“This will either tear me apart or…”
“So shortly, I will be embarking on this next venture, expecting that it will either tear me apart or I will achieve what is needed to get this piece completed…”
Here I am laying flat on my back taking in the warmth of the radiant sunshine, feeling a deep gratitude for the amazing journey I have undertaken over the past twelve months. The energy has ebbed and flowed with me and against me as I wrestled the creative ‘flow’ that artists talk about. Riding that stream, knowing when to jump in or out of it, is a constant struggle. It’s particularly hard to know when to make the choice to rest mentally and physically, when to rejuvenate the soul.
Learning how to make these choices has, in itself, been rewarding, however the learning has been degrading to my health! For a long time I have been feeling fatigued and feverish, had rashes and vertigo, and I felt as though I had hit a wall. Six months ago, however, I decided that I had had enough of the same old ground hog day and made a choice. My very supportive and lovely partner, Danielle, decided we should do something about it. After a few trips back and forth to naturopaths, doctors and pathology, we have come up with a result. To be honest, I thought that I might have contracted Ross River Fever, combined with maybe the stress and fatigue of the previous two years in which I set up and ran the Gallery, worked part-time in retail and created the magic on canvas that a share with you all.
When the blood test results returned just before Easter, I had one stand out result that knocked everything out of the park! My blood test for SLE had to be between 0 and 80 to be healthy. My result indicated that I scored 640! A massive indicator that something was not right…
So what is SLE? Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
So, as you can imagine, this has been affecting all aspects of my life, including my body and of course my art practice. Having lupus is not the end of the world for me, though as you can imagine, it is not to be taken lightly and has given me a massive wake up call. The big one I’m learning is to listen to my body, and working six and seven days a week as I have been is no longer a viable option for me.
You might have seen from my newsletters or Facebook posts that the Gallery hours have been reduced over the past few months. This is part of my strategy to give myself some recovery time, reduce stress, fatigue and to adapt to the new boundaries that I have set myself to manage this disease. As you can imagine, running your own business, especially as a sole trader, juggling multiple roles, can be taxing on your mind and body!
Also I have been using this time to build my energy for this years Archibald entry. With just over a month until it needs to be sent to the NSW Gallery, things are looking a little rough and it does not leave me a lot of time to complete what needs to be done. So shortly, I will be embarking on this next venture, expecting that it will either tear me apart or I will achieve what is needed to get this piece completed by the 19th June. I will post another blog about my Archie entry next month as things get rolling.
While I have been eating relatively healthily in the past, Danielle and I have had to take it to a new level. Going gluten free, vegetarian and sugar free! Well, as best we can in this wonderful modern world of instant satisfaction. This also means that alcohol, coffee, milk and all those other bad goodies have been removed from my diet to combat my lupus.
Danielle has been a silent warrior in all of this, making sure we stay on the path to getting on top of this nasty disease. By continuing this way, I will be healthier than I have ever been and I will be able to manage the flare ups a lot better with all of the preservatives removed from my food. Clean living, clean body and clean mind! I either do it this way or I take heavy medications that will increase the risk of my organs shutting down and aggravating my body further. I guess in early June when I see the rheumatologist I will also have their perspective on how I should deal with this.
I do see this current condition as a blessing. Combining an early detection of lupus with an increasingly healthy lifestyle, I will have a fighting chance to deal with the disease and return to more time in front of the easel where I belong!
The other positive is I am learning patience and not to sweat the little things. I think my two current paintings of black cockatoos have been a strong symbol for this, as both these pieces have been up on the easel since January and are nearing completion in the coming weeks. They have been a journey into my spirit, the universe and how I look at the world.
Solitude Art © ®