Growing older

People my age are so much older than me.

When I think of old age, I to think of my maternal grandfather. When I was a kid, I considered this white-haired, 65-year-old man as old. I can still vividly remember his vegetable gardens at 101 Bickford Avenue, Buffalo and how he taught me how to trap yellow jackets.

He sold Watkins products and aprons to women around his own age. I recall going on sales calls with him in his dark blue 1948 dodge. This was a treat for me because I got to ride in the front seat of the “Blue Bird” as he called it and every client he had invited me in for milk and cookies. Instant grandmothers!

Now that I’m in my early 70’s, my concept of old age is substantially different than it used to be and I suspect I’m not alone. I am positive that everyone else is growing older and that person that I see in my mirror each morning is somehow aging at a slower pace. I frequently ask my wife how come everybody we know is getting older and we’re not, ala Dorian Grey.

If you’ve been pushing yourself for many years by working, raising a family or both, it feels strange to have time to yourself once you have retired and the kids have all flown the coop. One good thing about getting older is that you’ve been there, done that. Now you can take the time to impart what you’ve learned over the years. I try to do this by writing.

Baby boomers seem to be having a hard time admitting to the inevitability of growing older. Granted, we are all mortal, but I never imagined this referred to me. Sure, I am in my seventies and have been married for fifty years. Yeah, my children are in their forties and have grandchildren in their twenties. Indeed, I have been retired for four years and have been fighting cancer for ten. But those are only numbers to me, not an indicator of how old I feel.

When I take sum of my life, everything I’ve created, experienced and collected, I can count more positives than negatives. More than anything else I learn with each and every passing day the importance of appreciating what I have and choosing to be happy. Taking time to laugh with my family and friends becomes more important. Of all the good things about getting old, the best by far, according to older adults, is being able to spend more time with family members.

My 8 year old grandsons will yell “Papa run over here.” I have to explain, Papa doesn’t do run anymore.  There’s a lot that Papa doesn’t do anymore. Papa doesn’t drink anymore. Papa doesn’t go to the basement or attic anymore. Sure I move a bit slower, but that’s just my body that’s acting it’s age, my mind and my spirit are still in their twenties. The great irony, in this, say the experts on aging, is that this could be a healthy thing. Believing you are younger can actually make you feel younger.

“People, particularly older people, usually say they feel younger than they are,” said William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State. “People who report feeling younger actually tend to live longer and healthier lives and they don’t tend to have as much of a pattern of decline.” says Chopik. In most circumstances, people state that they feel around 20 percent younger than they actually are. This is according to a Michigan State study of over than 500,000 people.

They say when you are older, you heal slower but my innate ability to recover from injuries is well known among my friends and family. Recently I hurt my ankle but I thought I could just walk it off. After 8 days of walking on it, I discovered I had broken it. I was in a boot for six weeks after that and still wear a splint. The orthopedic surgeon I went to said “The x-ray revealed that your bones are, and I going to use a medical term here, crap.” (I love a doctor with a good sense of humor). He said he wasn’t sure just how long it would take me to heal but he suggested it would take months.  I surprised him by how quickly I healed. I have had cancer three times, and managed to spit in death’s eye each time.

So, at my age, I’m on a low salt diet, do Physical Therapy, quit smoking, and have to take an assortment of meds to control my blood pressure, cholesterol, edema and pain. I wear bifocals and hearing aids and But I still don’t look into the mirror and see an old man looking back and I definitely do not see a septuagenarian gazing at me. I see someone that is much younger and more vibrant than that. Then again, I never put my glasses on before I look in the mirror. You remember the age old adage “You are only as old as you feel.”? I believe this to be true. In my mind I am still only 25.

It’s kind of funny how being old doesn’t seem so old now that I am old.

Norb is an independent journalist from Lockport.

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Peripheral Neuropathy

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I have peripheral neuropathy  from chemotherapy. This is customarily associated with symptoms like numbness pain, and tingling but there are other symptoms as well.

The peripheral nervous system is composed of three different types of nerves. They are the motor, the sensory and the autonomic nerves. Each of these nerve systems controls different functions. I have both sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy.

Damage to my motor nerves makes walking difficulty. My legs feel heavy like I am trying to move a 10 pound canned ham and are difficult to move especially on waking up. I may constantly feel off balance.  Since the damage to the motor nerves interrupts the signals from your brain to the muscles, telling them what to do even doing something as easy as walking could become a difficult task. I require a cane while walking to maintain my balance.

Also I need to see the floor or ground, or I lose my balance. If I shut my eyes, I start waving around like a willow sapling in a wind storm. Damage to my sensory nerves has made this problem worse. The pain or numbness usually associated with damage to these nerves has affected my feet. A doctor tested for this damage using a pin. They repeatedly pushed it against my flesh on my foot and I could not feel anything.

However sometimes if I step on a coin I swear I can tell if it is heads or tails. Then I have the electric shocks. It feels like my toes are getting shocked and the feeling moves across the bottom of my foot.

Because I suffer from symptoms related to this motor nerve damage, I must exercise extra caution when walking on stairs or other areas where my risk of a fall is greater. This is the primary reason I had a first floor addition put on my house, so I wouldn’t have to climb stairs. Allowing myself extra time and not hurrying can also help me limit my risk of falling. I now walk like a two year old.

I also find it difficult to pick things up off the floor due to a lack of balance. I sometimes try to hook then with my cane or use my cane to push them close to something I can grab onto when I bend over.

Because damage to your motor nerves affects the ability of your brain to transmit messages to your muscles I find myself limiting the use of my legs and feet. Unfortunately, this decrease in physical activity results in me having muscle deterioration and weakness. This is often referred to as muscle atrophy and I found it hard to get up from a chair. I had a box built to raise my chair to assist me in getting up.

Muscle weakness further contributes to my loss of balance and difficulty walking that I previously mentioned. While exercise is often difficult and painful for me there are low-impact exercises that I do to help retain muscle mass and prevent muscle deterioration. I am now attending Physical Therapy to help with this and have exercises I do at home to try and rebuild my strength like stepping on and off a step stool every time I leave the living room to try and build up my muscles.

The disruption of signals from the brain can also lead to cramps, muscles spasms and twitches. Sometimes it feels like my toes are overlapping each other. But they aren’t, it’s just my nerves playing tricks on me. Most of the time, the cramping strikes at night and ranges in severity from mild to terribly painful.

While most common symptoms that are associated with peripheral neuropathy are pain, numbness, burning or tingling they are not the only symptoms. When the motor nerves are affected by neuropathy the symptoms might go far beyond pain or numbness. They affect my ability to control muscles and perform otherwise simple physical tasks. Though you might not be able to reverse these negative effects completely, alternative methods like exercise could help you build and retain muscle mass therefore helping you to reduce the effect of motor nerve damage.

There are other a few other therapies I use though to help me mitigate the peripheral neuropathy symptoms. I take the controlled drug, Lyrica twice a day. Other things I use are homeopathic treatments. I treat my feet with a Frankincense and Myrrh oil every morning.  Finally I use a CBD tincture twice a day. Every time I need a refill, I search the internet for the best price because there are now so many players selling this that pricing is all over the place. I have also moved from 300 MG to 1200 MG and the price increases proportionately. You can buy the 1200 MG for less than some people ask for the 300 MG.

CBD has been called safe for almost everyone. This is according to a new article from the World Health Organization. But you should check with your own doctor before you begin using any CBD product. Research has indicated there are several CBD oil benefits, ranging from improving rheumatoid arthritis to alleviating social anxiety. CBD could also decrease chronic pain although your mileage may vary.

Norb is a freelance journalist from Western New York. His blog is at WhyWNY.home.blog.

Beards

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You’ve most likely noticed that beards are in and the plaid shirted, beard wearing male is now fashionable. I have sported a variety of beards, side burns and mustaches over the years and I am now finally in style. Woo hoo!  I have had my current beard for over 10 years. These days, the unshaven look once saved for mountain men and lumberjacks is seen everywhere from boardrooms to billboards to fashion magazines. I have lived through several cycles of beards and can tell you beards are not going to dissapear soon.

Growing a beard will transform the way you look. Just like dying your hair purple and yellow might raise a few eyebrows, having a beard also defines people’s impression of you. People will look at you differently and you will also feel different. When I met my wife I sported a counter culture, bad boy, Hippy Dippy goatee. That was a part of my look, a part that would soon change. She asked me to shave before I met her parents. What we do for love.

Just like the hair on your head protects your scalp from getting sunburn (ask any bald guy), facial hair provides protection for your chin, cheeks, and upper lip. If you get a tan and then shave you could have a paler “beard shadow” which is the reverse of a five o’clock shadow. This shows that your beard protects your skin from sun damage and could protect you from skin cancer.

A study by researchers at the University of Queensland shows that having a beard reduces your facial UV exposure by about one-third, compared to a clean-shaven face, and the ultraviolet protection factor ranged from 2 to 21. This means that a beard protects you from ultraviolet rays that would hit your face. Free sunscreen!

I now am back to the goatee I wore as a teenager when I met my wife. It’s white now without any red in it and it is a little less thick. I call it my “cancer beard” and vowed to not shave it off until I was pronounced cured of cancer. Trim it, sure but not shave it off.

The average male spends 3,350 hours standing in front of a mirror, scraping a sharp, metal blade across his face during their lifetime according to the New York Times. No matter how close or how often, you shave, your beard grows back a little bit every day.

When it comes to tracking trends, research has shown that a good, healthy beard makes a guy seem more attractive to the majority of women right now. According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that men with beards are generally regarded as more masculine, dominant, and socially mature. They are also usually regarded as more responsible, older, fatherly figures.

The next time I grew a beard was when I was in the navy. We were on a Mediterranean/North Atlantic cruise. We were allowed to grow beards on this 6 month cruise. As I think back on it, it probably was a morale builder. We would hold “Longest beard” contests and “Ugliest Beard” contests. We would also hold a “Best Moustache” contest.

Men who live and work in cold environments like Western New Yorkers do, frequently seem to grow big, bushy beards. That’s because having the extra layer of insulation that a beard provides helps keep our face warm. I appreciated that extra layer of insulation while my ship was in the North Atlantic.

If you are terrified of making it through your next Western New York winter without freezing your face off, then fall and winter is probably a good time to grow a beard. The best time to sport a bushy beard would seem to be in November. Sprouting a beard at this time will help promote cancer awareness and will support all your “No Shave November” friends.

Unfortunately, researchers have discovered that beard growth tended to hit the highest point in the late summer, predominantly in August and September, by November it is decreasing, reaching its slowest speed in January and February. Even your beard doesn’t like to go out in the winter

Beards might make you look all rugged and rough, but under their crude surface there is frequently a smooth, silky baby face. This occurs because growing a beard can actually protect the skin underneath from aging, according to the tabloid Metro. A beard, by blocking sun exposure, results in fewer wrinkles, fewer liver spots, and so on.

The other thing that keeps your face so smooth under your beard is your sebaceous glands, which are always at work keeping your skin moisturized and oiled up, according to Business Insider. People touch their face a lot, so you’d normally be rubbing this oil off pretty regularly, but not if you have a thick beard protecting your face and thus preserving your skin’s oils. So having a beard today might make you look older, it could also make your skin look younger in the future.

I now am back to wearing my teenage goatee. However it is white now, not red and a little sparser. I call it my “cancer beard”. I vowed not to shave it off until I was pronounced cured of cancer. I will trim it, sure, but not shave it off.

Norb is a freelance journalist from Western New York.

Mail order drugs.

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At my age, I take several medications. Many of these I get at a local pharmacy. The only one I can’t get from them is an oncology drug. I get that from an out of state pharmacy.

I have been taking this drug for over 2 years and receive it monthly. I recently had to reorder this medication as I was going to run out on January 22nd. I hadn’t received a call from them so I started calling them on January 18th. I called their 24 hour “help line” and listened to all the options and selected “1” to be whisked to a live customer service representative.

Four songs later, Corrine, asked me to verify my name, date of birth and address. This, I will call my PI (Personal Identifying Information) in the interest of brevity. So far so good. They accessed my file and asked if I was calling on my beetledopper (not the drug’s real name). Well, that is the ONLY drug I get from them, so yeah. I was asked how much medicine I had left and I told her I was running out on January 22nd. She put me on hold so she could check with someone. I think she went for a cup of coffee.

When she came back she told me my copay would be $2437.59. I told her this was wrong because I am enrolled in 2 programs that help me pay for my drugs and I was looking at a letter from my secondary provider that stated my initial deductible for the year would be $1303.00.

She asked if I wanted some financial assistance and I declined saying I already have two plans and I was happy with them. She said she would take care of this for me and that she would call me back later. In the meantime I called my secondary carrier, pushed buttons, listened to some music and finally talked to Mike. I gave him my PI and he verified the $1303 yearly deduction.

On Friday, I called my pharmacist again and talked to Jasmine. I went through all the PI again and she reviewed my file. When I asked what the holdup was she said they were waiting for a response from financial assistance. I told Jasmine I had no interest in financial assistance and was put on hold. Five songs later she came back and asked me if I was ready to proceed with my order. I said yes and I once again had to give her my PI (Didn’t I just give this to her 5 songs ago?).  Things were going well until she told me my copay. Again it was $2437.59. I told her this was wrong. That I was holding a piece of paper dated December 1st indicating my deductible for the year would be $1303.00. Apparently the larger sum was just the deductible from my primary carrier.

On Saturday, 1/19/19 I called the pharmacist (They have a 24 hour “help” line, which is an oxymoron) and I went thru all the button pushing and song listening until Latasha came on the line. Again I gave my PI and explained that I would be out of drugs on Tuesday. She told me that they were ready to ship as soon as they got an override from my secondary insurance. Well at least I was getting somewhere. Called my secondary insurance and they were closed for the weekend.

On Monday morning 1/21 I got up early, and called the pharmacist and was told to call the secondary insurance to get the override. I called the secondary and was told by Shannon that the pharmacist had to call them for this. I started to feel like I was on a merry-go-round. Back to the druggist and got on a conference call with Felicia and Ashley from financial and explained I didn’t want assistance from them and THEY had to call my secondary to get the override. I called back at 1:55 and was told by Evita that they were “working on it” and not to worry, they could send my prescription overnight. She said to call back later. At 4:20 I called and talked with Arianna and she said they were closing the office due to the snowstorm and there was no one there that could help me.

January 22nd, I called the druggist at 7:55 AM. Regina told me my payment would be $1758.86. Getting better but still not right. I was told to call back later. When I called back later I was told my deductible would now be $1502.  I gave up. I was now out of my chemo drugs. They said they would rush my drugs to me. On January 23rd, I received a call from them that delivery was delayed and I would get it January 24th. It didn’t arrive that day either so Friday I got up early again to call the pharmacist. As I was waiting for Amanda to check on my order I saw someone walk up to my door and ring the bell. SUCCESS!!!! The drugs I tried to order on the 18th had finally arrived one week later. Someone keeps calling me wanting me to order all my drugs online, telling me this is easier. This doesn’t seem any easier to me. I can’t wait till next month to see what happens.

Norb is a writer from Lockport. Follow his blog at WhyWNY.home.blog

I tend to write much more than I need to

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I tend to write much more than I need to, but when I can’t write or get published it’s a very distressing feeling. A good day is when I get articles published in multiple places. My mind tends to become dependent on writing and seems to build up a tolerance to being published.

I find myself writing all day, late into the night and sometimes get up at five in the morning so I can write again. But I do catch myself nodding off in my recliner with my laptop in my well…. lap in the afternoon and early evening. Go figure.

I was nominated for the “Survivor of the Year” for the “Relay for Life” one year and accepted. One of my duties was to give a speech. I started out by writing a speech about my personal involvement with cancer and it was exciting. I felt I needed a hook to engage the audience so I started with humor.

I read my speech out loud for a week so I could get the cadence, mannerisms and inflection down and the day of Relay I was ready.

I went onstage with a thick pile of paper and thought I could feel the unarticulated groan from the people there. At this point I felt I was my plan was working. I dropped the papers on the floor and with great flourish and picked them all up clumsily.

At this point I heard a few muffled giggles. Nobody really knew at this point if I was doing stichk or not. After I composed myself I looked down at the papers and said “I wish to thank the academy, the Hollywood foreign press……” by now there was more quiet laughter but everybody was trying to be polite at this point, still not knowing if this was a comedy routine or a bumbling idiot.

I knew I had had set the hook and I was now ready to reel them in. I then looked up and scanned the crowd and said “Oops wrong speech” and everybody laughed. At that point I had their attention and I read the piece I had written for the occasion. A few people came up to me later and told me that it was the best speech they had ever heard. The heart pounding feeling this gave me made me want more and I thought to myself “I can do this”.

Up until then, I hated writing. Ninety percent of the things I had to write for a school assignment were written on the school bus on the day they were due. No sense in wasting time if we were going to have a snow day and school was going to be closed that day.

I started writing shortly after Relay I would write about about personal experiences, marriage and my thoughts on driving safety, volunteering and mandatory retirement. I would then submit them to local newspapers, hoping to get published.

After a few of them picked up my work, I started writing about more “hot ticket” issues. Issues that affect us as a city, a state and as a country. These included things that are driving us apart like education, the Vietnam War, the border wall and nuclear power. I got some fans and had some very passionate adversaries complaining about these columns. We all have opinions but I felt I had at least opened the lines of communication.

But writing isn’t successful unless someone is actually reading what you write. I know that it is important in America that we talk to one another about the walls that divide us as a country. That even if we disagree we must have civil discussions about that which comes between us. Any attempt to prevent this is censorship, pure and simple.

I am now being published regularly in three print newspapers, in three online magazines and have had my work published in at least 10 other places.

The First Amendment guarantees “Freedom of the Press” which is the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government. Private entities however can censor the hell out of anything you write and you have, as a reader, the right to read and comment on a piece or just not read it at all. It’s no wonder I love this country.

In closing let me say,
Free Speech – Good.
Censorship – Bad.

We all have our own view points but please let us just discuss them respectfully.

Immunotherapy

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As an eight year, three time, cancer survivor, I always read with interest about the latest advances in cancer treatment. Over the years I have been poked, prodded and probed. I have been subjected to MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, PET scans and frequent Blood work. When I had my prostatectomy, my surgeon said if I had waited 2-4 weeks longer, he wouldn’t have been able to save me. I have endured a few rounds of chemo and a few surgeries. I also had several months of radiation therapy at CCS in Lockport with Dr. Yi, which I credit as the treatment that saved my life.

I had so many doctors, procedures and was administered so many drugs that I had to carry a small note pad with me so I could remember them all. I also had a port installed in my chest that made it necessary for me to carry a card so I could pass thru airport security.

Because of this, I am intrigued with the latest course of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. A recently discovered method that uses the patient’s own body to cause the death of cancer cells that scientists have said might be more successful than the present treatment procedures.

Most current anti-cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation work by killing cancer cells through a process called “apoptosis” which activates proteins called “caspases”. This leads to cell death. However in apoptosis, the therapies used often fail to kill all the cancer cells which can lead to the disease recurring or relapse.

This is what happened with me. The prostate cancer I had been treated for reappeared in a different location on two separate occasions, years apart. This is caused by the cancer cells breaking off from my original tumor and swimming around till they found a nice place to live and multiply. The first time this happened was in the fatty tissue below my liver. The last time I was diagnosed as having stage 4 cancer. I had 3 tumors. One in the lymph nodes in my lower abdomen and 2 along my windpipe.  I now am looking at my 4th fight because my Prostrate Specific Antigen went up. This usually indicates a return of the cancer.

Chemotherapy, due to the fact they infuse toxic poisons into your body can cause nasty side effects. The chemo I had put me in the hospital and caused all my hair to fall out. Scientists from the University of Glasgow sought to create a way to develop a therapy that kills the cancer cells while reducing the unwanted toxicity.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment designed to allow a cancer patient’s very own immune system to discover and eradicate cancer cells where ever they are in the body. New immunotherapeutic methods have been successful when used for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung, melanoma, bladder and kidney cancers. Clinical trials are under way for over 25 additional types of cancer. Patients who do respond to treatment have a much higher probability of a continued response because the immune system’s memory leads to an extended protection.

Scientists say they discovered a method to separate cancer killing immune cells from a donor’s blood and then multiply them by millions. The “neutrophil” cells are a part of your body’s primary line of defense against foreign invaders. This is also known as the “innate immune system”. These cells are thought to be the reason that some people will naturally reject powerful cancers in circumstances that are described as a “miracle recovery”. And the clinical trials for this new therapy may possibly be happening as early as this year thanks to LIfT in conjunction with researchers from King’s College in London, England.

“It is something that I don’t believe has been done before, and producing these specific cells with cancer-killing ability is a notion we had not thought of before. We are excited by these early results.” Said Alex Blyth, chief executive of LIfT Biosciences, whose mother Margaret was killed by pancreatic cancer in 2014. The team will focus on pancreatic cancer as this is one of the most lethal solid cancers. Mr. Blyth says neutrophils can be given to anyone without fear of serious rejection.

There is evidence the neutrophils can often become “blind” to cancer, but when they do target the cancer, they eradicate up to 95% of the test cancer cells within 24 hours.

LIfT’s team has collected thousands of cells discarded as unwanted waste products by blood banks and is mass-screening them for their cancer-killing potential.

Unlike apoptosis, which is a silent form of cell death, when cancer cells die through Caspase Independent Cell Death, called CICD, they alert the immune system through the release of inflammatory proteins. The immune system can then attack the remaining tumor cells that evaded the initial therapy induced death.

The trials, if they go ahead early this year, will involve a small number of patients with pancreatic cancer. The new method of killing cancer cells has led to the complete eradication of tumors in experimental models.

For those of us who have had cancer or are fighting cancer, these are exciting times. I hope the Food and Drug Administration approves this therapy as soon as possible. No one should have to go through what I went through.

Norb is a freelance journalist from Lockport.

Writer’s Block

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I can’t think of anything to write at this time. I know this is a serious problem for a writer like me and it is hard for me to admit but I seem to have what some people call “writer’s block”. It appears I have hit a wall when it comes to writing.

I have written over 500 articles about such diverse subject matter as patriotism, volunteering in your community and the art of bring up children. I have shared personal narratives about my fight with cancer, living with color blindness and my time serving on a destroyer in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I have even related my point of view on how to do away with cable or satellite television, how to avoid getting shot by the police and how to operate a motor vehicle safely.

I have written about my opinion on whether we should ever do drug testing on animals, if doctors or other health practitioners should help with assisted suicide, the need for community service by teens and if the Electoral College should be eliminated or not.

You may have read commentaries from me on the lack of common sense today, train wreck television like Jerry Springer, Steve Wilcos or any of the currently popular reality shows or court television programs. You may have also seen pieces I wrote on my family’s Thanksgiving or holiday traditions, watching what you post on line on your Facebook or Twitter accounts or recalling emails.

I have also written over fifty reviews of restaurants from Buffalo to Lockport, From North Tonawanda to Medina. I’ve critiqued seafood places, Mexican restaurants, American style restaurants and trendy pubs.

You may think it is easy for me to write but quite the contrary. Sometimes it is difficult for me to find something to write about, something I feel passionate about.

I have said many times that I wish I could just plug a jump drive into the side of my head and make a copy of all my memories, experiences and opinions so I could share them with my children and grandchildren. Writing for the newspapers has helped me share some of the “Pa Pa stories”, as they call them, and there is are notebooks full of my articles that have been published.

Like I said, I have writer’s block. I make an effort to find something, anything, anywhere to write about by reading newspapers, books, magazines and surfing the internet. I have watched television and movies but to no avail. I am finding it extremely difficult to find a subject that tickles my fancy enough for me to write about.

I could write some drivel just to kick out an article but that would not reflect who I am nor how I like to write. I suppose I could also google some obscure academic paper on some obscure subject by some obscure writer and change it around enough to slip under the radar of all the plagiarism checkers out there, but that would be doing a disservice to me, the writer of the article, my editor and my readers.

I guess I will just have to wait till my muse finds me again so I can write something worth your time and mine. Yes, it is hard to for me write when I am so uninspired but I will have to try as hard as I can and see what I can do.

I know I can write but I can’t make it any harder than it has to be by over thinking it. I just have to type a few words and that’s the problem. I can’t find the right words to type. They don’t have to be good words (all first drafts suck). I just have to type them.

It’s kind of like building a house. I need to build a foundation first. After I have that in place, it is easier for me to build the framework of what I want to say. Hopefully once I get started building the story, I will reach a time where I can’t stop. I have had a problem like this before and end up writing 12, 14, or even 1600 words.

I end up writing in run on sentences. But this is a good thing. All I have to do is pare this down to about 700 words removing the extraneous and irrelevant material and correcting the grammar and spelling until I have a good sound article. I can tell this by reading it out loud. That way I can check the way it sounds and change it around till it just flows.

Now that I think about it, perhaps I don’t have writers block after all. Just thinking about writer’s block gave me something to write about.