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It may not be Key West, but this is my paradise :)


This is my Key West.


My name is Nikki A. Hancock (dash Marshall, now that I'm married I guess) and this is my blog.

I am from a small (and by small, I mean don't sneeze or you'll miss it) town (village?) in northern California cleverly named Elk Creek. This is because there is a creek that runs through the town and there are also, sometimes, Elk. I grew up impatiently waiting for the summertime, when the town came alive with visitors to our lake, my best friend Rhiannon and I could walk down the creek bed searching for buried treasures, and of course school was out. The rest of the year was irrelevant. Where I grew up, parents lectured us incessantly on the dangers of rattlesnakes and what to do to avoid being taken down by a mountain lion. We did not know what gangs, raves, or kidnappers were. Times were simple.

Fast forward to 31 years old (or is it 32?) and I live in Sacramento, California. I drive a (gasp!) foreign car, wear stilettos and designer jeans to the grocery store, and have to plan 30-45 minutes of my time to drive 8 miles to said grocery store. Times are not simple, however, the luxuries of life are more accessible and for this I am forever thankful. I am not sure I can ever again live in a place where you cannot buy a Pepsi after 9 pm.

I spent the majority of my childhood and the entirety of my adulthood unwell. Ear infections, stomach aches, broken bones, migraines, kidney stones, you name it, THIS GIRL had it. It took 22 years of needles, pokes, prods, doctors, hospitals, psychiatrists, medications, misdiagnosis, a night in a mental hospital and a partridge and a pear tree for me to finally reach a definitive diagnosis of Celiac Disease. All I have to do is not eat wheat and I will stop being sick and be okay forever? Easy! Not so much. While I am forever thankful for modern medicine identifying this tiny little protein in wheat, barley, and rye, which my body thinks is a foreign invader akin to an Afghanistan army and attempts to self destruct anytime I ingest it, avoiding this substance is not so simple. I will get into this more in future posts. A lot.

It is funny (and by funny I mean depressing) how life takes us on a much different course than we plan sometimes. I thought that by the age of 30 I would be retired, a millionaire, and a best-selling author with homes in Sacramento, England, and the Florida Keys and probably have one of those "26.2" bumper stickers, or some equally annoying badge of entitlement for some annoying super achievement on my car. Well, here I am at 31 and although I am technically "retired" from my past career as a nail tech, this is NOT because I am a millionaire but because I am by definition disabled. I have not written a best-selling novel yet, but I keep telling myself that this is just because I haven't bothered to try publishing anything I've written (it is, in fact, because I spend more time scolding my dogs and doing laundry than actually writing) and I wheeze walking up the three flights of stairs to my mother's apartment. I make my living as a freelance photographer, am married with three four-legged children, and we own a modest home in Sacramento where I write when I can, obsess over the major life achievements I have failed to actually achieve, and miserably fail at being athletic about three times a week. I have a burning desire to share my stories and my husband is pushing me to do so. With that said, here are my stories and for now, this is my Key West.

If you ever make really, really, really big cookies, I've got just the thing...

The life and times of a chronic pain sufferer.