Tag Archives: Lockie Young
In Dec. 2013, I promoted Lockard Young on my Reading Recommendations blog. Since that time, Lockie has become an online friend and we are mutually supportive of each others writing and publishing efforts. During this past year I became aware that Lockie was not in the best of health, yet he continued with a very positive attitude, always joking and posting to Facebook with a smile on his face – or so I imagined. He recently posted to his own blog about having had to deal with chronic pain, for a very long time. I know a number of other friends who are also struggling with this and thought Lockie’s eloquent writing about his own experience might help them cope a little better. So I received Lockie’s permission to post his essay on my blog. Please share this with anyone else who you think it may help.
Seven hundred and fifty-nine days, give or take. That’s two years and twenty nine days that I have been in pain. This isn’t about sympathy. I’ve had lots and lots of sympathy since September of 2012. I was in pain before that, and worked through it, but it got to the point that it affected my job performance. My dream job is now a distant memory, warped and miss-shaped, the edges of that memory dulled by the drugs.
I’ve learned so many things since that day, when I lost my dream job. I’ve learned new words like Peripheral Arterial Disease and Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia, also known as H.I.T. Large words with medical definitions so complicated they would astound a man of lesser education. I also discovered all about the consequences of another word. Amputation. The mere mention of such a word sends chills down the backs of the queasy. That word was very frightening to me at first, but the pain was much greater than my fear, and I reluctantly agreed to the consequences of that word, if it would stop the pain. It didn’t, at least not completely. It is true that the bad parts had to be removed. My right foot, starved of blood from a clogged artery and therefore starved of oxygen, essentially died and was affecting the rest of the leg it was attached to, and so the simple solution was to detach the offending appendage. Was this just a simple solution to a medical problem? Maybe the surgeon, well practiced in this type of operation may have considered it routine, due to the sheer number of amputations he has had to perform over the course of his learned career. My guess, after having talked at great length with the man, was that every operation was hard for him, not in the actual performance of the deed, but rather in the consequences he knew to be true for his patients.
I really don’t want to sound whiny. The pain I now have in both legs is certainly a lot less than the severity of 13 Months ago. The so called Phantom pain, the pain felt in the foot that was no longer there, has lessened to the point that it is mostly Phantom Sensation now. Yes, I can still feel my foot, more than a year after it was removed along, with my ankle and the part of my leg that is no longer there beneath my knee. It is most unsettling to reach down to scratch what is no longer there. As to my other leg and foot, well that is another story.
After the first operation to replace a section of artery in my right leg, the surgeon ordered Heparin, a blood thinner, a very common drug that is used in a wide variety of medical treatments. In my case, it was used as a sort of cleaner, a thinner of blood, allowing the fast and free flowing liquid to wash away any remaining bits and small particles of the Plaque that was on my arterial walls. For some unknown and unexplainable medical reason my body’s defences sensed the drug as a foreign invader, and I developed the condition known medically as H.I.T. The consequence of this was opposite to what the doctors were trying to achieve. Instead of thinning my blood as expected, my blood volume coagulated to such an extent that blood flow was lost to both legs. The nerves in my good leg died, along with the tissue and some bone mass. Luckily, I was in hospital at the time of this new crisis, and the doctors, and there were three of them, worked together for over five hours removing clots to save my legs, and my life. I am alive today, and typing this as a direct result of their combined years of experience and skill as surgeons. I am and always will be grateful to these amazingly gifted men. That doesn’t change the fact that I now have nerve pain in my once good leg and foot, parts of me that were fine before February of 2013.
So, how do I cope with the constant pain, you may ask? It at times seems a daunting task to be sure. The ‘nerve’ drugs, I have found out, don’t actually take the pain away, but rather bathes the nerve endings in something to stop the rapid firing, and otherwise overly heightened sensations they are communicating to the brain. The pain killers work too, but are so powerful they sometimes leave you in a zombie state and then you don’t know which end is up. That’s no way to live. The doctors all say the ‘discomfort’ will go away with time. Oh yes they all say that, but not one of them will say how much time. I guess they don’t want to appear uneducated by saying they don’t know how much time. A couple of them went out on a limb, and qualified their answer by saying the very vague statement, “It is different for everyone.” Thank you for reassuring me that someday, maybe, I will be free of this heavy wet woollen blanket of despair, this discomfort.
The solution is to take drugs. Drugs with side effects like, weight gain, blotchy skin, a feeling of tiredness all the time, perhaps depression at times, and oh yes, let’s not forget constipation. Not to worry, there’s a pill for that too. At times it is too much to bear. Last night was one of those times, and that indeed prompted this writing. The blanket was so heavy last night that it bore me down into The Dark Place. The pain was no more intense than it had been the night before or the month before that. It was the never-ending-ness of it. It was the weight of the knowing that there was no end date to this. That was the heaviness that weighted me down into The Dark Place. The fact that I lay there weeping, my tears rolling down my face and falling onto my pillow, only seemed to make matters worse. Growing up in a time when it was not manly to cry, not something my father would tolerate from any of his sons, seemed to weigh on me even more than the pins and needles of my misery.
The Dark Place; The Dark Place is not a scary horror scene from a film or novel. It is not a place of excitement. It is a place of utter desolation and despair. For many, The Dark Place is the last stop here on earth, before the final leap, before the final cut, that last gunshot to the temple. It is the last place a person goes who has lost all hope of being able to live in a world that doesn’t understand what they are going through. I know this place well, for I have been there more than once. I have been to the darkness, and I can write about it now. I have learned how to find the stairs up and out of that desolate place. Each time after I have visited that kind of depression, I say never again. Never again will I let myself go down there. I am learning that one has no choice in the matter. The only choice, for those still in control, is whether to stay down there or not. I chose not to stay there. I chose not to give in to the demon, not to let it win. Even as I write this now, I refuse to capitalise its name, for I have won this time.
Today is better, and tomorrow will be better still. I will try and continue to fight this seemingly never ending battle. I will try to understand and to be more understanding of people whose pain I do not know. People who seem normal and bright and unaffected on the outside, but who are deep into battle on the inside, these people I will try and understand, because now, I too am one of them.
I am a newly published author under the name of L.F.Young. My book is called Ryan’s Legend, an adventure/fantasy story for middle grade readers, or children of all ages. It is available through Morning Rain Publishing.
“Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” — Will Rogers
There is nothing worse – and I mean NOTHING!! – than an author who over-self-promotes!
Now I didn’t say just “self-promotes” but qualified it with “over”, because we all need to do a little bit of promoting, within reason, to get the word out about what we’ve written. Even traditionally published authors need to promote themselves, because many publishers just don’t have the financial wherewithall to deal individually with each author on their list. And you authors already know who your personal and professional contacts are, anyway, so you have a better chance of attracting attention by approaching those people personally.
But what happens when you run out of those initial contacts and begin preaching to the converted, so to speak? How do you attract new readers to yourself and your work without becoming the kind of self-promoting author we all love to hate – the one who constantly blows their own horn? Why, you seek out other people in the book business who will toot that horn for you – people like me, fer instance. I publish a promotion blog called Reading Recommendations precisely because I want to offer other authors free promotion and help them get the word out about themselves and their books.
And because I know that by doing so – by promoting my fellow authors – I also promote myself and my own work. That way I don’t run the risk of sounding off about ONLY ME AND ME ALONE. I know I am not the first author to have published and I know I won’t be the last to publish, either. Why not promote as many other authors as I can? That way I provide my audience with different reading choices when they’ve exhausted everything I’ve written – and before they become exhausted with me!
And since I set up this blog and changed my approach to how I promote my own work – guess what? I’ve discovered that I’m finding more readers for my own published novel and novella, as well as for those other authors I promote. I’m receiving more reviews, I’m selling more copies, and I’m being invited to promote myself and my work on other blog sites.
But the best part is – I’m not pissing off my loyal family, friends, and current readers by constantly singing the same tune. I’m offering information about new authors whose work they might like to read. So I’m providing a service to readers as well as to my fellow authors – and I’m not pissing off anyone in the process.
(This “not pissing off anyone” part cannot be stressed enough! I’m sure you are, as am I, tired of authors who tweet and share endlessly about themselves and their latest, but never say a word about anything else. It all seems so desperate, don’t you think? Those who tick me off the most are the authors I’ve followed on Twitter who don’t then give me the courtesy of following me back, but instead send me a direct message telling me where I can buy their books or asking me to like their Facebook page. I unfollow them in a nanosecond! We all want to receive recognition for what we’ve written and published. But we’d be more inclined to become readers and fans ourselves, if those self-promoters just took a wee bit of interest in something other than themselves. Ya know what I’m saying??)
So I challenge all you authors reading this out there who have been guilty of over-self-promoting to change your ways! You don’t have to stop promoting yourself altogether, but figure out ways to promote your fellow authors. Or band together as a group and promote each other. This works very well if you are all writing within the same genre, but I’ve also known it to work for groups of writers who only have writing itself in common. You could begin by tweeting/sharing something about 4 other authors for every 1 tweet/share you post about yourself. That would work! Or you could set up a promotion blog like mine that is dedicated to singing the praises of everyone else in the business. When you do find blogs or sites like mine, share the information with your fellow authors. Here’s another great blog you should be aware of: Chris The Story Reading Ape (If you know of others, please add a link in the comments section.)
Read promotions about other authors on these blogs; share, tweet, like, and reblog your favourites. Discover some new authors, read and review their books, and help them to get ahead. Do all the things listed in the box up above.
I can’t promise you overnight success for your own books, but I do guarantee that – aside from the warm-fuzzies you’ll experience from having done a good deed – you will eventually reach a new group of readers, and your work will be exposed to people you never dreamed might want to read what you write.
So, please, for all our sakes, STOP THAT ENDLESS SELF-PROMOTION!!! Start discovering and promoting other authors. Believe me, your family, friends and fellow-Facebook-and-Twitter users will thank you! And you can stop feeling so desperate and enjoy your writing and publishing, once again.