Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seven Days, Seven Migraines

Tweaking my medication for a few days in the hopes of reducing the side effects was an abysmal mistake. Although I went back to the prescribed dosage (I had tried taking less) rather quickly, it must have messed something up. In seven days, I have managed seven migraines. Today's was the worst. I had planned to do eight hours of schoolwork and about five or six hours of work on my novel. Instead, I did two hours of writing and then spent the entire rest of the day on the couch, wondering at what point a human brain finally gives up and just explodes. Even the new pain meds were not enough for this one. In fact, I'm still in a lot of pain at the moment, and still having trouble remaining upright.

It's hard not to get discouraged and frustrated. Here I am, effectively working three jobs, with multiple important responsibilities, and I'm practically turning into an invalid because of my migraines. It seems that I have two unhappy alternatives: I can either spend the entire day completely doped from the preventative meds, or I can spend the day in agony from the migraine (and also doped from the pain meds). I decided on Friday that this is no way to live a life; next week, I'm making an appointment to see a neurologist.

I admit, part of this outbreak of migraines is probably my own fault for taking on too much. Besides my 25 hour per week job at the university (which is enjoyable, but also stressful), I am also taking nine credits of grad classes, which amounts to about thirty to forty hours per week spent reading and writing. Additionally, I do about twenty hours per week on average for Lantern Hollow Press. And on top of it all, I have both a thesis and a novel to write.

I was reflecting the other day that very few people decide to write a novel at the same time as a thesis. In fact, it seems rather an insane idea, considering the stress and tremendous work required by both. To effectively work two jobs and have classes just makes the whole thing seem ridiculous . . . and yet, here it is more than half way through the semester and I've been managing to do it all, without affecting my grades. I may be crazy, but God has certainly been gracious. It's He alone that has been responsible for any success I've had. So, despite all the pain and sickness, I could certainly be worse off. Also, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Thanks for giving me a few minutes to whine. Now I think I'll try to get a little bit more writing done before collapsing into bed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dragons and Other Lantern Hollow News

Melissa Rogers, a good friend as well as quite possibly our best writer at Lantern Hollow Press has written a marvelous article about dragons (creatures dear to the hearts of both of us) on the official Lantern Hollow Writers' Blog, "While We're Paused." If you enjoy that article, be sure to read the earlier article she wrote on dragons, also on "While We're Paused".

The grand launching of the beta version of our official website is coming up very soon: November 1! Originally we planned a later launch date, but owing to growing interest in our company, our webmaster-extraordinaire, Kami, has been working overtime to get the site up. Be sure to stop by and view the site on the first. The address is

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Most Recent Lantern Hollow Posts

Here are my most recent Lantern Hollow posts, for those who are interested:

As a self-appointed grammar sheriff, I take on that rogue Apostrophe on the Lantern Hollow Writers' Blog, "While We're Paused".

Flavia and Edric run into trouble with nixies on the Lantern Hollow Character Blog.

Flavia explains how she and Edric met Nobbley, also on the Lantern Hollow Character Blog.

Renard Breen plays with the stock market on the Lantern Hollow Dark Characters' Blog.

Alicia Fenn vents about humans, also on the Lantern Hollow Dark Characters' Blog.

Be sure to take the time to enjoy the other posts while on each of the blogs. Today, Kyle discusses the rationale behind reading dark fiction on "While We're Paused". It's a very enlightening article that just may challenge a few of your previously held opinions.

Why Autumn Is My Favorite Season

Crispy cornflake leaves crunching under my feet as I step,
Yes, I believe I will walk a little further
Just to
That bright golden leaf
Over there!
The breeze caresses my hair,
Warm still,
With just the hint of cold,
It envelopes me in
Bonfires, roasted marshmallows,
Memories of


Into giant piles of red, orange, yellow, brown
I stop and smell the air, linger just a little longer,
The mountains behind me are crimson and gold,
The sunset is bolder, accented by the trees.
The wind is stronger now, deliciously colder, too.
I pull my jacket a little tighter,
And wonder if I ought to have grabbed a scarf.
The wind paints my cheeks with a blush
To match the






I pull my jacket tighter still,
And wander just a little further, glad to be alive.
Piles of plump pumpkins
Peek at me from their perches,
I pause to smile back at their toothless grins.
The wind blows again,
I throw back my head and laugh,
As it tickles me,
Chills me,
Rustles my hair.
My nose lightly numbed now,
I go inside,
And snuggle up under a soft, flannel blanket,
Sipping a hot pumpkin pie latte,
As I read that novel
That summer was just too busy for.
And outside my window,
The whistling wind

Whips about,

Whisking the last leaves

To and

To and


I take another sip,
And revel in the splendor

That is Autumn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stephanie on Auto-Pilot (Yes, I Have that Feature Installed)

This week has quite literally been a blur to me. I've been running solely on autopilot, which is, I guess, a good thing. I missed my Monday classes because I was incapable of staying awake for more than a few minutes at a time, then managed to fight sleep successfully enough to make it to work and class on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the side effects had lessened enough that I wasn't fighting sleep quite as much. Instead, I had vertigo and queasiness to fight. How fun (note the sarcasm)! Yesterday and today have been about the same as Wednesday. To be safe, I have been getting rides from my roommate and one of my close friends rather than trying to drive. That's one of my hard and fast rules: I DO NOT drive when I am under heavy medicinal influence. Getting somewhere is NEVER worth accidentally injuring or killing someone else.

Despite the heavy influence of these awful side effects, I've still managed to accomplish a fair amount. I suppose years of forcing myself to keep going with migraines or injuries has made me resourceful and tough. I've gotten all of my coursework done on time, even Monday's work (which I sent to class with my roommate). Sidhe Eyes, my novel-in-progress, has now reached eleven completed chapters and is close to 150 pages long (even longer than my theses will be). I just finished doing a massive project as work, which "the powers that be" are very happy with. And, I also managed not to embarrass myself at my Confirmation (which took place last Sunday). Huzzah!

Now, if I can just manage to pull off another stellar week of work on auto-pilot. The side effects are still going strong, and I have two book reviews, two presentations, and a frightening quiz to prepare for. I also have my writing group (Inklings III) and a Lantern Hollow Press meeting (today and tomorrow, respectively). 'Tis going to be a very un-restful weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stephanie Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I'm in quite a difficult bind at the moment. My new medication has kept me migraine free for six days now (a record - I haven't gone that long without one in ages). Unfortunately, the side effects are so miserable that they make the cure as bad as the ailment. I may not be in pain, but I possibly in something worse. Every day now is a seemingly endless battle for consciousness. I am dizzy, lethargic, queasy, at times incoherent . . . ug. It feels like I am swimming through endless curtains, inside a very long tunnel. I have to fight to create understandable sentences when I speak or write, and reading is a feat that takes ten times the effort. I read a sentence, forget what I just read, then have to read it again.

Yesterday I couldn't even make it to class. I kept falling asleep while trying to prepare, then finally gave up and sent my papers with my roommate. Today I accepted her offer of a ride to campus, realizing that I am in no condition to drive. Sheesh, I am not even in a fit condition to walk! Or sit! Or type (I keep making typos and then having to go back and fix them)!

I've opted to give myself three weeks to adjust to these new medications. If by then I still have these horrible side effects, I'm going to have to make a tough choice: multiple massive migraines every week or life inside a drugged stupor?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I, Zombie

It's been an "interesting" few months. Trying to squeeze more work into a day than the hours in a day would allow left me exhausted. The stress left me feeling raw, sort of like the way one might feel if the top layer of skin were yanked off one's entire body. Needless to say, my migraines continued in their "employee of the week" mindset, being certain to come at regular times and to complete derail me wherever possible. Migraines are very dedicated in their pursuit of torture and destruction. Having three to four migraines a week was just ridiculous, as it meant that I was never able to finish all of my reading. I found myself forced into a "winging it" method of graduate school survival. The migraines and I were embroiled in a war that they were winning. Clearly, something needed to change.

So, I went to the doctor. He put me on preventative pills. The migraines triumphed over me in glee, completely ignoring the medication that was supposed to prevent their arrival. Downtrodden and defeated, I returned to the doctor. He whipped out his magical prescription pad and supplied me with a fresh arsenal of preventative ammunition in the war against migraines. I started the new battle last night.

My new preventative medications (two different drugs, taken twice daily) are sort of like atomic warfare against my brain. The migraines are being soundly defeated, but nothing can grow in their territory now. The battlefield of my brain is seemingly barren, unable to formulate ideas or actions at the same speed previously attained. In short, I am currently a zombie.

Life as a zombie is relaxed and unstressful. In fact, I presently feel nothing. No emotion, good or bad, no need for rushing, no sense of time. I find coherency a difficult feat to attain, but it is still at least somewhat attainable. I'm hoping that these side effects wear off so that my brain can resume normal functions, but for the moment, I am strangely content with my floating feeling and my lack of emotion. It's sort of like hibernation after a long period of no rest at all.

Given the choice between zombie-hood and constant migraine warfare, I am honestly not sure which I would prefer to have permanently. With luck, my body and brain will adjust to these new medications and the migraines will bid a bitter adieu. If not, I suppose I'll pick zombie-hood for the time being. I may be functioning at a much lower capacity, but at least I am free of agonizing pain and nausea.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two More Days Make All the Difference

My quality of life has improved dramatically. How so? By a simple matter of changing my work schedule.

You see, initially, in my very stupid mind, it made sense to spend Monday and Tuesday working long shifts followed by class. "More gas efficient," I explained to detractors, convinced that the few cents worth of gas that I saved each week were somehow worth the debilitating exhaustion, torturous stress, and ever-present feeling of impending doom. Obviously, I was somewhat mistaken. The realization of my mistake finally beat its way into my beleaguered mind after a particularly memorable Sunday on which I was so beset by stress that I collapsed in bed with a massive migraine and thus accomplished nothing.

It occurred to me that three to four migraines a week, very little sleep, and frequent chest pains were probably not healthy and were most likely going to eventually start affecting my GPA. So, I finally did what I should have done all along and changed my work hours. Now, instead of only have five days of the week in which I can get homework done, I have time on all seven days in which I can work. What freedom, what calmness I feel now!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Few Words from Sayers

I had to share a fantastic quote from my favorite writer (and role model), the legendary Dorothy Sayers:

“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”
"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"