Cinder’s Next Adventure Includes Scarlet

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Category: Sci-fi
Setting: Future, New Bejing

Author Website: http://www.marissameyer.com

Being an amputee I am drawn to any book where the main character has a prosthetic. This second book in the Lunar Chronicles series will be expanding the story with an additional hero and heroine but we’ll still see Cinder and continue her battle against the evil Lunar Queen.

Books in the Lunar Chronicles series:

  • Cinder, published January 3, 2012 (book#1)
  • The Queen’s Army, published November 23, 2012 (ebook #1.5)
  • Scarlet, coming February 5, 2013 (book #2)

Also don’t miss out on the illustrated story:

  • Glitches, published December 5, 2011 (book #0.5)
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Steps Toward Independence!

A year ago July, I had my last surgery from my above the knee amputation.  I had had my leg amputated on June 14, 2010 but within two weeks I developed an infection. Between June 30 and July 4 (our national Independence Day),I had four more surgeries to clean the wound. On the final cleaning, my doctor decided to remove an additional 1/16 of an inch of bone to be certain that all the infection was removed. I knew before the amputation that I was about to embark on a life-altering experience and I wanted to capture the experience in a unique way. Since I My Independence Flagstarted my amputation journey on Flag Day (June 14th), I celebrated by having all the nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and nurses’ aides who have helped me through my recovery and training sign my personal Independence Flag. It is amazing how many people it takes to get one amputee up and walking again. I thank everyone involved in my recovery and training and I support anyone who works with amputees. No amputee recovers without support from family, friends, and the medical community.

On July 8th last year, I was sent home from the hospital to begin six weeks of intensive IV antibiotic treatment. After a quick fifteen minute training session with a visiting nurse my husband was abandoned with a cheat sheet and supplies to be my full-time nurse. My husband was responsible for giving me IV medications, tablet medications, and for somehow getting me to eat which was the last thing I wanted to do. And then, like a saint, he would clean up the mess I made when everything he begged me to eat during the day made me violently sick to my stomach in the middle of the night.

Most days during the infection treatment, I prayed that God would just take me. Kind of ironic that after suffering six years with intensive arthritic pain what made me call out to God for the end was the constant taste of saline solution that I couldn’t rinse out of my mouth. The mere mention of it even now makes me queasy.  I pray I never have to relive such an experience nor put my husband through such an ordeal again.

By September of 2010 my husband exchanged his role of nurse for chauffeur. I began physical therapy. My left leg was weak. My hip was so tight from sitting in a wheelchair for six years that when I laid on my back my amputated leg (from now on to be referred to as my stump) pointed straight up in air. Participating in physical therapy involves a completely different kind of pain, it was both good because I finally felt like I was “doing something” and yet still hurt like a dickens.

One of the hardest exercises was just practicing standing up, back straight, eyes looking forward, hips level. Missing the bottom half of my right leg totally threw off my balance. If I wanted to “balance” myself and not hang on to anything I mastered what I called “the airplane” move. I would bend over at the hips with my back flat and my arms straight out to sides as if I was flying. My stump leg would be sticking out behind me like a rudder.  Over time I could hold this balance for a minute or two; long enough to gracefully bend over and pick up a dropped sock or pen. But the goal was really to stand tall and straight.

By the end of December 2010 I could lay on my back on the physical therapy table and my stump leg was “almost” flat with me. I still had to give it a little flex to get it to touch the table but close enough that the prosthetists said it was time to get myself fitted for my new prosthetic leg.

However, my story would be way too simple if I would have received a new leg for Christmas. The insurance company decided that they weren’t going to pay for my leg. They had a limit on what they would pay for a prosthetic. I was stunned and crushed. After all the hard work in physical therapy and making the mental and physical choice to amputate my own leg, the insurance company would not pay for the single piece of equipment that would “make” me whole again. It was inconceivable to me that when they paid for the actual amputation surgery they did not calculate that the cost of a prosthetic would be required.  After many phone calls to the insurance company, I gave up on them and prayed I could find another resource of assistance.

It was a cold, dark winter to begin 2011. I spent hours, days, and months investigating ways to pay for my prosthetic. Investigating government programs was a rat hole as both state and federal agencies were simultaneously in the process of eliminating and cutting back on programs to meet their budget limitations. Suddenly, it appeared as if my greatest challenge was not going to be my physical or mental strength to endure my illness but my success would come down to money. So close to the “finish line” I had hit an impenetrable wall that I could not climb over, dig under or walk around.

It was just after Easter, when I was checking with the insurance company on something as simple as a prescription and the customer service rep responded with something that caught my attention. She mentioned that with the new national healthcare programs some items had been reclassified in their system. I immediately told myself not to get up my hopes. I made phone calls as did my prosthetic provider and we both received the same information that the insurance company now classified prosthetics as durable medical equipment and my policy had no dollar restrictions for medical equipment. I’d already received several canes, walkers and wheelchairs over the years through the insurance company.

Just over a year after my above the knee amputation on June 14, 2011 I had my first fitting for my new prosthetic leg. You can watch my YouTube video of my first steps since Dec 19, 2005. Each step you see me take in that video was a fight for survival. There have been many days when I thought I would never walk again; but within minutes, I could hear my father’s voice whisper in my ear on the telephone. He’d tell me to remember where I came from. The family I have; the love that surrounds me. He would remind me that I’m stronger than the pain; I’m stronger than my illnesses. I could never have taken these first steps without the unwavering love and support of my husband and the prayers and love our family and friends.

My battle isn’t over. I have months of gait training and physical therapy ahead of me. Yet, I’ve had a taste of walking and I know that nothing is going to stop me now!

3 Things That Kept Me From Blogging

Mind you these aren’t excuses. There are no excuses for not being prepared. I need to have a stash of timeless posts put away for the days when I just can’t write. Let’s face it. It is going to happen again.

First Block: The Job Interview

Not the first interview mind you with the company; not even the second. I didn’t even stop posting when I got homework assignment #2 from them, which kept me up at night dreaming and thinking. This was the amazing third and last executive interview fondly known to job hunters as The Inquisition. As I prepared for this final meeting (which I hope will likely shape my future for the next ten years at least), all other duties had to fall to the wayside. This could be my only focus. I had to nail this interview. I had to shine like a bright new penny fresh from the mint.

Did I nail it, you ask? I might have. Right up until I spilt my bottle of water onto my laptop keyboard. But I tried to handle the situation like a pro. I calmly called for some napkins, and continued to answer the questions while I mopped up my spill. Let’s hope my “display” of calm under pressure went in my favor.

Second Block: The Water

At the end of the interview, I powered off my laptop. Closed it up and slipped it into my briefcase and went home. The interview/inquisition was over. The process is in God’s hand and I can’t make it move any faster than when it will. They said that they would get back to me sometime this week or next. So I’m taking a short course in the virtue of patience; or long course all depending on whose seat you are sitting in.

The next morning I get up intending to write my daily blog post only to discover some condensation on my screen. “Oh yeah,” I think back to that regrettable moment, “the water.”  Tissue to the rescue. Condensation removed. The screen appears fine when my laptop powers up. I smile. All good. And then I start to type.  My sentences look like this: thebrownfoxjumpedoverthefence. Hmmph!

I tap at the spacebar a few times. Try again. Tryagain. Nope. I broke it.

I backed away from the desk and left it open for a few days hoping that the heat in the room would dry it out.

Third Block: Stress Followed By Sniffles

While I’m pacing back and forth waiting to hear about my interview, and waiting to see if my laptop is to survive its trip to the waterfalls, I discover I’m exhausted. And every exhausted person in the winter knows that there is a sniffle with their name on it. So I wasn’t too surprised to wake up two days later with my first cold of the winter season. Sitting beside me now is a box of tissues, a bottle of NyQuil (which I’ll take as soon as I’m finished writing), and a handful of throat drops. That is my classic cold remedy. Oh, and the top of our refrigerator looks like an advertisement in the juice of the month club. We got it all.

Resolution

So far, I’m two out of three.  I was correct. A couple of days with the laptop sitting open and my keyboard has dried out nicely. All the keys work again; even the important spacebar. My cold seems to be under control, although as my father would say I’m still taking “daddy’s little nightcap (NyQuil)” before I go to bed. I’m doing okay in my short course in patience. The cold kind of helped since I got to sleep a few days of it away.  Now comes the long second half of the course, but I’ll use my blog writing to get through these long days.

PS: Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me; I’m a little light in the toes department so I can use all the prayers I can get. Thanks all.

 

Where In The World Would You Go?

One of the things I gave up years ago when my arthritis forced me to alter my lifestyle was travel. At first I can’t say that I missed it much since I mostly traveled for work and, let’s be honest, once you’ve seen a conference room it doesn’t really matter what city you are in. All conference rooms are pretty much the same and if you aren’t ever given the opportunity to get out and explore the city that conference room is in, what’s the point? However, after a year or so of legs being firmly planted on the ground I found myself fondly looking at airplanes and wondering what wonderful adventures those lucky travelers were embarking on. (They were always leaving on a new journey in my daydreams.)

As I look to my future with a new prosthetic leg, I would like to think that I’d be one of those over-achievers who learns to rock climb and travels to all sorts of exotic places. But the truth is I really have more homebody ambitions for myself. I would like to jog again; although I’ll hate the actual act of jogging. And I want to write, of course! But I believe that travel will always remain one of those things that I dream about. Not like an ambition that never comes true, but I’d like to dream about travel as a hobby. Learn about a new country and their culture without having to actually go there. Certainly with the World Wide Web and social media I can discover the world at my fingers tips. What is all this technology for, if not to make the world a smaller, closer place?

With this in mind, I’ve decided to study a country a month. Learn something about that country. Find someone online to talk with from that country. What are their worries? How is their economy doing? What do they watch on TV? What kind of music are the kids listening to these days? What do they hope for the future?

Do you think that is possible?

To start, I thought I would just learn how many countries there are in the world. You’d think that was a simple question, but it turns out not to be so simple. I believe that the World Atlas has a good explanation of why this is not so simple a task; and it isn’t just the obvious answer that the world is always changing borders, etc. Think about England, Scotland, and Wales. Do you count those as individual countries or do you count the United Kingdom as one country?  Opinions vary. There are other examples much more complicated. For me, I’m going to use the World Atlas as my definitive source; they have good maps and provide a nice list of the world countries and their capitals. That seems a good place to start in my Virtual World Tour.

The World Atlas lists 193 countries, using a random number generator my first stop is:

Continent: Asia
Country: Israel
Capital: Jerusalem

Has Reading Affected Your Life?

Nancy is running an interesting contest and I encourage everyone to enter. I did. All Nancy asks is that you tell her how reading has affected your life. I bet there are some pretty amazing stories out there. I hope you’ll share yours with Nancy, please let me know if you do.

Here’s mine.

The Perfect BrideThe Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce

The hero Rex is a war vet who lost his leg in battle. While he hides himself from proper society at the start of the novel he does not hide from life. He learns to do everything he wants with his amputation; he just has to do it differently sometimes. And over the course of the novel and with the love of the perfect woman he learns to rejoin society.
When I read the DeWarenne books I was suffering from severe arthritis in my right leg. Both my knee and ankle were impaired and in constant pain. One doctor suggested that at some point amputation might be the best solution. Three years later that is exactly what I did. I amputated my right leg above the knee.

Now, it might seem over-dramatic to say that a fictional character gave me the courage to do it. But it certainly helped. It reminded me that there were a lot of amputees before me and they did not have benefit of the medical technology that we do. And they survived. I knew that I would survive and I would go on.
Plus, I’m married. I’d already found my perfect husband and soul mate.  I’d be okay. Love conquers all.

PS: I got measured for my first prosthetic last week. Soon, I’ll be walking again after six years.