SUNDAY POST – LIVING WITH LONG COVID #10

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This is my update on how I’m doing while coping with Long Covid now it’s been 11 months since I first got ill, which I’m adding to my Sunday Post blog, hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer.

I haven’t been here for a while. There are several reasons. I’ve had spells of feeling extremely tired again, which means I haven’t done much of anything – except sitting on the settee and watching TV. Thank goodness for the Winter Olympics which I loved. I have also been battling with back pain again, which means sitting at the computer isn’t something I felt like doing. And there were times when I had a bit more energy and my back was fine, but to be honest – I couldn’t see the point in bothering. With anything, really. I’m aware that is probably a sign of depression – I certainly struggle to get out of bed at times, even when I’ve got sufficient energy. I think I’m just battle weary as it was at the end of the first week last March that I got sick with Covid-19 and my busy, happy life disappeared. It now feels like it belonged to someone else.

We are trying to get out and about more. After a tumultuous week when we were battered by three storms in five days, this week there has actually been some sunshine. On Thursday after my reflexology appointment we went out for a coffee at a favourite river-side café. It wasn’t a total success, as I had underestimated the anxiety of ordering my own coffee, aggravated when their machine wouldn’t accept my debit card. And yesterday and the day before, we went for a walk down by the beach, getting down onto the sand as the tide was out. It was lovely. We weren’t there for long, but it was glorious to stand by the sea once again.

This week I’ve read:-

The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis
Lizzy Moon never wanted Moon Girl Farm. Eight years ago, she left the land that nine generations of gifted healers had tended, determined to distance herself from the whispers about her family’s strange legacy. But when her beloved grandmother Althea dies, Lizzy must return and face the tragedy still hanging over the farm’s withered lavender fields: the unsolved murders of two young girls, and the cruel accusations that followed Althea to her grave.

Lizzy wants nothing more than to sell the farm and return to her life in New York, until she discovers a journal Althea left for her—a Book of Remembrances meant to help Lizzy embrace her own special gifts. When she reconnects with Andrew Greyson, one of the few in town who believed in Althea’s innocence, she resolves to clear her grandmother’s name.
I really enjoyed this atmospheric story. It captures the strengths and weaknesses of a small community and I enjoyed watching a wary, aloof protagonist riven with far too much resentment try to come to terms with her troubled childhood. In amongst a page-turning story, there are strong messages we can all use in our lives – no wonder this one was a best-seller when it first came out. 8/10

For the Murder – Book 1 of The Murder series by Gabrielle Ash
A lone crow is a dead crow.
That’s what Diana Van Doren, exiled crow shifter, has always believed. The last murder of crow shifters known to exist wouldn’t accept her into the flock, leaving her vulnerable. Worse, her kleptomaniacal father’s schemes put them in a demon’s crosshairs. Without the support of the murder, Diana fears death will come all too quickly. So when an opportunity to steal a rare blade that can kill anything—even demons—crosses their path, she decides to play her father’s games one last time.

However, she isn’t the only one hoping to take the blade. Sasha Sokolov, a clairvoyant, has been forced from childhood to serve the very demon hunting Diana and her family. After two decades of service, his boss finally offers him what he can’t refuse: freedom. All he has to do is bring in the knife and the Van Dorens, and his bloodline will be free from serving the demon forever.
This intriguing shapeshifting urban fantasy adventure is alluding to the collective noun for crows – as in a murder of crows. The main protagonist is very well drawn and the slow-burn romance well handled. Full review to follow. 8/10

AUDIOBOOK – Rogue Prince – Book 1 of the Sky Full of Stars series by Lindsay Buroker
Starseer, pilot, and animal lover Jelena Marchenko wants to prove to her parents that she’s ready to captain her own freighter and help run the family business. When she finally talks them into getting a second ship and letting her fly it, it doesn’t faze her that the craft is decades old and looks like a turtle. This is the chance she’s craved for years.

But it’s not long before the opportunity to rescue mistreated lab animals lures her from her parentally approved cargo run and embroils her in a battle between warring corporations. To further complicate matters, her childhood friend Thorian, prince of the now defunct Sarellian Empire, is in trouble with Alliance law and needs her help. Torn between her duty to her family and doing what she believes is honorable, Jelena is about to learn that right and wrong are never as simple as they appear and that following your heart can get you killed.
Once again, I quickly was pulled into this entertaining space opera adventure by one of my favourite authors. The added bonus is that this is a spinoff series from Fallen Empire, which I’d read last year, so I already knew some of the characters. The action was non-stop and as ever, I found myself listening far longer than I intended to hear what happens next… 9/10

Monster by C.J. Skuse
At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

This was recommended to me by one of my Creative Writing students in another lifetime and I decided to finally get hold of it. I love the opening scene, which really held me. The tension was well sustained – my only main grizzle was that Nash didn’t seem to have any long-term friends she could rely on and that seemed rather unrealistic. However, this thriller whodunit got me through a wretched night when I couldn’t sleep. 8/10

Scot on the Rocks – Book 3 of the Last Ditch series by Catriona McPherson
A community is devastated when the bronze statue of local legend Mama Cuento is stolen on Valentine’s Day. When Lexy Campbell arrives on the scene, a big bronze toe is found along with a ransom note – Listen to our demands or you will never see her again. There are nine more where this came from.

Then, Lexy’s ex-husband Bran turns up begging for help to find his wife, Brandee, who has disappeared. Lexy agrees to pitch in, but when she shows up at Bran’s house he has just discovered one of Brandee’s false nails and another ransom note with the same grisly message. Are the two cases linked or is a copycat on the loose? Who would want to kidnap a bronze statue or, come to that, Brandee? And can Lexy put aside her hatred for Bran long enough to find out?
I loved the fourth book in this series, so it was a joy to backtrack and get more Lexy goodness and a few more laughs at the confusion that her Scot’s dialogue poses for her American friends – and her surprise at everyone’s reaction when she mentions buying Della’s small son a rubber to take to school… Meanwhile the mystery is also delightfully whacky, too. 9/10

This week I have posted:
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of This Charming Man – Book 2 of The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of The This by Adam Roberts

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I’m aware that right now, it’s a very one-sided relationship and I don’t know when I’ll be able to fully reciprocate. In the meantime, do take care and try to keep well.

24 responses »

  1. I am interested in the reflexology- does it help? Have you tried anything like acupuncture? I imagine at this point, you will be looking for anything to provide relief? Take care x

    • Thank you, Emma:). Yes – I’ve found the reflexology to be a great help. Laura treats my whole body, which works really well as the Long Covid has hit so many areas – such nasal drip, tinnitus, problems with balance, extreme fatigue, sleep problems, issues with thyroid and swollen glands. And she is also now managing my lower back issues, which is an ongoing condition from which many writers suffer, given we sit too long and right now I can’t use exercise to keep my muscles conditioned. Before I started going to Laura, I was having to use a stick when walking as I had terrible problems with my balance. And within a fortnight of starting to see her, I was able to put the stick away. I also really notice an improvement in my back after seeing her, too. About 10 years ago, I did try acupuncture for my back, but while it did help, it also triggered a really painful condition called costochondritis, which is agonising and made me think I was having a heart attack. The last time I ended up in A & E… So I don’t use it anymore.

      To be honest, I don’t know how reflexology works and right now – I don’t really care, because it helps. You’re right – I’m at a stage where I’ll consider anything if it gives me some relief from my ongoing symptoms and gives my body a chance to heal:)).

      • Thanks for sharing. I am interested in ways we can heal without medicine but I have never tried reflexology so this gives me an idea of what it might be. I have problems with my hands because of arthritis and may give it a go. Take care x

      • Oh yes – I’m with you! I wanted to avoid anything with medication. Partly because no one knows yet what can help with Long Covid and no medicine is without side effects – and partly because my physical state is rather fragile. I think it would be worth giving reflexology for your hands – and I also suggest you try cutting refined sugar out of your diet. I did early on in my illness as I realised that sugar makes me tired – and the unexpected upside is that my achy joints stopped hurting. You need to persevere for about 3 weeks because it takes a while before you’ll notice the difference – but I think it’s worth giving it a whirl:).

    • Thank you for you kind concern, Harvee – and you’re so right. Books in particular have been a huge lifeline over the last year. I don’t what I’d have done without them!

  2. Two of my work colleagues have long covid and they are struggling with fatigue and low energy. I am sorry to learn of your on-going struggle. Maybe the warmer weather of spring and summer will lift your spirits and improve your health.

  3. Trying to get back to a normal routine is difficult for everyone after the past two years, so I’m not surprised that it’s proving even more difficult for you as you are struggling with the aftermath of Covid. There is however hope that the arrival of springtime might offer an incentive in shrugging off negative thoughts and starting on a… sunnier path. Hang in there!!! 🙂

    • Thank you, Maddalena. Yes – I’m hoping the improving weather is the ace up my sleeve:). January and February are always a bit of a struggle as I hate the cold and gloom that winter brings. So let’s hope everything starts to feel a lot better with a sunshine and warmth!

  4. Has it been almost a year now with covid for you? Ugh. I wish it would just let up and give you your life back. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that future sunshine and warmth will get your spirits up and energy increased. You really deserve a break.

  5. Your experience of Long CoVid is one of the main reasons I’m still wearing a mask in public even though mandates have been dropped and I’m triple vaxxed. It might be worth reaching out to a counselling service for advice on managing anxiety and depression if you haven’t yet considered it, maybe your reflexologist can recommend someone.
    As for reading, The Last of the Moon Girls does sound good, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    • Thank you for your kind concern, Shelleyrae:). I’ve recently completed a 10-week counselling course courtesy of the NHS, which has been helping. My lovely counsellor agreed that I’m probably suffering from mild depression – but also felt that in the circumstances it isn’t surprising. She has advised that I monitor it and look for specific signs if it gets worse. I personally think that the time of year is also a major factor – January and February are months when I often struggle a bit. It’s been difficult to get out for walks in the wind and rain – but I’m hoping that as the weather improves, so will my mood:).

      I really recommend The Last of the Moon Girls – I think you’d love it. I found it quite inspirational.

  6. I’m sorry it has been so rough. I went through a whole thing from Dec 27 until at least June last year and I still sometimes feel twinges so I get it. I marvel now that I can do things. I had thoughts I would never be myself again when it lasted more than a week. I’m a horrible “sick” person. I just hate it. Luckily you can read and watch tv and that can keep your mind active which made the time go more comfortably for me anyway. I hope things improve more quickly. I’m looking forward to spring and my garden.

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    • Thank you for your kind understanding, Anne:). And it’s been a bright spot to read your posts and see the extent of your recovery – especially as I recall how much pain you were in and how much it impacted your life. Let’s hope this Spring and Summer sees a similar recovery for me, too!

  7. After a year of fatigue and uncertainty and everything else I’m not surprised you’re feeling battle worn. I thinking getting out a bit more is a great idea. It’ll help you become naturally tired and give you a nice distraction. The beach sounds wonderful and I’m glad you were able to really enjoy. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

  8. You mention depression, and I go “Oh no!”. It’s the last thing you need in your already challenging situation. I hope that with seasons changing, the weather (hopefully) getting better, and more daylight, you will be able to keep the gloom away.
    I also think that your coffee-excursion was a great success. Acting despite the anxiety and other uneasy feeling is like the greatest win of them all. (Coming from a person who does everything to avoid uncomfortable situations, phone calls, and plenty of other things.)

    I also had a thought. I’m not sure how useful it’ll be for you, but I know there are authors with various struggles with their health who use dictation with great success. I don’t know if talking tires you or you have the brain power to learn something new, but I thought I’d share in case you haven’t come across it.

    • Ah, thank you for your kind concern and thoughtfulness – I really appreciate it:). I have tried dictation in the past – but I find the subsequent slog of having to edit the typos and spelling errors a real pain. These days, I use it for planning my stories, where such things don’t matter too much. When I am well enough to go back to my work, I tend to edit as it doesn’t take quite the mental firepower that writing first drafts does. I’m hoping by the time I’ve tightened up the first two books in the Picky Eaters series, I’ll be well enough to resume writing the third one… That’s the hope, anyway:).

      • That’s what I’ve heard as well. I thought that maybe it’d help you feeling productive, but it looks like it’s counter-productive. I always hoped I could grasp dictation, but with my second-language pronunciation, I doubt I’d have good results.
        I keep my fingers crossed that you’ll be back to your usual self as soon as possible.

    • Oh, absolutely! That’s exactly it, Rae. Very frustrating and annoying:). I hope your health issues will improve with the weather and that you get your energy back. Take care, my friend.

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