I spent Monday on the mountain showing our neighbor where to dig for the electric lines to the power pole and the drainage pipes to the septic tank. He also pulled up the stakes that we used to secure our big shed to the ground.
I was able to spend the rest of the week preparing for a cancer screening. Non-specific cancers run on one side of my family, with five out of eight of my dad’s siblings having contracted the disease, so I try to be conscientious about my health. I quit smoking cigarettes thirty years ago, and I’m one of those ex-smokers that can’t stand the smell of the nasty things.
I got a bit of a health scare when I got a new doc earlier this year. Blood tests showed that I was diabetic, had high blood pressure, and my cholesterol was high in all the wrong ways—in other words, a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen. I decided some changes were in order. I quit my staple diet of a large cup of high-fat, sugary coffee, and one meal a day followed by salty junk food, followed by sweet junk food, followed by salty, followed by … you get the picture. I switched to raw vegetables with ranch dressing, nuts with dried fruit, and (plain-ish) popcorn, lots of popcorn. I quit drinking (I know, no fun but necessary for the moment). I cut down on the red meat and added more green veggies and vegetable protein to my diet. I started letting my dog walk me around the block every morning (we walk close to a mile a day, more if we’re on the mountain).
So far, the change in habits is working. I’m down seventeen pounds, and my blood sugar and blood pressure are down toward my normal range. I still have work to do, but I’m making serious progress toward getting last year’s trauma out of my system. I feel I can begin looking forward to what’s coming instead of worrying so much about my health.
With all that happened in the last three months of 2020, I lost my anchor and felt adrift in a sea of grief. I don’t think I realized how much I’ve been grieving until recently. My fiction writing has been suffering because I’ve felt so lost. I miss the characters that have poked and prodded me along these last few years. While the characters are largely silent for the moment, the worlds of their stories keep calling me. Time marches forward as it is wont to do.
One thing is helping with my writing: I am now involved in an online Dungeons & Dragons pen and paper game with the writing/gaming group I’ve been with for the last almost eight years. The character I created is fun to play. She is impulsive and has no qualms about running off to fix her mistakes or find more information. Our group plays once a week for three hours. It’s not much time, but it’s what I need right now. With luck, my little dynamo will help drag me out of the writing doldrums.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the cancer screen came back negative.