Archive for the ‘Health and Wellness’ Category

Hello everyone,

I’ve been on a long hiatus from this blog. I was getting overwhelmed with everything and needed to cut back. I’ve been thinking of coming back to the blog but not sure what I’m going to be doing with it yet.

Some ideas I’m having are to continue with indie author book reviews but I’m not sure if I want to continue with writing tips. I feel a lot of people give writing tips and it’s all just noise.

Also, keeping a weekly blog is just too much for me right now. I’m not sure what my new schedule will be at this point.

Writing News

I’ve been struggling with writers block ever since the launch of book 2 of Darkness Falling in June of 2016. Despite the fact that I had groundwork for the entire series when I started, a lot of the existing content was scrapped in book 2 and book 3 is mostly from scratch at this point. I know what I want to say and where the story is going. I even have it outlined, (shocking!) but the words aren’t coming.

I haven’t given up on the book 3 but it is slow going.

I have a few other bits and pieces of other projects I work on from time to time, but so far very little progress on anything.

Anyway, thanks to everyone that has been reading and following my blog! If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see here, please let me know in the comments.

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Every once in a while my brain needs a break.

Writer’s block is one thing but then there is the stress of editing, rewriting, and publishing. The process is both exciting and anticlimactic. It’s also overwhelming.

For the past month after releasing Book Two I’ve been pushing through. Over the past few days it’s all caught up with me and I’m taking a writing break.

There’s a lot of advice out there to write every day. While this is good advice to get you into the habit of writing, it isn’t always the best advice for creating. Being a creative person means we need to recharge our batteries. There is a delicate balance to art and the rest of life, and when one or the other is overwhelming, it’s time to step back.

Recharging can be different for everyone. Taking a break to absorb inspiration and energy for writing is a personal thing. Visiting family or friends, spending time in meditation, watching movies, reading books, going into nature – there are many ways to recharge. The main thing is not feeling guilty for needing a break. Self-care means you will be working at your best.

That’s why I’ve been taking a break for the past few days. My brain is tired. If I don’t recharge I won’t be functioning at my best. If I’m not functioning at my best it will only cause frustration and further distress. It’s a cycle.

Next week is the one year anniversary of my publishing journey and this blog. Thank you all for following along. If you have anything to add about taking a break, please feel free in the comments.

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We’ve all heard the saying “write what you know.” That may be good advice in some respects but it’s not practical. There are always moments in a story when things come up which are just beyond our knowledge.

One thing that can really affect your work negatively is poor research. We all know someone (or are that person) who nitpicks a story when plausibility falls apart. It destroys the fourth wall, tears down the suspension of disbelief, and may even cause some readers to give up on the story all together. This is especially true of things which are easily researched.

Another thing poor research can cause, perhaps unintentionally, is spreading misinformation. It’s true that you shouldn’t use fiction books, television, and film as a fact source. The problem is, people do it all the time. When you’re reading a book by an author you trust, you’re more likely to believe what you read in their work, especially if it sounds plausible.

I’m going to use a television show as an example here. Before I go any further I’m giving a spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen the episode of The Walking Dead on November 15th, 2015.

 

*Spoiler*  *Spoiler* *Spoiler*

 

In the November 15 episode, Daryl finds himself a prisoner of three people with a duffle bag, which contains his precious crossbow. After his escape we see the only other thing in that bag is a cooler clearly marked “INSULIN,” which he decides to return.

The information we learn about these people is limited:

  • They’ve been walking through the woods for at least a day trying to escape something and find someone.
  • They are not carrying any food or supplies in that big bag and have no other bags.
  •  One young woman named Tina passes out, labeling her as the person with diabetes.

The problem is, when Daryl returns the cooler Tina’s friend gives her a shot of insulin. This is a major problem because that young woman was most likely suffering from a hypoglycemic episode and giving her insulin is dangerous. She doesn’t need insulin, she needs sugar.

  •  Insulin, when properly refrigerated, will last a couple of years if unopened. After being opened it lasts one month. (So it’s plausible the insulin was still usable.)
  •   If insulin becomes too warm it goes bad.
  • Insulin lowers your blood glucose.
  • The three people didn’t have any supplies and they probably weren’t eating enough carbohydrate to raise Tina’s blood glucose to dangerous levels.
  •  Physical activity lowers blood glucose, and walking in the woods while fighting off zombies is strenuous activity.
  • If a person passes out from low blood glucose they are in danger of never waking up if their glucose drops farther.

You could argue that maybe they had Glucagon in that cooler as well. I would say it was plausible if the cooler didn’t say insulin in big red letters on the front. That prop was clearly set up for people to think “someone has diabetes and needs their insulin.”  If one of her companions had said something about giving her glucose, then maybe I would believe they had glucagon.

Some people will think: why does this matter? It’s a show about zombies which are not real. It matters because diabetes is real and it’s extremely like everyone watching the show will encounter diabetes in their life, either for themselves or someone they know. Also, people don’t understand how insulin works, but that doesn’t mean it is okay to use it incorrectly. People are afraid of insulin to begin with, and spreading misinformation doesn’t help.

What’s even more ironic is this episode aired the day after World Diabetes Awareness Day. Actually, it would be worse to learn it aired as an attempt to be part of teaching people about diabetes.

A show like The Walking Dead is being completely irresponsible in not doing simple, proper research. As I said, people shouldn’t use entertainment as a source of knowledge, but they do it all the time. It only takes one Google search to find out why people with diabetes might pass out. It only takes a second search to learn about insulin.

I know this isn’t the only place where poorly researched storytelling affects a story. If you’ve ever had a story ruined by poor research on a subject you understood, let me know in the comments!

November is National Diabetes Awareness month and November 14 is World Diabetes Day. Diabetes education is really important to me, so I’m going to step away from discussing writing today and discuss diabetes education, something that’s very important to me.

In 2013 there were 387 million people with diabetes worldwide, and that number is growing every day. The one thing you can count on to be true in the news is that diabetes is an epidemic. If you do not have diabetes, you probably know at least one person who does.Diabetes Awareness

Unfortunately, when you hear about diabetes in the news they generally only talk about type 2 diabetes, unless you hear them follow-up with discussing a cure. The cure usually only refers to type 1 diabetes. It would be great to have more education for all types of diabetes as well as a cure for everyone.

The reality is, so many people do not even understand the difference between the two. Also there are a lot of misunderstandings about both types. Diabetes is a very complicated disease and the best way to understand them is through proper education.

Type 1 Diabetes

It’s possible you may have never have heard of type 1 diabetes, and that could be because it used to be called juvenile diabetes. This was because people thought only children could contract it. This isn’t true. Even elder adults can be diagnosed with type 1, and it’s actually likely that they will be misdiagnosed with type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune deficiency where the immune system attacks the pancreas. It is diagnosis by blood tests to identify the proper antibodies.

LADA Diabetes (Or Type 1.5)

LADA is similar to type 1 because it is also an auto-immune deficiency. The difference is, LADA is latent and slow to onset where type 1 can seem to happen over night. Although treatment of LADA is similar to type 1, being able to catch the onset in early stages could be beneficial to treatment.

Type 2 Diabetes

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the majority of people are considered to be obese. Obesity is a contributing environmental factor to type 2, however; unlike type 1 the actual cause of the diabetes is far more complicated. It is also possible to be thin and be diagnosed as type 2.

In type 2 there are a combination of factors that contribute to high blood glucose.

  • Insulin Resistance: When your red blood cells no longer respond to the insulin your body produces.
  • Your liver produces too much glucose: Our bodies are equiped to survive when food is scarce. Our livers will produce insulin when we skip meals. Sometimes a person’s liver doesn’t know when to shut off, flooding the blood stream with glucose.
  • Exhausted pancreas: After years of producing excess insulin to combat high glucose levels, your pancreas can start to wear out.

Determining which reason is the cause of your diabetes is like solving a mystery. It can even be a combination of factors. Weight loss, healthy diet, regular exercise, and medications can all help in lowering blood glucose.

I think one main thing to mention here is that people with type 2 diabetes often need to go on insulin. A lot of people are afraid of insulin and many doctors use it as a threat.

“If you don’t do better, we’re going to put you on insulin!” This was a phrase my father faced every time he went to the doctor.

It’s the wrong approach to make people feel like failures. Diabetes is a progressive illness. Even if you do a perfect job with diet and exercise, it’s very likely you will require insulin. Insulin can save your life. High blood glucose tears up your body from the inside out. It destroys your veins, nerves, eyes, kidneys, teeth, and heart. Having sugar in your blood is like having daggers in your blood.

Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a phase of type 2 before diagnosis. It’s a stage in which a person is at higher risk of developing diabetes but can still make changes to prevent the diagnosis. I also think it’s one of the most underestimated disease states and many people do not take it seriously. People with prediabetes often vehemently and defensively declare “I don’t have diabetes!” While this is technically true in terms of medical billing, it’s actually very misleading in terms of actual physiology.

Prediabetes, like diabetes, is diagnosed with blood tests. One test is called the hemoglobin A1c and is an average result of blood glucose over the span of three months. The lowest A1c for prediabetes is 5.7% and the average blood glucose is approximately 117. However, the highest A1c for prediabetes is 6.4% and the average blood glucose is around 137. Two blood draws with glucose levels of 126 or higher is considered diagnose as diabetes.. Therefore, prediabetes isn’t necessarily “borderline” at all. It’s just a term for medical billing.

I personally believe diabetes should be diagnosed in a way similar to cancer. Prediabetes is more like stage one. Once your A1c is above 7% you are in stage two, and if you require insulin it becomes stage three. I think that this would be easier for people to understand and help people take it seriously.

Gestational Diabetes

Sometimes during pregnancy women develop diabetes or prediabetes, then once the baby is born they return to a non-diabetic state.Some women require insulin during this time as well. When your pregnant with diabetes it can be worrisome, because your blood glucose also will effect your baby. Getting proper support and education for the safety of both mother and child. Having gestational diabetes will also increase a woman’s chance of being diagnosed with diabetes in the future.

Get Tested

Even if you don’t think you have diabetes get tested anyway. Even if you haven’t heard of diabetes in your family, have your doctor draw a hemoglobin A1c and blood glucose level at your next physical. Diabetes is a tricky illness. You feel bad for so long you don’t even know you feel bad. If you have any of the following symptoms get into your doctor right away:

  • Excessive Thirst
  • Excessive Urination
  • Excessive Hunger
  • Blurry Vision
  • Rapid, Unexpected Weight Loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in your hands and feet

If you have diabetes and you’re struggling for control, then try to find a Certified Diabetes Educator in your area. Having a good diabetes educator that you can relate to is like having a cheerleader on the sidelines. They can help you understand your blood glucose levels, how to properly count carbohydrates, and assist you in making the lifestyle changes you need. You don’t have to do this alone!

And if you know someone with diabetes, give them a hug and let them know you’re on there side.

You’ll often see some very common advice when it comes to writing a book: write every day. If you’re a writer, you need to set a daily word goal. Writing everyday is practice, necessary, and the only thing that keeps you from being a procrastinator.

The reality is, this isn’t reality for everyone and it isn’t necessary. This well-meaning advice can quickly turn against you into a looming wall of guilt and frustration.Writing should be treated like a job, that’s true, but just like any job it can lead to burnout. Frustration can lead to depression which can lead to a writer’s block.

Instead of writing every day, I find the better rule to examine my well being. There are days when it is perfectly fine to take a break. Forcing myself to write does not produce quality work. When I go back for a rewrite or edit, I can always tell when I was struggling. Forcing myself to work when I’m attempting to edit is especially bad.

Here are some reasons that you may need a break:

  • You haven’t slept well.
  • There is a stressful situation in your life.
  • You are recovering from illness.
  • You feel like you need a break.

Keep in mind that if your break lasts more than a few days you may need to examine the  underlying cause. Sometimes, however; you just need a break, and you need to forgive yourself for that.

Have you ever had to take a break? Leave your story in the comments.

As always, thank you for reading.