Rollercoaster Ride

When I hear the word “rollercoaster,” I think of a fairground with rides, balloons, and weenies. My rollercoaster has nothing to do with amusement parks. It involves my pericardial effusion. In layman’s terms, my heart is trying to beat inside a water-filled balloon, and having a tough time doing it. Sometimes I have delightful moments when I hardly know the effusion’s there. Other times it sets me back on my butt, with chest pain and poverty of breath. I wonder if I’ll ever be okay again during those times. I’m on a rollercoaster ride, you see.

My symptoms started January 24 with back pain. Lots of it. Back pain when bending, back pain radiating to the chest, difficulty taking a deep breath. I’ve had back pain before, so I headed to my doctor. After doing an EKG, he sent me to a chiropractor. After a manipulation, I’d feel okay for a day or two, then all the symptoms would return. My appetite went next. I soldiered on, making an appointment with the spine clinic.

Monday ushered in more pain, with a lot of trouble catching my breath. I was running errands to get a prescription for a CAT Scan and mail a package. On the way from the car to the post office, I found myself gasping. If I was thinking straight, and no one who is that sick does, I would’ve gone to the emergency room. Instead I headed to the doctor’s office, and asked if I could sit because of my breathing. The doctor took one look at me and sent me to the hospital. The rest is history.

I’ve told people about my bucket list: hot air balloon ride, wooden hangers, remodeling bedroom, and so forth. It’s funny how sickness changes the priorities. Here’s what’s at the top of my new bucket list:
1. Being able to walk without a skyrocketing heart rate or poverty of breath.
2. Being able to finish my sentences when I talk. At all times.
3. Having my choice of sleeping and sitting positions. At all times.

I’ve written about monsters in Steel Rose and my other books. It’s different when you’re fighting your own monster, and the monster’s lurking inside your body. Sometimes it’s downright scary. I study the images on my ultrasound and think of zombies. So far the docs believe that a virus caused all this, and that it would take time. But we’re still waiting on the final verdict.

I can still write. Blogging has been cathartic for me, and I’ve done a lot of it for my promo tour. So long as I can type this is good. Somewhere down the road, this pericardial effusion is gonna turn up in one of my books. I’ll look over my WIP after a nap.

My balloons are multiplying like rabbits, thanks to some good friends. I’ve got eight of them by my bed. My brother’s watching the house. Many of the Night to Dawn issues have gone out, and I’ll send the rest after I get discharged. My job right now is to get better and write.

Is anyone else out there dealing with a life-changing illness? How has it affected your writing? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Author Barbara Custer of Night to Dawn is fighting her own monsters, too!

This author is fighting her own monsters, too!


About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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  1. Barbara, feel better and get well soon. I came back to writing because of my wife’s illness. She was bedridden for almost a year. It was a way of introducing new entertainment to her away from books we already had and television. She enjoyed hearing the stories. She even began editing my drafts during this time. So hang in there.

    • Thanks so much for all the good thoughts!

      • Sorry you are sick, I found the post you wrote in Feb on one of the chat lines and came to check on you. Hope you are better now. I had two strokes, had to quit working outside the house so as I healed over the years I finally had time to devote to my writing. I think it actually helped my brain functions. I had to research everything, first I had to study the dictionary because even though I knew words I didn’t remember what they meant, I mean really what is a that? Then I moved on to encyclopedias and books on the time period that I chose and so forth. So while my health does the rollercoaster ride I write. I would like to hear that you have improved, I hope you see this and respond. I see that you haven’t posted in a long time.
        Blessings and Merry Christmas
        Belita Renn

      • Belita, thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Last winter was very rough, but I got better and made it back to my day job. The doctors drained fluid from the lungs, and it hasn’t come back. When I first went back to work, I found it hard to concentrate, but I’m back in the saddle with day job and writing. The docs are keeping an eye on me, but I’m anticipating a better winter.

        I do have other posts on the website – I post a new blog about every two weeks. I greatly appreciate your checking. Look for me on facebook –

  2. So sorry that you’re having health issues. Get well soon.

  3. Get well soon, Barbara!

  4. Popple, I hope you are well soon!

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