Friday, February 15, 2019

Hys-ter-ic-al

I have spent a lot of time... months? curled up, staring at the backs of my eyelids... thinking. I have sketched out numerous pages for the graphic medicine/autobio comic I  want to write about my hysterectomy. In my head. I have written emails and sent cards. In my head. I have designed some online classes and outlined a new Zentangle book. In my head. And I've written many, many blog posts. In my head.

Last night, I uncurled, a little bit - and reached out on Facebook:

Anyone else awake? I had no idea the recovery time would be so hard for this hysterectomy. I figured it would hurt, sure, but what’s with my screwy head and emotions? I just feel so scared all the time. The tumor was the size of a baby - so maybe this is like having post-baby blues?

And I was amazed and reassured by the responses I received - both public and private. My surgery was only a week ago and it was a lot more involved and traumatic than expected. Well - expected by medical folks - I knew it would be unpredictable. One night in the hospital dragged on into the weekend... 

Just walking to the kitchen exhausts me. Or taking a shower. Or having a conversation with my kid. Well... that's pretty typical. Scratch that. I forget ordinary words and names or where my conversation was going. And then suddenly think of completely random things... 

Today, I suddenly remembered an argument from years ago about why someone like me should have disability insurance. You know, if something were to happen to my hand and I couldn't draw. Or I had my insides ripped out through multiple holes in my stomach and needed to rest and heal for 6-8 weeks and reduce my stress and I couldn't think coherently for a few weeks and had no way to earn money. Yeh. I should take myself more seriously in the future.

I have plenty of ideas. And tons of really cool things that I had started. It's just that right now - where it takes me a week just to open my computer and write a blog post... those genius plans feel SO far away.

There are moments... in between the crying hysterically - and the staring at the backs of my eyelids... when I feel a sense of calm and purpose return. At those moments, I remember what I need to do. At the top of that list is to turn this whole experience - of trying to understand the depression, anxiety, panic... bleeding - discovering the tumor, doing research, making decisions, doing research on autism, trying to get myself and my family prepared for the surgery and the down-time, and now - desperately trying to find some help and solutions --- it all needs to be "drawn out." I need to turn it into a comic. Not necessarily funny - although I do remember there were some very funny bits.

And I need to create a new studio space. I lost the space I had been creating in Concord last summer, right about the same time that my financial plans and my health betrayed me. So this time, I want to create the Studio, here, in my home. I have an amazing studio here in my barn where I draw and create  - and many years ago, I had a public studio where I did Open Studios and workshops. I want to resurrect that space. It will be a bright, cheerful space for meetings, Open Studios, playdays, Studio Sales, workshops, and the home base of Bumblebat, my publishing company and Etsy shop.

I need people and I need cool projects and I need to feel like there is a point to waking up each day. I know I can do this. I've done it before. And I've pulled myself out of some pretty bad depressions too.  Although, I have to admit that, although I have had many, many intense surgeries, this one was the biggest and messiest yet.

So, taking into consideration the excellent advice from my Facebook friends that I need to give myself time to heal and recover fully - and the crazy, but true, logical thoughts running through my head in endless loops "you can't afford this!?", "you can't afford the medical expenses!?", "you'll need to sell a kidney!", "you should have sold the uterus!" Anyway. My plan is to do a Kickstarter that will run for a few weeks while I am "recovering" (ie: curled up in a tiny ball or crying hysterically). My goal is to raise some money to cover the bills, buy me some time to work on the "Hysterical-ectomy" comic, and renovate the new studio space. Go big or go home right? (yes, I know, I'm already home!)
I'm working on the Kickstarter now. Well - in my head. But writing this blog post is one step closer to making it a reality.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

More stuff I'm working on...

I was very productive this past month, not only did I complete three rounds of antibiotics for ear infection, sinus infection, AND STREP! - I also decided to turn the front end of my house into an apartment, and scheduled a hysterectomy (more on that in the next post).

We'll skip the details for the holiday illnesses, although, not leaving the house for 4 weeks may have contributed to my productivity?

First up - I enjoyed doing the daily Inktober drawings (in October) and was horrified that I stopped drawing again on November 1st!? So I set myself a Challenge for 2019 --- I would draw one of my Toys every day for the entire year!


Yowza! My goal is to draw 5 out of 7 days, I'm not completely insane after all. There are times when I just can't get to it. I'm posting the drawings on Instagram, so if you'd like to see all the pics I've done so far, they are HERE.


I've also been working on either a HUGE coloring book, or a series of smaller coloring books - with my daughter, Lilah. It's a lot of work scanning and cleaning up the art. But I love to color and her images are a blast to mess with. Here are a few that I colored:




The apartment idea has taken over my life and my house - there's mess everywhere - and I've spent many nights carrying boxes of books or staining walls - until 3am!

In order to free up the front of the house, I have to empty those rooms and the attic. So I'm converting my Library (aka the Dining Room) into a bedroom for my kid and a Library hallway. This is what the room looked like when I started cleaning it out...




 The books are stacked in the laundry room, in piles in the Living Room, on the stairs to the Studio...


 And the other two walls of the Library had my Lego City! It sat on the kitchen table for days.


Where in the WORLD was I going to find space for that!!??

Hmmm... the town would look really cool on the shelf in the kitchen!!


And there is still room for the Diner (which I have not built yet.) All the Harry Potter, Medieval Village, and Monster Legos went up in the Studio treehouse.

Then the real mess started...

The ugly chimney was boxed in.


Those pink walls were the first thing I painted when I bought the house, like 25 years ago! It was nice to paint over them, but took quite a few coats. And the walls are ancient plaster and lathe, so really lumpy. The ceilings are awful, cracked and stained too - they'll be covered by tin-like ceiling tiles next week.


So much brighter!!!  The bedroom will be rather tiny, to the right of the chimney box. To the left, is the new Library hall that goes to the laundry room/bathroom and the front of the house (new apartment). The wall is "temporary" so it could be removed by future owners who have a use for a dining room.

We jump ahead a few days and the bead-board wall is built ( stayed up til 3am staining the durned thing) and the door track is installed. The door is a sliding "barn" door, but I found more modern hardware for it. I'm painting the door with chalkboard paint (both sides) which makes my 12 year old very happy! I'm guessing the outer side will read something like "Go Away So I can Read!"


We moved all the bookcases into place in the new hallway today. Tomorrow I'll finish painting the door. Then the electrician has to fix the light. Then the ceiling panels. Then we move the kid's STUFF down from her room... and I figure out where to put all the rest of the stuff from all over the house....AAAAAAHHHHHHH!

All before February 6th. Which is when I go in for surgery. I'll tell you about that, my Idea, and the next Kickstarter in the next blog post.

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