I cannot believe it has only been a little over 3 weeks since my last update! There has been so much going on it is hard to keep up. Honestly, I'm not even sure where to start. I suppose I will backtrack to my canceled surgery, which has turned out to be an amazing blessing in disguise. If you are unaware of what happened with my canceled bladder surgery, please read my previous post. Upon returning home, I poured my heart, emotions, and all my time into painting. (if you are not on Facebook and would like to see my artwork, please visit this link: http://photobucket.com/katyblake) Not to sound cocky, but I had no idea I could paint so well; especially considering the complete lack of finger function. I wake up early to do my exercises (roughly 2 hours of leg stretching and arm exercises with theraband and/or weights) and eagerly rush to paint every afternoon. Not only is it therapeutic for my mind but my body, too. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to go about selling my work. I am hoping to be able to make mass prints of popular pieces so I do not have to individually paint each one because it is very time-consuming. It generally takes me between 2-7 days to finish a piece of art; and that is if I'm able to paint for long hours at a time. I recently recorded a video to show people how exactly I am able to paint without finger function.
Although I am learning that I can paint many things -owls, Fleur de lis, the Cross, octopus, ladybugs, crabs, the evil monkey from Family Guy, butterflies and flowers- I am still expanding my collection to see what else I can possibly paint. However, my favorite painting by far is my Saints “Hoo Dat!” owl. Those who are not on my Facebook may not know but I have been trying desperately to find a way to deliver this to the person who inspired it: Saints quarterback, Drew Brees.
Call me crazy but you never know what dreams may come true if you let it be known what your dreams are. I am sure much crazier things have happened! As soon as I'm finished with the letter that I intend to send to Drew, I will post it for all to read. I want him and everyone to know how inspiring he is through his actions rather than his words. He is a true role model for anyone to look up to, Saints fan or not! Although I have had a few potential leads, nothing is officially official as of yet. So if you or someone you know knows Drew Brees or any connection to him or the Saints, please do not hesitate to contact me!! You can e-mail me here.
So aside from painting and exercising, we have recently begun actual van shopping… for ME! What do you know that the very first van I got in, I fell in love with. So I'm crossing my fingers and praying hard that everything will work out and I will soon own what will be my next vehicle (for a very, VERY long time). The vehicle comes already modified with an automatic door, ramp, tie downs, and movable driver’s seat and passenger seat. After I purchase the vehicle, the state will then modify it with hand controls so that I could drive right up to the steering wheel in my power chair and take myself wherever I need to go. What an amazing feeling that will be!!! It will be made to where I can drive it with hand controls or so my mother -or anyone else I allow- can disengage the hand controls, put the driver seat back in, and drive it like a regular van. I could even sit in my wheelchair in the passenger seat! As exciting as it is, it is equally as stressful! Not to mention extremely costly, which means I will more than likely be trying to organize fundraisers to help raise the money.
So, you can imagine how hectic things have been around here. Between exercising and painting, I'm trying to coordinate a new fundraiser, buy a new vehicle, preparing to go for my evaluation at the Shepherd Center on March 1, and then attend the fundraiser hosted by Sigma Nu fraternity at Ole Miss in Oxford, MS, in late March. I am extremely honored, blessed, and fortunate to be chosen to be the recipient of the 2012 Charity Bowl. If you're interested in reading about or donating to this fundraiser, please visit the following link: 2012 charity bowl. We're trying to get a new van as soon as possible due to all the long trips that we have coming up because our current van (96 Chevrolet) is not a fun or pleasant ride, not to mention an extreme gas guzzler. It is also more of a process to load up in my current van as opposed to the new van. You cannot have the car running while using the lift, which is not very much fun during the summer when the temperatures reach 100°! The Mean Green Mystery Machine (my name for the beast of the van I have now) is too large to even park in a parking garage because it is too much of a high-top! Also, it is by far easier to load up with a ramp (which the new vehicle would have), as opposed to a lift (what I currently use).
So I think that is all I have to say for today! So I have basically just been doing these things: painting (I currently have about 10 paintings that I have promised to do for people who want to buy them- I promise I'm working as hard and as fast as I can), exercising, researching vans, scoping out different rehab and disability programs, preparing for my evaluation at the Shepherd center on March 1, trying to get a grant to purchase an FES bike ($15,000 piece of equipment but well worth the cost), coordinating a new fundraiser, planning the trip to Oxford, MS, in late March, and trying to have a social life! It is a lot to balance but I know in God's time and in His Hands, everything will work out the way it was meant to be. I have learned a very long time ago that we live on God’s time, not our own. Just to think, if I would I have had the bladder surgery on January 18, I would have never discovered how much improvement and talent I have doing arts and crafts. In addition, I would not be making all this physical strength progress as I continue on a rigorous exercise workout. As more information becomes available regarding any fundraisers, it will either be posted here or at my new domain: www.rehabforkaty.org (not yet completely up and running). Or you can always just check Facebook! Thank you all for taking the time to read this and continuing to help support and pray for my family and me as we continue on this long road to recovery. We’re only at the beginning of the journey and I know I have a long way to go before I reach my destination, but I refuse to give up until I do! God bless.
PS- Did I also mention that I managed to move my thumb??? It's only a twitch now but it's a start! Always believe!