A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Riding the Rollercoaster

I've neglected my blog (yet again), but I hope any readers I still have hanging on (hi Mom) will forgive me when I explain.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post called THE BEST YEAR EVER!!! As I wrote it, I fully believed it was true. 2012 was going to be my year. All of my hard work writing, revising, querying, waiting, waiting, querying, writing, revising, revising, revising, revising, (you get the idea) was finally going to pay off.

In some ways 2011 was a hard year for our family, we started out with a ski accident where my daughter tore her ACL and ended with three surgeries in my immediate family (two for her and one for me). Then we had a bunch of car repairs and at the end of the year our furnace had to be replaced. When 2011 ended I remember thinking, "Shwew, glad that's over."

2012 started out great. I was gearing up for my book launch in April and I sold my second book, SHARDS OF GLASS.  However, within a week of announcing that book sale, we received devastating news; my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about what MS is, you can find out more here, but needless to say, our lives have changed.

We're faced with a huge pile of questions and unknowns. My husband has always been healthy and active. He runs, he swims, he's an avid photographer, and he's a great skier. These are all thing we love to do together as a family (except taking pictures, the kids always complain when we have to wait for Dad to get just the right shot). Now he's often tired, his hands and legs go numb, and he is in constant back pain. We don't know when this episode will subside (if it ever will) and what he might be left with when it's over. We also don't know when the next episode might hit it.

There is no cure for MS. There are treatments, but none of them are easy or cheap, and while they've been used for years, honestly there's no guarantee that they'll do anything. We've talked to several MS patients who feel like the treatments are as bad as the disease. We can't speak to that yet, and we are planning for him to start treatments as soon as the insurance company approves everything. (Ranting here, another unnecessarily long process for someone who is already suffering.)

Since the diagnosis, we've had wonderful well-meaning friends give us advice on diet, aromatherapy, and a variety of other alternative treatment options. We're so grateful that they care enough to pass on the information, but honestly at this point, what to do and what not to do is another overwhelming unknown. I know that these things have helped other people, but we have to sort out what will help David. The path to wellness with this disease is different for everyone.

There's also the question of paying for it all. Two years ago, we changed to a high deductible insurance because we never dreamed we would hit our deductible. No one in our family ever got sick or injured. (Yeah, this was before the three surgeries.) Then at the end of last year, even though we had sailed past our deductible, we decided to go the same route. After all, we had already had our share of bad luck and honestly, the cost difference ended up being a wash. Now we're faced with more medical expenses than we've ever had to absorb, even with insurance.

There-in lies another question and unknown. Up until now I've been able to stay home and raise our four kids. We've been so blessed to to have the advance money I received for my writing, otherwise we would really be floundering right now. But, in case you didn't know, authors (unless they are named J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyers, Suzanne Collins, or a few others) don't make a lot of money. Especially not for the amount of time that they put into their writing. It's a labor of love, and most writers I know have day jobs. After spending nearly a year trying to make writing my job, I have no idea how a writer with a real job and a family and any other outside commitments does it. However, because of the mounting expenses and the unknown for the future, the next step for me might be a real job.

These last two months have been a roller coaster of emotions, from selling my second book, planning my launch party, and receiving my first real-life copy of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, to getting the diagnosis, and figuring out where we're going from here.

There is a long road full of unknowns spread out in front of us. I read a quote recently that said,

"There are three things I know about life IT. GOES. ON."  

So, I guess we will continue to ride this roller coaster even when the tunnel ahead is long and dark. I'm grateful for faith, and family, and so many friends (including my fabulous agent and editor) who have supported us through this. I know they'll continue to be there for us.  

My blogging may be sporadic (ha ha I know that's not unusual) but I hope to make it more personal than I usually let it be. When I'm not feeling so overwhelmed I hope to become more of an advocate for MS through this blog and through my writing. I know that somehow this whole experience will be for our good and that we will be stronger because of it, and I hope to share what I learn with others.

Thank you to everyone for their prayers and support!

5 comments:

  1. Writers (and would-be writers) hate to be at a loss for words, but I am. I'm so very, very sorry. It must be worse to see your partner and soulmate suffering than to experience it yourself. Or at the very least, you'd like to be able to lift his burden and carry it for a while. Wishing your whole family a positive outcome. With love, Michele

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  2. I am so sorry you and your family are struggling through this difficult time. It makes it hard to celebrate the wonderful things that have happened when you're dealing with so much. Sending prayers and hugs your way, Jennifer!

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  3. Wow. Thinking of you and your family as you sort through next steps. Courage!

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  4. Jen, You have always been an inspiration to me. You handle more than a few Mom combined. But what I love about you and Dave is how you love and support each other. Rollercoaster rides can be scary but it's so much better to have someone to ride with you. Besides all the friends and family that love you (we all really do) you have a special love for each other than will carry you though. Thanks for being my friend and example!
    Love ya!
    Sandy

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  5. Thinking about and praying for your family.

    Love,
    Jen

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