Tag Archives: pain

His Masterpiece

“What a reminder that we, in all imperfections, in all our inabilities– our disabilities– we are still HIS MASTERPIECES!” – Katherine and Jay of Hope Heals

I was nine years old and had been in the hospital long enough to make TV boring to a nine year old (that is a long time). I began sketching the characters on the cereal boxes that came on my hospital tray each morning…sugary cereals…I never got those at home. Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, Lucky the Leprechaun…I drew them all in watercolor pencils and the nurses hung them up on my hospital room bulletin board.

I was recovering from a series of four spine surgeries to untether my spinal cord and seal CSF leaks. I had contracted staff infection and lost nerve function to my bladder and bowels. The nerves that sent signals to my leg muscles had been irreversibly damaged, resulting in drop foot. It was going to be a long road ahead.

I began drawing more. I sketched wedding dresses out of “Bride Magazine” and copied illustrations out of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. Soon I had so much artwork that the nurses began hanging them in the patient rooms all across the pediatric floor.

That was the moment that I realized art could be both therapeutic for my pain and bring joy to others.

As I continued to fight to recover from these five surgeries and endure 18 more surgeries, along with major depression, art became as necessary as breathing to me.

The following pieces were all created throughout middle school and high school and express the unending roller coaster of emotions that I wrestled with; from despair over seeing my body disfigured and cut open, grief and mourning over losing function, perseverance and determination to get back up and walk again, and periodic choruses of joy in the midst of my depression.

falling apartfoot

laughlegsselfspine

So when I saw that Katherine and Jay’s LA based ministry, Hope Heals, was having a “call for artists” to donate artwork that could be auctioned to raise funds to send families with disabilities to their summer camp for FREE… you can understand how I felt I didn’t have any other option but to submit my artwork. This opportunity combined my two greatest passions.

I honestly did not expect my painting to be chosen and included in the live art gallery auction held this past Saturday, April 22nd, in LA. So, when I opened the email saying it had been chosen, I literally screamed (Promise was in the kitchen at the time…so you can ask her for an imitation of my reaction).

Below is a photo of the acrylic painting that I donated

the islands 1the islands 2

(12″x36″ acrylic on canvas)

This is a newer style of painting that I have been doing. The images are simply out of my mind. I love them because I feel like they represent the mental healing that I have experienced from the depression that I struggled with for years and years.

It is such an honor that it is being used to hopefully provide some degree of emotional, mental, or physical healing in another persons life through the ministry of Hope Heals.

You can view all the art entries that were auctioned off by clicking here. 💕

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

-Adri

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A Restful, Invigorating Inner Climate

Two weeks ago tomorrow Chris and I found ourselves walking into the Columbia St. Mary’s Cancer Center building in downtown Milwaukee. Having spent a considerable amount of my life in medical buildings, I was struck with how peaceful this particular clinic was. The east wall of the waiting room was solid windows that displayed an impressive stretch of the Milwaukee Lake Michigan beachfront. There was a courtyard with cascading waterfalls and fragrant flowers. As I walked through the “chemo area” I noticed boards on the wall where patients could post notes about things they were thankful for. I couldn’t help thinking that maybe all hospital buildings should embody this same concept.

The appointment went as well as it could have. My doctor was kind and personable and even has a seven year old child, to boot!There was nothing glaringly obvious indicating cancer but on the same token, he wants to look further into the cause of these night sweats and my elevated eosinophil count. The type of night sweats that I’m having are typically indicative of something awry with my immune system. We talked through our game plan, which is essentially a few months of lab work, scans, possible biopsies, and lots and LOTS of waiting.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/5 at 10:15 am) Chris and I will meet with my hematologist, again, to discuss the results of a blood smear that he ordered at my first appointment. For the past two weeks, he’s been studying my blood under a microscope, trying to discern and observe how my white and red blood cells reproduce. I’m continually fascinated by the way God has created our bodies and the knowledge he has given doctors. Tomorrow we will find out if my cell reproduction is normal or if there are irregularities. This will be a good indicator of whether or not there is a blood disease or infection going on. If he has noticed something “off”, I will go in for a bone marrow biopsy that would be extracted from my hip, in order for him to then study my stem cells. If my blood looks normal, I will most likely proceed to seeing a bone specialist to try and determine if these night sweats could be caused by a slow moving, underlying bone infection.

I also had an echocardiogram about a week ago to ensure that “all is well” with my heart and the vascular system that moves my blood in and out. This was precautionary more than necessary. Precautionary, so as to make sure that no sneaky infectious bacteria has decided to settle in and set up shop in my arteries.

An echocardiogram can only show what is physically taking place in my heart, though. If someone could invent an echo that showed the emotional and spiritual well-being of my heart, the results would look a lot like the cancer building I described above. On my heart wall, you’d be able to see a large “Thankful Board” on which I’ve been mentally posting little notes. One of the notes would have a quote scrawled on it that says,

“I’ll be praising God for all eternity, but only during my brief time on earth can I bring Him joy through praising Him in the midst of pain.”

This is a quote from the book “31 Days of Praise” by Ruth Meyers. After reading it, I immediately posted it securely to my heart wall.

I really have no “gut” feeling about what tomorrow’s appointment will bring. But I do know that God has been conditioning me for over 20 years to praise Him in the midst of pain, so no matter what the results of my blood work show, that is what I’ll do.

“Even in troubled circumstances, or when God does not choose to work in spectacular ways, praise can help us view our situation through different lenses. It can help produce within us a restful, invigorating inner climate.” -Ruth Meyers


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