Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Big Fat New Years Eve Blog - Goodbye 2009!

Every year on NYE, I analyze myself and the annual goals that I set at the beginning of the year. I'm almost afraid to look, but here we go...

Goals for 2009

1. Continue my education, either in college or with Bob Ross, Inc. DONE!!! 3.87 GPA in college, and hope to continue next year!

2. Find stable employment and reduce debt as much as possible. OH LORD...NOT EVEN CLOSE! My relapse of Periodic Paralysis has prevented me from working.

3. Go to church regularly and/or schedule a weekly Bible study. FAILED MISERABLY AT THIS!

4. Utilize my time more wisely by developing routines and following a schedule. DID PRETTY WELL BUT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT!

5. Have a piece of art in a show or fair. DONE!!! YAY!

6. Try at least a dozen new recipes. NOT SURE ABOUT A DOZEN, BUT I DID DO SEVERAL...I SHOULD HAVE KEPT A TALLY!


As suggested by my friend Marilyn last year (thanks M), here are a few things that I accomplished this year:

1. Taught DOUBLE the Bob Ross workshops this year than I did last year!

2. Joined and was appointed Secretary of Art With Heart Mississippi. What a blessing it has been!

3. Prepared and publicly displayed several works of art! I have five paintings in a local gallery right now...never thought I'd see that in a MILLION years!

4. Completed a semester of college and somehow (read: merciful teachers) made all A's!

5. On that same note, I started learning how to draw...something that has been on my bucket list for a while. Very emotional thing for me and I don't take it for granted.


And now...my goals for 2010!!!

The Mainstays (aka the stuff that's ongoing and on my list every year):

Maintain a healthy weight and keep blood panel numbers at an acceptable level by living a healthy lifestyle.

Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries.

Read more, write more, and learn more.

Be a good friend and relative.

The New Goals:

1. Continue college education

2. Return to Florida for Bob Ross training (either Florals cert or Landscape/Seascape audit)

3. Become more organized in every aspect of my life

4. Find a way to pay off some medical bills

5. Put a significant dent in one or more manuscripts

6. Knock out at least one item on my 2010 Bucket List



Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!!! What are your goals for 2010? Let me hear from ya! There may be a little prize given to a random commenter. Ready.........GO! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You know you're gettin' old when... (PART DEUX)

...you use your Christmas money to buy this...




...and these...




...and you injure yourself while taking a nap.


(EDIT NOTE: Photo removed because of all the CREEPS downloading it! Really, Earthlings?)

Who knew you could sprain a neck just by sleeping on it? Seriously?

Actually, this is the perfect example of what I deal with on a regular basis. Pulling and tearing muscle and cartilage by doing nothing more than turning over in bed. I'm single for a reason, peeps. (Ok that's certainly not the ONLY reason...but it is a reason nonetheless). :)

I woke up with a huge crick in my neck yesterday that got progressively worse instead of better. This morning, I started blacking out and throwing up. My uncle had to deal with me, bless his heart, and I appreciated his help in getting me to the E.R. and getting my meds filled. Two shots, three prescriptions, and a neck brace later, I'm home on bedrest till my neck heals. Or until Monday, of course, when I have surgery. Then I'll be on a different kind of bedrest.


I CAN HAVE BODY TRANSPLANT NOW?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recap and Catch Up!

That's what I'm trying to do right now! I'm behind on blogs, but hope to get caught up on everything tonight! If you're following me, you'll hear from me very soon!

Anyway, another Christmas has come and gone. Was nice to see some of the family, although we didn't see everyone due to schedules, weather, etc. Glad I got to hang with my parents and siblings for a little while, though, and I received some neat gifts...


Awesome Henna kit that has a henna tube, transfers, and a booklet with the history and everything. Love it!



My sister and brother in law raise reptiles. This abstract painting was done by tortoises! HA!



Please tell me I'm not the only nerd out there who loves travel stuff! All of this will come in handy when I return to Florida for more Bob Ross training!



From me, to me...a Skinny Dip Candle! It melts into an oil that you can use as a lotion, massage oil, whatever. I've been putting it on my hands and elbows. Yes, that is a Bob Ross book underneath...sorry! Ha!

Got some other cool stuff too, and money which always helps. I bought myself a neuromuscular stimulator and some pH test strips (more on those later), and I'll use the rest of the money to replace my IDs this week...my purse was stolen recently, and I lost a lot of important stuff. Bummer.

My pretzels were enjoyed by the family. I ate way too much. And now the new year is upon us. I'll blog again this week with what I've been up to for the past couple days, and what my plans are in the coming week.


This Christmas recap has been brought to you by the letter...


And since I just made a Sesame Street reference, you HAVE to see this vid that my friend posted on Facebook today...absolutely hilarious!!!




Talk to ya soon!

Kelli

Friday, December 25, 2009

A very Merry Christmas to my readers!



Despite flooded road and yard...




With high tide and an insane thunderstorm making it worse...




And a scaredy-dog who HATES thunderstorms...(yes of course we let her inside) :)




Some of the family was able to make the trip via SUV through the rough, wet terrain to the Sandy Bay in Bayou La Batre, Alabama for Christmas Eve festivities.




Now somebody get over here and help me eat these things!!! :)

Hope your Christmas is happy and blessed!

Love,
Kelli

Saturday, December 19, 2009

School's out...I survived...what's next?

Well, I made it through my first full semester of college at MGCCC. It wasn't easy...in fact it was very hard. God, it was so hard. But I did my best, and with the patience and understanding of my merciful teachers, I finished with all A's and a 3.87 GPA.

Music Appreciation and Art For Elementary School had a few issues, but thankfully they were worked out by the end of the term. Sometimes, I thought Drawing and Design were going to kill me. Physically speaking, I had a terrible time and I can't help but think about how much better I could have been in those classes if I hadn't been so sick and miserable. Maybe no better at all, but I wonder. It has been a very emotional experience for me, and I knew it would be. Learning to draw (and paint) has been on my bucket list for years...a childhood dream. I've been saying since Kindergarten that I wanted to be an artist, but I never thought in a million years that it would happen because I've always been so, so bad at it. Since becoming a Bob Ross instructor, then joining Art With Heart, I have felt crippled in a sense because I couldn't draw and didn't even have the knowledge to know how to learn. I'm still a newborn where this is concerned, but I am amazed by how much I've learned already. It brings me to tears...I can't help it. This experience has been very difficult for me health-wise but I don't regret it. It has meant a great deal to me. More than I can say.

I feel very disheartened, however, because I don't believe for a second that I'll be able to do this again. I am supposed to have the same schedule next semester, but right now that seems impossible. I was already sick every single day in class, in some way or another, and by the end of the semester I was having to lay down in my car at times because I was so weak and exhausted. It was (and is) a constant fight to sit up and act like nothing's wrong, and it's getting harder as time goes on. I've gone into "crash" mode again, and this time, I can't seem to find a way out. I can't stand the thought of being sick at school every day for four more months, and then four more months after that, and after that, and so on. But I also can't stand the thought of dropping my studio classes when that is the primary reason why I'm there. It would kill me to have do that since I have such a wonderful teacher (how many more times am I gonna say that before people finally say "Ok Kelli, we GET IT. He's WONDERFUL. Now SHUT UP.") Ha...ok, yeah. Moving on... :)

Anyway, I don't want to drop the classes. It would tear my heart out. Right now I've registered for the spring semester with 16 hours (yikes)...10 of those being online, the other 6 being Drawing and Design 2. Seems impossible, but I guess I'm gonna give it a shot. One of my classmates blessed me so much on the last day of school. He gave me a hug and said that he was praying for me, and that he hoped to see me in class next semester. He said he could see that I was very tired, but to not give up because it would be worth it in the end. He has no idea how much I needed to hear that. I cried all the way home, and most of the day as well. Amazing how kind words can give us enough strength to keep going.

Enough of my rambling. My point is that I'm grateful. Even though I'm struggling horribly and I don't know what my college future holds, I don't take a minute for granted. This rivals my time in Florida almost two years ago, and is definitely on my list of experiences that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. I'm just scared that I won't be able to continue, that's all. I have so many emotions right now, it's overwhelming. Blah. I'm such a sap. :)

So now, a short hiatus. Christmas is here (already...crazy), 2010 is around the corner, surgery the first week of January, then the insanity begins again. Full time college and part time teaching. Please pray for me if you will. I can't do this...ANY of this...without God's hand. Many days I feel like I am going to collapse (literally and figuratively), but somehow I make it through. It's only by His mercy and strength. Of that, I am sure.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

You know you're gettin' old when... (TMI warning)

...your surgeon is younger than you!!! O_o

Yep, he's a BABY! In training...a nice guy and I will be his guinea pig very soon. The biopsy was not successful (WHY DID THEY REFUSE TO TELL ME THAT OVER THE PHONE THREE WEEKS AGO?!?!?!?!?!?) so they are going to do it again during surgery via D&C. I will have three procedures total.

1. Remove all polyps (small tumors) from my endometrium; 2. D&C (remove the lining, send to Pathology for biopsy); 3. Endometrial ablation (destroys the inside of the uterus...hopefully for good).

It's not guaranteed to work, but they claim to have a great deal of success and all three docs I've discussed it with said that this is a much better and safer route than a hysterectomy, especially since I am high risk. They all said with no hesitation that this is the best choice for me at this point and time.

So it's a done deal. Three procedures in one, but considered minor. The risks are still there of course but I was so happy to hear that I would not have a laproscopy, which means no staples!!! That has always been the worst part of lapro/arthro surgery for me, believe it or not. They expect me to recover quickly and be back in full swing within a week or so.

This is something that they can usually schedule quickly, but they are so backed up with surgeries right now that they can't get me in until January. Thankfully, they were able to schedule it so that I'll only miss the first week of school (assuming there are no complications). So despite the terrible pain, I'm relieved that I'm not gonna miss finals this semester.

Family/Local Friends: I will need someone to drive me there and home (of course), and someone to sit with me for about a day. They think I'll be up and around on my own in 24 to 48 hours. Would greatly appreciate a volunteer to put up with me during this time. :) Also, please note that my mother does not know and is not to be told. She will hear about it when I see fit. Thank you for your cooperation.

And I am so thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers. I love you peeps!

Kelli

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ending NaBloPoMo



I just don't have it in me to complete NaBlo...I'm sick...I'm tired. I'm sick and tired. When I'm not in school, I'm in bed or doing homework. I honestly can't handle anything else right now. I'm having to give up some very important things...much more important than a blog contest. My heart is broken right now.

Life can be tough sometimes. This is one of those times.

God will bring me through it, as He always does.

Praying and waiting. That's all I know to do.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life With Periodic Paralysis

People have asked what is wrong with me, so I decided to commit a few blog entries to the list of conditions that make up my life with systemic disease. Systemic disease is actually a group of diseases, each affecting different systems of the body and eventually resulting in organ failure. Common systemic diseases are Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and Juvenile Diabetes. There are so many conditions out there, it will make your head spin. Just Muscular Dystrophy alone has approximately 40 types. If that's not overwhelming, I don't know what is.

One of my primary conditions (and most prominent at the present time) is a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Periodic Paralysis. It is a channelopathy, meaning that vital substances (in my case, electrolytes) transfer inconsistently in and out of muscle cells. I have the Hypokalemic form of the disease. Sadly, it has never once been understood by any doctor that I've seen. All mistake it to be Hypokalemia, which is a true lack of potassium in the blood. What I have is not a true lack. The potassium is there (in other words, my bloodwork is normal), but it's not in the right place. Therefore, my muscles do not have the correct electrical charge necessary to function properly. It's like trying to force two of the same magnets together...they don't come together, they rebel. As do my muscles when they are trying to function without the necessary balance of electrolytes. They rebel, and sometimes depolarize, which is crippling and can be fatal. It is also excruciating. Imagine a charlie horse in the entire body, and that is how I feel when I am in the midst of an attack of Periodic Paralysis. I've been in a chronic relapse of Periodic Paralysis since September of 08, with acute attacks happening regularly. It has been a significant nosedive and I appear to be continuing to decline. There are a ridiculous amount of triggers of HKPP's acute attacks, including weather conditions, stress, heat, cold, eating, not eating, physical activity, standing or sitting still...the list goes on. The trigger this week appears to revolve around eating. I can go for a few hours without eating and have an attack, or I can eat regularly and have an attack. It's one big catch-22. I never know what to do and never know what's going to happen when I do it. It is a painful, frustrating, never-ending roller coaster.

Due to my decline over the years, I have chronic muscle atrophy and I have become very breakable. All I have to do is move wrong, sit wrong, lay wrong, breathe wrong...it takes nothing for muscle and cartilage to pull and tear. It is agonizing, and injuries as far back as the early 2000s cause me great pain to this day. I hurt from head to toe 24/7/365. I never escape it, even in my sleep.

HKPP greatly affects the smooth muscles, which includes the lungs and heart. I don't breathe normally and I have heart problems (currently in Hypertension and Tachycardia, in fact...trying to get it under control). It is absolutely, positively EXHAUSTING. I can't even put into words how exhausting it is to live like this day after day. Physically and otherwise. It is disheartening, and I'm tired. I am so, so very tired. I'd give anything to be "normal". (Critics, you might as well not even bother preaching to me about that last sentence. I refuse to sugar coat this...I'm keeping it real. Deal with it or move on.)

All I can do is be honest and speak from my heart. At this moment, I am just so freaking tired. Nevertheless, I am blessed. I wish things could be better, but I am grateful that it's not worse. Because I know it could be. I will never, ever forget that. I don't take God's mercy for granted.

I'll write about my other conditions soon. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Soup Season!



I am a soup fanatic, especially when it's cold outside. I've stocked up on some of my favorite canned soups, but I also love to make my own. Here's my recipe for EASY black bean soup!

One large can Bush's Black Beans
One large can chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion
One tablespoon minced garlic
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste

Throw it all in a pot and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Easier than pie, and it's so yummy! Enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

One For One

When you buy one pair of shoes from TOMS...



...they put a pair of shoes on a child in need.



I went through the McDonald's drive-through today and wasted seven dollars and change on junk that I didn't need. It's so easy to spend money on things we don't need, isn't it?

So I decided that I wanted to do something with the money that I received this week for teaching...something other than spend it on more junk at McDonald's. I thought about getting something that I could use. I own three pair of shoes (including those god-awful crocs...ha!), and thought that I could use a pair of casual flats...something that I could wear to church or something. I imagine folks would appreciate not having to see my uglier-than-sin crocs every time I enter the room. So, I went to TOMS and ordered the above pair. $44 + tax + shipping = 50-something bucks. That's the most I've ever spent on shoes in my entire life...




...and it was worth every penny.



I never thought shoes could make me cry like a baby...



...so much for that. :)


Go to TOMS.com. Join their mission. Make a difference.


To embrace life is to truly live
Never taking more than what you give ~Me © 2008

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Bucket List

I've had a bucket list for years, well before the movie came out. Back then, it was called the Life List. Of course me and everyone else who had one has changed it to the Bucket List since then. Loved the movie...if you haven't seen it, you really should.

So here it is...my 2009 bucket list:

Get back down to my ideal weight, and STAY THERE.

Obtain at least two of my three planned certifications/degrees. (I actually HAVE obtained two…working on the third now!)

Become a published author.

Be financially independent someday.

Collect postcards from all over the world.

Travel to as many places as my health and finances will allow.

Number 7 will require me to get on an airplane, so flying has to be on my list too. (which will require someone to fly with me and hold my hand, no doubt) :-)

Create a fabulous portfolio of photographs, and not let a hurricane destroy them. (Darn you, Katrina)

Learn to draw.

Qualify to be a foster or adoptive mom.

Continue and increase my charity and volunteer work.

Tour the Food Network Studios in New York.

Go to Disney World and Universal Studios.

Go to Mall of America in Minnesota.

Invest in Real Estate (or an RV…it’s a coin toss at this point).

Learn to sew with a sewing machine, and make pillows and blankets for charity.

Go to a spa, and let them pamper me like I've never been pampered before.

Have a booth at an Arts & Crafts Festival. (WOW…I can cross this one off my list!)

Learn how to DJ and do at least one show.

Learn to play a musical instrument.

Re-learn French.

Visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

See real snow, and play in it.

Ride on the back of a Harley Davidson (just a couple times around the block would be sufficient, thank you) :-)

Kidnap my brother Layton and attend an Alabama Crimson Tide game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.



(EDIT NOTE: Bucket list is updated annually. You can now find my current bucket list on Pinterest. I update it regularly. "Travel" and "people I want to meet" bucket lists are separate. I'll share those lists eventually.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bob Ross Charity Workshops





(Click on Abby's photo to visit her website)


Although sick and broke (in more ways than one), I try to do as much charity work as I can. It gives me a reason to get out of bed. I wanted to do something big that I had never done before, so I decided to go out with a bang this year and have my last two Bob Ross workshops in 2009 to benefit charity. I held one workshop at Hobby Lobby in Biloxi, MS and the other today at Hobby Lobby in Mobile, AL. Great fun, and a total of $465.00 was raised for cancer research! YEAH!!!

Thanks to all of my wonderful students for helping make this happen! I couldn't do it without you! You rock!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

We all scream for...



ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's YOUR favorite flavor? :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when you have a tropical storm in NOVEMBER!

Are you kiddin' me???

I went to the point of Pascagoula yesterday to take a pic or two. I got out of my car with umbrella in hand...



...and it IMMEDIATELY did THIS. Haaaaaaa! Shoulda known.

So I gave up and decided to get rained on. No biggie, it was only sprinkling at the time and the gulf was a little rough but didn't look too bad. I went out too early, really.

Thankfully, Ida was kinda a pansy. Strong wind gusts (still present 36 hours later) but not much flooding or damage to the area. The school studio got a little water, surprisingly, but all is well.

Now someone please inform Mama NaNa that it is indeed NOVEMBER and we dun want none 'o dis mess anymore. Mmmmk thanks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ryan




No little boy should lose his father.

Ryan was a single dad, raising his son Skyler since birth. He worked his butt off as a laborer, sometimes seven days a week, so Skyler wouldn't go without. He would come home after a long shift, and find his son with toys in hand, waiting to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with his dad. They were two peas in a pod.

Ryan developed an abscessed tooth. A phobic of dentists, he refused to go even though people begged him to. If he only knew how serious a tooth infection could be. He would have never let a fear of needles and pain take him away from his son. He didn't know it could happen to him.

The infection went to his brain. It turned into meningitis, and he had a massive stroke. I received a call from my mother that Ryan was on life support. I canceled my class and went immediately to Mississippi, where I found Ryan in a coma with tubes and hoses coming out of his brain. It is an image that I will never, ever erase from my memory.

Ryan had chosen to estrange himself from my side of the family several years prior, so we had not seen each other in a long time and I don't think that he would have wanted me there. Tough luck, I told him. I held his hand and declared that he is the most stubborn person I've ever met. I picked on him and played with his toes, giving anything if he would wake up and cuss me out. I reminded him of when he used to spontaneously break into the song "Love Shack", which always made his sister and I double over in laughter. I demanded that he wake up and come back to his son. I prayed. I cried. I fussed. I told him that I loved him and that I'd give anything if things could have been different. I told him that I was so sorry that this happened to him.

He was removed from life support on November 7th.

The tragedy made the front page of the newspaper. Killed by a toothache. Dentists stepped forward and pleaded with the public to not be afraid of them. People everywhere made dental appointments because of Ryan's story. Twenty-nine is too young to die. Five is too young to lose a father.

Skyler is being raised by his grandmother (his mother left shortly after his birth), and he misses his daddy horribly. He lives in my town, but he doesn't know I exist. I see him at the baseball field and wish I could be there for him, but I'm not permitted to do so. Family feuds are senseless and cruel. They hurt so many people...sometimes for generations to come. Life is too short and fragile for such things, but it is far beyond my control. All I can do is pray for Skyler to be ok.

My heart is crushed for him. It's so unfair. No little boy should lose his father.

Friday, November 6, 2009

GREEK FEST!!!

In line to order food!


Crazy lady singing on top of a dining table! Does she realize that she flashed everyone directly below her? The world may never know.



The adorable kids!



The Music!


The Vendors!


The crowd!!! (And that was only HALF of them!)


The awesome art! I could only dream of painting like this!







I have a couple of vids that I'll share later via YouTube.

Greek Fest is annually the first weekend of November in Mobile, Alabama. It is held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on S. Ann Street. Very cool place, and Greek Fest is always a fun time! The $2 admission fee benefits several local charities including Penelope House Domestic Violence Center, an organization that is near to my heart. Next year, come join me!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All things work together for good

I was 19 years old. A high school graduate, I was planning to pursue my college education at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. My goal? Graphic Design. I felt like I had finally found my niche in 10th grade when I entered the Graphic and Print Communications program at the Pascagoula Vo-Tech Center. I spent all of my spare time in the print shop, won a medal in competition in my first year, and even worked there part time during the summers. So my decision to enter the Graphic Design program at MGCCC was a no-brainer. I registered at my local campus, and would start with Drawing and Design. Then something happened with my financial aid, and the grant that I was expecting wasn't there. Having no funds otherwise, I backed out of college and got a job instead, very disappointed.

I was 22 years old. Working at the mall part time, I decided to jump back on the college bandwagon. I was approved for financial aid and registered with the same Drawing and Design schedule that I had a few years prior. I was so excited to finally be going to college! The first day of school arrived...and I was in the hospital unable to walk. I had a severe kidney infection, the result of a disease called Renal Tubular Acidosis, and was in a hypokalemic crisis, the result of a disease called Periodic Paralysis. The two conditions are debilitating, and I remember being bedridden for weeks. I called the college to withdraw, absolutely devastated. I remember crying and asking God why. I didn't understand.

At the age of 30, I finally became a college freshman. I barely survived my first semester at Bishop State, due to a kidney obstruction that resulted in surgery and put me out of school for nearly 3 weeks (of a 10 week semester)! I'm still not sure how it happened, but I managed to catch up on nearly everything and ended up with 3 A's and a B. What a whirlwind...it was utter insanity. But my grant wasn't approved for the following year, so I couldn't return. I remember asking God why this was so hard to accomplish. Was I not meant to go to college and better myself? I was so frustrated.

So this year, with my health declining and the clock ticking, I took a leap of faith. I applied for grants and debated for months on where I would go. Living right smack in between Mobile and Gautier, I had a hard time deciding and practically flipped a coin. I registered at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. On my schedule? Drawing and Design.

And now, it all makes sense. The disappointment of not starting college after high school. The devastation of being seriously ill and having to withdraw the second time. The frustration of not being able to return to Bishop State. Because at the age of 31, sick and broke, I am a freshman at MGCCC in the art department. It is not easy. I'm exhausted and miserable most of the time. I've been so sick and in so much pain that I've nearly collapsed. My blood pressure is high. My tolerance of my condition(s) is low. Sometimes I cry all the way there. Sometimes I cry all the way home. It is HARD.

But I LOVE it. It gives me a reason to get out of bed, and even though I don't understand what my purpose is in this life, right now I can't imagine being anywhere else with anyone else than this place and these people. I am so grateful to be there, I could burst. It's only been two months and I'm already dreading the day that I have to leave. I pray every day that I will do well in my classes, and somehow, make a positive difference while I'm there.

Lately, I've been thinking back to all of the frustration, heartache, and chance that has occurred where college is concerned. I didn't know why all of these bad experiences had happened to me, but God knew all along. I think about the what-ifs and it scares me. I think about the here and now and cry like a baby. I am so blessed. I talked to a teacher today who was going through a tremendously stressful event in her life, and how God intervened in the nick of time. Her story was just another reminder that our steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalms 37: 23-26). Whether we realize it immediately, as this lady did, or years down the road, as I am now, God can take our heartache and disappointment and frustration and use it for our good. That's why even in the hard times, I am in awe of God's hand on my life. I am so undeserving of His love and mercy. All I can do is say thank you, and pass it on.

All things work together for good for those who love God, which are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I saw God at Waffle House

I got up this morning in the usual way, in terrible pain but functional, and needed to run a few errands. As I left the house, I was contemplating lunch and talked myself into Waffle House. I rarely go there and Lord knows I don’t need it, but I decided to stop in for one last texas cheesesteak plate before I return to a highly restricted, heart-healthy diet.

I sat down and ordered. Behind me, a man walked by and was talking to the waitress. He wasn’t making a lot of sense, and I could tell that he wasn’t quite right in the head. I sipped my coca-cola for a minute and then I heard the man yell across the room “Did you know that you can copy a 20 dollar bill on the copy machine and it will work in a casino?” I wondered who he was talking to, but didn’t look his direction. He said “She’s not gonna talk to me…” and the waitress approached me and said “He’s talking to you.”

“OH! I’m sorry…” I said as I turned to him and smiled.

Him: Do you know that college called USA?

Me: Yes…

Him: Some kids from that college copied 20 dollar bills on a copy machine and went to Atlantic City. The bills worked! But do you know where they got caught?

Me: Where?

Him: The Cat House!

Me: Oh no! Haha…

Him: There was a write up in the paper about it. Did you know that I copied a 5 dollar bill on a copy machine, put it in a Pepsi machine, and it gave me a Pepsi and change?

Me: Oh wow...

I received my food at that point, and turned around to eat. The man kept talking loudly, to whoever would listen to him I guess. I figured he was in his 70’s or 80’s, and had some kind of mental condition. As I was eating, he got up and paid for his food. I overheard him say to the waitress, “See that girl sitting right there? See her? She’s sitting right there. I want to pay for her coke. Because she talked to me.”

I pretended that I had not heard him. Then he walked back by…

Him: Your drink is paid for.

Me: Oh, well thank you so much!

Him: If you would have sat over there with me, I would have paid for all of it.

Me: Haha, oh well thank you…

Him: My wife is dying. She’s not going to make it to Christmas.

He burst into tears. I’m almost sure my jaw hit the floor.

Me: I AM SO SORRY...I’m SO sorry to hear that.

Him: Sixty years. We’ve been together sixty years. She’s dying of cancer.

Me: I am so sorry. I’m so sorry. I have a friend with cancer and she’s very sick…I don’t know how long she’s going to be around. It’s really tough.

Him: Sixty years. The same wife. Sixty years.

Me: I am so sorry. That’s such a long time. Wow. I’m so sorry that she’s sick.

Him: Can I sit here?

Me: Yeah, of course.

I moved my stuff and he sat by me.

Him: Are you from here?

Me: Yeah. Well I’m from Mississippi, but…yeah.

He started talking about the “good ‘ol days” and how things were so much quieter and simpler back then. Said he never had to lock his door, and would leave the key in his ignition and never had to worry about someone stealing the car. He said he collected stuff and that he had several 13 gallon barrels filled with silver (as in silver dollars). “I guess I need to get rid of all of it”, he said. He talked about being drafted in WWII and the Korean War. Then he switched conversations again…

Him: Whatever you do, don’t go to Providence Hospital. They lied to me. They lied. They said nothing was wrong with me, and the next day I was having pain and ended up in surgery for colon cancer.

Me: Oh my goodness…

He proceeded to tell me about his experience in detail, including when he got out of surgery and couldn’t eat anything without throwing up…as I’m sitting there trying to eat my cheesesteak sandwich and hash browns. Ha! Serves me right for blogging about my dysfunctional uterus.

Him: Are you headed to Tillman’s Corner from here?

Me: Um, probably…

Him: Oh well Tillman’s Corner, you know that Goodwill store?

Me: Uh huh…

Him: Well if you go in there, find me and I can give you a 20 percent discount. I get a senior discount you know. Did you know that?

Me: Oh ok. No, I sure didn’t.

Him: Did you know that they don’t even ask me my age anymore? They just look at my hair.

Me: *giggle*

Him: Do you know where I met my wife?

Me: Where?

Him: The skating rink!

Me: You did? Aw, that’s great!

Him: If you ever want to meet someone, go to either a church or a skating rink. Whatever you do, don’t go to the taverns!

Me: Haha…oh no I don’t go there. I’m a church girl.

He’s still crying off and on…says it’s because he’s thinking about his wife of sixty years.

He talked for a while, then got up and said “Thank you for talking to me.” He went to walk out the door and said “If you go to Goodwill, come find me”.

Me: I will, thanks so much.

Him: There in Tillman’s Corner.

Me: Yes sir, thank you. Have a good day…God bless ya.

And he left. It was all I could do to hold it together. I paid my bill, sans coke, and drove to Walmart and cried. A divine appointment, at Waffle House of all places. Somehow, God used me to touch his life by simply being there when he needed someone to listen. But I can tell you that I didn’t touch his life nearly as much as he touched mine. It was a tremendous reminder that you never know what someone has been through or what they may be going through right now. It was a reminder that no matter what kind of hell you’re dealing with, someone always has it worse by a mile, and that we should always count our blessings. And it was a reminder of how such a small thing as a smile, a shoulder to cry on, a free coke, a skating rink love story, and good old fashioned respect can make an eternal impact in the lives of two hurting strangers at Waffle House.


Lord, may I see the value of every single person that crosses my path, remembering that they are your child, and that as your hands and feet, I should reach out and make a positive difference to the best of my ability, always striving to love as perfectly and unconditionally as you do. Amen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hanging on to hope

I'm having a hard time staying up to date with my blogs...my apologies. Things are absolutely chaotic right now and I'm overwhelmed. Please know that those of you who are reading and have left comments, I haven't forgotten about you. I appreciate you taking the time to come here. I don't take you for granted.

My biopsy was rescheduled THREE TIMES. It is now November 2nd. They did find a problem with my endometrium, and the biopsy will confirm whether or not it is malignant. I am in tremendous pain 24/7 with that as well as the periodic paralysis. I don't say the word hell a lot, but it's all I can think of to describe how I feel right now. I'm going through pure hell. But thankfully, I'm going THROUGH...not staying in. At least that's what I have to believe. If I didn't hang on to hope that things will get better, I would have no reason to go on. Hope is everything. I am hanging on to it for dear life.

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;"

Isaiah 43: 2-3a

Monday, October 19, 2009

A heck of a time

I don't know what else to call this entry. I'm just having a heck of a time. Lots of ups and downs. My condition(s) are an hour-to-hour event these days. I'll be able to tolerate the pain and weakness and function one hour, and the next I'm so miserable that I have to go to bed. It's just craziness. I feel like I'm being stabbed with a jagged knife 24/7...I wish I could get a break from it.

Nevertheless, I've been fairly active this weekend. Worked at a charity event on Saturday, painting faces...



It was fun. :)

Also worked on a lot of Secretary stuff for the Art Guild this weekend. Oh, I don't even think I've mentioned them here yet because things have been so nuts. I'm a member of the Art Guild at my local college, and they asked me to be Secretary there too. Love those youngins...most of my peers are in the 18-21 year old range so I joke a lot about being the old woman who's almost old enough to be their mother. I love school and will be sad when I have to leave. I wish I was better at drawing (I suck...no really, I do) and I wish so much that I felt better. Some days are just awful and it's all I can do to keep from bursting into tears. Other days are better. I laugh as much as I can (having a silly teacher helps) and try my best to make it through the day. I've missed one class so far...hoping I can make it through the next 2 months without missing anymore. Although, I may very well miss Thursday since my biopsy is Wednesday. I'm really, really dreading that. A lot.

Saturday was my brother Max's birthday. He would have been 14 years old. Hard to believe. I wish he was here.

In a great deal of pain tonight, and can't sleep, so I figured I would give you a short update. I have a lot of pics to share later on when I can...maybe in time for the next MckLinky Blog Hop. Speaking of...sweet little Abby is having the time of her life at Disney right now. It was her "Make A Wish", and I'm so glad for her. Please continue to pray for Abby as she is still on chemo and feeling pretty rough most of the time. I honestly can't imagine going through all that she has. What a trooper. I'll be honoring her at my upcoming Bob Ross charity workshops, which benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So excited about this... I hope to raise a few hundred dollars.

I guess that's all for now. I have a very busy Monday at school, so I am going to try again to get some sleep. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Conflicted

When people ask how I'm doing, I'm torn. Lie and say "Fine, thanks!" or tell the truth and be labeled as negative. It's a hard decision for me. I am all about being real...I think people can see that. But I don't want people thinking that I'm all gloom and doom either, because I'm not. Yes I'm sick and miserable, but I'm also blessed and I never forget that.

I am having a very, very hard time right now. It takes every ounce of strength I have to climb out of bed and function. Sometimes I cry all the way to school. Sometimes I cry all the way home. I'm weak and exhausted and in horrible pain every single day, and it is getting harder and harder to make it through the day. I never escape the symptoms and they're getting worse. It is down right disheartening. I feel defeated.

I'm so grateful to have wonderful friends, understanding students, and patient teachers. I couldn't possibly ask for more. I'm not at my best right now, and it tears my heart out to think that I would let any of these people down. I'd give anything to feel better.

When I'm not at school or teaching, I'm on bedrest elevating my legs. Tomorrow I have an ultrasound at the hospital, then I have to go teach a class. I've almost had to cancel my Bob Ross workshops, but I am trying my best to hang in there. It is so difficult right now. I've let my students know that I'm going downhill and will have to take a break for surgery and recovery. I hope to continue and even increase my workshops next year, but it's going to take a miracle in my body to make that happen. I barely make it through the few that I teach now.

Praying for answers. Mercy. Healing. Anything I can get to keep going. I tell God every day that I can't do this...at least not without Him. I'm standing on Isaiah 40:31 and praying that I can be an example of perseverance, hope, and God's divine strength. I'm not feeling it right now, but that doesn't mean it's not there. When you can't see God, hear God, or feel God, that's when you just have to trust.

I'm trying. Hard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The blog entry where I talk about my stupid uterus...fair warning, fellas.

The continuous hormone therapy that I was put on in July in an attempt to bring my pathetic, psychotic uterus under control has not only failed MISERABLY, it has created new problems that are making me even MORE MISERABLE on a daily basis. The culprit? Estrogen. My body simply does not tolerate it AT ALL. Throwing up, doubled over in pain, heart rate and blood pressure out of control, and hypersensitive to everything to the point of crying at the drop of a hat...it is utterly ridiculous. There are few drugs on this planet that I detest more than synthetic estrogen. Useless garbage.

I went to USA Women's yesterday for another consultation with Dr. L. She said there's nothing more that can be done, and gave me two options: destroy it or remove it. I've been scheduled for an internal ultrasound next Wednesday, and a uterine biopsy on Oct 21st to rule out cancer. After those results come back, I will know whether or not I'm eligible for an ablation (burning the inside of the uterus, rendering it non-functional). If they find tumors or other issues that would hinder the ablation, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) would be in order.

I have a feeling that I'll be eligible for the ablation, but I'm concerned that it's not going to work. It is not guaranteed and I know several people who did not have success with it. I could very well have the ablation, then start hemorrhaging a month later and have to go right back for a hysterectomy. That would really suck. But being very high risk in surgery, I have to consider the fastest and safest method of dealing with this. I also have to think about time and convenience. The ablation is a week recovery, the hysterectomy a month. I would also have to find someone reliable to care for me while I recover from the hysterectomy. Not the easiest task.

The logical thing would be to have the complete hysterectomy and get it over with. Problem solved. But I am high risk in surgery, I don't have the time or the money, and I would be out of commission for a long time. The reasonable thing would be to have the ablation, although risky as well, it's safer and the recovery time is much shorter than most surgeries. But, there's a chance that it won't work. So if given a choice, I'm torn as to what to do.

I'm making it a matter of prayer, but ultimately I am going to have to decide for myself unless the docs don't like the test results and make the decision for me. I don't know...I just want it to be over. My uterus has been nothing but a curse to me for nearly 20 years. I just want this misery to end.

The Periodic Paralysis, RTA, kidney stones, pulling and tearing muscles and cartilage, TMJ, migraines, hypertension, diabetes, chronic pain and weakness...I think that's quite enough to deal with. My insane uterus (and the crappy hormone therapy) only contributes to my complications. It is absolutely senseless. I swear I will throw a "Good riddance stupid uterus" celebration when it's all said and done. It is still a hard decision to have to make, however. I've known for a while that I would never have children, and I've come to terms with that, but it's still a pretty traumatic thing to go through regardless.

This is not what I wanted my life to be, but it is what it is and all I can do is take one day at a time and keep moving forward, believing that God is in control.

But I also look forward to the day when this earthly life is done, and I don't have to suffer anymore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please buckle your seatbelt...it's gonna be a wild ride

I swear when I decided on "My Roller Coaster Life" for my blog eight years ago, I couldn't have chosen a better theme. This week has been one heck of an example:

Saturday: Usual day...hurting but functional (on the cane of course), and went to a concert with a friend. Had a great time.

Sunday: Woke up to the most horrendous charlie horse I've ever had. My leg was so drawn up that I couldn't even put my foot on the floor. I binged on potassium and calcium to no avail. I was on crutches in agony the entire day.

Monday: Things declined rapidly when I woke up to projectile vomiting (TMI but you are all aware that I tell the whole truth on my personal blog here, no?) to the point of dehydration and nearly losing consciousness. Even the Phenergan I was prescribed for these occasions didn't help. My uncle thought I had the flu, but I knew it was just another attack of Periodic Paralysis (it DOES act/feel like the flu at times). Pushed more meds and more fluids, but saw no improvement.

Tuesday: Woke up and managed to put my foot on the floor. Lots of pain and prayer, but I did it and the 48 hour charlie horse of doom subsided by the time I left for school. Bypassed the crutches (which are still in my car) and returned to the cane. I was still sick to my stomach but not only made it through the day, I stayed at school later than usual and was doing WORLDS better by mid afternoon. Blew my mind that only 24 hours prior, I felt like I was going to die and almost had to go to the ER.

So, yeah. I'd say roller coaster is an accurate description of my life. Good call, Kelli.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Major HypoKPP Attack...

I woke up this morning to the worst charlie horse in the history of the universe. It has yet to subside, even with meds, seven hours later. I'm currently on crutches and can only sit in a few positions to tolerate the pain.

I need your prayers, friends. This must cease. I have Art With Heart business tomorrow, and school on Tuesday. I absolutely cannot miss school. I just can't.

Will give a real update soon. Thank you friends for praying.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Painting and Henna Tat


"Night Light"...teaching this one on the 19th




Practicing henna for future commissions

More to come!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2005 - The Life I Knew - Gone.

Quick "before" video of Beach Blvd, a couple miles from my house...



During Katrina at my Aunt's house...before it got really bad. Her house was damaged (that tree she was begging to not fall, did), but little did we know at the time that a couple miles south was completely and utterly devastated, including my home.



These videos are my initial reaction to the aftermath...shock...disbelief...couldn't say much more than "Oh my God" at the time.



I had to keep turning off the camera to dodge debris in the road. I also (not on video, mind you) got yelled at and threatened by a man who thought I was a "tourist". I yelled back at him that I lost everything too, and offered him something to drink.



Beautiful Washington Avenue in Pascagoula torn to shreds...you wouldn't believe the huge houses that used to adorn this road...all of them, gone.



My hometown was an unrecognizable war zone. Everyone homeless and living in their driveways. People standing among debris that used to be their homes, standing guard with shotguns, fighting, looting, dying of dehydration...it was a freaking nightmare. Something that you would see on TV. It didn't seem real, but it was our new life for a very long time.



There was no water. No power. No food. No gas. No phones. The National Guard, the Red Cross, and FEMA arrived 11 days later. Everyone was so sick and exhausted by then, we were just grateful to finally see them. The National Guard gave us MREs and water. The Red Cross drove down the streets of Pascagoula and handed out brown bag meals. They had great brownies.

I have nothing nice to say about FEMA, so I won't say anything at all.

I want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers from all over North America that came to our aid and selflessly served my often-forgotten city. Folks from Ontario Canada, West Linn Oregon, Mesa Arizona, rural-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania...all over. I received a blanket from a quilting guild in Indiana, and it was the only blanket I owned for over a year. Because of Amish, Mennonite, and Baptist groups around the country, my family has a roof and four walls again. I can never say thank you enough.

I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH.

You gave us hope again.

I'm bawling my eyes out with appreciation four years later.

We will never forget what you've done for us.

Believe that.

God bless all who suffered because of this monster called Katrina. God bless all who gave in response to it. And God bless those who suffered AND gave, in spite of it.

The Mississippi coast is strong. The Mississippi coast will be revived. We are overcoming this storm, by the grace of God, one day at a time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a week

Was very sick today...couldn't even keep juice down. I hope whatever the problem is has passed, and I'm very thankful that it wasn't a school day or a work day. I can't afford to miss either one. Hoping I feel much better tomorrow because I do have a small class in Biloxi.

Thursday, class was canceled but my instructor had an art show on campus so I made sure not to miss that. His work is incredible...left me speechless. I had a similar feeling when I went to Florida in 08 and saw my teacher trainer's work on day one of my certification. It's good to know that the one teaching me knows what he's doing, because I definitely...DEFINITELY...DON'T! I'm very nervous about these drawing classes but trying not to dwell on my disabilities...OR THE FACT THAT I ALMOST FAILED ART IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Yeah...let's not think about that.

I've been so frustrated with the college bookstore, because while they have my art supplies, they have not unpacked them and made them available for purchase. Say what? Class is in session, here...you're killin' me, people! I've gone to Hobby Lobby for some of the stuff and will go to Michael's on Monday to see if I can find the rest. I'm a little OCD about things being "right", so I've been pretty aggravated about it, especially since I'm nearly broke and won't get the grant money for another...I don't know...two or three weeks? Art supplies or groceries? I'm having to choose.

Things have been so frustrating lately, but somehow it will all work out. I'm trusting that God is taking care of things, like he always does.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A doozy of a start...

Monday, I logged into my online classes and read all of the instructions. The Spanish instructor informed us that we had to purchase a second book. The book is almost $50, and we were required to do all of the assignments in that book, as well as the assignments in our textbook. She said we would spend at least 10 to 12 hours a week on the class.

Do the math, y'all. 12 hours a week for one class, plus my four other classes, plus teaching on the weekends, plus Art With Heart. Nope, not happening.

I dropped the class immediately, and a HUGE burden was lifted off my shoulders. I feel so much better about my other classes now, because those require a lot of time and commitment as well, and I want so much to excel.

So I took care of the Spanish withdrawal and started campus classes today. My Drawing and Design instructor is nice and funny, but tough. He said he rarely gives A's, and most end up with C's. Holy death-to-my-GPA, Batman...I'm scared.

On top of that little ounce of stress, I locked everything in my (borrowed) car. Keys, backpack, purse, phone...EVERYTHING. I had to walk across the entire campus twice, borrow a phone to call the police, and wait outside in the heat for a cop to jimmy the door open. At least I didn't miss class...thank God. I know it could have been worse. My body is very mad, though...legs are still cramping and spasming hours later. I've been in bed ever since.

Tomorrow I'll work on my online classes all day to get as far ahead as I can. I've already taken four quizzes for Art for Elementary Schools (AES from now own), and have five more to go by September 13th. I should be able to knock out those five tomorrow, so I'll be in good shape there. No Drawing and Design (D&D from now own) on Thursday so the rest of the week, I'll work on my Music Appreciation (MA from now own) assignment. I've been having severe ear pain over the past couple days, so I've been putting off listening to the music. I'll have to schedule a doc appointment if it continues.

So anyway...there's my recap for the week. I will probably be posting less as things get more hectic, but don't give up on me. I'm a serial blogger of 8+ years and you know I'll be around, so keep in touch. :)

Hugs to all,

Kelli

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today...




I could teach Sunset Aglow every week and be perfectly content, except that the all day class (it's more like 3/4 day) is absolutely brutal on my body. I did ok until 3:15pm. Then I started crashing, and at approximately 4:10pm I had a HypoK attack in class while cleaning up. One student was with me by then and she asked what she could do to help me. She got my stuff packed up and made sure I was going to be ok before leaving. I have such great students, but I wish they didn't have to worry about helping me clean up and load up my cart. It's really not their job and I hate to let them stay and help when they've already been there all day. I feel like a burden. I'm very thankful that my class is so understanding of my limitations. Hopefully they will be fine with not having more than a couple 3/4 day classes a year.

Was great to see my friends Andrea and Gabe stop by to say hi with their sweet little son Jacob. I was in full Bob Ross mode at the the time, and Jacob saw me and said "That's Miss Kelli painting in there"...awww! He came in and met the class, and they went on and on about him after he left. :)

Came home, took my meds, and crashed bigtime. Sitting up in bed right now, but I purposely don't have much on the agenda for the next two days because I'm going to have to stay off of my legs as much as possible. Tomorrow I'm taking a shower (you're welcome) and I'm going to make a spinach artichoke pizza for my brother and his girlfriend who are joining me for dinner. Other than that, NOTHIN'. I don't have an ounce of strength left in me. Laundry can wait, and I won't be driving again until college on Tuesday.

Oh yes.....COLLEGE!!!!!! Holy guacamole, Batman...I enrolled in FIVE classes. I've lost my flippin' mind. I start three online classes Monday (very scared of Spanish and I want my mommy) and start my drawing and design classes on Tuesday at the campus. I've already talked with the disability counselor about my condition and she said that I should not run into any issues with the art department. Me and my memory foam pillow will be arriving to class at 8:50am on Tuesday with a few pages of info in hand for the instructor. Let's hope the pillow works so that my legs don't cramp or go numb sitting in that metal chair all day. {insert happy positive thoughts here}

My uncle has been very gracious to get me to class and back until my car is repaired. Thank God I'm getting some grant money that should cover most of the repairs, and a student loan that will cover the rest. So I guess sometime in late September, I'll have my car back.

Hope all of my friends have a blessed week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blurry and crooked as heck, but.........



I just finished a 16 x 20 version of Sunset Aglow, my favorite Bob Ross painting. I will be teaching it in a special all day class on Saturday.

(I'll be glad when I can get a decent camera someday! Santa, are you listening??? LOL) :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 15th

My sister is a married woman. The wedding was on Dauphin Island at the Estuarium. It was nice, albeit, a bit stressful at times. I suppose all weddings are. She did great, though, and had the time of her life. Was great to see her have such a lovely day.

I regrettably had a rough time. My feet gave out and I broke down in tears during family photos. We couldn't finish them and that really upsets me. Relatives brought me food, drink, and medicine. My brothers helped me walk and my brother's girlfriend wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair when we left. I appreciated everyone's help.

While I have good days and bad days, I'm still in a full blown attack of Periodic Paralysis. I relapsed 11.5 months ago and have grown increasingly weak ever since. Docs don't know what to do for me, as all they see are the numbers on my bloodwork reports, which don't matter. It's not a numbers game, it's a transport defect. I can't say it enough. They just flat out don't understand the condition. Seems like nobody does except those who live with it, and it has been only through time, trial and error, and research. What it boils down to is that my muscles and nerves do not have the electrolytes necessary to withstand any kind of activity. It's like two equally charged magnets being put together...they don't work. They go opposite directions. And the harder you try to force the two magnets together, the harder they rebel. My muscles and nerves are the same. They function via electrolytes and without them, there's no "charge" so to speak. They literally depolarize and can't move. People ask me why I don't get a pain pump or physical therapy or other treatments, and I really don't know how else to explain that all of these things are not only irrelevant, but potentially dangerous. If you have a spinal injury and force your spine to move, you risk further damage. My muscles are in the same boat when I try to make them do what they do not have the ability to do. Without electrolytes to support and sustain the muscles and nerves, they simply can't work and forcing them to do so only makes the situation much worse. Pain is not the reason I'm disabled...it's the literal inability of my body to function properly. The pain is nothing more than a side effect...it's like having a charlie horse in the entire body and at times I feel like I am going to die.

The judge told me at the ceremony that I'm too young to be dealing with such a disability. No kidding, but no one should have to live with it, regardless of age. I usually try to take it in stride, but lately, I'm just sad and tired and I don't want to be like this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When it rains, it pours...

My car broke down today. I was stranded on the side of the highway for 2.5 hours. I missed my sister's wedding rehearsal. I'll get a ride to the wedding tomorrow, but then what? I have to be at the college Monday and every Tuesday and Thursday after that or I'm sunk. I also have several Bob Ross workshops scheduled in the next four weeks.

What now, Lord?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Dining Room Table (or "HALP ME, INTERWEBS!")

When your dining room table reminds you of an "I Spy" book, you know it's time to intervene.



Thankfully my uncle only laughs when he sees this mess, especially since he has his own table, thankyouverymuch. I do believe I need to get a handle on this thing, though. Soon. It will happen soon...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crazy busy...

Might not be around for a few days. College stuff, Art With Heart stuff, and wedding stuff galore. My sister Katie gets married Saturday. I'll be able to breathe a little once Sunday rolls around, then I'll be starting college full time.

Let the insanity begin!!!!!

*faint*

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Do's of the Week

Tonight: Catch up on blogs (seriously...I haven't forgotten about all of you...promise!)

Monday: Art therapy at United Cerebral Palsy; put away clean laundry (for the love of organized chaos...I'm so tired of tripping over these baskets!)

Tuesday: Art projects for charity...as many as possible!

Wednesday: To Biloxi to pick up the rest of my stuff from Hobby Lobby, then to Moss Point for Art With Heart meeting

Thursday: Art projects, Art With Heart kids class

Friday: Wedding rehearsal

Saturday: Katie's Wedding! (Please God, let my clothes fit...)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot off the presses...


Or still on the easel? Ok whatever. :) Just finished!

Rolling Hills, Bob Ross painting #1301, no changes

16 x 20 stretched canvas

$125 unframed, $175 framed

Free Shipping!

I will be teaching this one on Saturday...can't wait! I hope my new students don't hate me for springing this one on them on their first day...ha! It's not as easy as it looks!!!


P.S. - Will catch up on the Blog Hop asap...thanks for the comments on my Encouragement post!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I am not well.

I'm getting worse.

My family asked that I file for SS Disability again.

They see that I'm going downhill.

Yet they have no clue how hard this really is.

In horrible pain 24/7/365...I never escape it.

I am so weak that I can barely use my arms and legs sometimes. I almost didn't make it up and down the steps tonight.

I waited till I got home to cry.

I don't know what to do.

I've made a doc appointment to discuss my options...again.

I am absolutely at my wits end.

I don't want to be like this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Exhaustion

I realize that I am behind here, and I promise I'm not ignoring anyone. Thanks for the comments, y'all! I'll come visit your blog soon. Life is a whirlwind when I'm not stuck in bed...lots going on. Presently in bed, though, hurting and so tired I can barely function. Surprised that I can even type complete sentences.

Kelli updates coming up...health, life, etc. Just gotta get some real sleep somehow. I'd pay money for it right now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The latest body art experiment...

Struck gold today when I obtained a set of Pearl Ex Powdered Pigment from Art With Heart! It will be used in face painting and body art parties. Just playing here...



My cheap camera is not designed to take shots like this, so forgive me for having such bad pics.



The pigments are very, very shimmery and look so cool in person...wish you could see them well. These pigments make cool face paint designs...just the extra shimmer it gives makes all the difference.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gaming for children's charity! Check it out!!!!!!!!

This is SO COOL! A group of friends are holding a Mario Marathon to raise money for Child's Play Charity, which benefits children's hospitals all over the U.S. and the world! They just beat last year's record by raising $12,225.00 only 40 hours into the marathon! Incredible!!!

I'm watching them live on UStream now! FUN!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More cards for Operation Gratitude


These are blank, meant for soldiers to send to loved ones. Just one of many options in giving to Operation Gratitude.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

20 cards for Operation Gratitude



Couldn't sleep, so I made cards for the troops. You can make a soldier's day by sending cards or packages to Operation Gratitude. Check out all that they do...great organization! I'll be featuring them on my charity blog this week as well.

~Kelli

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A friend's poem about Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis has been published in the MDA magazine

As you can see, it is very frustrating living with a life-threatening illness that people don't understand. Thanks Victoria, well done.


A Day in the Life of a Periodic Paralysis Patient


The 911 call placed, you feel like you're dreaming,
You’re not, from afar you can hear sirens screaming;

The ambulance ride, your body’s not moving,
They wonder aloud, whoa, she's not improving;

Respiratory muscles won’t respond to a breath,
You know once again that you’re so close to death;

Whizzed in on a gurney, it’s all moving fast,
What? You’re parked in a hallway, suddenly bypassed;

How are you this evening? Then give you that look,
The oxygen, sensors and wires they unhook;

They make you feel guilty, as if you are faking,
You’re frightened, can’t breathe, and everything’s aching;

The ER visits, the doctors, the begging and pleading,
You would not desert me if I were here bleeding;

Weakness, paralysis and cognitive decline,
Inverted T-waves, arrhythmias are fine;

The patient is faking, playing possum I see,
With his hammer he can't get a jerk from my knee;

Agonizing pain, it strikes with a flash,
The doctor shrugs shoulders, departs in a dash;

Positive tests, plus symptoms and signs,
Potassium is low, but you will be fine.

~ Victoria Cecil-Shover
Solon, Iowa
hypokalemic periodic paralysis

http://www.mda.org/publications/Quest/q163infocuspoem.html

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Periodic Paralysis, Muscular Dystrophy, and a public service announcement if the shoe fits...

http://www.mda.org/publications/Quest/q163infocus.html

Periodic Paralysis is their focus this quarter...thank you MDA!

If you question or have ever questioned my condition, you need to read that whole article. Don't say that I didn't try to help you understand. This is a public service announcement that I will not put up with any ignorance or attitudes from family, friends, or anyone ever again as long as I live.

I have lived in this hell every day since I was a child. It is real. It is serious. I have had chronic pain and weakness for as long as I can remember. I don't know what it's like to be able to do regular every day tasks or function without pain. It is a significant part of my life, and I will strive to bring awareness of this condition for the rest of my days.

You can read a great deal of information about it at the link above, as well as on Wikipedia. It is very accurate.

I appreciate those who have believed me (thank you MawMaw) and supported me throughout the years. My life has not been easy, especially with all of the people who have accused me of lying, whining, exaggerating, faking, and even being a mentally ill hypochondriac. I have had a whole two people come back to me and acknowledge that they were mistaken. The rest are either still in denial or have too much pride. They know who they are and they can kiss my ass. By the grace of God, I am still here, with or without them.

It's in black and white, people. The facts are all right here. The facts have been here all along. I did my part, and will continue to do so. Maybe someday, people will realize that they don't know everything, learn to shut-up, and truly listen.

There would be less suffering in the world if that happened. I would have suffered less. I think about what my life could have been, had I been diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. But there's no sense in thinking about that, because there is only today.

Just today. That's really all that any of us have, if we stop and think about it. So I guess the question is, what are you going to do with today? Seize it and live? Or merely exist.

I choose to embrace life, in spite of my circumstances.

Why don't you join me?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More from the Biloxi Festival of Arts






My painting demos were fun, but the crowd was very small. There wasn't a lot of traffic in the mall the entire weekend, I guess because of how beautiful it was outside (although MISERABLY HOT...nearly 100 degrees)!

I honestly don't know how people do it. I roast like a turkey in 85+ degrees, so 100 degree temps are doing me in bigtime. Having no air conditioning in my car is not helping either. Part of my left arm is sunburned due to the sun bearing down on the driver's side of my car while I'm driving...crazy!

Anyway, I sold three pieces of jewelry at the festival and kinda broke even, so although it was exhausting, I had a good time and feel like it was worth the work. Tomorrow I will return to Biloxi to do two more painting demonstrations in hopes to have a few students this coming Saturday. If that doesn't work out, I already have a plan B, as there is an Art With Heart face painting gig in Biloxi as well. So either way, I hope to make 20 bucks or so this weekend. :)

Still have pics to upload...and a recipe...coming soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Donating my hair - before and after!

Last Saturday, I donated my hair to Pink Heart Funds, a local non-profit based in Long Beach, MS. They provide free wigs and prosthetics to cancer patients of all ages. I was very excited to finally be eligible to donate my hair!

Before...





Waiting for my turn...Stephanie from Art With Heart was there to offer support...and a balloon animal on my head.



AFTER!

I was shocked at how much hair they were able to get...10.5 inches...and my hair is still touching my shoulders! Yay!






This is a great organization, and I was happy to be able to participate in this year's ponytail kickoff. I will plan to do it next year too!


More weekend pics coming up!

Kelli