THE LIFE OF A DEDICATED ARTIST AND HER FIGHT WITH LYME DISEASE

Photo by Darren Richeson

Art has been a special part of my life from an early age growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduation from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee with a degree in Graphic Communications, I was fortunate to study with a number of well known artists including: Ramon Kelley; Steve Quiller; Daniel Greene; and Urania Christy Tarbet. I obtained inspiration and guidance from each of these internationally known artists, which allowed me to hone my own style of painting. From these artists I enjoyed the opportunity to work in a variety of media: oil, watercolor, casein, pastel and sculpture.

I had the honor to serve as the Creative Director for Jack Richeson and Company, creating magazine ads and designs for the company’s wide array of art supplies, instructional materials and artist’s furniture. In that position, I worked with a list of artists including Kate Palmer, Lawrie Williamson, Zoltan Szabo, and many others. During this time I also assisted in the production of videos for Jack Richeson’s, “Famous Painter Films”. This broad experience in the commercial art world augmented my career, enabling me to observe and experiment in a wide variety of styles and methods. To complete my art adventures, during my employment with the Richeson Company, I was fortunate to be able to visit and paint in many foreign countries. It allowed me to continue the development of my own technique and distinctive style executed in oil. Art was my life! The larger the canvas, the more joy I experience.

I have always been fascinated by light, shapes, and the fracturing of forms that never ceases as light travels. I have often been asked why this intrigues me. I don’t really know, it’s largely a mystery to me. However I do know that when I paint and work at capturing this kind of endless movement, I feel joyous! I feel lifted! Any pain I have disappears and becomes unimportant. I know that making art can do that for me. It is my hope that perhaps seeing and experiencing art can provide some of the same kind of release for others.

In 2014, a diagnosis of Lyme disease that remained improperly untreated for three long years, changed my life. I was forced to become solely a studio painter, abandoning trips to the woods and lakes that had nourished my life for so long. The world travel, that provided much of the material for my paintings, had to be curtailed. I continued to observe nature’s beauty and hope for tomorrow by painting in my home studio. However, I found to my dismay, I needed special props and supports for my constantly aching arms and joints, and a lot more time to finish a painting of any size. Painting sessions became limited to twenty minutes, and sometimes even ten.

Through this time I learned the ‘art’ of perseverance. I realized the importance of moving forward. I gave myself the challenge to create up to three to five works of art a year, of course they had to be on much smaller canvases. In the past I had always enjoyed painting large, but that became impossible. Each painting was carefully and painfully executed and became examples of my determination to go forward. Each step I took also proved to the world my gift of art will never die on the vine. Most of all, I want to serve as an example to others who are walking the same path I have been treading. You too can rise above this challenge in life labeled “Lyme Disease.” If I can, so can others who have found themselves afflicted with this or other challenges.

During my search for an answer to the cause of a downward spiral in my health, I stumbled upon a Lyme literate doctor who knew how to correctly test for Lyme. I never had a “bull’s eye rash” and I never noticed a tick. Within two months of having limited movement in my neck and shoulders, along with a pain level that made it difficult to function, I did ask my primary physician to test for Lyme. The test came back negative. It appears that the tests done at your doctor’s office are less than 50% accurate.

If you suspect you have a tick-borne disease, IGeneX is who the Lyme literate doctors send their test kits to: https://igenex.com

To find out more about Lyme disease, and treatment within the traditional realm of medical practices, click here:
https://www.lymedisease.org

My treatment lasted 2 years, and it included a course of antibiotics in addition to natural tinctures and supplements. The doctor would switch things up every three months changing the antibiotic or the combination of things I was taking. Certain drugs affected my memory and concentration, while others made me light-headed. For this reason, and because I could not paint without resting my elbow on my painting tray or a table, I started painting smaller pieces and for shorter spans of time. For a while, I even experimented with finding a different way to paint, but there was never anything I liked enough to keep or frame.

As I continue to detoxify my body and rebuild my strength, there is less and less pain that builds up while I paint, or sit at a computer, or drive a car… so I’ve challenged myself by going a little bigger with my canvases, and by entering art exhibits again.

After living with Lyme for years, it is the last thing I really want to talk about. I would much rather share my recovery story. As many people who overcome a major illness or recovery will tell you, hope and determination play a major roll. I was determined to find a way out of living a life of chronic illness. Even after two years of treatment with a Lyme literate doctor, there were too many flare ups of symptoms keeping me from doing the things I wanted to get back to doing. In talking to others who had found alternative paths of growth and recovery, it became apparent that trying to heal the body alone wasn’t enough. So when an artist friend recommended a book written by Dr. Joe Dispenza, a Neuroscientist/Chiropractor who does lectures and workshops on meditation, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One,” I ordered the book and meditation CD. For more information: https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Habit-Being-Yourself-Create/dp/1401938094 I highly recommend this book, and also encourage seekers who struggle with their health or life in general, to attend growth related workshops as working on the mind and spirit brought about a healing of my body that I don't think would have happened otherwise.

During my meditations, I would ask for guidance and answers, which brought about thoughts and scenarios that I knew related back to my meditation. When I picked up on these thoughts and situations and responded to them, I experienced forward momentum in my recovery by finding the next person or path to connect with.

HEARING ABOUT MASTER JOHN DOUGLAS AND SPIRIT REPAIR came about through a thought that kept interrupting a mediation about a person with Lyme that I had never met, but who I had talked to once on the phone. My first call was to find out if I should really consider the long-term treatment the Lyme doctor was about to start me on. The second call was to ask what I should expect after two years on antibiotics. There is no doctor who will tell you they have a cure for Lyme, just doctors who have success in beating it into remission. Antibiotics cannot reach the Lyme organisms that hide within my body's cells, outside of the bloodstream. I was not expecting to hear about an opportunity to actually kill off the Lyme bacteria along with other “co-infection” diseases that typically accompany the Lyme species. The call left me with renewed hope and the determination to follow yet another protocol to finally regain my health and get back to painting and a life free of pain.

My participation in workshops led by spiritual and physical healer, Master John Douglas, provided the final push for a complete eradication of the Lyme disease. I was fortunate to be able to attend two workshops in person and continue to use various remote tools he makes available to everyone. For more information: https://masterangels.org

Through continued faith in the tools and knowledge that I have found on my path to recovery, I know I will continue to improve if I stay the course of eating healthy, detoxing, exercise, meditation, and limiting stress. Will I ever be able to spend eight hours a day painting at the easel again or tackle a canvas larger than myself? Perhaps not! However it is something to work toward.

When I first started a program of meditation, the only way I could meditate was lying down, as my neck hurt too much to sit still for too long. Sitting in one position actually aggravated my pain level. Now that I’m not in a constant state of pain, I just need to walk off any stiffness that develops as I sit. When at home, I meditate everyday, sometimes both upon waking and before I go to bed (usually until I fall asleep). When traveling, my goal is daily, even if it is only for 15 minutes.

One of the most important things that has given me peace of mind and spirit, is the tranquil form of MEDITATION! From this action, I can say with a joyous heart:

“I am experiencing a MIRACLE, thank you God for the gift of life you have given me!”