Tag Archives: neurological issues

Yet Another Venting

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I don’t want this post to come across as self-pity because I don’t mean it as such. I’m simply trying to sort through my circumstances and make a little sense out of my life as it currently stands. Right now, the only word that comes to mind is disenfranchised. I feel completely and utterly powerless to impact my own future. With this illness, I can’t fend for myself, and our disability system is a travesty. Civilized societies wouldn’t treat sick pets as poorly as we treat our disabled. Our elected officials are worthless except for photo ops, sound bytes, and empty promises they have no intention of ever fulfilling, and the entire system seems rigged against people like me.

I’m sick of conservatives and their hypocritical phrases like class warfare and entitlements. I’m sick of their willful ignorance of science and reason, their disdain for intellectual progress, and their active defense of overt racism. Their perverse need to punish underprivileged people is a huge part of why I’ve been left with no healthcare and virtually no income for eight months, a timeframe that could’ve allowed me to already be on the road to full recovery and a return to productivity. Instead, I’ve needlessly suffered through months of spasms, fatigue, pain, and shame.

Not that liberals are any better. I’m just as sick of their perverse need to punish me for being a white, heterosexual male, as if my very existence is to blame for the world’s problems. Because of some imaginary privilege I’ve supposedly enjoyed my entire life, my circumstances aren’t worthy of note. My suffering isn’t as real as some other group’s. That dehumanizing way of thinking is the root of most ill done in society, and I’m sick of being made to feel as if my voice and my life are insignificant.

This shame and embarrassment I feel for what my life has become weighs on me every second of every day. I was a good teacher, but the stress and toll of that career is a big part of why I’m broken down now. My writings currently have 98 five-star reviews on Amazon (out of 166 total reviews), but I can’t sell more because I don’t have the money to advertise enough to reach a wider audience. All of my hard work feels like failure because I’ve been reduced to begging for help from family, friends, and even strangers. I would not wish this situation on my worst enemy, and I’m trying to get through it with a shred of sanity and dignity left, but every single day, my hope for tomorrow dims a little more.

I’m tired of feeling disenfranchised, of feeling worthless, of feeling insignificant. A person’s life shouldn’t be reduced to this sorry state. The part of me that put myself through school and juggled two and three jobs over the years wants to fight my way out of this predicament, but my body simply won’t allow it. And I’m not even going to get into how badly I miss my sons and how badly my pride as a father has been damaged by my inability to be active in their lives. That part is simply too painful to discuss. For now, all I can do is try to hang on for another day, but the view from down here is mighty bleak.

Disability Appeal Update

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Here’s an update on my situation. The last few weeks of winter have been fairly difficult. The severe cold temps have made my symptoms flare up just as bad as before, so all of my gains from the paleo program have been wiped out. I’m not giving up on the dietary changes, and I’m hoping warmer weather will bring about some improvements to my health.

My appeal for disability has been filed, and my information has all been sent to the attorney’s office, so hopefully there will be some movement on that front soon. On a related note, anyone who has known me since before all of this started, if you would be willing to write a letter on my behalf describing the diminished capacity you have witnessed, please contact me. I need all of the evidence I can get.

In case you missed it, I have a new release that came out Saturday. The Unquenchable Fire is a novella for the Outlaws of Fiction and the first release of the Sam Skeen saga.

I still need to raise more funds to get through the next couple of months. The brutal cold made me turn on the electric heaters along with the wood stove, so my upcoming electric bill is going to be pretty steep. If you can please help out by donating or sharing the link around, I would be most grateful.

Once again, thank you to everyone for the love and support you have shown. It’s truly kept me from sinking into utter despair, but as long as you all believe in me, I will continue to fight and scrap to regain my health.

Just for fun, here’s a pic from a photo shoot we did before the symptoms got the better of me:

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This Country Sucks

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This will be my last post for awhile, maybe ever. I got turned down for disability. Somehow, I have to find a way to go back to work and find a job I can do in this condition. I will still try to finish book five one day, but I have no idea when or how. I’m grateful for everyone who has shown me kindness and love over the years. Even in this really dark moment, I know I’m blessed to have all of you.

Another Venting

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I have tried to convey my gratitude for everyone who has helped me through this extremely difficult period. Without everyone’s help, whether it was donating to the GoFundMe campaign or just checking on me occasionally, I don’t know where I would be right now. It’s humbling and inspiring to know just how many real friends I have. While I’m not even close to 100%, more like a little above 50%, I do feel like I’m getting better. In just two weeks, my body feels much different than it did before, and while the neurological symptoms haven’t completely eased off, I am moving better and have more energy than I’ve had in a long time. It’s good to feel an upswing to my health.

But here’s where I need to vent because I’ve held this in for too long.

To all of my so-called friends who never once bothered to check on me, please do not bother now that I feel a little better. To the people who couldn’t see fit to make any effort to help me in my greatest time of need, please do not act surprised when I am no longer a part of your life. To those who used the opportunity to kick me once again while I was down, you had best brace for the sting. To the people who wrote me off as a lost cause, surprise emmeffers. There’s still plenty of fight in these old bones. To those who made insincere gestures or empty promises, you had best believe I will remember that you don’t really have my back. I will remember my real friends. I will remember those who cared about me at my weakest and most vulnerable. Those of you who didn’t will not share in my future triumphs, of that you can be certain.

I’m not back yet, not fully. My coordination is still off, my legs still bother me to no end, and the spasms still hit me off and on. But I am on my way back. This little illness is not enough to break me. I’m D.A. Adams, and I’ve just begun to kick ass.

Insert Click Bait Title Here

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I’ve started and stopped this post a dozen times at least over the last few months. On one side, I feel like I need to get these things off my chest to vent and feel better, but on the other, given the difficulties of my neurological illness, it seems like petty whining. However, the fact that I keep coming back to the topic tells me that I need to vent it. When I lay down at night, the thing that eats at me most is that my writing career is judged not by the quality of my storytelling or the clarity of my prose but rather by my inability to wrangle social media. I cannot express in words how much that bothers me.

I began pursuing writing as a career in the early 90’s. Like most, when I began, I was terrible, but what I lacked in ability I compensated for in desire and effort. I studied. I practiced. I wrote. The hours I spent honing my craft were countless – all nighters in coffee shops and diners hunched over a book or a stack of notes; weeks bent over a yellow legal pad with a black Bic pen; more weeks seated before a Brother word processor with a built in printer; reams of paper and ribbons. My poor roommates were forced beta readers and endured many a painful rough draft. There was no internet, not as we know it today, and the submission process was glacially slow. Yellow envelopes, a couple bucks postage, thuds at the bottom of the chute, and weeks of waiting for the SASE to return. I collected 36 form rejection slips before I landed my first story in 1995. Those slips were thumbtacked to my wall by my word processor as scars of honor.

I don’t enjoy bragging on myself; it always feels forced and awkward talking about the quality of what I do publicly. Those are statements best left for others to make, but I know the Brotherhood series has serious depth. The volume and quality of reviews speak for themselves. Still, I can’t break through, can’t reach my audience, which I know is out there, because I’m not savvy with social media and don’t know how to create click bait. It’s maddening to feel in your bones that your audience is out there and with this global inter-connectedness we now have to be able to reach them in more ways than ever before but always to feel drowned out by the inundation of cat memes or the outrage of the week. And don’t get me started on the bait and switch Facebook pulled.

I look at the authors who do tend to maximize social media, and I just don’t want to be like those people. There’s Chuck “Windbag” Wendig who manages to trumpet the white liberal guilt message on every public outrage. If parrotting to the left what they want to hear is the path to success, I’d rather stay broke and obscure. To the right, there’s Larry Correia, who’s just a smartass asshole. I tried following him for a week or two, but after watching how he talks to people in general, biting their head’s off for daring to waste his precious time, no thanks. He can keep his success and shove his attitude up his ass. I’ll put the quality of my storytelling  and prose up against theirs any day of the week, but I will not behave as some caricature of a political mouthpiece.

Right now, I’m also frustrated because I can’t work. I can’t do the thing I love and close out the final installment of Brotherhood. My health is in the way of that, and those who know me well know how much it’s eating at me to be in this hellish limbo. While I believe I may have found the solution with these dietary changes, it’s going to take time for the neurological symptoms to improve. In the mean time, I need to sell books to be able to afford to eat the right stuff, but to sell books, I need to be more social media savvy. Last night, I tried to create an Instagram account, but I’m too much of a dinosaur to know how to do anything with it. I suck at Twitter. Google+ is a ghost town. Facebook wants money. It’s a vicious cycle.

I just want to find my audience and be able to write for them. I want to spend whatever time I have left on earth using my creative energy. That doesn’t seem like an outlandish goal to me, but right now, it still feels as far away as it did all those years ago when my fingers let go and that first yellow envelope slid down the mail chute. I know it’s not. I know I’ve traveled a long way and overcome a lot of obstacles and accomplished some good things, but I still haven’t reached my audience yet. I guess I’ll stop whining now and end this little pity party.

Here’s Some New Year-New You Stuff, Kind Of, Not Really

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This neurological disorder has really done a number on me. Over the last year or so, my fine motor skills and spatial coordination have eroded rapidly; I’ve experienced regular muscle spasms accompanied by a painful electric jolt; I’ve fallen at least four times, which is quite terrifying when it happens in the middle of the night all alone; phantom bugs have crawled up my arms and legs; my memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities have been foggy; my left arm has become almost completely numb; and I’ve had to reassess my threshold for pain. There have been moments when I believed myself a goner, if not fully at least functionally, and by far, the hardest part of all of it has been the diminished capacity to write. Even a short blog post like this one takes hours to compose because of all the breaks I have to take and the pitiful state of my typing. In short, the last 15-16 months have presented some interesting challenges.

But now, hopefully, the tide is about to turn.

The other day, an acquaintance directed me to research that sheds a little light on what could potentially be the cause of my illness. If you don’t have time to read that article, in a nutshell, excessive sodium intake, primarily from processed foods, can cause the body’s Th 17 cells, which are part of the immune system, to become overly aggressive and attack normal body tissues. While not definitive, the research lends itself to the idea that excessive sodium consumption can trigger an autoimmune disease like MS. I must admit to being guilty of relying too much on processed foods in my diet over the years, and when I really got to looking into it, I realized that my sodium intake has been much higher than I had thought. I never add salt to anything and barely cook with it, so I figured I was okay. However, once I looked closely, I had to admit to myself that I’ve consumed way beyond the recommended amount.

That same acquaintance also pointed me towards how a paleo diet has shown positive results at not just halting but reversing MS symptoms. He himself has seen a dramatic recovery in the 3-4 months he’s been following paleo. While the effects of the diet could just be related to the reduction of sodium, there seems to be more to it than that. I’ve already been gluten free for three years, and when I first cut it out, my symptoms all but disappeared, leading me to believe I had found the culprit. However, now that my symptoms have returned, it stands to reason that if gluten can be responsible for neurological degeneration, other foods could be as well.

Therefore, I have decided to make every effort to follow the paleo diet guidelines and remove restricted items from my intake. I plan to chronicle my results here to have a record of my experiences and responses to the change in nutrition. Hopefully, I will see the same improvements to my health that others have shown. Regardless, it feels nice to have a ray of hope after so many months of decline. If I can at least get back to the point of being able to write regularly and work outdoors even just a little, I will be content with the results. So here goes nothing as I start my journey to recovery.

Bring on the New Year

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There can be no doubt that 2014 was a challenging year for me, but rather than dwell on the setbacks, I want to close out the year by thanking the people who went out of their way to make sure I had food, shelter, warmth, and support. My deepest heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you:

David and Martha Adams; Tracy Kinsler; Marsha Adams; Dagan and Sarah Smith; Dave Mattingly; Todd Wright; Nick Skelton; Lucas Munasque; Carla Williams; Karen Graves; Sandra Wicker; David Ramey; Heath Tatum; John Backer; Kristopher Sparks; Jessica Lay; Terry Rawlinson; Preston Smith; Jim Harrison; Ashley Franks; Melissa Pascua; Brittany Davis; Amy V.; Alicia Gardner; Mr. Spider Man; Nikki Cushman; Robin Blankenship; Peter Welmerink; Christopher Koeppel; Joshua Cantrell; Taylor Childress; Ellie Raine; Sky Woodard; Debbie and Shane Sheridan; Sean Taylor; Michelle Bivens; Aimee Kiefer; Tony Davidson; Reanna Berry; Eric Jude; Theresa Zimmer; Natalia Sayapina; Andi Judy; Matt Plunkett; Carolyn Petty; Aaron Wilmon; Frank Fradella; Georgia Jones; Marian Allen; Joy Ward; Tony Acree; Steven and Janet West; all the people who left anonymous donations to the fundraiser; Hilarie Smith; Jason Fishel; Floyd Brigdon; Dino Hicks; Nick Papworth; Jim Gillentine; Elizabeth Donald; Shon Medley; Susan Roddy; Selah Janel;  John F. Allen; RJ Sullivan; Chris Garrison; Steven Shrewsbury; Brady Allen; Philip Hopkins; and Stephen Zimmer (If I overlooked someone, please forgive me).

I don’t know where I would be right now without all of you, and I am truly blessed more than one man deserves. Here’s to a wonderful 2015.