Day 178 – Oh The Glorious Apple!

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Seventy Eight

 

When people ask me “Why an apple as a symbol for AS Awareness?” my immediate thought is:

Oh the Glorious Apple!

All these gifts from just one seed,
The apple, soul and body feed,
Plant a seed and time will show,
That from one seed a tree will grow.
Oh the glorious apples.  – Bill Harley’s Johnny Appleseed Song

Yeah, that isn’t really an answer so I thought I’d share with you some of  my answers to “why apples?”

1. When I decided to use art to help raise awareness – I needed something I could create over and over again in many forms. Not only did this mean a shape that could be transformed but one that is extremely difficult to dislike. Who doesn’t like the glorious apple? I’ve so far created simple artistic representations in multiple media, some really fun pop culture apples like R2-D2, Super Apple, and Mr. Apple Head, and I’ve wrapped the apple in zebra, had it get an i.v. infusion, thrown it out as a baseball on the first night of the World Series – who knows what might be next!

2. Apples have anti-inflammatory properties and have recently been shown to be such amazing super foods that one a day can extend lifespan by up to 10%.  There are all sorts of great benefits of the glorious apple!

3. The adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a powerful statement for people living with chronic illness. If it just took eating an apple a day to be well then we would all happily eat our favorite roughage and get on with our lives. Since eating your daily apple isn’t enough to make AS disappear – I thought that maybe if I “fed” or produced an image of an apple each day it might provide hope that one day saying “I have Spondylitis” will be as understood as “I have Cancer.”  A tall order but that is what I am passionate about and what I work for everyday!

The Feeding Edge is where I can talk about what a life with spondylitis means and make it accessible to people who don’t have AS. I feel that for us to spread the word, we have to find a way to reach outside our community. Hopefully my endeavor, my journey to create 365 daily apples will interest people from all walks of life and maybe, just maybe, be interesting and challenging enough of a personal crusade that I can get some press. Awareness starts with stories and  I am working on building a story. I hope you’ll all join me in being a part of this campaign. If you like the idea – talk with people about what I’m doing. Send my link to friends and family and join my Facebook page or better yet – get your Daily Apple in your email each morning! Share the images, post them on Facebook – these apples belong to you!

People don’t understand what we are dealing with, but perhaps they might like seeing each new daily apple creation and learn something about Spondylitis in the process.

Oh The Glorious Apple – now you know!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 178 was created in pastels.

 

Day 123 – Three Fortunes

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Twenty Three
Art Apple - Day One Hundred Twenty Three

I’ve become a member of a community of health advocate bloggers at WEGO Health.

WEGO is a site for people like me, who are working to get information about living with health challenges and issues regarding access to care in our communities and to the general public. It also serves as a way to use social media to connect our message to health professionals. Part of WEGO’s mission is to help me become better at what I do so that I can reach more people. A recent topic of discussion was, “What three fortunes would you give to your community about their future?”  Ankylosing Spondylitis takes twists and turns in our lives, so I can’t say what specifically may be in store for you, but I can share with you a few insights into how the “three fortunes” I’ve choosen may make the journey with AS seem less frightening.

Fortune one: Is broken open while you are going through test after test looking for answers and it says, “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” This seems very difficult for you to believe right now, but I want to assure you that it is true. You will get past the worst of where you are right now. And the fortitude that you will possess in the future will astound you and make you a better and more empathetic person.      “True contentment comes with empathy.” – Tim Finn

Fortune two: Is ready for you when you receive your diagnosis. It says, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”  No, you weren’t crazy and the pain is physically real, but so much of what you are experiencing is the pain of loss. Loss of “the you” who didn’t have AS. With this new understanding you begin to see that there is no easy fix; there is no cure.  Your new understanding grows and will crack through you with anger and denial. Eventually there will be some acceptance. That is the important thing to remember about this fortune. Your spirit will overtake the despair and you will learn to live with who you are now. This one isn’t easy – I still have times of anger and denial, but mostly I’ve learned how to make peace with my disease. Now I truly believe that I am who I am because of where I’ve been and I wouldn’t trade my life or experiences – it just is.

Fortune three: Probably the most important of the three fortunes says, “Be assertive when decisive action is needed.” This is something that a spouse or family member can help with in the beginning because you are just barely managing – which makes it difficult to self-advocate. Until you find the medications and methods to feel better, become as educated as possible about your disease so you can make the best possible decisions about your care. Your choices are what will be best for you when you find the right health care team. If one doctor doesn’t seem right for you then move on. Doctors don’t necessarily have all the answers. You need to have the information at hand. There are so many ways to have an arsenal of information (yes, it is ammunition) because you are fighting for your well-being. Get online, check out spondylitis.org and join – it is worth the membership fee and the money helps them help you. Go to the forums and to Facebook and venture into the world of Twitter. Don’t be afraid – there are people out there ready and eager to help you. We’re all in this together. Stand Tall – your future is bright!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 123 was created with india ink, watercolor, and a few fortunes! I made the fortunes out of strips of paper that I just attached by the edge of the cookie so the original has the fortunes in 3D – wish you could see it better 🙂

***I can’t help but include these links – just for fun!***

1. Get your own custom colorful Fortunes.

2. Make a cute fabric fortune cookie with these instructions!

Day 116 – Tin Heart

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Sixteen
Art Apple - Day One Hundred Sixteen

Oh how I can relate to the tin man!

One of my new Twitter buds has a slogan he uses and attributes to his Rheumatologist – “Motion is Lotion!” Keep active and those joints will stay happy. The tin man was stuck in one spot for years but let’s get moving, ‘Stand Tall’, and Move those joints as much as we can.

If  people with AS could carry around a magic oil can for when those creaky joints act up – wouldn’t that be amazing?  Unfortunately, for many the cure seems just out of reach.  I speak with people everyday who can’t access the medications that would provide them with relief. We need to find the “heart” in our country and figure out how to make some changes – people shouldn’t have to live in pain when there are medications that can help.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 116 was made with fluid acrylics and tin.

Day 114 – Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Fourteen
Art Apple - Day One Hundred Fourteen

What’s with the snow?

We’ve been pretty lucky where I live to the southeast of Denver although the ski areas are having a record season.  I know that my friends from the east     are    so    over     it!   Every state has snow on the ground this year except Florida! Even Hawaii saw snow on the tops of their volcanos!

Spring is so glorious after a long, cold, and snowy winter so hang in there everyone!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 114 was created with acrylics, tissue paper and graphite.  Igloo idea courtesy of my friend Christine in Massachusetts!

Day 113 – Self Portrait

Art Apple - Day One Hundred Thirteen
Art Apple - Day One Hundred Thirteen

This one was fun!

I guess my hair isn’t quite this red currently and I have green eyes not blue.  I might also have few extra pounds right now (and my husband will say that I didn’t do justice to his favorite assets but, meh 🙂  Isn’t artistic license a glorious concept; I can make myself into whatever I want! I’ve written an article for Fight Like A Girl Club since I’ll be guest blogging there and my first one deals with a dream about this topic.  Stay tuned!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 113 was created as a mixed media piece using everything but the kitchen sink.

Also – I’ve decided that “:)” should work as well as a “.” to end a sentence.

Day 107 – Home Sweet Home

I’m glad to be home.

I had a wonderful trip to see my family but I really missed my sweet husband and the beasties.  I got in just before midnight last night and finally turned the lights out and put my head on the pillow around 1:30 a.m.  Uugh – I was such a tired camper this morning but I had a movie and lunch planned with my girlfriends for weeks to celebrate Alison’s Birthday and I would not cancel.  I have let people down due to canceling parties and outings at the last minute because of my AS and I just hate that part of dealing with this disease.  I’ll sleep tomorrow – in my home sweet home.

Until tomorrow – sweet dreams!

Jenna

Day 107 was made in ink and watercolor.

Day 106 – Travel Day

Traveling back to Colorado today!

I’ve had a wonderful time with Mom – it was quite a road trip.  We decided that we were a mother/daughter Thelma & Louise but without the illegal activity or bad ending and unfortunately we came across no hitchhikers who looked like Brad Pitt!  And my time with my brothers and their kids and Amy was so precious to me.   But, it will be nice to be home and back to a regular schedule.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 106 was created with watercolor crayons, water, and graphite.

Day 101 – Intro to Apple Art or Intro to AS

I love composing my post titles, but I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to come up with a clever post for my 101 day.  I do like “Intro to Apple Art” or “Intro to AS”.  I could pull a bunch of great information together to tell you more about AS and give you a content filled post but – OMG – my brain is not working!

When I get tired my AS tends to give me brain fog, and for the next couple of days my prime directive (yeah, I’m a bit of a geek – that’s Star Trek speech) is our trip back to Maine so hang in there everyone – as soon as I’m back on a regular schedule, I’ll come up with something brilliant to go with my title – lol.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 101 was made with pen & ink and watercolor.

Day Ninety nine – Tie Dye Peace Apple

Today’s apple is for my friend Alison!

I flew to Florida yesterday to join my Mom and drive her car back to Maine.  We had a really nice afternoon sitting on the beach chatting and catching up but the wind has now picked up and it’s down right chilly!  And, the internet only works out by the pool so I think I’ll cut my post rantings short today.  Hope you have a great day tomorrow Alison – Happy Birthday to you!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 99 was made in watercolor.