’d appreciate you so extra hard if you’d review.

(Pssstttt…I’m gonna be doing a HYUGENORMOUS giveaway involving three signed paperbacks and a few other fun goodies as soon as The Cardinal Gate gets to 50 reviews…we’ve a ways to go, though, so don’t hold your breath.)

In the meantime, I’m trucking along with writing and editing and eating regularly and sleeping and watching too many murder shows late at night when it’s windy and the branches scrape the house and things get blown into the doors. Still working on getting to my ideal state, but I’m feeling a little better about it today.

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Monday Brain Dump

It’s been a ridiculous week. I have a lot of thoughts in my head. I’m not gonna share all of them, but I’ve got some stuff for you.

You all know my kiddo was in the ER for a head injury Wednesday. We went for a followup visit Saturday and he is AOK – just needs to try to take it easy for a few more days. Limited screen time (I think, all told, we’ve had <45 minutes total for the whole Friday-Monday morning time), limited running, zero falling down and whacking his head any more.

Peak bruising was Saturday morning…it’s starting to fade to yellow, although it’s still spreading.

Friday, I took the Beer Guy to the airport for his 2.5 week trip to Belgium. I already miss him like crazy. (As does the Bean who was super disappointed that the Beer Guy didn’t make it home for waffles and bacon Sunday morning…”Mom, he loves waffles and bacon. Why didn’t he come back for breakfast? It’s because you didn’t buy enough bacon for everyone, isn’t it?” Yep…totes my fault on that one, kid.) So when I picked Bean up from kindergarten on Friday, I said I’d take him anywhere he wanted to go for dinner.

AB: “Oooh – Pizza Fino is good!”

Me: “Okay, let’s go there.”

AB: “But Atomic is even better. Can we go there? The Beer Guy will be so jealous because he loves it and we can take a picture and send it to him and he will miss us.”

Me: “Interesting motivation, but sure. Let’s go there.”

As we approach Atomic Pizza, Bean says, “Mom. I don’t really want the Beer Guy to be jealous. Let’s go to Lucky Lab. He won’t be sad that he missed that.”

Truer words, kids…

Lucky Lab dinner date. I don’t really like that place, either, but I’d said he could pick.

Saturday late afternoon/evening we got to have a play date. Well, Bean played with his BFF (and eventual roommate – he’s planning on moving into their basement when he graduates from high school) and I got to hang with my good friends and former neighbors who were gracious enough to have a kid the exact right age for play dates.

Yesterday was a mellow day. Bean was wiped out and needed a break (and I needed to finish up my editing project for a client so that I’d be ready to start edits on The Ruby Blade when it comes back this week). We putzed around the house, did lego projects, messed with the kitten, and had a pretty quiet (activity wise, definitely not volume wise) day.

We kept watching the sky for rain, and it came in fits and starts, but not quite what I was hoping.

I stayed up too late Saturday and Sunday (Friday, I was asleep on the couch by 9, dragged myself to bed about 10, and then woke up at 1:30 am and was awake for 2.5 hours…dammit.) but still don’t feel too exhausted.

I got the final cover for The Ruby Blade and will be doing an exclusive cover reveal preview for all newsletter subscribers in a couple weeks – so if you want to see before everyone else, sign up for the newsletter (check the sidebar).

tiny sneak peek

This week is all about writing and editing and reading (and work, of course) for me. I have a milestone on book 4 I really want to hit. I also want to – now that I’m starting to feel a little better physically – start moving again on the regular.

But mostly, I want to snuggle my Bean up tonight and tomorrow night before he heads back to his dad’s for 5 days.

Rainy Days and Mondays…