Wednesday, April 17, 2024

State of the writer (ouch!)


Several readers have asked lately when I'm going to publish more books.  Following my mention last Saturday of being in a lot of pain and awaiting surgery, those questions have increased.  I figured I owe my fans (thank you for being there!) an explanation.  If it's TMI, I apologize, but it won't make sense without a certain amount of detail.  (This isn't a pity party, and I'm not looking for sympathy:  I'm just laying out the facts so readers can understand why I haven't produced much lately.)

Basically, what I'm enduring at the moment (and have been for the past couple of years) is a coming together of hard wear and tear over many years, plus injury.  As regular readers will know, I had a fairly adventurous life in Africa before coming to the USA almost thirty years ago.  That put a lot of strain on the moving parts, so to speak:  as so many military veterans are known to say, "It's not the years, it's the mileage".  That's very true.  I was "rode hard and put away wet" for a while, and sooner or later that catches up with one.

The other is my injury on the job two decades ago.  That left me with a fused spine and nerve damage to my left leg and hip, and I've been in constant pain (as in 24/7/365) from then onward.  That just plain wears on a man, I'm here to tell you.

Put those factors together and the wear and tear accelerates.  In 2009 I had a major heart attack, leading to a quadruple bypass.  There was no warning that anything was wrong:  it just hit me out of nowhere.  The theory is that all that stress when I was younger had built up in me, and was intensified by the constant pain following my injury in 2004.  Eventually things just came to a head - or, rather, a heart.  Bypass surgery was successful, and I carried on with my life, now popping pills for heart health as well as for pain and what have you.

The cardiologist in 2009 told me that bypasses were "warrantied" for no longer than ten years:  and, sure enough, ten years and one month after my first heart attack, I had another.  This one was smaller, but was a "widowmaker" - a very dangerous one.  My cardiologist here in Texas was able to unblock an artery that had been bypassed ten years before, and inserted a stent, which put me back on my feet with minimal long-term heart damage (for which, thanks be to God).  That was five years ago.  Is there another one on the way five years from now?  Sooner?  Later?  Who knows?  All I know is, according to the doctors, once you've had two you're almost guaranteed at least a third.

All that accumulated pain and stress has led to other systems in my body beginning to break down, slowly but surely.  I lost my gall bladder some years ago, and am now experiencing kidney problems.  I expect at least one surgery to deal with that, fairly soon now.  Adding to that, the neurosurgeon who fused my spine warned me, twenty years ago, that I was at high risk for reinjury, and was certain to face spinal deterioration because a fusion reduces flexibility, causing discs above and below the fusion site to atrophy, creating conditions where arthritis of the spine can develop.  As he predicted, that has now happened.  Unfortunately, Workers Compensation doesn't want to pay for further treatment for a 20-year-old injury;  but regular medical insurance won't touch it because they regard it as work-related.  That bureaucratic impasse is rather frustrating, to put it mildly.  I may have to launch a fundraiser to pay for the spine surgery.  We'll see.

To make matters more interesting, along came COVID-19.  I've had at least two, and probably three bouts with it.  Thanks to Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine, I was able to shake them off, but the after-effects linger, as many of you have experienced for yourselves.

So, for the past couple of years, I've faced an accumulation of health problems and increased pain levels that have effectively stopped me producing nearly as much work as I'd like (particularly of what I consider an acceptable quality).  However, I am still working, even though I find it hard in my present state of health to produce creative writing that I consider of a suitable standard for publication.  I discard a lot of work while editing it, because it's just not up to the standards I try to meet.  In an effort to counter that, I put a lot of effort into making this blog relevant, interesting and entertaining, in an attempt to force myself to remain in the "writing groove".

My plans right now are to complete my Civil War naval trilogy, which is making good progress at last.  I plan to release it in rapid succession, one book a month over three months, hopefully kicking off in 2025.  I also have the sixth volume of the Maxwell Saga almost ready to publish.  I hope that will happen later this year (although that depends on surgeries and their aftermath - that may push it out to 2025 as well).  I'm very sorry for the delay (not least because I rely on income from my books to survive!), but I'm doing my best.  I hope you understand.

So, there you have the state of the author.  I'll keep on plugging away, and I truly hope I can get through and past my current health problems to where I can produce more work, more often.  Prayers, as always, are appreciated.



Paul said...

Do what you can when you can. We will wait. I too had my Gall Bladder out a few years ago, and had a bout of covid, so I feel some of your pain.

I found a kind of doctor based on Chiropractor that has helped me some. She is "testing" the body and then diagnosing some herbal remedies that seem to help with that.

YMMV. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Did the "hard reset" fasting regime help?

Sending positive energy your way!

BadFrog said...

Stuff the books! Just look after yourself first and foremost.

Old NFO said...

Prayers as always Peter. We are here for you.

Rev. Paul said...

I'm sorry the after-effects of the hard years have taken such a toll. (I share many of those post-military & post-heart-attack conditions with you.) May the Lord ease the suffering & speed the recovery!

TheAxe said...

Best of luck Peter. I look forward to whatever comes out when it does. Steve Maxwell is among my favorite literary characters, your books about him are great. Here's hoping the docs are successful!

James said...

Your mileage may vary, but since you have so many issues, perhaps what has worked for me would help you. I am going on seventy four and I had diabetes, stage three kidney disease, serious cardiac issue, and like you a great deal of regular pain from a sixty years ago back injury and a wrecked right knee. I also had rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and carpal tunnel in both wrists. There were other issues but I will just point out ones similar to yours.
In March of 2023 I started the carnivore diet because of obesity and I got a whole lot more than weight loss. According to my lab tests and doctors, both the diabetes and kidney disease are in remission, the heart issues have healed ninety plus percent, all of the back and joint pains are reduced by the same amount. I have had no return of the arthritis symptoms since I started carnivore.
Anyone reading this would naturally be skeptical, I don't know if I would believe it if if hadn't happened to me. My doctors don't have any explanation for the changes, though the NP in the cardiologist believes in the power of low/no carbohydrates and attributed the heart improvement to that.
It isn't very demanding, just try the diet for thirty days, anyone can do anything for thirty days. There is a wealth of information on the tube of you, Dr Ken Berry is a great place to start and Dr Sten Ekburg is great at simple and clear explanations. I suggest you investigate the process of autophagy, the discovery of which won the Nobel in 2016.
If you look at some videos, the most important information is in the comment sections where you will find thousands of personal stories of healing.
Hope this is of some help.

Anonymous said...

Peter, thanks for the update - I'm sure all your readers understand your health has absolute priority! Take care of your health best as you can because we're getting older and frailer and each minor problem from our youth tends to become considerably more serious the older we get...
Hope you improve soon!

Anonymous said...

I heard/read about author who due to advanced arthritis had basically lost the ability to use the keyboard. So she now dictates to the computer. Maybe find your most comfortable spot and give it a try. But the long and short of it is that as much as I love your books and have read some a couple of times I'll live without them. Your health, comfort and longevity is much more important for your wife that our nattering or suggestions. But always know you are in all our nightly prayers.

Jen said...

I'm sorry you're having these issues, Peter. Prayers for your recovery and pain relief.

Francis Turner said...

I'd offer you a physical man hug and pat on the back except that a) I'm too far away and b) it would probably cause more pain. So have a virtual one, along with prayers.

Anonymous said...

Check out disc seel. I’m considering it this summer.

Hamsterman said...

I'm just enjoying the time we have together. I'm not complaining about the lack of books. Even Jerry Pournelle pretty much slowed down writing books in his later years, but wrote what was essentially a daily blog.

Anonymous said...

Though the outward man perisheth day by day, yet the inward man is being renewed. May this Bible promise ne yours each day

lynn said...

> I'm just enjoying the time we have together. I'm not complaining about the lack of books. Even Jerry Pournelle pretty much slowed down writing books in his later years, but wrote what was essentially a daily blog.

Me too !