a work in progress

In creativity, the writing life by ami5 Comments

my son, Ian's studio at NSCAD.

my son, Ian’s studio at NSCAD.

Well. I was supposed to be in Moncton, NB today, and then in St. John the next day, and then Fredericton the day after that, followed by Halifax, NS, and Charlottetown, PEI. Sadly, I’ve had to postpone those readings until spring. This is a blog post to say I’m incredibly sorry about having to cancel, and to give you a bit of insight as to why I’m sitting at home in my pj’s trying to figure out why my body has taken to making me howl with pain.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not good at writing about my personal problems. A lot of people I know can blow off steam via social media or their blogs and they do it quite brilliantly. In fact, I freely admit that I’ve long tried to figure out how they do it. When I approach the internet, it’s with trepidation and the overwhelming feeling that I need to be the girl who is easy to read, the girl who fills up her allotment of cyberspace with nothing but beauty and cheer.

Just before Christmas, my body decided it was no longer interested in cheer or food of almost any sort. Severe abdominal pains and a host of other nasty symptoms took me to the ER and then to my family doctor for blood work and a series of tests that I’m still working my way through to the end of the month. So far, we know what it’s not… it’s not colon cancer, and that’s a very good thing. (If you’ve followed this blog over the years you’ll know that one of my biggest fears is hearing the words “colorectal cancer.” If not, then you might be interested in reading up on Daughter of Family G. Scientifically speaking, it’s an interesting take on genetic testing and familial cancers.)

Anywho, it’s looking more and more like it’s some sort of gallbladder “situation.” Stones, inflammation, total meltdown, who knows? And I feel stupid about it because right off the bat it seems I fit the gallbladder attack profile, embodying the four f’s – female, fertile, forty, fat – like some sort of middle-aged physical ailment keener. Yay.

But I’m working to find the good in all this, I swear. I am, like everyone else, a work in progress. Recently, I’ve graduated from a regimen of bananas, rice and tea to “the vegan lifestyle.” Woohoo! I’m all over it with a vengeance, I’m all lentils and avocados and olive oil and “forget you butter.”  (And when I find out whatever the heck this thing is that’s been dragging me down, I’m gonna kick its butt too… like butter.)

Here’s part of my journey into 2013 so far via journal entries, Twitter, Facebook and texts. My efforts to remember beauty and cheer. I hope it gives you some of both.

December 26, 2012 – Journal entry. “For all the uncertainty and questions illness raises about the state of the body, other things come into focus in its wake. Trivial things fall away, and I’m left with what’s lodged in my heart. My desire is to tend to the sweet, the rich, the joyful, the magical parts of life.”

January 3, 2013 on Twitter

“Putting down lines, despite my fears, every day, no matter what, makes me more human than I’d be if I didn’t.”

January 4, 2013 – journal entry “Right now I’m doubting everything and I’m not sure how to “fix” it. I feel like I’m writing around things…as if the story doesn’t take flight from the first page. There’s got to be a way to make this happen (and to get excited about it.) It’s upsetting. Where does it start? Where does it end? Must shake the answers out of my head.”

January 15 – facebook status”This week’s life lesson…doctors often have to spend much of their time figuring out what isn’t wrong so they can find out what is. Newfound respect.”


Ian in his studio

Ian in his studio


January 15, 2013 – This is part of a series of text messages with my son, Ian. He’s in his third year at NSCAD in the visual arts. We often talk about artistic process. Here, the conversation began with a painting he’s just started but feels he’s “messed up.”

Me: Do you think you can take it somewhere from here or is it too far from what you need it to be?

Ian: It’s fine to work with. I’ll just keep attacking it until I decide to stop, or I figure out exactly what I need for the next one. I’ve got some plans for what I want but it will probably be a few months work before I can pull it off.

Me: Gotta be in the problem to solve it. 🙂 I’m stuck on my novel at the moment. Trying to figure out if I need to scrap what I’ve got and write a new opening. Half of me thinks it’s OK, just move on…the other half says I need to start with something that has more “movement.”

Ian: I would take the least comfortable option.

Me. I know that’s what needs to happen. Just gotta get the courage up to do it. Must find the energy too. I’m at the point now where I’m excited/scared.

Ian: That’s the most exciting time. 😉

Me: Thank heavens I raised you right.


another perspective

another perspective

Wishing you a wonderful 2013, filled with health, beauty, cheer and many works in progress!








  1. Jen

    Ugh, the gallbladder! I had mine out when I was 22, and it was the best thing I ever did. I went through those intense attacks for a year before they figured out the issue. All it took for me was one simple ultrasound. I hope they come to a quick resolution for you, I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone! I decided after I had Finn that gallbladder attacks were worse than labor and birth, and I stand by that!

    So in the fall, we’re making a roadtrip out to Greenwood, Moncton and Amherst. Any must-sees I should know about?

  2. Author

    I’ve got an abdominal ultrasound coming up and I’m really hoping it will reveal all!

    There’s loads to do and see on a trip like that. Hmmm… Off the top of my head, there’s a sweet aviation museum in Greenwood you should visit. The old-timers who volunteer there are brilliant! And, of course I hope we can figure out a way to meet up. 🙂

  3. Mary-Anne

    Ami, if it’s your gallbladder, and you’re having attacks, getting it out will make it go away. They do the surgery laparoscopically and there are hardly any scars. I had mine out in the spring, and was so grateful afterwards. While I waited for surgery, I followed a strict diet of 5% or less of fat, and I could eat all the fruit and veggies I wanted. That diet made me lose weight and kept attacks from coming on. I gained it all back since the surgery, hahaha! Hope you feel right as rain again soon.

  4. Fonda Raymer

    Ami–You are soo very blessed to have your Man Son to converse with! Maybe the two of you could work on a book together!!!!!! Snow flying here. Praying answers are flying your way. Magical pictures and thoughts to you. Love, Auntie Da

  5. Cathy

    Oh, Ami. So sorry to hear you are feeling so poorly. I am sending good healthy vibes your way and hope things get resolved for you quickly.

Leave a Comment