5 foot 2, eyes of molded plastic

I’ve been a little busy.  I’m in clinicals 3 days a week and working my butt off studying for two tests a week.  I mean I’ve literally been working my butt off.  I’ve lost 48 pounds.  I average over 10,000 steps per shift at the hospital.  My pedometer doesn’t measure moving patients, making beds, and generally shaking in my boots as I try new skills on actual human beings.  Then I come home and run (okay I jog) a few miles. 

I’ve managed to finish these two pieces.  I’ve always wanted to do portraits of Pez Dispensers.  They have a personality all their own.  I was playing with the concept of hero worship when I decided to use repuposed USAF uniforms as backgrounds.  They turned out okay!  I really can’t believe that I found the time to finish them.  They are headed for a show in Chicago this November.  I’ll post more details when I get them. 

In other news, I found out that I have Addison’s Disease.  I’ve probably had it for over 15 years as my body slowly attacked my adrenal glands.  It’s rare and incurable, but very managable.  My body quit making cortisol, the “stress hormone.”  You can’t live without it.    The symptoms are:  fatigue, weakness, dizziness, hyperpigmentation (my armpits turned coppery brown), low blood pressure, hypoglycemia and…depression.  I was weak and sick and exhausted.  Now that I’m taking steroids to replace what my body wasn’t making, I feel so much better.  The medication makes me hungry, but I am exercising so hard that it doesn’t matter.  I’ve also started taking some thyroid hormone.  I’m finally on a level playing field and it’s amazing what I can get done in a day with a functioning endocrine system. 

Life is good.  I wasn’t lazy and dwelling on my depression.  I was really fucking tired.

That said, I had issues.  I still have issues.  I can’t just give up on exploring my emotions because I found a physical reason for my overwhelming fatigue.  I know that a lot of you still have depression that won’t have a “quick fix.”  (It only took 15 years!)  For years and years doctors treated me like my exhaustion was my fault for not going to counseling enough, exercising enough, for eating too much sugar, because I didn’t drink enough water, because I didn’t forgive people fully, because I lived in the past, for feeling sorry for myself, for being too negative, for not wanting to get better, because I’m such a hypochondriac, etc.

I don’t think that anybody should suffer for years because medical staff act like the illness is the patient’s fault.  I was tired of hearing how my fatigue was due to my noncompliance and piss-poor attitude.  I follow doctors’ orders.  I blamed myself.  I struggled.  I sincerely hope that you don’t put up with it, whether your problem is physical or emotional.  Nobody deserves to suffer.  Keep trying.


8 thoughts on “5 foot 2, eyes of molded plastic

  1. i love these pieces. somehow you’ve managed to convey the plastic quality in stitch.absolutely stunning stitchwork.

    and very glad to hear your health news but the truth is that even if it was “only” depression it wouldn’t make you a lazy navel-gazer. I’m glad your depression had an easily curable fix but for many of us that is not the case. I think sometimes people don’t think depression itself is a legitimate illness or think its dishonorable or a moral failing so I just wanted to add my perspective.

  2. Glad you found out what all the hub-bub was! It’s terrible to not know for years what is really going on with your body and why you’re feeling so miserable with no legitimate answers…geez!

    48 lbs is phenomenal! I bet you feel great about that!

    Your pieces are amazing and mind blowing as always. Congrats on the upcoming show, I wish I could see them in person.


  3. I think the Pez Portraits are genius. They’re everywhere. We collect them. Even carry them around empty. Great work.

    Glad you found a physical reason for problems.. and I’m right with you there – not to just hand myself to a doctor and trust what they’re saying the first time.

  4. I think you’ll be surprised in a few months that you’ll be much better able to navigate your emotions. It took 7 years for a doctor to diagnose me with hypothyroidism. During that time I suffered through depression and had to take antidepressants. I felt so much better that it literally changed my life. I will always be thankful to the doctor who found my hypothyroidism.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    BTW GREAT WORK on the art!

  5. Not that anyone should have to go through what you did, but perhaps the upside of that experience is that you will bring your insight to your work and no doubt be an amazing compassionate nurse, just as you are an amazing artist.

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