Many of you already know this, but some of you may not. (You may also not care—feel free to move right along if you’re here for the freebies; there’ll be another of those tomorrow.) The past month or so has been exceedingly tough, but things are looking up and I have time and energy again to let you know what’s going on.

PhilomenaFirst and most importantly, my crazy younger dog, Philomena, was diagnosed with kidney disease. She stopped eating and dropped from 32 pounds to 23. I was an utter wreck. We thought for a little bit that she might not live. We were force-feeding her day and night, shoving pills down her throat coated in yogurt to keep her from choking them back up, running her back and forth from the vet constantly. After her first five day stay in the hospital, she came home, and then went back in for another two days. We were scrambling to re-arrange schedules, etc. so that we could maintain some control. But then, after the second stay, they found a new medication for nausea and she popped back up, started eating again, and yesterday’s blood results were excellent. She’ll likely be on drugs and a special kidney-friendly, low-protein diet for the rest of her life, but she’s back to getting into trouble and generally making a pain of herself.

In fact, just today, Mike said to her “you’re so cute, I just want to strangle you.” Which is a good sign that everything is getting back to normal.

My own issues have been brewing since at least last July, though actually longer. The first time I remember losing my grip (literally) and sensation in my right pinkie finger was probably 20 years ago. But it went away. It’s come and gone over the years without me paying it a whole lot of mind, but when I ruptured the C6-C7 disc last July and my whole arm went numb and useless, it was time to start paying attention.

At RWA last year, I was on a lot of painkillers. I’ve been on and off them ever since and once I got my insurance straightened out, I set up surgery. They went in, pulled out two discs (a second had gone bad because of the instability caused by the first one) and then found bone spurs pressing on the nerve that they had to shave off. They put in two small plastic “spacers” instead of discs, that were then screwed in. After a while, the bone should grow around them, “fusing” the vertebrae. Both of my doctors were excellent and when I woke up, the pain in my mid-back that beat like demon wings beneath my shoulder blades had already begun to dissipate.

But neck surgery is…not easy. I am wearing a neck brace which is uncomfortable, especially in the heat. The surgery was July 3, and today is the first day I managed to sit up in bed without lifting my head in my hands as if it were a bowling ball, not something physically attached to me.  Yesterday was the first day I managed to eat anything more solid than soup and eggs. (And yesterday it was rice and toast—my stomach is completely destroyed from the number of painkillers I’ve taken since the surgery.)

So, that’s where we are. Yes, I am still planning on going to RWA. Today I feel much better about that choice. Even 48 hours ago, I was thinking I must have been out of my mind. But I’ve only taken one pain pill today and I did the dishes and walked around and, as I said, didn’t have to lift my head as a separate object. So things are looking up. On Monday I go see one of my docs, and on Wednesday I see the other. I suspect I will be required to wear the neck brace at RWA, and I will probably spend most of the con in the bar hanging out instead of walking from place to place.