Thursday, July 16, 2015

STRESS on an Own Black Moment

In a novel, a black moment is defined as the point where the hero or heroine is faced with his/her deepest, darkest fears (be they internal or external) and is a test of true character. (There's a more in-depth discussion of Black Moments in writing by a great writer friend of mine, Lexi Post, HERE.) In a novel, there is typically one black moment where all seems lost.

In real life we aren't so lucky.

My most recent black moment came after I'd experienced about a day and a half of what felt like heart palpitations, or a weird arrhythmia. At first, I ignored the sensation, but after a while, as if in insistence that I pay attention, my heart starting doing this crazy, leap-out-of-my-chest thing every 8 beats. It would skip the 8th beat, and--to make up for it, would thump so hard in my chest, I could literally feeling it knock against my ribs.

At first I ignored it. Because that seemed like the thing to do. (*NOTE: DON'T ignore heart irregularities! Heart attacks are the silent killer in women--for more information and symptoms, see the AHA website here!)

Before you comment and lecture me, I know. Duh. What a moronic thing to do--to ignore it for a day and a half. But I was BUSY, dang it! I didn't have time for health nonsense!

After texting my husband to see if he thought I should go to the ER (yes, texting--I'm really working the 'ignore-it-and-it-will-stop' method here!), I finally decide I'll visit my Dr. who gives me a weekly B12 vitamin shot for my lack of energy. I figure, I'll tell him, he'll say it's just some weird thing, and not to worry, and off I'll go.

Except it doesn't go like that.

What he does is put his finger on my wrist, feels my pulse for like 30 seconds (during which, my heart complies by beating it's way out of my ribcage every 5 beats--yay, heart!). Then, he calls for a 12-lead, and this is the result.

I can't read EKGs, but what caught my eye was the "ABNORMAL" in caps at the top. The Doc said that while it was probably nothing, I needed to see a cardiologist. Today.

And the black moment began.

I won't take you through the rest of it, but the story ends well. What I have are called PVCs, which is not a bunch of white pipes at Home Depot, but Premature Ventricular Contractions (great info from Mayo Clinic about PVCs here). Basically, PVCs are a type of benign arrhythmia that can start and end at any point in life, but are typically triggered by:
1. Hormones, especially pre-menaupausal ones. Yep--I fit that.
2. Stress. Oh, yeah--I've got that.
3. Anemia (which basically goes along with the hemorrhage-like monthlies brought along by lovely #1, so yeah, I'm there, too.)

Probably TMI for you, lovely reader, but since many of you have emailed me asking why I haven't blogged in so long, I felt like I owed an explanation. My PVCs triggered a black moment where I, like my characters, was forced to re-examine my life, and make some tough choices.

I have only so many writing hours in a day. And in the summer, with the kids home, you can cut that in half, then in half again, and probably once more. So, what is that? About an eighth of my normal time?? I don't know. I suck at fractions. Whatever it is, it's minuscule to what I have when school is in session. And with my pitch coming up in the annual RWA conference, I really have had to choose where to spend my time. The blogging went to the bottom of the list. :(

However, I'm trying to be better at allocating my time, so I hope to be back to a more 'regular' appearance, here. I've missed you guys--thanks for the emails with your concern, too. It helps more than you know!

Happily My Ever After,

P.S. Want to see what I've been stressing over? Check out my WIP page here for a little teaser on my YA Contemporary, Delinquent.

P.P.S. Make sure you subscribe to my blog with the buttons at the right. You'll be the first to know WHEN I get my contract for my YA. (Not If, but WHEN. The power of positive thought!!)


  1. Take some time out while the kids are home and reduce your stress level. Nothing's more important than your health.

    1. You are absolutely right! Took an abnormal EKG for me to figure that out, and now I'm doing my best to take it down a notch. :) Thanks for stopping by and for your concern!

  2. Take a little time off to re-evaluate your schedule. Nothing is more important right now than being a healthy mom. Summer is half over. Take care of yourself.

    1. Thanks, +SandraDailey! And you're right--I'm usually pretty good about scheduling work...but not as good about scheduling time for me. Thanks for stopping by and for your well wishes. :)

  3. So glad you're feeling better now, Dylan, and ITA with you about priorities. Sorry this was the impetus to examine them, but sounds like you're on the right track. I'm sending you LOTS of POSITIVE thoughts to add to your own for health and your YA contract. Here's to RWA 2015 success! :D

  4. Thanks, Marie Lavender! I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear the cardiologist say it was benign and that my heart was healthy. Don't you always wonder what's going on in there, sometimes?

    Thanks for stopping by and for your note!! :)

  5. Heart stuff is so scary! I had an episode like that a couple years back, and after six months of testing, we finally found the problem: Hiatal Hernia. My stomach was pushing up above my diaphragm and squeezing my lungs and heart out of the way to do it. That was causing some funky/scary symptoms. Once we pushed my stomach back down, the symptoms went away! (It still tries to creep up there, but now I know to just go into the doctor and have him push it back down)

    I'm glad yours wasn't anything serious, either, because I know exactly how dark that moment can get!

    1. Wow--hiatal hernia! Who knew that could present like that, too? Glad to hear it's nothing serious for you, either, RebeccaNezor! :) thanks for stopping by and here's to keeping our stress levels (and stomach) down!