Over the past few weeks a recurring lower back problem has reared its vicious head and . . . well, imagine if someone were to set fire to your leg, encase it in ice, and electrocute it all at the same time. It hurts. And when it continues for weeks, it becomes difficult to see beyond it. Over this time, I’ve learned that constant pain has an incredible way of focusing your thoughts and invading your sleep. Concentrating on anything becomes almost impossible – unless it’s how to make the pain stop.
But, y’know, the pain will go. Eventually it will settle down or some clever doctor will fix it for me, so it’s not all bad. I’m now taking ALL the painkillers, which give me rare moments when the pain subsides with an awesome relief that’s like floating. I’m also very lucky to have a patient and supportive family to cheer for team Dan; although I can see the concern on their faces with every one of my painful, shuffling steps. They’re keeping me strong.
The worst thing about it is that I’ve had to cancel my appearance at the Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction award today. I’m very proud to say that my novel, Big Game, has been shortlisted, and it sounds like it’s going to be such a fun event, with over 200 eager young readers voting for their favourite books and enacting short performances based on the stories. I was so desperate to go, and hung on until the last moment before cancelling. It was a very difficult decision to make but eight hours on the train would have been too much for me and I couldn’t risk making the pain worse.
I feel awful to have let them down, and I want to apologise to them all. I hope the event is a roaring success, and that all those amazing young readers have a fantastic time. Perhaps I will have the chance to meet at least some of them once I have beaten this pain into submission. And I WILL beat it into submission.
In fact, I’m off to get Lucille right now.