Thursday, April 28, 2016

When My Best-Laid Plans Turn to Writer's Block

There's a reason why The Brown Knowser came back, and it wasn't just to share my recent vacation.

Last December, I wrote about how my blog was going to take a hiatus while I focused on my novel, how I might occasionally post some photos to let people know that the blog wasn't dead. I started thinking more about the sequel to Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary, and would devout the hours that I usually spend on these gentle musings on writing that required more dedication (and would be created with far more thought than this blog spends).

About two weeks before I planned to place this blog on pause (I had already written and set up the posts for the end of December), I became ill. It started with a sharp pain where my appendix would be, had my appendix been on my left side. For a couple of days, the pain was bad and I was in little mood to do anything, let alone write.

As Christmas drew near, the pain wasn't as sharp, but every time I ate, no matter how big of how small the meal, I experienced gastrointestinal pain. On Christmas day, where I usually load at least two platefuls of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, I barely ate one plate and was hardly my festive self. Over the holidays, I was so fatigued that all I wanted to do was spend days in bed.

Thankfully, drinking caused no ill effects and I could happily continue my beer blog.

An initial trip to my doctor led to blood and ultrasound tests, which came back as inconclusive. When my pain returned with a vengeance, my doctor sent me to a hospital emergency room, where I underwent a CT scan.

The CT scan revealed an inflammation and small hernia in my large intestine, but nothing serious. I was prescribed medication for the swelling and pain, and was told that my pain should dissipate in a week to 10 days.

The CT scan also revealed a mass on my liver, and I would require an additional ultrasound to get a better image.

Blood tests were sent to determine if I had a stomach ulcer. "Or cancer," my doctor said. The tests were returned and I was deemed not to have an ulcer.

"Cancer?" I asked my doctor, remembering that she had only given me two options for these tests. She shrugged and told me that she would request an endoscopy, to be sure.

I'm still waiting for that appointment.

All the while, I was far too distracted to do any writing. And the pain remained until mid to late February.

My second ultrasound, the one that focused on that mass on my liver, was also inconclusive. I'm currently on a waiting list for an MRI.

When the pain subsided, I asked my doctor if it was possible that the gastrointestinal trouble could have been a stubborn virus. "It's possible," she said. We didn't know what brought on the pain or fatigue, so there was no way of telling what made it go away.

At least, by the beginning of March, I was feeling better, and by the time my family and I left for our Arizona-California vacation, I was feeling back to normal. The only thing that I felt on that vacation was the occasional windedness from the altitude, but nothing serious and nothing related to my pains.

It has now been more than four months since I first felt ill and lost my motivation to write. I have felt uninspired to work on my novel, been barely able to string together any meaningful words for this blog.

I'm good with words. I know a lot of words. Great words.

I'm easing back into my blog until I feel the inspiration to return to my book. I wait for my MRI, my endoscopy, a third ultrasound, and a sleep test to boot.

I'm in a holding pattern, both with my health and with my creativity. I'll deal with things as they present themselves.

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