Update on My Status

I just want to thank everyone who has helped out with the GoFundMe that Dave Mattingly started to help me while I deal with this neurological issue. The outpouring of love and generosity has been quite touching.

I got turned down for TennCare, mostly because the state of Tennessee, in its partisan nonsense to go against the president on every possible issue regardless of what that does to its citizens, decided not to accept the Medicaid expansion money. But that’s a different post for a different day. The end result is that in this state there is no safety net for someone like me, so I’m left without a confirmed diagnosis and without medical treatment. Because of that, I’m trying a few different alternative treatments for relief of my symptoms such as acupuncture and herbal supplements. So far, the acupuncture seems to have reduced the spasms somewhat. It’s not much, but at least it is a start.

I’m still not fully comfortable asking for help like this, but my current situation truly feels desperate. I don’t have my medical review for Social Security disability until December, and then who knows how long it will be before a decision is reached? In my current state, I can barely walk and cannot exert myself for more than a few minutes before I am completely exhausted. I’m also in serious pain every waking moment, which gets old. There are so many things I still need to accomplish, but I’m not even up to mowing my yard right now.

If you are able to donate to the GoFundMe, it would help me get through the next couple of months. My place currently has virtually no heat. The only thing I have that still works is one small electric heater that sits by my bed. My preference is to install a wood stove to keep the electric bill down, but it takes money to get everything I need for it. The ceiling also needs a lot more insulation before it gets much colder. A couple of friends have agreed to help me with the labor since I can’t do it myself, but the materials are beyond anything I can afford in my current circumstances. Also, I need money to continue with the acupuncture and to see a nutritionist who may be able to ease off some of the symptoms.

I’ve accepted that I will not get to have my kids for our regular time this winter because of my health and financial conditions, and everyone who knows me knows how much that hurts, but that’s my reality. For now, my goal is to focus on treating these symptoms until I feel well enough to work, and then getting back on my feet so I can see them either late spring or summer. No matter what, I will not give up fighting to get better because I still have too much to accomplish, like being an involved father until they are much older. If you are able to contribute, please help me through this difficult time.


I Need Help

It’s not easy for me to ask others for help.

Dave Mattingly started a GoFundMe for me because of my health issues. I’m embarrassed to have to ask for help, but right now, I have little alternative. The MRI offered no answers, neither confirming nor ruling out anything, so I’m probably going to have to go to a neurological clinic. My insurance lapses tomorrow, and my funds have been exhausted already. Getting a confirmed diagnosis seems like a far away dream.

I don’t want to whine too much, but these neurological issues are making basic day to day functions difficult. It will be a little while before I hear anything about disability, so I’m stuck in this hellish limbo with no job, no insurance, and no means of fending for myself. I’m also behind on child support, which eats at me every minute. My sons are everything to me, and it pains me deeply not to live up to that obligation.While it’s hard for me to admit it, I truly need help right now.


Talking Smack

I made this vow over the weekend, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who really knows me: Regardless of my diagnosis on Wednesday, I will fight this neurological disease with everything in me. It has no idea the mistake it made coming at me, son. And once I’m back to feeling like myself, I’m hitting the world like an emeffing tornado. Stand back and watch because the show will be entertaining!

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

As a general rule, I don’t like to write advice pieces because who am I and what have I done to warrant offering advice to others, but here’s something I want to share because it’s important:

If you are going to attempt to pass yourself off as a professional in a given field, you need to learn the ropes of your field before you feign a stance as an expert. We all go through growing pains as we find our footing in our careers, and we all make mistakes from time to time. However, if you are going to request to share your knowledge of a specific subject at a professional gathering, proceed to demonstrate zero knowledge of that specific subject, and then get called out publicly for not knowing what you are talking about, instead of acting pompous and superior, go back and do a little research into your profession. Furthermore, once you have revealed how little you know, just stop talking. Don’t proceed to paint yourself as an arrogant buffoon by attempting to explain your ignorance away. It’s better to save face by showing a modicum of humility than to keep saying ignorant things.

We live in a highly competitive country. Moreover, in this age, creative endeavors are some of the most difficult fields in which to establish one’s self. Fans who attend conventions tend to take things seriously and have high expectations for creative folks. Mediocrity will not last for long on the steep climb, and ignorant pomposity will be met harshly by fandom. It’s not a sin not to know something on the periphery of your specialty, but it is a sin to volunteer to share your knowledge specifically about that periphery and then show up empty-handed. In the information age, it is unpardonable to show up to a professional presentation and not even know the basic definitions of the topics you asked to discuss. If you are going to climb into the arena, you had best train for the fight ahead of time. If not, don’t be surprised by the ass-kicking you receive.

To all of my friends, readers, fellow writers, and former students, please know that I share these words of warning out of love because I want you to be successful in your endeavors. I’m not going to share details or name names, so please don’t ask, but the person who committed this particular blunder last weekend should be glad that it happened at a first year show with only a handful of audience members at the panel, and not at Dragon*Con with a packed room. The latter could be career suicide. The former will pass by mostly unnoticed, but it serves as a teachable moment. When you choose to represent yourself as a professional in any field and are in a public venue, please for the love of all that’s decent in this world, show up prepared.

Afternoon Whining

I want to get back to regular activity.
I want to get back to regular activity.

I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel normal. I don’t mean in a behavioral sense; I’ve never fit into society’s definition of normal, which by the way is a myth at best. No, I mean I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to have this neurological condition. I’m aware that not so long ago I had energy and could concentrate on intricate tasks and could function at a high level, but now, because of the multitude of issues I’m dealing with, I can’t remember how it feels to feel healthy. It’s similar to how in the summer when the heat is oppressive and sweat coats your skin it’s hard to recall the chill of winter and the need for a sweater. I know I once felt strong and virile, but the memory seems as if it belonged to someone else’s life.

Mentally, I was not designed to be disabled. I know there are people in this world who would relish the opportunity to lie in bed or sit at the computer most of the day, and if I could concentrate long enough to write throughout the day, I might be able to adjust. But I am not the kind of person who likes idleness. I’m happiest when I feel productive. Every time I look at the yard and see how far behind I’ve fallen on the upkeep, my stomach aches. As I watch all of the progress I had made on the property being reclaimed by nature, a piece of me cries out internally. As the days roll by and book five still isn’t complete, I just want to scream. I have too much to do to feel this sick.

Once I have a confirmed diagnosis, I’ll hopefully be able to receive treatment and feel better. Once I have that diagnosis, I’ll try to describe and explain in more detail what the symptoms are like. For now, I don’t want to go into much detail because I don’t feel like speculation on my part or anyone else’s will be helpful.  I know people mean well when they ask if I’ve considered X, but it’s really not productive. Most likely, yes, either I or one of the doctors has considered X, and it has already been ruled out. Again, I know you mean well, but after three years, we’ve covered all the easy stuff two and three times.

I also don’t like being at the mercy of the system. So far, all it has done is let me down at every step of my life, so I don’t have much hope for it to take care of me now. That said, I’m blessed and grateful for the dear friends who have reached out to help me navigate this new reality. You know who you are, and I’m more appreciative of you than I can express. Once I have beaten this illness and am back to my rowdy self, I hope I can repay the kindnesses. That’s all for now. Physically, I’m quite uncomfortable today.

Draxis Soaps

My friends Kevin and Sarah Jo are trying to expand their con circuit business. They make custom soaps with fandom themes. Please, take a look at their Kickstarter page and help them out. All levels of pledging receive samples. Kevin has been a big supporter of mine for several years, so I’d love to help drive a few backers his way. If you can, please help them expand their business.


The adventure you've been waiting for!


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