Hunt for The Zodiac

I’ve mentioned my husband and I have been watching this show.  It does appear that some part of the Z340 cipher, the hardest Zodiac code ever sent has been cracked and the reasons it hasn’t been cracked before now suddenly make a ton of sense.

Zodiac literally needed an editor, like K Smith Proofs.  If you see his original notes to the media, they are riddled with some really horrific spelling errors, worse than anything I could do, even on Lyrica.  There are times I look at them and wonder if he is phonetically spelling the words.

So misspell a bunch of words and then put it into a code and have someone break it… Even giving them the key is going to make them scratch their heads.  His inability to spell has always made me feel better about my own spelling errors.  And while most codebreakers have considered they might not be in English, I don’t think any of them have considered the fact that Zodiac was awful at spelling.

So, they revealed the code tonight on the TV show and it actually sounds like Zodiac.  There is also little doubt that Hodel will be writing another book about why his father was Zodiac.  I buy George Hodel as the Black Dahlia killer, but I don’t buy him as Zodiac.

Oh and let the conspiracy seekers at it… because Zodiac seems to have put the name Richard Nixon in the Z340 cipher.  Remember how I discussed the theory that Zodiac was protected from on high because he had shot President Kennedy…  Well, the cipher where he said he revealed his name contains the name Richard Nixon.

I don’t think that’s really Zodiac’s name, I think it was one of his little giggle moments because he does seem to have had a sense of humor, in a creepy serial killer kind of way.  The solution for the Z340 sounds like Zodiac.  It also contains a lot of different elements going on.  First, there’s the terrible spelling that Zodiac was kind of known for.  Then there’s the amatuer code breaking move of having letters in the cipher stand for themselves, so an E might still be an E.  Or an L might still be an L.  It also isn’t consistent.  So while E might stand for E here, a different symbol might stand for E in the same word.

It’s only the first 8 lines, but it’s the best crack in it yet.  After those initial lines, the key makes it gibberish.  A couple of things could be going on here.  He may have used a completely different key to encode the next lines or he may have gotten bored and created gibberish or he may have used a combination of all his codes, some of them still not broken to complete these lines and better hide his name and since the first part contains multiple symbols standing in for the same letter, that could be a real problem to break.

The good news is we sorta understand how Zodiak talks.  He uses the words kill and gun a lot when he writes his letters, just like I use the word actually a lot.  So if I were to create a cipher based on something I had written, the word actually would probably show up at least once, probably twice and it has one of those cryptography clues that codebreakers love: the double L, just like kill.  If you ever do a cryptogram, they recommend you start with double letters because the choices are limited in English, the most common are EE, SS, TT, LL… MM, NN, OO, PP, follow behind those.  BB, CC, ZZ, are among the least common, but still happen.  However, you can rule out a lot of words because of double letters.  Several of the most common words in the English language do not have double letters.

We also know that he loves the Mikado.  He direct quoted several lines of it in a letter and referenced it several other times.  Think about quotes you use, where do they come from?  Mine tend to come from Sherlock Holmes stories and Edgar Allen Poe because these are among my favorite books.  If I’m quoting movies, a lot of times, it’s a Predator movie, simply because I love those movies.

Using a combination of profiler tools and an understanding of language, we know more about Zodiac than we think we did.

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My Favorite Conspiracy Theory

I’m not a huge fan of conspiracy theories.  I know conspiracies really do happen.  However, once you go down one conspiracy rabbit hole, they all look like conspiracy rabbit holes and it can lead to some pretty dark places.

And once you buy into a few, everything begins to look like a conspiracy.  However, I was introduced to a knew one recently that made me smile.

For those that don’t know, I loosely based Patterson off of Zodiac.  They don’t share a method of killing, but Patterson is how I think Zodiac would look today, with the exception of being shorter than the descriptions of Zodiac.  Plus, Patterson is flexible in how he kills, why he kills, and his victim preferences, like Zodiac.

Zodiac was an NSA code breaker (which would actually fit) and was hired to kill JFK, that’s why he wasn’t caught.  Those on high didn’t want him caught because they were afraid he would spill the beans over JFK’s assassination.  And since then, he has been in hiding.

It’s an interesting theory, but it has some holes in it, like how an NSA code breaker became decent enough with a sniper’s rifle to kill the President without being seen.  The theory hinges on the idea that Johnson and Congress had JFK killed because he refused to launch nuclear missiles at the Soviet union and Cuba after the Bay of Pigs debacle… I’d call it an invasion, but that makes it sound more organized than it was, which is why our elite operatives were captured and killed.

The other problem I have with conspiracies is that they require a lot of people to keep a secret.  I don’t know about anybody else, but sometimes, I have trouble not telling my best friend what I got her for a present.  I sent her a Christmas present this year that I am nervous she isn’t going to like.  It arrives today, so the suspense will end and I’ll know… It’s something I would use and I liked it.  So I think she will, but the not knowing for sure is just murder.  She got me awesome Bigfoot pajamas and non slip skunk socks… which she had trouble keeping a secret from me.  Then when I opened it and got a strange look, she thought I hated it.  But the truth was I was just surprised they were Skunk socks and not armadillo non-slip socks, because that is a running joke and has been since I wrote The Dysfunctional Honeymoon and made Nadine Daniels afraid of armadillos.

People involved in conspiracies have to be really good at keeping secrets.  They can’t get drunk at parties.  They can’t take opiates.  They can’t want to tell their wives or bestie or a coworker that annoys the snot out of them, just to scare them away…

Which for the record is how the American Public found out about the MK Ultra experiments, someone got drunk at a party.  It ruined a lot of lives, I mean a lot of lives and the people involved were just keeping their mouths shut until one of them got drunk at a party and blabbed.  And while I believe people are really good at covering up things that negatively impact them personally and will lie to keep the secret, I think generally, people just aren’t good secret keepers.

Now, if Zodiac is still alive and he wants to mess with everybody, he’d send a Cipher to History Channel while they are airing the latest documentary on him The Hunt for the Zodiac.  Because that’s what he does.

Where was I with this post before I got distracted by awesome skunk socks?  Oh yes, Zodiac killed JFK and the government is hiding him to protect the secret.  It’s a fun theory, but it suffers from some problems, like this guy would be the modern day equivalent of The Man in the Iron Mask types of problems.  The wind just knocked over one of our outdoor trash cans, I’m working in the garage, and it made me jump about six feet into the air, not because of Zodiac, but because Conspiracy theories in general can be scary and I find the history behind the Man in the Iron Mask to be creepy as hell.  See, I do have a small startle reflex…  Most people think I don’t based on the books I write, but I do.

Okay, so this post has become seriously derailed by socks and secrets and trash cans being knocked over by the wind… So I’ll end it.  But this is a good visual aid as to how my mind works differently on Lyrica.  I’ve always been mildly distractible, but never this bad until now.  Which is why I continue to write slowly and torture my editor by sending her a chapter or half a chapter at a time to make sure I know what I’m still talking about.  Now, Lyrica could be a  mind control drug.

The Real Problem With Marie Antoinette

Contrary to what you learned in History classes in the US, Marie Antoinette never said “let them eat cake” in response to starving French peasants not having bread.  However, she should have, because it would have proven she was an idiot not just a greedy no-good foreigner.

And therein lies the real problem with Marie Antoinette.  Maria came from the Austrian Empire.  She spoke Austrian which is similar to German.  Married at 14 for political alliances, the young Queen hated King Louis.  She probably liked French peasants more than her husband, which I understand since Kings aren’t known for their awesome husband skills.

Unfortunately, she also hated France.  A lot.  So much so that she refused to learn French, insisting that members of the court learn Austrian instead.  And quite sadly, she wasn’t an idiot, which probably would have served her better in both court and with the French people.

Even the nobles were calling for her head by the time the revolution in France kicked off because as much as she hated them, they hated her back.

Then there was the matter of Marie Antoinette’s upbringing.  France had a lot of power, especially religious power, but it did not have the money of the Austrian empire, which is why she is reviled by history.

Marie believed that her status as a member of the Austrian empire would silence any of her critics, after all, her family had more money than all of France.  It didn’t because she was naive in her thinking.  She was still young at the time.  And the French did not always understand how it worked, which didn’t help.

Marie Antoinette was used to the finer things in life, much finer things in life.  Despite her marriage to Louis and France, her parents would still occasionally send her money because their daughter deserved certain things and Louis and France weren’t providing them.

It is true that she nearly bankrupted the monarchy with her expenditures which were beyond excessive.  She also liked to flaunt all her new and pretty things – still young and naive and living in a country where she couldn’t understand anything anyone said to her.

So when her parents sent her money to buy the extravagant things she wanted and they felt she needed, she didn’t pop that money into France’s coffers and pay for it out of there, which might have saved her head.  Instead, she just bought the new stuff and said that the people of France loved her so much they wanted her to have these things.

Somehow, she failed to realize that the people of France were starving to death – possibly due to the language barrier – and actually didn’t give a rat’s ass what Marie Antoinette thought she had to have, they just saw her extravagant spending and blamed her for their starvation… Which in their defense, was partly true…

But that’s because she was a foreigner.  They didn’t raise a fuss over Louis’s extreme spending at first, because he was a French king and not some Austrian ingrate living in their country on their dime.

If Marie and Louis had stepped outside the palace and announced that “Hey, her parents are helping pay for Versailles,” they might have kept their heads, although probably not because by then, everyone hated the two monarchs.  Also, it’s possible that Marie, Louis and infant Louis might have kept their heads, if they had left France and returned to Austria when things got to the breaking point.  The offer was made by Marie’s family.  They chose to ignore it, saying the people loved them… Maybe Louis also didn’t speak French.  Because when Marie wasn’t building expensive palaces and buying dresses embroidered with gold, the people didn’t actually care about her or Louis.  They were more focused on the nobles that were sucking them dry.

The country was happy when she gave birth to a son, Louis 15th.  They had a new king in their future.  Tragically, that happiness was short lived. There was a moment there though where Marie Antoinette and Louis 14th could have been redeemed.  If Marie had spearheaded a relief effort like modern monarchs, the entire tide of the French Revolution might have changed.  Maybe she should have been having the royal bakers make cakes to hand out to the people of France.  She could have gotten the nobles involved, except Robespierre, who had his own reasons for wanting to see the Monarchy fall.  They could have all had their private bakers baking cakes to pass out to the starving population.  It would have been better than trying to bake bread with acorns and tree branches.

Unfortunately for her, she didn’t think of a charity drive to save her adopted people.  However, the French did give her one courtesy… They guillotined her before her young son Louis the 15th.  They made her watch them behead her husband, which probably didn’t matter much to her.  But they did not make her watch the execution of her child, who was still an infant at the time, if memory serves me right.  I do know without a Google search that he was very young when he faced the guillotine.

And Robespierre, the noble that started the most trouble was found flayed alive in a bathtub, so I feel he got his comeuppance.  Some history texts gloss over this and say with his wrists and throat slit, but the truth was, he was almost unrecognizable at first as a human being because they cut him open and let him bleed to death in a bathtub… sternum to stem style.  Some reports say they took his heart after it stopped beating, which is probably true… waste not, want not… and cannibalism did unfortunately happen during the Starving Years.  PS: Several snobel insisted the child Louis the 15th be guillotined along with his family even though he had nothing to do with the reasons his family was on trial… the idea was the brain child of Robespierre, so don’t mourn for him too much.. Karma’s a bitch.

And that is why, with all his flaws, Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife-ish like companion Josephine was considered a serious improvement over the Monarchy.  For the record, the French sorta knew Napoleon was nuts and that he was Italian, not French, but they were okay with that after the debacle of the years previous, at least he tried to feed them on more than acorns, treebark, and branches baked into a bread.

PS: someone pointed out that I obviously have issues reading Roman Numerals, which I do. Marie was married to Louis the 16th.

My Last CRPS Post for Some Time

I was politely asked to clarify what is “wrong with me”. So here goes:

I have been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. My nerves are essentially attacking themselves because of an injury I sustained when I was 13. I was tested for it 5 times and the tests always came back negative. If I knew then what I know now, I would have pointed out to the neurologists that did my testing that based on symptoms alone, it was obvious that I had it.

I now know that the test is only accurate in every 1 of 50 tests, making it essentially pointless.

Sadly, because I wasn’t treated much earlier, the condition has spread from my hands to my digestive system, to my hips and I have lost significant mobility in my right hip.

 

Unfortunately, because I went without treatment for 22 years, we are having trouble figuring out how to treat me. There is no case study on file for CRPS with such a long period of time being undiagnosed that doesn’t end badly as the condition is fatal.

Thankfully, I have an amazing doctor and he is willing to throw things at the wall just to see what works and he is consulting with a neurologist on the case that specializes in CRPS with the Mayo Clinic.

If insurance cooperates, we are doing a drug metabolism test in January to see if that helps point us in a direction for treatment. It’s an expensive test that requires pre-certification and with the holidays we may or may not have approval for my January appointment, but fingers crossed.

The reason I get so excited when I am able to get some writing in, is because I have been having trouble with it. My daily pain level with treatment – not using opiates is about a 15. Which is better than the 40 or 50 that it is without the Lyrica and Muscle relaxers. However, the Lyrica has impaired my ability to think quickly. Also when my residual pain is a 15, I have trouble thinking of anything but the pain, which is not conducive to writing novels.

I did take on a second job selling Scentsy because I felt I needed the boost in income – my medications are ridiculously expensive and not fully covered by insurance. So, if you need or want Scentsy, I’m your girl!

There are some adjustments that my family is still having to make; I have trouble traveling which sucks more than you can imagine. I have to take meds 3 times a day, more if we include the opiates that handle my residual pain. Sadly, I must have the opiates to function some days. There are days that without Vicodin, I can’t step into my bathtub to take a shower.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. After 12 years of my GI tract disagreeing with my food choices and no one being able to tell me why, the Lyrica has made it so I can eat whatever I want again. I had a banana for the first time in 12 years a few weeks ago. I had forgotten how much I like bananas. I feel like a minion because every time I go to the grocery store, I pick up bananas now.

And now, I am now being properly treated because CRPS if untreated for too long begins to attack organs. I got lucky in that it was just my digestive system and optic nerves. It could have been my kidneys or liver. Without treatment, CRPS is a fatal condition because of the organ damage it causes.

As my family transitions and adjusts to this new condition, I would ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It is hard on everyone, but in some ways I think it is harder on my family than on me.

I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has.

Stay Out of my Uterus

I did not invite President Trump into my uterus.  As a matter of fact, I have never invited a politician into my uterus, because I believe my right to access birth control should not be a government issue.

Holy shit, they will pay for viagra, but they want to cut the liability to health insurance carriers to allow access to birth control.  Are you kidding me?

So it’s fine for men to have sex, but it is not fine for me to use birth control, despite needing it for medical reasons and because my husband and I do not want children.  Are you fucking serious?

I have a rare condition that makes pregnancy dangerous to me.  My blood thickens when certain hormones are introduced.  My doctors believe it is the result of the MTHFR mutation.  So paying for my birth control is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for me accidentally getting pregnant because I don’t have access to my Depo-Provera and paying all the ER bills from the Ovarian cysts that will rupture or paying for the multitude of blood work I need every time I have my period.

And if fetus and I both survive, well, welcome to one more person on Medicare.  I do not make the enzymes that process folic acid.  It isn’t a big deal because I am not forming a person in my body, but if I was, well that isn’t pretty.  Lack of folic acid leads to fetal development issues.  I’m talking about babies born with partial skulls and their spines on the outside of their bodies.  There is a reason they put pregnant women on prenatal vitamins, but when you can’t process the folic acid from them, they don’t work.  I currently take a prescription prenatal vitamin because it does not require me to have the enzymes to process the folic acid in it.  But I still only get about 1/4 of the daily recommended dose of folic acid as a result.  So any child I give birth to, if I don’t die in the process would face severe physical and mental difficulties and possible deformities.

It isn’t just a matter of I shouldn’t get pregnant, it’s a matter of, I should not even try to get pregnant because it would end badly.  My doctor told me the rate at which my blood thickens during pregnancy would probably require me to have an abortion.  For my own survival and I’m not talking about at 15 weeks, I’m talking the moment they found out I was pregnant, I would be scheduled for one because when certain hormones are introduced, my risk of blood clots becomes extraordinary.  I have to have blood work done every six months for being on Depo Provera, because it makes my blood thicken.  The nice part of that is as long as I am on it, it’s unlikely I’m going to bleed to death if I do something stupid.  There is a risk of blood clots to me and to a fetus.

This means that if I wanted children, I would have to adopt.  Of course, I don’t want children, so my husband and I don’t lose sleep over it.  What we do lose sleep over is the fact that occasionally, a person becomes immune to certain types of birth control and they stop working.

With new legislation making it not required for an employer to have birth control coverage in their insurance, I feel like I am under attack by the government.  Once again, I feel like the President would rather see his citizens dead than healthy because it’s inconvenient. Because I know I am not the only woman on birth control for health reasons and not just because I don’t want to reproduce, as a matter of fact, it would be foolish to even try to reproduce.  However, the birth control pill stopped working for me.  I had to switch to something else.  A plethora of ovarian cysts rupturing while others grew, proved that the pill was no longer effective and since IUDs are known for having complications, like ovarian cysts, that was not an option.  I was only left with two, one of them was Depo Provera.  At the time, I was lucky, and Planned Parenthood was willing to take me as a patient and I got a reduced rate for my Depo Provera.  My Depo Provera is a little over $600 every three months.  Add that cost into the cost of my health insurance and the cost of treatment for CRPS and it becomes unaffordable for me. So now, I have to worry about my husband’s  current insurance company, which just changed in November, not covering the cost of my Depo Provera.

So it’s okay for insurance to not have to pay for birth control, but they still pay for viagra and cialis.  Are you fucking kidding me?  So it’s okay for men to have sex, but not women, not unless they want to risk getting pregnant.  And we have done a great job of exempting men from responsibility for an unexpected pregnancy – why wasn’t she on birth control? –  No one ever asks why these guys aren’t bagging their junk, possibly double bagging it.

So thanks congress and President Trump for reminding me that I am not important because I am a woman.  For the record, insurance can even deny covering birth control if it is medically necessary, like it is in my case, which is backwards logic.  It is far cheaper to cover my birth control than to cover the consequences of my not having it.

We have made some serious mistakes with insurance companies over the last umpteen hundred years and now we are making them in congress.  We already let insurance companies dictate what and how we can be treated, which is insane.  A board of directors should not get to decide if I get treatment for a life threatening disease.

And who the hell gave Congress and the President the power to decide if I should have children or not?  I didn’t agree to it.  I have known since I was 5 years old that I did not want kids.  However, now my government has decided I shouldn’t be able to make that decision.  Are you kidding me?  We are no longer living in a republic, we are living in a dictatorship…  One that decides for me whether I will have children or not.  And for the record, if they aren’t going to pay for birth control, then why are they still paying for men to be able to have sex as much as they want.

I am a married woman who doesn’t want kids and my husband doesn’t want kids.  So, I guess I will just keep my legs shut for the rest of our marriage and see how that works out for me.  And when I get divorced, do I send my lawyer’s bill to congress?  Because while sex isn’t the most important part of a marriage, it does play a role in it.  Good lord, I already knew the President hated women, by his pussy grabbing statement, but for all of congress to turn on women and decide they know better than us about whether we should have children or not is mind-boggling.

And People Wonder Why I’m Anxious

I was reading the news today and it dawned on me why I’m always anxious.  Some idiot cemented his head into a microwave and had to be rescued by the fire department.  He and his buddies did it to record it for a YouTube prank video.

Multiple people were involved in this.  They were smart enough to put a plastic bag around his head to keep him from drowning in QuickCrete, but that brings up all new questions for me.

The microwave was there as a mold.

This is the point humanity has reached.  Multiple adults willingly stuck someone’s head in a plastic bag and then stuck that head into a microwave and filled the microwave with cement and at no point while it was hardening did someone go “maybe this isn’t such a great idea” and pulled the guy’s head out before it completely set up.

And what kind of prank video were they filming, everyone consented, so it wasn’t much of a prank, just people being stupid.  It isn’t like you can do this to a sleeping slumber party guest.  I guess you could, but it would be a whole lot more difficult than sticking their hand in a bowl of warm water.  And that person had better sleep like the dead because I’m guessing the logistics of it require being moved, a lot.

These are people who can vote, breed, and buy alcohol legally.  Possibly all at the same time.  It makes me worry about the fate of the human race and if I’m unfortunately going to be around to see it.

At no time should the smartest part of a plan include putting a plastic bag over someone’s head.  That sounds like an intro to a serial killer movie.  One day these idiots will be involved in politics and corporations and things.  These people will be running the world, unless they win a Darwin award.

 

 

Net Neutrality – Reality

Enjoy reading my blogs?  Let’s say you couldn’t because LiveJournal decided to pay your internet service provider a sum of money so that they could be the only blog site visitors could see?

What if your ISP decided to block Netflix and build their own inefficient video streaming service because Netflix refused to pay your internet provider to let you use them?  Or let’s say those nifty digital download codes could only be watched if you downloaded iTunes because Vudu and UltraViolet were blocked by your internet service provider?  It happens in countries without Net Neutrality.  The best example I have seen comes from Taiwan.  There are only two internet service providers in the entire country.  One is communist owned, the other capitalist.  Taiwan, who is technically a democratic country for now, doesn’t care about the Communist propaganda spouted by China who is insistent they own Taiwan.  The Communist owned ISP censors things like Netflix and Amazon video because it does not conform to Communist ideology.  The other ISP does not allow users to watch Netflix because it has too many violent American movies on it.

If you pay for internet service, shouldn’t you be able to use it as you see fit?  Yes you should, but without net neutrality, you won’t.  Some internet service providers could decide that you can’t watch kitten videos without paying for their Kitten Video Streaming Add-On service.

Also, they can censor ebooks.  You might have to buy an ebook download service that costs extra each month.

Or you might have to buy a “Shop Amazon Add-On Service” without net neutrality.  And our anti-trust laws are not equipped to handle a world without net neutrality.  So those stupid add-on services could be a very real thing or you just won’t be able to access things like Netflix from your smart devices, computers, phones, etc.

Imagine if you had to pay $11.99 or $13.99 whatever it is going up to to watch Netflix plus your internet bill, plus another $9.99 a month for an Add-on to your internet service plan that allows you to stream netflix.  I’d go broke really fast with the add-ons because I love Netflix and Vudu and Hulu…

I already pay for these services and pay for internet, I’d be paying yet a 3rd time every month to have access to the services I pay for so I could use it through my internet provider.

Scary thought when you think of it that way.  Suddenly Netflix is costing you $23 a month on top of the $80 internet bill that is basically worthless without add-ons.

Isolation

Sometimes, I feel I live in isolation.  Yes, I live with my mom and husband and Lola the Destroyer and Kelly the Cutie, but none of my friends visit.  I get it, it’s hard to visit someone who has reached rock bottom.  They don’t know what to say.  They don’t know if I’m having a good day or a bad day.  They don’t know if I’m having an angry at the world day or just too tired and sore for company.

Since I can’t drive myself anywhere, even when I do feel like having company, I don’t get it.

However, several readers have reached out to me via email, my blog, social media, just to talk to me.  It helps me feel less alone.  You have no clue how much I cherish those messages.  It’s not about them asking me how I’m doing or justifying my anger or sympathizing with me about the pain, it’s that someone, a random someone that I don’t actually know, is reaching out to have a conversation with me.  A conversation, like a friend would.  It has made me feel loved and wanted.  Because I’ll be honest, I’ve had some really dark days recently.  I’m not talking about the night mom caught me counting out pills because of the gabapentin, but dark days because I feel so utterly alone at times.

I hate being asked how I’m doing because there’s no correct response without unloading heaps of emotional baggage.  Or I say I’m fine which for those of you without chronic illnesses or pain means anything but fine.  So it’s a cop out because I don’t want to discuss the fact that I want to go back in time and change my life for the first time ever and possibly  track down those five neurologists who gave me the RSD tests and told me I didn’t have RSD and shove their heads up their asses until they can scratch their butt through their noses.

My hips wouldn’t hurt tonight to the point where I am going to have trouble sleeping if just 1 of those neurologists had extracted their head from their ass and listened to me, really listened to me and said “Hey, you have all the symptoms, the tests aren’t reliable, so we are just going to start treatment for RSD anyway, which is exactly what my pain management doctor said… 22 years too late.  Nerve ablation and CRPS do not mix well, but he didn’t have a reason to suspect he was about to ablate nerves that were dealing with CRPS….  So I’ll give him a pass on the head up the ass thing.  And he is trying so hard to make up for it…. but even he admitted, I was only his fourth patient with RSD/CRPS ever… and I’m the only one that has ever gone more than a few years without getting a diagnosis and started treatment.

We know so little about the condition that we are struggling to play catch up.  There are more questions than answers at most visits.  Like is my daily residual pain, the pain the Lyrica isn’t taking care of because I have had it so long?  I have definitive proof of organ involvement which used to be considered an advanced stage of it….  So am I too far advanced for treatments to work on me like they work on others?  We don’t know.  I don’t know.  I keep digging for patients and clinical information on patients with undiagnosed, untreated CRPS for more than a decade, but the truth is, most get diagnosed in the first 3 years.  So I’m not finding much which is infuriating.

When even the counselor at a special clinic for neurological disorders with an amazing success rate of treating RSD/CRPS says she doesn’t know if they can help me because they have never had a patient go undiagnosed this long… it’s got to be a sign of some sort.  To me it’s a flashing Neon sign that I can’t quit fighting, but that I am going to have to learn to advocate for myself on something I don’t understand and that my doctors don’t actually understand.

This isn’t like migraines or PCOS, something I know a lot about from research and experience.  It is much easier to advocate for myself with those conditions.  This one, I feel like I am wandering around blindfolded all the time.  That in itself is stressful.

So those readers just dropping me a line to tell me it gets better and not to give up and that they wish they could do more for me and they hope I get at least a little better, is the highlight of my day.  As a matter of fact, I am beginning to feel closer to those random strangers who care about me, than I am my friends and my family.

In three months, only two people have really come and visited me.  Beth and Deborah.  Beth is my cousin in computer security awesomeness and at 12 years older than me, she is my closest friend and the basis for all my female characters having amazing relationships with at least a few of their first cousins.  She provides that template.  She liked me when I was an annoying kid and an even more annoying and naive teenager.  Deborah used to be my boss.  I love her to death and I always appreciate her dropping in for a visit and maybe lunch.  She gets it to some degree, the anger, the bitterness, the problems I am having all the time.

For those of you who read my books, you can thank Beth Young, my cousin for them existing.  Not only has she always supported me writing, but she’s the one that alerted me to indie publishing being a big thing.  For those who work in computer security, the name will probably ring a bell.  She’s amazing at what she does.  And all her presentations and things that she gets asked to give, I get to listen to before she gives them, which requires me to stay at least a little tech savvy in the security aspect of things… because otherwise, she might as well talk to me in Aramaic.  I try not to give her name because I don’t want her professional career associated with my dark writing or my blogging.  But I felt it was time to reveal the woman who got me started 5 years ago on this path.

Continue to contact me and send me messages, I love them and appreciate them so much.  They help me feel a little less alone.

 

My Secret Has Been Figured Out

I’ve had a reader request multiple times that I put the GoFundMe Link on my blog because she has figured out why I am stressed about the lack of book releases in my foreseeable future.  I make okay money picking up new readers every month.  I have a large catalogue of books for them to choose from and that helps me support myself.

However, months I release books are months that I can afford to put money in savings and pay the little bills I haven’t been able to work into my budget up to that point.  And unfortunately, I haven’t released a book since May 2017.  That’s why I picked up the job selling Scentsy.  For these months between releases my savings get drained faster than I can get it built up because I need so much extra money a month now.

Most Octobers I can spend less than $50 on advertising and pick up an extraordinary number of readers, only this October, I didn’t even have the $50 to do adverts for D&R and the Brenna Strachan series, both are series that sell very well in October with a little push behind them.  I don’t mind working both jobs.  Scentsy is easier on me when I’m having a bad pain day.  Or have medicine brain.

I’m not making big bucks on Scentsy at 25% of everything I sell, but even an extra $100 a month here and there helps big time.  That’s a couple of prescriptions as well as a doctor’s visit, maybe two… depends on the prescription.  Or it’s $100 less I have to find in one of my checks to apply to my Lyrica bill.

When she confronted me with her sudden understanding of why I am stressed about not releasing books, I admitted that was it.  Only publishing Triggered Reality and Flawless Dreams last year hurt me big time on the yearly income.  As far as I can tell, I lost about $7,000 because I didn’t release a second Dreams novel in 2017.  If my plans had worked out and I had released Demonic Dreams in either September or October then I wouldn’t be begging for money, because I would have made that extra $7,000 and been paid for it during the months I would be building a shower and adjusting to my Lyrica copay and trying to meet my new deductible and out of pocket.

So at her persistent requests and despite how awkward and awful I feel about it, here is the link for the GoFundMe that my mom set up… ironically in an attempt to relieve some of my stress about money, but created a different sort of stress…

PS: Andrea Giacuomo (I think I got that last name spelled right, but I’m not going to bet my life on it) I would very much like for you to contact me.

Thank You for the Support

I want to give another thank you to my readers.  You guys could be jerks about my not getting a book written immediately and you have no idea how much I appreciate that you aren’t.  It isn’t just medications that I’m adjusting to or new pain levels.  My family’s whole life has been turned upside down, emotionally, mentally, and physically in the last 6 months everything has had to change.

I have had to give up darts, which has been hard, but necessary.  I can’t walk through the grocery store, standing to throw darts isn’t going to make my life any easier.  I’ve had to change how and where I play with my dogs since my backyard is a like a minefield of tiny depressions.  I wanted to buy a split foyer home because I wanted the extra room the basement provided.  Only now I have trouble going up and down the steps some days.  We have one full and 2 half bathrooms, so we have been cussing and discussing a shower for me in the utility room where one of the half bathrooms is.  And that has been a bit hairy at times because I want a slightly larger than average shower since it is going to be the main place I shower.

Yes, it will add value to our home, but it’s expensive to build a slightly oversized shower.  And one of the things I really want in it is good faucets and a shower head.  As a girl, this is going to be the only place I can shave my legs.  If I thought my skin was dry now, wait until I start shaving them in a shower all the time and no amount of lotion fixes the dryness.  I managed to get my tiles on clearance today, so that was awesome.  Right now, I have so many days when I have to take a Vicodin just to take a shower because I have trouble standing in the shower for very long and a shower chair isn’t practical in the bathroom we have.  Plus, I have a tendency to tell my hip to raise my leg and my leg doesn’t come up but about 3 inches so I kick the tub wall.

Not to mention adjusting to the cost increase of having CRPS.  Meds are outrageous because I can’t be like everyone else and take Gabapentin or Cymbalta.    Plus the extra cost of all these doctor visits that I can’t skip and the increase in health insurance premiums that took place in November and the fact that I am starting my deductible and out of pocket all over again.  People like to tell me that I have to tighten my budget and get a second job.  I have a second job and no, it isn’t a job that pays real great, but it’s about the only one I can do.  I hurt going to the grocery store, I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I stocked shelves or stood all day at a cash register or had to lift crap.  And sadly, I would love to tighten my budget, but there’s no wiggle room in it now.  You can’t tighten a budget and make money magically appear.  Yes we bought pizza the other night because I was so sore I didn’t want to cook after going to the grocery store, but that’s like the second time in 3 months that my husband and I have eaten out.  And one of those times, my nephew bought and I forgot to pay him back.  And yes I have office skills, but there are times when sitting is just as bad as standing and ergonomically correct doesn’t always help.

Part of my excitement over being able to eat peppers and bananas again isn’t just because I haven’t been able to do it for 12 years without the risk of getting sick, part of it is because I feel like I am just giving up one thing after another that I love.  I can’t travel like I used to.  My husband would like to go to a  dart tournament next year in Vegas, which is great, but I don’t think I could sit on a plane for 2 hours after the 2 hour drive to an airport or walk anywhere once we got there or have much fun because I wouldn’t be able to do much…

I’m using a cane more and more which freaks Lola out really bad.  She attacks it more often than she doesn’t when I’m using it, which causes me even more pain, so there are times when I’m like screw it, I’m just going to have to hurt because I can’t stand to deal with Lola while using the cane.

Yes, I have times when I am very angry.  I think if someone had caught this in the 22 years leading up to this point, I might not be this bad.  And in those moments, I rage at the world.  You have all been very patient with those ranting posts.  And donations you guys made in November eased my mom’s mind so much, it allowed me to pick up my Lyrica before I got paid because I never dreamed that my copay would be $426 for 60 capsules.  She was really stressing out about me being out for a week and a half.  She was worried that when I did restart the medication, it wouldn’t be as effective because she’s like me and she has moments where she gets upset and angry and thinks that if someone had been willing to look past the superficial during the last 22 years, I wouldn’t be this bad.  I have come to realize how mentally tough it is for my mother to watch me go through this transition.  I mean it’s hard on all of us, but for her, it is in some ways worse.  She worries about whether I will have decent care once she’s gone and whether I’m going to end up in a wheelchair and if there was something she could have done in those 22 years to stop this… but I have been tested 5 times for RSD by 5 different neurologists, so I don’t think there was.  She took me to see all the right doctors and paid them to figure out what was wrong and they just missed it.  And it’s rough watching me be in pain.  I wanted to go to the grocery store on Friday, but she has been kicking herself for taking me since we got home on Friday.

So your understanding and donations are a God send to me and my family as I try to find a new normal or standard of living.  And my mom does worry a little bit that when I do finally get a book published, my readers will all have moved on to other series and not buy the new book and I won’t have a revenue source, even with the publication.

For your support, I can’t thank you enough.

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