Dear Friends, an Update from DeAnna and a Prompt!

Hello Everyone,

I have missed the group so much and wanted to pop in and touch base as I am returning to my duties of bringing weekly content to our group’s page.

I had mentioned before having some medical issues that arouse that had me absent for a few weeks and I had thought that was the end of it. As fate would have it I learned some new vocabulary words, mostly Latin based.

The two I like the least are Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma aka pheo and para.

According to

"They are tumors that come from specific cells inside the body.

Pheo and para originate from neuroendocrine cells.

Neuroendocrine cells communicate with muscles and organs by producing different types of hormones. For example, if your body needs your heart to beat faster, your brain can send a signal to neuroendocrine cells telling them to produce a hormone called epinephrine (also called adrenaline). The epinephrine would signal to your heart that it should beat faster."

In my case it has been A LOT faster!

In one of many recent ambulance interactions responding to my out of control vitals was a call to 911 for a lift to the ER with all the bells, whistles and sirens, from the parking lot of our local Lowe’s home improvement store, because my insides thought replicating the home stretch of a triathlon would be a fun way to end our shopping trip with panache.

(I confess, I did tell management I believed it was due to sticker shock on their new line of Bar-B-Quers proudly displayed out front that was possibly to blame for my condition. Alas no coupons were proffered. It’s ok. I was only there to buy some paint anyway.)

That said I have been drowning in medical appointments and fighting with my own biology to stay on this side of the veil.

I jest as my coping mechanism but the threat to my mortality is very real and highly unpredictable at this stage.

Luckily I landed in the ER this trip, on the right Dr’s shift (he had seen this similar, seemingly random on set of symptoms before) he hit the nail on the head with his diagnosis.

I have since been lined up with the best care for my situation. As now, we know what exactly we’re dealing with.

I want to thank everyone for their understanding of my extended absence and assure you that I shall be more involved in our group again going forward.

Having our group of writers to look forward to is one of my happy thoughts. Thank you all for your participation in making this online community well worth being here for.

If anyone is curious to know more about Pheo or Para.
Here’s and easy to follow informative link.

Other than that I hope everyone has been enjoying the summits. (I could not attend but did buy my all access passes for the replays, looking forward to catching up.)

What was your favorite part of the summit?

What latest WIP has benefited from what you have learned via summit classes?

What presentations do you recommend most?

Want a writing prompt challenge?

Write from the patients POV, what it looks, feels, sounds, and smells like to have a mysterious ailment no Dr has yet been able to diagnose. Show with your descriptions that something is clearly, terribly wrong.

Please, if you would, share a bit of your writing here with us all. We’d love to read/share in your story with you!


Hey @DeAnna,

Very sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through. We’ve certainly missed you here. :gift_heart:

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Welcome back @DeAnna I am sorry to hear of your medical upheaval, but glad you have excellent people helping. A diagnosis can be most difficult, and it seems you were fortunate landing in the right ER with a knowledgeable doctor as far as that goes. Looking forward to your content again as you feel up to it.

I’m tempted to take on the prompt. I generally refrain from medical content in my fiction, my own medical problems & incurable conditions are a bit too much. However, if the mood strikes I may give it a whirl.


Kristine, I’ve not participated much because of medical issues. Glad you have a diagnosis and on your way. I’m switching health care providers hoping I get better care. Regardless of that, I’m tired of all the medical stuff and want to focus back to writing. Looking forward to participation with you.


Have fun with it if factual can hit too close to home. Perhaps make it humorous or a morphing into something else, or mystifying like boughts of invisibility, super strength, clairvoyance, another voice in their head…options are endless. Perhaps drawing upon personal experience to inform how you would write the Dr’s being baffled, complacent or brilliant in their procedures.

Just imagine having complete control over the outcome of the story and prognosis. It could be very cathartic…just a thought. Zero pressure, but would live to see your unique spin on it.

Welcome back Rhonda! Yes, let’s get to writing.

Thank you Deborah :blush: I felt a bit awkward to talk medical here, but definitely wanted to let everyone know “where’s Waldo, err…um…DeAnna”. Y’all are so amazing it’s good to be getting back to something like normal and back to writing with the group.

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Well, it’s a significant element of life for you right now. If you wanna talk about it, you go right ahead. :slight_smile:

On the prompt: I don’t know if this counts, but I recently got to write my MC with a sprained ankle in my YA fantasy project:

“Carrot brains!” Henley called after the horse, even though he was halfway home by now. Last time she’d ridden him, he’d spooked at a large pink and orange flower and almost threw her. Today, he’d made up for his failure.

When the pointe receded behind the rise, Henley brushed sand from her dress, hands, arms, and face. Hot grains filled her shoes but balancing on one foot long enough to empty them would mean more ankle pain and sitting to do it was just as bad an option.

Resigned to the extra shoe padding, she trudged toward the farm.

Hopefully Nen was home by now.

Each step twinged as she picked through patches of grass and shallow roots from long-cleared trees. By the time the smell of salt left the air, her ankle throbbed. She found a spindly tree and took the weight off her bad ankle.

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I’ve been away too, but in my case it was for work (was ‘slightly’ drowning in it), but oh my … what a post to return to @DeAnna. I am so sorry to hear about your woes, and extremely happy that you are still here with us and able to relate your tale. You definitely have the right to talk to us about it - it’s been your life recently and that’s what we do here: share!

I cannot fathom what it would be like not to get a quick and correct diagnosis, so writing on that prompt might be difficult. However, I do have a tragic tale I’m telling at present (although weirdly it’s a happy ending, despite being also a tragedy), and the question at the end is whether my protagonist dies of her condition or voluntary euthanasia (suicide). The condition itself is not important to the story, and I had thought to make it an incurable ailment (was still considering options), but perhaps I should consider a mis-diagnosis - based on your prompt? Will need to contemplate further …

But for now, I’m just happy that you are with us and look forward to your re-newed content for this forum. And, incidentally, enjoy the summit talks. I know I did. :slight_smile:

Hi DeAnna. I’m new to the group. I watched the video and looked at the resources you shared about PheoPara Disease. Thank you! I can’t imagine what you are experiencing. My thoughts are with you! I think your writing prompt is great to help us get closer (more intimate) with our characters who are facing either medical or psychological challenges. Regarding the Summit, I’m listening to the replays. So far, they are great! I’m learning so much. It’s because of the Summit that I registered for Daniel David Wallace’s, Read With Me (Not the exact title). So far I’m enjoying this experience as well! Take care.

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I don’t usually do medical stuff either, far too much of it in the family right now.

Might try the prompt when I get tired off banging head against wall of editing.

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I’m sorry your health has been tangled up in chaos and uncertainty. Getting a proper diagnosis is key. Here’s hoping and praying that your condition continues to improve! It’s good to have you back at the helm. I’ve missed your posts and prompts.

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Thank you so much Kelly. It was a really weird stretch there not be able to predict what my situation would be from hour to hour each day and not even knowing what or why so I could inform folks of “where did she go?” , “when will she be back?”

It’s good to be able to say with some certainty what’s going on and assure everyone that I cherish our group and sincerely did not just drop the ball and wander off.

Y’all are the best! I’m so happy to get back to the business of writing with you.

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I truly hope you do Robin, I can see you doing something really special with it. Whether it play off of something historical or your special brand of humorous touches.

I know the way to harsh reality of health issues hit so many of us close to home and writing on the subject can be raw and painful if the prompt follows the hard, cold, true to life facts, but I have seen the talent in this room.

I believe anyone of you could knock this prompt out of the park with some trouble shooting on the boundaries of our imaginations.

What say you?

I’m thinking mine will consists of blatten symptoms like unnatural spots and Dr’s being unable to see or acknowledge their existence as a form of not wishing to alert the public. Some serious conspiracy stuff.

I don’t know how it will end, what it will turn out to be, but I intend some very colorful character in my 15 minutes of scribbling out the prompt.

Just because as writer we can make the world’s we build whatever we want.

I hope you decide to tackle it. Only when you’re ready zero pressure. Just know I look forward to it if ever you choose to do so, my friend in paper and ink.

Welcome Mary!

It’s so wonderful to have you join us.

Thank you for your kind words.

I can hardly wait to catch up on the summit myself. Bless those replays!

Daniel’s classes our amazing. His insight to writer’s and how to get them writing is truly his super power.

I hope you take every course he has to offer. In my humble opinon it’s the best investment in your writing ever.

Oh Kathy, this is great stuff! What if…would it be interesting if your character chose Euthanasia and in autopsy found it was a misdiagnosis! Whaaat!?! Can you imagine that jolt for your character, who she’s left behind (or medical blunder/cover up/coroner shrug and sweep under the rug…???) and the reader’s catharsis to it?

Just a thought, because I have often wondered about folks choosing to die with dignity and in their own way through Euthanasia…what if their charts got mixed up…?
…but how? Maybe a tech did improper test? Maybe a simple mix up, that just keeps barely being rectified to no avail. Say in the spirit of a shakespearean tragedy. When several times the mistake couldnhave been avoided or found out and yet narrorly missed time and again for a rollercoaster effect of hope, disappointment, and frustration…?

Maybe by a loved one trying to prevent their loved one from hearing bad news that their time is short. (Like in the new Yellowstone inspired series 1883. Heart wrenching, brilliant in that vein of story telling. Or The substitute wife. I watched several years ago (based on a booked.) I adored the TV adaptation through smiles and tears. I’ve never forgotten the tale)

Whatever you decide to do…I know it will be uniquely your brand of writing magic. I adore your writing gift of unassuming tales punctuated by surprise twist the reader never saw coming.

I hope you share some with the group and I hope what ever you decide it’s rips my heart out in the telling of it.

How could it not? Brillant choice of such an intriguing and raw subject matter.

Thank you for this I was unsure what to say or if to say, but I sure wanted folks to know where I ran off too.

Thank you for helping set my mind at ease that it was not an over share.

All writing here counts. Especially so when shared.

Pure poetry here Deborah, I was transported. Thank you for sharing this!

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@DeAnna, your description intrigues me. I had similar ‘racing’ symptoms when I thought I was having a heart attack. It makes me wonder if that response is typical when facing that unknown, definately real, and totally wrong physical condition. You have my prayers, and relief that someone has properly identified what you are facing. Latin-ish problems are the worst!

I will be sketching out a scene that’s been banging around in my head for near to a year now. Your post put my character’s reaction into focus. Thanks for that.

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Ellen watched in dread as her skin motled then turned a dark brown. She gasped and began to feel strange eyes measuring her. Judging her when the chair toppled because she stood too fast. Condemning her as she butt bounced her way through the cafe. She never had trouble slipping through seated patrons before. Now fear outlined those unblinking eyes. Fear siezed her own eyes with the changing of her skin color. The last two tables blocking the door, blocking her escape, left even less room to squeeze through. One of the petite, perfect women sprawled across the floor as Ellen made her last dash. She had entered her favorite spot a successful, blonde with undeniable caucasian heritage and in a matter of mintues she was fleeing an overcrowded, hostile mob as an overweight african american wearing clothes that no longer fit.

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Bright light and a cacophony of noise. Bedsheets, a coarse paper gown, feeling the weight and the itchiness on every inch of skin. Burning, sweating. Every part of me overheating. I tried to push the blanket away.

A sharp pain in the back of my hand as the plastic tube of a saline drip almost pulled free.

Eyes struggling to focus.

A nurse in white, the sound of her shoes slapping across the vinyl floor, each step explosive like a gunshot.

I heard her breathing and scented the smell of her shampoo beneath the anti-bacterial gel on her hands; beneath that, the smell of her skin; beneath that, the telltale scent of blood that told of her cycle reaching it’s peak.

And her heartbeat.


The clinical pale blue of the room was far from soothing. The insistent beep of a machine beside the bed pierced through me.

“The patient’s awake, Doctor.”

Her voice, so loud in the small room.

Another face replaced that of the nurse. I saw every follicle of his neatly trimmed beard, a tiny scratch on the frame of his glasses, overpowered by the smell of the product in his hair, his deodorant, the traces of laundry liquid on his fresh white coat. His heartbeat, regular and strong.

Ignoring his reassuring smile, I traced the pulse in his neck, the rushing of blood through his veins like a fast flowing river.

“You’re back with us. How do you feel?”

So loud, his words assailed me.

“Burning up. Hungry.”

Another voice. My voice; low, dry, almost a growl. Not mine at all, more like some kind of animal.

“How’s the arm?”

My other arm was heavily bandaged, itching madly, the center of the burning.

I flexed my fingers, wanting to reach out, grab a hold of him, not let go.

He extended his phone in front of my face.

The picture on the screen showed a forearm - my forearm - stained yellow with medical antiseptic, three long tears in the flesh, neatly stitched.

“You had quite a nasty injury. Thirty-seven stitches. There’s more we can do, but it will leave scars. How much do you remember?”

The burning fever and a new hunger fogged my memory, offering only glimpses.
Hiking on the moor, staying out past the sunset, determined to make it to the highest of the tors when everyone else had turned back.

Only a need remained.

Needing to be out there now. Free. Away from the noise and the overpowering smells. Needing to run.

Not strong enough. Not yet.

“It looks like a dog attack. The police went up with marksmen. They didn’t find anything.”
My eyes were drawn back to him every time he breathed, twitched and fidgeted. How human, unable to keep still.

“A farmer on a quad bike scared it off. He found you way off the path. If it hadn’t been for the moonlight reflecting off your hiking jacket, he wouldn’t have seen you.”

Through the blinds at the window, the daylight faded.

One more night of the moon.

I see the glow of his body heat against the cool of the room and the equipment, the rush of his blood around his body, the double thump of his heart. And the rest of them, milling around the building, bleating like sheep. Soft. Fragile. Enticing.

I feel the burning heat in me, no longer a fever but an energy coarsing through me.

I need to run, to be free.

I need to feed.