Looking Back – Day 113 – Self Portrait..

Today is Day 113 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Thirteen – January 21, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today….

This was a stretch. But it was an apple image…

Some days were challenging, very challenging. But as we all know, that’s just life. Tomorrow there would be another apple, and another 252 after that. One day at a time is the best way to get through most anything.

To see my original Day 113 post ~ Self Portrait ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 112 – It’s Called Yellow,

Today is Day 112 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Twelve – January 20, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

I think I love the color yellow even more today than back then. It has become my happy color. I don’t use a ton of it in my art but I wear a lot more yellow these days. I have a shocking yellow cardigan I adore, and a yellow t-shirt dress that is perfect for casual summer days. In my 20’s and 30’s I wore a lot of the standard artist black. I prefer my current wardrobe full of the brightest colors I can find.

I’ll be wearing yellow today – for hope, a bright future, and my devotion to my art. (See original post for clarity on this)

To see my original Day 112 post ~ It’s Called Yellow ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 111 – Pretty In Pink

Today is Day 111 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Eleven – January 19, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

Ah…. in ten years we change a lot. Life throws so much at us each year so there is really no way we wouldn’t. I have been contemplating the post from 10 years ago this morning and my answer to Maya’s question has more perspective now at 51 vs. 41.

She asked me, “What are three things you can’t live without?”

Back then my list was very long but one of my answers to her was color. It would be difficult for me to lose color from my life but today the answer is there is nothing I can’t live without. I am stronger and more resilient and if there is anything we can count on, it is change and loss. There are many things I want in my life including all the people I love, my home and studio, my sweet furry companions. But… I can go on. Life goes on.

Here’s a very small list of things I wish to have with me always.

My Mumma. All my family and lovely circle of friends. Furry babies Lucy, Bittie, Lola, and Lulu. Ice Cream! Max Richter. Pandora/SiriusXM, British Baking Show, Haddock Rubens. Dahlias and Zinnias from my Dad’s garden. Books! A vegetable garden or a near by farm stand for fresh veggies. Online shopping! Whole Foods Chantilly Cake. Yacht Rock station on Pandora, The color slightly more purple than fuchsia – violet I guess), a large studio with wonderful light, old items from my Nana and Gammie, trinkets on my windowsill, heart shaped rocks, Snapseed and my Google Pixle. Houseplants, perennials, a rock garden full of moss. YELLOW! Views from mountaintops, the sound of windchimes mixed with the song of the birds, the chartreuse of the spring buds on the trees in spring, hikes through deep remote forests. The sound of the ocean. My parents home on Vinalhaven. Laughter.

Glitter!!!

And most of all I want my sweet love; my husband Doug.

To see my original Day 111 post ~ Pretty In Pink ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 109 – Life Saver

Today is Day 109 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Nine – January 17, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

So… this is embarrassing.

Do as I say, not as I do, I guess? Yikes!

I didn’t get a medical alert bracelet 10 years ago or 9 years ago or even last week. Why? Denial is strong in me. I’m working on it.

Reading my post about all the reasons I should have one is a very shocking reminder paired with my confession. Time for reality, and a pretty life saver.

Please read my post from 10 years ago today ~ Life Saver ~  click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 108 – Picasso Apple

Today is Day 108 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Eight – January 16, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

I’m thinking about how 10 years ago I felt “ancient” and I’m realizing that if I was ancient then what am I now? The good news is that since this day 10 years ago, I have adjusted to the – only one space between sentences – and it was easier than I thought it would be at the time. I fingers still occasionally double tap the space bar even after 10 years – isn’t muscle memory fascinating!

I’ve been feeling my age lately and where before it was mostly in my achy old joints, it is now hitting full force in my memory. I see it in those around me too… is it the stress of this last year or something in the water? lol

Whatever it is I’m not a fan. I feel like a Picasso – disjointed and odd but fascinatingly and strangely I still work.

To see my original Day 108 post ~ Picasso Apple ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 107 – Home Sweet Home

Today is Day 107 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Seven – January 15, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

I didn’t cancel my plans to celebrate a friend’s birthday!!!

This was a success especially after an extremely long day of travel. What so many don’t understand about one of the big tolls on the lives of people trying to manage a life with a painful disease is that plans are tricky things. We have the best intentions and sometimes we can mentally push through and attend the event but there are times when we just don’t have the strength to push through the pain.

I remember attempting to be at my cousin David’s wedding in L.A. before I was diagnosed and being in so much pain I couldn’t function at all. I was there physically but that was about it. Thankfully the wedding and reception were in the hotel we were staying in so I was in bed right up to the point they walked down the aisle. I vividly remember sitting holding Doug’s hand and barely keeping the tears from falling. The threatening tears were from excruciating pain and I was sad I couldn’t enjoy the happy family time but it was also the unspoken deep fear that I had no ability to control my life that felt ripped away at such a young age. The day before my family pushed me around an amusement park in a wheelchair because I was trying to be ok for the wedding.

And, in one moment of trying to be normal and enjoy the day, I went on a ride. That ride sent my neck into one of the worst flares I ever had.

And so there I sat for 30 minutes gritting my teeth, squeezing Doug’s hand, and all I could really think about was getting back to the room to lay down take the strain off my neck and knowing that when I did, the pain would still be there but at least I’d be able to release my jaw and not be around people and have to smile. I missed all of the reception except for about 15 minutes to eat a bit of dinner and have a dance with Doug. A dance that was painful. How horrible these memories are. I don’t want to relive them but I want to document them and to share the horrible moments right along with the wonderful moments on other posts here and how at this point in time I’m thriving!

Those years with moments that are forever etched in my mind are many. This is just one story. The “crisis years” as I call them are the years before a diagnosis and they are filled with living this way. Even as we find our way to an eventual diagnosis and hopefully some effective treatment, these years were so challenging that they tend to scar deep trauma into our minds and ability to move forward. We are in a constant state of the “what ifs”

What if I do this activity and I end up in pain?

It taints so much. It feels like loss, over and over and over. I’ve been fortunate to have such great success with the biologic anti-TNF medication called Remicade. I’ve had 14 years of doing quite well and getting back to a somewhat normal life but somewhat normal still includes concessions, planning, rest, flares, skipping events, and missing out on doing some things that I want to do that physically is a risk I’m not willing to take because of those moments and memories like my cousin Dave’s wedding. If you’ve never experienced that level of pain count yourself very very lucky, it is life changing.

So, if I cancel plans, there is a reason and I wish it weren’t the case. And if I am able to be there I might be fine or I might we struggling with pain that I’m just doing my best to manage. You can ask, but you don’t need to either because I really just want as normal a life as possible. If you know me well, you can see how I am by just looking at my eyes. The answer is there… if you look.

On this day 10 years ago – I was home, and I was there!!!

To see my original Day 107 post ~ Home Sweet Home ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 106 – Travel Day Tips

Today is Day 106 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Six – January 14, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

Travel days… they are a lot easier these days but I’m currently flaring due to a reduction in my Remicade dose due to weight loss and travel right now would be more strained. In the past travel filled me with anxiety and dread. Why? Pain.

I just did a simple search on my blog to see what I’ve written about pain and interestingly – not much came up. Did I really spend a year raising awareness about A.S. and not discuss it that much? Or… is my site in a desperate need of reindexing? I know it needs better tags and categories but it’s the dullest job on the planet so I keep putting it off. Today I see it needs to happen so that I don’t have to write experiences over. I’m trying to share about this disease but not live in the past trauma and pain. It’s a difficult balancing act for sure.

Since I’m at a loss for finding a past post to link to – here are some tips for travel.

9 Tips for Travel when you have a painful autoimmune arthritis.

1. Rest Up Before You Travel: Bank some spoons because you’re going to need them.

2. For The Love Of God Wear Sturdy Broken In Shoes: There is a lot of walking through airports and often at a quick pace so comfortable shoes are a must.

3. Invest One Of Those Travel Neck Thingies: I have a couple of these. The newest ones you can find have memory foam and a snap to keep the thingy closed tight around your neck which is awesome to give you the ability to rest even when sitting upright. I won’t travel without one!

4. Have your pain meds handy: Keep them is an easily accessible place and not in the overhead compartment.

5. Take A Pillow: For long flights a small pillow for putting at the small of your back is extremely helpful. The seats (especially the discount carriers) are horrible and have zero back support.

6. Voltaren Gel Is Your New Best Friend: If you’ve never tried Voltaren Gel I would run out and get some asap. It is now over the counter! It’s basically ibuprofen in a gel and rubbing it on to a troubled spot gets relief faster than taking a tablet internally in my experience.

7. Head Phones With Calming Music On Your Phone: That baby behind you is about to start screaming and your fibro is now on level 10 so noise is painful. Blocking it out some is imperative.

8. Travel With Someone If Possible: If I travel with my husband or brother, it’s just easier and they are tuned into my needs and so helpful with everything.

9. Travel Light or Check Bags: The less you have to carry the better. I almost always check my bags and carry on a backpack that is as light as possible. If it needs to be heavier, I have a smallish backpack that has a waist strap to carry most of the load on my hips and not put strain on my shoulders and neck.

All of these things done alone are helpful but put them all together and travel is much, much smoother and gets you to your destination in better shape. If you have a travel tip, I’d love to hear it and add it to the list!

To see my original Day 106 post ~ Travel Day ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…

Looking Back – Day 105 – Heartfelt

Today is Day 105 of the Art Apple A Day Retrospective – for information on the project click here.

Day One Hundred Five – January 13, 2010

Looking back 10 years ago today…

I’m not sure what was happening in the world or in my life on this day ten years ago but I’m praying and thinking about humanity today as well. I sent a couple of text messages to my family thread last night. One an image of a current piece of art work and immediately following a meme about current events. My Mom responded, “Beautiful and awful next to each other.” and I guess that pretty much sums up life.

This is why we need to capture joy wherever and whenever we can. Sending you all a heartfelt warm, soft, sway back and forth, virtual hug.

To see my original Day 105 post ~ Heartfelt ~ from 10 years ago click here or on the image above.

And the story will continue tomorrow…