Charity – Receiving and Giving

So… I was a little down and discouraged about the amount of paint I no longer had after all that happened in my life leading up to my brian injury and guess what..?!

A friend, far far away, sent me a care package of 48 tubes of acrylic paints, brushes, a pallet, a portable desk-easel, painting knives, and a bunch of flat-board 8″x10″ canvases. How awesome is that?!

I was very, VERY, reluctant to even attempt painting after everything. I wasn’t even sure I’d know how, or worse, I was SURE it was going to end up looking like someone threw up instead of like something pretty. Turns out, I totally NAILED IT! The first painting I’d done (besides goofing around and making a human-like version of Floyd Pepper – yes, the muppet band member) actually turned out really nice.

I started going to a non-denominational church in my tiny town (the only church around here that believes more in the practice of inner-growth and living the word rather than speaking one thing but living as a hypocrite) and I’ve got really involved with them. I volunteered myself to be head of the commitee to spearhead fundraisers. Our first fundraiser is to help our church-kids be able to attend a summer camp this year. (Many of them are from troubled homes, and nobody around these parts are “well off,” much less “wealthy” by any monitary means. “Barely getting by” is much more accurate.)

So ya… I got a LITTLE BIT in over my head, but I’m doing pretty well with it all. I created an event on facebook, and have made three (working on finishing the third) paintings I’m donating for the online auction. Since I’m already used to taking photos and editing them, I’ve donated 20 of those on top of the paintings.

Luckily, two church members are donating their own paintings – two from one lady, and I’ve no clue how many the other will make and donate – and some photos from a neighbor’s farm, too.

I’m hopeful, but am keeping my expectations REALLY LOW, just in case the whole auction is a big flop. I haven’t spoken to the church’s kids at ALL about trying to raise the funds for them to go to camp, either. I’d truly hate myself if I had to tell them I couldn’t manage to do something seemingly so simple (to a child’s mind and understanding.) I’d really NOT love myself for disappointing innocent children whom are already going through too much for such young ages.

Here’s the photos and paintings I’ve done so far.

***If you want to do something miraculous for these kids, you could send donations to:
First Assembly Of God
PO Box #517
Stover, MO 65078
(With “West Chapel” written in the ‘notes’ section of a check or money order.)***

The online auction works this way:

●Starting bid amounts for MY photos are $20 each.
●Starting bid amounts for MY paintings are $25 each.
●Starting bid amounts for the larger paintings one lady donated are $45 & $55 – because they’re much larger and have frames.
●Starting bid amounts for the other donated photos will likely also be $20 each.

•People will “like” the photos or paintings they want to bid on starting on the 15th, then they’ll “comment” their bids under the photos/paintings they’re interested in.
•This will last until the end of the day on the 20th, when I’ll post a comment saying “Bid Ended” and I’ll private message the bid winner to get their info for shipping their piece of art to them.
•Once the church receives their payment for it, I’ll immediately mail out their piece of art to them.
•Everything that’s profited from the auction goes directly to the Children’s Pastor who’s in charge of handling their activities – including this camp week.

Pretty easy, right? I think so.
(I’m paying out of pocket to print off the photography & send their winning pieces to them.)

The online auction is a “Private Event” because I hit the wrong button. But, if you’re interested in bidding on things between March 15th and 20th, you can find Me On Facebook and Private Message me so I can invite you to The Online Auction Event Page. I’m not sure you can see it if you’ve not been invited. So far, my parents, my brother (who cannot afford to bid on anything) and a few friends have agreed to bid. [I’m so afraid it won’t be enough!]

I’m trying to raise $1,170.00 in order to get these kids to camp. Costs $167.00 per child. Steep, I know! But having a week to just be kids – is priceless to these little ones.

[If I could work any job, I’d be working and saving up to donate what they need on my own – without making all this extra effort. But, with my amnesia issues (horrible short term memory issues) and all my physical side effects, there’s nothing out here in the country I can do. I can’t even remember long enough to be taught anything new. So, I’m using my artistic skills to do what I can to help others. (I don’t even make money off my own art. But maybe it can help these kids!?)]

Here’s the two paintings I’ve finished so far, and the third one I’m still working on:

I’m doing my best – but I truly think I’ll only manage to make 5 paintings.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to this last week and a half.
What went on before that is going into another entry… soon.

To be wholly honest, I’m mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Hopefully I can keep up all of this.

■On the 21st, first thing in the morning, I’m getting my last ten (all the bottom) teeth extracted.

…. I’ll be awake for this! ….
Two days of pain and a mouth full of blood will ensue after the extractions. Ugh. I’m just glad that the pains are almost over with. I can’t keep fighting all these infections and I’m looking forward to a bottom denture and a top partial so I’ll be able to eat again. By “eat” I mean, “eat real foods again” instead of gross, nutritionless mularky that I’ve been eating since the top five extractions. I want a BIG SALAD… mmmmm! (I’m just fortunate to BE ALIVE!!!)

On a lighter note – I’m really glad I can use my artsy skills to help others.
This makes me feel empowered and strong, instead of vulnerable and useless. It is a GREAT feeling.

Really, hopefully I’ll continue to get opportunities to push my limits and help others along the way. I’ve been feeling really “dead in the water” for far too long.

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Update: January/February 2016

It has been a long month for me… and honestly, as much stress as I’ve had it has still been a positive thing.

– For two whole years I felt I was chasing my own tail with my primary care doctor. He started his medical career helping extreme TBI cases before he became a full fledged dr. But, that was many, many years ago. He had always had great intentions for helping me as much he could, but things didn’t turn out the way I’m sure he intended for them to.

– The truth is, sometimes when doctors are good at what they do, they don’t like admitting when something finally goes over their heads. I can understand and empathize with that. If I were told that I wasn’t painting a piece of art as well as the intended commission was expecting, I’d be at a loss for how to improve it. I wouldn’t feel right to advise the person commissioning me to go and use another artist. I bet it feels the same way for doctors, but on a much larger scale of responsibility and they have to think about the best long term outcome for their patients – so, I guess it really isn’t that similar… The only thing I would lose is a commission/sale of my artwork. A Dr could lose so much more if he/she were to be found lacking.

– Well, I went behind my Dr’s back (because he kept on giving me the same line of crap about how all I needed was a therapist instead of actual neurological-rehabilitation) and talked to an LPN in the same network, but at a closer office to where I live. That office is where I get blood draws, yearly women’s wellness exams, and where I go for minor injuries and illnesses. I admitted to the LPN (Sherri) that my primary Dr wasn’t really doing anything – and that I knew for sure there was much more that should and could be being done for my healing and to improve my health. She listened.

– Nurse Sherri listened to my issues about body and bone pain and referred me (out of their network) to a rheumatologist, Dr R. Dr R and I talked about my accident, and how my body hasn’t been the same since… and how the amount of pain I’ve been in (constantly) hasn’t improved no matter what I do here at home. She ordered x-rays, blood draws, and did a full work-up on me that took almost two hours time. She was thorough and careful.

– After the x-rays came back, she found my neck was injured, my right knee and left hand have psoriatic arthritis, and that I have disc degeneration disease in my lower spine. There was also signs of damage in my right shoulder and hip – which was likely from the actually accident that caused my brain injury (being struck by a car in Sept. 2013, while walking.) I’ll see her in late February to discuss what if anything can or should be done, both medically and physically to ensure that my body doesn’t deteriorate too quickly. Dr R referred me to a new neurologist, Dr S, after determining that I also have fibromyalgia on top of ataxia, and chose Dr S because she is very astute and current to the updates and new research findings about TBI.

– Dr S ordered an EEG and an MRI with contrast dye, to scan my brain so she can see what state my brain is in right now – two years out after the accident. She started me on a medication for my chronic migraines, and had me see a psychiatric nurse, Nicole, about the medication she put me on, and to see if there was anything else I needed to be on in order to sort out my PTSD symptoms and severe insomnia issues. As it turns out, there is a medication used to lower blood pressure that is very effective in combat veterans with PTSD in lessening the occurrence of flash-backs and night-terrors which I also have been struggling with. (I’m not a war veteran, but I’ve been through enough horrors, traumas, and grueling events in my life to have a lot in common with combat vets.)

– I started both new medications (the one for migraines and the one for PTSD) and they’re still absorbing into my body. These things take time and patience. Both of which I have in abundance. So, I’m patiently awaiting to see if my body will respond in kind to the medications, and to see if I can start sleeping well. While I was visiting with Nurse Nicole, I had a gene-test done to see which medications would or wouldn’t metabolize effectively in my body, for future medication reference. It could explain my body rejecting SSRI’s all my life, and rejecting the Buspar I was put on by one of the first places I sought out for help after my TBI. (Which is a whole other story, and a nightmarish one, at that.)

So, here’s the run-down of the visits I’ve already had, and will be having with the medical community this coming month:
Dec 8thFirst visit with Dr R (Rheumatology)
Dec 28thFirst visit with Dr W (Dentist) – this is for the remaining 15 non-salvageable teeth that will be extracted within the following months
Jan 7thFirst visit with Dr S (Neurology)
Jan 8thBlood draws to check if my Vit-D deficiency has improved at all (which it has, somewhat)
Jan 26thFirst visit with nurse Nicole (Psychiatry)
Feb 1stFirst (of many) Dental extraction(s) with Dr W
Feb 11thEEG/MRI with contrast dye (brain scan)
Feb 11thSecond visit with nurse Nicole (Psychiatry) – talk about my medications
Feb 22ndSecond visit with Dr S (Neurology) to see what the EEG/MRI showed, and what should happen next in my treatment plan
Feb 26thSecond visit with Dr R (Rheumatology) – to see what or if there’s things I can do to protect my bones, and prevent more bone damage / see if there’s anything I can do about physical rehab for my current injuries in order to avoid more damage

“Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, and then to keep on going.”

– After all of this, I’ll have more dental extractions, keeping up on updating nurse Nicole about medication effects, and continue on my neurological journey back to healing and hopefully being very productive in my life. Most of my symptoms are debilitating, and I’d like to do all that I possibly can for myself so that I can get to the point of being able to steadily work, drive a car, and keep up on my day to day things (like dishes, laundry, and memory formation skills.) My life is going to get better because I didn’t give up, and I’m still fighting for a better tomorrow for myself.

never give up - mouse cheese

– If this seems like a lot to any of you – just think how it feels to me. It IS a lot, but it’s all good stuff. It’s all part of my journey back to becoming healthier and more productive as an individual (so I can lessen my need for outside help from my parents.) They love me, and would continue helping me for the rest of their lives, but, I want to be able to help myself again – like I was before this brain injury and physical damages. I don’t expect a single thing to simply happen overnight, but, I am so sick of feeling stuck and not knowing what to do next. I’m a doer, not a “sit and wait-er” when it comes to my personal abilities.

– Most of my frustrations have come from not being able to move forward in any real and noticeable way. All these Dr’s visits, medications, and future rehabilitation will be (to me) huge steps in moving forward. This is what I’ve been needing for two years, and I’m SO glad and thankful that things are finally moving along in the right direction. I’m getting much-needed answers, diagnosis’, and treatment-plans that will ensure I’m going to continue this trend of move-forward-ness. I feel like I’ve been trapped for these last two years, so all of this (no matter how stressful it has been) is really great for my mind. Now I’m sure that things are going to get better.

– Some of the answers I’ve gotten seemed devastating, but, that’s just because I didn’t know much about them…. what they pertained to/how it really effects my life. Now I’m learning to adjust and adapt to the limitations I have so they can become new-found abilities instead of life-shattering disappointments. While going through the newness of the news, I figured I was essentially “screwed” and that there was no getting around the limitations. Now I’m learning there are ALWAYS ways to move beyond anything that limits abilities, because there will always be options for adaptions that I can make/create in my life.

– If I stumble upon a boulder in my path, am I going to stop and go back, or am I going to figure out if I can climb it, or go around it toward another path, or what? The answer is, I’m going to figure out how to deal with the boulder in a way that won’t harm me, and won’t make me turn around and go backwards. Same is true for how I’ve dealt with the Dr who gave up and didn’t admit defeat. I went around him, sought out a nurse in his network, and told her that I’m not willing to admit defeat like my Dr has done. Through that simple (but stressful) task, I’ve gotten the help I have been needing.

– I encourage ANYONE to do the same, with any aspect of your life, your health, your careers, and your families. If you’ve hit a stumbling block, work smarter instead of harder, and advocate for yourself into a place of betterment. We all have options, even if they’re tough, hard to find, or seem too large to handle. I know for sure it’s worth the effort if it propels you forward on your journey to a better life. If I can do it with all that’s wrong/all that’s happened/all that’s damaged in me and my life, anyone else can too. It’s a choice to stay stuck or to dislodge oneself and find a way to move forward.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Why artists stick in us after they’ve died

19 Famous people/artists/actors have died within two weeks so far this January 2016, from 1-6-16 to 1-20-16… 19 people is a lot of people…. 20 if you count Celine Dion’s brother. But that’s not the point of this entry…. that is as follows:

I’m not ashamed to admit that this was once/still is – a dream of mine – to become a part of everyone through my work. To be remembered for what I’ve made, and who I am. (I think we all want that to a certain extent. To not die and be forgotten.)

For a moment while I was reflecting on every artist and musician whose died in the last two weeks, I wasn’t sure why people would cry about these people they’ve never known. Then I realized something… We all know them – perhaps not their day to day attitudes and experiences.. We know the parts of themselves that come out through their works. We know pieces of their souls and the deepest caverns of their minds. That is no small thing that can be dismissed in a passing thought. We re-conjure their parts and pieces with every song we sing of theirs, or every word in every book we read of theirs, or every work of art of theirs we gaze upon… Those things do not die when their body dies. Those things live on, long, LONG after they’ve since gone. They stay alive in our minds and the things we choose to keep around us in our personal dwellings.

I hope to one day be a small part of this breed of humans, the artists who share themselves with the world in ways nobody else can.

VVV –( I found this to be very true. All except the last part – when they die, a part of them lives on in us who are still alive remembering them.)– VVV

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Knowledge VS Beliefs

Telling the truth isn’t wrong. It isn’t wrong to possibly hurt someone’s feelings by telling the truth. It isn’t wrong to allow ignorance a chance to learn something. It isn’t wrong to dispose of archaic and outdated tidbits of information that have been disproved. It isn’t wrong to know something that someone else refuses to believe. It isn’t wrong to try to teach others what you know.

It IS wrong to force information upon those unwilling or not wanting to learn. Not only are you wasting your time and energy, but you’re wasting their’s as well. ‪#‎LeadAHorseToWater‬…. same adage here.

Beliefs sometimes trump facts. Facts sometimes are trumped by new information. New information will eventually be trumped by discoveries and new sciences/new correlations. This is evolution of the mind… and it SHOULD go hand in hand with the resolution of your heart and the dedication of your soul, but if often doesn’t. It often causes conflicts that aren’t resolved or adapted. You cannot evolve if you cannot adapt.

I would go on and on about this, in depth, but I am exhausted. Perhaps another day.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Haven’t Written in a While

First, I’d like to admit; The family get-together for “Thanksgiving” was actually really nice. It wasn’t nearly as awkward as my first Christmas with the family two years ago (post amnesia.) We had a great time. I’m proud to announce that the entire day beforehand, I baked six dozen cookies (3 doz of two different kinds,) and made meatballs with our new family tradition cranberry BBQ sauce. Everyone enjoyed those! 🙂 Lastly, I made two snack trays. One with meat and cheeses, and crackers – and one with veggies and dip. I attempted to make them look like turkey tails, but they came out looking more like delicious hand-fans. LOL

Secondly, I’d like to admit some personal medical journey stuff – which hasn’t been easy.
The medical system in mid-Missouri is old-school and is rather difficult to navigate if you have any serious health issues or diseases. Having stated that, I do know they’re doing the best they can with what training and knowledge they have. I do know that all medical care professionals have to get mandated updates to their practicing licenses, but that doesn’t mean they’re up to date with all of the medical research breakthroughs and updated medical science practices. For me, that means that my Dr and LPN are unaware of the breakthroughs of brain sciences and treatment options. Matter of fact, they’re about 20+ years behind.

For me, that means neglect of epic proportions. As a medical care recipient and “customer” of their services (or lack there of,) I am responsible for how I present my medical problems, and they’re responsible for what to do after they’re made aware of my problems. The issue is, they don’t know there’s new treatment options and ways of dealing with the medical issues I currently have. This peeves me off something fierce. I attempt to let them know that through my own personal research of options, there is more they can do. Obviously, as professionals, I’d expect them to look into this newly updated science and get back to me about their best-practice and treatment plan options, but instead, they think I’m judging them or how well they can perform their jobs…. which absolutely isn’t the case — until they’ve made it clear that my input isn’t valid. THAT’S when I judge them based on what they’re NOT willing to do.

It is EVERY medical care practitioner’s job to do the best they can to prevent and treat medical issues. They’re supposed to disregard their egos and do what’s best, and most current, for their patients. This hasn’t been the case for me about my brain injury. Matter of fact, they’ve done the least possible to treat my cognitive, emotional, and executive function issues post-TBI. My physician actually told me to go see a therapist – which isn’t a bad idea, since I’m scarred emotionally based on the fact that my medical-caregivers are lacking enthusiasm or dowithall, to do anything at all to treat my brain injury side effects. I’ve been made aware that my memory loss may never return to normal, which I have accepted – but to tell me there’s nothing I can do but go to a therapist for brain-function issues, is absurd and downright belittling. If I had cancer, would they tell me the same thing? I DOUBT IT!!!

So anyhow, on the plus-side, my LPN referred me to a rheumatologist for my bone, muscle, and all over body pain and stiffness, and the fact that I have psoriasis (since birth.) She diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia, and has ordered numerous X-rays to see what’s going on with my bones. The truth is, I’ve been physically abused for almost my entire life until recently when I took back control and decided being alone (not in a romantic relationship) was better than being abused. Seems like common sense to most people, but until my brain injury, I must not have known I was in-fact being abused – because it went on for many years without my getting away from it to heal and get emotionally healthy again. Not only was I abused by my biological father (which I don’t call, “Dad” – I call my stepfather “Dad” because he’s been a real Dad to me since I was 15,) but I also put myself into situations where my job positions and choices in life were damaging to my body. Now, I’m anti-abuse, anti-damage, and anti-hurting.

I have to go to the hospital in the network of that rheumatologist soon and get those x-rays done, and then I have more blood work tests to be done because I’m deficient in Vit-D3, really badly. I’ve been ordered to take 10,000 iu’s daily of for a month, on top of my fish oil, B-complex, and folic acid. (Which is a bummer – but I’d rather take vitamins than pharmaceuticals any day.) So, that’s what I’m doing – and we’ll see those results likely next month.

The rheumatologist also referred me to their network’s neurologist! How about that?! It took an arthritis doctor to refer me to a neurologist… hmm…. so for that, I’m VERY grateful. I’m not going to allow this visit (in January next year) to go to waste. I’m going to tell her (the neurologist) all about my issues, and make SURE I’m heard and that she does something for me. My physician dropped the ball, bigtime, on that one. He referred me to someone who was retiring two weeks from my appointment date. The guy (neurologist I was referred to first) literally told me that he was retiring, he “made his career off of paxil” and then proceeded to prescribe me paxil instead of doing the neurological tests I was sent to him for. Seriously! That happened!!! Suffice to say, I NEVER took a single pill of paxil, and later found out that fresh brain injured people are not supposed to take medication of that nature, or ANY SSRI’s of any kind! Huh!? Ya! What a freaky trip… this retiring neurologist never once told me he was referring me for treatment at the brain rehab, and I was never informed that I was to start treatment there a year ago.

I only accidentally found that out after grilling my Dr’s office personnel about why nothing had been done as far as treatment goes for me, the appointment I had the day before my birthday this year. The office lady told me I was a “no show” at rehab, and perplexed and appalled, I told her I’d never known I was to start treatment there, and was never notified – not through mail, or phone calls, or even from THEIR office who had the information in the FIRST PLACE!!! I asked this office lady if I should contact the rehab center to let them know I’d never been notified, and she told me not to. She said they wouldn’t even consider treating me after being a no-show. I about lost it!! I haven’t contacted them yet, but I’m going to.

Okay – now that I’ve completely upset the heck out of myself by finally writing about this mess, I’m going to go take care of myself – be extra kind and gentle with myself – and probably watch a cool movie to calm down. I should also eat something – since I only ate once yesterday and am feeling that emptiness in my gut from “hunger.” I put that in parenthasis because I don’t actually feel “hunger,” but rather I feel that I should eat something. Weird? Ya…. brain injury side-effects are indeed weird! See y’all later.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Giving Up Didn’t Last Long!

I shared this mainly to show that none of us are helpless or hopeless. Even without medical care, I am in control of what is controllable. If I do nothing, it is on me. If I do something, I’ve taken responsibility for my amount of control to improve myself and my situation – even if it is a tiny amount… it is still something, and I should do all I can to improve things.

Hopelessness doesn’t hit you all at once. It trickles in and slowly takes over without much notice or warning. Little things over the last two years have worn down my confidence, my resolve, and my strength/will to fight for my own survival and to one day thrive instead of just surviving.

As much as it sounds like a damned cliche’, ‘hope’ is very much a choice. When all other means fail, you are the only one responsible for your actions and your strength. I was at my lowest low, and my Dad reminded me that I’m not powerless. You’re not powerless either. Even if the only choices you have are ones you don’t like, they’re still options for you.

Nothing is set in stone unless you choose for it to be. I was convincing myself that I was expendable, and that my life wasn’t worth fighting for. Not only is that SO FAR from true, but my worth should never be dictated by a broken medical care system. I have choices. None of them are going to be easy, but they will improve my life, my health, and my situation.

I didn’t choose TBI, but I can and do choose to improve what TBI has done to my life – and how I’m going to deal with it. You can too. You’re not hopeless or helpless, or powerless. Every small thing you do will make a huge difference as time goes by. Just like every small thing wore me down, each small thing I take back my control/power over – the more my life will improve.

You’re all, NOT powerless. We all have a choice to fight and to thrive. It’s not going to be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it.

-As always, Thanks for reading! 🙂

TaraTBox Ozarks Artist

My Dad (Mike) fueled me with a new-found way to empower myself on this journey. He pointed out (something that I’d assumed but wasn’t sure of) that my Doctor (since I’m on Medicaid) wasn’t going to push for my long-term treatment plan (which should include cognitive and physical rehab) and since that is the ugly truth, that he and I should and can do something about it on our own, at home.

He reminded me that just because my Dr is powerless to help me improve, I don’t have to be powerless too. For this, I am more than grateful. I’d pretty much given up my fight. . . . . This is no longer the case. I’m going to rehab myself here at home. I’m NOT going to allow the apathy of a broken medical system, or the dashed hopes from my Dr, to deter me from fighting and…

View original post 218 more words

Giving Up Didn’t Last Long!

My Dad (Mike) fueled me with a new-found way to empower myself on this journey. He pointed out (something that I’d assumed but wasn’t sure of) that my Doctor (since I’m on Medicaid) wasn’t going to push for my long-term treatment plan (which should include cognitive and physical rehab) and since that is the ugly truth, that he and I should and can do something about it on our own, at home.

He reminded me that just because my Dr is powerless to help me improve, I don’t have to be powerless too. For this, I am more than grateful. I’d pretty much given up my fight. . . . . This is no longer the case. I’m going to rehab myself here at home. I’m NOT going to allow the apathy of a broken medical system, or the dashed hopes from my Dr, to deter me from fighting and thriving through this horrendous brain injury.

My life isn’t over, it is just changed. (Albeit in a huge way.) I am not powerless. I am not hopeless. I AM in control, and whatever I choose to do to improve my situation is on me. For that, I take responsibility. My Dad and I talked about a whole lot of different things this morning, but that was the most powerful take-away of it all. That I can and should do something about my medical situation, even if it isn’t through my Dr or the medical system. I agree. So, I am!

Things WILL change for the better, because I’m determined NOT to allow a brain injury to continue to control so much of my life. Sure, there are many things I will never be able to control about what TBI has done to my brain, but the things I can control, I most definitely should, and can, especially with Dad’s help and knowledge.

He’s never, ever, NOT supported me in my endeavors to improve. I’m certain of it – more now, than ever before. Thank you Dad. Thank you for opening my eyes back up when I’d shut them.

Forever a TBI warrior – Forever Grateful

Beep Beep!! I'm healin' here! :D ;)
Beep Beep!! I’m healin’ here! 😀 😉

– Thanks for reading! – 🙂