When All I Want To Do Is Sing

Thyroid Ablation Aftermath

When All I Want To Do Is Sing

Okay, so on July 13, I had a Thyroid Ablation.  The procedure itself was easy.  All I had to do was swallow a capsule that contained radioactive iodine.  No big deal. The time leading up to the procedure, and the aftermath however, has been a bit rough.

I am not one to complain.  My daily routine has not changed whatsoever…well other than getting out of bed is an act of congress lately.  Carrying around a letter alerting officials that I am not a dirty bomb was a bit amusing, sure. Prior to the procedure, I was informed of a special diet.  Now, being a level 3 CKD patient with type one diabetes and high blood pressure, I already am on a pretty strict diet.  Oh, did I mention I really do not eat meat also? Anyways, so they told me I had to cut out all dairy, (that was easy, I do not really do dairy anyway) all bread, (again VERY easy, I do not like bread) anything with a certain red dye, (easy I do not do preprocessed GMO grossness) any sea salt, (are you kidding me? I do not use salt but SEA SALT? Okay fine, so no sea salt) sea food, (um…my one source of animal protein is now gone) and last but certainly no least, soy.  Yes, soy.  The one thing that is in virtually EVERYTHING. Soybean oil is soy.  Read anything you have in your pantry, go ahead, I will wait.  I can guarantee you one of these is probably on the list.  Mind you there were also many other things I could not have, but I decided I would only list the main ones here. You could have egg whites.  I do not like eggs.  My brain congers up dead baby chickens and well…It freaks me out! Nonetheless, I struggled and had egg white omelets with peppers and onions. Thankfully I could have Matzos.  I was living on Matzos with grape jelly. I use non dairy creamer in my coffee, so that was safe too, as was my seltzer.  Oh my water…..I had to stop drinking my spring water and switch to…distilled.  LOL  Thankfully I usually put a lemon in my water so it masked the taste.

This diet did a number on my digestion.  I shall save you the details.  Needless to say, I did not leave home for a while. Any time I did met with uncomfortable results. It seems the medicine I was on for Graves, which I had to stop for the procedure, and then of course permanently thereafter, was also a medicine that caused constipation.  Who knew? Not me, not even after 3 years of taking it.  I guess eating healthy had it’s perks in that respect. Sadly, however, stopping that medicine, combined with the diet to end all diets, my digestive tract was a volcano.  A very, very, angry volcano.  Your welcome, I am sure you wanted to know!

When the doctor gave me the capsule, he began to explain my post procedure orders.  No lemon at first.  But then drink a lot.  As much as I could stand.  Now with gastroperesis (very early stages) this is a task.  I can only consume so much before I feel like a balloon. Nonetheless, I did. I drank.  I sort of had to, I had an insatiable thirst.  My blood sugars remained normal thankfully, throughout this all. That is until day 4 post procedure. Now I do not mind eating off of plastic utensils, washing my laundry separate, flushing the toilet twice and all the other quirks that go along with being radioactive.  I do, however, hate that I was unable to hug or kiss my family.  I had to sleep alone.  (That always feels SO strange to me) I digress, I am straying from topic, so day four post procedure, my daughter had to have the second in a series of vaccines.  I am not one to miss her appointments.  Especially not sequential vaccines.  Although she is a trooper and will take a shot, they do hurt her and I am not a fan of my daughter having pain.  Within as much, we headed to her appointment.  Now why, for the love of God, this pediatrician opted to have ONE solitary waiting room for both healthy and sick kids is BEYOND me.  Perhaps it is a form of job security.  Who knows, for whatever reason it is, it makes me dread going.  We sat alone as far behind everyone as we could.  And waited.  And waited…..and waited.  I am not sure why they gave us a 10 AM appointment as we weren’t even called back until almost 11! All the while this child, well, I assume she was a child,  (I reiterate, we were at a pediatrician) but she had a tattoo on her back and looked like a young adult, was obviously EXTREMELY ill.  I began to shift in my seat. I knew my immune system was already compromised courtesy of that lovely radioactive capsule.  Then there was also my poor child, sitting next to me, who seems to catch any bug around.  By the time we finally managed to get the heck out of there and get to the car, we were virtually bathing in our Purell.  I even sanitized my face.  (I was never close to any child so I posed zero radioactive contamination dangers to those in the waiting room)Within 4 days, I was sick.  When I say sick, I mean, sick.  I had not had a cold, or whatever this was, this bad, ever. Nonetheless, my responsibilities do not care how sick I am.  There is no one else here to do reviews for me, homeschool my daughter, cook, clean, illustrate books, format books, and do all the commercial marketing.  So, I had to carry on like I was perfectly healthy.

Flash forward to today. In three days it will have been a month since I swallowed that radioactive capsule.  Right now my voice sounds like I am either the worlds worst transgender nightmare or I have swallowed a knife.  Talking hurts.  Laughing hurts. Crying, oh my gosh does that hurt. Remember, I have neuropathy and fibromyalgia and am on zero pain medications.  I never even had so much as an aspirin when I had my daughter.  My pain tolerance is pretty good.  So when I say it hurts, I mean it.

I never received any information about post ablation vocal issues.  I have googled it and have read a few things here and there,  Nothing definitive. Now, I am no professional singer.  I do however sing,  a lot. Correction, I did. I cannot now.  I certainly hope this is temporary because not being able to sing is quite depressing.  It is funny, as an artist with neuropathy, retinopathy, glaucoma and fibromyalgia you would think the fact I am losing sight and use of my hands would depress me.  They do not.  Yet losing my voice has.  Quite strange, even to me.  Perhaps it is because growing up, singing is what we did. Nana, my maternal grandmother, who helped raise me, sang, non-stop, and she always had me sing. Nana was the one who taught me vocal control.  I grew up watching The Sweet Adelines, as many family members were members there of, and my mother’s brother was a famous quartet member.  Not to mention my incredibly talented brother who sang for a living for many years. So, singing was the norm.  I raised my daughter this way.  Not being able to sing is really depressing.  It could always be worse and honestly I absolutely realize how trivial it is.  I am grateful to be alive. I know there is always a reason for everything and one day I will see the reason behind this.  For now however, I miss singing.

My voice was not great, but it was mine.  Here, have a listen.  This is old and poor sound quality! Again, I am no singer, but I sing.

Abbey

I would like you to meet Abbey. Abbey is the title character of a children’s fairytale book, where I am both the illustrator and the author! After years of illustrating for others, I have decided to work on the manuscripts I have had for years just gathering dust. Stay tuned for more! 📚 🎨 📚 🎨

Introducing Lucy

Introducing Lucy

I would like you to meet Lucy.

Lucy is a character in my debut children’s picture book where, for the first time, I am both the illustrator and the author.

After years of illustrating, editing, formatting, creating all of the advertising, all the social marketing, creating book trailers, and cover art for children’s books, I have  decided to go ahead and do the one part missing to a picture book’s creation, the authoring.  I had been approached to do so on several occasions over the past couple of years. Not to mention several friends constantly asking why I did not just make my own. Within as much, I decided to dust off the old manuscripts I have had sitting for years.

Although I took Creative Writing in high school, and have always loved to write and create stories, (especially for my daughter at bedtime when she was younger) I never considered making my own children’s book.

I have decided, why not.  If nothing else, I will have a hard copy of my own little story for my daughter, if no one else decides to buy it!

Stay tuned for more about “When Gray Was Blue“!

Art Life Seemingly On Hold

What a hectic July it has been thus far. It is only the middle of July, but it certainly feels like the month should be over.

By this time next month there should not be too much left of my thyroid.  I had an ablation done last week.  I have since enjoyed the subtle teases of me glowing green from my radiation treatment.  If you cannot laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at?  Between the prep for that, homeschooling my daughter, running to and fro between appointments and life in general, I have not had much time for art. I have found the less I create the more moody I become. I sketched a little here and there and managed to eek out a mini canvas painting.  Nothing of consequence and certainly nothing worth posting here.

My boss has left me holding the bag on the next book release. I think he forgets that I am an artist not a publishing company. I illustrated, edited, created all ads, a book trailer, and formatted and reformatted 12 times. If the printer does not like my formatting, then it is my opinion, that my boss can use an actual formatter, not an artist for that task. I bite my tongue, for now.

The heat and humidity seem worse this year. Perhaps it is merely me getting older.

Okay, end of mindless rant.

I hope everyone else is able to have a beautiful Summer!

 

When I Am Offered Work

No matter how hungry you are as an artist/illustrator, never undercut your self worth. Avoid proposals that are not upfront about how much you will make and what is expected of you! Time and time again people expect art for free…I wonder if they expect all services for free. Can you imagine asking a carpenter to build your home for free? It is disrespectful. Do not even entertain these types. Exposure is NOT payment.

 

For The Love Of Markers

Azile Marker art

Markers have certainly evolved since I first used Crayolas as a child. I fondly remember my first set of markers. I also remember the devastation I felt when they dried out.  As time passed my art evolved.  Occasionally I would use my Micron pens, but markers were mainly used to decorate handmade cards or packages. I seldom created art with them.

The more I delved into digital art, the more I longed to return to organic art.  Illustrating books, creating book covers as well as the advertisements and book trailers thereof left little time to do so. I could make a few smaller paintings, but drying time and such delayed any true sense of gratification. My graphite sketches and Micron ink drawings seemingly lacked. Then…. I discovered ….. Chameleon Pens.  I believe I first saw the video on Facebook.  No doubt my bestie had tagged me in the post.  It seems when a new art product arrives I am always tagged about it.  If only I had the luxury and wealth to buy these items. I remember sharing the post with my husband.  The idea of blending markers and one marker providing seemingly limitless colors was simply awesome to us.

Then came Valentine’s Day. My darling husband surprised me with the 22 box set. The rest of the available colors came shortly thereafter as an Easter surprise.

Chameleon Marker Art

I never thought I would enjoy markers again.  But I love these! They make creating art as fun as I remembered it. I have many other top brands of markers as well, but I always seem to go back to my Chameleon pens. They flow beautifully.

Flight Of Colors Marker Art

It has not become my favorite late evening activity. I doodle with my Chameleon pens.  It is a welcomed break from the digital monotony that has become my world amidst illustrating children’s books!

Alaska Marker Art

I still paint, wood burn, sculpt, sketch, and draw using ink, of course.  However, the ease and instant gratification from using the Chameleon pens are wonderful.  I have enough time after work and preparing my family dinner to actually complete a piece of art.  Nothing compares to waking up the next day and seeing my doodle sitting there. Even if it isn’t perfect, I feel better knowing it is complete and I feel accomplished.

To see more of my art please visit my website at www.alysathena.com

Chibis and Washitape

Washi Tape….I had never heard of this stuff…then I saw someone post art using it. I fell in love. I have always loved crafts as well as art.  Combining the two is perhaps one of my most favorite things to do! So I dove straight in!

It started out innocent enough, my husband brought home 5 rolls.  After I created Polka however, a beast inside me took over……we headed straight for Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.  I simply could not believe my eyes! Mind you now, this tape had ALWAYS been there.  I never gave it a second notice before. But now, now all things had changed.  They may as well have been giant cupcakes or gold bars.  I was mesmerized.

We left the stores with 28 more rolls and an organizer, which subsequently only holds half of what I acquired. My mind was full of ideas!

I already saw many chibis out there and loved how the cuteness looked.  So I decided to try my washitape art on chibis. At this time, I was also beginning my Disney Princess Fan art series.  I decided I may as well make those Chibis too!

I am not sure what else I will do next but I am having a great deal of fun with these!