Tuesday, September 29, 2009

“No News” Sucks!

Whoever said, “No News is good news,” must have had their head buried in the sand. Some things I want to know, and I want to know NOW. I have been silent on this blog for a few weeks now, waiting for resolution of a health issue. Waiting Sucks!

When I started writing this blog, I called it “Aspiring Writer.” For about a year, I wrote mostly about the book I was writing and hoping to publish. But with everything else going on in my life, writing was just one of many things on my list of things to do, to see, to accomplish. I changed the title to “Checking off the Bucket List.” Aside from self-publishing my book in 2008, I became involved in the Obama campaign and the witnessing of the election of the first black President of the United States.

I have since gone in many directions with my Bucket List, writing about the things that give me pleasure and the things that keep me awake at night. Everything from that pesky “Check Engine Light,” to figuring out my new digital camera, to travel around the world.

My life has been blessed. At 63 years of age
(I'll be 64 on October 7...don't tell), the youngest of seven siblings, I have out-lived my mother who died at age 54, my first husband who died at age 58, and one sister who died at age 58. I often said that I was living in the gravy. I have been reasonably healthy, an active Senior Citizen. My blood pressure is under control thanks to four daily meds, and I stay up-to-date with the commonly prescribed cancer screenings. If I have a pain I can’t explain, I nag my doctor until I have reason for it.

That brings me to the subject of this entry. I have experienced some non-specific abdominal discomfort for some time now. At first it was a stitch in my side that I had had for most of my life but became more intense in the last few months. I told my doctor and he suggested exercise to strengthen my core muscles. I did that and strengthened my core, and added what seemed to be muscle fatigue. I was never in enough discomfort to take pain killers, although my doctor had prescribed pain patches that I used a few times over the last few months. I became more concerned when I just could not manage an exercise ball. I didn’t have the balance to stay on it very well in a sitting position. I could do crunches from a lying position on the ball, but any pressure on my abdomen made me nauseous enough to quit the ball.

I continued to nag my doctor, until he ordered a CT scan. My insurance denied that request; they wanted me to have ultra-sound first. This is when the waiting started. The radiologists wouldn’t tell me anything specific, but the first ultra-sound showed a cyst on my left ovary. She said it wouldn’t be a concern if it weren’t for MY AGE. So they got approval for a pelvic scan and the CT that the doctor wanted in the first place.

Four business days after the first procedure, I had no word from my doctor, so I called and left a voicemail message. It’s impossible to talk to a human directly in that office. Day five, and still no word, I leave a panicky message. “
I need someone to tell me I don’t have cancer.” Day six, I hear from my Doctor’s nurse. They have the 2 ultra-sounds. My doctor wants to send the ovary to my OB-GYN, and the nurse asks for that name and number. They still haven’t seen the CT. Day eight, I call my gyno. The receptionist says I should get a card in the mail. I have to explain that it is more urgent than that. So she leaves a note for the gyno. Gyno calls that evening. Describes what she sees on the ultrasound. I had my annual exam just 2 months ago, and considering the size of the cyst, she would have felt it. She doesn’t say it, but I hear, “it must be growing fast.” She wants to order blood tests.

I go in the morning of day nine, get blood drawn for a CA125 and a CEA test. I had done my homework. I knew what a CA125 was, and I was getting nervous. By day 11 the waiting is getting on my nerves. I finally hear from my primary physician’s nurse, the CT scan was normal.
(He thinks I’m a hypochondriac.) Day 12 I call my gyno. She’s with a patient, but conveys the message that my numbers are OK, not to worry. She calls me after office hours. We talk about the procedure. I’m a good candidate for laparoscopy. Might have to stay overnight. She’ll hand it over to her office manager to get insurance approval, and schedule the procedure.

Today is day fifteen. That’s
15 business days. So we’re talking three weeks since I had the first ultra-sound. Still no news. I called this afternoon and the office manager is out until tomorrow.

Looming in the background is my dear husband who booked us last year on a cruise leaving from Barcelona on November 6. Ports of call are Athens, Malta, Rhodes, Cyprus, Sicily and the biggie....

Waiting sucks!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger and Author, Anthony Policastro - "Writing by Fear"

Sarah, thank you so much for helping me with this blog tour and your support.

Both of my novels, DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH, both mystery/thrillers, were written out of fear, universal fears that I believe all of us consider at one time or another.

DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is about Dan Riker, a computer security expert whose family is kidnapped by digital terrorists who take over the power grid and cell phone network and hold the United States hostage. Dan is the only one with the know-how to stop them, but the hackers have his family and he must decide to save his family or save millions of people.

While I wrote this book the fear of losing my own family pervaded my thoughts and I wrapped a plot around this fear using the latest wireless technologies and a lot of imagination. I still have my family and the thought of losing them is unimaginable. This was the fuel for DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM.

Dan's life is well planned, predicted and uneventful like most of our lives and I wanted to see how Dan would react when all of that is shattered in an instant when his family disappears.

Does Dan have the courage to save his family or will he just give up because he never had to face such insurmountable odds? Will he save millions of people whose lives are threatened by the terrorists or will he save his family? The book is not just about technology.

These are some of the questions I addressed in the book and when or if you read the book you may ask yourself these same questions and maybe better understand your own capabilities.

ABSENCE OF FAITH also addresses universal fears when residents in a highly-religious small town have horrible near-death experiences and wake up with burnt skin. They believe they went to hell and that God has abandoned them. Matters get worse when a local Satanic cult emerges and wins over many residents.

My fears of losing all hope and all faith in the face of a downturn in life is what spawned ABSENCE OF FAITH. Again, I was interested in how people would react if you stripped them of all hope and faith. Would they pick themselves up and continue their lives? What would they do when this great fear overtakes them.

These are the questions I address in ABSENCE OF FAITH.

Bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne writes in her book, Prophecy, that, "...our beliefs are the driving force behind our behavior, our opinions, our actions. Without faith, without our beliefs, we're lost."

I have always been interested in religion and why and how it has such a powerful hold on all of us and what would happen if it were taken away.

I not only wanted my books to entertain, but I also wanted them to inspire, educate and leave readers with something to think about after they put the book down for the last time. I wanted the books to be relevant to people's lives today and some of the problems we all face in the journey of life. I hope my books are that and more.

Both DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH are available as paperbacks from Outer Banks Publishing Group, Amazon.com and as ebooks from Smashwords.com and the Amazon Kindle.
Both books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble's new ebook site.

Visit my blogs for tips on writing, publishing, and books, WRITING IS ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF TO WORDS and THE WRITER'S EDGE.

Interviews can be found at

The Lulu Blog
Ask Wendy - The Query Queen

Monday, September 7, 2009

Strengthening my core

I didn't even know I had a core until a few months ago when I started taking muscle classes. I found out right away that stuff was hurting that had never hurt before. Even my eyebrows hurt, and I complained about "That woman" who was hurting me.

All I really wanted was arms like Michelle Obama. I got a whole lot more than I bargained for. I still can't do a decent plank, but "Brunhilda" has made me stop doing wall pushes for situps. She says I'm stronger now....HAH!

But I have lost a few pounds, allover inches, and people are noticing.

Now for the part that is only for us girls. Core muscles include the pelvic floor. You know those muscles that start to atrophy after childbirth and with age. Fifty Kegels is no match for a 30 second plank! Hammercy!!

Here's a slide-show from the Mayo Clinic if you haven't mastered the plank.

Click here