Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pain management for my back

My back pain saga takes yet another turn. As I mentioned last time, I had another MRI done, per doctor's orders, after a two week round of Cymbalta and Lyrica didn't work to alleviate the pain.  (Not only did it not alleviate the pain, I had to deal with very unpleasant side effects.)  So my doc says there wasn't anything on my MRI that showed up other than "normal wear and tear" and for a 34-year-old, that statement doesn't even make sense.  But since I'm still in pain, they sent me back to the neurosurgeon's office (as I'd predicted). The doc who did my discectomy a little over a year ago took a job elsewhere so I had to see the other neurosurgeon, who also said he saw nothing of significance on my MRI.  Now this is where it gets tricky; I read the report from the doctor who read my MRI and he mentioned a few bulges, stenosis, and degenerative disc but these other doctors didn't think it was significant enough to warrant my pain which is especially confusing to me.

Let me interject here. I kind of feel like I did those years when I begged three doctors, a nurse practitioner, and a chiropractor to take me seriously about my earlier pain. And what happened? No one wanted to believe it was anything more than muscle strain and it turned out to be a rather large rupture. But I digress.

 I'm forced to try alternatives now.  The neurosurgeon said I needed epideral cordisone shots. So I said okay. He's the doctor, after all, and if that's what he thought I needed, I should try it. But then I started to worry. I'm only 34. Presumably (and hopefully), I have some years ahead of me. Do I really need a needle poked into my spine multiple times? Won't that damage the injection site and degrade my back further?

 I wasn't completely sold on the idea in the first place but I was willing to try it. I'm so freakin tired of being in pain. But I couldn't drive to Birmingham for multiple treatments. I needed to find something closer to home. After being told that a local doctor everyone had been  recommending was no longer in Fort Payne, I decided on a pain management clinic in Huntsville. But the doc doesn't want to do cortisone injections and seems to think we can work around it. Instead, he did a round of  Intra Muscular Stimulation, also known as IMS and also known as dry needling, which, after hurting for a few seconds, relaxed my muscles at the time. The rest of the day I was sore and felt like I'd had an energy shot.  It helped me just a little the next day but hasn't seemed to help me since. He also prescribed a muscle relaxer, which is fine as long as I'm going to sleep but doesn't help me at all during the day.  And then there's the non-narcotic pain meds.  This pain medication, while it helped ease my pain, ultimately made me so sick I couldn't function. I think it is pretty sad that I have to choose between being halfway functional while my back hurts or being so sick at my stomach, I can't do anything. :( I'm supposed to take some hormone therapy and some supplements to help my thyroid function. I will at least try to find those and take them but I admit, I'm not very optimistic. I can't help but wonder how the doctor can presume to know what supplements I need when he hasn't seen a lick of bloodwork from me.

I'm calling today to get my physical therapy appointments set up. This should be interesting, seeing as how I was supposed to get pain relief before starting physical therapy but now will have to start it regardless.

I go back to the pain clinic on the 12th. To be honest, I've been in pain for so long, more than five years now, that I'm not hopeful that there's much else for me out there. I should be positive, I know, but constant pain has a way of stripping one's confidence. However, it's either this or nothing. I kind of feel like this is my last chance for relief. If this fails, then I have nothing and I will be in this shape for as long as I live. So we'll see. I'm going to give it my best and follow instructions and see where we go from there.

Peace, love, and trying for optimism,


Monday, January 21, 2013

About "Barrier" and next projects on the agenda.

During their free promotion days, Barrier: The Purpose of Pain had a few hundred downloads. In addition, I emailed at least two dozen copies or more of Barrier: Ethics vs. Duty. One of the best things about doing a free Amazon promo like that is watching the rankings as people download. When I did The Influence, I watched my rankings in the sci-fi category climb all the way up to #27. I was hoping for higher this time but for some reason, Amazon never posted any rankings. That's part of the excitement about doing a free giveaway and I missed out on it due to what was likely an Amazon glitch. Maybe the next giveaway (I have a couple more days coming up) will be glitch-free.

In any case, I wanted to talk a little about Barrier and my plans for it.

When someone asks me about Barrier, I say, "Think of it as a television series in writing." I hope to do one to two "episodes" a year. I consider myself primarily a character writer so with Barrier, I've created a variety of personalities from a variety of social backgrounds tinkering around in a Universe in chaotic tumble.

When you consider the vast forms of culture and society within this world, it can almost be overwhelming. Every individual lives and breathes from their own perspective. Their personality is a product of their genetics mixed with their environment. When you consider that in a broader setting, several different worlds, for example, the possibilities are endless. And that's what makes Barrier so exciting for me to write.

In any case, click the links below to see excerpts and purchasing options:

Here is a teaser excerpt of Barrier: Duty vs. Ethics.
Here is a teaser excerpt of Barrier: The Purpose of Pain

I hope to have Book 3 of Barrier completed this year, but I do have some other projects to tackle first. My next project is a non-fiction venture that likely won't be released until later this year or early next year. It is an idea generator/brainstorming book for fiction writers of all genres. Next will be the release of my first fantasy novel, Future Past, and I believe I'm more excited about this one than I was my first novel! While I work on Barrier 3, I'm starting work on another non-fiction book for writers. And in between all of that, I have a historical novel pattering around in my head that I'm working on the outline for.

It's gonna be a busy year for me and I'll do my best to keep everyone updated! Thank you so much for your support. Until next time...

Peace, love, and bright ideas,


Friday, January 18, 2013

Get both Barriers for FREE!

Quick update: I'm offering my newest release, Barrier: The Purpose of Pain for free, today and tomorrow (Jan. 18 & 19) only, from Amazon. Click over here and do a quick download.

(In my best infomercial voice) But wait! There's more!

While you don't need to have read Barrier: Ethics vs. Duty to enjoy Barrier: The Purpose of Pain, I realize that some may want to read the first one first. So... go download The Purpose of Pain from Amazon for free, then shoot me an email at pamelacaves@rocketmail.com and I will personally email you a copy of Ethics vs. Duty in Kindle format for free in an attachment. This offer is only good for today and tomorrow while the promotion for Barrier 2 is running.

Here is a teaser excerpt of Barrier: Duty vs. Ethics.
Here is a teaser excerpt of Barrier: The Purpose of Pain.

This is a limited time offer so if you've been wanting to read these, now is the time while both are free.

If you need other formats than Kindle, please be patient. I will run promotions on those later.

Peace, love, and happy reading!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Barrier: The Purpose of Pain" by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

Available on:Amazon
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Search for it on your favorite site!

Lenya McKay
"You look really young to be out traveling the cosmos," Zhoven said.

I was going to be trapped in a cramped vehicle with this handsome man for a few days so small talk was pretty much inevitable.  I was tempted briefly to lie about my age and flirt with disaster, but like the good little girl my parents raised me to be, I spilled out the story about how my parents had gone missing and were now thought dead.

"You don't think they are?" he asked me.

"No. I mean, I know there's a possibility but they were fierce fighters. They may have been science nerds but they would've clung hard to life because of me."

I'd seen the expression on his face before.  It was skepticism.  But despite that, he looked over the map and said, "So I suppose it hasn't escaped your attention that we will be passing near their wreckage site.  When were you planning on asking?"

I was a little embarrassed but there was no use feigning ignorance.  "I was just going to casually bring it up in small talk."

"Hmmm," he hummed but I noticed a flick of a smile.

"What I don't understand is why they veered from their course. They should've sped passed the Afgar system."

"If their flight plan was anything like ours, then they should've passed through the orbits of the seventh and eighth planets; grav drive all the way."

"Something must've gotten their attention."

"You have a theory?"

Indeed I did.  It was like I'd had nothing else to think about the last few weeks.  To have someone finally listening to me was like taking a deep breath in nature for the first time.  "There wasn't enough wreckage left for them to tell me if the pods had been launched from their vehicle. There is one habitable planet in the system, Afgar II.  They said the pod signals weren't on the planet but..."

"But you don't think they looked hard enough?"

"What if they were damaged?"

"One pod's tracking signal being damaged I could believe.  But two?"

"I know, but you have to consider the atmosphere on that planet. It's very humid, hot, and the air pressure is twice what we, and our technology, are used to."

He squinted at the projection of the map and chewed his bottom lip.  "Yeah... maybe."

"You're skeptical, I get it. I'm not asking for much, but can we just make a quick sweep through? You know, just to see if there's anything unusual."

His expression softened.  "Of course. What are strangers for?"

"Thank you," I said. I hadn't realized until that moment how itchy I'd  been. I relaxed as relief swept over me.  If anything, I was going to see the area for myself and for some reason, that was the most important thing in the universe to me.

For the next sixteen hours or so, we talked about our lives, gossiped about celebrities, played games, and napped.  Zhoven was a very pleasant traveling companion and by the time we'd reached the Afgar system, I'd developed more than a passing lust; it was a full-on crush.

He nudged me with his elbow and I woke to see a large shining dot in the window; the Afgar's red giant.

Basic scanning technology came standard on most vehicles and while it wasn't exactly UA issue, it was all I had.  I knew that the scanners aboard a United Alliance cruiser would pick up more than a personal vehicle but desperation could also be a powerful tool.

Zhoven, however, wasn't using his scanners.  He was simply staring out the window.  "The reports say that their vehicle was found near Afgar II, right?"


"I'm seeing a wave-length I don't understand."

I'd forgotten that Roens had the ability to see beyond a Human's capability.  Roens not only could see temperature differentials but also some wave lengths most species couldn't.

"What about the scanners?" I asked.  The readouts were blank and I wondered if he'd even powered them up.

"I checked before I woke you. Nothing."

"But my parents are Human.  They wouldn't have been drawn in by something they couldn't see and the cruisers would've picked up something if it were there."  Now look who was being the cynical one.

"Maybe they were drawn in by something they could see."  He pointed out the window at... well, nothing.  "That's an energy wave-length.  It's weaker and of a different build than anything else around it. Maybe there was a ship out here. Shall we follow the signal?"

"Uh... yeah. Of course."

He steered the vehicle on manual, following something invisible.  We followed that "nothing" for the next couple of hours at a steady pace.

"What would cause a vehicle to just drop out of grav?" I asked.

"It could've detected something in the flight path, another grav drive maybe.  Or maybe it was a malfunction."

"But you don't think so..."

He shook his head. "Something was out here and I bet they followed it in, just like this."

I could've continued to ask questions but I knew Zhoven wouldn't have the answers.  I watched him stare out the window and steer.  Suddenly, the vehicle lurched, knocking me back into my seat.

"Gravity well," Zhoven said.

"You can see a gravity well?"

"No, but I know them when I run through them.  This is really odd."

I kept trying to see what he was seeing, even though I knew better.  It was like trying to order the lights on in a room when you know the power is down.  "What?"

"The signal... there's no break.  There should be a break from the gravity well."

The ship stumbled again.  And then again.

"Where are we? Are we near Afgar II?"


When the ship shuddered again, Zhoven flipped on the sensor equipment.

"Could the gravity wells be responsible for the vehicle wreckage?"

"No.  It's just a space bump.  It's not going to hurt anyone unless they are zipping along at high speeds. But there really shouldn't be so many of them."

I could see the sensor display from my seat.  "They aren't registering on your sensors."

He sighed and the ship dipped again.  "This entire area is flooded with something artificial."

"How can you tell?"

"Because there's no way that I wouldn't detect at least some of these wells unless this area was flooded with something to mask it."

"Like to mask all sensors?  Make it look like nothing was here?"


"Wouldn't the cruisers have suspected something if they couldn't detect the gravity wells?" The UA cruisers had said they'd performed a thorough investigation of the area. My heart fluttered. What if they hadn't?

"Cruisers are too big to physically feel the wells. They wouldn't have known they were there anyway."

We both knew the implications of what we'd found.  It might've meant that the cruiser's sensors had simply been blocked and that there really was a chance that my mom and dad were on the planet. Renewed hope flooded over me, filling me with new energy.

"You're forgetting the most obvious question, Lenya."

My mental celebration halted.  "Huh?"

"Someone had to have flooded the area on purpose to keep something hidden.  I'm guessing they've used a form of barium energy. Barium energy, in its pure state, will create gravity wells and block key sensor nodes."  As if on cue, the ship quivered again.

I knew what he was suggesting, but my mind refused to process it, like maybe if I didn't think about it, it wouldn't be true.

Unfortunately, he said it aloud, and suddenly, I had more to worry about than whether or not my parents were lost on some random planet.

"I think there may be a Snarl base somewhere out here."

"But... we're in UA territory."

"The galaxy is a war zone, Lenya. Infiltration is a common strategy.  We need to get out of here now and send a fleet. But we can't engage the grav drive until we've cleared these wells."

The second planet loomed in the distance, looking a little like a marble among the stars. My breath came in rapid pants and my heart started hammering my chest.  Zhoven's fingers flew over the comm console as he simultaneously steered the ship in the opposite direction. The marble fell behind us. The ship bucked again.

"What are you doing?" I asked, the tension evident in my tone.

"I'm sending a message to the base." He locked eyes with me in what initially looked like an attempt to comfort me.  He failed miserably.  "It's a long flight out of this system. We might not get out of here before..."

He didn’t finish his sentence.

All I saw was a flash of light and then total darkness.

I'd been dreaming of my parents, remembering some of the routine things I'd often overlooked. Most mornings, Dad would fetch his compad and a cup of black coffee, then go sit on one of the living room chairs where he felt the need to stretch his legs out and put his feet up on the coffee table.  Almost every morning, Mom would come out of the bedroom fiddling with her hair or smoothing her uniform.  "Get those stinky feet off my table!" she'd chide, and he'd remove them long enough for her to go into the kitchen. Once she was out of the room, back on the table his feet went, and he'd continue reading the morning news as if he'd never been interrupted. It had almost seemed like a game to them.

I remembered in my dream that I'd simply sat on the couch, staring at my father as if I didn't know him, or was confused about why he was there. I didn't speak to him; I just stared, feeling as though maybe I was underwater in which one nostril was below the surface and one nostril was above. I could breathe, but it never seemed like there was enough air. And then I realized that it was sorrow I felt and when I remembered why, I opened my mouth to finally speak to him.

But then I woke.  When that first bout of consciousness rolled through my foggy head, I shut my eyes tight and tried to will the dream back.  But as hard as I tried, I couldn't fall into that pit of sleep again.

A tear escaped as I realized just how much I missed them.  I needed to--no, I had to--find them. Then I remembered...

My entire body jerked fully awake.  All around me was darkness. I rose quickly but ended up crashing my head against something hard and stars burst in front of my eyes as pain slashed through the top of my head.  I tried to keep my grunting and whining to a minimum. I didn't want to attract any attention just yet.

After the worst of the pain subsided, I started feeling around me.  The dark space, which was only large enough to hold my body, was hard and seemed to have the inconsistent rolls and curves of rock. It was slightly damp, too, and I heard running water from somewhere. I thought I might be in a cave. 
They'd gotten us.  The Snarls had gotten us.

Available on:Amazon
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Search for it on your favorite site!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm late for New Year.

With the end of the year, come the inevitable end-of-year blog posts. Yes, I'm a little behind but as long as it's done, right? As if my readers were anxiously waiting on this one blog post to get them through the rest of their first week of the year, right? Haha. :) The second Barrier was supposed to be out by now, too. Maybe the rest of the year won't find me struggling two steps behind.

This year, like the last few years, hasn't been bad but it hasn't been good either. I've been searching for a happiness that I've been unable to acquire and while I feel I'm closer now than I've ever been, I still have some inner searching left to do before I get there. For the purpose of the moment, I am happy. Cryptic? Perhaps.  Like any other normal person, I haven't gotten it all figured out yet and probably never will.

Over the last year, I've grown.  Last year, I thought nothing of airing frustrations and intimate details of my life on the internet. I also thought nothing of writing whatever crossed my fancy. I cared more about making what money I could without regard to who it might hurt along the way. Over the last several months, I'm a little more subdued in my writing. It's not because I'm censoring myself, I'm just trying to have a little more consideration.

My time is also very limited these days and I can't stop and dive into the businesses of those around me, no matter how much I think the public should know. The voters of Fyffe made it clear they didn't care what I thought and as a result, a good man lost his job and lively-hood. But I digress. I'm no longer living in Fyffe so I've been working to shift my focus from Fyffe. I still care, but I can't allow myself to become any further emotionally invested in the inner workings of the town, not when so much is going on with my personal life.

And that's what brings me to this reflection. I can't dive into the inner workings of what's going on in my life right now. I'm going through one of the hardest things I've ever been through but for the sake of friends and family, I will not write about it for the public to gape at. A year ago, I would have blogged about it and let my fingers run amok across the keyboard. Not any longer. And that's a good thing, I think.

In any case, I'm not sad, I'm not depressed, I'm not so busy that I don't stop and enjoy what I have every so often. I have my kids and my writing and that is happiness in its own way. I will not make resolutions. I think if you have to wait until the new year to make and follow through with resolutions, it is bound for failure. Instead, make resolutions year round. If you want something, strive for it no matter what time of year it is.  And as a personal message to a certain someone should they choose to read this, don't rely on others to define your happiness, go for it on your own. That is an awfully heavy burden for other people, big or small, to have.

My goal for the upcoming year is to simply push forward. I'll be starting another school next fall. I'll be releasing another novel this year. I'll be celebrating the arrival of new family members, namely my first great-nephew that I'm looking very forward to meeting! I'll rejoice that I've made it to 35 without any major catastrophes. The only thing I'll actually hope for (as opposed to "making it so") is to be in less pain in 2013.

In any case, I'll leave you with a poem I wrote for NewYear's last year; it remains one of my favorites. To each of you, Happy New Year. Be blessed, be kind, and be happy.

Peace, love, and pushing forward,