What’s new with me? D&D.

Hi! Hello! Hail and well met! And happy International Tabletop Day!

A lot has changed since I last posted to this dusty, neglected old blog. (I don’t recommend scrolling too far back; who knows what cobwebs there are from my college years?)

There are a couple of big ones that I could mention – moving twice, going to Thailand again, writing a few more book drafts – but let’s skip to the chase:

I started playing D&D.

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I’m (Finally) Having Surgery

**This post was crafted from two posts initially published on my Ko-Fi.

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Selfie from the pre-op for tomorrow’s procedure!

Early 2018: I was handed three papers, two new prescriptions, two lab orders, and an appointment reminder for my next procedure, then I was ushered out of the room. I blinked. Was I breathing? Was I crying? Had I even had the chance to speak during that appointment? I liked the doctor, but…

I had barely managed to say I was in pain. Then the doctor was talking. What about my story? The past surgeries, the past procedures, the illnesses, the nausea, the lack of sleep, the weakness, the fatigue, and golly gee, the pain.

So, I got the new meds, did the lab work, did the procedures, only to be told at the end–”you’re fine.”

Well, obviously, I wasn’t fine. (Did I mention the nausea, the fatigue, the pain?) And I was only getting worse.

Early 2019: Was I breathing? Was I crying? Had I really had the chance to explain my story and my symptoms during that appointment? Had I been heard?

“You’re not fine. But we can help.”

This time, the papers in my hand felt helpful and informative. The doctor had listened before talking and sharing his concerns. I hadn’t felt rushed out of the room. And, instead of rehashing old blood work and tests and bandaid medications, I had a next step towards diagnosis – surgery.

This post isn’t to describe my chronic illness in detail. It’s not to give you my full medical history. It’s not even to explain all the times I’ve felt helpless in a doctor’s office.

It’s about the fact that I’m moving forward.

So, tomorrow, I’m having outpatient laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis.

Quick low-down on endo (though I’ll share more if I get a diagnosis):

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In the meantime, when the pain has been bad, I’ve streamed with my stuffed tiger, Minxie.

  • It’s fairly common. 1 in 10 AFAB folx likely struggle with endo and the painful (often debilitating) symptoms that accompany it.
  • It’s chronic. There is no cure, and there’s always a chance it will come back, even after surgical treatment. It can potentially be managed through diet, hormones, and symptom treatment.
  • It’s uncertain. Currently, the only way to diagnose with certainty is through laparoscopic surgery. And it’s symptoms can frequently be attributed to other conditions, often meaning patients go years without a diagnosis.
  • It affects a lot. It can screw with fertility. It can present gastrointestinal and genitourinary symptoms. Don’t even get me started on how it can effect menstruation…

So I’m having surgery to see IF I have it and to treat it if I do (essentially by cutting it out of there).

My doctors seem pretty certain now that we’ve settled on this as the potential culprit (after 8 years of searching). But there’s always the chance I have surgery and they find nothing. I’d be back to square one, which is scary.

The alternative? I have a chronic illness that I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life. Also scary.

So, it’s been a bit of a struggle waiting for this procedure. I scheduled it for my Mom’s spring break so she can be there to help (y’all, I’m a terrible patient, and I know it). But it’s been long enough for the anxieties to build about the unknowns. And long enough for me to have the worst pain flare I’ve had in two years. (Creative projects are on hold until after recovery.)

Basically, I’m functioning at about 20% of what I should be–what I remember being able to do. I used to be able to write more, perform more, think more, be more… I’m just hoping the surgery helps. There’s no reason to be afraid it won’t. Just that the unknown is scary.

(But for all of the things that are scary, money is one thing that’s not scary, thanks to all the help!! I’m so grateful for the generosity and encouragement from the community.)

I promise I’m gonna do my best to recover quickly and manage this (seriously–like, I’m gonna cut out Dr. Peppers). I want to feel capable of doing more–for me, for my projects, and the community. I want to be more.

And y’all, I could be unstoppable. I just feel it.

I appreciate the incredible support. If you’d be willing to send prayers, thoughts, vibes, or whatever you’re comfortable with on Tuesday, I’d so appreciate that too.

Let’s do this! Let’s take the step towards the unstoppable.

FateFM Mini-Media Kit!

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Have a mini-FateFM media kit!

I haven’t had time to put together the full kit yet (though I will), but I have thrown together this social-media option for use on Twitter, Facebook, and the like in the meantime. I fully expect that the full version will be multiple pages, so I figure a mini version is useful to have too.

This only includes the very basic info on the show plus a few reviews and graphics. It’s short, sweet, and easily digestible, though it lacks thoroughness. (Though it needs to be updated already; we’ve hit 30,000 unique downloads since I made this two weeks ago.) It’s like a press kit abridged!

And stay tuned for the full version somewhere (hopefully) not far down the line!

“Table of Understanding” – an EDEN story

“We probably shouldn’t mention we went to a lower level.” Artie Chen ticks the extensive list of things not to mention to his parents on his fingers as he and Jay Dee ride the lift up to the higher levels of the OTC. “Or that we’ve been investigating things. Or that we know anyone involved with anything illegal – or even exciting. And you shouldn’t mention I rode a motorcycle.”

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A Woman, a Gamer, and Proud

If the month of June has reminded me of anything, it’s that I’m seen and I’m heard.

The first week we started our D&D actual-play podcast, I got my hair cut for our Fate and the Fablemaidens photoshoot (which was done by the amazing Carsen Heater and is featured above). Becca sat with me while the stylist cut my hair, and we told her how we had just launched this show and were so excited for the local convention – and really everything ahead of us.

As fate would have it, she played D&D too – which only sparked more conversation.

A few months later, I went back to the same salon. The moment I walked in, the stylist looked up and said, “You’re the one with the podcast!”

I blinked. “Yes, that’s me.” To be honest, I was a bit surprised that she remembered.

“It’s been going really well,” she continued. “I listen to every episode! I’ve even gotten back into D&D because of it. But I play with a group of all guys, so it’s so nice to hear a podcast where a group of women play.”

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“Dancing Lights” – an actual-play short story

Two weeks after seeing Infinity War and I’m still not over it.

Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it; there won’t be any spoilers in this post. In fact the only reason I really bring it up is because my campaign D&D character for the past ten months has been Gameia, a tiefling assassin and the most dangerous woman in the realm, inspired by Gamora. And my best friend, Sam, has played her drow monk sister, Nova, our in-game equivalent of Nebula. In fact, our whole campaign was loosely influenced and inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy. It started as a joke, but quickly started to mean a lot to us. And you need to know all of that for the actual-play short-fiction piece that follows.

We happened upon these characters a bit by accident, which is a story I can share at a later point, but over time we’ve deeply connected with them. They’ve come to be an important part of our lives. Now Gameia prepares to fight her demonic father, Faranos, just like Gamora prepares to face Thanos in the film. But this scene was from far earlier in the campaign, detailing her first reunion with their father… Now just seemed an appropriate time to share it.

TL;DR: If you’ve seen Avengers, I’m sure you’ll get me.

Art of Gameia and Nova in one the rare happier moments of their lives by Rain.
TW: post-trauma and abuse
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When the goblin’s blade first sunk into her shoulder, Gameia’s vision blurred, and she imagined lights dancing into the cavern.

Then the blade withdrew, and the sting brought a sudden clarity.

The lights were real. Dancing lights. Her sister’s. Nova.

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“Stand and Fall” Poem

It’s the strangest thing to feel your heart stop beating

Even just a pause
For just a moment
Before you tilt forward with your toes gripping the edge

But you’re already falling
Or you’ve been falling
And the passage of time is sluggish and disorienting

You don’t know when
You don’t know why
And there’s nothing to catch you as far as you can see

No ground below you
No walls around you
Just air or water or darkness or tears or blood or shadow

You’re falling in
You’re drowning in
You stand there on the edge and you fall in unison

Perpetual suspension
Perpetual motion
And then a beat echoes through the nothing and everything

And though you stand
And though you fall
Life goes on again with the beat of a heart