Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What got me started on making the tokens?

When people come across my items, many times they ask me what got me started making them. Usually I answer that I had been collecting bottle caps to do something with and just leave it at that.

True, the bottle caps were collecting and I wasn't doing anything with them at the time, but tonight will mark 1 year since I first entered the hospital due to medical issue called Guillain-Barre syndrome, GBS, which is what actually kick-started me making my tokens.

GBS is an auto immune syndrome where your system starts to fend off an infection and after the virus or bacteria is eliminated, your immune system remains in a fighting mood and begins attacking your nervous system (the part that allows motor function.) It keeps attacking until it realizes it made a mistake and stops to start recovery. The usual timeframe of all this is around 3 weeks when you hit rock bottom and begin the climb back up.

I entered the hospital when I began to lose feeling in my legs and I was having trouble breathing. That was on May 18th. By the 24th I was on a feeding tube and respirator and had lost a majority of my motor control and started to have double vision. I was sent to Texas Neurological Rehab where I focused on learning how to walk again, working on using my arms and generally see how much I could recover. July 9th I left the rehab to return home and begin an out patient physical therapy program to focus on strength and endurance.

Throughout all of this my hands had become very weak and my day job requires me to work on a computer, use a pen stylus and I also used to enjoy drawing in my free time. I decided to try and find a fun way to incorporate my hands and wrists with something that would require a bit of time and keep me interested while building hand strength.

I noticed my collection of bottle caps was larger than I remembered so I decided to start playing around with them and did some research on bottle cap art. Everything I saw was very interesting but none of it really screamed at me, so I kept hunting around for something to do with them. Then I came across steampunk culture and was really interested in the artistic aspect of it. I figured I would try out a couple ideas on some bottle caps and then I had a few more ideas, and a few more... Eventually I ended up with them kind of piling up and thought “Hey, maybe other people would like these too,” and I decided I would try going to Houston’s Comicpalooza as an artist.

Back to the medical part; in March I went to my neurologist and was happy to hear that all of my reflexes have returned in my arms and legs. (This was something that GBS patients do not always recover.) My arm and hand strength has also greatly improved and continues to do so. I am slowly working back to full time with my day job as a creative in an advertising agency. I am also currently working towards walking/jogging a Half Marathon with my family members.

Would you like more information on GBS? Check out this website: http://www.gbs-cidp.org/
May is GBS Awareness Month!

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