This has been a week of ups and downs so far.

I think I’m only starting to fully appreciate the magnitude of the change this new reality has on my daily life. But the good news is that in recognizing it—and following instructions—some things are vastly improved. Twice this week I’ve been able to sleep for 7 hours in a row. I was more an 8-9 hours sort of gal so this is a not quite normal, but it’s a million times better (ok, not a million, but math isn’t my strong suit and you know what I mean) than the 2-3 hours max I was managing.

So with a reasonable amount of sleep, my head is less muddled. Yay!

Also, the medications are doing their stuff, and I feel stronger most of the time. If you own stock in Diet Coke, I’ll go ahead and apologize right here, but cutting way down on the amount of liquids I consume has made a huge difference in my ability to breathe comfortably. I’ve been very up and down emotionally, but I think that’s just part of the process.

I’ve finalized all the arrangements for the heart catheterization at BWH next week. I’m scared about the test both because it’s an invasive (surgical) procedure, and also because I’ve grown accustomed to test results bringing bad news. But Dr. Desai says it’s quite important to deciding next steps, and so have it, I shall.

If you’re curious about the gory details, there’s a video of the procedure here that has only a little bit of blood. I’m really hoping they can do it through the wrist rather than the groin (which will depend on my veins), because the recovery is much easier that way.

My fear wasn’t the only reason I was hesitant to schedule this test. The other was the cost; it will come with a bill for circa $15,000. My heart might not be pumping blood effectively, but it’s certainly spending money like nobody’s business. So I was, am, and will remain completely overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of amazing people. Of my tribe. Of the family that has chosen and welcomed me, and from whom I draw more strength than I ever thought possible.

Clair, Judy, and Jaime, who are as much sisters to me as anyone could ever be, set up a fundraiser for me here. I was worried because I don’t ever want my genetics to impose on the lives of people I adore, and I was afraid this would. But I also trust my sisters, and this help will make more of a difference than I can even express. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say “thank you” enough, but I can promise you this:

I will fight this. I’ll do everything the docs tell me to, even the stuff I don’t wanna do. And with every beat of my heart, I will do my very best to put something positive out into the world. To be worthy of your encouragement and love.

And I want to leave you with some good news.

This Saturday the annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading is happening. I’m still sad that I had to miss Bouchercon, but this will go a ways to making up for it because I’ll get to interview the incomparable Lisa Unger, see her interview Judy Blume (!!), see Reed Farrel Coleman and Ace Atkins in conversation, and see Michael Lister, Michael Koryta, Lori Roy, James Swain, Jean Heller, and others. Colette Bancroft does an incredible job with this event every year, and it is something truly special that I’m honored to be part of. If you’re in the area, I do hope you’ll stop by!

Thank you for reading.