Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three Week Update

Well, it's been a little bit since my initial post about having weight loss surgery, and it's been exactly three weeks since I had the surgery. It's been a lot of ups and downs, but it's going well over all.

The first week was hard and the second week was even harder, but starting with this third week, it's getting better. I've been eating mostly liquids, with some soft foods here and there. The biggest challenge I've come across is learning how not to drink and eat at the same time. Since my stomach can only hold about 4oz right now, there's not enough room for the proper amount of food if I'm drinking at the same time. It's something that I've done my whole life, so breaking that habit is fairly difficult, but I'm sure I'll get there at some point.

I weighed myself today at 299 lbs, and I almost cried. It's the first time I've weighed under 300lbs in over eight years. I remember being about 6 months pregnant with my son and clocking in at 301. It never went down again.  I've officially lost 30lbs since surgery, and 80lbs since last June. It's a humbling experience that makes me feel like this is all worth it.

Thank you to everyone who's supported me and shared their well wishes. It's meant the world to me.

Until next time,

<3 Shel

March 5th

March 11th

 March 14th

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life Altering Decision

As some of you may know, I've had trouble being overweight almost my entire life. Thanks to an inherent laziness that I've never been able to kick, and a lifetime of poor choices, I started a journey through the waters of weight loss surgery.

In May of 2010, I attended a weight loss seminar and heard from various different people about the options I had in front of me. A few life-changing stories and some good vibes later, I made an appointment to see the surgeon. In June, I took my first steps on this path by seeing both the surgeon who'd be operating on me, as well as the nutritionist assigned to walk me through everything and educate me properly before my surgery day came.

Over the next six months, I changed my diet and lifestyle, little by little. Walking more, reading labels, cutting out most of my sugar intake, making sure to drink low to 0 calorie drinks. Every single change worked to my benefit. I lost an average of 9.5 pounds in each of those months. My nutritionist expressed surprise and encouragement, stating that she'd never seen anyone else lose as much weight beforehand as I. Normally, most people see this time as their "last hurrah" as opposed to the first steps toward changing their lives.

In December, when I was being set up for my surgery date, I had a setback when my insurance decided they were no longer working with the Bariatric Center at the hospital I'd just spent the past 6-7 months working with. My options were to switch insurance or to go to another hospital's program and have strangers cut me open. I chose to stay with the original hospital and supportive group I already knew.

The setback itself came when I was told it would take six weeks for my insurance to change, which then put me at an early February surgery date (at best). I already had it planned for it to be the last week in December, when my son was off from school and it would be easiest for someone to help take care of us. I totally admit to becoming a little depressed and falling off the wagon. I gained five pounds in three weeks. When I saw that, I steeled myself once again and lost those same five pounds before I went back in the office to see the surgeon in February.

After that long journey, I was finally scheduled for my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy on February 21st.

Once the surgery was complete, I was taken to a recovery room. I don't recall much about that part, if I'm honest. My first coherent memory is being in agonizing pain when they had me hop/scoot from the gurney to my hospital bed. I thought my belly was being ripped in two. That night was rough. About every four hours, a nurse would inject my IV with morphine, which didn't do much for the pain, to be honest. I wasn't prepared for the kind of intense pain I'd feel every time I shifted or tried to adjust my position. I also was unprepared for the dull ache in my chest, attributed to gas.

I barely slept that night, and even tried to incoherently tweet, lol. The next afternoon, my boyfriend and best friend came to the hospital to bring me home. That night was rough as well. I spent half of it throwing up and fighting to keep down my liquids. It actually scared me for a minute. Thursday was better, with a great decrease in queasiness. Every day, something feels a little better. Slowly, but surely. I've had a great support system:

My boyfriend, who went to the hospital with me and stayed until I went for pre-op (he needed to be home to pick our son up from school)

My mom, who's asked me a million times if there's anything I needed and been so loving in general.

My best friend, who drove down to Philly from Harrisburg to come bring me home from the hospital because I didn't have anyone who drove (plus she wanted to show her support).

My almost-eight-year-old son, who curled up close by me for the first two nights I was home, refusing to leave my side. (I convinced him too sleep over with his little sister and her mom this weekend).

The many friends I have on Facebook and Twitter, who have shown their support and given well-wishes

Without any of these awesome people, I'd be a sorry sight to see right now. I've been in pain and weak and tired. I've tried to very hard not to complain or whine about that to anyone, because this surgery was my choice and I feel like I need to "man up". (But it still freaking hurts, lol)

Also, I've seen reactions to the term "weight loss surgery" and I've noticed a certain stigma attached to it. One comment that surfaces over and over again is, "That's just taking the easy way out."

Trust me when I say there's nothing easy about this predicament. Well, maybe the surgery itself, which is a pretty simple procedure. (Most complications from it come after surgery, when the patient is the one who isn't following directions) It is a life-long decision that is nowhere near easy to live with. The surgery is only a tool to aid you on your way to losing weight and becoming healthier. All of the hard work and sacrifices come afterward.

I've been trying to keep down clear liquids for the past (almost) week, and it's not easy. Pain in the chest from drinking just a hair too much at one time, off and on queasiness, hiccups from hell, heartburn (especially in the morning), aching in my chest and shoulders from gas that's a bitch to expel, as well as a stabbing pain in my gut when I move more than six inches have been my constant companions.

In a few days, I'll be graduating to cloudy liquids, meaning I can drink skim milk again and have pudding/yogurt. While I'm looking forward to the newer additions to my diet, I'm also aware that there might be some adjustment issues when adding the newer things to my body. After a few weeks, I'll be able to puree "real" food and eat about three ounces in one sitting.

After everything is said and done, there will be things that I'll never be able to eat again. So again, trust me when I say none of this is/will be easy.

I'm just taking it one day at a time, and looking forward to a brighter future where I'll be more healthy and ambulant--where I can run around with my son and play catch with him without getting short of breath. While my goals are for bettering my life, my decisions stem from wanting to be better for my son. That's my ultimate goal. And because of that, no one else's opinion matters.

So, I end this with a gentle hug and kiss, thanking you for reading and supporting me when I'm most in need of having someone in my corner.


December 2010

December 2011

February 19th, 2012

February 21st ~ Day 0

February 26th ~ Day 5

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Comfortably Numb Schedule

In regards to Comfortably Numb, here is an updated schedule for where it will be featured. I'll warn you now, this will probably end up being the smuttiest story I've ever written. Hopefully in a hot sort of way, and not over-the-top. <3

A pair of banners has been made for the story by my awesome beta, ysar the magnificent.

I'm hoping that I've written it in such a way that the reader won't be lost if they haven't read a previous chapter. It's not an easy task, but I think I've worked it out.

Chapters One and Two are posted on FFn.

Chapter Three will be available in the Fandom4Heroes Compilation
Chapter Four will be available in the Fandom Against Juvenile Diabetes Compilation
Chapter Five will be available in the Fandom4Children Compilation

More will be added at later dates! I honestly don't forsee this story going more (or much more) than 10 chapters.

If you are unable to donate to these awesome causes, never fear. All chapters will post to FFn once the prerequisite time has passed. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Alby Mangrove's "The Etiquette of WC in the words of the Rolling Stones"

 The Etiquette of WC in the words of the 
...because you’ve got to have Stones to showcase these kinds of moves

an author blog by Alby Mangroves 

The WC, or the Word Challenge, or indeed the Word Count or even Writing Challenge, is a fabulously wacky concept. The premise is that because writing creatively is sometimes a difficult and challenging process, it would be awesome for the author to force themselves to write under the self-imposed duress of time as well, to fully embrace their inner masochist. Because, quite frankly, one can never be frazzled enough. 

Do I sound like I hate it? Well, actually, I love it. 

I know that the whole idea sounded odd to me, before I became completely addicted. While I sometimes write independently of a WC now, the structure of writing in a chatroom full of others doing the same thing is a motivating and refreshing kick in the ass. 

WCs are a fabulous way to meet other fanfiction authors (if you’re at it long enough, you’re sure to run into people you’d normally fangirl over and get teasers of stories you already have on alert) and find new reading material or just make fandom friends. 

To me, a WC means the camaraderie of meeting in a chat (be it Skype, gchat or other apps) where everyone has the same goal: to write as much as they can in an allocated time. Then, to come back and share snippets of what they’ve done, see what the others are working on, and more often than not, discuss very important business. Business such as stick-people porn and interesting fandom phenomena like the recent resurgence of Octoward. This is a trend where Edward seems to be fondling Bella’s ass, flicking her bean and tweaking both nipples, all at the same time. The man is surely a talented ventriloquist or indeed a master puppeteer. Like I said, srs bsns. 

Having participated in WCs almost nightly since I began writing fanfiction in the closing months of 2009, I feel I can venture an opinion of some basic etiquette. I feel it could be useful for those that would like to participate, or just want to know why the hell everyone on their Twitter timeline is suddenly wanting to use a Water Closet together or meet with a Woman Constable in a Warlock’s Council (or whatever the acronym WC might mean to you). 

Without further ado, here is my humble take on The Etiquette of WC, in the words of the Rolling Stones. Because... why not. 


When you’re sitting there, in your silk upholstered chair (from “Dead Flowers”)
otherwise known as The Elephant In The Room Forming Cliques 

There is nothing worse than turning up to a party and realizing you don’t know anyone. It feels much like a fart might feel in an elevator full of perfume testers. There are a lot of people writing fanfiction, and we don’t all know each other. I was once invited into a WC where the participants might as well have been speaking a different language - they made absolutely no attempt to include me in the conversation or introduce themselves, and when I had finally had enough humiliation and silently dropped out, nary a ripple was felt, I’m sure.The communal tendency to invite each other to WCs means that now and again, there will be a noob in a group which has previously met several times and who all know each other. It would be pretty awesome to make that noob feel welcome, introduce them and show them around, lest one day, you’re the noob. Karma and all that. 


Don't give me no lip, don't give me no crap (from “Hold On To Your Hat”) otherwise known as the Shut Up and Type No Chit Chat Once the Clock Starts Ticking

Typically, once you’re in a WC and you’re on the clock (usually a suitable time increment is agreed upon in the beginning and many Good Lucks exchanged all around to start you off) it’s Radio Silence time. This means that the chatroom is silent while the participants all go about their business (presumably writing at a rate of knots). However, there are always those that refuse to fall into line. The Giggling Gerties. You know the ones; they LOL and ROFL and as you’re trying to string precious words together, their oblivious pings just keep coming. Now I’m all for chit chat (see above for mention of Octoward) but once the WC has started, you need to STFU and let your fingers do the walking in the fanfiction you’re writing. Got some catching up to do? Open a new chat window and go nuts with your frands in there. 


I'm a roadrunner honey, I bet you can't keep up with me (from “Roadrunner”) otherwise known as the Write and Run Denying Others Their Turn 

Nothing says ‘I don’t give a shit’ quite like slapping down your teaser, reaping the concrit or praise from the other participants, then making them eat your dust as you hightail it out of there. Basically, if you’re in a WC, it is only polite to stick it out while everyone has their turn at sharing their work, even if you feel that work sucks harder than a Vampire hooker. Common courtesy is a much prized trait. They’ve waited and commented on yours, you might have the courtesy to do the same, or at least be aware of how it looks when you don’t. 


The maids and the whores, did everybody pay their dues? (from “Pay Your Dues”) otherwise known as the Give As Good As You Get Offering a Critique 

Every WC is different. I know that some people like to offer corrections and opinions on teased snippets of other people’s writing, but not everyone is receptive to this in a WC. I don’t actually know if there is a preferred stance on this, but personally, I stay away from commenting about spelling and grammar unless it’s absolutely appalling. Everyone’s tease is going to be from material that hasn’t seen a red pen yet, so naturally there will be errors, omissions and corrections to be made. To me, a good WC critique might not be about pointing out those kinds of errors, but instead, offering first impressions, asking questions, helping to flesh out ideas or even pointing out continuity errors. If you’re at the receiving end of a critique, just take it for what it is: constructive criticism, not a personal slight. Unless of course you’re writing about Alice the dumpster-diving baglady or Edward and Riley’s Hirsute Himbos Hairdressing Salon, in which case you’re on your own.(*Co-credit for this crackfic concept once brainstormed in a drunken late-night WC goes to Shoefreak37- if you’ve ever needed proof that Gayward is gay, look no further than her FFn profile...)


Ain’t too proud to beg, sweet darlin’ (from “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”) otherwise known as Throw Me A Frickin’ Bone Here Reciprocating Interest 

Put yourself in these shoes for a moment: You’ve just spent an hour writing your 689 words, and when the time comes, you’ve made a selection to share with the group. You paste it in and wait on feedback. And wait... and wait. And then wait some more. The silence is thicker than Emmett’s skull, until someone takes pity and breaks the stalemate with a teaser of their own. /rant. Stings a little, no? 
Honestly, even if the teaser was not your cup of tea or was actually completely scheissenhausen, you should still probably spare a few words for the author, even if they’re just words of acknowledgement or encouragement. Nobody needs to know that on your side of the screen you’re gagging with laughter or facepalming your ass off. Again with the Karma, right? 


Knew you was talkin' jive, I could see it in your eyes (from “Surprise, Surprise”)
otherwise known as Here Is One I Prepared Earlier - Sharing Pieces Written Previously 

This is a weird one. Why would you come into a WC and then produce a teaser from previously written or prepared work? The whole idea is that you’ve just been writing ‘live’ in a group environment- we want to know what you were working on, not what you think is even better. I quite like reading something that has just come to be in an organic, impromptu manner - see above for Mick Jagger dancing like he's been tazed. It irks to know that while I was happy to share something as raw, messy and unedited as a Vampire Cesarean, someone else can only bear to share an immaculately dressed Prom-Night Dance. The motivation behind this eludes me, though seeing WCs as a social event or a story-marketing tool and not as a writing group would probably do it. I would hope that participation was driven by a desire to set aside a quiet hour to write with some like-minded people, and not as a way to self-promote. 


We’re wasting time inside your mind (from “We’re Wasting Time”) otherwise known as A Little Piece, Not War and Peace Length of Teasers 

I want to know what you’re working on, I really do. I love reading other people’s snippets, and have found a few great stories that way. What I don’t want, is a snippet that’s going to take two hours to read. Typically, a good teaser is a well-chosen 200 words or so. Any more than that and you’ve brought the WC to a standstill while everyone tries to get through a teaser that’s longer than Bella’s honeymoon wishlist. I know some people think that you must post enough for your piece to be read in context, but really, all I need is a well-worded paragraph or two to suck me in. Keep it succinct and everyone can have a turn at sharing, and this way the sharing doesn’t take longer than the actual WC. 

He's split by the time the cockerel crows (from “Midnight Rambler”)
otherwise known as Now You See Me, Now You Don’t The Exit Strategy 

This might sound strange, but when a tree falls in a WC, it definitely makes a sound, even during Radio Silence. Or... something. Basically, when you decide to leave, do so as if you were in an actual roomful of people and not just a list of handles. This means saying farewell instead of just vanishing like a self-flagellating Edward. That would be rude and inexcusable, because you’re not Edward. 


Pretty little lips were sealed (from “Plundered My Soul”) otherwise known as The Cone of Silence Leaking Teasers 

What happens in WC, stays in WC. There might be a time where you’re in a WC with the author of a highly anticipated update. You might feel tempted to share the teaser that this author posts in a WC, but don’t do it, at least not without their permission. Most people writing fanfiction have a Beta or a pre-reader, and wouldn’t post an update without the benefit of some editing. The snippet they’ve just shared with you will probably be amended before that person feels comfortable enough to post, or it might not even make the final cut. Don’t steal their thunder by sharing an unedited, unrefined crumb with any of your friends, that would be almost as uncool as Jacob constantly trying to cut Edward’s lunch (make moves on his woman) before eventually making off with his only child. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where to Tease or Pimp Your Fic

After chatting with my lovey, Laurnorder (who's just posted her first WiP!), I've decided to make a list places where writer can post their teasers or pimp out their work to reach as many people as possible. =)

For a few of these, there are quick forms to fill out and you need to make sure you pay attention to the submit by date! I've forgotten a time or two myself, lol.

The Fictionator's Teaser Monday 

PicTease on Mondays

A Different Forest has a teaser campfire every Monday

Edwardville (LiveJournal community) has a Teaser thread every Tuesday

The Twigasm's Teaser Tuesday

The Twilight Awards TwiFicBites are posted on Wednesdays

TwiFicNews' Teasers Unplugged are posted on Thursday


Another good way to get your story out there is to take advantage of the different Twitter services/accounts that will shout out a Tweet whenever you update. 

TwiNetwork has a great feature called Tweet Me where you sign up and whenever you update, you're given three stories to Tweet. In turn, when another writer updates, someone will be given your story to Tweet about.  There are also sections for your Completed Fics and One Shots as well.  

The Twilight Awards also has Fic Update Tweets, but it's only available to their Twitter Followers. With almost 5000 followers, I'd say it would be worth it. They also have an Under the Radar section. If your fic is under 750 reviews, with less than an average of 30 reviews per chapter and at least 5 chapters posted, you can submit it to possibly be featured there. Qualifications are listed on the form/application.

TwiFicPromotions also has a Tweet a Fic feature. (They've recently announced that they're merging with The Twilight Awards, so I'm not sure of this will be continuing in the future.)

The Wayward Pushers also have a Tweet My Update Feature, as well as some other cool things that might help you out along the way. 

~ If you know of anywhere else, please share! ~

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shimmer Awards!

Parachute won a Shimmer Award for Best Fluff and I'm Not That Girl won one for Best One-Shot!