My ankle surgery (there are pictures--unflattering pictures)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Holy crap, it's been a hard year. In addition to my son's difficult diagnosis, his two surgeries, and moving to another state, I had ankle surgery on Sept. 19th (about a month after we moved). 

Ankle sprains have been an ongoing issue for me since I had a severe sprain, partially tearing the ligaments and a tendon in my ankle when I was a sophomore at a basketball camp. The ankle was ever after weak, and I sprained in numerous more time as I played rec and church ball. 

On June 22, 2014, I was running and stepped on a stiff hose. I heard a pop and I went down. I couldn't walk on it for two days. I called the doctor, but they said it sounded like a severe sprain, and there was nothing they could do. 

I should have gone in, but honestly, I was so overwhelmed with all my son's health problems--he was in a wheelchair again, and we didn't know if his leg would take years or months to heal. My husband was interviewing for a new job, and we were pretty sure he was going to get it, which meant him leaving our family until our house sold (did I mention our house was for sale at the time?). It meant moving to a different state. 

Also at this time, I was having tests done on my heart for an arrhythmia, which turned out to be related to stress. 

I didn't have time or the capacity to deal with being injured. I tried to suck it up, I even went running again two weeks later. It was extremely painful, and I realized I was going to have to take a full 6 weeks off for a sprain. 

At eight weeks, I was still in a lot of pain, and my ankle sprained every time I scuffed my foot on the floor, or my heel caught on a stair. 

So I finally went into the doctor. 

I had broken off three chips of bone (on both sides and the back), all of which were causing me pain. I had also completely ruptured one ligament and rendered useless another. I had also torn a tendon. 

And I needed surgery. Well, I was moving in two weeks, I couldn't have surgery. So we waited until after we moved and were somewhat settled. 

On Sept. 19th, I had surgery. It entailed cutting the ligaments, folding them over each other, and sewing them back together. The tendon was sewed back together. The groove where that tendon passed the back of the fibula was nonexistent, so the doctor drilled a hole and collapsed the bone to make a groove (so it would stop dislocating). He also drilled more holes and sewed synthetic ligaments through the bone (as even repaired, my ligaments were shot and would be easily damaged again). 

I felt pretty good right after surgery--that had everything to do with a nerve block. But when that wore off on Sunday, holy mother of all pain. It felt like a white hot branding iron was sitting on the back of my fibula (where he'd made a groove for my tendon). In tears, I called my doc. He called me in a stronger pain pill. 

It knocked me out, but the pain kept building. By Sunday morning, all I could do was cry. So my mom took me to the emergency room--I'm not proud to admit I sobbed the whole way, but it's the truth. 

As soon as they cut the soft cast off, I stopped crying. It had been too tight, cutting off my circulation. They checked me for blood clots, thankfully I was fine. After, they gave me a shot of tordol, and I started feeling pretty good. 

Not a very flattering picture, but I believe in being real. 
They sent me home with instructions to keep up on my pain pills so my pain didn't get out of control again. Problem was, I couldn't stop throwing up. Eight hours later, I was crying in pain again. The doctor called me in something to help with the nausea and I finally had some relief. 

The next few days were a blur of pain and reactions to the drugs. First, I would get dizzy and tired, then insanely hot. I'd feel loopy and stupid. And there was always the ever present nausea.

After a few days, I was just starting to feel better when I fell, stomping on my right foot to catch myself. The pain shot back up. I had some online retail therapy. There is no need to mention how much I spent.

On the 29th, I finally started to feel like I was going to survive. I'm still bed ridden, as standing lets all the blood fill up my ankle and the burning starts, but at least I can bathe and get up to use the bathroom without wanting to curl into a ball and cry after. 

I am so grateful for my church. Even though I barely know anyone here, a girl named Ann has taken my daughter to kindergarten each day. Dawn has picked my son up from cross country practice. They brought us supper every night for 5 days. My mom and mother-in-law came and stayed with me, taking care of my family and running errands. And my sweet husband has taken over and been super helpful since they left. 

I won't be able to walk on my leg until three weeks out. Won't be able to drive until 6 weeks out (thank goodness I found someone I can carpool to the conference I'm teaching at). But that seems like a piece of cake after what I've already been through.

Now I just hope I can get off these stupid pain pills.

*edit 10-9-14*
Not long after I wrote this post, I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was on (my doc thinks either the antiboitic or the arnica). I was covered in hives. Like, COVERED. My incision was the worst, and the burning and itching was so bad I couldn't sleep at night. My doc put me on steroids, which really helped with the reaction, but the night sweats and emotional mess they made me were a steep price.

Because my incision was covered in blisters, I wasn't able to remove the stitches when I was supposed to. So another week of stitches. Yay.

This can end any time now. 

YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2014 {Featuring LH Nicole}

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I'm Amber Argyle, author of the Witch Song and Fairy Queen Series (book bloggers, don't forget to sign up for an ARC of Summer Queen, book 2 of the Fairy Queen Series). If you've never read one of my books , you can start with Witch Song for free! Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read Witch Rising for for FREE as well. 

In addition to the amazing prizes offered by the hunt, I'm also offering signed paperback copies of Kevin J. Anderson's trilogy, Terra Incognita. 

 To win, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter (I check all winners):

And leave me a comment telling me something that drives you crazy (ie, mine is wet socks. I immediately have to change them). 

On a personal note, I turn 33 next year, which I'm pretty excited about!

Confused about anything hunt related? Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. 


Directions: Above, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number (in grey). Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on team indie, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Whew. Now we're done with the rules, here's LH Nicole introducing herself. 

I am a seasoned Pastry Chef in our nations capitol and a life long fairytale (Disney and Grimm) lover, believes in love at first sight, addicted to 80’s & 90’s cartoons and anything that can capture my ADD-way-to-overactive-imagination. Joan Lowery Nixon and L.J. Smith were the first authors I became addicted to and who inspired me to steal away whenever I could to read and write. You can keep up with me, and all my news and adventures on FacebookTumblrPinterestBlogger and Legendary Saga website.
L.H. Nicole

For this hunt, LH is the featuring her book, Legendary. Here's a little more about it. 

Aliana Fagan spent her childhood traveling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death of her parents, she hides behind the safety of her camera and her art until a vivid recurring dream compels her to dig into her father's research about Avalon and Camelot. When she is hurled into a magical realm by forces she thought were only the stuff of fairy tales, she finds herself thrown into an adventure she could never have imagined. Nearly everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legend was wrong.

This sounds like a retelling I can get excited about. I'm thrilled that LH is sharing the Prologue below.

Bleeding, bruised, and all but dead, Merlin stepped from a swirling portal onto the magical ground of Avalon. Behind him, his brother knights and friends, Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot, carried a dying King Arthur between them.
“Lady Titania, queen of the Fae and ruler of Avalon, I beg your help,” Merlin cried out. “All the realms stand in mortal danger, and we have no hope of victory without you.”
The men stood silent as Merlin’s voice reverberated through the valley. Wind rushed around them, sending leaves and fallen petals dancing in front of the knights.
A beautiful, regal woman appeared in the churning greenery. “I have heard your call, my dear Merlin.”
With a pop, the wind died, dropping the foliage to the ground at the queen’s feet. Her copper hair fell in long curls. Tiny ringlets curled around a face which looked as soft as flower petals, though Merlin knew there was nothing soft about her. The Fae queen was unpredictable and dangerous when tested. She stood as tall as the knights, her body a perfect hourglass shape with the top half covered by a tight, shimmering gold bodice. Her skirt hung from her hips, flaring loosely around bare feet, which were decorated with Fae jewels and silver anklets.
Still supporting King Arthur and suffering from their own painful wounds, the knights bowed to the queen of Avalon. Merlin dropped to his knee before her.  “My lady, I have trapped Mordrid in a void between the realms, but I cannot kill him. Only someone of the Pendragon line can wield Excalibur and end this evil for good, but Arthur is the last of that bloodline.” Merlin looked up at the queen, trying to contain his rage. “If Mordrid is allowed to go unchecked, he will break free of his prison and destroy our worlds.”
Titania studied him for an endless moment. Her cold, glittering emerald eyes betrayed no emotion, but Merlin knew she understood all that was at stake. Glancing back to King Arthur, she saw the wounds at his side, the blood pooling at his feet as he slowly bled to death. Arthur’s loyal knights were not doing much better—their jaws were clenched tightly and their bodies shook as the power of Avalon flowed over their wounds.
“And what would you have me do, druid? Did not my lord give you an army to fight alongside you?”
“Yes, my lady.” Sir Galahad spoke for the first time, his voice labored and thin as he held back a groan of pain. “But Mordrid’s treachery knows no bounds. He delayed the army’s arrival long enough to drive his magic blade into our king.” The knight’s voice cracked, his eyes cast downward in shame.
Titania scoffed at the knight. “But your king is a great strategist. Surely, he would have planned for such an event.”
Sir Lancelot answered before the others could. “It does not matter how it happened! Mordrid is still a threat to everything all of us love, including your realms.”
“Please, my lady,” Merlin begged. “Save Arthur. My magic is all but exhausted and I do not have the strength to save him.” He rose, meeting her calculating gaze.
Titania glided forward, stopping before King Arthur. She placed a long, elegant finger beneath his chin and lifted his face to hers.
Arthur’s vision was so blurred he could barely make out the figure in front of him. A cool breeze washed over his face. His vision cleared and the pain that had been gripping his body vanished.
“Arthur Pendragon,” the Fae queen said in a silky voice.
Arthur peered into eyes of the deepest green.
“Do you want to live, Arthur Pendragon? To save the realms, regain your life, and find your happiness, will you do what is asked of you? If I save you, will you rise up and do what must be done to stop Mordrid and his evil?”
Arthur’s intense gaze didn’t waver. “Yes, my lady. I swear on my life I will not rest until Mordrid’s dead body lies at my feet.” He would do anything to avenge his kingdom and his fallen brothers.
Titania ran her fingers over Arthur’s cheek, gazing at him with a look akin to pleasure. “I have always had a fondness for you, dear king.” She stepped away and gave her attention to Arthur’s company. “Your king has given his word. Are the three of you willing to do the same?”
“Yes, my lady. You have our oath,” they said together, their faces shining with pride and determination.
Queen Titania smiled, triumphant. “Prepare yourselves.”
The Fae queen threw her arms above her head, and the valley was consumed with the sizzling of her magic. Galahad and Lancelot covered their eyes against the force, curling their bodies to shield their king. Merlin held himself still—he could not show any more weakness to Queen Titania.
When the magic subsided, they found themselves in a chamber hidden deep in the mountains of Avalon. In the center of the chamber was a stone bed, lit from above by a small opening in the mountain’s wall.
“Do you have the Grail of Power?” Titania asked Merlin.
Arthur’s druid reached under his cape and pulled the coveted grail free, handing it to her.
“Lay Arthur on the stone,” she commanded. Lancelot and Galahad carefully placed their king on the stone bed, stepping back as the Fae queen lowered the cup to catch several drops of Arthur’s blood. “Each of you must add your own blood to the grail.”
Lancelot exchanged a guarded look with his friends. Galahad nodded to his brother-in-arms, pulling a dagger from his belt. The knight slashed a new wound in his palm, squeezing a few drops of blood into the golden, jeweled cup. Taking the dagger, Lancelot cut a matching wound, adding his blood, which was followed by Merlin’s. Facing Titania, the three men wore expressions of determination and hope, along with ones of guilt and regret.
Titania pricked her finger, adding a drop of her own enchanted blood, and whispered ancient, binding words. She then tilted the grail over her open palm. The blood poured out, transforming before their eyes into a small, glittering ruby. As Merlin studied his king and friend lying helpless and as pale as moonlight, guilt choked him. His fellow knights felt the same sense of failure. If they had foreseen Mordrid’s curse, their king wouldn’t have been on the verge of death and they wouldn’t have been in Avalon.
Looking down at Arthur, the ruby rose from Titania’s palm and hovered above the king.
“Arthur Pendragon, you are the once and future king. I command you to sleep until the one who is destined to awaken you seeks you out and calls for your aid.”
The blood ruby consumed Arthur’s consciousness, slowly darkening everything in the king’s sight. He wanted to reassure his loyal knights and friends, but all he could see and feel and hear was Queen Titania. Her mighty emerald eyes demanded his acceptance, and he found he could not fight her power. The ruby returned to Titania’s hand as she stepped away from the shrine.
Galahad and Lancelot relaxed as Titania moved away from their king, but the calm did not last long.
The queen fixed her gaze on them. “I have done what you asked and saved your king’s life, but now you three must accept the cost. Never again can you reenter the mortal world without Arthur by your side. Your lives are now bound to his, and you will only be freed after his quest is complete.” Titania’s commanding voice was as hard as diamonds as she examined the knights. Sir Galahad was drowning in his guilt; Sir Lancelot was struggling to balance his desire to defend his king and his wish to rejoin his wife. Merlin’s eyes were downcast, his fists white from tension, his shoulders shaking as he tried to rein in his anger at the woman who had betrayed them—the witch, Morgana LeFay
“I warn you now, break your vows to me, to your king, fail in the tasks set before you, and you will pay a dire price.”
“We will not falter,” Sir Galahad swore.
“See that you do not.” Titania smiled, calling on her magic to hide her from the knights’ view.
“My queen, what have you done now?” Titania’s husband, Oberon, king of Avalon, materialized at her side, visible only to her eyes.
Tempering her voice, the Fae queen answered, “I could not stand by and let Mordrid go unchallenged, my lord.” If her plan was to flourish, it would take centuries, but Oberon could not know her intentions. Her husband was a master deceiver, the only one to ever challenge her own skills of deceit.
He stepped in front of Titania. “You know my laws. Directly interfering with mortal affairs is forbidden,” he thundered.
“Yet you gave them an army, my husband.” Her eyebrow rose, almost mocking her king.
“I am king of Avalon. It is for me alone to decide if or how we influence the mortal realm.”
Titania bowed low. “My apologies, my king,” she said, her voice honey-smooth and placating.
“You know the laws of Avalon, the consequences of your actions.” Indeed, she did know what her punishment would be for her interference, but it was a small price to pay for what it would accomplish. She would be banished to the mortal realm until Oberon saw fit for her to return. There would be much work for her to do during her banishment.
Queen Titania rose to her full height, her chin held high, and met her husband’s unwavering gaze. “Indeed, my lord.” She turned from him and looked at the knights. “But you must agree that their story—and what is to come—will make a tale worthy of legend.”
King Oberon studied his queen silently before vanishing from the cave.
 “So it begins.” The queen departed for the mortal realm, a cunning smirk on her lips, satisfaction bright in her emerald gaze.

Sounds fabulous! If you'd like to know what happens next in Legendary, go here. 
For the next stop in the hunt, visit Kia McCarthy
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