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fears

Shingles

There is no other title I can give to today’s post. I am in my early fifties, and I have the Zoster Virus, which gives us Shingles. I knew I was at risk; I had Chicken Pox as a kid, the Virus lays dormant, I think at the base of the spine, waiting until it can find the most inconvenient time to emerge. It’s a virus which attacks the nervous system, so the pain is a real deep, nerve pain. The lovely part of it is the awesome rash which appears; It can show up on your torso or your face, usually only on one side, or the other. Mine is on my left torso, down to my hip and butt.

Pain, we’re no stranger to pain down here at The Rusty Prose. The pain is intense, exquisite and all encompassing. Yes, Shingles is inclusive, pain everywhere for everybody. I can’t get comfortable; I can’t sit, I can’t lay down, I can’t stand, and I manage to sleep in chunks of time. I have nerve blockers, which are different than opioids, but they have side effects, for me, I am now flat out tired all the time. I am used to having an underlying fatigue and constant discomfort from my Cancer ordeal, but this is a horse of another colour, a different animal all together. Pain, oh pain. Odes have been written about pain, I think I have another blog post devoted to it, either posted or in a rough draft somewhere.

I’m having a hard time focusing on my tasks at hand, such as writing, blogging, and general upkeep around the place. I am on social media; I think some of my posts were misleading, and some people misunderstood some things I posted or my intent and so some drama ensued, not at all how I like to roll. But, such is life. I had to go about town yesterday for a Dr. Appointment then do a blood test; later I was talking to someone in the parking lot and soon I realized I was almost incoherent. Not quite but getting close to it. This is not a good place to be, unable to focus, unable to communicate properly and besmirching my own reputation online all because my health and my meds have me distracted.

I’ve been off work for one week and today is the first day I’ve had to myself, I don’t need to leave the house so I am devoting some time to my ignored blog. So sorry bloggy woggy, I’ve been neglecting you. I did a thirty day blog challenge which ended two weeks ago, then I took an intentional few days off, was about to get back into it when I got the Shingles. I think it comes on for a week or two before the virus starts to do the nasty on your nervous system; I was noticing something was not quite right, but I was so focus on my thirty day blog challenge that I though I was just over working myself.

I think I have a couple more weeks of this, but now that I’m home, and I am getting used to the pain et al, it’s time to put my focus back to my blog, and to my writing in general. As well as maybe get some housework done and get started or at least prep for a new hobby. I posted something earlier about how writing was a hobby, but now that I am aiming to make writing my side hustle I need a hobby, so I’m looking into model rail. Bu first and foremost, I really need to focus on my health and well being.

Like that old saying goes, if you don’t have your health…

One Lost haiku

I wrote a Haiku this morning, I wrote it on my phone then posted it on Twitter, and yet there is no trace of it on my phone or in my Twitter feed.

I am also working on an actual blog; I know this poor blog of mine has been neglected as of late, but we are back in the saddle, out here at The Rusty Prose.

Here, for a moment,
Eroded from memory;
Ice crystals, or love.

Fears

Phobias, oh I have a few, I’ve had them since I was a child. The four main phobias that I can think of right off the top of my head are, in no particular order: Nyctophobia, Acrophobia, Arachnophobia, Trypophobia, Agoraphobia and Achievemephobia. Oh, I said four, and there are six. I wonder if I have others that I haven’t discovered, or realized, yet. I’ve often wondered if it’s all just one big phobia, but science tells me they’re all separate. I had anxiety growing up, and so I’ve thought it was all related to that. I think Cancer and Chemo have cured me of my anxiety, or it manifests itself different now.

I’ve rid myself of two phobias; the Nyctophobia, I think just by simply growing up; age and wisdom. The other phobia, the Arachnophobia, I don’t have that anymore. We had a friend, in high school, who had it real bad, which made me realize that mine wasn’t anywhere near what her level of fear was. I think I was finally cured one day at a friends house, after school, we sat on the couch together watching a Nat Geo special on spiders; my friend said she thought they looked awesome, I was soon mesmerized by the beauty and complexity of these spiders. Not to mention, my friend smelled real nice, was warm sitting next to me, and well, you know, soon I was loving spiders more than I thought I ever would.

I have Trypophobia real bad, I don’t like to talk about it or describe it. Okay, its a fear of clusters, or irregular patterns of holes or bumps. Oh yuck, I said it. Yep, that’s a weird one I know, but there it is. It is a phobia, but I think there’s a leaning towards calling it a biological revulsion.

I knew a girl who had such a deep seeded fear of clowns, she could not stand to hear that word spoken out loud. Not even the word, Assclown.

I am working towards pushing myself through the Achievemephobia, that is a tough one, as they all are. But it is a very important one that I need to get through, or at the very least learn how to cope. I am going to meet this one head on any day now.

I still have the acrophobia, and yet I go wall climbing. Yay me! We’re quite proud of ourselves out here at The Rusty Prose for that one. I still have the phobia, but I am able to work through it. My climbing partner is quite patient and understanding. It’s a real phobia, it’s the first one that I recall having. In a northern part of the city, where I grew up, there was a mountain pass, well, it was an extremely high span at the mouth of a large river. I dreaded having to drive over it. My father ridiculed me for asking if they could lower the bridge so it wasn’t so high up.

I still have the Agoraphobia, I think it’s getting worse as I am get older, my Cancer ordeal  didn’t help matters in that regard, it left me feeling quite vulnerable; the pain, the weight loss, the act of dying but not actually dying, and the intense chemo brain left me feeling that I’d rather be alone, more so than ever in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cower in fear while I’m out in public. Not at all. I’m actually an extroverted introvert and can be quite out going when I need to be, however, I really don’t like crowds of people.

For myself, I am all about self improvement. I have over come a couple fears, and learned to live, well enough, with a couple more.

Interaction

I am an extroverted introvert, I love how that sounds, and what that means is, I am outgoing, can be quite gregarious, can address a crowd, even perform live in one capacity or another, but for a limited time only. I turn into a pumpkin quite early, I need to be away from people. Maybe not all people, the company of one or two more suits me just fine, any more than three can get under my skin. Even three other people is pushing it; I need to be alone for a while to recharge my batteries, or with someone who is patient enough to understand.

I have always been that way, since I was a child, I remember being in large groups of kids and not wanting to be the focus of attention, especially when it came to girls. My parents didn’t want to hear about it, my grandmother, a nurse, picked up on it. One fine day, as a seven year old, I asked her why everybody stares at me, people in cars all look at me as I would walk down the street, she told me to ignore them and to look the other way. I think she picked up on the fact that I’m also agoraphobic, which is another story all together.

I’m so old, I’m from a time when us children would got outside and play on our own or would walk for a mile to get to a friends house. Mostly I would just walk for a mile to nowhere, too many times I’d get to a friends house and there would already be half a dozen people there.

I like conversing with people on a higher level than simple small talk, i.e., the weather, sports scores etc. I find, if I try to go even just a touch deeper than the weather, say politics, business, or finance, most people don’t want to hear about it, so I am left making small talk with a large group of people in most of my day to day interactions either at work, or at school. It’s easy enough to find people with whom I can have a more meaningful connection with, but they don’t all understand the hidden introvert.

I guess that’s the key right there, the introversion is mostly hidden and disguised, and so people are quickly blindsided by an extroverted person shutting down in an instant for seemingly no reason whatsoever. It took me several years for me to realize I was doing that to people, I’m sure I’ve hurt a lot of my friends, acquaintances, and lovers that way. Conversely I’ve been hurt by introverts who don’t understand my extroversion.

It’s not that I don’t like people, though I may have uttered that phrase a number of times in my life, its more that I need to be alone for certain periods of time. I feel, post cancer and chemo, that it’s getting worse. There are other factors involved, those, and the cancer, will be further expanded upon in future blog posts, which you can always read here, at The Rusty Prose. So don’t be offended if one minute, I’m acting like your best friend in the whole wide world and the next minute, I’m contemplating being alone, reading, writing or watching a film or listening to music; you’re more than welcome to come along, just don’t ask me to go out to play with you and all your friends.

A Writer’s life

There is a hashtag, #writerslife, I feel confident enough to use on occasion. Just as everyone is unique, so too, are writers. My #writerslife may differ completely from others. I’m sure Rowling and King have much different lives than York or Payerely, whose lives differ completely from mine. Just as we all have unique experiences, we also have shared experiences. Fears, trepidation’s, as well as times of joy and elation. I use #writerslife, as well as other writers and bloggers hashtags, but I am now living the life, rather than just using the hashtag.

I may be living a writers life, but it’s also a blue collar workers life, a single mans life, and a post Cancer patients life. I think, in this case, a writers life can mean I have to be a writer, but I have to eat, sleep in clean linen, and I have the desire to be covered, cozy and warm, in the cold, wet months so therefore I need to work full time and cram writing into every available minute. And yes, we are prone to run on sentences here at the Rusty Prose. It’s a writers life, in that, in order to be a writer I need to put in the extra effort tantamount to having two jobs.

Another aspect of #writerslife, that I am experiencing, is the self doubt, the subjective view, the thoughts of complete and utter failure. Thoughts of, am I doing the right thing, is this crap, will people ridicule me for this? Don’t worry folks, I’m not being maudlin, these are just fleeting thoughts I’ve had, as I work on ideas; keeps me on my toes in terms of quality, quality of over quantity. I’m not phishing for sympathy, I believe many writers, many of whom are published and accomplished, have had similar thoughts at times.

I am putting words down on paper, into my computer, and onto my blog. I am constantly thinking of my works in progress, though many of them are in one form of limbo or another. I am devoting time on a daily basis to write, I get up earlier and I go to bed later. Right now I am mainly focused on this blog, but have plans to get my other stories up and running, hopefully sooner than later, but I try not to talk about it until I am actually working on them.

Life also has to go on, I have to take breaks, I have to watch my physical health as well as my mental health. I have issues with fatigue as well as insomnia; which, contrary to popular belief, are not related. I may get tired from the insomnia, but the fatigue is something else all together. My non-writerly job takes up a lot of my time and energy, as does my writing, so I try to take it easy when I can, it’s always good to stop and smell the roses, then sit and write a poem about them.

Nostalgia

Have you escaped from your past? I’ve been able to hide from mine, but there is no escape, no statute of limitations. Where are the people you have hurt, where are the people who have hurt you? Have they escaped their past, are they looking for you? What is inescapable? I’ve reunited with people, from my past, who have not at all been able to escape their past. As a matter of fact, though I do get nostalgic, I think I have moved beyond my past, but I know it lurks around behind me, somewhere.

I push myself when I am tired, I gain some ground. I have phobia’s, but as an extroverted introvert I do my best to be intrepid, within my physical means, and, post Cancer, I may not care so much any more about phobia’s. I am wondering if that is what this is all about, Cancer. Cancer changed me to a degree or two, there is no denying that fact. My Chemo treatments left a mark, but we do our best and we march forth, we carry on, as they say. We all tire in our own ways, I push my self, not to exhaustion, but through the tired.

I look at the trees, I long for the days of quiet solitude, days when there were more trees than people, no light or noise pollution, the smell of horses in the air. I only dream of fruitful and prosperous times. I am obviously not adverse to hardship, I just do not want my pipe dreams to be rife with strife. In my current state, I would most likely stare at the trees as I either starve to death, or I keep a large animal from starving to death. Am I nostalgic for Mother Nature?

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I went home, had a beer, dialed up some music, some of the ‘get together’ party music from my past, the way way back time, and had a good cry. A few beers, some eclectic obscure music, and memories of all my rather enlightened cohorts, nostalgia. Many of whom were dead, married, disappeared, incarcerated, or otherwise. I was already nostalgic, but the spectre of death, ones life flashing before ones eyes, was quite the event. A few more beers were in order.

Looking back on my life, I, at times, had a lot of fun, and, at times, I did did not.

I notice, when people say they’d like to go back to a certain time period, they tend pick some idealistic, or ideal, epoch, but they might not take into consideration that the hard times were usually austere times, not so much fun. I have an ideal time, and maybe a few settings, but I’ll save those for my pipe dreams.

Music, music in general, always takes me back. I don’t need, or even want a time machine, although that would be a riot unto itself. While physically going back in time has its appeal, I do like our ‘now time,’ our current present tense, with instant access to any music I love, any time I want, I use that as my time machine, music feeds and nourishes my nostalgia.

Humping your Hot Dragon

Okay, here is another gem I found in my files, I hadn’t dated it but it seems like I wrote this only a few months after my final chemotherapy treatment. I was obviously still in pain and reeling from the side effects of the chemo. Once again I have no recollection of writing this, so, without further ado, here it is in it’s raw form. Here at The Rusty prose, we’re unsure where I was going with this, perhaps I’ll revisit this and turn this into something awesome to read.

 

Humping your Hot Dragon

Hot, it was so hot. He picked up the Dragon which immediately set about blowing balls of fire before them. The dragon was so sick but refused to admit so. They had set out early in the morning to avoid the heat, but the birds had warned the sun so the sun had come up earlier that day and was none too happy about the birds waking it up so early. He had been warned about his sick dragon, but as he usually did when people told him about his sick dragon he just laughed it off.

He had, as was his usual, awoken so early as to be the one to waken the neighbourhood. His neighbours had oft complained that while he liked to get up early, the entire neighbourhood did not share his enthusiasm for his hobby of choice. This morning he awoke with an unusual fear; he had been having the oddest dream about trying to line up two or three islands in an archipelago, but they wouldn’t line up and one of them erupted as in a volcanoes creating a fourth island which still wouldn’t line up properly. He stopped trying to interpret his dream, realizing that the gist of his dream seemed to tell him he was frustrated by something.

He was now a recluse, but I suppose by society’s standards he was a pariah, due to the sick dragon. He didn’t even know he had a dragon, some people tried to point it out to him be he was too preoccupied. He tended to be able to only have on single focus, no multi-tasking for this guy.

When confronted by the yoga team, the dragon changed colour and set about inhaling as much air as possible. Dragons at filtering out the oxygen and hydrogen to use for its flame throwers. The battles were epic, some raging for years, entering different time zones as well as different planes of this world.

All too soon he lost track of the time, this particular trek the they had encountered more of the yoga people, who seemed to be on their side. The anti-yoga people had converged on them and now were using the dragon against him. The heat from the dragon was unbearable, so focused to a fine point as though the dragon was enjoying itself. The yoga crowd had jumped on him and were now trying to pull his head so down and forward so as to be standing with his feet on his own head.

This was a problem he thought would never be solved. It was in his nature to do things the wrong way. The heat had cooled off; Mother Nature abated the wars with her cool marine air. The dragon, now cured, healed and cooled was soon gone, leaving the young man to clean up the mess, explain everything to the authorities, as well as go back to his job.

An Ordeal I would not Wish upon my worst Enemy

I have battled Cancer, I’ve endured Chemotherapy and I’ve suffered the indignities of Surgery and yet I have seen first hand just how fortunate I was to be dealing with my particular ordeal. Cancer was a formidable foe to be certain, warranting the battle of a lifetime. Chemotherapy was an out-worldly experience, one that I would never, ever want to go through again in this lifetime; I found the experience to be horrifying, an encounter which exposed me to be the coward that I am. I had Surgery to reconstruct the humerus on my (left) dominant arm after a cancerous tumor ate into the bone resulting in a fracture. Several horrible elements combined for one hell of an ordeal, though I know for certain many others faced even more horrendous situations and they have a faced it with grace, courage and dignity in their own ways.

One year prior to these events, among other things, I had rekindled my passion for writing and had taken up jotting down notes and ideas on a semi-regular basis. I kept it as a hobby, more or less, writing thoughts and ideas, a little more earnest as time went on, making sure I filled any spare time I had with writing. Soon I was writing on a regular basis, albeit for limited time, again mostly thoughts and ideas, and then short story ideas, and some script and stage play ideas. I submitted a short story based on an actual event, then a short stage play, then a fictional short story, none of which were accepted. I felt as though I was getting somewhere with my writing hobby and was looking for creative writing courses when disaster struck, I broke my writing arm and discovered I had Cancer which turned my life upside down for several years.

I was in no state to write, not of mind or body. Six months after the fracture we got smartphones and so that enabled me to start jotting down ideas, all with my right thumb. When, after a fashion, I could prop myself up I was able to write on paper, again with my non-dominant arm. Not an easy feat, to start to write with ones non-dominant arm, try it for a while. I had the added bonus of dealing with the side effects of the Chemotherapy which gave me a temporary cognitive dysfunction to muddle through. Google ‘Chemo brain’ (or maybe I can link it) for a better idea of what that is, or wait a while because I know I’ll have a whole blog post devoted to chemo brain. It took me well over one full year before I was able to even attempt to write with my left arm again, and I am sure my recovery sped up after that.

Though I survived I don’t like that term, ‘Survivor’ or ‘he was a fighter’, somehow, to me, that implies the poor unfortunate souls who succumbed to this horrid disease were not putting in the same effort; we are all different, our Cancers and treatments differ from person to person. Yes, I survived, a victory for me, but it was a Pyrrhic victory

Climbing the Walls

A Cancerous tumour ate into my Humerus bone causing it to break. This was many years ago, that aspect is well behind me know. I had surgery, there are now two steel plates, several pins, and numerous screws embedded into my Humerus. I underwent a few years of therapy to get my arm back into functionality. I can now make a fist and raise it over my head in triumph.

I spent several months doing yoga. I did the Bikram’s hot yoga. They have several challenges to get people to practice yoga on a daily basis. I took the one hundred day challenge, well, I went one hundred and one days. It’s quite the feat even for a healthy individual. That three months of daily hot yoga practice did wonders for my body, my psyche, and my arm.

After the one hundred day challenge I hit the pool and gym with a personal trainer. We worked together to get my entire body back into shape and to get used to moving around doing different types of exercises. The yoga was fantastic, it also got me moving, worked on my endurance etc, but it’s good to change things up for your mind and body to adapt to new situations. Working with a personal trainer was also beneficial to my over all rehabilitation programme. All the while I was also going through physiotherapy.

During my ordeal, while I was dreaming of being able to become left handed again, to regain the use of my left arm, and to get back to normal I had considered adding rock climbing to my then future rehabilitation programme. I had a bigger, extended vision of my rehab than the people in my life at that time and was told to take it one thing at a time; obviously we do need to take these things slow and one step at a time, but I like to plan ahead. As I was planning and scheming, a local high school opened a climbing gym. It was fate yelling at me loud and clear.

So, a few years later after Chemo, no more Cancer, all healed up, yoga’d and all rehabed, and with my strength and energy building up I took up wall climbing. I love it, it’s fantastic. I’ve been at it for a couple years, I only do it part time as it really takes up a lot of my strength and energy. Yes, it does add strength and energy, but I need to keep it low and slow to give my body time to adapt. There are teen clubs in there, and, in watching them, I’ve gained so much knowledge and have improved greatly. I have a fantastic climbing partner but he’s only available at certain times; he has kids and a life.

Once again we are quite pleased with ourselves here at The Rusty Prose. On day my arm almost falls off, the next thing I know I’m laid up for a long period of time, and now I’m pulling myself up a wall with said arm. Oh, by the way, did I mention my crippling Acrophobia? that’s right fans, I also suffer, and I do suffer, from fear of heights. it’s all about mind over matter. My body doesn’t seem to mind that I’m climbing a wall with an arm that had previously come loose, and my brain doesn’t seem to mind that I willfully clamber twenty feet up into the air. Twenty feet may not seem like much to you, but it’s plenty enough for me. I’ve faced my fears and my so called disability and have conquered them.

I didn’t actually conquer my fear of heights, it’s still there, I’ve found a way to work with it and around it. Believe me, there are moments up on the wall when I freeze up, or, at the very least, question my sanity. I’m not disabled, but my arm sits funny and I don’t have 100% mobility, but my strength is returning. I don’t consider it a disability, especially once I get to the climbing gym. I can’t have a bad day at the climbing gym, the fact that I’m using that arm to pull myself up a wall is quite the victory for me.