Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year In Review

Well, we're callin' it quits on 2009. It's been quite a year for me. A lot of good stuff happened, but also a lot of bad. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I always take a few moments to look back at the previous year and also, look forward, to what's up next. Please humor me while a wax on for a while.

First, it's been a tough year on the writing front. Lots of reasons involved, which I'll touch on in a bit, but the end result is that I still haven't finished revisions of FI. It's frustrating at the best of times, humiliating at the worst. Especially because I keep making these promises to myself that I won't let another month, day, hour go by without doing everything I can to get to The End. The story is there--the end is in sight--but for whatever reason it feels just outside my grasp. Never thought I would be grappling with this problem, so I find myself at a bit of a loss to explain exactly what's going on.

I know I've had a lot of Real Life distractions, but regardless, I hold myself accountable for not pushing through and just...finishing, the rest be damned. Yanno?

That said, I'm making progress...slowly. The reality is that there have been some legitimate limits to my time --and in all honesty, writing took the backseat to other things this year. And while I'm unhappy with this compromise, I really had to make the tough decision to focus on things that were more important. Yes, even more important than writing. This does not make me happy. :)

It's a long story, but let me summarize briefly. I started having an issue with my foot in the latter part of 2008. I thought it was related to a stress fracture I'd had a few years earlier. It wasn't. When I went to the doctor thinking that at worst I'd have to get orthotics, I was surprised to learn I was diabetic. Guess all my late night, Mt. Dew fueled study/writing sessions were a bad idea. Especially with my genes. (g)

That said, I'll be forever grateful to my doctor for making the leap and figuring out what was wrong with me. It's been a bumpy road, but in the end, one of the best things that's happened to me. Why? Because I no longer feel like shit all the time. There's no telling how long I went undiagnosed, but I had always blamed my exhaustion and overall level of ick on stress and work...and well, law school, and writing, and revisions, and blah blah blah blah. Little did I know that I was exhausted because my blood sugars were hitting the proverbial roof...and then some.

Adjusting to life with diabetes is a struggle. I say this in present tense because I'm still adapting. There's a great deal of discomfort involved when you adjust to lower blood sugars -- the descent was, let's just say...HELLISH. LOL. Headaches, nausea,'s all just horrible. Of course, as soon as I started hitting good levels, my body just kept on going. I started experiencing extreme lows. At the moment, my doctor is reworking my medications yet again. This is the third time this year. Each time is a period of extremes, when my body doesn't know what the heck to do. I basically have to start over and experiment to see what carbs I can eat, when, how much exercise I can do without feeling faint. Etc. Etc. Unfortunately, this is probably my life from here on out. It isn't going away. I'm okay...mostly. I have a few "why me" moments -- especially in groups when everyone else can chug endless amounts of Dew and gobble down an entire pizza if they choose, and I, well, can't. Sigh. But mostly, I'm okay. Who needs mountains of cheesy pizza anyway?? Sob. (g)

The other issue I've been grappling with is my foot. Yeah. It wasn't magically cured when I began treatment. I'll cut to the chase -- my blood sugars were too high for too long. I have nerve damage in my foot--neuropathy. What does that mean? Well, I have loss of my toes mostly. My right foot has pretty much gone back to normal. There's a slight sensation loss, but nothing major. My left--the injured one that started this whole thing--isn't good. Because of the neuropathy, that foot is slow to heal. I suspect that my foot injury (I have something called plantar fasciitis) has exacerbated the problem.

End game is that last April, everything hit at once. On top of the adjustments to my blood sugars (remember--hellish), I was running about going to a gazillion doctors appointments. I had to juggle diabetic training, physical therapy sessions, podiatrist and doctors appts (including the dreaded neurologist who finally said, have neuropathy) meds...low sugars... oh, and a big move to a new apartment. Not an easy patch. Writing just wasn't an option. Nor was it an option when my meds were adjusted again that summer...

Not that I've ever let myself off the hook, mind. This, of course, didn't help the situation one bit.

I don't do well under guilt. It immobilizes me. Instead of doing a little when I could, I fixated on all the time I wasn't able to focus on writing. The time I had to spend in classes...or with the doctors...or the times I wanted to be writing but had to go out for a walk to get my sugar levels back in range.

So yeah...the end is still the same: I haven't finished my book. I blame myself even though I know there's been just cause. Even though I told myself that above all other things, I would focus on my health. In fact, I remember sitting down with family after being diagnosed and saying that my COMPLETE focus would be on my health -- book aside..awaiting agent aside... ME first. Ironic that I would consider 2009 an overall failure when I did exactly what I set out to do.

1. I'm healthier.
2. I've successfully reached and maintained an excellent blood sugar level -- to the point we're now experimenting with LESS medication.
3. While the neuropathy in my foot hasn't really improved, it hasn't gotten any worse either.

So yes...I'll try to focus on the positive for now.

Are you ready for some good stuff? Me too. :)

Some positives for the year:

1. I went to two writing retreats this year and got to meet some truly wonderful writers that I've been conversing with at compuserve for quite some time.

The first was back in March--to Myrtle Beach, SC. It was AWESOME. Jo, Beth, Carrie, Tara, Julie, Donna, and Jenny--y'all are rock stars. I had so much fun...Long live gnomies! :)

The second was to Denver and Evergreen, Colorado. Beth, Tara, Julie, Donna, and fun to spend more time with you. And SO cool to meet Lisa, Dreamer, Kari, Dyann, Julie B, Kari, Kerri, Tricia, Stephanie, and rowdy-girl Rhonddalyn!! Did I leave anyone out?? LOL. Those were a crazy few days, but it was a MUCH needed vacation and I had a total blast.

2. I attended my first writers conference. It was quite the experience. I learned a lot that weekend -- received some great feedback from one seriously stellar agent. (Thank you, Kristin Nelson!) While this year hasn't been the most productive when it comes to *cough* finishing those damn revisions...this conference renewed what fragile belief I had in my writing abilities. It made me realize that while I haven't reached my publication goals yet, I've got something goin' on. And someday...I'll get there. This little light o' mine is gonna shine. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this year even...but soon.

3. I started a new blog with Rachel Walsh, Claire Gregory, and Kristen Callihan. All The World's Our Page is going strong and I feel blessed to be blogging alongside such three talented ladies. They're damn good people. When I'm not gaping at the fact that they let me come along for the ride, I'm laughing my ass off at our crazy antics. Seriously, our email chains are something else. LOL.

4. I have wonderful friends and family. I've been a bit absent this year, but please know all of you have been in my thoughts.

This year has been a rough one. I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't. But I have a lot to be grateful for. And though I don't want to get all carried away with "resolutions and goals," I know 2010 is going to be fantastic.

I'm ready to make some good things happen. :)


Tara Parker said...

Hang in there - 2010 will be YOUR year - I just know it!!

Glad you got your sugars in balance. Now finish FI. :)

Carrie said...

When someone brings me to tears with a blog post, I know they can write. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive year!

Jennifer Hendren said...


Thanks! You too! I want to read more of your writing this year. :)

BTW, I CAN NOT wait for pics of Baby Jesus! I better be first on your mailing list. (g)


Jennifer Hendren said...


Awww, thanks! Same to you. I know this is going to be a great year. :)