This is a beginning, a documentation of past experiences, a story of illness, surviving and the creative work that is the result of this journey. It will also serve as a record of a new journey – my first sabbatical.
So, I start with the past…
At 22, I believed that with sheer determination and strength of will, I could accomplish anything. My confidence was not that which comes from experience – failure, endurance, and ultimately survival – but, from well laid plans and having everything fall into place. I graduated magna cum laude from University of Michigan with a BFA in Printmaking and Ceramics. After a year off from school, I was accepted into the printmaking program at University of Iowa – my first choice for graduate studies.
A few weeks later the pain started. Soreness, stiffness in my hands and my feet. In the shower, the shampoo bottle became my nemesis – I won the battle by opening it with my teeth and pressing it with my forearm. The pain got worse – it spread to my knees and elbows. I knew what it was. I had seen it in my mother – rheumatoid arthritis. I was too scared to act. I denied it.