"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill
That sentiment has been my marching orders since I woke up in the hospital one day; my arms, neck, and torso filled with tubes. I had been in an induced coma for 7 weeks. My pancreas had caught a virus and died. A condition that kills 9 out of 10 of those who go through it. So at that point just being alive was an accomplishment, I suppose.
It took a few years for me to get back enough strength to be able to work a full day, to walk up a hill, to do little things that are so easy to take for granted. I was in the hospital for three months. When I got back home my body was so weak that every little task required a big, long nap after. Eat a bowl of cereal- sleep for an hour. Walking to the bathroom was my Everest. I'm self employed so I felt a lot of pressure to get back to work as soon as possible. That, plus, there are only so many hours you can spend in bed before you go stark raving bonkers. Also, I need to accomplish things. I need to feel like I am moving forward.
I remember posting this photo called "the 30 minute mask" on Facebook. April 9, 2010. 11 months after I went to the hospital. www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbi…
It was a photo of the work I had done that week, 30 minutes at a time.
Work for 30 minutes, sleep for 2 hours. Repeat.
I was working on two neoprene mask orders and one of my first cosplay mask orders, a leather mask for an Arkham Asylum version of Harley Quinn. It took about 7 versions to get to the design that became "Supermask." That is one of my most popular masks. With thanks to lovely Rachel Lara and her gorgeous photo that got everyone's attention. alyssa-ravenwood.deviantart.co…
Work for 30 minutes, rest for 2 hours. Repeat. Keep going.
Now I can work a full day. I'm still slower and weaker than I was before but I keep getting stronger. My business has grown. My leather masks have become very popular. My relationship with the cosplay community keeps growing. My hubby and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and we love it there. We were starting to get out from under the financial mess created by my being out of work for so long. It felt like we had gone through hell, we had kept going, and we moved though it.
Last November my husband started getting bad headaches. The headaches did not respond to pain medication. It started to be too painful for him to work. We started falling behind on rent and were threatened with eviction, our utilities were turned off. The doctor just kept throwing different pain pills at him. My husband did a very smart thing and went to a different doctor who then sent him to see a neurologist. We found out he has epilepsy. He can't work or drive, it messes with his ability to think and communicate clearly. He is very very sick right now. The good news is that if they find the right treatment for him he will feel much much better. He will get to see an epilepsy specialist on Oct 1. Hopefully they can help.
So, Mr. Churchill, we need your encouraging words again. Sometimes it all feels so overwhelming. If I can just keep focused on moving forward... 30 minutes, rest, repeat.
My husband has created a wonderful goal to maintain his sanity and keep his spirits up during this time. He creates and completes one work of art a day. He is compiling them into a collection and combining them with contributions from many of our super talented friends. It will be a Zine called "Grow" and available for sale. I'll keep you posted.
I have not been as creative in my survival plan yet. Right now I'm just staying focused on making masks for the Halloween sales season. I'm looking for something to relight my creative spark. I love that feeling when I am working on a piece and I become lost in the act of creating. I feel alive, excited, and useful. I'm not feeling that way right now but I know from experience if I just keep making - don't stop, keep going - that feeling comes back. Feeling alive and excited and useful.
Wishing you all love, health, and joy,
This story has a happy ending. We did keep going and things got better. My hubby went to see the epilepsy specialists at UCSF in October. They did many tests and found out that his 1st neurologist was wrong. He does not have epilepsy. Yay! His neurologist had put him on the maximum dosage of seizure medication. That medication was causing big problems with his ability to control his muscles and how his brain functioned. As soon as the specialists took him off the unnecessary medications he felt much better. He still has the headaches and we are still looking for the source of those. He is back at work and feeling much better.
This illustrates the importance of getting a second opinion. That 1st neurologist caused more problems than the ones he came to her with, grrrrrr.
We are both very happy he is feeling better.