“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 2012. The year of the Dragon-driven, ambitious, self-assured, scrutinizing, brave… I am a Water Rat born in 1972, apparently “Smart, Magnetic, Well-liked, Affable, Quick-witted, Surreptitious, Selfish, Protective, Calculating, Obliging, Generous, Compassionate, and Possessing Strong Intellectual Powers and Great Insight, as well as being a Great Puzzle Solver…” Or at least that’s what the sign says. Like many of us and with most things in life, I take what resonates most to me (usually the most positive)! Horoscopes and zodiac signs have never had a huge impact on me, but sometimes it is fun to recognize some trait or pattern or experience and just relate to it.

This New Year definitely signifies new hope and continued improvement to me. Last year at this time, just over 3 months out of the hospital, I was going through monthly IVIG infusions and still very weak and recovering, using a walker and then cane at home. To focus on what really brought me joy and get my head out of sick mode, I also shot a music video and was working with pr folks re-designing my website and prepping for release of my 7 song digital EP: Affair with the Muse! One year later, I am now prepping for the release of my full length album and walking unassisted at home. Interestingly enough, I am still working on completing the music video I started a year ago…

In April 2012, I will have had DM for 4 years. I am encouraged by how well prednisone seems to be doing at managing the DM for the short term. At least I have continued to have energy and strength to focus on what brings me the most joy daily over the past few months. Yes, I am still dealing with other health issues, but it helps my mind focus when my body is not flaring. Last Dermatowhat?? Pt. 12, I noted that I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place, and was asked to try Rituxan as my next treatment with the longer-term goal of reducing the prednisone.

I consulted with a dermatologist at Stanford just before Thanksgiving, and after thinking about my body’s trends and mini-flares over the past year when decreasing prednisone, I have decided to try Rituxan. Dave and I plan to attend the indie awards show in Los Angeles in February and upon our return, I plan to start the new treatment.

Like any life decisions that are thrown at us, I find somehow it just feels better simply to have made the decision to take Rituxan, to embrace what is to come. I am empowered and encouraged that this could be the treatment that helps me better manage the DM for the long term-and hopefully more safely than the prednisone. It means not listening to the nagging voice that says, “but you tried all these other treatments already and look where that got you…”

“You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.” Jimmy Carter

Honestly, I don’t know what my body will do. I plan for it to tolerate the new meds and make me feel better! In the meantime, I am spending my energy on putting together all the myriad puzzle pieces involved in putting out another album. I am simply amazed at the accomplishments over the past year, which in and of themselves would be noteworthy, but add to that all I have faced health-wise, the war my body has waged, it shows me anything is possible with the right attitude, with positive thinking, with support, with love and gratitude, and a lot of hard work and determination. I believe if you dream up such powerful, vivid dreams and start taking steps to realize them yourself, the universe has no choice but to conspire to find ways to fulfill them. It’s been both my belief and my experience!

My Kickstarter project was successfully funded on December 20th. What does that mean? It means that due to the contributions of 78 generous and beautiful backers, I can finish the album that I recorded and can release it to the world. What it means to me goes way beyond the practical meaning of being funded though. It means that I have somehow had an impact on these people, through connecting on social networks, through building and nurturing relationships, through my story, through their stories, through my previous music. Some of my backers were relatives or friends of course, and I am ever so grateful for their sweet support. But others have never met me. For people who have never met me to offer to help me make my music? That was so unexpected and wonderful. It means more to me than the funding does.

Dancing to the beat of my own drum… is way more fun!

It makes me want to give 120% to my music. It makes me want to be 120% better so I have just that opportunity! I noted in the last blog that I was nominated for some indie music awards. Aoede was just Artist of the Week January 13th and interviewed for the Artists in Music Awards. This nomination and interview are an incredible honor and privilege. It makes me realize that I may not be doing things like other artists-I’m not in the public performing or touring for example-I dance to the beat of my own drum-but it is showing me that what I am doing is having an impact-on personal relationships and in the industry. I realize that I do give 100% of my self to my passion and don’t know if I would have it any other way… and just maybe the Rituxan will enable me to give even more…