Art, Find Your Flow

Day Twenty-four: Find Your Flow

I’m not feeling particularly motivated today. I’ve started to worry about where my sense of commitment will come from when the #FindYourFlow program ends on the thirtieth. Will I keep going? Will I convince myself that continuing doesn’t really matter when nobody’s looking? I have benefited so much from the group through the support and inspiration they offer, but most importantly, the accountability the group provides.

I am in the middle of another flare-up…the second one in less than a month after being free from them for nearly nine months. I am frustrated, hopeless, left once again not knowing what to do. It is strange when some unknown thing ravages your body unpredictably. I want to give up…crawl into bed and never get out…white flag waving. But I keep getting up, keep trying the next thing in case it is the answer, keep going and going. I think it’s time to get in touch with that part of myself that gets up despite everything telling her to stay down. Who is she? Where does she get her courage? Her tenacity? Her hope?

Despite my not feeling well, I still felt the importance of continuing with the daily practice. When I returned from vacation yesterday, my three rose bushes were ravaged by thousands of beetles. The roses bring me so much joy, and I could not ignore the similarities between their plight and my own. I have given them tender loving care, cutting back the parts that were no longer serving them, and I know soon enough they will spring back to life and bloom once again. My watercolor today symbolizes their fight for life, their beauty, despite the circumstances.

Art, Find Your Flow

Day Twenty-two: Find Your Flow

Today I created purely on intuition. There was a particular color that I really love – the somewhat turquoise blue – so I just started with that and let my intuition lead the way.

I’ve realized on this vacation, which is coming to a close today, that I often keep myself from having fun because I don’t feel well. There have been several instances this week where I did not want to go somewhere, but because I did, I had an incredible time. I’m not one to push through the pain like I used to because it often makes things worse, but I do see the need to push myself to get out more and experience life even when everything in my body says to stay home and rest. I will need to find a balance somehow.

Balance is a theme that comes up again and again in my life. I am a Libra, so…not surprising.

Art, Find Your Flow

Day Fourteen: Follow Your Flow

Today is a new day. The chaos of yesterday is over. When I thought about it, I realized nothing had really changed. I had hope for a couple of hours that the mystery of my health had been solved, and then it was back to not knowing. At this point, I think acceptance is the next step. I have been fighting for a long time, and I am tired. I am going to focus on developing my artistic skills, and let the Universe take over my health situation. When the time is right, I will get back up and fight, if that is what I’m called to do, but for now, I have done all I know to do. I am incredibly grateful that I have the #FindYourFlow group to keep me motivated, and incredibly grateful that I have a life and a job that is flexible and tailored around the health issues I am experiences. The Universe is supporting me in myriad, magical ways, and I’m going to focus on that. Plus being immobile so much really allows me to focus on creating and building my skills. Maybe that has been the Universe’s intention all along. Maybe I wouldn’t slow down, so the Universe found a way to make it happen so that I could step back on the right path towards happiness.

Today’s sketches were fun. I sat down and thought about my commitments and intentions for today’s session. My commitments were to spend at least thirty minutes sketching and then to post my completed sketches here on the blog. My intentions were to really feel a sense of commitment to the #FindYourFlow process while completing the sketches, and also to feel joy in the creation of three new characters. I have to say, I really did enjoy completing today’s sketches. I completed the next section in Nina Rycroft’s Guide to Drawing Eyes – rectangle eyes. I decided to change the face shapes today from ovals to rectangles, and I added color to the sketches using Raffine Aquarelle watercolor pencils. I am learning that there is one character each day that I’m drawn to that I spend more time on adding more details and more elaborate colors and shades, and it is usually the female character. I do love the first boy’s expression – he reminds me of my son when I ask him to do something. Ha! Ha!

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Art, Find Your Flow

Day Thirteen: Find Your Flow

Today was the day. I counted to be sure. Five business days since the biopsy. I called for the results half thinking this will end up like all the other tests, half hopeful that an answer would be found this time around. I had a biopsy two years ago for the same dis-ease – it came back positive. It’s crazy to feel relief at being diagnosed with something incurable, and yet I was overjoyed and relieved to finally have a diagnosis after sixteen years of declining health. I was referred to an oncologist, a bone marrow biopsy was done, a second opinion sought, a finding that the original positive result was a false positive. Depression, hopelessness, everything negative you can think of followed. I was back to no diagnosis, the echoes of so many doctors’ findings “it’s all in your head” echoing off the walls. Fast forward two years. More unexplained symptoms. A decline, decline, decline. This diagnosis the only one that makes sense, even to a new set of doctors. A request for a second biopsy just to rule it out once and for all so we can move on.

Today was the day. The nurse says something about a protein build-up, I don’t really understand what she is talking about.

I say, “this was a test for amyloidosis.”

She says, “Yes.”

I say, “Is it positive?”

She says, “Yes.”

“I have amyloidosis?”

“Yes.”

Holy shit!

Two years later and another positive biopsy. I feel relief at first, then skepticism. Did I hear her right? Did she make a mistake reading the results? Are they going to take it away from me again? Are they going to say it was a mistake…again? Am I going to have to go through all this again only to be told there’s nothing they can do, it’s all in my head?

Then I realize, I have lost two years of treatment. How much damage has been done? My amazing primary physician says, “they can’t call you crazy anymore.” He’s already referred me to the oncologist, but they can’t get me in until August. A waiting game…

UPDATE: I decided to call back the doctor’s office and ask for a copy of the results to be sent to me and guess what??? The results say that the biopsy was NEGATIVE for amyloidosis, NOT positive. I am feeling quite angry right now, but I thought I would at least post an update here.

I didn’t want to sketch today, but I made a commitment to my daily creative practice…no matter what. So, I continued with Nina Rycroft’s Guide to Drawing Eyes class. Today is square-shaped eyes. I created three characters using the three square eye shapes from the video. I added color again, this time using Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle for the skin and Derwent Inktense for the rest of the color. The sketch paper did not hold up well because it’s not made for watercolor, but there was an interesting bubble effect that showed up on the skin that I think is really cool. And, the baby looks a little sinister which I like 😉

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Art, Find Your Flow

Day Six: Find Your Flow

This morning I found myself wanting to procrastinate. I looked around at all the things I need to get done around the house, and had to stop myself from doing those things instead of my sketching practice. I really wanted to distract myself from the anxiety I’m feeling today. I’m going to see a new specialist this afternoon, and I really don’t want to go. I have been down this road again and again, and it never ends well. I tell myself maybe this doctor will be different, I get my hopes up that an answer will be found, and then it all plays out the same way. At first, the doctors are enthusiastic to see me. They believe they will be the one to figure out the mystery that is me. But after they have run all their tests and come up with nothing, they get frustrated or lose interest, and tell me there is nothing they can do for me.

I have not been well for eighteen years. About seven years ago, I believed the mystery had been solved when an endocrinologist discovered a parathyroid tumor. It was quickly removed, and I was declared cured. But, my health has continued to decline. I have really good days, and then I have days that take my feet out from under me, and I just have to let it do what it does until it’s done. Life stops, plans stop, everything stops. I am learning to accept this, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Neither is continuing to carry the hope that the next specialist will be the one to finally figure it all out.

Despite my need to procrastinate and distract, I sat down and sketched my six characters. Today’s lesson was Nina Rycroft‘s oval-shaped faces. I really like the results. I received a Caran D’Ache non-photo blue pencil in the mail yesterday, and I absolutely loved sketching with it. It felt like putting silk down on the page, and I love the results. It’s amazing how having just the right creative tool can make such a difference in the creating experience.

Here are today’s sketches. I love the second character. She looks like I feel today. Ha! Ha!

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