Saturday, January 28, 2012

In better news...

School is going very well. I'm 6 1/2 weeks ahead in Algebra, 2 1/2 weeks ahead in World Lit, 1 week ahead in Health, and right on time in Sociology. I am so glad that I have competent, organized online instructors this semester...woohoo!!! Three of the four have allowed us to work ahead a bit, so I've done that. I have an A in World Lit and Health, no grade in Sociology yet (it's moving slowly), and a B in Algebra. Anybody who knows me knows how much I struggle with Algebra. I do well in almost every other class out there, but math has always been and will always be my Achilles' heel.

Math is for the left-brainers. Not for Kelli.
I've come to the conclusion that I was meant to be monolingual.
My brain has enough room for English, and that's pretty much it.
Sorry, folks.

In a leap of faith, I've gotten back on the Saturday schedule at Hobby Lobby. Mind you, I am getting around on two canes that I use as crutches, and I have yet to complete a painting since my serious episodes of HKPP, but some of my students have agreed to an "open studio" where I will host and advise as they paint whatever they want. I will be sitting there at the table with them and (hopefully) demonstrating the technique. A few have signed up, including a friend who is making a three hour drive down here, so I had better be able to make it there. I am hoping to paint with them but I'm not going to hold my breath on that. I will give it another shot tomorrow, though.

I've got a friend who offered to take photos of some of my work...just have to find a day where I can get it all to her. It will be helpful to have actual professional photos of some of my paintings, so I can finally start selling prints.

My eBook is coming along, albeit, very slowly. I've made another appeal to the masses who received my initial email to respond asap before I drop them. Many of the charities have visited my website, so I know they're at least paying attention. I've said all I can say,'s up to them to allow me to feature them in the book. I will send out another 40 or 60 emails in February. Really hoping to reach my goal of featuring 100 great charities, but it looks like it may be much smaller. We'll see.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rough week

Things have gone severely downhill again with the Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. I'm in agony from head to toe and barely able to lift my legs or hold my body up. I'm back on crutches and I've been having trouble breathing and swallowing all week. Sometimes, I feel like I'm dying.

I'm still having nightmares about my visit to Infirmary West ER eight months ago. As much as I pray about it and try to get over it, I can't. I still hate their guts for what they did to me. I can't allow them to continue to hurt me like this, but the memories are not going away. Say a prayer for me, if you will.

My emergency bracelet broke a couple weeks ago, so as soon as I'm able to walk and drive again, I guess I'm headed to Walmart for a wristband or something. It's not ideal to go out in public without it anymore, so I need to make sure I do this. Maybe typing it out will help me remember.

I'm just rambling so I guess that's all for now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I want every person on the planet to watch this.

Years ago I was caregiver for a child who acted exactly like her, also autistic, but I knew he was so much more intelligent than anyone around him realized and I pray for the same breakthrough for him that Carly has been given.

Sensory Overstimulation is so complex and horribly misunderstood. ADHD, OCD, and Tourette's are also in this category. I wish the world could grasp the fact that people with (undamaged brain) sensory disorders are not mentally ill. This is physical and physiological. The capacity to function is absolutely there, but the signals that control nerve stimulation are confused due to severe chemical imbalances. Literally a "system overload".

I got choked up when she said she wished everyone could be in her body for one day. God, yes. I say that all the time. I have Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation, a result of Neuromuscular disease. I can't describe how it feels to live in a body that feels like it's short circuiting 24/7/365. My symptoms don't present in the same fashion as hers, but it acts out of control in other ways. I admire this young woman so much for coming forward and sharing her story. She is a hero for the impact she is making in this ignorant world. We have barely touched the surface of Neurology...there is still so much to learn. I can't wait to read her book and her blog. I will be looking for it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This guy is begging for a name

Pastel drawing in progress. I have no idea when I'll complete him, but he needs a name. Something strong like Rustic know, a good "horse" name.

Shoot me an email if you have suggestions. :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Day of Coincidences

College is upon me once again. I will be a Junior this year, and I can't wait to officially dive into my major. I was telling a friend that I wish I had been able to keep my Intro to Psychology textbook (from Psych 101 a year ago) because I liked it that much.

Would you believe I went to pick up my books for the new semester today, and that very textbook was on the "FREE" table outside the campus bookstore?

Before leaving the house to visit the campus, I shared this article on Facebook and in reference to it, I said "By the way, I'd be the one who mispronounced "Goethe". I am notorious for mispronouncing words." (Goethe is a word that I've seen before, but have never heard it so I am sure I would say it wrong. I'm bad about doing that.)

Anyway, when I arrived home with my textbooks, I found this on the back cover of World Lit!

Somebody cue the Twilight Zone theme. It's been one of those days...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Had Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis!!!

Click to read: Mystery of Victorian-era poet's illness deciphered after 150 years

The symptoms she described in her diary are textbook Familial Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, just like my symptoms are. I find it incredibly sad that she went undiagnosed and untreated, eventually dying in her husband's arms. But how amazing that someone has acknowledged and given a name to this woman's illness after 150 years. This definitely puts HKPP on the historical map. What a find!!!

Discovering & Recovering

This is something that I don't recall mentioning on this particular blog before. I have on others, but not this one. It's a tough subject for me to bring up at this time...tougher than I expected it to be...but I believe it's important that I share. So this is the first of a few blog entries that I'll devote to a widely ridiculed and often misunderstood condition that I and millions of others deal with. For once, I'm not referring to my systemic disease.

Over the past few months, I've been spending some time watching television (which is not common for me). I have to say a couple of the faces of Food Network have really struck a chord in me lately. One is a chef who is a tremendous perfectionist. In watching him closely, it became pretty obvious that he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I'm not going to type his name because I don't want to risk this coming up in a search of him. He doesn't publicly acknowledge his OCD, so I'm certainly not going to disrespect him by doing so. But make no mistake...he has it. After only a short time, I recognized his behavior, and a few weeks later, one of his chef friends picked on him about it in detail on Twitter. It was a confirmation that my observations were right on the money.

This reminded me of my own challenges...things that I don't often think about until they blatantly slap me in the face. I have acknowledged in the past that I have mild OCD, but haven't talked about it a lot. Believe it or not, those who notice this in me the most are my students. I have mentioned it many times in class because I struggle greatly with creating paintings that are asymmetrical. I don't let things get too students and I always chuckle about it and move on. I do my best but I have found that when I compare my paintings to others, my paintings are borderline ridiculous because I can tell that I was trying to create a symmetrical scene in spite of my efforts not to. Frustrating, but a challenge that I knowingly chose in becoming a Ross instructor. Eventually, I started to deny that I had OCD because I felt my issues were manageable. As much as I hate to admit this, the last time I mentioned it while teaching, I said "I call myself OCD, but I'm really not." I had started using the word "quirky" instead. I had convinced myself that I didn't fit the mold, and that I needed to stop going on about it (because only those who have OCD should be allowed to make light of it, in my humble opinion).

Years before my symmetrical painting battles, I was an excessive hand washer. I couldn't walk by the bathroom without stopping to wash and dry (and dry, and dry) my hands. At some point, I recognized what I was doing and made a conscious effort to improve. I did so, and stopped dwelling on it. But when I think about it now, I realize that the mindset is still there, I'm only executing the habit differently than I used to. I'll go into more detail later. I don't want this entry turning into a novel.

That being said, OCD was back on my mind again for the first time in a while.

Then during the recent holiday season, "Unwrapped" came on. I had not seen it in a few years, but I love the show and I've always loved Marc Summers. I loved him when I was in elementary school watching Double Dare, and I loved him even more when he came forward about OCD years later. He wrote a book in the late 90's, but I didn't read it. Watching his TV interview(s) was painful, although I felt very proud of him for sharing his struggle. I don't think I had ever been so proud of a man as I was of him when he did that. It affected me deeply.

Anyway, that night when "Unwrapped" came on, I decided to Google Marc so I could read his Wiki page (I Wiki everybody these days) and his book popped up in the search. Cue my conscience tapping me on the shoulder. I said to myself "Okay, okay. Read the book, Kelli. You know you should." I promised myself that I would go by the library the next day and look it up, so I did and read it straight through.

Gut-wrenching. Profoundly unexpected. Life-changing.

I didn't even get out of the foreword before the tears started. The facts about OCD and the variety of ways that it manifests was like a punch in the throat. I felt like I couldn't breathe the entire time I was reading. I was sick to my stomach and couldn't eat until the next day. The issues of symmetry and hand washing are nothing...a drop in the bucket compared to the discoveries I've made about myself thanks to this book. One page suddenly made a lifetime of irrational fear and anxiety make sense.

I am completely overwhelmed. Broken. Thankful. Scared. A flood of emotions. If only I had read it in '99. I don't know if my life would have been much different, but I think I would have been a little less confused and felt a lot less crazy.

How much do I love Marc Summers for writing this book? I don't know. I'm just grateful.

I gave people my word that I would share more soon...still processing all of this. Right now, I'm at a loss as to what else to say. One thing I do know - I will kick some serious butt when I dive back into my college major soon. Lemonade will be made by the truckload. Bring it on.