Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Really Don't Have Time For This

Wow, what a weekend. My energy level is pissing me off. Sorry..but when you're used to going 110% 20 hours a day--being tired and weak sucks. It's not sitting well with me..but it is what it is. It's "grrrr" when grocery shopping makes me want to faceplant in the produce section.

Book News: I am still working on Love's Bitter Harvest and HOPE to hit our April deadline for publication. Cross your fingers toes and other crossable parts that I hit that.

Some of you have asked about pre-sales, but I have asked DBP to hold off on that pending my being more sure of my completion date. Needless to say I just DO NOT have time for all these health issues. :)

Yes yes, I know. Take care of me. But writing is a HUGE outlet and really helps me deal with this and all other aspects of working full time, helping out family and writing as much as possible. I THINK there's time in there for me somewhere.

Until then..I will do better at updating my blog (I tell myself that ALL the time) and you guys should kick me when I don't.

As always, thanks for all your good wishes, hugs and prayers in my inbox. It is greatly appreciate and means a ton.

BUT...this is just another thing. Notch it up to being life.

Take care. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Big C Word

There are billions of words in the English language and as a writer, I know dozens that can strike fear, chills and panic to a reader.

But I think the scariest word that all persons avoid saying--including doctors--is cancer.

As some of you know, the past week has been a blur of lab tests, scans, ultrasounds and other fun on me. Three masses were found in my breast, thyroid/throat and lung. The mass in my lung has been there for years and has been monitored since. I had the meeting to learn the results of all the tests.

The good news is my breast is not of concern. However, my thyroid and lung are not good news. Due to lab work, levels and scans...

That scariest word was said--Cancer. It cannot be ruled out and all early indicators (masses have grown and I am severely anemic as well as other clues) now move me into the next steps.

I have been referred to the necesscary specialists to set up biopsies to determine "without-a-doubt" diagnosis. Then treatment plans will be discussed.

What will I do once and if cancer is confirmed?

To be honest?

Im not sure. It would depend on type and stage . On quality vs quantity. Prolong or recovery.

Yes...Im still being positive. But Im a realist and I feel empowered when I have a say so and a plan. I made this very clear to my doctors as well. I will...question..everything. And then decide.

Its how I fight. And its what I do.

Take care.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All About the Ifs


So...what a whirlwind of days. It all started with my going for a long-overdue wellness check/physical. I will admit it has been far too long since I had seen a doctor. I have a list of excuses (note excuses dear reader- not reasons):

1. Lack of time and not making it a priority. Highly stupid excuse due to the fact it only takes a phone call and 1-2 hours of my time. Usher in excuse #2.

2. No health insurance so didnt think I had any options. with many Americans I was without health insurance for almost 2yrs. Face it...medical care is EXPENSIVE...crazy insane so. But there are options. However, being between lower income brackets where such options are available and middle income where I make too much to options were basically pay out-of-pocket.

See CRAZY EXPENSIVE above. I just didnt want to spend a chunk of my paycheck to have tests and such done. $115 for office visit? Not to mention tests, labs, RX? Yeah..that whole electricity, food and gas need came first. Jump to excuse #3.

3. I hate, hate, hate going to the dr. Whether it be for mental or physical I hate it. I have a complex history in both areas. But since my wonderful long-term doctor in Kentucky is Kentucky and I now live in Texas, the thought of seeking a new primary care physician to have to "get to know and trust" was more daunting than proposing marriage to that cute girl in the check-out line. I would opt for that before wooing a new doctor who would undoubtingly look at my medical and history and go...hmmm. Toss in the scars and mental issues...yeah...wouldnt even have to know cute chick's name...I'd so be hitched and hope her grocery list was compatable with mine. A fear of a new DR is very real to me. To the point of anxiety attack. But still..not even trying...lame and cowardly. But not as cowardly as excuse #4...

4. I knew I needed to go. See..I've had issues in the past. One is a mass in my lung myself and kids have named Bob. It rests snuggly on the top lobe of my right lung. It causes me some pain if I cough...but otherwise behaves itself. It was benign and was monitored every few months since found during a routine well check about 6 yrs ago. It's discovery led to mulltiple biospie and scans. All negative. I went thru exhausting rounds of testing from cancer to Bird flu. Nothing came back positive. Bob...was just Bob. And I came to terms that Bob was just..well...there. But I became lapse in having Bob monitored. See excuse #2 however in having a role in this excuse.

Now how does all this come into play? I now have health insurance. I asked around and found a wonderful, blunt and understanding physician. His practice is a full sevices facility-- which means full lab, MRI, CAT and the works all within his office. So no dealing with multiple "wooing" of different staff.

When discussing my history, Dr. P handled it well. He didn't coddle (which pisses me off--pity is a trigger for me) and listened. He then proceeded a full spectrum of tests and labs so we would know what we were dealing with.

And boy...he might be regretting that decision.

I have three masses. A new one all snuggled up to Bob (calling it Jr) as well as Bob's new nearby friends-- Steve which is a mass on my throat/thyroid and Frank who is a boob kinda guy on the left side.

So now my schedule is a flurry of tests, scans and biopsies being scheduled. It's all happening rather quickly and I am blessed to have an understanding employer.

And health insurance.

Am I worried? Of course. Am I trying to be positive? Absolutely. But I'm a realist. I've caught cancer early before and was very lucky to do so. But...these were not caught early. Whether they be benign or malignant, they most likely have been setting up shop for awhile. So much so that my thyroid has all but shut down. Guess those periods of fatigue and exhaustion shouldnt have been excused either...

So now I get to run the gambit of health and the various factors that may or may not rob it from me. But those factors arent the sole players in all this. No...I more than let them in to have free range and claim. Albeit I have never smoked (cancer is very prominate in my genetic history) and for years have eaten healthy and strove to take care of myself.

But bodies don't come with what I call idiot lights (check engine, low oil...) like a Chevy. And I felt on the whole pretty good. And if it doesnt feel broke......

I don't care what anyones political beliefs are. I do not want to get in a heated debate or angry tirade about the status of healthcare in America. It was and is ....broken. When its citizens can't afford to get basic care or have access to obtain such, its a real issue.

I am one of those middle-class citizens that made too much for any gov't funded healthcare and made too little to afford to pay for it myself. So those such as me simply pray we don't get sick...hope we don't break something. And make excuses when evidence shows us that is no way to live. Its a harsh gamble that may cost one to lose a part of why its wonderful to be alive....

To be happy
To be loved
To be healthy and well

They all play into each other. Regardless of gender, race or income. But healthcare has truly become a "those who have and those who have not".

Say what you will about Universal healthcare, Obamacare, Medicaid or Medicare....I don't even pretend to support or disapprove any of them. Call me a lazy american...or just one that is sick and tired of the debate of it all. Something HAD TO BE done. Only time will tell if it helped. But people must MUST realize how precious their health is...and have a way to keep it that way.

All I do know is this: All humans have the right to be healthy. To have access to medical care. To not have to decide whether to feed their family or go have that symptom checked out. To risk not getting an annual checkup because their car broke down and they feel just fine.


To now feel like a long ticking time bomb and never knowing the fuse had been lit silently for so long. And...wondering if its now its too late to defuse.

For thats how I feel. I can state without a single doubt that if I had access to healthcare to monitor and maintain...I would have taken whatever steps I needed to do so. And perhaps Bob wouldnt have new buddies and I wouldnt have this gnawing, gut-wrenching fear that its too late and my excuses won.

Again...Im not giving in. Nor am I giving up. I'm fully aware that these new "residents" may be harmless and no cause for concern.

But I am fairly intelligent and therefore while I may view this in a fighting mentality with my mental fists raised to spar...I also know the opponent may be bigger and badder than we know at this point. And I allowed it to be so. With excuses...

I just wish I had known to suit up for the fight sooner.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


This is a Short-Story that was included in my short-story and poetry book- Bits and Pieces: Tales and Sonnets. It was a fan favorite as well. My brain doesn't usually revisit a book or story once it's finished. But for some reason I had a dream last night around this story-- but my mind continued on where this short ended. It interested me. So don't be surprised if you don't see an expansion of this story, along with a continuation beyond where it ended before. 


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He was never sure how to answer that question, as they once again, lay in the soft grass under the
Texas sun. He shrugged. “We’re only nine. I don’t know. I guess grown-up?”

She giggled and nudged him with her foot. “No silly. When we become grown-ups and have to have jobs and stuff.”

He sighed and shrugged again. “I don’t know. A doctor? A fireman? A policeman?”

She rolled her eyes and sat up, “God, you are so boring. That’s what everyone chooses.”

“Okay. So what are you going to be? What do you want to be when you’re grown up?”
Her face crinkled up, the spray of freckles across her nose wrinkling as she gave it some thought.

“An angel.”

He laughed at that. “Seriously Debs? You can’t just say you’re going to be an angel. You have to like, I don’t know, be born an angel. And anyway, you can’t be an angel and a person. I don’t think anyway.”

He knew the moment he laughed at her that she would get upset. And he was right. She got up fast and kicked him, really hard in the side, “I can be whatever I want to be. You don’t know. You’re just a dumb kid!” She went to kick him again, but by that moment he was up on his feet.

“I’m sorry Deb! Gosh, I’m really sorry. But you can’t be an angel. And I’m pretty sure you have to be dead before you become one!”

Deb was already running through the weeds, her faded blue dress catching in the tall grass as her bare-feet carried her away from him, and back to her shamble of an apartment.

Sighing, he watched her go, and kicked a clump of dirt that seemed to judge him from the ground below.

This was their place. A small patch of meadow that stood almost hidden between the drainage ditches that ran through town, surrounded by overgrowth. A dividing line that separated the world that she lived in, from the world he lived in. 

Hers was one of poverty and shame. The projects that no one talked about, where drug dealers and hookers were the celebrities in the gray bricked rows of same design, same bland buildings that housed its resolved inhabitants.

His was one of middle class and upper reaching class. Their houses looked the same too, but had manicured lawns, two car garages, big plasma screen televisions and their celebrities are based on reality shows, and whoever drove the most expensive SUV on the street.

Knowing he had upset her, he sighed and headed through the weeds, to go the opposite way and back to his home.

10 Years Later

“David? You going to the party?”

He looked up to see the rest of the guys and their gals standing in front of him at the gas pumps. He was just topping off the tank and shrugged. “I guess. As long as it doesn’t get too stupid.”

His buddies all laughed. “Then you don’t know our parties.” He laughed with them and checked his watch for the time. He needed to pick Deb up or she would have to walk three miles to her mom’s place. And he hated her walking through the neighborhood they now lived in.

Her dad had left, and with that, also took the only income they had. He had thought the first projects she lived in were bad? He had been wrong, because where she lived now, trying to scrape by on what little money her mom made from being a hotel maid and the pennies Deb made as a waitress, that first place had been luxury.

They had stayed friends. Even though his folks had moved upward as hers fell apart and down. Different schools, different worlds, even farther apart than they had been before. But still friends.

Waving goodbye to his friends got in his hand-me-down BMW and headed towards the Bluebonnet Café to wait for Debs to get off of her shift. Sitting in front of the greasy spoon diner, he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, looking up to see Deb’s walk out, making him smile. Her soft brown hair was pulled back in a pony-tail, and her green eyes were shaded by a slender hand from the bright light of the afternoon sun. She wore the Café t-shirt and ripped blue jeans, worn sneakers on her feet.

She looked up, shoving away her tips and gave him a tired smile as she walked up and got in the passenger side, “Hi.”

He smiled and put the car in reverse to back out and then drive to head down the old highway to go to her place. She fidgeted with his radio, found a song she liked and sang along softly as they cruised out of town and to the other side of the ditches. Past the projects, and then, finally, the trailer park. He hated this place, and hated that she had to live here. But Deb never complained about it. In fact, to be honest, she never complained about anything. It just was not her nature.

Pulling up in front of her lot, he ducked down to look towards the small, rusted worn out trailer that was older than both of them, plus a decade, “Your mom home?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Can’t tell.” She got out and headed towards the house, and he followed. She pulled out her keys and unlocked, and called out to her mom. The only response was silence as he came through the door, closing it behind him.

She plopped down on the couch and he sat next to her. She fidgeted with the threads in her ripped jeans and said softly, “I heard there was a party at Brian’s tonight.”

He nodded. “Yeah. I might go.” Glanced over at her. “You going?”

She shrugged again. “Brian asked me.”

He frowned at that, not sure how he felt about it. Deb was probably his best friend, and Brian was right behind her in friendship. But he also knew Brian wasn’t the best with girls. Didn’t really treat them right, and though he never really thought of Deb in that way, he realized most boys, including Brian, probably did.

“Well, uh. So I guess you’re going?”

She smiled. “Well, no one else asked me. So I guess so.” She leaned forward to look at him, and he stood.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you there?”

She watched him, and for a minute, she had the oddest look on her face. Then she sighed, flashed a smile and nodded, “Yeah. I guess you will.”

He didn’t go to the party. He really wished later that he had.

Five Years Later

“David? Can you get the door? Please?”

He looked up from reading the newspaper. He hadn’t even heard the doorbell, but his wife apparently had. Dropping the paper, headed to the door and opened it wide, a smile on his face.

“Hey Deb.”

She smiled, standing on her toes to kiss him, a baby in her arms. “Hey there.” Brian followed in after her, no smile on his face.

This was the norm. Brian never seemed happy, and always seemed pissed. David didn’t get it. Debs had to be a wonderful wife and a great mom to their little one, Stevie. But Brian just seemed like he hated his life.

They shook hands and Brian followed him to the kitchen as they both grabbed a beer from the fridge. His wife, Lisa, bustled out and went woman-crazy over the cuteness of Deb and Brian’s baby, and as he watched, an edge of sadness nipped at his previous pleasant mood.

Lisa couldn’t have children, and though they thought about adoption, he just wasn’t sold on the idea yet, and it was causing problems. For him, for her, and without a doubt, their marriage.

Brian twisted the cap off his beer and leaned out to watch the two women and shook his head. “Women and babies. It’s ridiculous.”

He laughed softly. “Yeah. They love their babies.”

Brian stared at him. “I’m having an affair.”

Laughter disappeared, beer half-way to his mouth and leveled a glare at Brian. “You’re what?”

Brian shrugged, “Fucking around. Cheating.”

How could Brian be cheating on Deb? It made no sense, but then again, he should not have been surprised. Some things never change.

“You need to tell her Brian. She deserves to know.”

Brian shook his head. “No. She’ll freak out. And she brought it on. She let herself go after the baby.”

That pissed him off, but before he could say anything, the women were walking into the kitchen as he gave Brian a warning glare, and Brian kissed Deb.

Two Years Later

It was supposed to be raining. Having a funeral on a sunny day just seemed like an insult, adding more pain to the layers of grief that already coated everyone at the ceremony like a cloak.

Little Stevie cried, and try as the family could, he would not stop crying. Couldn’t blame the toddler; even adults have a hard time understanding death.

As the minister said the usual words, and the crowd dispersed, he stood there for the longest time.

Too young. Too soon. He should have gone with her to that party. He should have asked her out on a date. Then they would have been together, and she would have never been with Brian. Never would have found out that Brian only married her because she became pregnant. And cheated on her the whole time.

Why didn’t he ever see her for what she was?

Beautiful. Smart. Generous and kind.

Why did it take death to make him realize how much he loved her?

As he stood there, staring down at the coffin, the bright colored flowers, making the air seem too sweet; he put back his head and looked at the clear, blue sky. Then he heard the soft voice of a childhood friend, so many years ago.

“Okay. So what are you going to be? What do you want to be when you’re grown up?”

“An angel.”

Letting out a pained sob, he turned to go and stopped.

It was her.

She held a single red rose, her face streaked with tears as she walked up and laid the flower on the coffin. She had been crying for days. Even more than when her marriage had ended and she had lost everything; or so she thought then.

She should have told him how she felt. She should have realized he didn’t care what side of town she was from. Then maybe he wouldn’t have been driving that night. Alone, with no one to go home to. But now it was too late. She never saw what was so easy to see now. It hurt that she knew without a doubt, she had lost what really mattered, and she could never hold it for what it had always been.


As she laid a hand on the coffin, so close to his on the smooth surface, she said softly, “I love you, David. Let me know if you see any angels. And how to get that job.”

Then with a soft cry, she turned to go.

And he was gone.

Both Print and E-Book Available: