I have spent a lot of time... months? curled up, staring at the backs of my eyelids... thinking. I have sketched out numerous pages for the graphic medicine/autobio comic I want to write about my hysterectomy. In my head. I have written emails and sent cards. In my head. I have designed some online classes and outlined a new Zentangle book. In my head. And I've written many, many blog posts. In my head.
Last night, I uncurled, a little bit - and reached out on Facebook:
Anyone else awake? I had no idea the recovery time would be so hard for this hysterectomy. I figured it would hurt, sure, but what’s with my screwy head and emotions? I just feel so scared all the time. The tumor was the size of a baby - so maybe this is like having post-baby blues?
And I was amazed and reassured by the responses I received - both public and private. My surgery was only a week ago and it was a lot more involved and traumatic than expected. Well - expected by medical folks - I knew it would be unpredictable. One night in the hospital dragged on into the weekend...
Just walking to the kitchen exhausts me. Or taking a shower. Or having a conversation with my kid. Well... that's pretty typical. Scratch that. I forget ordinary words and names or where my conversation was going. And then suddenly think of completely random things...
Today, I suddenly remembered an argument from years ago about why someone like me should have disability insurance. You know, if something were to happen to my hand and I couldn't draw. Or I had my insides ripped out through multiple holes in my stomach and needed to rest and heal for 6-8 weeks and reduce my stress and I couldn't think coherently for a few weeks and had no way to earn money. Yeh. I should take myself more seriously in the future.
I have plenty of ideas. And tons of really cool things that I had started. It's just that right now - where it takes me a week just to open my computer and write a blog post... those genius plans feel SO far away.
There are moments... in between the crying hysterically - and the staring at the backs of my eyelids... when I feel a sense of calm and purpose return. At those moments, I remember what I need to do. At the top of that list is to turn this whole experience - of trying to understand the depression, anxiety, panic... bleeding - discovering the tumor, doing research, making decisions, doing research on autism, trying to get myself and my family prepared for the surgery and the down-time, and now - desperately trying to find some help and solutions --- it all needs to be "drawn out." I need to turn it into a comic. Not necessarily funny - although I do remember there were some very funny bits.
And I need to create a new studio space. I lost the space I had been creating in Concord last summer, right about the same time that my financial plans and my health betrayed me. So this time, I want to create the Studio, here, in my home. I have an amazing studio here in my barn where I draw and create - and many years ago, I had a public studio where I did Open Studios and workshops. I want to resurrect that space. It will be a bright, cheerful space for meetings, Open Studios, playdays, Studio Sales, workshops, and the home base of Bumblebat, my publishing company and Etsy shop.
I need people and I need cool projects and I need to feel like there is a point to waking up each day. I know I can do this. I've done it before. And I've pulled myself out of some pretty bad depressions too. Although, I have to admit that, although I have had many, many intense surgeries, this one was the biggest and messiest yet.
So, taking into consideration the excellent advice from my Facebook friends that I need to give myself time to heal and recover fully - and the crazy, but true, logical thoughts running through my head in endless loops "you can't afford this!?", "you can't afford the medical expenses!?", "you'll need to sell a kidney!", "you should have sold the uterus!" Anyway. My plan is to do a Kickstarter that will run for a few weeks while I am "recovering" (ie: curled up in a tiny ball or crying hysterically). My goal is to raise some money to cover the bills, buy me some time to work on the "Hysterical-ectomy" comic, and renovate the new studio space. Go big or go home right? (yes, I know, I'm already home!)
I'm working on the Kickstarter now. Well - in my head. But writing this blog post is one step closer to making it a reality.