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Bronchitis, Diaphragm Paralysis & ValArtist…

It’s all fun and games until I get bronchitis, right? And that is just what I went and did….and now I can’t seem to shake this ‘insert expletives here’. Ugh…

Since a lot of you are most likely wondering how bronchitis can make you sick so long, I’m sharing my personal battle/journey, it’s going to be a long blog, so go grab some tea/coffee/whiskey/wine….and I’ll keep typing. I’ll also try to give you a shortened version, but it’s still longer than normal blog post.


The Story,

In February 2020 I got sick and had a very tough time getting over my illness. The timeline coincides with the pandemic blow up and subsequent lockdown. Did I have Covid? Possibly, but it was just early enough that I was never tested and i have a history of upper respiratory issues. Anyway, long afterward I struggled with being short of breath. I kept asking questions and when labs reopened, I was sent for a few tests. My diagnosis is an elevated right lung, and right side hemi-diaphragm paralysis also my lower right lobe is deflated. NO bueno!

For almost three years now I have been working on improving and learning to cope with a new normal. In May of this year, I had bronchitis again and never felt like I completely recovered, but I am tenacious if nothing else, and I kept moving. Then fall season and leaf burning & allergies hit and I became sick again. More seriously, this time. There were multiple dr visits culminating in an ER visit and a pulmonary embolism scare. I landed in hospital for a few days. I came home with temporary O2 (this really frightened me) and still not feeling like I was not doing so great. In fact, I wound up back at the doctor’s office, again, less than a week afterward with even more antibiotics and steroids..

Since, I have improved, but I cannot seem to shake this stupid bronchitis. I am waiting for a specialist appointment, and so frustrated and stir crazy and at times an all around buzz kill to be around. Sigh.

In spite of this depressing situation I find myself, the paralegal in me has been scouring sites, blogs and Google for any valid info I can find that relates to my problem and ways to occupy myself. I am hoping the doctors at UVA will have some answers. My tenacity and determination to get someone to give me answers, or even better solutions, may be dimmed (a lot) right now, but the flame of hope has not burned out. I am way too stubborn to give up, I am a fighter.


How has this affected my art/creativity?

At first, greatly. My studio is upstairs and I wasn’t feeling well enough to do much of anything or climb stairs. Luckily my PT job is a work from home situation, so I had something to think about and enough to do to keep me just busy enough. Now I am feeling the itch to create. So I’ve been making some ‘holiday art’ and I finally got to work on that 30×40 inch canvas I had started back in spring. It felt so good to paint. So good.

Side note: I imagine the high I get from painting is like taking a drug. At least my choice of high is not as dangerous! Hah 😎👍🏼

Please do not feel the need to tell me you’re sorry or feel sorry for me. Instead send me real love, hope, good vibes, prayers, karma. I need them all-every. Single. Day. Some days I do struggle with the blahs, so, if you think about me, float some love my way. There are so many out there suffering a lot more than me-I feel guilty for sharing this and whining but here I am.

Writing this blog post has been a bit cathartic, in a way I cannot define with words. Maybe one I will be able to explain in a later post.

Transformative art must express something beyond where you are, it demands that you grow beyond your current self. This is where an artist’s angst and the pain of transformation coincide. You reach toward the true, the good and the beautiful and become a better person through the struggle.
—Alex Grey

Until next time. Valerie