Friday, January 11, 2019

Art Therapy heals the heart, soul, and back

For those of you who have known me for a while, there is a good chance that you know I have a 'bad back'.  I love working out and pushing my body to its top capacity... and I think I've just pushed it too far too many times. Last fall my back went out and I did Physical Therapy over the summer. In the fall this year, I felt it kind of going out again so I thought I just need to work out a little bit more. I pushed myself too far and around Thanksgiving, my back went out so bad that I was walking with a really bad limp... if I was able to walk at all. I couldn't sleep because of the pain. I was now attempting another course of action... chiropractic, traction, and massage (but not the nice massage). I gave this method a try for 5 weeks but did not see improvement. So I got an MRI which told us that I had an extruded disk and that the 'jelly doughnut filling' in my spine was sitting on a nerve. By this time I had no feeling into my leg and foot. I was just kind of dragging my leg along. So I tried an injection... and waited the 10 days that they suggested to wait to 'see if it was working'. It did not. Finally, before Holiday Break, I gave up and was no longer able to go to work.  I met with a neurosurgeon who was able to get me in last Monday, by some miracle. They removed the section laying on my nerve and I woke up to the most relief I have had in two months. 

I stayed the night in the hospital where I learned how to care for myself and how to gain strength again.  I am required to take leave for 4-6 weeks.  I have never really considered that I might someday be hurt and not able to work. I now have a new appreciation for people with chronic pain, and lack of sleep due to pain.  I know I have friends that will take care of me when I'm not doing well and family that can make life happen without me being the 'Mom and Wife' that I typically have been. I have discovered so much in this adventure off the course of my projected life plan. 

So how does an Art Teacher attempt to get through the next 4 weeks of life restricted in activities? With a LOT of ART THERAPY!  On January 1st I received an email from the Sketchbook Skool. I have taken classes through them on a regular basis. The email I received was a year worth of prompts. I can do a sketch every day with these prompts. For this month, I'm choosing to use the medium iPad and explore more ways to create digital Art. 

Then I received another email, this time from JoAnne Fabric telling me about a deal where I can pay $1 for the courses they call CreativeBug. YES!! In a heartbeat, I paid my $1 and I have been consuming the videos and participating in drawing and sewing skills thus far. 

Plus, I have trusted teachers coming in to work in my classroom. In fact, the current sub has experience with clay and she knows I'm allergic to clay... she offered to teach and then fire the clay for me. WHAT?? YES!! That is a win/win because my students are very motivated by clay and I'm sure she is having very little behavioural issues with students while using clay.  

Knowing I have support at school, and from friends and family has made this experience doable. I know that I will heal over time and in the meanwhile, get to create to help my heart and soul heal at the same time as my back. 

Here's to the New Year and a New back!

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