Better. Much better.

Hi everyone! Sorry, it took me a little longer to write an update than I had planned. But, I’m ecstatic to say that my bladder is now, after slowly but steadily improving over the past few days, almost completely back to normal. I am so, so happy that it corrected itself eventually and that I didn’t end up in the hospital from it this time. It’s odd how much you take these strange, little day to day things for granted, until something messes it up and reminds you how lucky you are for it. Things like being able to eat, walk and yes, even empty your bladder!

So, that was my early Christmas present! Well, that and I got my Tommie Copper long sleeved compression shirt and gloves in the mail yesterday. The compression provided while wearing them is supposed to help stabilize and support muscles (joints too, I’m hoping) and improve pain for a lot of people, while the copper that the clothing is infused with has also long been thought to have positive medicinal effects. I’ve heard really good things about them from others with connective tissue disorders and chronic pain so I thought I would give them a try.

As with anything I get online, I was worried about them not fitting properly, especially because of the way their size chart is set up; it doesn’t offer any custom options for the clothing as far as body shape and height, it just takes into account your measurements width-wise, so I was pretty sure it would be tailored to someone of average height and way too short for me. But, I was super happy to find that the shirt is super long and easily reaches my lower back where the majority of my back pain is.

Because of the material the clothes are made out of, a single size can work for a really wide array of heights or particular body shapes. Though, that being said I’m not sure what effects – if any – the differences would have on the amount of compression the clothing provides. I will definitely do an update letting everyone know how they work for me in case anyone’s interested in trying them out. If they work well I’ll hopefully be able to get the pants and socks too.

Anyways, thank you all so much for the continued comments and support. Sorry to all of my fellow bloggers for the lack of reading I’ve been getting in lately. Hopefully I’ll be stopping by all of your blogs and catching up soon! I hope you all know how much you mean to me, always.

In case I don’t make it onto my blog anymore before the 25th: Happy holidays to you all!! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas by Joe Buckingham

Much love and Merry Christmas. ♥

– Katie

An Umbrella for Shay

Today I can say that I am now officially a published book illustrator! My name is even on the cover!

I feel so excited and honored that I was asked by Karen to do this. The style of drawing and the materials used were both new to me and not at all what I’m used to, so I was out of my comfort zone. But that’s exactly why I’m so glad that I made myself give it a try. I learned so much from the experience and was able to feel a sense of accomplishment that I don’t often have anymore.

It feels so odd to type my name into amazon and have this book come up! I will always be so grateful to Karen for taking a chance on a stranger and giving me this opportunity!

Up and about.

Stunning picture taken by Jim Greer @Flickr

Hi to all of you beautiful people. Sorry that it took so long for me to update, I’ve still been having a pretty rough time pain-wise. That being said, my pain medication was upped last week and since then it’s been getting a bit better. Yesterday I was even able to go buy some (desperately needed) new pairs of pants after my doctor appointment. It feels good to accomplish things – no matter how small – after barely being able to make it out of bed for a week.

I’m hoping that things will continue to improve and I’ll be able to lower my medication back down soon. For now I’m mostly just biding my time until I can see the neurologist and maybe get some treatment options for my spine.

I want to say thank you, again, for all of your wonderful comments and emails of support. You all have such amazing, kind hearts and you really do mean the world to me.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to do too much drawing lately but I have started a new piece that I’m really excited about. I’m trying some new things with it and attempting to use my prismacolor markers. On that note, I got a new OTT-Lite lamp with a magnifying glass and I must say, looking through it is like looking into a whole new world! As most of you know I don’t have very good eyesight but with this new lamp I can actually see what I’m doing on an entirely new level! I didn’t know just how poorly lit my work-space was before now.

It’s really nice to have a hands-free magnifying glass too. Before I would just have a pencil in one hand and the magnifying glass in the other which is a bit of a pain when you need your free hand for other things.

I’m not going to post any pictures of my new drawing until it’s all done. I want it to be a surprise. :)

Much love to all of you.
And thank you for everything. xx

Who doesn’t love a kitten?

I’ll tell you who: my Sally cat.

We had to kitten-sit this little guy overnight while his parents were out of town and I’m pretty sure Sally thought the world had ended! 





How to interact with the introverted…

This explains me really well!
By the Meta Picture.

Hello November and Pain Awareness Week!

November snow by Anil Reddy

Hi everyone! Sorry it took me a week to post! Today is the start of “National Pain Awareness Week” here in Canada. I’m hoping to feature some guest posts from other individuals who live with chronic pain in order to raise awareness (anyone who’s interested can email me I’m also going to be re-posting from my Canadian Pain Summit trip and speech and talking a bit about how things have started to changed here following the summit.

I finished the poster I’ve been working on for the ILC Foundation tonight. As far as I know they plan on publishing it to coincide with awareness week. I’ll be putting it up on the blog as soon as I can. I’ve got a few drawings here to finish up and then I’m hoping to blog a drawing challenge that I found. It sounds like loads of fun and I’m really looking forward to it.

As for how life is, this past week was pretty unpleasant. I’ve spent most of it with a horrible headache and the accompanying nausea. Most of the time all I feel like doing is laying down but my back disagrees with that notion. A few days ago one (or more) of my ribs dislocated, much higher up than usual. I could still bend where as when the lower ones are out I can’t. But, this one being so high up made it unbelievable painful to breathe. It almost ended with a trip to the hospital but that usually doesn’t do much good so I just tried my best not to breathe too hard or move the wrong way. It seemed to make something in my shoulder and collarbone go out a bit as well. Or maybe everything was just spasming because of the rib. Lucky for me the dislocation only lasted about 12 hours this time instead of the couple of weeks it took to go back in last time. I’m really grateful for that. 

I had an ultrasound last week on my gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, appendix, bladder, stomach intestines and aorta. i’m not sure what the majority of it was ordered for apart from to check on my gallbladder polyp but I’m glad my doctor’s checking on things. I haven’t heard back from them so I’m hoping that’s a sign that everything looked good. The ultrasound itself went alright aside from my ribs not taking it too well and the technician telling me that “pain is good because it lets you know you’re alive” when we were discussing my chronic pain. I’m going to venture to guess that whoever first uttered that phrase hadn’t experienced a whole lot of suffering in their life. Oh the things I wish I’d said in response!

Anyways, happy November to you all! Hope your October was enjoyable! xx

Some drawings, some ramblings.

Sunflowers for the friends by Claudio.Ar

It’s been almost a week since I started the morphine and I have to admit, it’s not working as well as I’d hoped. That being said it is an improvement from before, and it’s certainly making my nights a lot more bearable. Perhaps it’s a matter of proper dosing. The fact that I’ve been getting some sleep is a miracle in itself. Spending a day with pain is a lot more bearable if you’ve gotten a decent night’s sleep. I’m tolerating the morphine really well in regards to side effects. The ones I am experiencing are the same as with codeine, only slightly stronger. But, no nausea or vomiting which is what I was the most worried about, so yay! I have another doctor appointment Friday morning to discuss how the new medication is going.

I’ve been doing some more drawing lately, which makes me happy. I had started drawing this eye but my experiment with colored pencils went very wrong and I ended up having to throw it away. Note to self: don’t do a lot of the work before you try out something new. Experiment first so that if you screw up you don’t throw away something you spent a long time working on. That should have been a no-brainer but alas, at least I learned my lesson!

As for this drawing, it’s finally finished! I really like to have something like this to work on when I’m bored or fidgety. I pretty much always have one on the go. There’s not too much pressure not to screw it up because it was always meant as more of a doodle in the first place. Then I don’t have to avoid it when I’m not feeling good or lacking sleep for fear that I’m going to muck it up. Muck away!

I was in the midst of a Doctor Who marathon when I started this, that may explain the robotic eye appearance. You’ll undoubtedly notice the pen smears everywhere, I’m terrible for dragging my hand through the ink before it’s dry. I’ve looked in the mirror to find pen on my face many times this week and it always makes me chuckle.

Much love everyone, hope you’re having a great week! ♥ 

Giving thanks.

Fall Leaves Wallpaper by

Hi everyone, happy Thanksgiving! My posts have been kind of melancholy lately so I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the things that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving day. It’s so easy to get hung up on our hardships and forget about all of the blessings in our lives.

First of all, I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful mom by my side, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; she’s my angel. And, I’m so grateful for those amazing people in my family who are so loving and supportive, as well as my best friend JB, who’s stood by me for many years now, through thick and thin. I’m also thankful for my cat who has been an enormous comfort (and cuddle-er) to me for most of my life.

I’m eternally grateful to live in a country where I don’t have to dread the cost of surgeries, hospital stays and doctor appointments. I’ve never had to bear the burden of the cost of those things and how it would impact my parents and my future. And more than that; I’m thankful to live somewhere that grants me access to those things in the first place.

I’m thankful to have food, shelter, running water, electricity and heat. It’s easy to take these things for granted so I try to always remind myself how lucky I am to have them. I’m thankful that I live in a country with admirable human rights, where I don’t have to fear each day for my life and freedom.

I’m so, so thankful that I still have my vision. It may not be what I had hoped but I truly treasure having it at all. The things I’ve gone through with my eyes have really taught me not to take sight for granted. I’m thankful for art, music and writing, they all give so much meaning and joy to my existence. I can’t even begin to imagine a world without them.

Last but certainly not least, I’m super thankful for this blog and my amazing online family (you guys!). You enrich my life and help get me through some pretty heavy stuff. I’m so lucky to have such incredible people in my life and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Much love to you all. Have a happy Thanksgiving. ♥ xx

Medication update.

Sun peeking through a perforated leaf by mhx

Well I’m relieved to say that the doctor appointment went really well. She was completely understanding about the amount of pain that I’m in and how difficult it’s been. She also said that as far as pain medication goes codeine is near the bottom of the list in regards to it’s strength and efficiency in managing chronic pain. She had said that she wanted to take me off of it and put me on Dilaudid instead. I do usually have some dilaudid on hand for unbearable pain and it works really well on my back. The bummer of it is that it makes me so sick and gives me such bad rebound headaches that taking it everyday sounds just as unpleasant as not.

So, instead she wants to try me on extended release morphine to see how and if that works. My body can be really difficult when it comes to medication so there is a chance that I won’t be able to tolerate it, but fingers crossed. I have another appointment next week to see how it’s working and talk about alternatives if it isn’t.

I’m a bit sad that I’m at a place in my life where a pain medication like morphine is needed. But I’m also very relieved at the prospect of life being more livable again, and afraid that it’s not going to work. The extended release medication sounds like a huge improvement to me. Not only is this stronger but it lasts longer so that maybe I can function properly during the day and start getting some sleep again at night.

Overall, I’m feeling really hopeful right now. Maybe I can get my life back a bit. :)

Hugs everyone. xx

Doctor appointment day.

gloomy forest by gorchakov.artem

Things change today, one way or another. I’m starting this post before my doctor appointment, I’ll post again afterward so I can blog about how it went.

I’m not as gloomy about the thought of upping my medication as I have been. I guess the pain is just too much now that it makes me feel option-less. Just getting through the day lately has been an enormous challenge and it’s exhausting. I wake up in the morning after another largely sleepless night and feel utterly melancholy at the thought of doing it all over again.

I’ve been spending most of my days this week sitting, hunched over forwards, because it’s the only way I can lessen the pain in my back. Of course it’s uncomfortable in a dozen other places but it’s the best I can do right now. I can’t stand very long at all before the pain is nearing unmanageable. 

Thanks again for all of your support! It really does mean the world to me. I’m hoping things turn around soon, I’m tired of the negative posts. I’d like to have something happy or uplifting to say! Hopefully soon, yeah? :)

Note: I know I just posted this song (with it’s official video) but afterwards I found this amazing animated version by an incredible artist named Ryan Woodward. I love it!!