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Aug 15

My SciFi Life | An Update (of sorts)

I’ve been a little out of commission recently. There are reasons for that, mostly health reasons (I can hear your gasp of surprise now). My almost two-year-old has a congenital kidney disorder and we had to take her back to the children’s hospital for a round of really horrible tests. I had a doctor’s appointment where I learned that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is ravaging my body (yeah, shock shock). The extent of that appointment really depressed me.

But I also had a trial period for a spine stimulator.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, a spine stimulator is electrodes that are inserted into your spinal column via epidural needle. These electrodes, when they are turned on, sort of fuzz the signals that the impacted nerves below the electrodes are sending up to your brain. Your nerves send the pain signal, the electrodes scramble that signal, and your brain gets white noise.

Back in 2011, I had a severe spine injury that landed me paralyzed for a while. I ended up having three spine surgeries, and had to learn how to walk again. The nerve damage, however, is permanent. I lost feeling in almost all of my right leg (though I retained function, after some re-learning). However, my smothered, smashed, and almost dead nerve roots that control my right leg are sending these blinding pain signals constantly. I’ve literally tried every single form of treatment, pain management and whatever else. The spine stimulator was my last option.

After an MRI, some other tests to see if I’d be a good candidate, and various things of that nature, last week I underwent the trial period for the spine stimulator. It was a surreal experience. It decreased my nerve pain by about 80%, and increased my mobility. I walked around Walmart without needing to rest for hours after, for example. The electrodes didn’t really feel like anything unless I turned them up too high, and then it felt like a gentle tingle. The remote control was an app downloaded onto my iPhone. It was really cool.

I did so well with the trial, that I’m going to have a surgery to permanently place the device. And then I will join the Cyborg Army. Technology is really neat, and I’m so glad that options like this are available for those that can benefit from them. I feel like I’m living in one of those near-future SciFi books I love to read.

I’m actually really excited to get these permanently placed. I’ve been so out of commission due to chronic pain for so many years, having at least one pain reduced so much has the very real potential of changing my life. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome hurts, but I feel like that hurt will be so much more manageable when my nerves aren’t constantly screaming at me, on top of everything else. This technology is awesome, and the potential impact is has on chronic pain populations (who can use this sort of tech) is astounding. I’m excited to see where it goes and how it changes in my lifetime. But regardless, soon my spine will be bluetooth capable.

Aside from that, I’m also neck deep into writing a novel. Tonight I hit the 70k words mark, which I celebrated by sharing an oreo shake with my kids. It’s an epic fantasy which, I think, falls into the grimdark category. I’m pretty sure that once you add cannibalism as a major plot thread, you are, indeed, writing grimdark and I just need to own that. I’ve had a few people look at what I’ve written so far with very good results, and a few interested glances from some agents, which excites me. I have a long way to go before I’ve got a clean manuscript, but it’s a cool experience. I’m enjoying it, and I’m sure I will learn a lot while I write, clean it up, scream at it a bit, clean it some more, cry a little, and finally enter the attempt-to-publish ring, but that is most assuredly where I’m going to try to end up.

It’s a book featuring strong women, mostly people of color, various sexual/gender orientations, and disabilities. It’s dark and dirty, very diverse, and I’m very, very proud of it (and terrified about the whole process). Currently its working title is Seraphina’s Lament.

Aside from all of that, my editing business is keeping me hopping. I’ve got a lot of projects on my desk, and I’m loving every single one of them.

I was going to do my round three mini reviews for the SPFBO today, but I got lost writing that book, and I’ve only got half of my mini-reviews written, so you’ll have those to read on Wednesday.

So that’s where I’m at right now.

1 comment

  1. Angela

    Congrats on the good things, like being most of the way into writing your book! And I’m glad the spine electrodes thing is working for you.

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