Sunday, October 28, 2018

horsing around at home

My view from the saddle is

I've been enjoying having Buddy at my family's farm. He's enjoying it too, maybe a little too much. He's so enamored of my sister's little herd of horses that he doesn't like me taking him away!

Last week, we rode out in one of the pastures that had cows in during the summer, but they were moved, so the pasture is empty for us. (This is one of my favorite pastures to ride in, but I rode all over growing up and they're all fun, really.) We had company last week, my brother-in-law on one of my sister's horses. And that's not the sister he's married to, just to confuse you. (I have two sisters, one with no horses--that's the one he's married to. The other sister has the horses.) Buddy was anxious about being in unfamiliar territory, but with one of his friends along, he wasn't too bad.

This week, I didn't have any choice but to ride alone. I had to "cowgirl up" with riding like I did when I was growing up there. It was like riding a young colt all over again. We had a lot of issues and him screaming for his herd every five minutes. But he didn't act up too badly; as soon as he tried anything, I corrected him. The acting up decreased throughout our ride.
Tuff likes to go out with riders

We rode up and down hills, through washouts along the dried creek path, and even rode some trot circles and serpentines on the way back in which he remembered his dressage training. We did everything today. And we had a wet saddle pad at the end, and a sweaty horse. I didn't think he worked that hard walking and a little trotting, but apparently he did.

He needed that. He needs a LOT of that--he's gotten fat besides, so he can stand to lose some weight as well. And he's going to get that training, and more, over the next eight to nine months. He's already been introduced to cattle in his pasture and that had him freaked out initially but he got used to seeing them. Only the bull scares me, because he's not afraid of me. I don't like bulls. They get ornery and mean. We'll start riding with the cows when there's no bull.

Otherwise, we did have one companion--Tuff, the BIL's and no-horse sister's dog. Buddy didn't mind him this time like he did last week, just like he wasn't afraid of the washouts this week. He's a fast learner.

Lastly, wind energy seems like a great thing, but the turbines are eye-sores and loud. I grew up not seeing them and now they ruin the horizon with their ugliness.

Buddy's herdmates aka sister's horses
selfie time!
I'm not sure how he scraped his face, but the hair will grow back.

Friday, October 26, 2018

New series coming in 2019!

I have just finished the first draft of book 1 of a new series and feel like making an announcement. I'm so excited for this. It's something that I wanted to do for years but kept getting distracted--ooh, shiny!--by other ideas or by health problems (now managed).

Now, my idea has come to fruition, or at least the first book has. The cover and title are all ready with a series logo that I designed myself.

I will draft book 2 before releasing the first, perhaps even a third book before the first book is released. However, they don't take long to write. These are long novellas/short novels. The first draft of book 1 ended at  36,000 words and feels exactly as it should, like the pilot episode of a new science fiction series.

That's how I'm treating this--not like a book series but like a 90's science fiction series. Fast-paced, streamlined plot with lots of eye (imagination) candy.

If you're still with me, that's good. You'll learn the name of this new series soon enough, and there will be many books in it, especially since I plan to keep them at the shorter length. I already have five books outlined and plan on much more, as I will be treating this like a series with a composite cast and all the multi-faceted aspects that brings to the possible situations in a different galaxy.

I'm giddy just thinking about it!

So, here it is. The name of the series will be Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds. Book 1 is titled A New Beginning. The title was meant to be a place-marker but ended up being one of the themes of what the main character goes through and because this is a new beginning to the Starfire Angels series that I began almost ten years ago. In fact, this will released in the 10th anniversary year of the book that became the series namesake--Starfire Angels. However, this series is for serious science fiction lovers; A New Beginning is not romantic. It is as its title describes, a new beginning to the franchise, and an exciting one at that!

I am thinking that initially, this will be in KDP Select, so only available to Amazon Kindle customers, at least for the first three months. I'm not sure when I will release it elsewhere, but be sure to watch my website and this blog. I'll post purchase links as they become available.

I'll also post when the pre-release is available on Amazon.

Watch for a full cover release sometime after the first of the year.

Friday, October 5, 2018

advocate for your health

I say this because it's been a long time coming that I finally feel that the sources of most of my health issues these last few years has been found.

This latest could have been found 3 1/2 years ago or even before then if my idiot of a primary "care" doctor (who didn't care to do any work to actually help me) had actually ordered just two more tests. He ordered the colonoscopy (digestive issues) and endoscopy (celiac possibility, a month after I quit eating gluten). If he had actually used a brain or even cared to resolve the problem instead of saying outright that it was all in my head and stopping there, I would not have had to suffer some of the worst years of my life.

For over ten years, I had been told I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), yet it was certain foods that set off the symptoms (stomach cramping and diarrhea primarily). Weight gain, an almost unnoticeable jaundice, and brain fog were minor issues. I gave up pizza a long time ago and then pasta and then gluten foods altogether eliminated the painful cramping. Guess what--gluten foods tend to be high-fat foods or combined with high-fat foods... double whammy. No wonder I felt much better, at least for a while, after giving up gluten foods.

A few days ago, I had my gallbladder removed. It was the BEST decision of my life! (at least health-wise, even better than pursuing the thyroid issue)

A day after surgery, once the carbon dioxide that had been pumped inside me started to be absorbed and the anesthetic had completely worn off, I felt clearer headed than I had in a long time. In fact, I had forgotten I could think like that. After two more days of having an appetite and adding back foods that I had given up in the weeks before the surgery and even before the HIDA scan that showed a barely, almost non-functioning gallbladder, I can eat again! And, man, am I hungry! (no more nausea)

And I can sleep, or at least so far, so good. Much improved sleep (so far upwards of 7 hours at a time). After three years of struggling to get even 3 hours a night of sleep, depending on what and how I ate, that's a literal dream come true.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that my liver was suffering because of my gallbladder issue. The liver suffers when bile backs up. A poor-functioning liver affects thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and brain function, including sleep. Already a few days after having my gallbladder out, I have begun sleeping better, eating more (improved appetite), breathing easier, losing weight more easily, and feeling more creative. (The thyroid treatment helps too, but thyroid-gallbladder connection is a chicken-or-the-egg issue.)

I'm still waiting on the results of the pathology exam of my gallbladder and am curious to know if there was an infection or unseen stones blocking the bile flow.

All this because I advocated for myself and didn't give up. I took a lot of wrong turns and had medical professionals outside the corporate hospital structure who actually listened to me and ordered the tests that led to this. Unfortunately, it also took them a while to order the right tests, but at least they tried! That is the important part. I pushed them to keep looking and they did, unlike a supposed family doctor who only wanted to collect a paycheck. Truth be told, those medical professionals who have supported me are nurse practitioners and a naturopath with a lot of medical knowledge. (But it was a surgeon at a hospital-affiliated clinic that performed the operation.)

This is why it is important that our medical system remain independent of any control--medical professionals need the freedom to do what we as patients need. Choices are good and benefit everyone.


Update 11/9/18: I'm still struggling to figure out my new levothyroxine dose. I had to drop it down a week and a half after surgery because I actually felt hyper. I can't go without, but I can certainly take less. That was another bonus of the gallbladder removal. I have to wonder if the higher dose was what was keeping the gallbladder going as long as it was, giving it just a little extra power instead of crashing entirely. It's gone now, so one less need for thyroid hormone in the body.