Below is a link to my newest song arrangement in progress:
Because I’m busy illustrating, I might not be able to write for a while. I’m grabbing this opportunity to update my blog since I’m briefly in-between projects.
I’m so glad I could share that I’ve been feeling stronger and more upbeat despite my dry eye pain. Turning around my depression, which felt like a downward spiral has been amazing for me. I took very small “baby steps,” yet in many ways I moved with leaps and bounds. It was all because I changed my attitude.
On my last post about my eye condition, I had gone to see a private eye specialist who was outside of my HMO network. He was expensive and his opinion was that I most likely had glaucoma and there was already some damage.
I shared his report with my HMO and saw a glaucoma specialist two weeks later. After reviewing many tests, her opinion was that she saw no evidence of glaucoma. She only recommended that I come back in a year to have my eye pressures checked.
I let the outside specialist know what my HMO eye doctor said.
His response was: “I am pleased your pressure was lower and symmetric on that day. Often there is a delay in diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma due to fluctuations in pressure, just as hypertension may not be diagnosed on a day when the blood pressure is normal. I would recommend that you be evaluated at least every 4 months, not just with pressure checks, but also with quantitative perimetry and ocular coherence tomography for measurement of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness. Ultimately, if you do have glaucoma, one will see a progressive deterioration in those studies.”
I advocated for myself and made sure that my HMO would follow this outside specialist’s recommendation. As I result, I have an appointment scheduled in July.
I love puns, so I’ll start with one here.
All of this was a real “eye opener.” I was so down when I went to see the outside specialist. I wasn’t expecting worse news about my eyes and couldn’t handle hearing I had another eye disease. Neither doctor had any suggestions for treating my dry eyes, either.
But then I realized that worry and anxiety didn’t serve me in any way.
I went from total panic, to complete gratefulness. I do so many things with my eyes. I rely on them and they are working well enough for me to drive, illustrate, play tennis and edit music. I’ve decided that I can accept my eye pain somehow and find a way to live with it.
Having new glasses that help me see better is also helping me feel better.
I’ve continued to forge ahead with my music recording, composing and editing. Even when I’m illustrating, I still record vocals and work with my arranger once a week. My newest song might not be “catchy,” but it’s very mellow and beautiful. I haven’t decided what to name it, but the words “peaceful and inspiring” stand out to me. So does “nature’s wonderland.”
I try to perform ever week or so at Kulak’s Woodshed, which is close to my house. I really do have to force myself to go out at night. I’d prefer not to be singing in front of people and lights, but sharing my music is meaningful and I want to keep up my confidence.
I’ve thought of playing at other venues, but I’m comfortable at Kulak’s. It is a songwriter’s venue, not a restaurant – that translates to a more attentive audience. Kulak’s also provides a video recording and I’m always hoping to get a strong performance I could share on YouTube.
I treasure a warm audience with lots of clapping. Less pleasant noises would be sirens, squeaking doors and people whispering. I’ve had loud coughing on some recordings and one time, a man let out a loud snore while I was singing. Kulak’s is “animal friendly” and now I can say I’ve performed with a dog barking!
When that happened this past week, I now see it as hilarious, even though I didn’t feel that way at the time. Perhaps there’s some hidden message because the dog barked after I sang the words of “set you free.”
When I finished, I said, “We can forgive the dog; looks like he was having a ruff day!”
But as I packed up my guitar, I felt like I was the one who had a ruff day. It took me considerable energy to perform and I was disappointed by what had happened. I lost my concentration after the dog barked during both of the songs I performed.
When I walked outside to leave, a couple came over to me and begged me to take their spot so I could replay my songs. Of course, I told them I wouldn’t do that. They kept telling me how sorry they were for the dog’s interruption. I believed them and told them I wasn’t upset.
I just let it go – like any other disappointment, I moved on knowing I’d have other opportunities in my future to perform again.
Just for fun, here are those ruff performance excerpts:
I am currently working on two illustration projects and another large one (21 illustrations) is likely. I am humming along to music as I work. I find it wonderful to have a brand new song, which is peaceful and inspiring.
Lately, that is how I’m feeling. It is such a blessing after struggling with depression and feeling hopeless.
I’ll share my new song with a vocal when it’s finished.
Below is a link to another new post on my art blog. I wrote six new posts for “Illustrating My Life” before my recent onslaught of assignments. There’s more to come.
My life is still transforming! I am so blessed.
I end this post by sharing correspondence with Nancy Ohanian, my former college art teacher:
On Apr 27, 2015, Judy wrote:
I’ve been thinking of you a lot. I hope you are well.
I’m still busy with my music and having fun gathering final masters. I have so many done now! I did publish my first CD of Instrumentals. Committing to a vocal CD is a lot harder for me. Right now I have about 5 albums of songs and I can’t decide which one will go first.
I had a big scare with my eyes. I saw an outside specialist who said I had glaucoma and damage from it. Since then – I saw another doctor who disagreed. It’s been tough, but I’m managing somehow.
Out of the blue, I decided to write again for my art blog. I didn’t realize I hadn’t done that for 4 years – where did the time go? (Taking care of parents and divorcing LOL).
I definitely think there’s a lot of information there that your students might appreciate. Love you lots and hope you’re well!
Dear amazing sweet, Judy!
Your email reminded me to have another look at your blog… OMG!
It is off-the-charts comprehensive, incredible, beautiful, HONEST, funny (with Judy-puns) and should be required reading for art students everywhere. Ha ha!!
It’s easy to forget some of the insanely remarkable things you did. Do you ever look back at an image and say, “I can’t believe I did that…?”
It is satisfying to read your happy voice talking about your music. I love what you’re doing. It’s so brave and so you and so right.
It is also concerning to read about your eyes. It’s truly important and wise that you got another opinion regarding what’s going on. No doubt it is difficult. It’s one day at a time.
I love you Judy!! Thanks for being such a beautiful friend.
Thanks for your sweet message, Nan!!!
Thank you for considering me to be brave with my music. I’m in no rush to go anywhere and have really enjoyed my renaissance. I’m not going to let my eye issues destroy that.
I really don’t think my art is that amazing – but I consider myself to be resourceful and practical. My motto of “whatever works” is truly the key. (That works for music, too!)
I’ll tell you what was insanely remarkable for me – something you could truly appreciate. I was looking for emails with the art director’s feedback and saw messages about my mother and how sick she was. When I illustrated those bars – my mom died while I was working on that project.
I cannot imagine how I was able to work and honestly wonder how I did it.
I hope you know how much I treasure you and your words.