Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye (and good riddance) 2010! Happy New Year 2011!!!

Happy New Years Eve! If you're new to My Roller Coaster Life, I'm Kelli and I have been blogging for nearly 10 years now in various places on the world wide web. Every new year, I create a list of goals (or resolutions, if you want to call them that) for the upcoming year. Then on New Years Eve, I review them and post new goals for the upcoming year. Thanks for reading and wish me luck!


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A Recap of 2010 Goals:
1. Continue college education 
HOLY SCHOOL DAZE, BATMAN...25 HOURS AND A 4.0 GPA IN 2010. THANK YOU GOD! AND THANK YOU TO MY SWEET TEACHERS, TOO!

2. Return to Florida for Bob Ross training (either Florals cert or Landscape/Seascape audit) 
HALLELUJAH, I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE I ACCOMPLISHED THIS!!! I SWEAR IT DARN NEAR KILLED ME PHYSICALLY, BUT I DID IT. FLORALS CERTIFIED! A MILLION THANKS TO MY STUDENTS AND LOVED ONES WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN FINANCIALLY, AND TO THE BOYS AT THE BOB ROSS ART WORKSHOP FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME FOR THREE STRAIGHT WEEKS...AGAIN!

3. Become more organized in every aspect of my life 
AHA...HAHAHA *SNORT* YEAH RIGHT! OK I REALLY DID BECOME MORE ORGANIZED IN SOME ASPECTS, BUT NOT OTHERS. SO I GIVE MYSELF HALF A CREDIT FOR THIS ONE.

4. Find a way to pay off some medical bills 
I PAID OFF MY PRIMARY PHYSICIAN, BUT HAVE THE REST OF MY LIFE TO GO IN MEDICAL PAYMENTS ELSEWHERE. SHOVE IT, SYSTEMIC DISEASE. I HATE YOUR GUTS. THAT IS ALL.

5. Put a significant dent in one or more manuscripts 
NEGATIVE, GHOST RIDER. DIDN'T TOUCH THEM. DIDN'T HAVE TIME! SOMEDAY, IT WILL HAPPEN.

6. Knock out at least one item on my 2010 Bucket List 
I AM COLLECTING POSTCARDS AGAIN, I THINK I INCREASED MY VOLUNTEER AND CHARITY WORK THIS YEAR, AND I AM (FOREVER) LEARNING TO DRAW. I DOUBT I EVER REMOVE THESE FROM MY BUCKET LIST BUT I BELIEVE I "KNOCKED OUT" THESE FEW WELL ENOUGH TO QUALIFY FOR COMPLETING THIS RESOLUTION.
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And away we go...the NEW list!!!

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

Reach/maintain a healthy weight and keep blood panel numbers at an acceptable level. Losing twelve pounds and lowering LDL cholesterol levels are on the agenda in 2011. I've done it before so I hope to do it again despite my significant decline in health and increase in meds.

Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries. No problem. It gives me a reason to live.

Read more, write more, and learn more. Most definitely. As I said last year about this, it's inevitable as I am in college! :-)


Be a good friend and relative. This is always my prayer.


Goals For 2011:

1. Figure out what to do about my college degree, and make it happen.

2. Road trip out of state to visit family and meet my new niece due to arrive in March!

3. Increase and become more organized in my teaching business.

4. Decrease my debt, whatever it takes.

5. Put a dent in one of my manuscripts...article, short story, fiction, non-fiction...who cares! Just work on something!!!

6. Remain honest and aware, pray, and strive to improve myself each and every day.


I decided not to list getting well as a resolution, because I am doing my best. God will have to do the rest.


I will be going into great detail about 2010 and beyond in a separate entry. It has been a challenging and sometimes very difficult year, and I need to get it out of my system so I can do my best to move forward.

I wish each and every visitor to my website a safe and happy 2011! Hugs and blessings to you all!

Love,
Kelli

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A few more pics from this week!


I matted and mounted several pieces of art for my portfolio...always in progress.





I found a new love...soap making! I made over 50 bars the week of Christmas, and gave several out to family members. I can't wait to buy more supplies so I can get really creative. I'm hoping to reopen my online gift store from years past! We'll see what 2011 brings...stay tuned!




Mmmm garlic veggie steak bake! After a trip to Winn Dixie, I made this. So easy and delicious!



Just put the finishing touches on my mixed media abstract, Galactic Escape, now for sale!

P.S. - I hate the layout of my portfolio page, if anyone has any suggestions. Needing an easy to deal with Gulf Coast themed background, and as you all know by now, I am not HTML savvy so a template that I can copy and paste is preferred.




Ah, the joys of being single. I can wear fuzzy mismatched socks, to accompany my Eeyore pajamas, with absolutely no regrets. :)


I will recap 2010 and talk about past and future resolutions as I've done on my blogs for nearly ten years now, so stay tuned for the "big one" on New Years Eve!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010 in Pictures


I couldn't sleep, so I got up at the crack of dawn and ate some of my uncle's awesome seafood gumbo...



Then went around the corner to my family's house. I received some nice gifts, including a set of baking pans...



Paint brushes...a starving arteest can never get enough of these...



A cookbook...woohoo!



My brother gave me an awesome Garfield card (love Garfield) with a generous amount of cash enclosed. Very grateful for that as I have a doc appointment coming up...



I spent some time with the stepfamily and had some awesome food and received a nice card and some cozy gloves. Then I went on to Mississippi where my mom was waiting. Her tree is always awesomely elaborate.



She makes the best cornbread too!



I received some goodies in a stocking. Notice the Land 'O Lakes Cocoa hiding in the bag with the Hershey's. Talk about a double-whammy of win...



And Freddy surprised me with this! A custom Precious Moments figurine with Eeyore! I collect Eeyore, and collected Precious Moments once upon a time (before Hurricane Katrina) but had not received one in years. I was stunned at how perfect it was for me, and it even has my freakin' name on it!!! Sweet! Mom and Freddy also gave me some grocery money, which was very helpful...



...since my fridge currently looks like this. Yeah, it could use a good scrub...I know. I'll get to that before going to Winn Dixie tomorrow. :-) Mom and Freddy have come to my rescue this year in this extremely difficult time with my health and finances and I am so grateful.



Unfortunately, the day ended with a tremendous migraine...



...but nonetheless, I am blessed!

I hope all of my dear friends have had a wonderful Christmas with those you love.

God bless,
Kelli

Merry Christmas!




Wish I could share a big 'ol hug (and my chocolate cream fudge) with you all! :-)

Thank you for being a part of my life and I hope everyone has a happy holiday and a blessed 2011!

Love,
Kelli

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hard reality. Tough honesty. I don't really know what to title this...

I've been depressed since a recent club field trip. We had lunch on site and I was the last person to arrive at the cafe (I walk with a cane and have to take breaks). I ate more slowly than usual while everyone else played around. My teacher/adviser got impatient as I took another bite and said "Oh come on". I apologized for being slow, but didn't bother to explain that I'm having significant esophageal pain and difficulties swallowing and breathing right now. I imagine he's tired of me explaining myself and I know I definitely am, so I decided that it wasn't worth it for fear that he would only take it as a lame excuse. I left it at "Sorry for eating so slowly" and moved on. I think like a lot of people in my life, he just doesn't know what to do with me at times. It's a little obvious that he has been frustrated with me off and on for the past 13 months or so, but he has remained positive and professional. It's his job, and he does it pretty darn well for the most part. I think the world of him and probably always will.

This triggered a flashback, however. Of the ex-husband variety and his gradual loss of patience with me and my condition. As much as I don't want to offend any of my male readers by this, I can't help but mention that the "over it" feeling is something that I get from men often. Doesn't matter who they are...friend, boyfriend, boss, family member, teacher...many of them simply get tired of "dealing" with me and eventually react. Usually somewhere between a few months to a couple years. I guess my ex-husband is the best example of this...a total 180 degree turn...from "I know you're very sick but it doesn't matter...I love you and want you to be my wife and I will take care of you" to complete annoyance that quickly lead to resentment, zero patience, fits of rage, infidelity...I could list a lot of other things, but I'll spare you. I thank God for singlehood, even in the tough times when I feel utterly alone. It's very hard to accept that this is my reality, though, and the thought of people in general getting tired of "the sick girl" time and again for the rest of my life is more disheartening than I can express. But hell, what can I do about it...I'm tired of me, too.

Anyway, I resigned from my officer position in the club that day. It was the right thing to do and they agree (silence speaks volumes, that's for sure). I know they don't need me and that has never been my attitude, but I care very much and investing in the club and its members was a mission of love. I still embrace the place and people with utmost sincerity and I don't regret my time there, but I am simply too sick, in too much pain, and too stressed to handle it right now.

I'm honestly not handling much of anything anymore. I don't want to live like this. I just want to be normal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This is my 500th post! AND THANK YOU!!!

I have the most SUPER AWESOMELY FABULOUS FRIENDS in the world!!! I'm blown away by the number of votes I received in the Gulf Coast Artist Index & Art Resources contest! A little over 40% of the total votes!

The painting won 2nd place and is on display for sale through Art With Heart at The Gallery Ocean Springs. People from all over the world voted. Your support and efforts were CRAZY-AMAZING!
Thanks a million!
Love,
Kelli

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's a close race!

I'm about 4.5% behind first place as of right now...I'm blown away that I'm even in an art contest to begin with! Thanks so much for continuing to vote each day!
http://www.googinsgallery.com/Contests.html
The winner will be announced Dec 15th.
I appreciate it!!!
Kelli

Friday, December 10, 2010

Could you vote for me please??? :-)

Hello friends, I am honored to have been chosen as a finalist in a local contest called "Mother Nature In Motion". I submitted my original seascape "Storm's Rolling In", seen below:



I'm one of five finalists and it comes down to a public vote here: http://www.googinsgallery.com/Contests.html

Thank you for your consideration!!! I appreciate it so much!

Kelli

P.S. - You can vote once each day through December 15th! :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Mini-Update

Been really sick. Still not up to par. Calling doc in the morning.

Have a new (used) car as of a week ago. Had a flat tire today and the check engine light just came on. Ask me how thrilled I am...I dare you.

Took my last history test today. Got an A. Thank God the teacher is dropping everyone's lowest grades, because I missed the big test due to being ill. Because of her decision, I keep my overall A. Grace abounds at MGCCC.

Stopped by the art studio and said hello to everyone. Talked to my favorite teacher for a few and I'm gonna try to go on a field trip with the art club on the 10th...here - http://www.georgeohr.org/index.html

Can't freaking wait. I hope I feel up to it.

Still working on the drawing final from summer. You know...the big one I've mentioned. I keep telling myself that I will finish it by Christmas. I have a TON of stuff in progress, but this is priority #1 for sure where my art is concerned, with the exception of my workshops.

Speaking of, I haven't been able to teach for a little while due to being sick, so I'm pretty sure I've lost my mind for even considering THIS - http://gulfcoastartworks.blogspot.com/2010/08/gulf-coast-bob-ross-holiday.html

If I pull that off, it will be a miracle from the Almighty. But I'm going to give it a shot, and I know it will be a blast. I love my students.

That's all for now...gotta lay down.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

What this world could be...

...if we were all like the tree.


Mentoring Project

Who knew I would be in college at my age?

Who knew that I would ever join a fraternity?

Not me, that's for sure.

I stick out like a sore thumb in Phi Theta Kappa. I remember meeting the PTK-lady-in-charge for the first time. She immediately encouraged me to transfer to a Mississippi university, and informed me that PTK could benefit me through scholarships and other perks if I participated enough. I let her know that I'm in my 30's and that I won't be moving to a big university in Mississippi, but I am joining because my friend Andrea was involved and doing a lot of volunteer work, and that was something that I'd like to be a part of. I sat in her office and filled out the application for membership.

As she took my money, she asked "What are you majoring in?"

"I'm an art major", I replied.

I will never forget her expression as she looked down at me through her reading glasses. She appeared utterly disgusted by my choice. As if an "art major" was not worthy of being in her presence, much less joining her honor society. Her tone of voice even changed. It was almost funny.

I could have taken my sixty bucks elsewhere, but I didn't. I told myself that if she doesn't have an open mind or an appreciation for all majors, including the fine arts, it is her loss. I didn't join for her and I didn't join for the title of PTK member. Heck, I haven't been to one meeting, haven't applied for one scholarship, and don't have a clue where that little pin is that they gave to me when I was inducted. I imagine it's in one of my dresser drawers, collecting dust.

But almost every time I get an email from this lady concerning a charity or volunteer project, I'm on it. Usually anonymously. But this time, someone will see my face and my name, so the pressure is on. I am mentoring a young lady in a middle school on the Mississippi Delta. I just sat up all night and read this book...



...and I will crawl out of my sick bed and drop it off at school tomorrow, where it will then be sent to the young lady. She will read it, then we will meet and discuss via internet. I will encourage her to keep reading, stay in school and make good decisions. This is right up my alley. I love kids and I love mentoring. I guess it's the wannabe-mom in me, but I've always been the type. I want to help. I want people to be happy...to succeed in life. I want to make a difference. This is what gets me out of bed. THIS is where I belong.

So whether or not I'm good enough for the lady with the PhD who rules the honor society roost is meaningless.

I want to be good enough for a 12 year old named Kiarius.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Glass

I will never get used to systemic disease.

Or the burden of needles, powders, and pills.

Or the constant pain and exhaustion.

Or the chronic debilitating weakness.

Or the bizarre and unpredictable symptoms.

Or the realization and frustration of so many limitations.

Or the fear of others not understanding.

Or the feeling of urgency in living and loving with all that I have, because I know it could all be over in an instant.

I will never get used to systemic disease.

But I will never forget to be thankful for blessings of hope, mercy and grace in each and every day.

A priceless gift given to me in spite of myself...my painfully obvious flaws...my overwhelming humanness.

The glass is half full, in spite of all circumstances.

May I choose to see with eternal perspective.

May my heart forever be grateful.

May I never take life for granted.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FYI Bloggers

Hello my good peeps, just a note that I have noticed some of you have chosen to lock your blog. That's cool because I've done it at times myself. However, if the blog world doesn't have permission to read your stuff, just an FYI that I will no longer have you linked on my blog. It just doesn't make sense to promote you if you're not going to let people read. Same goes for those who have abandoned their blogs/websites.

So over the next several days, I am going down my BloggerDash as I do each year, and deleting those who have locked or abandoned their blogs. I get over a thousand hits a month. That's not much to many of you, but it is to me and I want to make sure that those I promote actually have something to be read.

Thanks for understanding.

Hope all is well with everyone! Still playing the kidney stone game 'round here...unfortunately. But I'm hanging in there. Lots of updates from me coming soon.

Kelli

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kidneys don't know how to tell time...

Another kidney stone.

Right kidney is killing me.

Praying it passes asap or goes dormant again.

This is terrible timing as I have so much to do this week and this month altogether.

As if there's ever a "good time" to have a kidney stone.

I have no idea how many I've passed now. I lost count at 30.

I feel like I'm living in prison. Bound by disease. Behind bars of disability.

I don't know why I was chosen to walk this road, or why God allows it.

But I know I'm not alone, even when I feel that way.

And I count my blessings in spite of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

DRUM ROLL PLEASE...



I'm going to have a niece and she's due the week of my birthday! WOOHOO!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stress, Grace, & Gratefulness

Things have been kinda crazy lately...stressful...but finding grace and gratefulness in every day.

Internet is down at home, so I'm currently at a WIFI spot watching the last of 33 trapped Chilean miners come up the rescue shaft. An absolute miracle that will go down in history. I don't even know what else to say...I'm sitting here in tears about to choke on my salad, fighting back the urge to break down into ugly sobs. He's out, alive, walking, and hugging a cheering crowd. They survived 69 days underground! Praise the Lord!!!

How am I supposed to follow that? All other news pales in comparison right now, that's for sure. Here ya go anyway:

I have an A+ in history and finished 2 weeks early in an already fast-track course. Next history class starts on the 18th and I plan to finish that one early as well. I have a Sociology CLEP exam scheduled for December. I have no idea what I'm taking next semester, and don't feel like thinking about it right now.

I've been dealing with some undue stress at school, and it is clear to me that I no longer belong. I regret accepting a club officer position this year, and will give it up at an appropriate time. When my positive feelings are lost in the shadows of negativity around me, I know it's time to go. It brings me pain to see apathy, drama, and hurt as a result of one's own actions, and know that I can't do a darn thing to fix the problem. I love the place and people, but my tolerance for B.S. is officially below zero. I can be there, communicate till I'm blue in the face and strive to be a positive force, but I can't make people care about themselves or others (whichever shoes fits). I've gone from being angry about it to being sad but there's no use in either of those feelings, so I'm trying to let it go and move on. Since having to switch to a part time college schedule, however, I'm there for another year and a half before I can transfer. So...all I can do is my best, and a few things are certain - I will stand my ground and continue to be real, I will not apologize for caring, and I will not let this take away my utmost thankfulness for the past year of college or for those who have impacted me in a positive way. I will always love them dearly and be grateful for their contribution to my life. I believe they know who they are.

It also pains me to see people being mistreated and taken advantage of, and not being able to say or do anything about it without looking like the troublemaker. What I would give to bring the whole truth into the spotlight...I just don't know. All I can say is mean people suck, and they are everywhere. I swear I can't win...can't get away from them no matter where I go. I thought junior high school was over but it turns out that some people never grow up. It's not just their loss, unfortunately...everyone suffers as a result. I have told God that I don't know how to deal with it or what to do about it, but I ask for wisdom and strength to persevere in spite of it.

My art is all over the place. I'm still working on my color pencil still life from the summer semester. I have limited feeling and use of my hands, so it is taking a very long time to complete. I have put nearly 50 hours into it and have at least 15 or 20 more. I've also done several acrylic and mixed media abstract pieces...something new for me and out of my comfort zone, but very freeing. I've donated three of them to local charity auctions. My first watercolor is also in progress. I look forward to adding all of these pieces to my online portfolio soon. Commissions are available so feel free to inquire.

Teaching is going ok, but two of my locations have shut down, which is bad news. Things are also winding down due to the holidays, so I'm grateful to have my family's support especially during this time. I wouldn't have a darn thing in my fridge (or a fridge at all) if it wasn't for them. I do not take it for granted!

I'm getting around fairly well since upping my electrolytes again. I'm still not in official recovery mode but hope to be there soon. I am extremely swollen (look and feel like a cow right now) and I continue to pop/pull/tear muscle and cartilage in my back and chest. I am in terrible pain but can't do a thing about it as I don't/can't take pain meds. I was recently given a prescription for Zanaflex and decided to take one last night. I had a HypoK-related reaction to it and experienced respiratory distress for 2 to 3 hours. I knew what was happening and made sure that I stayed awake and aware in case I needed to go to the ER. I propped up on pillows and had to make a conscious effort to breathe, and it was labored and painful. I managed to swallow a potassium chloride pill to try to counteract the weakening of my esophagus. Not sure if it helped but the attack eventually subsided. So the Zanaflex is definitely a no-go, and I'm back on Flexeril which is mild and almost useless. I finally heard from the MDA and will be applying for medical care advocacy ASAP.

My current charity project for Ronald McDonald House is at a stand-still until they finish the new house, which is expected to be in November. I donated 14 pillows, and a friend has donated 4. Still needing 10 more, so if anyone is interested in this project, please see my charity blog for details on how you can donate.

The two ladies who won my recent giveaway, thank you for your patience in receiving your gifts. It may be another couple of weeks before I can get them to you, but you'll get them...promise!

Please say a prayer for my brother who is having surgery Friday. I will be staying with him until he is well enough to kick me out of his house. :)

Love to all...talk to you soon.

Kelli

Friday, October 8, 2010

MDA Update

After months of trying to get a response from the MDA, I finally heard from someone in Flowood, MS. She immediately mailed me a packet of info to fill out. I received it today and will send it back to them next week. Hoping and praying that I will receive some assistance in finding proper medical care before I end up bed-bound or in a wheelchair again.

I have seen some improvement since increasing (again) my potassium and magnesium intake. I am functioning fairly well but still having daily episodes, some worse than others. Just taking life one day at a time...that's all I can do. That's all we all can do, right?

Keep on keeping on...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mark My Words...The Next Wayne Brady




I have needed some humor lately, so when I found this, I found GOLD! It is IMPOSSIBLE not to crack up at this song. He's SO SERIOUS...reminds me of Wayne Brady or Kenan Thompson...just too funny!!! I have hurt myself laughing over it...ENJOY!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Pillow Project

Ronald McDonald House of Mobile is in immediate need of 28 new standard-sized pillows for their new 14 room house that will be opened in November.


I already have 14 pillows. If 4 people gave $12, it would cover the cost of the rest almost to the penny. I need to deliver the pillows to them in October. We can do this, right?


If you would like to participate, my PayPal is ugottafriend4life@gmail.com.


Thanks for your consideration,


Kelli

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby Mania!!!

Oh, how I love love love babies. LOVE MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD.

My sister is expecting, and I am so excited to FINALLY be an Aunt. We're thinking it will be a boy, which is awesome, but I'll take either. :) And equally as awesome is that the baby is due the week of my birthday. YES!!! I just hope she and her hubby will move closer to home so we'll get to enjoy this little one. *thinking happy thoughts*

I also have seven...that's right...SEVEN COUSINS now expecting. Holy baby boom, Batman...that's a lot of babies on the way in this family. My little sis announced that she's not drinking the local water, and promptly took her butt back to college. HAHA. Funny stuff.

Even funnier is that she is having morning sickness. Not my pregnant sis...the baby sis! And my blood sugar has been nutty for the past couple months...spiking, then plummeting, back and forth to the point of passing out. Sick as a dog. And even my brother has been ill with his stomach lately. All the while, preggo-sista is feeling absolutely FABULOUS! HA!!! How crazy is that? Gotta love it.

I'm also super duper happy for my friend Linda, who is expecting her first child. She has already recruited me as a babysitter and she's not due till May 1st. Hee! I cannot WAIT to have a little red-headed baby to snuggle with. :)

I've informed everyone that since I cannot have children, I get to spoil theirs by default. Just sayin'.

HOORAY FOR BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September Health Update: new doc, new bloodwork, same old pathetic American medical care system

(Disclaimer: The stuff in bold, I didn't actually say out loud to the doctor. I'm sure that's obvious. Thanks.)

Current meds as of 9/19: K-Citrate 1080mg x 3, Mag Ox 400mg x 2, Avapro 150mg, Valium 10mg at night, K-infused water

September 8th, I went to see a new internal med specialist at the clinic where my brother works. Let me start by saying that everyone was nice and I appreciate the fact that they are treating low income, uninsured patients. That is a blessing and I commend them.

Unfortunately, my appointment didn't go as it should have. I went prepared. I brought all of my prescriptions, my pH test strips, a stack of recent info about Periodic Paralysis...its symptoms, triggers, abortive attacks (which is what I'm experiencing), and a summary of my medical history from the past 12 years which very clearly explains what I've gone through while both on and off the meds, as well as general info like surgeries. Anything that I could think of whether it was relevant to my current condition or not, I typed out. I was ready.

HE...was not. He walked in seeing a number. Not someone intelligent, experienced and in extreme need of physical improvement.

I was very weak that day and walking slowly and painfully. He didn't seem concerned. I mentioned that my brother was planning to sit in during the appointment if that's ok. He looked at me blankly. "L", I said. He looked at me blankly. "L.B.?" I pointed in the direction of my brother's office. Nothing. "THE COMPUTER GUY?" "Oh..." the doc said. "Yeah, we call him the Geek Squad." He disregarded the fact that I just requested my brother's presence and asked why I was there today.

I told him that I was struggling with my systemic disease. I told him that it triggered at age 12 and I got progressively worse until I was diagnosed with Periodic Paralysis and Renal Tubular Acidosis in 1998 (thank you for not giving up, Dr. Holbert) after becoming completely crippled, unable to use my muscles. I told him that it has been a rocky road off and on since then and that I am currently back in a full relapse of renal acidosis as per the test strips that I brought in. I told him that I have passed over 30 kidney stones including at least one over the past year. I told him about everything that triggers my attacks...weather, any kind of exercise, certain foods, drugs, anesthesia, etc. I told him that I was in such poor shape in January after uterine surgery that I was nearly on a walker, and that my previous doctor agreed that my potassium needed to be increased (it was quintupled!) and that I needed to get back on Avapro (heart and kidney drug) ASAP. While I have obviously improved after this change, I have not improved enough to function well and it seems that my potassium level is still dropping. I told him that I appear to be in either a permanently weak state or an abortive attack of Periodic Paralysis.

His response after all of that? "You probably don't have that. That's usually a diagnosis of exclusion anyway."

*staring blankly at him, considering that he doesn't know me from Adam's housecat*

Me: I was OFFICIALLY diagnosed in 1998 after becoming paralyzed. I couldn't use my arms and legs. I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks.

Him: Have you had a muscle biopsy?

I told him that I most likely have but I don't remember. I was diagnosed over 12 years ago and had nearly EVERY test under the sun...several a day for nearly 2 weeks. My records are all over the coast and I lost my copy of my diagnosis in Katrina.

Me: If you will tell me what the test involves, I can tell you whether or not I've had it.

Him: (ignoring my last statement) So how long have you been weak? A few days? A week?

WHAT???????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: I just said that it started at AGE TWELVE and got PROGRESSIVELY WORSE until I was DIAGNOSED in 1998. My pH was 6.0 and my potassium was 3.0. My pH is now fluctuating between 5.0 and 6.5, which is why my potassium level is currently dropping. Just like most patients with Periodic Paralysis, my potassium level only has to flutctuate 1/10th of a point, even while within the normal range, to have an attack. I have documented info and my history with this condition typed out for you right here. *points to paperwork*

He acted amused and almost laughed when I tried to give him my medical time line (that explains my experiences in detail) and recently-released information on Periodic Paralysis. He didn't touch it.

He asked me if I drank, did drugs, or smoked. All no. "You've never smoked EVER?" "NEVER". He asked how much coffee I drink. "I don't drink coffee." He snickered. "How much tea do you drink every day?" "I don't drink it every day. I drink a couple of cups/glasses sometimes."

I brought up the Renal Acidosis again and told him that I have a history of pulling, spasming and tearing cartilage and muscle when I'm in acidosis, and that it is happening again, and somehow I have got to figure out how to get my pH back to normal or I am going to continue to decline with that as well as the Periodic Paralysis. I told him again that it is all right here in the documents that I brought for him.

He wouldn't take them...wouldn't read a thing. So I tried to read it to him. He talked over me. I eventually started talking over him to try to make him listen. Then he got offended and asked what I wanted from him.

Me: *BREATHE*.............REFILLS.

Him: Ok sure. *brings out the stethoscope* Let's do bloodwork too. Your heart is racing.

PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF, YOU BUTTHEAD!

He acted aggravated that he was going to have to do bloodwork non-fasting. It was almost FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON. OF COURSE I'VE EATEN SOMETHING! I'm on medication that REQUIRES me to EAT!

Me: What about the low pH?

Him: I'm not concerned about your pH.

WHAT????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So he sent me to the lab for bloodwork. Had the bloodwork and they told me that they would call me Friday. I told them that I would call them instead, because nobody ever remembers to call me. They said "OH, you're L's sister...you'll get your call!"

I didn't, of course.

So I showed up on their doorstep a week later (still no call) and asked for my file and bloodwork results.

First of all, he had not even looked at the results when I arrived a week later to pick them up. I had to wait for them to find him so he could sign the results so they could give them to me. He signed them with no comments, and did not request a follow-up to discuss them.

So here I am...once again, doing this ALONE.

The blood test results:

My Magnesium is rock bottom. I suspected that and had already started taking over the counter Magnesium chloride. He refilled it in prescription form, but changed it to oxide which is the absolute weakest form of Magnesium on the market. Anybody who is familiar with or has been on Magnesium oxide knows that it does not absorb well at all. I'm planning to switch to Magnesium citrate, which absorbs much better and is certainly safer for my kidneys. Having channelopathy, my body barely utilizes electrolytes to begin with, so obviously the easiest-absorbed form of electrolyte therapy would be ideal, right? DUH.

I am officially...drum roll please...Hypoglycemic. Thank you, diabetic diet. I have been on said diet for a long time, not only to prevent type 2 stage 1 diabetes and control weight, but because the production of insulin (triggered by sugar) blocks my electrolyte channels, thus triggering Periodic Paralysis! But now, my blood sugar is plummeting and I'm being forced to eat sugar to keep from passing out. My blood sugar after eating at Subway prior to my doc appointment was only 71, which is way too low for me after having eaten a meal. I've been feeling faint off and on for a couple months now and almost passed out at church this morning. I had to get up and grab a packet of sugar from their coffee station and pour it down my throat. Falling out in church would have been grand, lemme tell ya. Would they have thought that I was slain in the spirit? The world will never know. :) So just when I thought I couldn't be more screwed with my diet (see my August Health Update for the diet scoop)...I now have this to contend with. I checked my blood sugar 2 hours after eating the packet of sugar. It was only 61 and I was still feeling faint so I had to down a couple of coca-colas to bring my sugar up. Now my legs are spazzing out and hurting like the devil. Don't eat sugar = unconsciousness. Eat sugar = HypoK attack. SCREWED.

My potassium has dropped from 4.8 to 4.2. I was right again and I'm surprised that I haven't been in the E.R. Ask any one of my friends who live with Periodic Paralysis. One HKPP friend was recently hospitalized with an episode after his K dropped from 4.8 to 4.6. That's ALL it takes sometimes. I have been in the E.R. more than once with a severe attack, and they kicked me out each time because my K was between 3.3 and 4.0, which made them think "Oh please, there's nothing wrong with you! Buh-bye!" Story of my life. It is not a TRUE lack of potassium in the bloodstream. It is a channelopathy, and it is extremely fragile and complex, but NOT impossible to understand. And don't forget the fact that my potassium continues to drop even though my potassium intake was QUINTUPLED several months ago. DING DING DING! The Renal Tubular Acidosis, when in full force (as it is now), triggers Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis like a FIEND and must be brought under control pronto. But Dr. Know-It-All isn't concerned about my pH. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PEOPLE. Just READ about it. It's complicated but it's not rocket science. If I can understand it, why can't the docs?

BECAUSE THEY DON'T CARE ENOUGH TO, THAT'S WHY. I am 32 years old and more disabled than I should be because the majority of the doctors I've seen don't look at real people as individuals with real problems who need real solutions (or at least, quality of life). I am merely a statistic, slipping through the cracks for 20 years almost to the day...this began in September 1990. Most doctors only see numbers. Many only treat symptoms with drugs (unless of course they believe they're psychic and accuse you of being a druggie, in which you don't receive the drugs that you may very well need. Praise God that nobody has tried that one with me yet). Some docs even try to get rid of you as quickly as possible by verbally abusing you, slandering you to people who know you, refusing to listen to you, kicking you out of their office, and then sending you a bill so they can continue living the good life with their six figure income as a licensed drug dealer (YES I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU, DR. COULTER, DR. SETZLER, DR. WASHINGTON, AND DR. MYERS).

But you know what? Somehow it is going to be ok, because I know that ultimately it is all in God's hands. THEY are in God's hands and He will deal with them in due time. He will deal with me and my mistakes as well, and He has, and He will continue to. I pray that God will give me wisdom, strength, and purpose in the midst of this hell on earth. And He is. And He will continue to. Because God is faithful, even when I'm not. Even when I'm angry. Even when I feel alone. Even when I can't take it anymore. Even when I'm at my worst. God still cares. That doesn't take away my physical pain, my disability, my constant fight for dignity, medical care and quality of life, or my often-flawed human emotions over it all, but it does give me hope....because at least I know that I have a better destination ahead.

For the loved ones who are actually trying to understand this crap, I greatly appreciate it. For those who are skeptical or cynical, don't be shocked and awed and say "OMG WHAT HAPPENED? I DIDN'T KNOW!" when I kick the bucket someday. Just keep wallowing in your apathy and ignorance, because at that point I won't give a damn either. I'll be with the One who loves me. And I'll be free.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

After nearly 33 years on this spinning ball of insanity...

...I'm FINALLY gonna be



WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Spoon Theory - A MUST READ!

Click here to read The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

This is utterly BRILLIANT and absolutely true for all who live with Systemic Disease. Thank you Christine for helping others to understand our daily lives!

~Kelli

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More August Symptoms

Just keeping a record of what's happening...going to eventually go in a file for the MDA (when they finally return my messages...sometime this century would be nice):

The heat and humidity is making me very sick. I can't be outside or drive very far without becoming short of breath, light headed, dizzy, and weak. I've almost driven myself to the ER twice while driving home from Gautier (35 minute commute). I'm having to stay indoors as much as possible. Must get a car with air conditioning ASAP. This is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

I'm still crashing daily and having to lay down often. I believe my potassium levels are fluctuating constantly due to 1. The ungodly heat 2. My IBS which is giving me trouble 3. My fluctuating pH 4. Any activity...ANYTHING...household chores, grocery shopping, standing or sitting up for too long...it's all affecting me tremendously right now. It's a good thing that my fall classes are online this semester, because I would not be able to be on campus right now.

My pH is still fluctuating in the 6's. I just ordered some sodium-free alkalizing drops to put in my water. I hope it will be the kicker in bringing me back into the safety zone. At least that will be one battle won. I'll report back once I start using the stuff.

I am having significant muscle spasms again, including charlie horses in my legs. My neck muscle (the one I strained in December that sent me to the ER throwing up and blacking out) is acting up again as of last night. It is the muscle that starts at the back of the head, goes down the neck to the shoulder blade...don't know what it's called. But when it contracts, it is like a charlie horse in my neck. I can't see or move my head, and I feel like I'm going to throw up. I took a muscle relaxer and anti-nausea to try to ward off another ER visit. So far so good, but it's been giving me grief all day and is still doing so at the moment. Will have to talk to a doc soon about this as it is not entirely safe for me to drive right now but don't have a choice.

I've contacted the MDA again about getting advocacy for disability and proper medical care, and once again, no returned phone call. They have not acknowledged me whatsoever since I started leaving messages for them months and months ago. I've even called various regional chapters, and nothing. Thanks a lot, MDA.

I am having to function in spurts. Put a load of laundry on, paint a few minutes, lay down, cook, eat, take meds, lay down, wash a couple of dishes, sit down, catch up on email, have a snack and take meds, lay down, get up and wash a couple more dishes, lay down. My best times of function is when the potassium has peaked in my system, but it's not keeping my levels stable and I crash again. There are days when I can only sit up and read...no cooking, cleaning, or painting. There are days when I function fairly well and I work like a mad woman to get things done. Most days I have to choose between tasks...do I do laundry today or clean the kitchen? I can't do both. And on days that I teach, I crawl out of bed, go teach, come home, and crash for two days. It takes every ounce of strength I have to make it through a class, and my students are having to help me set up and clean up the room. They are concerned about me as they have seen my decline. I've told them that I will teach as long as I am physically able, and I am very grateful for their help and overwhelming support.

I went up to the college the other day to pick up my textbooks, and the line was too long. I couldn't stand there, so I had to leave. I stopped for a minute and talked to a student who was standing in line, and when I told her that I switched to part time in school, she yelled "THANK GOD! You were KILLING yourself!" Even though she only saw me once a week two semesters ago, she had clearly noted my decline and told me several times that I was trying to do too much. She's right, but I feel the need to constantly prove myself to those around me that I am trying. Even though it's pretty frickin' obvious to those who are actually paying attention. If I wasn't trying, I would not be showing up to teach a painting class every week, on my feet, with half a dozen pulling muscles while sick to my stomach, weak, exhausted...and I sure as hell wouldn't be killing myself in my fourth attempt to make it through college. Thank you.

That's all for now. I can't sit up anymore.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm alive.

Sorry I've been on hiatus. I've been busy. And sick. It's a constant roller coaster as usual.

Two things I have been working on:

My Bob Ross business blog at http://gulfcoastartworks.blogspot.com

AND

My new art portfolio at http://gulfcoastartstudio.blogspot.com


I started back to school already...the fall semester is nothing but American History online. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna kick butt and take names, being a history nerd and all. It will be the easiest semester of my life.

MANY blog posts in the plans...just have to find the time to get them done. I'm about to bombard the blog world here on ugottafriend.com. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 2010 Health Update

I'm aggravated that my internet connection is unstable and I still can't upload my videos about Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. Eventually I'll get them on YouTube and post the links all over creation. The more the word gets out, the more doctors and the general public will understand this condition.

Three great blogs about Periodic Paralysis that I've recently run across:

Benita at http://periodicparalysis.blogspot.com/

Thomas at http://disjunctions.blogspot.com/

Wade at http://theaudiopilotsblog.blogspot.com/


Health Update:

My pH is stuck between 6.0 and 6.75. Much better than the 5.0 and near hospital visit that I was facing 7 months ago, but still not exactly where it needs to be. So close though...so close. The magic number is 7.0, with the most ideal number being 7.25.

My flank/UT pain comes and goes, and lately it has been very minor compared to several months ago. From December to May I know I passed some sediment and at least one stone...possibly more. Soooo thankful that I didn't end up wailing in the emergency room this time around, and hoping there are no more stones present. I do still have pain and the occasional kidney spasm, which is not a good sign, but I'm trying to ignore it because there's nothing I can do about it. As of right now, the torn cartilage in my chest and pulled muscles in my neck and back are numero uno in the pain department, by a MILE. Just when I think it's getting better, I sneeze, cough, laugh, or move wrong and it's as if the injury just happened again...takes very little to aggravate my chest and back and I'm still living on a heating pad when I'm in bed. I can't get in any position and be comfortable, as usual.

I have had chronic pain and weakness for exactly 20 years this month. I believe it is permanent at this point (based on HKPP facts), but some days are a little better than others. I am still having daily HKPP attacks revolving around this ungodly heat (100+ degrees, 100% humidity = sauna), any physical activity, and in between doses of K-citrate. I still don't appear to be on enough K as it is not staying on top of the pH or the Periodic Paralysis. As I said, I have improved a lot compared to 7-8 months ago, but I am still not in good shape and have a long way to go before I am officially in a stable "maintenance" mode again. I pray for that day to arrive.

I'm having significant issues with paresthesia in my arms and hands lately, to the point that I can't feel them very well, and when I do, it's like bees are stinging me. My arms and hands as I am typing right now feel like they're being stung. I have no doubt that 5 weeks of drawing classes have been a factor, as it became progressively worse as time went on and by the time I reached my final project (color pencil, 40+ hours into it and still another 15 or 20 to go), I was to the point of tears at times from the pain and numbness. I feel like my arms are being pulled apart. My hands feel like they are moving in slow motion, although they don't necessarily appear to be, but it feels that way...kinda like moving my hands under water or through mud. It's odd to describe, but I know a lot of people (not only with paralysis, but diabetic neuropathy, M.S., and other neuromuscular diseases) can relate very well to what I'm saying.

Migraines have reduced significantly since eliminating diet sodas and having uterine surgery in January. I have one every once in a while, but I probably haven't had more than a dozen this year, and that is huge considering that I was having them on a weekly basis before. Of course when I do, it knocks me flat on my back in bed, but that is to be expected. I'm just glad they have lessened.

My IBS is back in full force. Trying to figure out the reason for that, other than stress. Food is really the only other factor, so it's a daily game of Magic 8 Ball. "Will I be sick to my stomach today?" asks Kelli. *shakes the ball* "Probably..." says the little triangle. Ok so I don't actually consult a Magic 8 Ball, or even own one for that matter, but I saw the scenerio in my head anyhow. Guess ya had to be there. Anyway, IBS and Periodic Paralysis definitely do not mix, as my body wastes electolytes already, so this is kicking me while I'm down. Gotta figure this out pronto.

Diet is a bizarre thing, and as I've recently ranted, a Catch-22. I'm supposed to be on this diet and that diet and another diet...something different for each condition that I have. Well guess what...it is not possible. I repeat...NOT...POSSIBLE. I've done endless hours of research and tried it first hand, and it is just flat out not possible to be on a low acid, low oxalate, high potassium, low carb, low sugar, low sodium, moderate protein diet. So I'm screwed. I have to choose between them all. So I am currently spinning plates in a circus...low sodium here low sugar there but oops don't eat that it's too acidic oh wait I can't have that either because it's high in oxalate oh yay a high potassium food but DARN IT ALL TO HECK it's a heavy carbohydrate!

SCREWED.

That is all.

On a happier note, I am approximately 4 1/2 lbs from my new goal weight. After factoring in the amount of fluid that my body is forced to retain via electrolyte therapy (read: water weight), I don't have that far to go before I reach a reasonable average size 10 again (in the waist, not the chest unfortunately). Thank you, genetics, for giving me the build of a football player. And by the way...you suck.

Gotta throw a little humor in there sometimes, you know. For sanity's sake. :)


The Meds:


Avapro 150 mg once a day

Potassium Citrate 1080 mg 3 times a day

Slow Mag w/Cal Chloride OTC at night

Flexeril 10 mg at night (sometimes replaced with Valium if the pulled muscles are unbearable, but that is a temporary prescrip)

Benedryl OTC, one a night when I remember

And that's all she wrote. I have Tylenol 3 on standby for migraines or (GOD FORBID) another muscle pull/tear. I hate pills and do not take pain meds unless I am crying or involuntarily moaning in pain, which is a rarity because I'm darn stubborn (BELIEVE IT OR NOT)! Nearly all the pain meds in my possession are expired or close to it, if that tells you anything.

And finally, as tired as I am of paying doctors to teach THEM about how to treat HKPP, I meet with yet another new internal medicine specialist on Sept 8th. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll actually read the info I give him, comprehend it, and listen to the words coming out of my mouth. Treatment for HKPP varies greatly from patient to patient...it is a constant dance of symptoms and there is no one solution. I have been more right about my own treatment than ALL of my doctors combined. Because guess what? I have lived with this truckload of lemons for 20 years, and whether ya like it or not, I know about my specific condition(s) and how they affect MY body more than anyone else. Doctors and all other intelligent beings on planet Earth, take note. And please pass the mineral water, 'cause some lemonade is gonna be made from this if it kills me.

But it won't, 'cause it'll be sugar free. :D


Thank you and good night. <3

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The College Chapter of Life

Two previous blogs to bring new readers up to date:

November 2009 - All Things Work Together For Good

February 2010 - I'm Gonna Miss This Place

So now, I have finished the summer semester at MGCCC and my final drawing class. I will take two history classes in the fall (it will be the easiest semester of my life) and contemplate what to do next. I'm at a crossroads again for health and financial reasons, and I don't really know where I'm headed. I'm praying that whatever I end up doing, that it will be the right decision.

As for my last day of school on Friday, it was quiet and uneventful. I worked on my final which had to be turned in for grading. It is unfinished but due to the semester being so short, my teacher graciously graded everyone's finals based on the work that was done, knowing that we would finish them eventually. I've put around 40 hours into the piece already, and I am so happy that it has turned out pretty well so far. I hope that I don't screw it up when I put in the last 15 or 20 hours.

There were only a few of us in the room that day, and our teacher's visit was very brief. He walked over to my table, looked at the project, and said "That's so cool".

He's lucky I didn't cry on him.

A few minutes later, everyone left as I wrapped up my incomplete drawing as best as I could. I packed up my stuff and put it away (will go back next week to pick it up along with my project), and then stopped and sat down back down for a while. I burst into big fat ugly tears and thanked God for allowing me to be there for the past year. I prayed a blessing over the place and the people that I grew to know and care for. I prayed for God to guide my classmates as they move on. I asked God to bless my teacher and his family in every way. I prayed out loud. That isn't something that I often do, but I felt lead to do so and being completely alone in the studio gave me that opportunity. As I turned out the lights and shut the door, I cried my guts out and thanked God again for giving me this experience and for helping me to finally make it through the Drawing and Design classes at JC that I had dreamed of since I was a teenager at Pascagoula High School.

I remember going to the college many times over the years, looking in the window of that studio and wishing I could be in there...wondering if it would ever happen. Finally, over 12 years later, I was there. Living the dream. It was incredibly hard at times, as I knew it would be health-wise, but I tried my very best and I hope that I've somehow made my friends, my family, and my teacher proud.

I'm overwhelmed. Relieved. Sad. Exhausted.

And more grateful than words can say.


A cluttered mess of art supplies in my house = Hundreds of dollars
Four semesters of college = Thousands of dollars
Three surgeries during two of those semesters = Tens of thousands of dollars
The places, the people, the experience, and fulfilling a life-long wish of learning how to be an artist in spite of financial and physical disability = PRICELESS

May I never stop learning for the rest of my days.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crunch time again

I'm in college finals again. Drawing II is hard! HELP! :)

Anyway, I will be bombarding the blog world very soon...lots to talk about. Is anybody even still out there??? I am seriously getting nothing but Chinese spam these days. Come on, peeps...talk to me!

I'll be back soon!

Kelli

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

While I am working on other blogs, including part 2 of the last one I posted, here is a recipe!

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Scoop out the centers of a few baby portabellas...



Fill with cooked organic extra lean ground beef. Sprinkle a little minced garlic on top...



Spoon a little tomato-basil pasta sauce on top of that...



Then sprinkle low fat mozzerella cheese on top.



Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly. Mushrooms will be al dente.



ENJOY!

Kelli

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is a test. This is only a test.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

This was only a test. Had this been an actual emergency, the beep would have been followed by me yelling "HEEEEELP!"


Ok not really.


This is actually an update. Yes, it HAS been a while. I am here to report that July has been a month from the inner pits of HELL. Too much pain. Too much stress. Too much happening in general. I am at my wits end and feel like I'm losing my marbles, to be frank. Who is that Frank guy anyway?

(At least I haven't lost my stupid sense of humor. But I digress...)

So here it is - my big fat middle of the year update. Buckle your seatbelt. I'd say grab a beer while you're at it, but I don't drink. Although it's tempting right now. And you'll probably be tempted too...fair warning.

In a nutshell, I feel like death warmed over. I can't stay out of bed, yet I can't sleep. I am weak to the point of being non-functional at times. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to just drop dead. I have several pulled and torn muscles (one of many symptoms of systemic disease) that are causing me tremendous pain. I force myself to get dressed and go to school, where I am utterly miserable. I try so hard and still fail at meeting my own expectations. As a result, I fear that I've let everyone else down as well, and that breaks my heart. I am terribly discouraged and don't know what to do or where to go from here. As much as I love the JC studio and everybody there, I feel unworthy of being there while I'm in such a difficult place in life. My goal was to not only be a good student, but be a positive force and a friend to all and I've failed at that. I feel like an annoyance at this point, and while I've been told otherwise by someone that I look up to, I'm having a hard time believing it. No offense to him, of course...he's very kind and has taught me more than he'll ever realize. I'm just way too tired and can't seem to shake it. A person with systemic disease can only take so much pain, stress, activity, and muscle weakness before they completely crash. I knew it was happening and no matter how hard I fought, I couldn't stop it. It is more disheartening than words can adequately express.

The good news is that my heart rate and blood pressure were brought under control by switching back to a potassium-based angiotensin II receptor antagonist (Avapro, if you care). I was right about switching back and my doc agreed, and I am so thankful to not be in constant tachycardia anymore. Although I still have occasional episodes complete with shortness of breath, it has definitely improved and I am grateful.

My potassium intake has quadrupled. Sounds crazy to the average joe, but I was right about that as well and it has kept me from becoming completely bed-bound. Unfortunately, I am still experiencing HypoK attacks between doses on a daily basis, so my kidneys and muscles are not recovering as well as I was expecting them to. I was honestly expecting to recover and be back in maintenance mode by March, and it didn't happen. I'm very, very upset about this, but I'm not giving up. I am meeting with a new doctor on September 8th and I pray that this will help.

As for the pulling and tearing muscles and cartilage...it is the result of systemic disease, but also my meds. Meds that I have no choice but to take. Talk about a catch 22. All I did was sneeze, and cartilage tore in my chest. I have a history of pulled and torn muscles in my chest and back, and I am in excruciating pain all night and most of the day. Just when it starts to get better, I sneeze, cough, laugh, turn wrong, or breathe hard and it pulls all over again. It is absurd, and I can't help but wonder if there will come a day when the "wrong" muscle tears. Lungs are a muscle. The heart is a muscle. The esophagus is a muscle. All of these muscles are directly affected by Periodic Paralysis. I really can't afford to think about the what ifs, though, so I won't dwell on it. I just want the misery to cease so I can have a life.

Back to some good news...I'm not failing college. I have A's in everything so far except American Literature which has been the most ridiculous college experience of my life and I am currently in a dispute over my grades. The teacher has made many huge mistakes...HUGE...and although I avoid conflict like the plague, I can't let these mistakes go. I hope things work out and I don't lose my 4.0, but I'm not holding my breath. The other class I am currently taking is Drawing II, which is the class that I had to drop in January due to being ill. As I said, it is very hard for me to be there, but I'm trying my best and I am extremely grateful for my instructor who continues to deal with me with the utmost patience.

I'm also relieved that my artwork hasn't declined. I was concerned that after not drawing for seven months, that I would not do well at all. It's not easy and I have a LONG way to go before I am convinced that I know what I'm doing, but I am surprised with what I've accomplished so far (sleep deprived and in terrible pain, no less):

Charcoal study - apples and partial seashell on drapes



Charcoal study - trumpet and open clay jar on drapes



Charcoal still life final




Two weeks remain of the class, then I have to decide what to do about school. I have switched to part time, for sure, and I am currently enrolled in two history classes for the fall. If the teacher is competent and well-organized, it should be the easiest semester of my life. I do have a Design 1 audit on the schedule, but I am reluctantly dropping it as I don't have the funds or the health to handle it. Either way, I do have a lot of artwork in the plans and hope to crank it out at home even if I can't be in the studio. I'll miss my peeps, though.


My faith is definitely being tested right now, but I am hanging on to hope that I will pass the test. I have a lot more to talk about, including health (in detail), teaching, photos, feelings, family, and future plans. To those who are actually choosing to read all of this crap (ha), thanks and stay tuned for another blog shortly.

~Kelli

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If you voted...THANKS!!!

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38027143/ns/today-what_do_you_care_about_today/

My local food bank won the $100,000 grant from Pepsi! What a blessing to those in need on the Gulf Coast. Thank you!

Also very happy to read that the oil well has been capped, and for the past several hours, no oil has gushed out. This is joyful news but we are not out of the woods yet by any means. The cap is temporary while they build relief wells and prepare a permanent solution. Please pray that this is successful.

I'll keep ya posted, although I'm sure the media is doing that as well.

So much happening in my life right now. This has been a very tough month, and I am currently at a loss for words over it all. I will blog soon. It will be several blogs in a row, actually...so stay tuned and thanks for praying.

Kelli

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Help a Gulf Coast food bank receive a grant! PLEASE VOTE!

The Bay Area Food Bank is a nominee on the Today Show to receive a $100,000 grant! I know the Bay Area Food Bank very well, as my half-sister and her stepfather both work there. The BAFB is located in Mobile, Alabama and serves the Gulf Coast. They need this money badly...this is so easy and quick! Please vote and pass it on!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Thanks so much!!!

Kelli

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oil.

As luck would have it, the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is Tropical Storm Alex...and he is here in the gulf...already causing problems.

It's windy out, and oil has arrived in Pascagoula with gusto, even spilling out over the seawall and into the road. Part of Beach Blvd is closed and BP clean up crews are on the scene.

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2010/06/mousse_tarballs_wash_ashore_ov.html

This sucks...for the record.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wish you were here, little boy...



Written on the sands of Daytona Beach a few weeks ago:
Max Edward 10/17/95 - 6/18/96