Juggling On A New Level

I am functioning on less and less sleep these days, which screws with my day-to-day life, but seems to do wonders for my productivity. Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

My current WIP (work-in-progress) is at eight-four thousand words. I achieved those numbers in slightly over a full month. I put in a lot of hard work, and long hours, which I am proud of. Every day, it gets better.

Obviously, I’ve taken time to sleep so I come back refreshed, but I am looking at this material every single day. Even on days when I say I’ll take a break, I still put a few hours into it, or I do a quick read-through before bed to make sure I like how it flows. I allow myself to cut what doesn’t work.

I’ve written an insane amount of words this year for various manuscripts. People keep telling me how impressive this is, but honestly, it’s a job, like any other job. It’s important to me for anything with my name on it to feel like it’s work readers are familiar with, regardless of the topic at hand. This one in particular is not something I’d considered doing before, so as I write and catch myself enjoying it, I feel that translates to how a reader will catch my sense of humor or my snark within. Both of which would be incredibly hard to miss.

The majority of writers, if they are truly lucky, have a distinctive voice. I am constantly told it’s crystal clear when I’ve written or contributed to something. That is positive reinforcement to keep writing and making contributions. To keep creating. I’m not sure I know how to stop. I don’t like ignoring solid ideas. I don’t like putting things aside to work on what is selling and/or more relevant, but I’m only one person. There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve been putting in an extraordinary amount of time on every detail. I’ve researched, studied my ass off, and I still do that several hours a day to make sure I’m in the right mind-set. We all need to source inspiration from something, someone, or somewhere. On occasion, all of the above.

What I’m writing is something I have actually lived. That is why I had not written it, until now. I have changed names and switched things around for obvious reasons (To protect the innocent, not the guilty.), but there’s extensive truth on every page.

There are genres I love to pieces, and there are genres which will always sell. That’s something all writers have to factor in. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been at square one. I’m not starting over. I’m too experienced and too smart to try and diminish myself, and box myself into one aspect of what it means to be a writer. I refuse to go in the opposite direction.

I re-set everything this time around. Brand new playlist. New pre-writing routine. A whole different set of rituals. I want what’s on the page to feel fresh, because it is a story being told in real time. I dated it back a year, but everything else is current, and I like the way it flows from one chapter to the next. When I don’t like something, I go back into earlier portions and write a new chapter, or I build upon something I started, but needed to take a break from. We all have days when the material is never-ending, and days when it lags. I am trying to stay on schedule with the current portions, because some of that material is easier to write. The schedule is my own. I am looking at what I have for October and November, and this should be ready for submission in early to mid-2023, providing I remain on pace. The timetable includes several rounds of editing and rewrites. Right now, the manuscript is pretty clean. Most of mine are.

A genuine benefit of having an editing background is that I see errors in everything. Not only in my own work, but in a brand new novel that just came out, a restaurant menu, a street sign, or a glaring continuity issue in something written for television, etc. I am constantly correcting something, or someone. I am also highly aware I have a terrible habit of correcting people as they’re speaking. Sometimes I do it mentally, but other times, it slips out. It’s an occupational hazard, not an intentional dissection of others. That’s a whole other ball game.

It’s a damn good idea to write what you know, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you don’t, in case you do decide to break out of your comfort zone. The work I have done for the past few years has been, one hundred percent, me coming out of my comfort zone and making myself uncomfortable as hell. I needed a challenge, so I gave myself several. I found a weak spot and I lunged for it like a tiger. There’s nothing wrong with feeling strong enough in your body of work to say, “I can do this.”, and then follow through.

Coming off of a holiday weekend here in the United States, I have been diligent at keeping myself writing. I thought this week, I might miss a few days, so I was tripling my word count for days. For now, I’m okay-ish.

My migraines have reached a critical point where the nausea, dizziness, and vertigo are out of control. A few weeks ago, I called to make an appointment with a specialist who is focused on migraine-related vertigo. I didn’t have to wait very long to get in, which was quite shocking. The first appointment was hearing and vision tests. No hearing issues; I can pretty much hear every pitch imaginable. The vision tests were nauseating, and I have not been the same since hot air was forced into my ears. Initially, there was some dizziness, but I’m less than forty-eight hours out of the tests and have fallen multiple times, injuring myself. The doctor was amazing and very kind and empathetic. We talked about how, if it’s not my ears, then it could be my nose, throat, or a deeper inner ear issue closer to the brain. Clearly, it’s something and not a simple connection. I’ve already been told I will likely be sent an order for a brain MRI. I’ve been begging my headache specialist to order one for far too long, so to have someone run tests and not waste my time is so crucial. I meet the actual specialist at the end of the month, and as long as he has all the tests in front of him, I will potentially start a treatment plan at the end of September, and that’s more than reasonable. I do expect to be sent to a regular ENT specialist, as well, but I am grateful that when I called, there was no real wait time to get started. That’s extremely rare, and coming across someone who specializes in this is equally as rare. I just have to see how it plays out these next few weeks/months, and hope there’s help around the corner. Basically, getting an accurate diagnosis so I don’t end up with broken bones would help tremendously.

What else is going on that I can share? Oh, that’s right; it’s private AF and I might never talk about it. I know some of my friends have caught on, but for the most part; I’m writing. I juggle it differently these days, but I get it done EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. In case no one has mentioned it before, that’s the job.

Let’s roll into Fall, everyone. September 23rd will be here before you know it! Special thanks to all the new readers; I see you. 😉

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Migraine and Headache Awareness Day 2022

I’ve had a migraine for almost thirty days straight, so bringing awareness to how severe and disabling this neurological disease is, is extremely important to me.

Maybe one day I will feel comfortable discussing how far I’ve had to go in terms of treatment methods. People who know wince. I’ve discussed it with very few people because I was immediately shamed while researching more progressive treatment methods. I was told it couldn’t be THAT BAD. Okay, live my pain for a month and see how you come back. 🙄 I don’t talk about it because I enjoy it!

Until then, please know migraine sufferers aren’t having a vacation when they bow out of family functions, having coffee, lunch dates, birthday dinners, weddings, etc. We’re not using it as an excuse to not have fun or celebrate life; we’re explaining why we can’t get out of bed. We wish we didn’t have to, especially to migraine deniers who wouldn’t know what to do if a vicious week-long migraine slammed into them. Until you’ve walked a thousand miles in my migraineur shoes, you have no right to judge me. I don’t engage with people who don’t understand that every time I get a migraine, I first have to assess what kind of headache I am dealing with. Is it my allergies? Is it my sinuses? Is it a tension headache? Is it coming from my jaw? Is it a stress migraine? I have to assess all of those things and then take the appropriate medication. Unfortunately, the appropriate medication doesn’t always work, and I end up in a vicious cycle I can’t break. I am not alone. I go for treatment next week. Here’s hoping it works.

Slow, Agonizing Death

This tweet could not be more accurate.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with daily, intense migraines. The app I use actually reminded me that I’ve had a migraine for over sixteen days straight. I don’t normally get them for weeks at a time any more, so my head, face, jaw, spine, and neck HURT. These types of migraines normally stem from rapid barometric pressure changes, and they can really screw with me from a functioning standpoint. Add in proximity to the ocean, and I am in trouble.

In two weeks, I go in for nerve blocks to try and get some relief from all of this. Each block goes into the current pain locations from my face right into my cervical spine. This will only be my second time getting them, but the high chance that the lidocaine will be out of my system in twenty minutes or less is disturbing. Using topical lidocaine patches has proven utterly useless. 😦

To add insult to injury, I MUST find a new primary care physician and hope that my pain can finally be properly diagnosed and addressed. There’s a strong likelihood the rheumatologist I saw misdiagnosed me. His misdiagnosis rate is about 90%, or higher, and my pain has since switched from full body pain (which is still present), to excruciating pain in my joints, especially my jaw, elbows, right hip flexor, ankles, hands, and every damn bone in my feet. I am legitimately too young for this much torture. Every day of my life is a negotiation in survival. I know I am not alone in this, but it certainly feels like I am. The more pain I’m in, the more my mental health declines. It is a depressing, vicious cycle.

Migraine Destruction and Searching For Calm

A brutal migraine began last night, ripping through my skull like a freight train, as I frantically searched for an envelope of documents I have to fill out, not knowing when they are due back. I tore apart all the normal places I keep my documents which require immediate or semi-immediate attention, versus the one’s I file away after they’ve been submitted. It could be anything from health insurance stuff to a letter I wrote to a judge on someone’s behalf. It’s not linear. Because I’ve been a writer for so long, one can only describe my system as, “organized chaos”. I will try getting my shit together this year in terms of paper organization and clothing organization. I made this promise to myself about six months ago and I feel like I’m doing my best. Nothing is perfect, of course. Least of all, me.

Last summer, I focused on the small stuff, which began with makeup organization. I am slowly distancing myself from brand consulting and the beauty industry on a whole. It’s embarrassing, but much like paperwork, it was all accumulating in an insane manner, and the best thing to do was break it all down so I could see precisely what I own. Now I get to short through what can be donated or gifted. I still have a few months to deal with that craziness.

To calm myself down today, despite having to cancel my Telehealth appointment at the last minute because this migraine is unmanageable (Two doses of Ubrelvy and I am still not okay. I didn’t want to be disrespectful of his time via video when I know I’d be doing it in sunglasses, trying not to expel food onto my laptop.), I decided to call the person who needs the documents I can’t find (They didn’t grow legs, but if they’re needed before I locate them, that’s going to be a big issue.). I asked her to send them ASAP. She and I will speak at our appointed time, and hopefully she’ll have gotten my message and sent the forms back out so I can tackle them immediately. Normally, they would not be necessary, but she’s merely an intermediary on this level, so I aim to be respectful and do my due diligence.

There will always be migraines I can function through and others I genuinely can’t. Unfortunately, this makes people assume that chronic migraine isn’t a serious condition. It is. This pain is coming and going, currently taking up residence in my neck. This is the result of too much stress. I am burnt out beyond words and I still have so much I need to do. There’s no want involved in tackling things I have to do; it’s the result of having responsibilities. They must be dealt with. They won’t take a vacation, so I’m stuck doing it all until I can make time to be away.

I mentioned responsibilities for a reason. I had money set aside for a trip to Israel. I was thrilled to plan it after Covid was over. I’m not sitting on a plane for all those hours in a mask. I think I’d drop dead halfway through. No, I’m not being dramatic. Anxiety is very real and lately, I have had struggles at times with keeping myself calm. I am only allowed to wear cloth masks and they don’t always feel safe, plus, they do impede my breathing. Then I took Cat and Kitten to the vet for a checkup and their vaccinations. Cat requires non-emergency surgery. The vet told me how much it would be, and my vacation money was automatically swallowed up. That’s okay; because she needs the medical care and I’d never deny that to her. I’m not a horrible person who would abandon her because she needs a procedure. That’s like abandoning your child because they aren’t perfect. I’ll work twice as hard and when I do get to plan the trip, it’ll be an even better one. Maybe because I’ll be feeling better (G-d, do you listen to me?), or because I will feel less stressed. I might even have more energy to do the things we’d originally planned; much of which involves a ton of walking and climbing. I used to walk like the world was my playground, and now I have to pace myself for every mile I tack on. I thought about asking someone to go with me, but I am SO excited to see my best friend/sister, and feel I should go solo because I don’t want anyone to cut into my time with her, especially since she and I are a tiny team with our own language and just how we treat one another. According to my horoscope and tarot readings, it will be my last solo trip, which is empowering in so many ways because I was encouraged at a very young age not to be afraid to do things by myself. I’ve been flying all my life. Despite the extra security protocols, being searched like I was a terrorist at DFW International, and slightly at Philadelphia International, I am pretty good the second I am packed and mentally in vacation mode. It’s harder to leave my vacations than it is to pack up and go. Countries search you less when you’re leaving, but when you arrive? Be prepared for a potential hold-up. Especially if, like me, you take one suitcase that is predominantly empty, except for an extra pair or two of shoes (I always pack two pairs of sneakers and something fancier. Sometimes I will travel with the nicest pair on, to make room in that second suitcase. I’ll throw in socks and toiletries to make my intentions clear.). I do that to have room for anything I purchase while I’m away. My carryon is generally overloaded, just like my purse. It’s worth it, even though it leaves my shoulders with bruises for two weeks.

As is typical when I’m dehydrated and trying to focus on getting rid of this migraine, and a potential blizzard approaching this weekend, I am going to do my best. I can’t do more than that. I have various pieces in the works and have taken a break from the manuscripts because of how sick I’ve been. Hopefully it’ll pass soon and I will be able to return to that which is best for me.

I cannot express enough how important it is to take care of yourself, even if it means saying no, cancelling plans, etc. I honestly felt awful and apologized to my doctor profusely, but I also know he understands that if I cancel, it’s bad. His office did get back to me to say he had no openings, but that I have appointments booked for next month. Yes, I was well aware of that, and will reach out to him if there’s an issue between now and then.

I swear, January has felt like the past year. I hate it beyond words, and might touch on that in the future, but for now, I’m taking my own advice. Water. Rest. More rest. Then I am going to try tackling my mother’s vegetable soup recipe. I know it by heart, but sometimes I’m obsessed with making it perfect. However, it is healthy, comforting, nourishing, and that’s really what I need in my life right now. If I can’t get support from people who are in my life (and some who are about to get nosebleed seats), then I can at least have a huge pot of soup to sustain me. Also, does anyone else need ice cream during a blizzard? Just me? C’est la vie. We’ve all got our priorities and weird cravings.

For everyone in the path of these storms, please stay safe and be well. For those not about to endure it, count your blessings and be well and safe. None of you are alone.

Much love,

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from author material also requires consent.

Genetic overlap between metabolites and migraines

I share this as someone who was supposed go in for treatment this week. Fifteen minutes before I was to leave, I got a phone call letting me know my insurance had denied the coverage (after initially approving it). After three stressful hours on the phone, treatment was approved, but not for the correct day. I’ve had a migraine for over the course of several weeks, and I still have to wait until next week to see my doctor. That’s why I’ve been writing less here. I haven’t been well, or myself. It’s not just my migraines, but you get the gist.

‘There’s a lot of us out there that just can’t even get out of bed’: Living with crippling migraines

https://www.9news.com.au/national/migraine-pain-exclusive-symptoms-new-drugs-australia-mother-forced-to-give-up-job/2a86822d-4c9f-4970-8cc2-0fa505a169f4

Personally, the CGRP drugs I’ve taken have been a nightmare. One of my doctors said, “Your body isn’t a big fan of medication.” Not those that don’t fucking work!