I see my website stats, the questions on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. Your words about where my words are, well, they are loud and clear.
Up until today, I'd tried to answer each one, and I'd explain individually why your beloved This Series seems to have come to a screeching halt, why Saving Alex seems like it may have just been a dream - is it coming or is it not?
Many of you know that my family suffers from mitochondrial disease: my husband, two children, and I. When things are going well for us, it's a little easier to do things that others do. I almost wrote normal people, but deleted it. What is normal, anyway? But when things are not going so well, it is even more challenging than a regular day. What does a regular day look like for me?
Well, when I was writing full time at the end of 2012, and all of 2013, Chad either was working from home and could care for our children, or he was a full time stay at home dad. That meant my regular day looked very different than it does now. To say I was spoiled was an understatement. Ladies, I couldn't write a believable book boyfriend like my husband if I tried. He did all of our kids' medical stuff, he had dinner on the table for me when I got home from the library writing, he did all the household chores. The only things I had to do was eat, bathe, sleep, and write. And I should mention that writing was against medical orders, as I had been deemed totally and permanently disabled in 2010.
This schedule of me eating, sleeping, bathing, and writing was great for you, but terrible for me, my children, and my marriage. Every release, I found myself in bed for weeks trying to recover from some kind of infection my body couldn't fight because I was so run down, so out of energy. My kids missed their mom, and my husband missed his wife, although, Chad will tell you that being a stay at home dad was his favorite position he'd ever held. If the finances allowed, he'd be content to do that for the rest of his life. He's the epitome of the word caretaker.
At any rate, financially that didn't work for long. Taking a break after Skipping Stones proved to be good for my health, but bad for my career. By Chad's birthday in March, we knew that our oldest son, Noah, was starting to cycle into one of his bad times medically. The unemployment checks stopped, the book market did a 360 degree turn, and we found ourselves evaluating who should be the breadwinner.
Unable to obtain a job outside of the home for various reasons, if selling books wasn't working, then I was no longer able to wear that title. Chad started seeking employment. He tried several jobs. It was very difficult for him to find one that didn't make him super sick. Once, he thought he was going to drive a postal truck. The first day on the job, he wasn't able to eat. He literally blacked out pulling into the driveway and hit the curb. It was scary and eye opening. I was out-of-state in the hospital with Noah, and he called me crying because he felt like he'd let our family down. Obviously, he resigned that position the next day.
March and April of 2014, were especially difficult because Noah had two out-of-state hospitalizations and multiple trips to an out-of-state doctor. When I was with Noah, if Chad had a job, that meant my father had to come in from three hours away to care for Jonah. I feel like I'm digressing.
By May, Chad had been offered a position at Springleaf Financial. The pay was good. The hours were decent. Initially, it was Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:30-5:30 (which meant 8:00-6:00 for me). Tuesdays 8:30-7:00 (again 8:00-7:30 for me). Saturdays once a month from 8:30-12:00 (8:00-12:30 for me). We knew this changed our financial situation, but we had no idea how it would impact my writing.
The summer months proved easier than the previous. With Noah's health having made some improvements, I was able to co-write Destination to be Determined and Destination Derailed (which were sold to Beau Coup Publishing and published together as one novel, Destination to be Determined, if you haven't read it) with Nicole Andrews Moore.
But Noah's always cycled with his health, and we believe the combination of removing his CPAP, the start of the school year, and an illness plummeted him to one of the worst times in his nine year old life. He had pneumonia in August, in September he had three hospitalizations within a two week period for an ileus, and in October, we traveled to Boston for another hospitalization and tests on his GI tract.
Upon returning, Noah's health continued to decline. He's lost over eight pounds, required IV fluids for hydration, and sleeps a lot. In addition to that, he's really struggled from a respiratory standpoint. He now gets chest vest therapy and breathing treatments twice a day.
That pretty much leads me to where I am writing this right now. If you're still reading, thank you.
This is my current schedule. It doesn't take into consideration loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, cooking, eating, fighting with the insurance company, school time for my boys, trips to the many specialists, and so many other activities of daily living. It is just our medicine/medical schedule.
I hope in sharing this with you to do two things:
1. Raise awareness for mitochondrial disease.
2. Help you understand why it's going to take me a lot longer to produce books. At this rate, I'll be lucky to do one a year, and that is okay with me. I hope it is okay with you.
6:45 - Meds for Jonah that have to be given isolated
7:00 - Meds for Noah, remove bed pads, empty CPAP tank
7:15 - Jonah able to eat and have other meds, meds for Jonah
8:30 - If Noah's on IV fluids, replace tubing, bag, and batteries
9:00 - Nebulizer treatments and chest vest therapy
12:00 - Make all meds for the rest of the day, administer noon meds, make feeding tube bags for the evening (Meds for the rest of the day and next morning, consisting of 27 syringes and a combination of 8-12 pills for each boy)
1:52 (seriously - Chad made this time up, but it works): Meds for both boys, of most importance is "the pill", which is Noah's ADHD medication.
4:00 - Meds for Noah
6:15 - Pill meds for both boys and two liquid meds for Jonah; nebulizer and chest vest therapy
7:00 - ADHD meds for both
7:15 - Liquid evening meds for both, prepare CPAP, replace bed pads, pullups (the boys are incontinent at night), set up feeding pump bags, change tube dressings
8:30 - Bedtime, hook up Noah's oxygen, put Jonah's CPAP on.
10:00 - Jonah medication for thyroid, which can't be given any other time due to other med interactions. If Noah is on IV fluids, change the bag so it doesn't empty at 4am.
Today, when I typed this, I realized it's not my fault I haven't been able to complete books the way I did in 2012-2013. There are only 24 hours in a day, and right now, I am just trying to survive those 24 hours.
Books, writing, that is something that will be available for me to do at any point in my life. However, I get approximately 157,680 hours from their birth until they are 18 with my children before they leave me to be independent adults, and that's provided God allows me to borrow them for that long seeing as their disease is life-threatening.
Starting today, I am going to try very hard to push the guilt I have experienced for the last year or so to the back of my mind and just do the best I can to be the best me, mother, and wife I can be. I will always be an author. Writing is cathartic for me. I'm just not sure that you'll be getting the same kind of writing you've been used to...and that is going to have to be okay.
So, Falling, Trying, and Blinded will come to you eventually. Starting something and not finishing it is something that I really hate and try not to do. I just can't predict for a single minute when that will happen. Saving Alex is partially written (like 20k), and I know for a fact I'll finish it, but I refuse to put a release date on it.
I wrote a short story called The Auction to include in Pink Shades of Words. It's available for pre-order and releases Feb. 03. I hope you like it.
Most of all, I hope you understand where I am coming from, and know if I could do things differently, I would. If I win the lottery (which you have to play to win and I don't play), then Chad will go back to being a stay at home dad, and I'll go back to writing full time. Until then, this is my life. I miss writing ten thousand words a day, releasing books every three months, and hearing from you as you read them. This is not a goodbye. This is a message to let you know the trip is taking much longer than anticipated.
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