W.O.L.F. Sector
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

News Archive for October 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Past 6 Months

Written by Kodi Wolf at 7:46 AM

I know, it's been far too long since I updated this blog. Sorry about that.

Here's the summary of my life since my last post (way back in April):

I had an awesome month of writing in April, and May was pretty good, too.

In June, I was caught up with preparing to go on vacation at the beach to spend a week with one of my sisters and her family. I was also working on my jewelry design business and taking care of the details leading up to my wife's imminent cataract surgery, which had both of us a bit on edge.

July was the actual cataract surgery. Thankfully, everything went well and I was able to get back into my writing groove.

Then August hit and I kind of felt like my life went to hell. I messed up my neck, which was causing some really funky sensations in my head (waves of tingles and then heat would crawl up the back of my skull and around to my temples). The sensations reminded me of what it feels like just before I'm about to pass out and basically made me feel like I was going crazy. I went to my doctor and he confirmed I was probably experiencing nerve problems because of my neck, so he recommended I see my chiropractor. I started seeing my chiropractor every few days, started doing traction on my neck a couple times a day, along with ice, my wife was kind enough to give me a massage every few days, and I tried to lay down and relax as much as possible (meaning no being on the computer and no holding a book to read, which pretty much left me with just watching TV, which is not how I like to spend my active time).

Then my gut got in on the action and I started feeling like I was going to pass out whenever I needed to have a bowel movement (sorry if that's TMI, but this is my life). I've experienced that before when I had gastroenteritis with diarrhea and vomiting, but this was just during my normal day. It made going to the bathroom feel like a life-or-death experience rather than something that just takes a few minutes and you're on your way. I also started having these episodes of feeling hot all of a sudden and sweating profusely, usually either right after I'd eaten or during, which are usually signs that I'm having a hypoglycemic episode and need to eat something, which didn't make any sense since I'd just eaten or was trying to eat.

By the middle of September, between the ice/traction/massage/resting regimen and my chiropractor, my neck was doing better, so I was able to get back to writing a little more.

I also did a little research online regarding my symptoms and found a bunch of other people talking about having similar issues. From what I've been able to piece together, it all seems to be related to the vagus nerve, which controls a bunch of different, seemingly unrelated, things in your body, including:

  • heartrate - I have intermittent PVCs (premature ventricular contraction), which causes me to feel like I've lost a breath when my heart double beats or skips a beat

  • gastrointestinal peristalsis (wavelike muscle contractions that move the food through the digestive tract) - I have chronic constipation and cramping

  • stimulates your stomach to secrete acid - I have acid reflux

  • sweating - I drip sweat when I'm about to faint or during hypoglycemic episodes, and now apparently for no particular reason (there's a reason, I just don't know what's triggered my vagus nerve during those events)

  • fainting/dizziness - I faint when I'm nauseous or constipated

  • The vagus nerve is also activated by emotional stress, which can lead to fainting - I have lots of anxiety

Unfortunately, there isn't a 'vagus nerve syndrome' diagnosis or therapy as far as I know, but finding this information has made me feel a little less crazy (for a while there, I felt like I was the only one who seemed to go into crisis every time I needed to use the restroom). Even if the symptoms still suck, at least I can tell myself I have a reasonably good explanation for what's going on rather than my mind coming up with wild theories, like brain cancer or something (when I feel like my world is crashing all around me, having that kind of anchor is a lifesaver).

I also found a few tips on ways to lessen some of the symptoms, which has been helping. In general, eat slower; take smaller bites; use deep breathing/calming exercises; and lay down when I need to in order to let the symptoms pass, even if it takes several hours, rather than trying to "push on through." I also perform what's called a vagal maneuver. There are several, but the one I use basically involves trying to push with your stomach while you hold your breath for a few moments and then breathe out; it seems to help anyway.

As for October, I've felt sort of back to normal, as long as I keep up with the traction and ice and don't spend too long on the computer too many days in a row (one or two excessive days can be mitigated by staying off for several days). I've been writing in my notebooks more, rather than sitting at the computer, and I've been trying to be wiser about how I use my time, especially on the computer. I can't just sit there and research aimlessly (well, it's not really aimless, but it is exceedingly easy to get sidetracked). And while I'm doing traction, I use the time to think about my stories and brainstorm ideas.

Though hurting my neck and having all these other symptoms take center stage has sucked, it's actually made me take more time for myself and my writing. I've felt more focused in some respects. My time has become very precious to me, so I haven't wanted to put my energy into anything else, which is why this blog has been so neglected. If it's a choice between working on a story or composing a blog post, the story is much more likely to win.

I am sorry about that (sort of), but the truth is, if I don't have any particular news, it's unlikely I'll take the time and energy to post anything here, at least for the time being. I have, however, been posting progress reports every couple weeks regarding what stories I'm working on, so you can assume I'm mostly okay if there's a dozen updates posted by the end of each month (less than that and it's probably been a sucky month).

Well, I'm going to take care of myself and get off the computer now and get back to working on Lights of Life.

I hope you have a wonderful Halloween. :)