Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feeling Better & Smiling Again

Feeling Better & Smiling Again

After my last post I felt like I should say I am feeling much better. The cold is over and I'm back in my studio. I'm working on a new painting for the National  Latino!Cancer!Summit in July in San Francisco. There will be an art exhibit and auction during the summit. I will be submitting a painting reflecting the theme of educating Latinos to the dangers of too much sun exposure. I like my idea . The painting is coming together and I am so enjoying painting!

p.s.I am still adjusting and making a new way for myself!

By the way, the kitty above belongs to my friend Danna. I took the photo about 3 years ago and managed to catch the kitty right when she(?) was yawning. I loved that the photo looked like a big old cat smile!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adjust - : to adapt or conform oneself (as to new conditions)

Adjust - : to adapt or conform oneself (as to new conditions)
subtitle: My work is available for shows and readily available for sale

Took a whirlwind trip to L.A. over the MLK weekend. Visited family (and particularly the Fusco side of the family) and had a great time. We drove down in a rented 12 seat van. We collected my mother in San Jose, and from San Francisco came my husband, daughter, son and his wife with my grand kids Leo and Isabelle. All of our luggage plus baby stuff for Isabelle (she's only 6 months) was packed into the van. It was hysterical. We stayed with my sister in L.A. and brother-in-law J.D. I'd compare the experience to an urban camping trip. It was a memorable event with lots of fun thrown in.

Since my return, I developed a horrific cold. In my post hospitalization state, I am still considered immunosuppressed,  So, colds can lead to pneumonia, etc. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!. I just have to be careful, rest and not push myself until the symptoms clear.

Part of my post hospitalization treatment for Leukemia involves taking multiple meds: Chemo, anti-viral and others.There are a total of six different types I take at various times of the week. One type, Methotrexate, is taken one day a week for a total of 16 pills. Fortunately the pills are small! Another drug, a Sulpha drug, I take twice a day on the weekend. The other four pills I take every day. WOW...THAT'S A LOT OF PILLS!!! I've experienced minimal side effects but primarily  experience fatigue.

So, I haven't been into the studio for 11 days. The temperature in the building these days is closer to a refrigerator. No heat of course other than our space heaters. Its slightly (only slightly) funny when you see fellow artists walking around in full layered attire: multiple shirts, sweaters, jackets, leggings under jeans, jackets, scarves, hats, gloves. Yes, that's working in the winter months.

Let me just say I miss my studio time terribly. Since my discharge from the hospital, all I've wanted to do is paint. My jewelry making, gift making is still happening but its my painting that I long for. With eleven days out of the studio, I started to have my "failure dreams."  I dream I'm either in high school, college or performing on stage. I either haven't done my homework, studied for my finals or rehearsed my lines or dance. I'm a complete failure!! Anxiety. My anxiety of not being in the studio is showing up in my dreams!

So, I'm adjusting.  This is all new territory. How do I fit my health issues into my life? How do I  adjust to living with blood cancer, Leukemia, now in remission? The answer is I don't know. I'm figuring it out as I go along. The one thing I'm clear on is in order to maintain my health, I have to take care of myself. That involves trying to stay healthy, eat well, try to exercise and learn to let go of those stressful situations that always took their toll. They are totally not worth my time or energy!

Webster defines the word adjust as:  to adapt or conform oneself (as to new conditions). Yes, indeed. That is my life.

I am still creating, I am still promoting. My work is available for shows and readily available for sale all! I am simply adjusting to my new, renewed life.

January 22. 2012

p.s. I feel like the woman in this photo.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

GRATITUDE - new mixed media work for January 2012

I've been working for the past three weeks on a new mixed media work I called GRATITUDE. It is a series of designs I interpreted from Indian graphics. I found the swirls and floral designs just lovely and wanted to include them on the canvas. The color choices were influenced by Indian street graphics. The one eye represents vision, sight. I wanted to represent how my view on life and living has become more vibrant with my Leukemia  now in remission.. It feels that I've been given a new sense of color. The "praying hands" represent a sign of thanks as well as the acknowledge that divine forces followed me throughout my illness and carry me through my wellness.

Since my return to health, I have been full of Gratitude.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lessons from Adversity

I always find in the New Year we can always be full of expectations of what we want, what should be. When it doesn't happen or the goals are difficult to reach we become disappointed, depressed.

I thought this article was important in that it gave guidelines of how to better deal with these expectations /  depression.

Jan 10, 2012 11:43 pm | Noch Noch
Happy Woman
Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Noch Noch
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Two years ago, reading this quote, I would smirk and think, “What a cliché.”
In the last two years, I would read this quote and be in utter disbelief that anything can be learned when one is in the depths of hell.
Today, I read this quote and resonate confidently, that yes, even though I tried to end my life, even though I had to quit a high paying job, even though I still suffer from major depression, good has come out of my negative experience, and I have learned the lesson to take care of myself and listen to my body, albeit the hard way.
Around November 2009, my doctor said to me, “Noch, I think you are burned out. Your migraines are most probably due to stress. Please go see a psychologist.”
My fiancé dragged a reluctant me into the shrink’s office, and I came out, diagnosed with major depression. I had no idea what it meant or what would become of me. I just felt extremely unmotivated, had no appetite, only had negative thoughts in my little head, and was excruciatingly tired of life.
I was immensely frustrated with myself. I didn’t know why I was depressed, or burned out. I thought I had it all: the executive job, high on the corporate ladder at the young age of 28.
I spoke a few languages, lived all around the world, had a man who loved me for who I was, had my few soul mates and a wide network of friends. So what happened to me?
Indeed, I felt really ungrateful to be sick at all. All the people who passed me everyday in the misty smog of Beijing seemed to live much harder lives, scraping by the wayside. So, who was I to be unhappy about my life? I had no answer. And the more I thought about it, the more I got caught in my web of negative thoughts and unreasonable reasoning of life.
I closed myself off from the rest of the world, and disappeared off the social radar. I was forced to take medical leave from work, being physically unable to do any work or concentrate.
The few close friends who knew of my plight tried to console me.
“It’s a challenge and test, to make you stronger,” they’d say. They gave me examples of all these great leaders of the world who had to go through trials and tribulations to get to where they were. There was something in store for me, and it would end up a positive life changing experience, they reassured me.
But I could not agree with anything they said. I could not see beyond that dark tunnel of despair. I found no meaning in life.
I tried to end my own life a few times. Each time my fiancé stopped me or saved me in time.
This lasted for some nine months. I stopped caring how I looked or dressed. I spent each day in bed or on the beanbag in the living room. I was too aloof to even watch TV or read a book.
I was amused by the irony that when I was so busy with work, all I wanted was time to lie around to watch TV or read; yet when I did have the time, I had no energy or interest.
Somehow, a little spark went off in my head one day, and I decided to write my own blog. Perhaps it was after reading too many articles in the blogosphere on depression, or how to live a better life that I got such inspiration. So, I started writing and rambling.
I fleshed out my negative thoughts, amidst pain and crying as I recounted the days and livid emotions in those none months of my worst days of major depression. I searched within my soul.
I asked myself again those fundamental questions on what I wanted in life, what would make me happy, and what my passions were.
Through my self-reflection and writing, I finally learned, painstakingly, in no particular order:
1. Don’t ignore warning signals in your body. Frequent petty colds, stomach aches, and headaches may all be a sign of stress.
2. There is no need to be strong all the time, and even less of a need to maintain an image of strength in front of others.
3. Achievements and titles mean nothing if they’re not something you’re passionate about.
4. Creativity is therapeutic, and it’s in everyone, just sometimes suppressed.
5. We need to matter the most to ourselves—over any job promotion, meeting, excel spreadsheet.
6. Not replying to emails immediately is not the end of the world.
7. We all need spare time for ourselves—time for solitude and reflection.
8. It doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks, if we know in our hearts something isn’t right.
9. Most petty worries aren’t serious. So save some energy.
10. Everything will be okay in time.
11. Health is the most important thing in the world.
12. Sometimes it’s best to stop doing so many things, and instead spend more time enjoying what we have.
13. There is no point in being afraid of the uncertainty because it doesn’t change that the future is uncertain. Leap.
14. We don’t have to worry about being a disappointment to anyone, because we do not need to live according to anyone else’s expectations of us.
15. We will all hurt. Embrace the pain, and know that suffering is a choice.
Depression was a loud wake up call for me. It taught me to stop sprinting towards the vanity of titles, money, and achievements with a muddled vision. It was a signal that something was wrong in my life and change was needed. It took getting close to death for me to fully appreciate the value of every breath.
I do not purport to have learned everything there is to learn about adversity. Yet, my mind has opened to welcoming experiences that might seem negative, now and in years to come.
Whatever befalls, positive or negative, embrace it with open arms, experience it, and learn from it.
Today I am still recovering from depression, but I’m learning to free myself from the traps of negative thinking, and establishing new habits for a new life.
So I say thank you sickness. Thank you depression. Thank you adversity.
We’ve all had our fair shares of struggles, and we’ll all have more—which means we’ll have new opportunities to learn, grow, and share it.

~ from The Tiny Buddha

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 

These words of wisdom come from the great Irish novelist, playwright & poet, Oscar Wilde.

Felt like posting something short and sweet in my blog and this seemed like a great quote to take with you.

Happy Tuesday!