Sunday, June 22, 2014

Show Me Your Brave

Now before the Internet grammar police descend upon me like a pack of rabid wolves, let me begin by saying that the choice of "your" vs "you're" in this sketchbook drawing is deliberate.  As I prepare for my 11th and most serious surgery to date, I've had the Sara Bareilles tune "Brave" on my mind and one line in particular: "Show me how big your brave is."  I love the concept of bravery as a tangible thing.  Courage isn't just some ethereal character trait we possess but also something that has a look, a feel, an identity.  Courage has substance and its weight can squash fear flat.  Perhaps for this little achromatic creature, his brave is manifested through his choice of rainbow-splashed, propeller-adorned headgear.

In about a week, I am having a subtotal plantar fasciectomy on my left foot along with a bunionectomy.  For lovers of Latiin roots, "-ectomy" means "removal" as in the surgeon will be removing all of the plantar fascia from the arch of my foot in the hopes of permanently removing a large fibroma that currently makes walking awkward and agonizing.  The incision will wrap in a lazy "S" from my heel to up around my little toe, where the surgeon will also correct a bunion that has developed after years of walking on the side of my foot to avoid the lump in my arch.  Ouch!

Post-operatively, I am looking at four to six weeks of non-weight bearing recovery.  This translates to lots of Netflix viewing and hopefully, a concurrent application of decent pain meds so I can actually focus on what I'm watching.  After that, it's off to physical therapy to learn to walk on my "new" foot.  The reoccurance rate for fibromas tackled this way sits at about 25% so I am going into this procedure hoping to be part of the 75% who get lucky and find a solution to their plantar fibromatosis.  I have this condition in both feet and just for kicks, I have the hand version bilaterally as well.  (Nothing's ever simple.)

Anyway, long story short, I've been doing a lot of looking for my brave lately.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Finishing Up the Scraps Journal

This post technically covers weeks 11 through 17 of my sabbatical.  I considered continuing the weekly round-up of my sabbatical adventures but not too long from now, I'll be having surgery and I can guarantee that in the rare chance I make it to the computer during my recovery, the content of my posts will be simply "!#$@! This hurts!"  So I'll drop the requisite post headline and merely tag the posts "sabbatical" so you'll be able to find all such posts together should you get a wild hair to read my accounts in order and in their entirety.

After about 7 to 8 months away from the practice, I am slowly returning to journaling.  It is such a soothing process and I'm in serious need of soothing right now.  Ironically, I began my reintroduction to journaling by concluding a journal.  My Scraps journal had just a few unfinished pages remaining so I played for a day or so and was able to add another completed journal to the shelf.

I originally started this journal as a sort of background playground but towards the end, I felt like taking the pages a bit closer to fully composed pieces.  These efforts triggered some ideas for future projects so I am glad I didn't abandon this book after so long away.  After the initial week or so of post-op recovery, I hope I'll feel well enough to make it to my studio table and see my new projects fulfilled.  Luckily, journaling doesn't require the ability to walk (especially if one's studio is organized accordingly.)  If I am really forced to keep my foot constantly elevated for four weeks, I'll just journal on the couch with a greatly simplified toolkit.   

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Sabbatical...

Hello there dear readers...

An long overdue update is coming...probably this coming Thursday when I have a moment to gather my thoughts and shoot some pictures.  Although this space has been quiet, I was proceeding along behind the scenes, making art with renewed vigor as the school year drew to a close.  This space was silent because my days were full.  And then, in the space of a 20-minute doctor's visit, my entire summer has spun in an unexpected and unwanted direction.

At first, I was devastated.  In about a month, I'm going under the surgeon's knife for the 11th time (my 9th surgery in 13 years.)  Rehab will be a bitch...there's no sugarcoating that fact.  My ability to walk normally (or at least pain-free) for the rest of my life is on the line.  And yet, after the initial despair and frustration, a quiet feeling of determination bloomed in my heart like a flower that senses the barest glimmer of sunrise and opens to catch the warmth.  I squared my shoulders and began again.  10 surgeries have provided plenty of practice in logistical planning.  I am rallying a support team and - most importantly - I am in the studio, surrounded by stacks of pretty papers and baskets brimming with paint tubes.  Inevitably, life foils best laid plans.  We are compelled to make new plans and then we go on.  That is all any of us can do.  It is what I will do.

More details forthcoming as well as glimpses of my recent work...if you are still there, I am grateful.  I hope all of your days have been filled with art and joy...

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