Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Feeding Kate Anthology Update

So as many of you already know the Feeding Kate anthology is in the mail and currently landing on doorsteps across the globe. Here's a picture if you haven't seen a final copy yet...

Awwww... so pretty. Many thanks to all the contributors and to Laura Benedict, Laura K. Curtis,  Neliza Drew and Clare Toohey for all the time you've put into making this anthology available.  And many, many thanks to all the people that supported the charity and donated money to help with medicals bill. Please know that any money not used for my jaw will be distributed to the Lupus Foundation of America.

As for the jaw... I was originally scheduled for surgery on November 16th, but after researching my surgeon and getting anxious at his willingness to agree to surgery without any x-rays or even an MRI, I decided, with the support of my spouse and friends, to seek another opinion.

I met with my new surgeon at the end of October, had an MRI in November... had the results by the end of the month and new before December that surgery would not be in my future.  The MRI revealed the damage that was done during the botched surgery in 1999.  It looks like that surgeon removed cartilage, muscle and the entire jaw disc on the right side of my face. They have no explanation as to why he would do that, and it doesn't matter now, anyway. It can't be fixed, that much we know.

But the problem that I'm having is with the left side. The MRI showed a displaced jaw disc and severe scar tissue build up from the previous surgeries. They suspect the problem I'm having isn't so much with the disc being out of position, but with the scar tissue that is breaking up and getting lodged inside the joint... causing cracking, creaking, grinding, and popping noises, preventing me from chewing for extended periods of time.  Although surgery is possible on this side, it isn't a viable option since this would be the 4th procedure...  increasing my risk of nerve damage, and not even guaranteeing the disc would stay in place because of the damage to the right side.

The surgeon and I agree that the best course of action for my lovely face is jaw splint therapy. What? What's that?  Jaw splint therapy is actually a really good option for people with TMJ problems.  I've been given a jaw splint to wear... some people wear them 24 hours a day, having them adjusted periodically, and over time the splint helps push the dislocated disc into place. For me, they've decided to have me wear a splint only at night... mostly to prevent problems with grinding my teeth in my sleep. The splint will help keep me from putting too much pressure on the joint at night, and in conjunction with physical therapy to break up the scar tissue I should be able to fully regain motion in my jaw... keeping it in working order for many years to come.

Of course keeping my jaw healthy will require sacrifices by me... I've been instructed to stop eating chocolate covered almonds. He also wanted to eliminate my bacon cheeseburger habit, but when I promised him I'd smash them down really good and only take small bites... he relented. Chocolate covered cinnamon bears are off the list too. This surgeon is killing me. He really is.

So far things are going well. I started my splint therapy last week and I've already noticed a huge difference in the way my jaw feels and moves.  I had to turn the splint back in for repairs already... apparently I grind my teeth in my sleep more than they realized. I bit a hole in it by the third night. The repair job didn't hold, though. I cracked the repaired piece off in my sleep, swallowing it and scraping my throat up trying to get it out. They've since decided to make me a new one. =)  I'll be starting physical therapy next month... with the same physical therapist that helped me recover from my car accident in 1998. I can't wait for them to see how well I can walk these days... no more "baby steps" for me.

And I've only hit one snag, maybe two, so far. My insurance paid their portion of the MRI, but have denied the bill for the radiologist that read the results. *rolls eyes*  And of course the dental is fighting the cost of the splint... letters are being written and history is being collected... blah blah blah. My goal is to have them pay as much as possible. We'll see how that goes.

Oh, and for kicks and giggles... here's a photo of the piece of resin (plastic thing) I swallowed.  It's the size of my thumb nail with sharp, jagged edges. So lovely... these things only happen to me.

And, again... thank you all so much for the contributions and the support. I'll be forever thankful.


Monday, January 14, 2013

My First Literary Love by Paige Shelton

I’m pretty sure I have never read one other thing I thought was as romantic as when Almanzo Wilder drove a horse drawn sleigh over the frozen winter South Dakota prairie to gather Laura Ingalls so she could spend the weekends with her family. Sigh.

I probably read THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS, the eighth book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, when I was eight or nine, and it is my favorite of the “Little House” books. The courtship of Laura and Almanzo was the perfect first romance for my little girl self.

When Laura Ingalls began teaching – at the age of fifteen I should add (she lied and said she was sixteen but that’s another story) – she took a position in a one-room schoolhouse that was a long way from her family’s DeSmet, South Dakota home. The couple she lived with proved to be a challenge – the woman was mentally unstable and there were moments when Laura felt her life was in danger. Laura eventually enjoyed teaching but she was never happy or comfortable in that house. Every Friday during the long winter, Almanzo braved the cold, the bitter prairie wind, and the dangerous icy plains just so Laura could be with her own family in DeSmet, and then he’d take her back on Sundays. I didn’t think that love could ever be better expressed. I fell hard.

About five years ago I took a Laura Ingalls Wilder trip and visited many of her homes. My last stop was at the home where Laura and Almanzo lived most of their lives together in Mansfield, Missouri. There are some amazing things to see in that house – a portrait of their daughter Rose, Laura’s pa’s fiddle, Laura’s china, jars still containing some of Almanzo’s medications, and so much more. But my favorite part of the house, of the trip in fact, was a space that was probably about five feet by about ten feet. It was a nook off the front and dining rooms. It had its own short walls. Inside that nook was Laura’s library. Shelves full of books filled the space, and I could imagine Laura venturing inside, finding a book, and then making her way to the window seat at the front of the house where she used to sit and read. As I listened to the tour guide explain that Almanzo had built this library for Laura because she loved books so much, my heart, of course, swooned a little more, and I knew that both Laura and I had picked the right guy.

The best thing about literary crushes is that they are able to live on forever and be visited again and again simply by opening a book. It was great to meet Almanzo Wilder when I did, and I’m so glad that he was my “first.”

Thank you, Sabrina!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

**  So the winner of the awesome bag of books never came forward. *sadness* I've sent him emails to the only email I could find... one belonging to a blog that hasn't had any activity since 2008. So with that, I've gone ahead and chosen another winner... Mr. Todd Robinson please send me your address. You can either DM me on Twitter or email it to me. And as soon as you contact me I'll get those books in the mail.  Again, many thanks for participating. Enjoy the books, sir.

*This contest is closed.  The winner is James. James, please contact me via email and send me your address. Congratulations! And thank you all for participating! 

I spent my Christmas on Twitter gifting away some of my favorite reads of 2012. I gifted Blackbirds and Mockingbird  by Chuck Wendig, City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore, the latest copy of Needle: A Magazine of Noir, two copies of Frank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew J. McBride, and Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm.

And since I spent Christmas gifting away some of my favorite reads, it makes perfect sense to spend the first day of 2013 gifting away a bag full of books.  

Oh, wait. What does this bag contain, you ask?

City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs
Frank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew J. McBride
Last Call For the Living by Peter Farris
the latest Needle: A Magazine of Noir 

And, remember... even if you've read all these great books and don't think you may need them, you're wrong. Just think of how many birthday gifts you'll have on hand for this year. Plus, if you can't use the books you can always use the lovely Shotgun Honey bag for your gym clothes... or something like that.

Go on, now. What are you waiting for?

To be entered to win just leave a comment below. (US/Canada mailing addresses only.  Sorry.) The contest will run through  midnight MST on January 4th, at which time a winner will be selected via from all comments left.