I realize that one of the main purposes of blogging is to jot down your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. For some, it’s a personal venting apparatus, allowing us to push out the white noise that life continuously throws at you. Whether it be from your personal or professional life (or both), stress has a way of compounding on you and grinding those tiny motions of creativity and inspiration to a halt.

However, when your blog is being used with the expectation of having an audience (like this one), the blogger has a bit of a decision to make: Do they create another blog to serve as a vent/scratching post, or do they air all their dirty laundry to the public in hopes of some kind of vindication or sympathy? Some people choose the latter in this respect, and personally that just makes me shake my head and mutter something under my breath that I really shouldn’t repeat here.

Yet, when things get in the way of your creative processes and actually compromise that silent contract you’ve made with your fans, there is a certain degree of responsibility and accountability that exists. I say silent contract because while it’s not written down anywhere or mentioned verbally, the moment you present content for consumption by the masses, there is a responsibility to see it through to its end, or at the very least continue with it until you make the conscious decision to stop delivering. To that end, some notification of your plans to fade away should be made known to your fans so they can brace themselves for the end.

The reason I’m rambling on like this is because I know I’ve been silent for months at a time, posting almost never, and not really communicating with you, my faithful readers/listeners. I’m not trying to make an excuse here, but more trying to let you know what’s been happening to me and why ‘Outcast’ has slowed to a crawl.

In December of last year, the left side of my head exploded in pain while I was at work. It was intense enough that I actually had a hard time standing and walking. For the briefest time I’d lost my sense of balance. Needless to say I was scared shitless at that point, but soon enough the pain faded and everything seemed to go back to normal. I should mention I’d been under a world of stress at that point, both from work and from my new home, where my roommates seemed ready to kill each other. Add to that the increase in pot shots at me from my ex-wife, and it became a perfect storm in my head.

About a week later, I suddenly began to feel a tingling in my right hand. I thought it might have been an after-effect of too much typing/mousework that day (I work in IT/web design). However, the next morning found me in Emergency at one of Calgary’s hospitals. I’d lost most of the feeling in the entire right side of my body. I still had full motor control, but there was definitely something wrong with me.

I spent the day in the hospital, undergoing a CT scan, numerous blood tests, and even a spinal tap. In case you’re wondering, yes, a spinal tap is EXACTLY as painful as you’ve heard it to be…even with anesthetic and my apparent loss of sensation.

Since then, I’ve been back and forth to the hospital for consults with a neurologist. I’ve had an MRI, another CT scan, and was also in counseling for a time to see if my problems were manifestations of my home life. From all of this, it was concluded that I had what’s called a dissection of one of the blood vessels by my cerebellum. A clot from this dissection managed to strike a nerve, which caused my temporary lack of balance and my continuing numbness. They also found what’s called a pseud-aneurysm along the same blood vessel. This is a slight widening of the vessel, where clots can form due to lack of blood mobility in that area. They said mine was occluded, which means there’s no real danger there.

Since finding this out I’ve been doing all I can to get my blood pressure down to a normal level in order to help my body heal from all this. I’m back on my normal medication, and I’ve also been trying to move around more (walking, taking breaks from the computer, etc). It’s worked to some extent, I think. I’m still battling my weight as best I can, though it’s been a struggle.

On June 24 I’ll be heading to the hospital for a procedure known as a cerebral angiogram. Basically, they’re going to sick a needle in my leg, traverse a blood vessel leading to the back of my head, then shoot some tracer dye and take some high-resolution X-rays. This will be the final word in finding out what’s wrong with me, and if any treatment options exist. I find it ironic that in the age of the CT and MRI forms of diagnostics, my case has to rely on the oldest and still most accurate of diagnostic methods.

With all of this hanging over my head, it’s been a challenge to find the necessary quiet time to actually sit down and write. About the only time I did get was at the laundromat, which was a weekly trek when one of our main pipes in the house collapsed. When it rains, it pours, it seems.

I’m not trying to make excuses here…not looking for sympathy. I’ve been wrestling with telling you all this because I didn’t want it to sound like I’m whining or complaining. However, I feel as though I owe you all some kind of explanation as to the silence on my part. Those of you who’ve been so patient thus far I cannot properly thank you enough.

So, where from here? The writing is beginning to come back, though it’s a slow go at the moment. Chapter 20 is finished in a writing sense, but I want to hold off on recording it until Chapter 21 is finished. I can’t really give a definite date as to just when 20 will be released just yet, but I’m hoping for sooner rather than later.

Until then, you might want to check out a couple of other podcasts out there that I’ve been enjoying as of late. The first one is Alex White’s Gearheart stories, which you can find at http://www.thegearheart.com. The next is Tales from the Archives, an anthology of the steampunk world created by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballentyne. You can find it at http://www.ministryofpeculiaroccurrences.com

So until next time…thank you…and have a good one.