Hello my dear friends!
I know it's been a while between posts, but I'm doing my best to finish up the rough draft of the new Evans series. Yes, they are not done yet! Yay! I received so many requests to keep it going that I couldn't find the heart to put my beloved friends away forever. I'm just about done with the rough draft of the Evans Domination Series, Book One. As the readers of Sunshine Rising learned, there was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, and sure enough, they have not finished their battle with the Mexican cartels.
So, what's the new book about? Well, without giving away the entire plot, I will say that they are searching for El Padrino (who, by the way, is not the real El Padrino who was arrested some time ago. I did not base my character on him at all, and I had never heard of him until I began researching this new book. I wanted to put that out there, just in case, LOL). Book One will be introducing some new characters who will be relevant in future books, but our favorite Evans characters do make an appearance. Zach is trying his hardest to handle El Padrino the legal way while Hayden, Andrew, and Ian are planning to go rogue. When Zach is called into a human trafficking case based in Tucson, he works hard to tie it back to El Padrino. Stay tuned for a frightening, yet very real, story to come.
With that being said, please watch out this summer for the new book, Hope Is Calling, The Evans Domination, Book One. We're looking at a late-June release date, but I'll post once it's ready to go.
I hope all of my friends are doing well, and thank you for your patience with me last year. I know I was only able to release two books instead of three, but I'm trying hard to make up for that this year. If only I could fix my back! Ugh.
Don't forget to stay tuned. I'm sending the information to my cover artist today, and hopefully she'll be working her magic in time for the June release.
Hugs to my readers out there! Take care.
Although a little late in posting, here is my continuing series of scenes from my books. I've chosen Eyes on Tango, one of my favorites to feature next. A jungle adventure, a vacation gone awry, and the beginning of the mystery is falling into place.
Please enjoy seeing some of the scenes where Dani and Hayden began their road to love, where Rocky and Micaela reveal their plans, and where Zach begins to find the information he needs to catch the bad guys he and Ian have been hunting for months.
From the ruins in Tulum, Mexico, up the Mayan Riviera to Playa del Carmen and finally Cancun, Mexico, the two lovers run for their lives in search of escape from a beautiful land turned deadly.
I hope you have a fun time exploring the sites with Dani and Hayden!
September 5, 2012, I went in for an ALIF and TLIF surgical procedure on my back. You can review the entire story in the posts below, but this is to be my one month update. As you can see from the photo, I am still using the walker, but I am up and moving around - yay!
I mentioned before that on my first weekend home I developed sciatica in my calves and behind my knees. Yes, I know, that's a very strange spot to have it, especially since I have very little pain in my buttocks and thighs. I hardly notice it there. But that has continued now two weeks later. (I'm sincerely wishing it would heal up, but I'll continue to keep you posted on that.)
I can say that the sciatica has eased. It's not quite as intense as it was at first unless I stand for too long or sit for too long. You can see in the photo attached that I am standing with my left leg bent. That is the most painful leg, and the pain can escalate quickly. When standing, I must continue to move from side to side or the pain becomes so incredible that I am forced to my knees. At one point, I had to crawl out of my closet until my daughter, Shannon, could help me climb back into bed. The same thing has happened from sitting too long. One time following a trip to the restroom, I almost 'lunged' (would have if physically strong enough, haha) back to my bed. I immediately lie flat when this happens and wait for the pain to lighten up. That is the worst problem that I'm facing at this point in time, and I plan to speak with my surgeon and pain management doctor in the next couple of weeks when I go in for my follow ups.
Drivers beware! I am back on the road!
No need to run for the hills; I am just teasing. I'm not dangerous, I promise.
I drove for the first time following surgery on Wednesday of this week, just a quick half-mile journey to a doctor's office down the street from us. The appointment was for my daughter, and I made her stop texting and put down her phone and help me with an extra pair of eyes and ears because of my limited motion. I never truly realized how much you use your abdominal muscles when you drive. Perhaps it was because I was nervous or perhaps because I drive a BMW ("the man and car are one" is right ,sheesh!), but I found it to be a bit more difficult than I thought. My surgeon had told me to heed my instincts on driving, so for now I will only drive when necessary and follow his instructions to keep my journeys to 10-15 minute trips on local streets only. This is not one thing I will be daring about.
Following the doctor's appointment, we had to make a quick stop to drop off her prescription, and by the time I was done I had to take a pain pill and lie down. It was exhausting, which is such a strange feeling because I'm so used to being active and busy. You can really tell that your body is not quite ready to go full-steam ahead, and I am constantly reminded when I do "too much".
Minor Surgical Complication
When you come out of surgery, the hospital staff is very insistent that you monitor your 'movements'. Since my appetite still has not returned completely, I had been resorting to drinking shakes, eating fruits and having a light dinner. I ended up having a blockage that almost sent me to the ER. That was a miserable time, and probably the worst part of my recovery so far. So for those who find themselves not following orders to a "T" and slacking off a bit, please make sure you're taking care of business! It took me a couple of days afterwards to feel better, and I'm still feeling nauseous at times.
After all my frightening news, I do have some icing to go on the cake! The good news is that both incisions are healing up very well. The back incision is completely closed and now a long, pink scar. I still have two steri-strips left on my abdomen out of six, and one spot where one had fallen off is still slightly open, but they are not giving me any trouble at all. If it wasn't for the sciatica in my calves right now, I don't think I would need any pain pills at all. Every now and then, it seems as though I can "feel" the rods in my back. They ache a bit. I also have a tender spot in my stomach, but I believe it's just muscle pain where they're coming back together.
I am very excited to get to the point where I no longer need medications at all. Going back to just a multivitamin is my goal, and I'm determined to get there sooner or later. I would be a lot more active with my walking if not for the sciatica, but again I believe part of that is my body telling me not to do too much. I run an active household with children and pets, so the bending, twisting, lifting and household chores that I'm not supposed to be doing sometimes have me doing more than I should. I know, I know, I must take it easy. It's just easier said than done when there's no one else around at the time to help.
My Next Steps
Of course I must get back to work! I have been online a little bit here and there, but I am mostly keeping my hours limited. I still have some sleepless, uncomfortable nights, so I try to rest during the day. However, I have finalized the cover for Kat's Last Chance, The Evans Family, Book Four and still plan to release it this month. My official date for release will be October 25th, barring any further complications.
I hope this pleases everyone! I know a lot of you have been waiting for the arrival, and I promise you that even though I've been out of the loop for some time I am still preparing to have an on-time release.
This is my first reveal of the new cover. I hope you love it as much as I do. A special thanks goes out to An Author's Art once again for taking my words and turning them into magic for me. Thank you Laura!
Physically, I will continue to focus on recovery. I will see my surgeon again on the 16th, and we will then determine when I can start physical therapy. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to get moving again. It's been a long road, and it feels as though the end is in sight.
Lastly, I really must put out a giant thank you for all the cards, flowers, well wishes and best hopes that I've received from you all. I plan to frame all the get well cards and mount them on the wall in my office. Every time I open the PO Box, I have been brought to tears by the kindness you all have shown me. (Ask Shannon on our blog if you don't believe me, haha). You are the best readers out there, and I can't say thank you enough! It has helped me remain optimistic in times of pain, and it has warmed my heart to know that so many people care. Thank you all so much!
I should start off and say that my initial photo is probably the worst I’ve looked and felt in my entire life, so please bear with me, LOL.
It has been 18 days since my surgeries, and I thought it was about time I wrote up a post to share with everyone how things are going. For my readers, I am not only sharing my recovery, but I am also hoping that other people who must go through an ALIF and TLIF may learn something from my experience. There are so many conflicting stories online that I was frightened by some and reassured by others. Someone had mentioned that a lot of people go through the procedure following an accident and are most likely exaggerating for lawsuit purposes, so my story will be an honest account.
Okay so let's get to it. I checked into the hospital on September 5, 2012 at 5 am. I was nervous, but everyone was very nice. My procedure was done in a new hospital that specializes in neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery, so it was small, intimate and everyone was very friendly. After my intake, they took me in the back room, had me change, set up my IVs, took some vitals and then knocked me out. The last thing I remember is being wheeled away and saying goodbye to my husband.
The next thing I knew, I was in a large, spacious room with a huge wall-mounted television and someone laughing at me because I kept wiggling my toes and exclaiming “I can feel my toes!”. That became a joke amongst the nurses because I guess in my medicated mind I was very affected by that. The rest of the first day was pretty much a blur, although I do remember my two children coming in to see me for a short time. The introductory photo is from their visit. You can probably tell by the lost-in-space look on my face that I have no idea what's happening, haha.
Because I was so loopy, they did not make me get out of the bed the first day. The second day was the worst. I woke up in a lot of pain, and it took them some time to realize that they were under-medicating me. I had been taking 30mg of Percocet daily, and they had been giving me 10mg. Even though I was in a lot of pain, I was a trooper because I was so eager and did get out of bed and walk a few feet. I’m not going to lie; there were tears pouring down my face the entire time. At that point, my husband told the nurse I needed the larger dose of medication. They came running in and gave me a straight shot of morphine, and I was out again for the rest of that day.
Day three was so much better. I got up and moved around a lot easier. Once my medication was regulated, I was so happy to be able to lie with my legs flat, and I wanted to start moving right away. It was great to get up and move. I was able to shower, but I still was not ready to go home.
Although my outlook was fantastic, and I was motivated enough to be a favorite patient, my surgeon was not in any rush to send me home. By day three, they began loading me up with stool softeners and laxatives. I believe I took four. Trust me - that worked! I thought I would be able to go home on Saturday, but my surgeon wanted to keep me in for that fifth day. I agreed, for it was nice to just catch up on all that missing sleep I’d had over the past year of pain.
Sunday arrived and my docs came in to tell me they would let me go home that afternoon. I had already showered with a shower chair and was walking every day, so I felt ready. It’s strange, you do feel weak, but you also feel so much better without the kind of pain you had been going through. So I went home on day five.
A side story about my incisions:
The ALIF and TLIF surgeries require both a front and back incision. I have what appears to be a large c-section incision in my abdomen around my bikini line and then a four or so inch incision in my back. My understanding (and please don’t hold me to this) is that the approach surgeon comes in, opens my abdomen, pushes aside my intestines, clamps apart my vena cava and aorta so my surgeon could reach my back. From there, my back surgeon did the approach, removed the collapsed disc, ground down the two vertebra to insert the clamp. Then they rolled me over, opened my back, inserted the rods and screws, ground out the extra bone that had been pinching my nerves and used that bone as my bone graft to begin the infusion. They reported that everything went so well that I was done 2 1/2 hours earlier than expected – see everyone? I’m tough! LOL. When I originally came out of surgery, my abdomen was so bloated that I appeared to be about seven months pregnant. Since then some of the air has escaped, and the discomfort has eased. Initially it was a very strange feeling.
The incision in the front has steri-strips holding it closed, and there are a couple of tender spots there. Rolling out of bed has been what I’ve been doing for months, so that wasn’t too hard to learn to do. The back incision sometimes bothers me, as I spent a lot of time in bed sleeping. That one you can feel, so I’ve noticed I can’t really move much at night.
I wear a back brace 24/7 that I love. It’s not required to wear while you’re sleeping, but it’s so comfortable that I like to have it on.
I returned home Sunday afternoon and moved straight into my office where there is a day bed. It’s lower than my master bedroom so easier to get in and out of. The room isn’t that large, but my dogs joined me in there, and the bed is loaded with pillows to help support me. I spent most of the first week resting and watching some television. I didn’t attempt to get on the computer because I was still medicated. By the end of the week, I was actually considering moving from the walker to a cane, and then the sciatica in my calves started. The pain was so intense at first we thought I may have developed blood clots. To check that out, I put my TENS unit on the area, and the tingles went straight down to my toes, so I know it was nerve related. I had heard on other sites that it was not uncommon to have sciatica flare up. After all, they were jiggling my nerves and clearing the pinched nerves that had been so inflamed for over a year. I imagine it’s going to take some time to heal up. I went back to my walker immediately.
My friend, Kathy, brought me in to see my surgeon on Tuesday the 18th, and he said everything looked great. I mentioned the problem with my legs. He was a bit stumped and told me to keep an eye on it. I promised I would.
On Thursday, September 20th, I rolled out of bed and fell, landing straight on my butt. My legs had completely given out. I felt funny, because I was one of those ladies saying “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”. Unfortunately, my middle daughter had already left for school, so it was just my youngest (who was still asleep), so it was up to me to manage to get up. I did after a few moments, and I ended up being okay. It was just a good reminder to make sure I’m moving slowly and not doing too much.
I have had many people come to visit me during the day and keep an eye out on me. It’s been very helpful, and the amount of kindness everyone has shown me has brought me to tears many times. A special thank you goes out to Kathy, Michelle, Jenny, Yvette, Naomi, Rocky, Megan, Betsy, Kristi and DeOnna for wonderful dinners, rides and support!
I also wanted to make a mention for the beautiful flowers and cards I’ve received. Again, they have brought me to tears (I think I’m just not used to people being so nice to me, LOL). Thank you to Danny and Michelle, my family, Linda, Ilil, Christine, Karen and Cheri. Also there is a thank you to Belinda, Vickie, Linda and Ilil again, Rosie, Joe, Stephen, Margaret, David, Mary, Elissa. You all have been so wonderful.
So the recovery is coming along, slowly but surely. My surgeon says I should be able to start driving in two more weeks, although I can only stay on local roads for 10-15 minute drives. I’m hopeful the sciatica in my legs will ease soon too.
It has been eighteen days now. While I’m still using my walker, I am feeling overall better. Shannon had her Homecoming dance last night. I released my walker and allowed her to support me for this photo. If not for the sciatica in my calves, I feel I’d already be using the cane. So I’ll give it another couple of weeks to strengthen up, and I start physical therapy after two months. I’m finally on the road to a pain-free life again, yay!
Lastly, an especially giant thank you to my two younger children. They have been exceptionally helpful and understanding and I don’t know how I’d be getting through all this without them. While my oldest is in college, she’s been checking in on me every day, and that reminds me what a great family I truly do have. Thank you all for your support and well wishes!