Getting Personal for a Minute

There are some things I don’t talk about on my blog or social media. It’s not that I’m embarrassed or ashamed, but they don’t fit in with my brand. Some of that will be changing, but there’s some that still won’t be talked about much.

One of the things I don’t talk about is my health. On one hand, it doesn’t fit with what I want to be known for and what I do. On the other hand, it definitely does because our health directly impacts everything.

I am diabetic. I have been for 14 1/2 years. I am a mosquito magnet. I always have been. About four years ago, I got a mosquito bite in the middle of my left shin. Instead of welting up like most mosquito bites do, this one turned into a blister.

I had what is known as skeeter syndrome.

As blisters do, it popped. Then it turned into a sore. I put Neosporin on it and took care of it myself. But it kept getting worse. I kept hiding it. I wouldn’t even think about wearing shorts, capris, or skirts. Keep in mind this is probably in the middle of summer and I’m only wearing jeans or long pants.

This went on for about six months. Maybe longer. My mom caught a peek of the bottom edge (which was, at that point, near my ankle) and made me go the emergency room. I was angry. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

From there, they referred me to Wound Care. I went to Wound Care twice a week for almost three years. It would get smaller, ultimately to the point where it closed, but it would open back up. I was on strong antibiotics on multiple occasions. They talked about out-patient IV antibiotic treatment and even admitting me to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

Finally, with all of the medications, compression wraps, staying off my foot, getting my blood sugar under (much) better control, and keeping my foot elevated as much as possible, it closed. At this point, it has been closed since the first of February.

To summarize what all happened and what I learned while I was going through Wound Care:

  • The doctor who first saw me called me after lab results came in and asked if I was still on the hospital grounds. (I wasn’t. I was at another doctor’s appointment.) If I had been, he would have had me admitted because my blood sugar was so high.
  • You can develop an allergy to Neosporin. It causes skin breakdown, which can make sores and wounds grow and get worse instead of heal. This is what was happening to me during the time I thought I was taking care of it myself.
  • You can also develop an allergy to Bacitracin. Yes, I can no longer use Neosporin or Bacitracin. I have no idea what I will use if/when I need it.
  • I had MRSA three times in my left leg. That’s why I had so many strong antibiotics.

Some takeaways:

  • Some absolutely wonderful people work in Wound Care. I have made some very good friends.
  • I am so very glad my mom made me go to the ER. (For the record, I’m also legally blind so I don’t drive. She literally took me herself.)
  • I feel fortunate to be alive.
  • I feel fortunate to still have both legs.
  • Never assume ANYthing as a diabetic.

While I was going through this, I had some very low times. I had times where the only creative thing I did was crochet because I could do that with my foot propped up. That’s also why I learned to knit. (There’s a knitting/crochet/weaving/all-around fiber-y group that I go to once a month that was definitely a sanity saver.) I didn’t do much writing. I did some, but it was difficult to sit at the computer with my foot up.

Why am I telling all of this now?

I’ve been going to Wound Care for the past three months as a kind of maintenance strategy. Everything has been good in those three months.

Yesterday, I had my last appointment. This has been an emotional journey. I am grateful for the people who helped me on it.

(Phileen, Misti, Stephanie, Sparky, Vicki, Barb, Dr. Boren, Falisha — yes, I mean you.)

I hope nothing like this ever happens again, but I know if it does, I will not let it get bad before I get help.

Don’t take your health for granted. It literally impacts everything. Even your creativity.

New Book: Journal Your Way to Creativity

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

Blurb:
Journal Your Way to Creativity is a 90-day self-guided journal designed to help readers tap into their creativity. Some of the prompts may sound silly, but some of the silliest prompts tend to be the ones that make you dig the deepest.”

Format:
Print $6.99, click to buy
Kindle $3.99, click to buy

Sample Prompts:
5. Think about your reasons for believing you are creative. List five reasons why it is true.

37. What is your favorite color? Why? (Yes, you can have more than one but keep it to three or fewer.)

58. Give yourself about five minutes and ask yourself “What If I Were Creative?” Try to list 10 things.

82. What rules have you broken recently?

 

Why This Book?
As I mentioned, I am also a creativity coach. Sometimes the best way to reach people in order to help them is where they are. That’s not always physically possible, so I thought a journal of some type might be helpful. Once I got that idea in mind, it wouldn’t let go.

I debated how many prompts to include. I finally decided on 90 because that’s three months of daily journaling. That’s long enough to accomplish a couple things. It’s enough to make journaling a habit. It’s also long enough to start breaking down old thought patterns/beliefs and creating new ones. I am not saying it’s enough time to completely create new ones.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall back into old habits and ways of thinking, no matter how much we think we’re “over it.”

Here’s a not-so-secret secret: We’re never really over it.

Thought patterns take a lifetime to build. It makes sense to think they would take another lifetime to break down to make way for new ones. There are things we have to work on repeatedly, whether it’s maintaining a new, healthier lifestyle or thinking of ourselves as creative beings.

With this journal, which is part of Living Your Creative Life, it is my hope that we can build and reinforce our creative habits and beliefs.

About the Author:
I’m a freelance writer specializing in creativity, social media, and general human interest. I just released book #10! Journal Your Way to Creativity is available in print and on Kindle now!

I am also a creativity coach. But… what IS a creativity coach? Simply put, creativity coaching is a subset of life coaching where someone helps you with various aspects of your lives. I — and any other creativity coach — can help you with issues you may be having in your creative life, whether it’s finishing projects, finding inspiration, or how to get out of a rut. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk to you about it.

I am a fiber artist. I knit and crochet. I want to learn to spin, but that will have to wait a while.

I am available to speak to writers’ groups, civic organizations, schools, and conferences. I can do in-person presentations or present via Skype. If you need a speaker for your event, let’s talk! My speaking repertoire also includes living with disabilities and diabetes as well as creativity and social media as mentioned above.

Making My Way Back

fruitI have been trying to figure out how to restart this blog and to explain my absence from it. Then I realized I don’t really have to explain, but I want to. Some of you came here to regular (or semi-regular) posts, then I was gone all of a sudden. Some of you may have stumbled upon a dormant blog.

My last post was in January. It was an attempt to restart then, too.

For a long time, I tried to blog because it was expected. it’s what a writer needs to do to build a platform, to gain an audience. It felt forced to me, so it fell flat. Unfortunately, it probably sounded forced to you, too.

I apologize for all of that.

Now I am returning to the blog. While I hope you are here to read it, comment on it, and ask questions of me about whatever I post, I am doing it for me.

You see, for the past year, I have been dealing with some health issues that had me keeping my foot propped up for 8 of the last 10 months. In that time, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve done a lot of crocheting. I even learned to knit, which is something I have wanted to do for years.

I started a separate blog for the health stuff. It stalled too, although for different reasons. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be that personal. I wasn’t sure that I wanted people to know that I am diabetic and I struggle with that sometimes.

I realize, though, that is part of me. And the tagline for this blog is “Wandering on the creative journey.” That is part of the wandering. That is part of finding my way. That is part of finding me and making my way back to who I am, who I was, and — more importantly — to who I want to be.

I am trying to take a more healthful approach to life. I’m walking more. I’ve joined Weight Watchers. My blood sugar is consistently under better control. It’s still not perfect, but I’m working on it with my doctor. I got a FitBit for my birthday to help me stay motivated.

I will write about creativity and things I am doing. I will write about how things are going in my personal life and wtih my health. Since I am doing this for me, it will not be with any real regularity. There will be some weeks with daily posts. There will be some weeks with no posts. Most weeks will be somewhere in-between. And that’s OK.

I give myself permission to take things slowly and do what needs to be done.

The picture with this post? That was my breakfast this morning. A fruit salad of a green apple, some strawberries, and a couple Clementines. I also had a piece of toast. I should have included something with protein, maybe some peanut butter on the toast. I’ll do that next time. I enjoyed it, though. And isn’t that important too?

I think so.

Until next time.