abOut vickiO

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

– Eden Phillpotts

My name is victOria jOy O’cOnnOr and I live in Fountain Hills, Arizona with my loving, funny and supportive husband, John.  I am an artist, author, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner, and a supporter of all things fun, beautiful, heart-felt and inspiring.  Prior to retiring in 2004, I was in IT Development for 25 years.  It is very exciting and fun to be able to use  my knowledge and experience with computers to bring my art into the world.

The amazing Southwest is a wonderful place to explore and appreciate what Mother Nature can create with wind and rain and heat.  Before I got sick I was an avid golfer, hiker, Jazzerciser and art-fair seeker.  The severe fatigue, coughing and back aches that often come with Valley Fever have profoundly effected my life these past 4 years. And, unfortunately, continue to do so.  I have been  forced to practice “one day at a time” and pay attention to the blessings that come my way.  And there have been many.  I look forward to sharing them with you in my monthly posts.

I play the Native American flute, practice sobriety, and spend quality time with my girlfriends at Starbuck’s to help keep me honest and sane (relatively speaking, of course).  I also love Chico’s, my iPad Isabel, being grateful, and the beauty and force of nature.  I am grateful everyday for my beautiful family, friends and surroundings.  Without them, I would not be here.

image

Learning and playing as I go.

Loving life. Feeling grateful.

crazy gOOd lOve in Tofino, BC

lOve, vickiO

15 comments

  1. JoAnn Serro

    Hi Vicki, Jill sent your blog to me. How wonderful to see what you
    have accomplished. I have missed you at Jazzercise and asked
    Jill about how you were doing. Sorry to hear that you have had such
    a hard time getting better. If you don’t remember me I live in Fountain
    Hills but a member of Rio Verde. I do miss seeing your smiling face.

    JoAnn Serro

    • vickioart

      Hi JoAnn! I sure do remember you! Thank you for asking about me and checking out my website. It has been a long haul, but there have been many silver linings. I miss Jazzercise and all my friends there. Hoping to return, just don’t know when. Hugs to you and thanks so much for your message. Love, Vicki

  2. Debra Rogers

    Been wandering around here and so happy to see you with an outlet for your emotional health. Missed seeing you in Show Low – but knew there would be time again for that visit. Thinking of you – loving you and wishing you all the best. See you soon.

    I think I need some of your IT experience to get my website and blog sorted out – but I believe as you say – give it time – and I have stopped stressing about it!!

    • vickioart

      Hi Debra! Thanks for stopping by my vickiO world! I’m sorry I missed seeing you in the real world at Torreon. Thanks so much for the well wishes, and anytime you want to talk website and blogging, just text me. Miss you, too! Hugs.

  3. Tiki Bighouse

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 I was diagnosed with Valley Fever in November.I recently moved to Florence Arizona from Northern Idaho.My name is Tiki, I am a wife, nurse and Mom off 5 great kids. I also do photography and love writing! I feel one of the gifts of VF is for me to be able to slow down and do some writing, I set up a blog on Word Press, but this blogging stuff is very new to me and a bit confusing. I would love any tips or advice you would have for me :-)I love your art work! You have a great positive attitude! I think attitude is key, it’s ask about perspective! I live one day at a time, and remind myself daily, first things first, I keep a gratitude journal, that helps me a lot!! I am very interested in spreading
    awareness and education about V F.
    If I can help spread the word out help in any way, I would love to. Thanks! Have a beautiful day 🙂

    • Julie

      Hi Tiki, my name is julie and I too have been diagnosed with vf february 2014. How are you doing it with kids and work, I would love to talk with you, I want to feel myself again! To know someone out there knows this feeling, I don’t feel so alone. My number is (586) 268 -7104, please call if you have some free time. Thank you! Julie

  4. Julie

    Hello! My name is Julie and I am a new arizonian since November 2013. What a beautiful place…. but I must say the desert has put a damper on my soul. I was diagnosed March 1st 2014 with VF. I have never been so scared, and I am not a fearful person! I came across your post and you have given me such HOPE! I really am greatful to be forced to sit (from fatigue) because its something I would never do. Reading your blog has enlightened me in so many ways, taking the slow route and enjoying life in a slower pace. I do want my old self back physically but, in the meantime I will continue to read your posts and take on your outlook on life and this crazy VF. Thank you again, Julie

    P.S How are you feeling?

    • vickioart

      Hi Julie! I’m so happy you found my blog, and that it has brought you some hope and inspiration. VF has taught me many things that I didn’t even know I needed to learn. It has also challenged me in ways I never saw coming. I’m sorry you are having to deal with this disease – it IS very scary and life-altering, and such unknown territory. My recent relapse hit me pretty hard, and the fatigue has me close to home, and close to my bed. An online art e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts is helping me expand my creative outlet – a true life-saver! Enjoy the slower pace, and please feel free to contact me again if you’d like. Hugs, Vicki

      • Julie

        Hi Vicki, I am sorry to hear your not feeling well, I know symptoms are all different but I do know where your coming from. I was so happy to see your response, to know there is somone out there who knows about this whole crazy VF disease. Your artwork is truly beautiful and inspiring. I can’t believe I moved out here from Michigan Nov 2014 because of the love of the outdoors and now I cringe on even thinking about going outside. I don’t want to feel this way, I am a really positive person and I will not let this get the best of me. With your story and blogs I feel a whole new door has opened. I have an appt. with Dr.G this week (thank you by the way). I am learning so much too….PATIENCE is a big one and slowing down is something I needed to do anyhow. I hope and pray you feel better very soon Vicki, stay strong and if ever the need to talk …..i’m here. HUGS back at ya……Julie

  5. Lahna

    Hi Vicki: As a confirmed VF case from 3/2008, currently experiencing the extreme fatigue for 6 weeks that sure sounds like a recurrence, I am curious what Mayo Clinic thought of your VF. Did they comment on that and did they offer any ideas about other possible maladies?

    I am struggling through the appointments here in Tucson area to eliminate other possibilites but have come to the same conclusion as you, I think it is a relapse. My neighbor has had 3 re-activations, and poor thing is 89. So I must be thankful I am not as old as her as I don’t know how I would get through this at her age.

    Best to you, Lahna

    • vickioart

      Hi Lahna! I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences with Valley Fever, and about your recent fatigue. There is so much unknown about this disease, and the more we can share with each other, the better – so thank you very much for writing.

      The Mayo Clinic was helpful in ruling out other serious conditions for me, but beyond that, not so much. The doctor I saw said if everything else was ruled out, then we may be looking at a “chronic fatigue” type condition. With the research I have done on “chronic fatigue”, the condition is actually a symptom, not a diagnoses. Meaning, the original cause has been linked to certain types of viruses, and not a condition in itself. Most doctors don’t know this, and don’t know what to do with people in this condition.

      This is important to me, because I think the Valley Fever spores can cause this same type of symptom. The doctors may think we are crazy, but I know we are not. Even if the blood tests don’t reveal VF being active in my system, I know it is related. (This is based on my experience, and research, and doctor appointments of all kind.) In my chronic condition, western medicine helped me make sure I wasn’t dying from some other disease (which was very helpful) but after that there really was no help (Mayo Clinic, Dr. Galgianni, Pulmonary specialists, etc.)

      I’m sure not an expert on anyone else but me, so it is important to listen to your own body, and your own intuition about all of this. I finally contacted a very wise, learned woman I saw when I lived in Minnesota (stage 4 breast cancer survivor herself) who shared with me her work treating herself and clients with something called Microcurrent (low-frequency energy protocol). I started using it in May, and I’m now 80% back to health. I haven’t talked about it here because complementary medicine can be so controversial, and I sure can’t say for anyone else that this is “the answer”. All I know is that it feels very healing and supportive to me, and I’m very grateful!

      Hopefully this wasn’t too much information, but I know how frustrating and crazy-making this disease can be. Hope this has been helpful. If you have other questions, please let me know.

      Hugs to you, and your neighbor❤️ Vicki

  6. Lahna

    Thank you so much, Vicki, for taking the time to reply. Your kind words are so uplifting and your blog gives me such hope. I just re-read your Sept blog about your 25 day road trip and thought, wow, sure hope I can do that some day. Apparently it was my 9 day road trip in Sept from Wash State down the coast, across the mountains, and back to AZ that totally zapped my energy. Two days later I could hardly get out of bed for the fatigue and now, 6 weeks later, I can only function until about 10 a.m., and not at any kind of former level. The afternoons I am too fatigued to drive or cook or most normal activities of daily living. BUT, you give me hope that I will overcome and I will be able to do a trip again someday.

    Anyway, a couple of questions for you. First, what exactly did you do for exercise? I am trying to walk a little in the a.m. but it is a slow shuffle, nothing like my normal one hour brisk- paced walk. I also occasionally, when I can, try to do a brisk 5 minutes, since my medical news (I am a retired RN) reports recent studies show that may be sufficient for cardiac health (I had a genetic bicuspid aortic valve replaced in 2007, so I try very hard to protect my heart and know so well how important exercise is.) Since you were active also prior to your relapse, what worked for you?

    Secondly, how do I find out more about the “microcurrent” therapy? I suppose Google? I am not opposed to anything that works, alternative medicine or western…although I try to avoid any drugs that I can.

    Any help greatly appreciated, and again, thank you so much for such a positive blog about this very frustrating disease. May you continue to improve and enjoy good health. As the Dalai Lama says, “I have a precious human life”. And it still is, even when we suffer.

    Blessings, Lahna

    • vickioart

      Hi Lahna! You are so welcome. This helps me, too😊 in answer to your questions – #1 Exercise: what I have found is that pushing does NOT work. And I tested this over and over again. One year into my illness I did 12 weeks of physical therapy based on the recommendation of Dr. Galigiani. I thought he was crazy. I couldn’t even walk around the block. But what I learned was invaluable – start very slow, increase very slow, rest in between “excercises” (which may only be stretching to begin with) if you need to. I really had to learn and relearn to REALLY listen to my body. I’m still learning it – just 2 weeks ago I went to a Jazzercise class (my favorite!) – thought I was taking it easy, and had to take the following week to recover.
      My new rules – if I’m tired, I don’t take my walk. Stretching (slowly, with time to really breathe) is really good for me. This may be about finding a new normal (at least for awhile❤️).
      #2 Microcurrent – this website will get you started http://www.frequencyspecific.com
      I’d also suggest you call my person in MN. Her name is Dr. Marcie New, and she is incredibly knowledgeable, caring and wise. My sister in CA just worked with her long distance to purchase a machine and have it programmed for her and her husband specifically. The microcurrent device is not cheap (approx. $3,000), but I know I’ve spent that amount over and over again trying to find “answers”.
      Lahna, feel free to email me directly if you want to at vickiOart@cox.net
      Know that I’m wishing you well on your journey – because that is really what this is. I love the Dalai Lama quote because life truly is precious no matter what we are going through.
      Hugs, Vicki

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s