Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why I Do What I Do

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2013)
A Letter To God
Dear Lord; My Most Holy Almighty God; El Sheddai; Abba;
My heart is so full of compassion... it seems that no matter at what stage of life I am in, You reveal a new and different path to show me more ways to use this compassion inside of me.
When I was young my heart hurt for things I did not even know what or why, but the pain was very real.
I hurt for people I did not know.
The World Vision commercials were a killer on my heart,
my first real experience in seeing starving children.
My heart cried out, 'Lord! Lord!' before I knew how to pray.
The next stages of my life were stepping stones to learning the plan You had for me. I see now that I had to fall and I had to fall hard and receive many scars that buried deep. I had to start at the bottom and crawl out of the pit I had fallen into; every handful of dirt another lesson... another drop of water into the sprout that was forming in me.
At times I would get close to the top only to battle the grounds of fear, anxiety, depression, grief, loneliness and trauma. I was lost in the darkness, I could not see; I could not breathe.
Then You pulled me up out of the dirt and breathed in me a new breath of life while shaking the dirt and grime away.
You helped me to stand up again on new ground.
You placed me on a new path allowing me to use the lessons taught and to share the comfort You had given me. You brought me to others who had fallen, who were broken hearted and You said, 'Comfort them'.
You gave me knowledge, understanding and wisdom to reach out to the hurting. You taught me and I listened; You led me and I followed.
Though... You still had more to teach me and so You sent me on another mission; one that would take me to the battlefield of my own body, limiting where I could go and what I could do.
Again You said, 'Come' and I went.
Again You brought me those physically hurt and broken hearted and
You said, 'Comfort them' and I do.
You taught me to use the compassion inside even through the physical ailments, through the broken heartedness and You said, 'Go'.
Now that compassion has sprouted and flourished into a magnificent tree of love and blessings, comfort and healing.
I see Your hand of teaching and love over me.
I see the compassion You have given me as a precious treasure.
Thank You Lord, My Abba Father for my gift...
Your compassion growing in me.
I pray you feel God's love for you today.
Have a very blessed week.
Kelly Watts

Sunday, April 21, 2013

EDS - Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

(Your physical therapist might also recommend specific braces to help prevent joint dislocations.)

What is EDS - Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provides strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body.
People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn't strong enough to hold them.

Signs and symptoms of the most common form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome include:
  • Overly flexible joints. Because the connective tissue that holds joints together is looser, your joints can move far past the normal range of motion. Small joints are affected more than large joints. You might also be able to touch the tip of your nose with your tongue.
  • Stretchy skin. Weakened connective tissue allows your skin to stretch much more than usual. You may be able to pull a pinch of skin up away from your flesh, but it will snap right back into place when you let go. Your skin might also feel exceptionally soft and velvety.
  • Fragile skin. Damaged skin often doesn't heal well. For example, the stitches used to close a wound often will tear out and leave a gaping scar. These scars may look thin and crinkly.
  • Fatty lumps at pressure points. These small, harmless growths can occur around the knees or elbows and may show up on X-rays.
Symptom severity can vary from person to person. Some people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome will have overly flexible joints but few or none of the skin symptoms.

Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndromePeople who have the vascular subtype of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome often share distinctive facial features of a thin nose, thin upper lip, small earlobes and prominent eyes. They also have thin, translucent skin that bruises very easily. In fair-skinned people, the underlying blood vessels are very visible through the skin.
One of the most severe forms of the disorder, vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can weaken your heart's largest artery (aorta), as well as the arteries to your kidneys and spleen. A rupture of any of these blood vessels can be fatal. The vascular subtype also can weaken the walls of the uterus or large intestines — which may also rupture


By Mayo Clinic staff
Complications depend on the types of signs and symptoms you have. For example, overly flexible joints can result in joint dislocations and early-onset arthritis. Fragile skin may develop prominent scarring.
People who have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are at risk of often fatal ruptures of major blood vessels. Some organs, such as the uterus and intestines, also may rupture. Pregnancy can increase these risks.

Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic staff
There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but treatment can help you manage your symptoms and prevent further complications.
MedicationsYour doctor may prescribe drugs to help you control:
  • Pain. If over-the-counter pain relievers — such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve) — aren't enough, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications for your joint or muscle pain.
  • Blood pressure. Because blood vessels are more fragile in some types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, your doctor may want to reduce the stress on the vessels by keeping your blood pressure low.
Physical therapyJoints with weak connective tissue are more likely to dislocate. Exercises to strengthen the muscles around a joint can help stabilize the joint. Your physical therapist might also recommend specific braces to help prevent joint dislocations.

Surgical and other proceduresIn rare cases, surgery is recommended to repair joints damaged by repeated dislocations. However, your skin and the connective tissue of the affected joint may not heal properly after the surgery.

There is so much to this disease, so much more than just being double-jointed or having hypermobile joints.  There are some serious complications that come with this horrible disease.
I read on one lady's Instagram that she has to wear braces to bed just to keep her wrists from dislocating as she slept.  There is a lot of pain involved in these individual's joints and skin; many suffer from what they call 'painsomnia' which means of coarse they are in too much pain to actually be able to sleep.
I have hypermobility in my joints but it is nothing in comparison to what people with EDS suffer from.
My prayers and thoughts are with all of you EDS sufferers.
Many hugs and blessings to you
Kelly Watts

Monday, April 15, 2013

This Is For All My Chronic Illness Friends

Photo: For all my spoonie friends out there... This is for you.  You have all been on my mind and in my prayers so much.  I created this piece for you.  #fm #fibromyalgia #lupus #pots #hypermobilityofjoints #cfs #rheumatoidautoimmune #chronicpain #chronic #illness
(Artwork by Artist Kelly Watts 2013)
As you know I have gotten to know some amazing women on instagram that suffer from numerous 'invisible' illnesses...
I have come to love their strength and their beauty as women.
With this piece I wanted to create it as a gift for all of them, (you), to make them smile; to make them not feel so alone; to spread a little love.
These women (us) (we) (you) smile through our pain; suffer in silence; and endure a whole lot of pain and garbage with not knowing what is happening to their (our) (your) bodies most of the time.
With Lupus they get rashes on their faces in the shape of butterflies (which can't feel good)... so I thought.... hmmmm... how do I make something beautiful out of that?
So I drew the butterfly first.
When I was drawing the lady I wanted to give her a great big ol'smile to show how something yucky (like a chronic illness) doesn't have to be sad all the time... but we can concentrate on our blessings... on the people whom God has placed in our lives; the joys that surround us.
We may not have energy or physical strength but we can hold onto the moments that make us smile; the people who make us smile and most of all our God who will give us the strength to get through.
On Instagram I have met one lady who is a beautiful soul... she is battling Lupus and is also homeless.  I cannot imagine the strength it takes for her to get by each day...   This Butterfly girl is for her...
Another lovely lady on Instagram is living with Fibromyalgia pain 24 hours a day with zero support from her husband and is getting zero help from Doctors...  This Butterfly girl is for her...
A beautiful soul in Sweden is living with EDS and lives every day with bands and braces on all her joints just so they do not dislocate... This Butterfly Girl is for her...
Another wonderful gal is battling Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease with constant pain and fatigue and fights every single day to get through...
This Butterfly Girl is for her...
This Butterfly Girl is for all of you out there!  I see you!  I hear you!  I feel your pain!  You are not alone and you are not without hope.
I am praying for you!
Much love and many blessings Dear Friends
Kelly Watts


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Beautiful Distraction

Photo: And She's all finished.
#art #artjournal #artjournaling #doodle #doodling #face #beautiful
(Arwork by Artist KellyWatts 2013)

I have seen a number of artists drawing their work in old books... so I decided to try...
Photo: My second experiment with drawing on old book pages! Now to think of text to go with her. #art #artjournal #artjournaling #doodle #doodling #face #color #vibrant
A book is easy to work in and I love the texture of the pages.
I use my art as my beautiful distraction.
It helps me through the pain.
Finding new and easier ways to create my art is so much fun!!!
In this piece I used my Copic Markers and a black acrylic marker.
What do you do to distract yourself from the pain?
I hope you are having a pain-free day.
Many hugs and blessings.
Kelly Watts

Monday, April 8, 2013

Encouraging Others With Chronic Illnesses

(Artwork by Artist Kelly Watts 2013)
I am enamored by all the wonderful ladies I am meeting on Instagram.  The depth of these women is unlike anything that I have before encountered.  There are posts that say things like 'God gives the hardest battles to those who are the strongest'... something like that; after chatting with these ladies I have discovered that they are indeed the strongest.
I think about my illness (Fibromyalgia/IBS/Arthritis/Hypermobility of my joints) and I wonder... are illnesses like mine, or like Lupus, Rheumatoid Auto-immune etc., are they more prevailant now than they were say ten years ago?  And if that is the case... why?
I know that mankind has ruined our planet, we've destroyed our good healthy foods and stuffed our bodies with chemicals and we have done that pretty much willingly or should I say blindly trusting our Governments to nourish us, not to lie to us about what goes into our foods etc., and we continue to consume these processed foods knowing what is inside of them - DUH!!! 
Even me now, I began juicing at the beginning of January and I was feeling the great benefits, I lost 15 pounds and I was feeling so much better.
Then March comes along and I stop juicing as regularily, I start eating bread and meat and everything that I cut out of my diet... I gained back the weight and I am once again feeling crappy.  I know the solution...but do I do it??? 
So frustrating!
The problem is that I lack willpower and most of all the energy needed to continue juicing as I was before.  So, I have asked my Hubbub to help me by making me a veggie juice in the morning before he goes to work (like he doesn't have enough on his plate!).
This has helped me a lot.
Next step, due to my juicing and my IBS I have become lacking-in-fiber...
so, actually listening to my Mother's advice and admitting it, I have been taking the refuse from the juicer of the veggies and making homemade soup.  This gives me the fiber I so desperately need in my diet.
I am not giving up, because I believe I am strong.  I know that God has given me strength to fight this good fight and if I have to start over a million times I know that one day I will get it right!
I pray that all of you lovely peeps out there fighting the good fight with your illness will have the strength to do what you need to do to get through each and every day, may God strengthen you when you feel weak.
Much love and many blessings to you.
Kelly Watts