And now I’m fifty-five. Life, health, and…yes, Destiny

DestinyI’m back from two weeks of enforced R&R, recovering from another surgery on my tongue, and then waiting for biopsy results.

I’ll tell you exactly what my doc told me. There was bad news, and there was really good news.

The bad news was there was a large area of severe dysplasia at the back of my tongue.

The good news is, he was aggressive with the removals, and he got it all. Both pieces of the biopsy came back with clear margins.

“You’re not out of the woods,” he told me. “A single missed cell could bring this back.”

But for right now, I’m good. And I had a very good 55th birthday (in spite of having to wait until the day after for the biopsy results).

My guys got me an Xbox One and gave it to me early, when we discovered that the biopsy was delayed, and I was going have to wait until Friday (instead of Tuesday) to get the results.

They also got me the full version of Destiny with all the expansions—which I’d already been playing on the PS4, and which I’d started on my old 360 when it first came out, only to abandon it very early because everyone I knew was either on the PS4 or the One.

Yep. I play Destiny.

My hunter, titan, and warlock on the PS4 are all three at level 40 with light of 290+. I’m on a fire team of three, so I haven’t yet done the Vault of Glass or any other six-person raids. But I’ve done all the other PvE, and I occasionally head into the Crucible, where I’m getting better, though I’m still a liability to anyone whose team I’m on. My K/D is generally in the .5 area right now, up from a breathtakingly awful .05 when I started a couple months ago.

(I was really, really late to the Crucible, and wouldn’t even have tried it if I hadn’t seen some Iron Banner armor on another player, and decided I wanted to earn that. I still don’t have it. ๐Ÿ˜€ )

I had characters on the Xbox that I’d started when the game first came out, and though I hadn’t looked at them in almost a year, I was pretty sure I had three, and that they were all fairly high levels.

So I ported them over—and was astonished to discover that one was barely a 26 and the other was a 10. And I had a completely empty third space.

I’ve fixed that.

At the end of my mandatory time off, I now have a 33 hunter, a 30 titan, and a 27 warlock.

So…I did very little BESIDES sleep and play Destiny while I was recovering. It kept me focused, kept my mind off the pain, kept my mind off the pending biopsy results, let me kill evil aliens with headshots and firefly (precision bounties are my absolute favorite in the game), and allowed me to have fun.

Fun is a new concept the Bungie team is experimenting with in The Taken King update

For a game development team previously focused on creating a Skinner-style rat maze designed to create addiction by the occasional removal of painful stimuli and the doling out of unreliable rewards, (the reason I quit playing the game entirely for about half its existence), the almost certain firing of the evil Skinner influence, and replacement with a real story, fun missions, well-developed character upgrade paths, FLAMING HAMMERS AND VOID-SHOOTING BOWS (oh, true love there, let me tell you) has been glorious.

Seeing purple engrams drop regularly, NEVER having a purple engram turn into shards, getting to field-test weapons for the gunsmith, and the sheer volume of new and wonderful stuff in The Taken King has brought me back.

And I gotta tell you, getting to bring in a new character, start her from the absolute beginning, and see how beautifully integrated and FUN the experience of leveling up a new character has become makes it possible for me to recommend this game to…

…Okay. I was going to say everyone, but really, I can’t.

If you’re fifty-five and female, and not like me, (in other words, you don’t like shooting things or blowing things up) you’re not going to like Destiny very much.

But if you are intrigued by the idea of weapon mechanics so brilliantly done that you can tell with your eyes closed which weapon you’re holding as it’s firing; and if you would love to insert yourself into a solar system where you are all that stands between everything and everyone you love and their annihilation at the hands of a slew of evil aliens; and if you adore the game mechanics of leveling, collection, points, feedback, exchanges, customization, awesome stats (including the Floating Numbers of Kick-Ass Real-Time Damage (oh, yeah!), in really hard missions with mostly pretty great rewards,

Destiny: The Taken King

is gonna knock your socks off.

Finally, three notes for (some) male players

  • Don’t hump my leg in the tower, then invite me to your fire team.
  • I have a female username and play female characters. This does not mean it’s okay to kill me with your sparrow when we’re doing a strike. I’m working on my bounties, just like you.
  • It’s a good idea to remember, before hitting on the cute hunter in the God of War shader, that not only do attractive young women play female characters. Guys do, too. And…ahem…55-year-old writers who happen to be grandmothers. I’m talking to you, titan who wouldn’t get off my leg.

And one note for some spectacular male players

  • If you’re one of the many guys I didn’t know who revived me while we were wiping out Taken Ultras all across Venus, Earth, and Mars—THANK YOU. You kick ass, and I hope that if there was an opportunity, I returned the favor. I do my best.
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94 responses to “And now I’m fifty-five. Life, health, and…yes, Destiny”

  1. Christine J Randall Avatar
    Christine J Randall

    Happy belated birthday, Holly. Take care.

  2. Paula Avatar

    Happy birthday! Glad to hear you’re feeling better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Katrina Avatar

    I am so glad to hear that the surgery went well and that you’re doing okay. Your surgeon sounds like a warrior.

    1. Holly Avatar

      My surgeon is superb. Dr. Eric Fox—I highly recommend him.

      Of course, he did tell me that if we have to do this again, I’m going to have to have anesthesia and be in a hospital, and its going to make the previous pain feel like a walk in the park by comparison.

      So I’m really hoping we never have to do this again.

  4. Rose Gardener Avatar
    Rose Gardener

    Holly, I’m delighted to hear the surgery is over and tissue margins were clear. Happy 55th birthday! I’ll admit most of the rest of your post went right over my head, but I did gather something about ‘fun’ and ‘pain’ and speaking as one who lives with chronic pain most of the time I can say you’re onto something. The two concepts don’t seem to marry well, yet if you CAN push yourself into a mindset of fun and games, beyond mere relaxation states, the pain miraculously reduces. I’m trying hard to convince people of this fact, but maybe you can get the message across through your fiction and how a character approaches wounds or something. Just a thought. Keep thriving! Best wishes.

  5. habisha Avatar

    Happy birthday, and I hope you keep feeling much better soon. Hope the news on the biopsy is all good. Fun is always a good thing. I can completely understand being sidelined, as I have pneumonia and require way too much down time. Maybe I will have to try Destiny.


  6. Henriette Heeren Avatar
    Henriette Heeren

    Holly, many, even happier, returns!

  7. Dwaun Avatar

    Welcome back, good health is always good. I’d probably get a game console soon to check that game out, it will help me to get more inspired for an idea in my writing, not be distracted, but be inspired.

  8. Amy Keeley Avatar

    I’m really glad to hear the surgery went well and that you were able to have some fun in the process. I hope all the projects you listed in your email go as smoothly as possible.

  9. Marie Avatar

    Congrats on the results, hope it stays that way.

    Yeah a video game, especially a multiplayer one is a greta distraction when health issues loom. Them the social gets to be a distraction from RL. Watch out for that. But smack those villains!

  10. Adam Avatar

    Welcome back Holly! I am so grateful to Heavenly Father that you are doing better. I’m also glad you have a constructive if violent means to relieving a bit of the pain. :-). May God bless you forever.

  11. Murrday Avatar

    Clear margins are such a relief! May that continue!

  12. Paula Avatar

    So glad to hear you’re doing well, and that you enjoyed your time off! Destiny sounds like a lot of fun. If only I had a console and the time ๐Ÿ˜› Happy to have you back, Holly.

  13. Karen O Avatar
    Karen O

    Wow, so glad you are doing better. I had a similar thing with a pre melanoma by my ear, had 2 surgeries to get clean edges. But I am 18 years out and still ok. Happy 55 and enjoy the new Xbox, I don’t play. I used to play vicariously through my son. We completed many a campaign together, him driving and me looking over his shoulder.

  14. Marya Miller Avatar

    SO relieved to hear from you! And so glad the biopsy results were clean and that you had a great birthday.

    While I don’t see myself ever playing Destiny, I know what it’s like to get lost in a game, having once spent three weeks battling the Curse of Monkey Island (more my speed: Plus the glass-bottomed boat and the inane pirate curses were a hoot.)

    Really looking forward to the new site going live (and the shop being active again).


  15. Kristi Simpson Avatar

    I understand the playing games while being forced to recuperate! I’ve been playing Diablo 3 while going through the junk I’m dealing with. It’s perfect for me because I can pause anytime I want and I can walk away whenever. I would rather play World of Warcraft but it’s too easy to get sucked in for hours at a time. I’m glad you’re doing better and I hope you don’t have to go through this stuff again!

  16. Eva Avatar

    Happy birthday! And glad to have you back! ๐Ÿ˜€ You sound full of energy – I hope that is true and holds through the harrowing time of the move!

  17. Carole McKee Avatar

    Sorry to hear about the surgery, but very happy about the good news part. Hope you have a fast recovery.

    I’m not a gamer, but since you are, enjoy!

  18. Bob Cohn Avatar
    Bob Cohn


    So sorry to hear about your surgery. Holding my thumbs for even better news. Happy Belated Birthday.

  19. Bob Fox Avatar

    Dear Holly,
    It’s great to hear your good news and the joy you have in the Xbox game. Joy helps heal us all. May the Lord Who made your tongue and loves you more than any fiction writer could ever imagine, heal you quickly and in ways that let you know it was Him! He is our real destiny and being on His team is the biggest adventure in the universe! Thanks for all your help in my writing adventures.

  20. Karen Giuseppe Avatar
    Karen Giuseppe

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better and for the good news on the biopsy results. Happy belated birthday!

  21. Lana Summers Avatar

    Glad that your biopsy results went well. You know how good surgeons are at what they do, and they were honest with you on what you knew re cells. Have fun and keep being you. We love you dear ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Victoria Evangelina Avatar
    Victoria Evangelina

    Dear Holly, happy birthday! May your long happy life be blessed with strong health, abundance, love, joy!!! And many good friends and students of your school. I am happy to hear you are well now, and am so sorry about the second surgery. May you stay healthy ever since!!!

    Many hugs,
    Victoria and Lewis (UAE)

  23. Mike C. Baker Avatar

    Excellent news on the biopsy results.

    On-line games of one form or another have kept me (relatively) sane and functional at one time or another over my 57 years. Really should make some time for a MoltenWoW session myself, soon (Horde or Alliance, I hunt!)

  24. Suzan Harden Avatar

    Clear margins is incredible news! And blowing things up always make me feel better, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. LL Daugherty Avatar
    LL Daugherty

    I quit Destiny for the very same reason – too much slog, not enough fun. Your review makes me want to D/L The Taken King and get back into the game.

    Also, as an FYI to your web developer, in Chrome, the gray box below covers the ‘Post Comment’ button. Had to post this comment from IE *shudders*.

  26. Kim Avatar

    Holly! So good to have you back and so glad to hear that everything (biopsy results, site, gaming) is going well. From one female gamer to another, that game sounds *awesome*. Might have to check that out post-exams… ๐Ÿ˜›
    Will write at more length once the exams are over but you asked for comments, so, short term, here you go. You rock! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Linda Avatar

    I’m glad you are improving – not just your game, that is. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As someone who has chronic pain, I totally get how immersing oneself in a game is a good distractor – and a useful pain management tool. (Though my usual go-to games are Minecraft and Age of Mythology, on the computer.)

    My your margins always be clear!

  28. TimothyH Avatar

    Holly, glad to hear you’re in recovery mode with a good doctor’s report.

    Oh, and good luck with that Iron Banner armor! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Dani Avatar

    I am really glad you had good news on the biopsy results.
    I don’t play video games (and not so much because I wouldn’t like to blow up things but just because I suck at it every time I try), so that part of the post went right over my head but glad you’re having some fun and sound like you are feeling a little more like yourself again. I sincerely hoop the good news will keep on coming for you.

  30. Kyralae Avatar

    Holly, you are a woman after my own heart. I discovered gaming after I retired and love it. I’m a PC MMO player and love the challenges and accomplishments. Interesting stats coming out of the gaming conferences – women are starting to outrun the men in numbers as well as competitive spirit.

  31. NIna Avatar

    okay, i don’t play video games at all, and the majority of what you were taking about went right over my head…except the part about someone humping your character’s leg while you were playing. that was hilarious!

    seriously, i wish you all the best with your health. just reading how much you have on your plate really put things in perspective for me when it comes to working toward your goals. just do something everyday that’ll get you closer to fulfilling your dream(s) while still taking time out for yourself. i like that.

    get well soon, Holly. i’ll keep you in my thoughts and send you “healing” vibes.

  32. James, F.E. Avatar
    James, F.E.

    Glad the biopsy came back clear. Hope you are recovering nicely. I trust getting to kick-ass in some awesome video games helps alleviate the boredom usually involved in recovery. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Rez Avatar

    Heh heh, you’d be amazed how many of us in the DOOM community are retirement age ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. Anna Avatar

    Holly, so glad the biopsy results are favorable. Happy Birthday! Your “Write with joy” is a continual inspiration.

  35. Avatar

    hi holly,
    I’m delighted to hear your good news. I’m working away on htryn and thoroughly enjoying it – I didn’t think it could be so much fun fixing something (put it this way it really couldn’t be worse)
    Holly I love what you do you really are an isspiration
    take care, be gentle with yourself Enjoy destiny

  36. Sallie Avatar

    Speaking as the ex-wife of an Army Sniper turned Gunsmith…I love shooting guns and blowing sh*t up. That said, I despise video games like Destiny because they’re such brain-numbing time-suckers(to me). LOL!

    But I’m very happy to hear you’re on the mend and feeling happy and that you had something to do during R&R that you absolutely love! That’s always good for the healing process, so keep it up! (And maybe you should blow up the leg-humping Titan the next time you see him…)

  37. John M Avatar
    John M

    Ah, yes. Nothing like a FPS to let go of a stress. I remember many a day when the only thing that prevented me from mass murder of my group was I’d have to hire lawyers, when I’d put Quake into God Mode and just splatter everything in sight (on site) for a couple of hours. Amazing how pseudo-“spree killing” can lower your stress. And people think video games are bad…. Anyway, glad to hear about your surgery. May this be the last you hear about bad health for a while. Keep well

  38. kat pitterman Avatar
    kat pitterman

    Dear Holly,

    I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling better. This is my first time writing back to you, but I have been subscribed for awhile now. I wanted to tell you thank you for all your hard work and help. You inspire me to keep going forward and I admire you very much.

    I have been on disability for about five and a half years now, and am working on changing that. I do have stories burning inside of me, and your tools are helping me pull them out. They will be part of my financial independence, and I will be sure to let you know when the first one rolls out in publishable form.

    Please keep the good stuff coming. I know I am not the only person you have had a positive influence on, and like you, I do believe that we need to send good energy out to counteract the negative. Take care, and I will be eagerly waiting for your next email.


  39. Amy Avatar

    The news of clear margins is awesome. The news that you’re feeling more like yourself is spectacular!

    Unfortunately, I don’t play many video games. Largely because we don’t own a system. Largely because I would fall into the unavoidable time-suck and wouldn’t get anything else done ever. But Destiny looks super cool – I’m glad it’s been a happy distraction for you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  40. Jennifer LewisWilliams Avatar

    Haappy belated B-day! Glad to hear your health is good and that you have much fun with your new X-box! I’m so impressed because I just can’t get the hang of “quest or kill games,” as I call them. LOLOL

  41. BJ Avatar

    Holly, Happy Birthday!!! Don’t count them, you just celebrate them..LOL!!!

    I am very pleased to hear that the biopsy results are just what you wished that they would be. Great news there.

    I was not much for console games (Xbox, PS2,3,4, Nintendo, etc…) I much prefer the computer versions myself. Unfortunately, those are disappearing as more game publishers are doing only console games now.

    When you get ready for testing again, drop me a line and we can set up a date and time for that.


  42. Claudette Avatar

    I’m happy for you, Holly, for your biopsy results and your ne-found joy in Destiny. I will tell you that I can envy you that ability to game. I’ve tried for many years to be able to do it. Beyond-poor vision just won’t allow it for me and I tend to feel left out of that world. Okay, self-pity over. Play your heart out, girl. Create those new plots on the battefield and cling to victory. ๐Ÿ˜€

  43. Melissa Corbett Avatar

    Glad to hear that you’re feeling better.

  44. Nanette Avatar

    Great news on the biopsy! I hope you have continued good news regarding your health. Happy birthday and happy gaming!

  45. Ellen Avatar

    Welcome back. And congratulations on the good health news. Sounds like a good doctor. I just turned 55 last week myself and am getting involved in ways to put all that great experience to work.

  46. Ceri Avatar

    Hi Holly, so pleased that your biopsy results are good. Keep strong, keep smiling, sending big hugs and lots of positive energy x

  47. Sharon Steiner Avatar
    Sharon Steiner

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and got a good biopsy report!

  48. Petra Avatar

    Awesome post ๐Ÿ™‚ and all the best for you!!!
    Happy belated birthday!

  49. jamey creager Avatar
    jamey creager

    just want you to be okay. bad health is not fun. I will be praying for you.

  50. JF Jenkins Avatar
    JF Jenkins

    I LOVE Destiny! I have a PS4 and XBoxOne version of it and it doesn’t get old at all. Hubby and I both have our campaigns and compete with one another.

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