Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

Less than three weeks to the big move, and I have so much to do I can’t think straight. So, naturally, I picked today to start making some minor updates to this website. And even more naturally, I found out that somewhere along the way, I totally screwed up chapter numbering on my memoir. I don’t have the brain juice to figure out exactly what’s wrong let alone fix it right now.

The upshot is that I have an unpolished Chapter 25 that only exists as a draft and isn’t linked in the Table of Contents, and then in September I posted new content for Patrons as Chapter 26. And all I can say is, IDK? Maybe at some point I tried to publish Chapter 25 and forgot what I was doing?

The good news is that despite not having a clue what I was thinking or when I was thinking it, Chapter 26 was published and nothing happened. It was one of those things I had to post, even though the events were out of sequence and sort of didn’t deserve to be dropped in the middle of a very chronological retelling of my post-2006 life. But that’s just how things go when your brain cells have been irradiated and you’re writing a webserial memoir, I guess.

Anyway, it’s good news that nothing happened when my patrons read Chapter 26 because I desperately needed to see that I was indeed past my past. I’ve spent a long time in my head thinking that if I wrote or spoke out loud about being abused as an adolescent, I’d have to relive that trauma. And now I know for certain that talking about it is a separate thing than being in the midst of it. It only took me 25-ish years to figure that out. I’m used to bad and traumatic things leading to more bad and traumatic things, and that is one reason why I’ve been living in a constant state of hyper-vigilant catastrophizing.

(I know just enough psychological jargon to be dangerous. These words are the best I have, but by reading them, you agree to hold me blameless if I’m misusing them.)

My point is, I think, that writing about my abuser without any gaslighting—and without anyone treating me as a different person for having been (further) abused—it broke the cycle of fear that kept my anxiety cranked up to eleven all the freaking time. When nothing happened, my body was like, “Oh, stuff can happen without it necessarily being the end of the world.”

Mind. Blown.

For those who aren’t Patrons and are reading this like, “WTF are you on about, Emily?” I apologize. I tend to roll my eyes when people write vaguely about potentially intriguing goings on, but, just…sometimes it’s necessary, OK? Gosh!

Moving right along. It’s Inktober, and somehow the YouTube algorithm figured out that I wanted to watch ALL THE INKTOBER CONTENT. At first I was feeling a little bummed because I wasn’t participating in the Zentangle challenge this year, and then I was just enjoying watching everyone else while feeling literally zero pressure to post videos every day for an entire month. Coming off of CZT training last month, I definitely don’t need to be throwing in ridiculously difficult self-imposed challenges with a move on the horizon.

Speaking of. We didn’t hit the goal for the GoFundMe by October 1, but we got a helluva lot closer than I had anticipated when I set up the campaign. The GFM page remains open, and can still receive donations, but I’m not hyping it anymore. I need to switch my focus to getting things packed and sorted, if only in my mind. At least now that Chapter 26 has come and gone, there’s a little more brain space for organizing my life and my belongings.

I’m rambling at this point when I really need to be doing other stuff. So I’ll sign off for now. Enjoy your Monday like I enjoyed my caramel frappe this morning.

Feeling the Squeeze

Feeling the Squeeze

I’m feeling a little less cranky today. I took an edible last night and slept 11 hours. I don’t know why, but I haven’t been sleeping more than a couple hours a night for about a month now, and sometimes I just have to force rest. There are worse ways to do that than a chocolate peanut butter indica candy bar.

I tend to be a hesitant medicator for many reasons. A big consideration is that edibles are expensive. But I realized I had more on hand than I thought, and I will easily get through. Between my sensitivity to everything and my tolerance break, I am what Dan jokingly calls a “cheap date.”

Mom says they’re putting flooring in soon at Our New Digs, and it’s getting real folks. It could—COULD—be ready by the end of the month! Feeling the Squeeze!

Our Realtor is coming next week to help us figure the details of getting our house listed too. I have help with all of this stuff, but I’d be lying if I said my anxiety isn’t up a notch or two. I feel overwhelmed.

Largely it’s just that a lack of control feels disorienting and scary. Intellectually, I know things will come in steps and I should take them as they come without worrying.

But have you met my amygdala? It’s, uh, seen some stuff.

The day after the walk-through, Zentangle training will start. So I’m already trying to get myself mentally organized for that too. The oncology nurse called me this morning, and I told her I was looking at starting back on chemo around the 20th. Can’t be barfing and bed-ridden while I’m on a Zoom call, right? Honestly don’t know if I should just wait until after I’m moved? I need to be as functional as possible. But also living is a pretty major concern. So….

Of course everything is subject to change. Everything. I need to be thinking about packing and flu shots and cancer all at the same time but I only have the capacity to do like half a thing at a time. So, I guess what I’m saying is, prepare for me to do a lot of thinking-out-loud here on the blog, if and when I update.

Fingers toes and eyes crossed the next hearing from the January 6 Committee happens when I’m free to watch. Because this all about me.

I’m off to get moving quotes and make a list or ten thousand. Please consider sharing our moving/renovation fundraiser on your social media. Or you can make a donation:

Kiss My Astrocytoma

Kiss My Astrocytoma

I had a phone visit with my palliative care PRN this morning. Long story short I’m going to take a short course of prednisone during CZT training to make sure I can do the thing. Because it’s only a week’s worth of generic ‘roids at a low dose, my Rx only costs about $4.

Which brings me to the whole “Medicare can negotiate drug prices” part of the Inflation Reduction Act. I’ve read in a few places that it will benefit seniors specifically, but I’m not sure if disabled people on Medicare are just casually being erased from the headlines again, or if I’m still extra screwed. I’m trying to find an answer.

This is just one reason why I’m still engaged politically when I should be “focusing on getting better.” My shingles vaccines, which I’ve mentioned before, cost $200 EACH, for example, and I’m not allowed to make enough money for our household to survive or they’ll cut my disability income completely and we’ll have even less than not enough.

Maybe if the “safety net” wasn’t an all or nothing proposition?

Bottom line, if anyone out there wants me to shut up about it already (and, yes, people do sometimes say it out loud) they can kiss my astrocytoma.

I’m relieved it’s only $4 for this prescription. The antibiotic ointment my oncologist prescribed a couple of weeks ago cost $35. Not exactly in the budget, and I prefer to put my creativity into Zentangling—not wondering how to afford medicine.

I know these posts aren’t fun for people to read. They are much less fun to write. But no one is going to do it for me. This is as boot-strappy as it gets for the girl who grew up in the most polluted county in Indiana. (In case someone tries to blame my cellphone usage for my brain cancer again instead of spending equal time wondering if our environmental regulations are too lax.)

I know, I know. Blaming me is so much easier.

Zentangle Practice: Like Starting from Scratch

Zentangle Practice: Like Starting from Scratch

I’m trying to ease back into daily Zentangle practice without making a huge mess of my desk or unpacking too many supplies. So I picked up a Zentangle tile yesterday and today to test out some new-to-me media that came in the CZT supply kit.

It turns out that I’ve lost a lot of dexterity in my dominant hand being away from making videos for basically an entire year. So I’m exploring how to embrace shaky, inconsistent lines. At least until I can improve upon them. Accepting wobbly line work is the easy part.

The difficult part is stopping my eyes from rolling around in my head when I look down at the paper. It helps a lot if I keep the tile away from me a bit, but my habit is to nearly put my nose on the paper. I like to really get in there for precision, which isn’t a great habit for filming anyway. Unless I want to cut a whole lot of the back of my head from the footage. So breaking the habit will be to my advantage.

But can I do it?

I do have the old portable drawing table my brother gave me to elevate my drawing surface and get a more suitable angle, but that’s also packed away. It would help my posture, and since I don’t have the overhead camera angle to consider for the webinar, it’s potentially a good idea to ease some of the stress in my neck and shoulders.

I’ll decide whether or not to have Dan set it up for me when it’s closer to training next month. Right now I just want to take a few minutes each day to hold a Micron again. But, also, considering how I want my desk set up isn’t something that I can put off until the last minute. I’m slow. Made slower by constantly having to pivot when something no longer works for me.

Amazingly, my YouTube channel has kept growing during my year-long chemo hiatus. I’m approaching 13,000 subscribers despite saying the police suck at wellness checks and noting how Trump bungled our COVID response—and on a platform rife with complete jerks.

Watch out for more Tangled Talk episodes. No telling who I’ll piss off in the future.

So. Maybe it would be 20,000 subscribers by now if I was willing to color inside the lines. Can you imagine though? If I stop ruffling feathers, that’s how you know I’m dealing with some stuff.

For now, I am content to spend more time blogging, but after we move, lookout YouTube. Speaking of the move, Mom told me this morning that she’s going to be more selective about the pictures she sends me so the big reveal will be more impressive. She did text me this and gave me permission to share it.

Seeing how she sent a picture of a window being installed where one didn’t exist before, the overall impression I’m getting is that really dramatic things are happening.

Also, I gave her the fundraiser status, and she was pretty impressed. I feel like being a professional beggar is how I can contribute. Cancer gives you all kinds of new life skills. Who knew? (Spoiler: literally everyone who currently has or has ever had it.)

Thanks to all of you for helping out. Enjoy your #Caturday.

Hope and First World Despair

Hope and First World Despair

Today I’m kind of a mixed bag of hope and first-world despair. My disability check posted this morning. (It was Patreon, a much-needed but also much smaller source of income, that posted on Monday.)

For kicks, I decided to check on my closest McDonald’s* (the only one for miles not owned by the family of Rodney Davis) but it’s still not delivering through GrubHub*.

I’m worried they’re not renewing their contract now and I’m trying to sort out what to do about chemo now that the only joy my tastebuds have in life has been taken from me.

Will I even take temozolomide again?

I’m just kidding. Lighten up, loves. It’s only brain cancer, and there are still Ben and Jerry*.

Also, before anyone goes to the trouble of suggesting it, the restaurant is on DoorDash, but we don’t like to talk about DoorDash here.

Oh! Talking about chemo reminds me! A CounterSocial friend sent me a link to this article while I was suffering from insomnia last night: New Injectable Gel Offers Promise for Tough-to-Treat Brain Tumors. It’s for GBM, which is not my type of brain cancer, but it’s the most aggressive type of brain cancer, so that’s very cool. There’s also potential for this “brain caulk,” as my friend called it, to work against other solid Tumors. Breast cancer was mentioned.

Let’s go Badgers!

My supply kit for Zentangle training arrived yesterday. I went through the checklist, read the info packet, and now I’m just like, can we start this now? How about now?

Give me hope and a couple of things to be grateful for (like CZT training, a more-than-generous GoFundMe donation, an FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, and an accessible shower) and I almost—ALMOST—dont feel sorry for myself about the universe putting my beloved caramel frappe just out of reach.

Since I was still awake at 5:00 am this morning, I’m not committing to anything that can’t be paused for a nap for the rest of the day. Probably going to tuck into a 6-hour video on drawing the eye—part of a drawing instructional series taught by Marc Leone of Northern Kentucky University. (See The Drawing Database channel on YouTube if you’re looking for a non-profit, collegiate approach to studying drawing. It’s kind of amazing. And its freaking free!)

Happy Hump Day to all the camels who celebrate.

*This post isn’t sponsored, but it could be.

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