Tag Archives: Katie McCabe

Dec. 13.

Working Through Exhaustion

My Status: Sweating, but good
Mood: Jubilant

Today was one of those days where the simple act of crawling out of bed was a major triumph. (My apologies in advance for all the bleary-eyed typos that may creep into this post.) I don’t get it. Night before last I had a horrible night of sleep. I was restless, tossed and turned, woke up every half hour to hour, not a good night. You’d expect that I’d be tired, right? Wrong. Yesterday I had energy, got things done for the day job, got a couple things accomplished last night, and when I finally started to yawn, I went to bed. At a reasonable hour. I slept really well last night, but morning came and crawling really is the best description for how I was moving.

You know the feeling… the one where the Mac truck left tire tracks on your back as it drove on through. Not that I was achy, just overwhelmingly tired. If I would have had to drive to work, I don’t think I’d have made it, but when all I have to do is cross the landing, it took me approximately half an hour, but I convinced myself to make the trek.

Day job went the smoothest it has all week, which is not to say smooth, but the past two weeks have been ugly as far as things needing attention. I actually accomplished something new. Not as much as I wanted, but I’ll take accomplishment where I can get it. And the accomplishment is something I’ve been pushing for for several years, so to finally get it implemented was HUGE.

Tim LawrencePhoto: Alptraum

Tim Lawrence
Photo: Alptraum

But when the day job was done, I was drained. Completely wrung out. I was ready for bed at 6 o’clock, but knew better than to give into the urge, and didn’t want to take a nap for the same reason. If I went to bed at 6, I’d be up at 2 or 3 AM staring at the ceiling in the dark. And then my sleep pattern would get all messed up… and it is a delicate little beast, so I don’t like to mess it up more than I can help. There remained the question of what to do with myself for the evening. But then Tim (the guy in the picture is my vision of Katie’s best friend, Tim) showed up and flooded me with a scene. I had to write. I didn’t know whether I’d be putting gibberish on the page or not because I was so bleary-eyed and exhausted I wanted to face-plant on the desk. But I had to trust the instinct driving me.

I am soooooo glad I did. Tim kept talking, I plugged in some Christmas tunes, which were a little at odds with the scene we were going through, but it somehow worked. Funnily enough, the more I wrote, the less tired I became. A little over 1,500 words later, I stopped. The characters were still talking, but I needed to take a moment because one was trying to take the spotlight, and my gut said that was the wrong direction. And I wasn’t ready to work with the next character—who is frankly a pain and I knew I wouldn’t do him justice tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

Poor Tim is having such a rough time, and I’m so proud of him. He usually bottles up his feelings, but this time let me hear them loud and clear. When I realized we had completed a few necessary scenes (and even one unexpected one) I was ready to break into the Hallelujah chorus. This was the most I’ve been able to accomplish word-wise, story-wise since finding out I needed chemo. FINALLY!! I don’t have the words to say how good this feels. I was trying not to despair that I wasn’t writing… but it is probably the most difficult thing for me to battle. I’m missing part of me without the writing.

So tonight, I feel whole. And other than the CLL sweats when it’s 45 degrees, I feel pretty normal, too. And tired, but not the sheer exhaustion that plagued me all day. Good tired. Accomplished tired. Ready for sleep.

Good Night. May your dreams be sweet or if they’re not at least a good plot for a novel.

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Nov. 17.

A Bit of the Hair …

My Status: Feeling Good
Mood: Feeling accomplished – laundry done, beds made—who could ask for more?

For those of you coming along with me on this journey who do not have an understanding of how weird and twisted a writer’s brain can be, this post may sound weird and twisted. I will preface it by stating that for me as a writer, my characters have to live in my head in order to come out on the page as full-fledged people, so my characters talk to me, we have conversations, we argue, and I have, at times, received the full-on silent treatment. What affects me affects my characters, and what affects them affects me.

I haven’t written a lot since finding out I had to have chemo. First because I had to get things taken care of in a short time frame, and second because I’m not getting a lot of cooperation from my gang. I am currently in the process of trying to finish up the 4th book in the Misfit McCabe series, One Way Ticket Home, so I can move on to my next project. This particular book has taken some unexpected twists and turns and I have to tell you, I love what has happened with it. I can’t wait to give everyone a chance to experience it. I knew the girls were all being a bit stand-offish, and we hadn’t had a chance to fully discuss what would be happening with me and what we could all expect—it’s kind of hard to have that conversation when you really don’t know yourself.

I thought maybe working through a scene with the boys was the way to ease into it, but I needed them to fight … and they wouldn’t. They didn’t want to “gross me out” while I was connected to the tubes. Ultimately, I think I will be able to write during the six hour day, if for no other reason than to escape the fact that I am connected to a drip for six hours. But this round it was not to be so.

The boys at least showed up. The girls refused to even come talk to me until after my first treatment. Then Janie came through. Janie is a character from One Way Ticket Home, and I love this character so much, I can’t wait for you to meet her. Here’s how the conversation went.

Me: Hey, Janie.
Janie: *stops dead, eyes widen, hands cover mouth*
Me: What’s wrong?
Janie: You still have hair!

And that’s how I found out Katie had told all the girls I was going to lose my hair. And they were all weirded out by it. I had to tell each one of them that with my particular treatment, hair loss is not common, so it is unlikely that I will lose my hair, but even if I did, it wouldn’t be a big deal for me. I know that hair loss is a big deal for some people (men and women) during the chemotherapy process, and whatever is a big issue for you, is a big issue. I’m the first to say so. I don’t think being upset by hair loss means you’re vain. It is the mourning of loss and the process you have to go through in search of health. Hair loss for me, simply isn’t one of my issues. If it starts coming out, I’ll shave my head, just to be done with it. And then I’m going to have a blast shopping for some outrageous wigs (and if I can swing it, matching eyebrows), and some killer scarves.

KewpieWildIn fact, one of the questions I started debating in the middle of the night (Denny had to start work at 0300, so we had some awake time during the wee hours) was whether I should get my hair trimmed, or cut short. It needs to be cut or I’ll soon be the wild-haired kewpie doll visiting all your nightmares. The hair has reached the bushy, totally out of control stage and has been there for a few weeks driving me crazy. But I didn’t want to have it done until I knew whether I was getting a cut or a cut and having a bit of color put back in. The color will have to wait, so now the big question is trimmed to the shoulders or a really short style. Warning: If you choose really short, you may have to listen to me whine during the growing back out stage.

I understand why the girls were upset by thinking I would lose my hair—for teenage girls (or near teen as in the case of Angela) and in fact, for most people, hair makes a statement about you as a person. They fear being targeted as different outside of their control. I like my hair, I always have, but maybe I feel a bit differently about it because people have wanted to touch it and play with it my entire life. And it annoys me when it gets in my way, so when working I usually have it up and out of the way. I once cut it all off because I realized it was taking me over half an hour on a daily basis just to tame it.

Or maybe hair loss as something not so big sunk in when I took a modeling course at the age of thirteen, and my instructor had recently grown back her hair, and freely discussed not letting the loss of a few strands of hair slow her down. She was gorgeous, and if she wasn’t bothered by it, then why should I worry? And I really do plan to buy wigs, should I lose my hair—hot pink, bright purple, and rainbow … because I can. Because it will be fun. Because it will give me a chance to talk about it. And because if I do lose the hair, it will grow back … and if it doesn’t? *shrugs* I still say not a big deal. I can live a long time without hair.

So the girls are doing a bit better knowing the hair loss thing is not likely, and even though they are not as comfortable with it as I am, they will be okay if it does happen. But they still haven’t been quite ready to work. No one seems to want to upset me at the moment. *rolls eyes* I’m trying to get across to them, life doesn’t stop for this. Life continues on.

My social media circles are a testament to the circle of life. Right now in my stream I have a grandmother happily posting pictures of her brand-new grand-baby, a friend is preparing for youngest son’s wedding in 5 days, another friend is on her way home because her mother passed away this morning. My stream shares triumphs and despair, sickness and health. This cancer thing is only a part of my life, it is not going to be allowed to consume my life until we get rid of it. There is too much life going on, and if I stopped everything, I’d miss it.

Now all I have to do is convince my characters.

The picture at the top of the post is perfect for talking about my characters—a castle growing out of a cliff and reaching toward the clouds. So very much a part of being a writer. And all this discussion of hair makes me think Hair, so have posted the song below:

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