Monday, January 25, 2010

The fight is on

Seems like it's been a while since I've blogged, even though it's only been a week or so. I can say for sure that this has been one of the longest months of my life. I can't believe it's still January...feels like it should be at least mid February by now. I've been wanting to blog, but haven't been able to find the words. Or at the very least, the words I did have weren't worth repeating. That's more like it.

I'm at a very low point in life. So sick and tired and weak with this disease that I can't sit up for more than 5 or 6 hours at a time...yet I can't sleep either. I have officially crashed and burned. I knew it was coming but I couldn't do a thing about it. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. Miserable. Lonely. Sick. Depressed. Angry. Weak. Tired. Wash, rinse, repeat...

I don't know what else to say about it. I just know that I don't want to be like this. This is not living. This is merely existing. And it's unacceptable.

I'm reading and researching and doing what I can to deal with my condition(s). I have two doc appointments this week - one is a surgery follow-up and the other will be with the internist to discuss more aggressive treatment for the Periodic Paralysis. She clearly doesn't understand the condition so I will be bombarding her with pages of info this time around. I realize that I'm a lowlife with no insurance (God forbid) but I'm sick and tired of the ignorance and carelessness of the medical community. If I have to find my voice and rant and rave to make these doctors care, so be it.

School is in session, but I've only attended two days so far and I barely made it through those. I knew that I was crashing and that I wouldn't be able to make it through the school day anymore, but my teacher encouraged me to try, so I did. Unfortunately, I had to drop my Drawing II class today. I'm going to try to survive Design II, but I don't know how well that's going to go. My teacher told me not to worry so much about it but that's easier said than done. I'm so thankful that he's working with me and I wish I could be a better student. I've had to back out of the art guild (which was also very important to me) in addition to dropping Drawing II. These people are having to deal with me at my worst right now, and I can't put the disappointment into words. I feel useless and defeated.

It seems like no matter how hard I try, my goals are simply not within my reach. I don't understand why it's so unreasonable when it all boils down to is trying to better myself and become independent. But once again, it feels like a pipe dream...something that will ultimately never happen. I hope I'm wrong. I do know that I am going to continue at JC for another year of academics as long as the financial aid is there, and hopefully I'll be able to jump back into Drawing II at that time as well. But after that, I don't have any idea what I am going to do. Physically speaking, I've become so limited that my options are flying out the window...I don't know if I have any left, honestly. But I can't give up.

I can't give up.

I can't.

I have to keep telling myself that every day.

Proverbs 29:18 says "Where there is no vision, people perish".

To stop trying is to start dying. To give up is to die.

I can't give up.

I won't give up.

But I'm hanging on for dear life, by a thread, and losing strength. I need your prayers. I cannot do this alone.

At times it is very difficult, but I'm doing my best to keep life in perspective. I am grateful in the midst of all of this, even if it's not showing right now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update From Bed

Day 3 of the Rice and Bean Challenge complete. $26 to Compassion International so far.

Two weeks since surgery. Hanging in there. Follow-up on the 29th. They want money...the hospital bill came in and it is $6000. Haven't received the rest of the bills yet. I'll be paying for this for the rest of my life, but if my stupid uterus is shut down for good, it will be worth it.

Very unwell in the RTA/HKPP department. Missed school and an important meeting today. I can't live like this...something's gotta give.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

21 Day Rice and Beans Challenge for Haiti

Having gone through several major hurricanes, including Elena and Katrina which heavily damaged my home and city, I know the stress involved in not having basic necessities for an extended period of time. Friends, Haiti is rock bottom and everyone is in tremendous need of food, water, shelter, medical care and more. I can't help but think about the children who have lost their parents. Who is taking care of their needs in this moment? What in the world is going to become of them?

A few months ago, a blog friend inspired me by committing to a rice and beans challenge to raise money for orphan adoption around the world. I thought about it for a while, and decided that now is the time for me to act on this inspiration.

Beginning today, January 17th, through Saturday, February 6th, my largest meal of the day will consist of beans and/or rice to raise awareness of poverty around the world. Specifically, I will give 100 percent of donated funds to Compassion International’s Haiti Outreach. Compassion is a sponsorship program that provides basic necessities and more to children and their families all over the world. I have been involved with them off and on since I was a teen, and know that they are the real deal.

Compassion International’s headquarters in Haiti was very affected by the earthquake. All but one staff member are accounted for and being treated for injuries. Please pray that their videographer, David Hames, is found alive...he is still missing as of today.

As rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing, it will be a while before Compassion knows how their sponsored children have been affected. Those who have been accounted for have lost loved ones and need your prayers. Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, and this disaster has heightened the need for basic necessities to say the least. Food, water, shelter, and medical care are urgent. The folks at Compassion International are already established in Haiti, ready to help, all the while facing their own grief, injuries, and losses. Please pray, and give if you can.

If you are interested in sponsoring me in 21 days of rice and beans, my PayPal account is ugottafriend4life@gmail.com. Fifty cents a day is a donation of $10.50. A quarter a day is $5.25. Ten cents a day is $2.10. Anything would be appreciated. Or you can give directly to Compassion International at http://www.compassion.com.

Thank you for your consideration in helping those in desperate need.

Kelli

Please Help Haiti

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The roller coaster continues...

This has been a heck of a week.

As I said, surgery went very well. So, so thankful for that! Everyone involved (surgeon, med students, anesthesiologist) said that it went so much better than they anticipated, and they were very pleased. Hypertension and tachycardia, but other than that, it was textbook perfect right down to the 24 hours of "labor pains" that they said I would have afterwards. I handled the pain and didn't even take the pain pills that were prescribed to me. Until around the fifth day, that is, when I was in no less pain than the day after surgery. It finally got to me.

It got to me BAD.

Day four, I became very agitated and frustrated. Day five, I had a complete and total meltdown. A meltdown of epic proportions. I can't remember the last time I cried so much and so hard for so long. At least eight hours straight, and off and on for half a day after that. I couldn't get out of bed and function, and I couldn't sleep. All I could do was bawl my freaking head off. It was scary, to be honest. I was in a state of despair so deep that I literally ached from the emotional pain just as much as the physical pain. That is a bad place to be, and I pray that it doesn't happen again.

I don't have a decent explanation for it. I'm guessing it's my body trying to adjust to a toasted uterus (sorry guys), and the lack of hormones. I have been on hormone therapy for approximately 15 years, so the sudden halt is probably making my body say "WTH???" I have also been dealing with some feelings that were very magnified in this moment, and it all became too much to bear. I felt like I was dying.

Thankfully, I've appeared to snap out of it for the most part. Still agitated and overemotional at times, but certainly doing better than I was the other day. This is not the norm for me and I really, really hope that it will pass. I don't like emo Kelli at all. I want to be collected, boring, easy-going Kelli again.

Despite the pain I'm in (surprisingly my strained neck is giving me more grief than the surgery site), I started school today. My teacher announced in class that I was back and asked how I was. "Cranky", was my response. He said that everyone will be sure to stay away from me. Ha! Love my peeps...I've missed them! I'm so grateful to be there and I'm not taking it for granted. Felt awful the whole time, though. Curled up with my pillow at one point and zoned out during a lecture (sorry Mr. Poole). So many of my conditions are rearing their ugly heads right now (will elaborate on those soon)...it's really tearing me down. I'm weak and in pain to the point of nausea and tears. It's hard just to sit up in a chair sometimes. I can't imagine making it through these classes for another four months, but I'm trying so hard. I have to find the strength to do this somehow.

I just want to feel better. I'd do anything to feel better.

All I can do is breathe, pray, and take one day at a time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Still recovering...giveaway coming soon!

Hey folks, just stopping by. Still in recovery mode here and been kinda frustrated and depressed. Funny how we're so much more patient with others than we are with ourselves, eh?

Gonna try to start school on Tuesday. It actually started this past Thursday, but I definitely wasn't up to going. Hoping I will be feeling well enough to make it through the day this coming week. I'm excited about learning pastels, color pencils, and acrylics this semester...



Very thankful for an art scholarship, which paid for most of my art supplies. Who knew that "real" color pencils were sixty bucks? Yikes. I'll be taking good care of those things, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to starting back to school, but also scared to death of having to drop the studio classes due to my health. I'm still thinking that I'm not gonna make it through the day (as of right now, I'm not able to stay out of bed very much at all) but I'm going to give it my best. That's all I can do. Praying for God to give me strength.

I've got a few little giveaways coming up, so heads up on that. Nothing big and fancy like on some blogs...I'm just little 'ol me with no sponsors or a big following...and that's fine and dandy. I appreciate those of you who ARE here and I don't take you for granted. So get ready for some goodies, including a painting or two. :)

We're freezing our butts off here on the gulf coast...highs in the 30's and 40's and lows in the 20's and teens. That's almost unheard of around here so it's been quite the talk of the town. No white stuff, though...not sure that we'll get that lucky.

Let me know how your 2010 is going so far!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Post-Surgery

Sitting up for a few minutes. Still very weak and in a lot of pain, but the meds have kicked in and I haven't been sick once (major shocker...hooray). Everyone at USA Children's and Women's Hospital was super nice. They took all of my risks into sincere consideration, and this is the best I've ever done post-surgery. They said that the surgery went much more smoothly than they expected. I'm so relieved and so, so thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers.

My 2010 Bucket List

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

(SLIGHTLY EDITED) Obtain three certifications/degrees. (I have two certifications so far...Office Administration and Bob Ross Instruction...working on the college degree 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.

Traveling 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.

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.

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.



The one that I get to cross off of my list: Have a booth at an Arts & Crafts Festival

Yaaaaaaaay! :D


So which one (or more) will I complete this year?

I'm hoping to have the money to treat myself to some spa pampering for my birthday in March. I've never been to a spa in my life because I'm so limited on funds as well as what I can physically handle - no massages allowed due to my neuromuscular disease, and I have extremely sensitive feet that I don't let anybody touch. I would like to go and maybe get a facial as well as hand treatment. I would consider paraffin and hot stone therapy on my feet, but would have to turn down the foot massage because my feet depolarize at the drop of a hat. I'd also consider a manicure but not a pedicure. I have a hard time justifying this splurge because it can get rather pricey, and I'm capable of doing most of this stuff myself at home, but I think I'm going to make this one exception for my birfday. :)

I obviously want to get back down to my ideal weight, and stay there. I figure that will stay on my bucket list forever...it's just one of those continuous goals.

I'd love to learn to play a musical instrument, but time is a huge factor. Between college and work, I don't know if I'll have time to really pursue this. Maybe during the summer, perhaps?

Same with learning to sew, although I'm really only wanting to learn how to make VERY simple stitches. Pillowcases and baby blankets...that's it. Should be a no-brainer, really, but I don't have the machine nor the time to invest in this right now. It IS on my agenda, though, so it WILL happen eventually.

I will be diving back into French this fall, and hope to redeem myself from the fiasco that was 9th grade French class. Freaking nightmare and I HATED it. Love the language, though, and want to learn it the RIGHT way this time around.

I'll continue drawing this year but I don't know when I will be comfortable enough to remove it from my list. I think it will be quite a while, honestly.

I would love some postcards from my peeps!!! If you can send me one, shoot me a message and I'll reply with a snail mail address. :) I lost all of my postcards in Hurricane Katrina, so I've had to start a new collection. I love postcards!

And finally...anybody gotta 2-seater Harley? :D

Saturday, January 2, 2010

While on Christmas vaca...

So much to do, so little time!

Before my neck freaked out on me, I managed to get a few things done on my to do list.

Organized the storage room...



And yes, THAT is considered ORGANIZED. You should have seen it beforehand! It was SKEERY!

I got my school work out of the way, but haven't found a decent place for it yet. Some of it is too large to fit in my portfolio bag, so for now, it's lying on the broken treadmill...



One of my projects...still life charcoal, 18 x 24 newsprint

I've also done a fair amount of laundry and loaded up a box of clothing for the local women's and children's shelter. Then I strained my neck, and I haven't been able to do much since. It's much better than it was and today was my first day without the brace. Still hurts, but it's manageable now.

The rest of my weekend will probably consist of painting and planning. Monday is surgery day, then back to school asap. I'm not optimistic about my current school schedule and I think I'll have to drop a studio class, but I am going to give it my best shot.

I guess that's all for now.