social distance diaries: days 303-309

in which I receive good news.

Day 303, Monday

No cancer! I went to the doctor for my follow-up and received the best news I could’ve desired: no cancer found in the biopsy and no need for surgery. The final diagnosis was enchondroma (the smallest he’s ever seen, according to the resident who gave me the news). I have to follow-up with yearly X-rays to monitor any changes, but it’s rare for it to become aggressive or turn into a chondrosarcoma. Basically, I have cartilage where I should have bone. It’s commonly found when running diagnostics for unrelated injuries, which is how mine was discovered. I’m so relieved that I can set this one worry aside.

This is what it looks like on an MRI [add image]

Day 304, Tuesday

Woke up with renewed energy but it was a difficult morning. Had to take it slow.

Day 305, Wednesday

Feeling a little overwhelmed with projects. Whenever this happens, I make a list, so I whipped out my Daily Momentum Planner pad and made a schedule of activities for the day.

In other news, I bit the bullet and ordered a new, plush chair for my desk. I’ve been using a cheap, plastic IKEA chair for years, and it has served me well, but I’m over it. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s to invest in my comfort.

Day 306, Thursday

Completed a bunch of little tasks that have been piling up for weeks but took less than an hour to complete (my hesitance was the going out part…).

I’ve been feeling dejected about not writing since I wrapped up the manuscript, but I had to remind myself that I literally had minor surgery and an emotional hangover following this week’s diagnosis. I’ll get back to it on Saturday.

Day 307, Friday

Started my morning with cramps and a morning meeting. Sigh.

Signed up for an online writing conference and revision workshop. It’s been too long since I invested in my writing. This will be motivation for the next phase.

Day 308, Saturday and Day 309, Sunday

Completed the initial review of edits I left for future!Gricel (ie. today!Gricel) and caught up on two weeks worth of laundry that I neglected while recuperating from the biopsy. Unusual tiredness on Saturday heralded the arrival of a mild migraine on Sunday.

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social distance diaries: days 296-302

in which too much happens

Day 296, Monday

Back to work. I was convinced that the semester started today, so imagine my surprise when I realized it won’t start until next week. I guess that’s a good thing since I have the biopsy scheduled for Wednesday. Really hoping it leads to a diagnosis (and REALLY hoping it’s not a bad one).

Day 297, Tuesday

Started my morning at the crack of dawn to prep for a quick grocery trip. The biopsy shouldn’t require much recovery if all goes well, but I wanted to take care of all the house stuff in advance, just in case. It’s nice and chilly this morning (what the local news calls “comfortable” weather). I wore a blazer and leggings to go shopping because why ever not at this point?

I didn’t get much sleep. I continue to wonder if the pain in my arm is caused by the lesion or the muscle strain that refuses to heal… Sadly, I’m used to living in pain. I can’t even tell which pain I’m feeling anymore. I hate it. Part of me wonders if the lesion is the reason I’ve always had a hard time doing push-ups or downward dog (I get shoulder pain if I hold too long or do too many). I always figured I have weak arms. Maybe not.

In preparation for the biopsy, I watched a video and almost wish I hadn’t. I’m glad that I’m prepared but I’m not sure I was ready for the visual of a big ass needle being hammered into the patient’s arm.

I am on week 5 of an 8 week workout plan, but I think I may be going on hiatus for a few days…

Day 298, Wednesday

Biopsy went as planned and our democracy was under attack. I was awake for all of it (on both counts).

Day 299, Thursday

I should’ve taken the day off, could barely move my arm, though it’s more swollen than painful. Feels like I got punched in the arm, which I guess is more or less what happened.

Day 300, Friday

Wow, just 65 more days until this log becomes a year. A bit more mobility today, but still unable to lift my arm or lift anything, really.

Day 301, Saturday

Starting to return to normal mobility, but occasional twinges of pain if I reach too quickly or lift my arm without thinking. I planned to return to editing this weekend, but my arm hurts if I reach for the laptop for a sustained period of time.

Released another of my mom’s rescued creatures; this time, a young Muscovy duck.

Day 302, Sunday

Went to check on the young duck an he seems to be doing ok, but he seems to have a limp. At least he’s in a safer place than the parking lot he came from.

Follow-up appointment is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Hoping for a good outcome.

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social distance diaries: days 289-295

in which I relax and look back

Day 289, Monday – Day 295, Sunday

Second and last week of vacation before returning to my WFH desk life. I took the time to indulge in good food, sweet treats, and time with my partner. There were walks, solo Just Dance marathons, a return to my Animal Crossing island, and a few socially distant explorations.

I started using my new bullet journal and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished draft 3 of my current manuscript. Next step: recruit betas and review the notes I scattered throughout the draft for future fixes (the future is now!).

It was a struggle to revise draft 2; it coincided with the start of my WFH life and the terrible anxiety and depression that marked those early months. Still, I pushed through and finished draft 3 a month ahead of schedule.

In total, I spent 214.62 hours editing and revising (including a major development edit and a thorough revision), spread across 10 months beginning in March. Draft 1 was completed January 2020. In February, I reviewed the draft and prepared my notes for revision. Now, I’m enjoying that brief sense of relief before I dive back into the manuscript. My goal is to query BYCMB this year and plot a rewrite of Anuna (COI), which I stopped querying at the end of 2019 (but that’s a longer story and may become a self-publishing adventure).

I hope you too had an indulgent and satisfying end to what may be the worst year in many of our lifetimes. 2016 was one of my worst years for many reasons, but 2020 is a close second.

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social distance diaries: days 190-196

in which we cut our own hair

Day 190, Monday

I’ve been using Notion to plan my weeks, as an addendum to my planner, and it’s making the start of my week so much more predictable and effective. It’s nice to be able to mark tasks off and brainstorm all in one place; it’s really helping me find a new groove now that my committees are starting up again.

Day 191, Tuesday

Grocery time! I never got around to doing a proper grocery trip in August for numerous reasons, but then I sprained my ankle and I COULDN’T go to the store until now. Living off Amazon Fresh orders is fine and dandy, but the variety isn’t the best, and their adherence to sell-by dates is often questionable. It was so nice to buy fresh produce again.

Also, took my first real walk since the sprain and it was a challenge. This is going to be a slow recovery.

Day 192, Wednesday

In an effort to rebuild my strength (and get out of a physical rut), I started an old workout program that I followed a few years ago. I won’t name them here because I don’t agree with their approach to diet, but the exercise plan is easy enough to adapt for my current needs and is helping me feel a bit less bleh. My ankle has more mobility, but my gait is still stiff. I need all the strengthening I can get if I’m ever going to get back to running, let alone walking more than a short distance.

Day 193, Thursday

One of those marathon meeting days. Not the first this week, but the longest… Also, announced my intention to continue to work remotely for the Spring semester. I miss my office, but I’m also not willing to take the chance when the offer is available. I’ve dealt with enough health struggles to risk it and I refuse to give in to the capitalist mentality that tells us to sacrifice our personal well-being for the sake of a company or institution. mic drop

Day 194, Friday

I’ll be working this weekend, so I most of the day off in exchange (had a meeting I couldn’t miss). It felt GLORIOUS to lay in bed for an extra hour, and take my time over coffee and a nostalgic Toaster Strudel breakfast (saw two random strudels on my socials and had to satisfy the craving). It’s also been incredibly productive. Sometimes, a day off during the week results in more getting done than a three-day weekend.

Day 195, Saturday

Working backup on the chat desk, so I blocked my morning off to get stuff done and spent the 6-hour session reading on craft, watching tutorials and writing advice on YouTube, and taking care of tasks in the background. I dislike weekend chat (I have reasons) but I committed to making the best of it.

Day 196, Sunday

Made vegan French Toast to use up the “just” eggs bottle that the boy bought (he was curious). Anyone who tells you that it tastes “just” like eggs has not had an egg in a very long time… it feels like rubbery eggs and tastes weirdly of steamed broccoli (that’s the only way I can describe the way it smells and tastes). It’s not bad but it also needs a lot of dressing up so it doesn’t taste weird. Lots of cinnamon helps.

Felt a hormonal migraine coming on, so I took two advil and… fell asleep. I don’t think it will keep it away, but maybe it will keep it from ramping into a full blown volcano of pain.

And then we reached the “cut my own ends” stage of “I’m not fool enough to go to the salon” times. It went well.

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