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When Life Gets Hard

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Personal Time: When Life Gets Hard

Today’s post, as it says above, is going to get personal and not be super book related except to discuss how life difficulties have affected my reading and blogging ;-). Feel free to skip if you aren’t that interested in my life, hehe. In any case, some of you might have noticed that it has gotten quieter and quieter around here even past my decision to no longer post on Mondays. I want to first reassure you that I’m not going anywhere, I love this blog and I love reading so I will always come back despite ups and downs!

However, my health has gotten pretty bad at the same time that work/school has gotten pretty bad, so life in general is proving to be really difficult. What’s going on with my health? Well, let me finally really explain instead of just vaguely hinting!

  • I have three herniating discs in my back, i.e. when they look on the MRI they can see three discs that are sticking out past the space they are supposed to be in, which is obviously bad.
  • For years this caused lower back pain that got pretty intense, however most bulging discs don’t actually pinch nerves (my doctor told me 60% of Americans have a bulging disc apparently!) since there is a fair amount of squishy room all up in there.
  • In May (probably from BEA if we’re being honest here), one of my discs further herniated and finally caught that nerve it was going after.
  • Over the summer I got referred to a neurosurgeon to consider back surgery. The clinic that I would have this surgery at has the cool robotic laser tools so they can actually go in and cut out the bulge really easily. It cauterizes as it cuts so the disc heals right up and the recovery time is only a week. I obviously was all hell yeah let’s get this fixed!
  • The problem was that we didn’t know which of my three discs was doing the pinching (probably one of the right ones, but the left bulge is SO HUGE that every doctor assumes that’s the problem until they hear my symptoms all on my right side). Plus I have a huge curve in my spine at this point because that is the only way for me to take the pressure off the nerve and therefore not be screaming in pain. This all meant that surgery was not going to be as straightforward as hoped.
  • So this past fall we did another round of steroid injections (straight into the cavity to bring down inflammation!), which I had done several times before, but this time we did it on only one of the discs to see if that one was the culprit.
  • It turns out it was, so it is my L4-L5 disc that is pinching my sciatic nerve (causing shooting pain down the outside of my leg, yey!). Yes, sciatica is a thing that old people get >.>. I’m mature for my age :-P.
  • The steroid injection helped about 50% of the pain, so instead of regularly getting up to a nine or ten on my pain scale (out of ten), I was in the 4-5 range.
  • We decided to try physical therapy to see if that could take away another chunk of the pain. However due to various possible complications, my back pain has been getting worse during the time I’m doing physical therapy. This means that I haven’t been able to do as much and that it makes it hard to know if PT is really helping all that much.
  • In the meantime, I can’t lay flat because that pinches the nerve horribly, so I’ve been sleeping with about five pillows to prop me up into a sitting position with an airline neck pillow to sleep. As you can probably guess, I didn’t sleep very well at first, however, you’d be surprised what you can adapt to! Now even on days where I’m feeling pretty good, I sometimes have a hard time not sleeping like that because it is comfy to me now >.>.
  • Of course, to kick the semester off, my back just started hurting a whole lot more this week. I suspect it is because I ran out of most of my pain medication and my last round of steroid injections is wearing off right about now. It could also be stress. No matter the reason, however, it has turned into a vicious cycle because I can’t walk without pain now, making my muscles do more weird things to try to cope, straining those muscles that don’t normally do those things, leading to more pain, etc, etc. And I’ve had to do a lot of walking.
  • This all sort of leads to the question of “What’s next??” Fortunately, my doctor trusts me and so overrode office policy in order to give me a new prescription on my pain medications. I’m now once again taking Gabapentin, which is a neuropathic painkiller that specifically works on central nervous system pain such as your spine. I also finally have a new script for Norco (similar to Vicodin) and a muscle relaxant to try to get those muscles to stop spasming crazily.
  • I’m freakishly resistant to all medication as far as I can tell because a dose of Norco that would generally have a person skipping off to sleep pain free is just dulling my pain a bit and I’m typing up this discussion post (so if it sounds insane, blame the meds!).

So there is the long version of the back pain that I’ve discussed before :). On top of that increased pain (and perhaps part of the cause), I’m a teaching assistant for the first time this semester. The class is an easy one for me so I fortunately don’t have to stress about that. However, I really want to do well and tend to stress over unknown situations like this ;-). So far everything is going quite well though and I already had a couple moments of bonding with my lab students when I got to help them learn something new. I suspect this has been increasing my pain, however, because the building for my TAing is about two blocks from my office building, leading to lots more walking at a time when I can’t figure out a way to walk without hurting.

Finally, I need to figure out how I’m going to get paid next year! Grant applications for our internal system are due in February and I’m working on two of them to pay for my two semesters of research. I’m really excited about both the projects and really need to just start on the first drafts, but it is another thing that I haven’t actually done all by myself before. I’ve co-written grants where someone else wrote most of it and I edited/wrote a paragraph. However, this time around I’m the one who writes most of it and other people will help me edit it and improve it. I have a pretty good track record for getting these grants, however nothing is guaranteed, so it adds stress to not know how I’ll be getting paid next year.

So what about reading and blogging?

As you can probably imagine, all of the above has put some constraints on my life that I didn’t have previously in grad school. Pain is shockingly exhausting and irritating (I guess that isn’t shocking haha). Therefore, I’ve had a lot of moments where I think about possibly writing that review or responding to those comments, and then feeling too drained to try and watch TV instead.

I honestly am a bit surprised that reading has gone the same way this time around. In some ways, it makes sense since I’ve mentally shifted from trying to do equal parts work and read (well, not equal, but you get the idea), to having my focus completely on work and only reading right before bed. I used to spend 5pm-midnight reading, however now I’m not leaving my office/campus until 7-9pm depending on if I have TA office hours or just am on a roll and want to get things done. No book has really caught my attention and made me want to read every spare minute I have right now. I wouldn’t call it a slump really since it’s not that I don’t want to read, it’s just that I feel such tremendous pressure to work (and I really enjoy my work), that reading is just not the emotional satisfaction that I need right now.

This has made it really easy for me to stick to my plan of not requesting very many books this year though, since when you aren’t reading much, it’s easy to look at a hot ARC and shrug while putting in a library request. I’ve also been able to mostly avoid envy since pain makes everything else just matter a whole lot less, haha. Pain changes the scale on which you evaluate how much things matter to you I guess, which has been refreshing since I kind of needed help getting my real priorities back into line. As much as I love reading and blogging, it isn’t good for me to prioritize them over my career after all!

Well, I hope that wasn’t too rambling for you and that those of you who were curious about what was going on with me feel better now :). Like I said above, I’m not planning on shutting up shop anytime soon, but I probably will have mostly reviews and not even six posts a week for a while. At least until I get the blogging bug bite again and go crazy ;-).

Have you noticed a shift in your hobbies when life suddenly becomes more challenging? Do you have any tips for me for dealing with all of this?

Also, I love you all and thank you so so much for all the support you’ve given me over these four years. You make grad school and chronic pain much easier to deal with :). Group hug!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I’ve heard you talk about your back pain before but didn’t know what it entailed. It sounds dreadful and I really hope things get better! Makes sense that you are spending less time reading & blogging. Hopefully things will balance out to a point where you are happy with them :)
    Miriam @ Inky Realms recently posted…Fantasy Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben AaronovitchMy Profile

  2. I’ve heard you talk about your back pain before but didn’t know what it entailed. It sounds dreadful and I really hope things get better! Makes sense that you are spending less time reading & blogging. Hopefully things will balance out to a point where you are happy with them :)

    What type of research do you do, if you don’t mind me asking?
    Miriam @ Inky Realms recently posted…January Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Pfft, I love talking about research :D. I’m a dual major computer science and evolutionary biology and I work with biology labs to test evolutionary dynamics of groups of organisms for things like cooperation and altruism and communication using a digital evolutionary platform :D.

  3. I have noticed that I haven’t seen as many posts from you. I really hope everything improves, just a bit. I know this isn’t a “slap on a bandaid and call it a day” type of medical situation, and although I really miss your posts here, I do worry over your health and I hope that something helps you recover, or manage.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The Fiery HeartMy Profile

    • Awww thanks hun! I’ve come to accept that I won’t be the posting machine that I was the last couple of years, but maybe I’ll pick back up this summer. I’m seeing the neurosurgeon next week so fingers crossed!

  4. This sounds pretty brutal. It’s good that you have a good doctor though. At least you have some support that way, even if things are really slow to get better.
    Sarah recently posted…Review: They Call Me Crazy + GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Aw no I’m sorry Anya. :( Life does sound really tough. I really hope everything turns out fine.
    Valerie recently posted…Read Play Blog #5My Profile

  6. This sounds so unfortunate. I hope your back starts feeling better! Like someone else said, hobbies should never be stressful. My school stresses self-care so much that for a while there I’d feel guilty whenever I just binge watched tv rather than reading or doing one of my crafts, but sometimes that’s just what you need.

    • I’ve definitely been needing to just binge watch lately! My brain just hasn’t been able to focus D: I am feeling better though now that my drugs are kicking in ;-)

  7. I don’t know you very well, but I think that you must be one of the bravest people I could ever meet. Here you are talking about chronic pain and herniated discs, pain that makes me wince in sympathy, and talking with such honesty and openness and with smilies interjected into the post and a few jokes — you are so brave. And even with your pain, your determination to be an awesome TA and to keep up with your work! I hope that you and your doctors will find a good solution if PT doesn’t end up working out more.

    Grant-writing is scary. There’s no internal funding that can help, like from your PI or school? I’m sorry for that stress. I’ve seen a lot of people go through it; I’m glad you have a good track record. From this blog, it certainly seems like you’re a good writer, so I hope it works out with your grant application as well :).

    “I wouldn’t call it a slump really since it’s not that I don’t want to read, it’s just that I feel such tremendous pressure to work (and I really enjoy my work), that reading is just not the emotional satisfaction that I need right now.” Yes, I’ve definitely had that feeling before too. Usually after a while I just to start to miss reading and that’s what bring back its emotional satisfaction. Not sure that’s very good advice, but if you need to focus on other things, maybe the reading and blogging pleasure will come back more easily.

    “I probably will have mostly reviews and not even six posts a week for a while.” — Dude I admire you for even having six posts a week. I can’t do that. Not at all.
    Christina @ Christina Reads YA recently posted…The Bias Against YA (+ Best Books of 2014)My Profile

    • Thanks hun :). Talking with the neurosurgeon is officially the next step so hopefully by this time next year I’ll be all better!

      Fortunately they are actually internal grants through the NSF center I work at. They are small and have about a 50% funding rate so it is just the right level of difficulty for me to get practice with :) Aw thank you so much! Writing is one of those things that I have no idea if I actually have figured it out or not, so it’s really nice to hear from someone else that I’m doing okay, ha.

      That actually worked really well. The two books I’m in the middle of are both really fun and even if I can only fit in a page or two before falling asleep, I’m enjoying that little bit!

  8. Ah gee, I’m so sorry! I’ll be thinking of you.
    charlotte recently posted…The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyMy Profile

  9. Adelynne Chang says:

    Aww! I really hope you will get better! Good luck in everything! I’ll always support your blog no matter what happens. :)

  10. I hope you find a way to take care of that back pain! That sounds awful :(

    I’m going a little crazy at the moment because I’ve taken on too many things this quarter. I’ve been so burned out because with classes and meetings and rehearsals, each day is usually a 12 hour day and by the time I get home I just want to sleep. Obviously my reading and blogging have gone downhill. I’m hoping things will calm down soon, but we’ll see!
    Kritika recently posted…Book Talk: From reader to bloggerMy Profile

    • I hear ya on the 12 hour days! And of course they make you so tired that you just want to sleep for the other twelve hours, ha! Good luck! <3

  11. Oh honey, I’m so sorry about this. I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE.
    I suffer from SLE, aka Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibro and a number of other things (and Im 28 lol). I’m on Gabapentin too! It helps me SO much with nerve pain, but it makes me so sleepy….does it do that to you too?) I actually have a similar health – to work – to increased work – less blog time problem. I get home very late, around 10 or 11 pm, and I leave at noon. I don’t have time to read during the work day and I hate mornings so I just have so little time it takes a lot to get me in the mood to read. It’s definitely a struggle, I wish I had an easy answer for you as far as how to manage everything but of course your health is the most important thing!! Don’t worry about any blog changes (I had to majorly cut back and now Im looking for a co blogger or contributor bc my blog is seriously lacking content, one review a week isn’t enough but that’s all I can do.
    Good luck with the surgery! I’m glad you kept us posted I love to hear about the bloggers I love lives’.. Stay strong! Xo
    Diamond recently posted…Confession Post: Books I “mean” to read but never seem to get toMy Profile

    • Yey Gabapentin! I did get super insomnia when I reduced it too quickly, so I think that I’m just so used to its side effects that I don’t even notice anymore, haha.

      I think one review a week is great if that’s what you can happily manage! I started off doing that and just went crazy at some point ;-) <3

  12. Oh my Anya, I’m so sorry that you are having to live with so much pain. I really how they are able to relieve it soon with that surgery. I don’t know how you can bear it!! Do whatever it is that makes you feel better and don’t stress the blog stuff, we’ll always be here :-)
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Book Binging (15) – I bought the store & Anya spoiled meMy Profile

  13. Sorry to hear about what’s going on.. I have been having back pains myself for about 4-5 yrs. And had to go thru pain meds (not the good kind though) and pysical therapy. I also had the sciactic nerve ( sorry if misspelled) pain for awhile- that is a huge huge pain.. I also had a curve in my back from leaning over too. I think in my case I have a fractured back that is not too severe. I just have to do the stretches from PT. I sure hope you can have your surgery soon and be without pain.. Best wishes to you..

    • Haha, I had to look up how to spell sciatic too ;-). We’re like twins :D Back twins! haha. Wait, a fractured back can be not severe?? That sounds horrible D: Thanks!

  14. Holy crap, all that is incredibly lousy! :( My father had problems with his discs, too. Multiple surgeries to fix them, though in fairness, 1 of the surgeries was due to the fact that he didn’t take care of himself properly after the first surgery and he messed up his back again. It wasn’t until he was driving down the highway in his big-rig and a piece of deteriorated disc broke off and compressed a nerve that he took it all seriously. He lost all feeling and mobility in 1 leg and was lucky he didn’t crash the 18-wheeler! That’s been fixed now, thankfully, but yeah, it’s not a pleasant thing to go through, either pre- or post-surgery.

    But take care of yourself, because that’s the most important thing! If you don’t blog as much as before, pretty sure we won’t be knocking down your door demanding more posts. :p Not when so much life crap is going on.

    • Agh! That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m terrified by D: I have a friend who woke up one morning not being able to feel his legs because a disc had ruptured and he was very fortunate that he could reach his phone from his bed! Fortunately surgery keeps improving too, so the longer I put it off, the better the tech will be :D Hehe, as long as my friends are still there when I pop my head back up, that’s all I need <3

  15. Awwwww. :( I’m really sorry to hear things are not improving health-wise, Anya. The thing is, health is one of the most important things we have, way more important than blogging. If you have to take a break or not post here as often for a little while so you can focus on getting better, that’s perfectly OK. *serves Anya a tray of warm cookies of her choice*

    The way I view blogging is… if life gets too busy for any reason (work, health, finishing projects, etc.), blogging can slide to the side for a bit. I’ve got a few ideas for articles at my own blog, but I don’t have time right now. Day-job insanity has really cut into my writing time during the week, so until things slow down I’m focusing on my novel and a guest blogging commitment for the 2nd week of February. Everything else can wait. I’m OK with that, and my readers / followers have been understanding in the past. It happens to all of us.

    • Definitely agreed! Mmmmmmm, I’ve been super into gingersnaps lately. I never used to like them and then my parents made them this holiday season and they were delicious! And then they sent a bunch of cookies along with us when we left but no gingersnaps!! The horror D:

      Exactly, since so many people follow via subscription methods anyway, they won’t get annoyed if you don’t post for a bit and will be happy when they see a new article from you :D

  16. So sorry that you’ve been having so many back problems. My sister-in-law lives in constant back pain, and I know that it can put a huge strain on your life. I truly hope that your doctors can find a real solution for you and that you’re feeling better sooner rather than later!
    Nicole Hewitt recently posted…Review – The Last Orphans by N.W. HarrisMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law! Is she getting treatment to try to control things?? *crosses fingers* the meds are definitely helping a lot at the moment so hopefully they keep getting better until I see my doctor!

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about your back. I hope they can get this all figured out already! I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t know how you manage blogging and grad school. I can understand the stress of grants, if only from listening to my sister complain.

    Blogging is my refuge so when things get bad I tend to blog more. But mine is emotional not physical. I don’t blame you if you just don’t feel up to it right now. Blogging is supposed to be fun.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying TAing even if it is more work. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could do something. I hope you get feeling better.

    • You really hit it right on the nose honestly. Blogging is my refuge since I can be social and connect with people without having to walk places and stand around and hurt. I just need to do the easy parts of blogging and let the harder parts go for now, haha.

  18. Wow! That’s a lto to deal with. I’m sorry you are in so much pain. My mom and brother have back problems and they constantly have to go to a chiropractor. I think my mom did the same thing you did – she got shots in her back because it was painful but I don’t know if she has an actual diagnosis or what because your condition seems more serious. I really hope things works out for you and you are able to alleviate your pain eventually. Having future back pain worries because of my mom and brother problems right now. I’m sure everything will work out for you with work and life in general. Just try to keep positive :D
    Adriana Garcia @BooksOnHerMind recently posted…My Little Monster 2 by RobicoMy Profile

    • Thanks! Yeah, I think they do steroid shots whenever someone has a fair amount of back pain even if it isn’t due to a disc bulging since the steroids just bring down the inflammation in general. Make sure to do a solid core workout regularly to avoid getting the same back problems! When I was able to work out more frequently I felt MUCH better ;-)

  19. Big hug Anya! I knew you were having a rough time with your back but I didn’t realize it was so bad. That sucks and I’m sorry your having so much trouble just managing the pain! I’m glad being a TA is already turning out to be really rewarding, I loved it too :)

    I completely understand that blogging and reading are taking a back seat – I know it has for me several times. I wish blogging could be my career, I love it so much. But I have to think about paying the bills and having a career, so sometimes I have to let blogging slip a bit. So I totally relate. Good luck and we’ll be here whenever you are ;)
    Berls recently posted…2014 Book of the Year | FinalsMy Profile

    • Hugs! Ha, yeah, I have a tendency of downplaying how much pain I’m in since I don’t like to feel like I’m complaining ;-). It’s so instinctual to just tell everyone that everything is fine ya know??

      Pfft, paying the bills is so overrated ;-). I do like the health insurance that comes with my job though, ha!

  20. That sounds like life being very hard indeed! Grad school’s hard enough without also having to deal with other life and health issues. Sounds like you definitely need to take care of yourself and if you do I’m sure the blog and reading will fall into place how they are meant to. Hobbies should NOT stress you out! Unless your hobby is like jogging while someone teaches you calculus – THAT would be stressful. I hope things get better soon with the back!
    Stephanie recently posted…Saturdays in the Garden – Local Food for When the Zombie Apocalypse HitsMy Profile

    • Right?? I can’t tell if it is a coincidence that I got much less healthy as soon as grad school started or if there is a causal link there! HAHA jogging and calculus?? I think you thought of a new torture method ;-)

  21. Oh DO get better! I’m rooting for you and I’m sure the entire blogosphere is as well. PLEASE TAKE IT EASY!

    • Thanks! Hehe, I will for sure, fortunately I feel pretty good sitting down right now, so that means all the more blogging time :D

  22. Aw, I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time! I actually have been observing a shift in my own hobbies these past few months, due to school and health. I fell off a horse and tore a ligament in my wrist the first week of the school year, but we didn’t know it was torn for about two to three months. We splinted it but it didn’t get better so I got an MRI done and wound up getting surgery. Between the surgery (on my dominant hand, no less!) and my three AP classes, I was majorly freaking out for a while. I found myself turning to book blogging instead of just straight reading, because I had very little free time: if I only read books, time slipped away while I was reading. If I took the time to think and write about the books I read, it would drag out my free time and make it feel longer. That has worked very well, and really helped me get through the last few months.
    Jaina recently posted…How Not To Run For President by Catherine Clark, 2012My Profile

    • Don’t these things always seem to happen just as the semester starts??? I swear, I just want to skip the first week of school from here on out, it’s too dangerous D: I love the social aspect that goes along with blogging too and it helps me feel less lonely since I can’t really go visit friends right now!

      • Haha, I wish I could skip the first week of school! Or, no, I know what I should do: spend it bubble-wrapped, inside my house, with the shades pulled down. That way I can get through it and past it without injury. Yes, it’s definitely true that the social aspect of blogging is great. As a homeschooler, it’s even more important to me to be able to talk to people from the comfort of my own computer chair!
        Jaina recently posted…How Not To Run For President by Catherine Clark, 2012My Profile

  23. I’m right there with you hun only minus the doctors. I’ll go to the ER maybe once a year, get a few meds so I can get a brief break, but they rarely work.

    There are a LOT of days I just can’t post or comment. Or even read. My house is a disaster area.

    But, the folks that read my blogs were still there when I came back after 2 years!

    So don’t add to your stress by worrying over your post frequency. We luvs you and we are not going anywhere :>)
    Mulluane recently posted…Gideon by Alex Gordon | Paranormal Horror ReviewMy Profile

    • I don’t suppose I can convince you to see a specialist to try to feel better? *hugs* Haha, yeah, I was so so so thankful when my boy cleaned my apartment for me when I was at work! I was shocked, he hates cleaning, normally I do all of it at his place!

  24. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. My brother went through something very similar in high school, but kind of almost the opposite? He has Sherman’s disease, which is hereditary (so I’m now on the look-out too). Basically, his discs are thinner than they should be in the same general area you described. As a result of that and his strenuous tennis play (he was SUPER competitive with the sport), his L5 slipped out of place. If it had been any other vertebrae, they could have done surgery to just push it back into place and keep it there, but apparently there’s extra risk with the L5. If it’s a successful surgery, he’d experience less pain but would be so restricted with even basic movements that he decided it wasn’t even really worth it. It’s also broken and not healing on its own, so that’s not helping either.

    I’ve had pinched nerves and I’ve seen what my brother’s gone through — I can’t imagine basically having both. Best of luck to you!
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: January 13My Profile

    • Thanks! Wow, I’m really glad that I don’t have a genetic factor behind all this that I know of, that sounds horrible. Mine are almost certainly also from strenuous sports since I was a goalkeeper (all the jumping and being kicked) along with karate, hockey and cheerleading >.>. Seriously, what was I thinking??? I’m really hoping that once I get the surgery I’ll be okay since I won’t be doing those sports anymore for sure!

  25. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear the pain’s been getting worse. It sounds horrible. D: I’ll be praying for you!

    As far as advice for when things get crazy, just relax, take it easy, and don’t worry or beat yourself up about blogging/reading less. It happens. :) Feel better!
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (2 stars)My Profile

  26. Oh wow! I’m so sorry to hear about all the issues you’ve been having hun! I hope the doctors are able to do something for you soon. Living in that kind of pain is no fun at all, and none of us will die because you haven’t done your comment replies or updated the blog in x-amount of time. Try not to stress yourself out too much, maybe work on another hobby you enjoy until the blogging one rears it’s head again. Like crochet. *grins*

    If you ever feel like chatting/rambling/whatever, my e-mail is always open. *snugs*
    Silvara recently posted…Fantasy Creature Friday – Nightflyer!My Profile

    • Thanks! Haha, oh man can you imagine the pressure if someone would actually die without blog updates?? Mwahaha, yes, I do need to start crocheting a bit again, though my supplies are annoyingly at the boys right now, sigh. <3 *hugs*

  27. I have noticed a shift myself. My original shift, and one I’m still struggling with, is health related though not the excruciating back pain that you’re suffering from. [Which I feel awful about, you poor thing! Fingers crossed that things work out and work out SOON! You’re one of my favorite bloggers and I just like seeing you pop up in my inbox, I’m an email subscriber, no matter how often it is. <3] The way I've dealt with the health issues, and ours are vastly different so I'm not sure if they'll really help you, is to get as much done as I can on good days. The days I'm feeling okay I just try to cram in as much as reasonable [just make sure not to go overboard because cramming on a good day can result in a lot more bad days, I speak from experience here!]

    Grad school is also kicking my butt on top of it. I survived my first semester but now I'm in the semester where I have to plot out an actual course and prove to them that I'm capable of teaching so that I can get one of the super coveted teaching spots in the spring semester so I'm stressing that a bunch [which also doesn't help with the health issues!].

    So my best advice is to do things when you feel like you can and to not worry about it when you can't. Reading and blogging are fun. The community is strong and cares about its members. We're not going anywhere. And if you need help, don't hesitate to ask for it! I know when I was having issues getting content out before a lot of my blogging buddies stepped up and offered me guest posts to help keep my blog updated and not put a lot of excess stress on me.

    Take care of yourself!
    Ash @ Typing Tiara recently posted…Royal Reread: Thoughts on The Fire and Thorns TrilogyMy Profile

    • Awwww thanks Ash!! I’m actually going for that exact strategy and getting caught up on what I can today since my new pain meds are working really well! Haha, yeah, I’m making sure not to walk or stretch my back too much to hopefully let the muscles heal a bit before I have to walk a bunch again next week.

      Oo teaching :D. So not just being a teaching assistant but actually teaching a class? That sounds fun but definitely terrifying and a lot of work D:

      • Of course! ^.^ Sounds like you’ve got a good day ahead of you. The important bits, in all areas, are finding something that works.

        Unfortunately. It’s way on the terrifying side. My school runs things a little odd for my department. This semester I’m taking the prep work class to prove that they can leave a class in my hands and if they decide I’m worthy then instead of just being a TA and being monitored by an actual real-life professor they just dump a class on my lap and I have to report, I want to say weekly, to the head of my department. So very terrifying. I’m just glad I’ve got this prep semester before that. I need it. xD
        Ash @ Typing Tiara recently posted…Royal Reread: Thoughts on The Fire and Thorns TrilogyMy Profile

  28. Thank you for explaining your situation, Anya! You poor dear:-( The closest thing I have to chronic pain is migraines, but while they are painful, they do eventually go away. I hope things get better soon, and your blog and your followers will be hanging tight, even if you have to back off a little. Take care of yourself first:-)
    Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…Beware the Obscura: SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda – ReviewMy Profile

    • You’re very welcome, thanks for listening :D I’m with you there on the migraines too! Fortunately I think all the meds for my back are keeping the migraines away as well, haha. But yeah, those things are just as debilitating, especially if you’re getting them too often D:

  29. Anya, I’m so sorry to hear about all this! I can’t imagine how it must be :( All I can say is put yourself first. Don’t worry about the blog – if you disappear for a while to sort things out, we’ll still be here!

    Sending my best wishes!!
    Rinn recently posted…Feature: Notes from the Netherlands #6My Profile

    • Thank you!! The one good thing about pain and pain meds is that it is easy for me to put my health first since I just stop being able to even feel guilt for things left undone, haha. Not so good when it comes to cleaning the apartment though >.> ;-)

  30. Oh Anya–I’m so sorry you are in so much pain. I hope you get the surgery soon to help. That has to be awful. And your school stuff seems so stressful on top of all that. No wonder you don’t have the time or desire. I’m with you. When things in life get harder the blog is pushed to the side for a bit. But don’t worry-we love you and are waiting for when you feel better. Of course, we’re here if you need anything.

    • *hugs* thanks! It’s so nice to know that my bloggy friends will be there for me even if I drift away for a bit :)

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