Thursday, July 31, 2014

Heather Hearts News (1): The Big Move, Blog Plans, and Health Stuff ...

Hey everyone!

Is anyone wondering where July has gone to? Or, for that matter, where the year has gone? I certainly am.

I can tell you where most of my July has gone and why I've been a teensy bit AWOL for the past week and a half. I also have a MAJOR announcement regarding this blog -- it's awesome!

The move to Wordpress ... is finally happening!

I have purchased hosting space as of last night, my design mock-up is almost done, at least for the front page, and within the next 2-3 weeks, I'll be building the new and improved Heather Hearts Books. What does this mean?

Well, for you readers, it means that the site is going to be more user friendly. Expect the same logos and colors -- I've invested in a fair amount of business cards and bookmarks that I will give out before I go for a new layout. (I plan to change colors and schemes around the time of BEA every year and already have next year's layout planned.) It means that commenting will be easier, finding reviews in the past will be easier, everything will be cataloged and sorted. Generally, the operations of it are going to look more streamlined and a little less like an amateur blog.

For me, it means that everything is going to be much more customizable. It also means I'm learning a fair bit of code that I didn't know. Graphic design is my niche, it always has been, but Blogger limits what I'm able to do with design. I'm much more capable that Blogger lets me be.

I'm doing all of this with a ton of help from my amazing friend, Ashley over at Noze Graze. She has her own book blogging dedicated server that she and her husband run and she is a Wordpress expert. Her husband is known as Coding God, but she's a Coding Goddess herself, even if she won't officially take on the title, so she is kind of like my Obi Wan Kenobi in this whole thing and guiding me and I'm eternally grateful for her help. Her hosting is Book Host and her design company is Creative Whim. Check her out, worship her, throw roses at her feet, and tell her how amazing she is. Please. Also, congratulate her, because she just got married!

I've enjoyed my time here on Blogger and it's been a great place to start -- I would still recommend it over free Wordpress for anyone who is starting out with a blog. But it's cumbersome and this blog is growing. Even on the days that I've been gone and in treatment, this site is hitting over 100 unique pageviews every day. When I post just once, that number doubles (at least), and if it's more than two posts, I'm sometimes getting close to 500 views.

So thank you, thank you, thank you, to all you wonderful people who read this blog and visit. I'm so proud of what you've helped me to build and I'm excited for the next phase.

I would love to say that this will all be operational by mid-August, but because of some health stuff, I am saying that it will definitely be up by Labor Day.

Also, I have 81 reviews planned for you guys between now and the first week of December. So get ready to love some books!

And the not so friendly news ... my health.

Cancer sucks, my friends.

I'm doing okay. My treatment is going well and my leukemia is theoretically "under control". But as I've mentioned before, my kind of leukemia is chronic and there isn't a 100% true remission. I will never be totally cancer-free and in the clear, at least not until there is a cure. It is managed. But the medication for it is rough on my body. And it doesn't eliminate the side-effects and it also brings its own set of fun side-effects to the table.

Besides that, cancer just messes with your system.

Right now, my liver is wonky and we don't know why. My liver enzymes have been critically high. We've gotten then down, but they aren't normalized completely. We know that there is no liver mass -- for awhile, we thought one was there and we were looking at everything from lymphoma to liver cancer -- but that was a false-positive on the ultrasound and a CT and MRI confirmed that that mass was a shadow. Thank God. But that's life with one cancer ... once you've had one, you're always at risk for another one.

And in the meantime, my liver is still acting up and I'm still in pain and my week in the hospital amounted to very little than just getting the levels to a less threatening place. The MRI of my abdomen did show an abnormality on the left side of my colon and intestines. It also showed something going on with my stomach. So we are looking at the possible recurrence of an ulcer that I had when I was fourteen, or multiple ulcers. We're also looking at possible colitis or Crohn's Disease. And those are the less threatening possibilities.

Besides that, I've also become very hypoglycemic and I'm in a lot of pain all over my body.

So the next step is to get a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy, which is just fancy medical terms for knocking me out and violating me with a camera. I've had an upper endoscopy before, they're easy. The colonoscopy will be easy once they knock me out. The problem will be the prep. So for the next two days, I can only have certain liquids and soft foods. I also have to take four laxatives tomorrow morning and drink a gallon of goo that supposedly makes the whole process safer.

And I'm trying to figure out why they didn't do this when I was in the hospital, when I'd had nothing but ice chips for three and a half days. But my stomach doctor (gastroenterologist) was on vacation that week and so I had to see the guy on-call. Guy on-call was condescending and treated me like a child and didn't bother to tell me that there were any abnormalities. And my attending was -- and is -- just an ass. I've had him before. He doesn't like me, I don't like him. But he's the guy that fills in for my primary when he's not there, so that's who I had to deal with.

I've also got more appointments with my oncologist, my new urologist who needs to do a procedure to check my bladder and urinary tract, and basically a lot more tests. And I'm trying to figure out how to run my Mary Kay business -- which is normally quite successful -- and be in the hospital a few days a week. I'll get there. I'm just not yet.

So ...

That's what's going on with me. The health stuff is frustrating. But I try to look at the down time as the gift of time, so I'm going to use it to make the blog better than it is, review more, and interact more.

Thank you all for your continued support! :)

And stay tuned -- another news update that deserves its whole own post is coming momentarily!


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