Elspeth Cooper

Purveyor of fine fantasy adventures

Tag: MS (Page 1 of 2)

A long short story

For those of you who don’t follow me on social media, here’s the full story of the day I said farewell to an old friend, one who’s had my back, quite literally, for over twenty years.

I’m talking about TH. TH was there with me throughout my IT career. TH was in my wedding photos. TH even accompanied me to London to meet my agent for the very first time as a newly-minted authorial entity. But all good things must come to an end, and the time had come for me and TH to part ways.

If you haven’t met me, you’re probably wondering what I’m wittering on about. Ladies and gentlemen: meet The Hair.

 

Me with long hair

Me and TH

Me and The Hair were kinda like Foul Ole Ron* and his Smell, in the sense that The Hair was really the rock-star in our relationship. Never self-effacing, it always took up two seats on the plane and had a tendency to make people stare. It had Personality.

Unfortunately, The Hair also had some bad habits. It choked at least one vacuum cleaner to death. It could commit actual bodily harm just by turning over in bed, and as for the shower drain, let’s not even go there *shudder*.

It was also becoming increasingly difficult to manage in terms of my MS: on most days I couldn’t stand for the 30-40 minutes required to wash and comb it. When I could manage it, I had to have no plans to walk anywhere afterwards for at least half an hour. The weight gave me headaches, and when it was wet it actually was heavy enough to affect my balance.

So something had to give. What gave was this:

My ex-braid

Yes, really. I measured it.

That’s 33 inches, y’all. THIRTY THREE. INCHES. OF HAIR. It hadn’t been cut since 2009, when I had these photos taken.

So what’s left? Not a lot. Here I am now, all shorn like a li’l lamb.

Me with my new short hair

Baaa.

My husband had never seen me with hair this short; when we met, some 17-anna-bit years ago, my hair was already past my waist. Amazingly, he’s still talking to me.

Do I miss it? A little bit. I used to love it all freshly curly, when I could toss it over my shoulder – swoosh! – like the girl in the shampoo commercial. However, when you have a long-hair perm, it takes something approaching a geological age to grow it out so you can go back to being curly-girl-in-a-shampoo-commercial again, and curly-girl doesn’t last long.

The vacuum cleaner, however, doesn’t miss The Hair at all.

 

* obligatory Terry Pratchett reference. Bugrit.

Release day . . . and it’s twins!

Cover of German edition, Die Wilde JagdTrinity Rising coverThis month sees the arrival of two bumper bundles of joy: Trinity Rising in the States tomorrow from Tor, and last week Die Wilde Jagd in Germany (Heyne).

Same again? Er, no

For those of you who don’t know, Book 2 of The Wild Hunt is  darker and more disturbing than Songs of the Earth. I knew it was going to be from the first scene I wrote. Gair grew up with a jolt at the end of Book 1; now he’s finding out that he’s caught in the middle of something that’s bigger than him, in which the choices he makes will have far-reaching consequences.

And he’s not the only one. Meet Teia:

A rush of compulsion deluged Teia’s mind. It seized her, shook her, bent her to its will. She would answer; she had to. She had known of her gift since Macha brought her first blood; why had she ever thought she could keep that a secret? There was nothing Ytha could not know, nothing she could not find out. It would be better by far to volunteer the information than wait for the Speaker to enter her mind and take it by force. Surrender was the only choice.

‘Answer me!’

Wave after wave of Ytha’s will bore down until Teia thought she would break under their weight. Her mouth shaped to say the words and, in desperation, she flung herself open to the music within.

‘No.’

Want some more? You can read Chapter One here.

And finally, an apology

I’ve been MIA most of the last few months, for reasons many and various: finishing Book 3, The Raven’s Shadow, having the bathroom gutted, and dealing with a couple of MS relapses/starting a new drug regime.

Things seem to be settling down a bit now, so I’ll be a bit more visible (I hope!) from now on. Or at least I will until Book 4 gets a hold of me and drags me back into seclusion . . .

 

Some good news of a non-book kind. Sort of.

MRI image of the brain

Today I had an appointment with my neurologist, who gave me the results of my recent MRI scan. Compared to my scan of March 2009, it showed a decrease in both the number and the size of the lesions in my brain.

This is A Good Thing: it means my relapse rate has been stalled, and my poor beleaguered body has been able to start repairing some of the myelin damage caused by MS.

How much of this is due to the Tysabri infusions I’ve been on for the last two years, and how much is due to me finally acknowledging that the day job with its horrendous commute was no longer sustainable, I’ll probably never know. Bit of both, most likely.

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Health and inefficiency

Regular readers will know (don’t try to hide behind the sofa; I know there’s at least four of you) that I am busy finishing Book 2 of The Wild Hunt, Trinity Moon.

What you may not know is that as if MS wasn’t enough fun by itself, I’ve also been diagnosed with gallstones. Honking great gallstones, measuring 1.5cm across. The surgeon I saw at the hospital last Tuesday was quite impressed. I assured him that I do not do things by halves. Neither, it seems, does he.

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I ate’nt dead

Got my third Tysabri treatment on Wednesday, and I’m not dead.  So far, so good.

I feel more alert, better able to concentrate, without that awful grey mental fog.  I’ve been able to finish overhauling my website, achieving more in the last fortnight than I’d managed in the previous four months.  It’s good not to feel like a vegetable any more.

I’ve also been able to devote some time to my novel ‘Songs of the Earth’.  It’s at the final edit stage now, and will shortly be hitting some agents’ desks.  Wish me luck.

 

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