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Author Archives: allisonfranchi

TMS and reformatting.

Last Wednesday was supposed to be my last trans cranial magnetic stimulation treatment, but I ended up relapsing and going into a depressive episode again a few days before. That sucked. I was very much looking forward to being done with traveling two hours back and forth to MUSC in Charleston.

Between treatments and work, I’ve been busy and exhausted, which explains my lack of writing and blogging. I’ve neglected my new project/book severely, as well as trying to promote The Thirteenth Step. I am in the process of reformatting The Thirteenth Step to a 5×8 instead of the 6×9. With the larger size, the spine is too thin for words on it, per CreateSpace. So hopefully it will allow words on the spine now. My sister is resizing the cover for me, which is very generous of her. The cover she made is superb and I love it. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

So I’ve resumed work on my new book, currently untitled. I’m just now at 25%. My goal is 100,000 words, which should put it over 200 pages. I am at 31,000 words, so I should hit my goal. I’m definitely taking my sweet time with this one. As much as I adore The Thirteenth Step, it was rushed. I was so eager to finally write a book, but looking back I see so much more I could have done with the plot. So many more scenes I could have added. But, I will love it as it is. It will always be my baby.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in text

 

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TMS treatment #6

Today was not too bad. I must be getting used to the woodpecker feeling on my head as I could have fallen asleep in the chair. I noticed this weekend a little improvement already in my mood. The nurse who was administering my treatment today asked how I was feeling, and I told her a felt a little relieved. She looked mildly surprised and said she had never heard anyone describe it that way.

To clarify, I am beginning to feel relief from the on and off hopelessness, the poor self esteem, and the despair, to name a few. It was irritating to be up and down all day long, going from sort of okay to totally depressed.

But this weekend I noticed a little change. I noticed that I didn’t feel so hopeless. I felt a little lighter. I felt more than my usual so-so. This is what brought me to describe it as relief. I actually smiled without someone trying to make me laugh. Maybe people will stop telling me to smile because I will be smiling on my own accord. I feel this development on my mood is promising for the TMS.

I also wrote a nice four page letter to my insurance company asking why they considered TMS as “investigational” when I have a list of other states that cover it. I sent them this list along with my letter. I did find a document from 2011 explaining why they decided to to cover it. It listed five reasons. I disputed each reason in my letter. I am not backing down on this one. I’ll write as many letters and make as many phone calls as it takes to get the insurance company to cover TMS.

Watch out, insurance company.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Today I had my third treatment of rTMS, or repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. I am hopeful that this treatment will be effective for me. The doctors at MUSC tell me they have had a lot of success with it. To put it in simple terms, they put a giant magnet on my head that stimulates the neurons in the brain. The strength of the pulse and length of treatment is dependent on motor threshold. The higher the threshold, the stronger the pulse and the longer the treatment is. I have the second highest motor threshold they have seen, with a 1.55. As of now, my treatments are running around 50 minutes long.

To tell you what it’s like, it feels like a giant woodpecker on my head, tapping away at my skull for 4-5 seconds straight with 25 second intervals in between. It makes my left eyebrow quiver, as well as the left side of my jaw (pretty much the entire left side of my face). It’s not as painful as it actually sounds. After a while, you kind of get used to it. I get to use ear buds and listen to my music or an audiobook (I’m currently working on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre).

I have to go Monday through Friday for four to six weeks, depending on how well I respond to the treatment.

I hope to track my progress regularly. On a scale from 1 – 10, with ten feeling like total misery, I have been about an 8 today. Yesterday and Monday were a 5.

My sister’s imagery of TMS is great: she pictures me with kitchen magnets all over my head.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in text

 

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Quote

It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis

I truly enjoyed writing my first book. It was a work I did for NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org – National Novel Writing Month), which explains why I hastily wrote it in two weeks and it is only a little over 50,000 words. But I had fun with it. It was a story that’s been in my head for a few years and I was never quite able to get it out. I do give my fiancee much credit for putting up with my being on the computer 24/7. The more I work on my second novel (with a goal of 100,000 words), the more I realize how much better I could have done on The Thirteenth Step. I wish I had not rushed through it and taken more care in proofreading and editing. I am my own worst critic. I was just so excited to have finally written a novel. I was so proud.

We do learn from our mistakes, which is why I am taking a lot of time on my current work and am enjoying the process. I’ve been reading books about writing books – opinions on them? – and gleaning what I can. I have always had a love for language and grammar – I studied Spanish from middle school into college (pero hace muchos años que lo estudie en el colegio – if any of my grammar is off, for you Spanish speakers, please correct me c: ). I’d love to be fluent in Spanish, or I’d at least settle for reading an entire book in Spanish.

Being done with my ramblings, I’d just like to say that I commend all you other authors of fiction, non-fiction, bloggers, poets, columnists, etc. out there who refuse to give up.

It is impossibl…

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in text, Uncategorized

 

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Aside

One experience that completely changed myself, excluding my rehab and getting sober, would be my actual drinking and pill popping. I was so ill that I didn’t realize what I was doing belonged to the habits of an ill person. Bipolar disorder aside, I really had a problem with alcohol and pain pills. In The Thirteenth Step, Hayden remembers her first drink. That was my first drink, at an off-campus party with a girl who lived down the hall. I remember that first tentative sip of beer. It didn’t take very many drinks for me to get drunk that night. Although my descent into substance abuse was not immediate, I was hooked from that very first night. I did, however, quickly turn into a weekend warrior until my drinking escalated to the point of hiding vodka bottles and downing shots after my roommates had gone to bed. I was always very secretive about my drinking. Yes, I drank when I went to bars. But many times I tried to hide my urge to drink out in public by only having one or two drinks, then binging as soon as I returned home.

My fast downward spiral was frightening, and just a few months before my admittance to a psychiatric hospital then rehab I was completely aware I had a problem. I knew I needed to stop, and although they were poor attempts, I tried. But I found myself right back at the bottom of a bottle. I liked to mix my alcohol with pain pills. The combination was my poor but effective way of dealing with my sleeplessness. I was very much self-medicating. There were too many horrible thoughts racing through my mind that I couldn’t handle.

My experiences with a drinking and pain pill problem taught me a great lesson: I now know who I never want to be again. I never want to go back to that chaotic place filled with horrible thoughts and despair. I hope no one ever has to see that side of me again.

But for the grace of God, go I.

Experiences.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Counting.

Just wanted to say… 1 month 3 weeks 6 days until I marry my best friend. Oh and 22 hours.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
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My order has arrived!

ThirteenthStepOrder10 

So I ordered ten copies of my new Publish On Demand book, The Thirteenth Step, and it arrived today! Yippee! I hope to go to a locally owned bookstore soon and offer a free copy in hopes they would be interested in selling it. I am also open to reviews (which would be much appreciated). There is a Kindle e-book download for $2.99 and a paperback copy for $10.99.

I hope you will take a few minutes and check it out : )

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in photo, text

 

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