Monday, October 17, 2011

Smile Makers

At the doctor, they give the kids stickers made by a company called "Smile Makers."  I was looking through some pictures from a few weeks ago, and decided that they make me smile.  I don't even need a Dora Sticker!  Hope they make you smile too.

This is calendula.  It grows beside the walkway to my house.  It is my friend because it makes many pretend games for my girls, as well as being a good healing herb.   Also, for such a small flower, it is really very lovely.   

These are the leftover bits of silk from the maypole I did with my fiber arts class students last year.  It makes me happy because it reminds me of dyeing the fabric, wrapping the pole to cheesy maypole songs, and best of all, it reminds me of my friend Lisa.  I had given Lisa some of the ribbons when I unwrapped the pole, and she made  a lovely decoration to hang on her front I did the same.

This is a Hawaiian style slipper.  It's Saraiah's and is cute with its hearts and a touch of pink.  It reminds me of my sweet little girl.  Mostly thought it reminds me of my second home,  Hawaii and all the love and warmth that is there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Emphasis in people is easy...go for those windows to the soul!

This week's assignment for the kids in our photo class is to be sure to use emphasis in their photos this week.  Emphasis is when, for artistic purpose, a certain element in a piece is given more prominence.  This can be through contrast, size and even using opposite colors on the color wheel.

If the important element of the piece is lit differently than the rest of a scene, it will stand out.  Whenever distracting elements are removed from the scene and only a few things remain, emphasis is placed on those things.  Complementary colors produce emphasis.  On an artist's color wheel, the color opposite is the complementary color.  If an object is placed upon or in front of an item of complementary color, emphasis is created. Here are the examples I made.  It was getting dark, so I couldn't get a lot of really vivid color, but I did my best.

Obviously, the pumpkin is the star.  It's the only thing here practically.  The lines of the railing lead to it, and the door frames it.  Its color helps it to pop out.

Blue and yellow sit opposite on the color wheel, so emphasis is placed on the yellow hub because it's set inside a blue wheel.

Red and Green are opposite one another on the color wheel.  The red line of the stem of this chard draws us to the leaf.

Koa's hairy lips lead right up to his big black nose.  All lines in the photo lead to it.  Emphasis!

That spinach says "pick me!"  Size is huge in emphasis.

Lines and being the only thing in the frame draw emphasis on this flower.

Color wheel opposites... 
use of negative space, triangles and lines can draw emphasis

Using the rule of thirds as well as a spare background emphasizes this flower.

Only thing in the frame...

Poor mega blok guy lines.. lead to him

Cabbage... color wheel opposites...

Lines, bright color...

A shock of color on a neutral background draws us in.

Effects of Cortisone Shots, One Year Later

My injured foot today.  The scabs are from when my dog accidently stepped on my foot.  I would not have had broken skin except for the weak skin after cortisone injection.
This is my healthy foot. 
It's been eleven months since I first noticed my foot injury.  As you will remember, I noticed a shooting pain in my foot while running after running a half marathon in 2010.  I had been trying to change my stride and I think it put strain on my foot.  I had been running about 20 miles per week for 6 months and was running regularly for 9.   In October 2010, I stopped running because of the shooting pain, iced it, and even tried using a brace.
pronounced peroneal tendon.  the podiatrist told me this tendon is very weak.
this is the same area on my healthy foot.

  I went to a chiropractor, who recommended I get the foot xrayed for a fracture by my primary care doctor.  The primary care dr told me I had a flat foot and recommended me to a local podiatrist.  
these are my feet,side by side. Inured one on right.

Being more interested in a therapeutic approach, I found a podiatrist in Everett who seemed to lean that way.  He looked at the xrays and diagnosed me with hyperlaxicity of the tendons, meaning my tendons are too stretchy, so my bones aren't in correct alignment.  He told me I had a bunion related to that.  He popped my foot into correct alignment, taped it so it would stay, and told me to rest and do ice.  I did all of that.  The foot popped back to how it was, and the shooting pains continued.  He also told me the bumps I noticed on my ankle could be a ganglion.  He did this one or two more times, and told me to do some exercises to strengthen my feet.  I did the exercises and continued to experience the shooting pains.  He told me to get shoes with removable insoles and he taped a specially cut support inside, so weight would be taken off the foot.  When I overheard the doctor telling a lady how to do the same exact exercises I was told to do every day for the rest of my life, I figured the doctor had a cookie cutter way of practicing, and decided to try someone else.  

Side view of injured foot.  The 3 scabs are from the dog stepping on it a few weeks ago.  It is taking FOREVER to heal.  
I went to the original podiatrist my primary care doctor referred me to.  He did Xrays.  He also had the records from the other doctors.  He said nothing was wrong with my feet, but that there was probably inflammation and maybe bursitis at my ankle.  He said that without an MRI (I couldn't get one without insurance at the high price tag)  The only option, he said, was cortisone to reduce inflammation.  Maybe my foot could then heal itself.  By this time, my foot had been in pain for two months.  I didn't get to hike Diamond Head while on vacation in Hawaii.  I had heard from my mother in law that my father in law had a cortisone shot in his foot, and was fine.  So I thought maybe cortisone shots aren't so bad.  I was also desperate.  I didn't care about running as much anymore.  I just wanted to walk without pain.

After the first cortisone shot, the pain subsided for a little bit, but within a month, I was back for a second one.  The shooting pain seemed to go away, but I noticed the skin seemed very thin, sunken, and old-person like.   It also peeled and cracked painfully, so that if I didn't moisturize, it hurt very badly.  My menstrual cycle went haywire, giving me 2 periods a month, and I began to have night sweats.  I was not told that any of this could happen, and I thought I might be going crazy, have cancer, or something else.  When I began to read about the side effects of cortisone shots, I knew why it was all happening.  

I got angry and tried yoga for stretching, strengthening and exercise.  I tried biking.  None of it alleviated the stiffness I now experienced in my ankles, knees and hips.  I got wide running shoes at a store recommended by the podiatrist, but they hurt my feet.  Finally, I decided to wear only flat sandals, and my feet felt stronger.  

In August, while getting our goat to fair, she stepped squarely on my sunken cortisone damaged foot.  It became radically inflamed even though I had washed it and put antibiotic cream on it.  I am sure it got infected.  I did hope that all that attention of my immune system to the area might heal it, but alas, no luck.  I couldn't believe how badly infected the foot became, and how long the two little cuts took to entire month.  

Eleven months after the first cortisone shot, my ankle is still sunken and there is a sunken area that seems to be traveling up my leg.  My achille's tendon is sore where it attaches to the bone.  My plantar fascia and bunion are sore.   I started to wonder if I had muscular dystrophy.   I started to drink an herbal tea called Yerba Mansa, which reduces inflammation, but it's not making a difference.  I went to a naturopath, who told me the muscle may be atrophied.  She referred me to xrays, which again revealed healthy bones, and then to a podiatrist who also works in orthopedic surgery.  

This podiatrist sat with me for an hour and puzzled over my foot.  She thought it could be RSD...reflexive sympathetic disorder, which happens as a result of a trauma.  I only had one sign of it though, and that was the muscle atrophy.  Then she heard about the cortisone shot, and how the doctor had told me he had done it around the nerve on purpose, in order to reduce inflammation.

I am pushing in on the area that is sunken.  It leaves a mini canyon all the way down to my foot.

I side lit the foot so that the sunken area could be seen.

My healthy foot.

She said that my issues are classic symptoms of cortisone damage, especially when the injection is given around the nerve.  The site of injection can have difficulty fighting infection, will thin, there will be decreased blood flow and decreased fat and collagen.  I have since learned that cortisone can lead to tendon rupture, and collagen is what our tendons are made of.  She also said there was whitening of a vein that travels up my leg, indicative of cortisone damage, which would explain my hormones and whole body reaction to the cortisone. She told me that we needed to deal with my problem quickly, and referred me to physical therapy.  The urgency is in order to retain as much foot/leg function as possible before further damage is caused by the myriad problems I now have.  Since that appointment, I stepped on an uneven bit of ground and noticed that same old shooting pain this all began with.  Needless to say, the cortisone did not work.  It masked the problem, then gave me about a billon more.  I may be more sensitive to cortisone than other people, but I cannot in good conscience recommend that ANY living being have this fake hormone injected into their bodies.  It is not worth it.