Tagged: survivOr

fOllOw yOur art, yOur heart, and yOur therapist’s advice

If your doctor ever offers you Physical Therapy, say YES, YES, YES! And if you are recovering from Valley Fever, ask your doctor for a prescription for PT!  I’m not saying it will absolutely help, but there is a whole lot more being offered than just a few suggested exercises. Over the past 6 weeks, my wonderful physical therapist, Barbara, has supported not only my physical being, but my emotional and mental being as well. I had no idea how skilled, creative, funny, caring and wise she would be. I hope she never doubts the difference she is making in the world!

thank yOu, Barbara!

thank yOu, Barbara!

She has even inspired some new artwork…


nO wiser wOrds have ever been spOken

Ever so slowly, I am improving. It has taken 6 weeks (and 15 months!), but I am now able to drive myself to my PT appointments, take a short trip Up North (Arizona), and even attend a Diamondback baseball game with my husband. He had the hotdog and beer, and I ate all three chicken tacos!


DBacks wOn with a walk-Off hOmer in the bOttOm of the ninth!


beautiful pOnderOsa pines in shOw lOw, az

My 2-hour afternoon naps are still very important, as is staying hydrated and eating good food. Just this morning I walked into the kitchen and found four drinking glasses lined up on the counter. I knew they had not been there when I had gone to bed, so I asked my husband if he knew what was going on. He said, “I have a new plan for you!” I smiled, and asked what it was. He said that was the number of glasses of water I needed to drink each day. Bless his heart! Funny thing – my acupuncturist told me today that I needed to drink 76 ounces of water each day. Okay, Universe, I hear you!

Another milestone for me is being able to walk all the way around Fountain Lake – 1.25 miles! Unfortunately, because of the heat, I have to do it at 5am! It is amazing how many friendly people are out at that hour. Here are a few things that made me smile this morning:

image image

Taking my walk not only helps my physical heart, but my emotional heart as well. So does painting, and smiling at my husband, and saying the truth, and only saying yes when I really mean it. My heart will lead me to my best pOssible life. I just have to remember to listen : )


and yOur heart!


Following my (he)art, on many days, is a lot easier said than done. I continue to learn (many days kicking and screaming) that the only person I can save is myself. It is a very hard lesson for this “very good co-dependent”. But everyday I commit to myself to be as healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually as possible.  And just like my art, it is prettier on some days than others.

I will leave you with a few more images that inspired me today – one from Arizona, and one from Minnesota, via my friend Frank Bell.

guardian Of the desert

guardian Of the desert

mama lOOn and her chicks

mama lOOn and her chicks

And one more important reminder from Barbara:


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.

Learn as if you were to live forever”

Mahatma Gandhi

chOOse healing thOughts, embrace your feelings, tell the truth

lOve, vickiO

hOpe-mOre Or hOpe-less

hOpe visits

This sounds quite harsh, but I always believed hOpe to be a weak person’s pie-in-the-sky false dream. Something that I wasn’t interested in because of my pride, and my belief that I didn’t need any help, from anyone or anything.

a hOpe butterfly frOm my sister

a hOpe butterfly frOm my sister

I am a survivor of an alcoholic / co-dependent family, religious abuse, depression, cervical cancer and alcohol addiction. Who would have thought it would be valley fever  to bring me to my knees? Talk about feeling hOpe-less.

For most of my 55-years on the planet, I have relied on my sharp mind, strong will and my ability to persevere. I’ve never shied away from hard work or looking within to find answers and relief.

Luckily, I’ve worked with several really good therapists over the years, who helped me walk through many traumatic experiences and limiting beliefs. Without those gifted people, I would not have made it this far, and I definitely wouldn’t be finding my way through the challenges of valley fever.

nOte: Valley Fever cases continue to increase, and thankfully National Public Radio (NPR) recently aired a story about it. Check it out here. Also, the Denver Post published an article about thousands of people being effected by Valley Fever. (Thank you, Jill, for the heads up on both of these items!)

When I realized I couldn’t outwit or outplay valley fever, I set out to learn some things about hOpe. Yes, the “Queen of Nothing Is Too Much For Me”, admitted that I need something more. Working hard and persevering isn’t cutting it, so hOpe it is.


My Google search brought me two very important things – a very cool definition of hOpe, and one amazing poem.

Definition by Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson:

“[h]ope literally opens us up…[and] removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture [, thus allowing us to] become creative and have [b]elief in [a] better future”. Pretty beautiful, don’t you think!?


custOm created fOr a friend befOre finding the definitiOn Of hOpe

Now, on to the amazing Emily Dickinson poem:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson


Needless to say, I have slowly fallen in love with hOpe. I’ve also fallen in love with little birdies, and wispy clouds and the belief that I am slowly getting better. And Mother Nature keeps showing me how to hOpe-mOre. I’ve watched this cactus grow over the last month. Isn’t it amazing? I really can’t look at it without smiling.

mOther nature's prOOf Of hOpe

mOther nature’s prOOf Of hOpe

So I will keep painting, and eating well and doing my physical therapy, and trust that hOpe will light my way. And I will gladly be hanging onto hOpe’s hand.


The Hopeful Spirit bracelet is one of Kelly Rae Roberts creations. Thank you Kelly Rae!

Over the years, I’m afraid I have left hOpe standing out in the rain all by herself many times. No more! Here is a reminder for those of us who think we need to do it all on our own:

hOpe knOcks

I have fought for a long time to find a way to shine and fly in my life, and as hard as this part of the journey has been, with hOpe’s help, I have found my wings.


With all the tragedies in the world today, those of us who can, need to get up each morning with some wind beneath our wings. hOpe is that gentle breeze that brings fresh air, and lightness, and the possibility of healing and recovery. May everyone who needs to hOpe-mOre, feel the light kiss of hOpe today.

lOts Of lOve, vickiO