calling all optimists, i need you.

Jul 16, 2008 | Life in Progress

(i heart u 2 – a gift from my mom, totally comforting me this week.)

i’m sitting here with a knowing of uncertainty. i’m not sure how to start this blog post – in fact, i’m not totally convinced i should even write it, but a dear dear friend has encouraged me to be transparent, to admit my fears, get my heart out onto the world, and get on with it already. so, here i go. spilling. cracking open.

if you’ve been a long and steady reader here in this space, then you’ve likely heard me ramble from time to time about my pesky and persistent leg numbness. how i’ve journeyed through acupuncture, intense massage therapy, painful physical therapy and more – all in an effort to gain healing, mainly so that i could start running again. in all of these months, i never considered that the numbness could be something serious.

one by one, all of the above efforts/treatments have failed and the reality is is that i live in a world where i can’t do simple things like walk up a hill, or quickly cross a street without a very odd sensation in my leg. i’ve learned to live with it, i suppose. and quite honestly, i’ve coped considerably well with it given how much it’s changed my life. lately, though, my intuition has been tugging at me, insisting that i dig deeper and get to the bottom of the numbness.

last week i went to see an orthopedist. immediately, i knew i was just another 15 minute appt to this guy – you know how that goes. i mustered up all my social work advocacy skills and insisted on being taken seriously – that perhaps i needed an MRI. he resisted, said i was young and healthy and recommended more physical therapy. i pushed back, convinced him i wasn’t an alarmist seeking unnecessary intervention, but rather a young woman with daily numbness in her leg. and i wanted the MRI. he reconsidered. i went in for a spine MRI the very next day.

unfortunately, the results of that MRI are a little alarming though not entirely conclusive. because of these results, i’ve been instantly thrown into an existence of referrals, three hour neurology exams, brain mri’s, complicated vision tests, a lot of blood work, and more. there are no answers for me right now. just a ton of appts, waiting, navigating a huge and frustrating medical system, and several near panic attacks.

my heart is dropping, then in the next moment i’m back to equilibrium. then it drops again. the same is true for john.

i don’t want to get into the specifics of what my doctors are speculating it could be, or why i’m having another MRI tomorrow evening, but i will say that the terminology and vocabulary being tossed around by my medical providers is quite hard and almost bizarre to hear. are they talking about me? really? is my entire life going to change or will they find an uncomplicated explanation?

i’ve never had this much medical care/concern in all my life. in one second, i’m tumbled over with dread. and the next i’m a supreme optimist, almost certain that all will be well. quite honestly, i think i might be a total mess, barely holding it together, yet doing a damn good job going about the day and staying busy while trying to trust that the medical people know what they’re doing . i suspect this going back and forth in spaces of optimism and worry will continue until we have some clarity.

in the midst of all this, i’ve been afraid to spread concern to my family + friends. what if it’s nothing? what if i’m creating drama where none exists? but the truth is this: no matter what happens, or even when the answers arrive, i can’t change where i stand today. and where i stand today is a place of being scared while at the same time keeping it all together. and it’s very, very hard for me to see john worried for me – this is huge in my i’mgoingtoloseitanyminutenow.

i’m reaching out today to ask again for your light/prayers/thoughts/good juju and whatever space you can hold for me and john this week. we are doing the best we can, but sudden and unexpected possible outcomes are throwing us for a loop.

and i also want to say this: trust your intuition. be your own best advocate. insists on aggressive diagnostic testing – even when you’re faced up against an establishment whose main concern is lowering their costs and not ordering expensive tests, like MRI exams. our intuition is our most powerful guide, if we allow it to be.

i’ll be back soon with more information. i’m hoping for the best. i really am.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (148 comments)
  1. Joanie Hoffman

    You have my prayers & best thoughts. xox, Joanie

  2. Anonymous

    Looking at your lovely art on my wall, and thinking of you … :)alexa

  3. misty

    thinking of you and hoping all is well and calm. xo

  4. Marilyn

    Holding you and John in my thoughts and in my heart. Prayers for strength, peace and all things hopeful…hugs, Marilyn

  5. julie king

    my thoughts and prayers are with you, kelli! may god bless you and keep both you and john patient and calm in his arms!

  6. lia

    you will be in my prayers. 🙂 think positive. ~lia

  7. mapelba

    I came here through Warrior Girl. Sending good thoughts to you as human being to another. May wonderful things bless your days and nights.

    Love your art too by the way. Beautiful.

  8. Anonymous

    Not All people are responsive to this notion, but have you tried a Chiropractor ~ Think of your Spine as being the Garden Hose ~ if someone steps on the hose, the Water is cut off and does Not flow into the Rose Garden ~ Just the same if you have a Subluxation of the Vertebra (pinched nerves) along your spine, It keeps your Life Force from flowing as it should ~ Just a Thought, but Lots of Wishes & Prayers for a Healing are being sent your way ~

  9. anni

    Dear Kelly Rae,

    I have been so inspired by your art. Keep on creating! Physical challenges can be so trying! My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  10. kayla

    hi kelly…

    you are in my thoughts and prayers. for now cherish the good and be hopeful for the future. you have a strong heart and can take on anything.

    (sending good vibes your way.)

  11. outi harma

    So brave of you the share this with us and giving
    all of us change to send some love to you.
    You are such a creative force and viberant being that
    I see you storng and running!
    all the best,

  12. pERiWinKle

    Thinking of you… trusting the process!

    breathing in… opening your heart… breathing out… smile… big hugs! xx

  13. Anonymous

    i’ve not visited for a while, i’ve been on holiday, but i did think of you often 🙂 my youngest daughter is obsessed with finding hearts in nature, and each time she does it reminds me of you and your finds 🙂 hang in there, kelly, there are many of us out here wishing you the very best, keep up with the positive thinking, but allow yourself some space to let go of all those fears, worries and doubts. maybe write them all down and then burn them? will be back soon to see how you’re doing. warm hugs, joolz

  14. Relyn

    Dear Kelly,

    I believe that prayer works, and you definitely have mine. Please know that I will be praying for you until I hear that you are healed. There’s a great big world out here full of people who hurt for you and care about you enough to wish you well, send loving thoughts, and lift you up in prayer.

    Please know that your brave honesty gives courage and blessing to others. Even in your trials, you lift us up and encourage us through your daily living. Thank you for that.

    In prayer,

    ~ Relyn

  15. Amanda

    sending you healing prayers.

  16. Marilyn

    Since you already have 132 comments, I don’t know that you will even see this one. But know that you will be in my prayers. It certainly appears that you are living your life to the fullest. You are a very talented lady and you are generous to share your techniques with all us who hunger for learning. Love and light to you and John

  17. Emily

    Thinking of you today ~ prayers & hugs being sent your way. May this message arrive on the wings of angels. With much love ~ Emily. XOXOXO

  18. Anonymous

    I will be putting your name in my little prayer house. I will be thinking of you. All the best. Martine

  19. Jenny

    Sending positive vibes from South Africa Kelly – you inspire me everyday!! You are all that I want to be…. Take care – your lovely spirit will pull you through!
    Love to you and John
    Jenny xxxx

  20. kellyo

    Kelly, no matter what doctors and tests may tell you, I have two words for you: Lance Armstrong.

  21. Tracie Lyn Huskamp

    Kelly.. I am so very sorry to hear this news. I wishing for you much peace and continued light… you are a bright spot in this world. Please know that whatever the outcome, friends, family, and most of all your beautiful, positive spirit will shine and rally for support!

    Tracie Lyn

  22. Heather

    Kelly I am so sorry to hear you are going through all of this scary, not knowing and worrying. I will be thinking good thoughts for you and John and praying for good news and mostly that you feel better soon. Hugs coming your way…

  23. Moonfairy

    Oh sweetie, I`m sending loads of warm and healing thoughts from Norway. Hope everything is turning out well for you. I love to visit your blog and look at your wonderful art that always brighten up my day. Big hugs from me to you.

  24. Elizabeth

    Kelly, I am sending you tons of good juju! Elizabeth

  25. Tammigirl

    Remember to use your creative imagination to see your self through this. See your health issue as a cloud, pick the color it feels to you and then work each day to see the cloud smaller and brighter until it dissipates. Heal yourself with your happy thoughts. YOu can do it, Kelly!.

    Sending you healing.

  26. jessica

    dear miss kelly rae,

    what a traumatic roller coaster you’ve been on, with what your mom just went through, and now you! it’s hard to understand why this has been chosen for you. i’m thankful that your family is tight–seems like you and john have good support. but i also know that the experience can be lonely deep down in your heart and soul. i’m praying for you. God can reach your lonely, frightened, shell shocked place and give you peace beyond understanding–because He loves you. i pray you’ll know that intimately.


  27. Vanessa Voss

    sending out a continuous stream of positive thoughts and energy xo

  28. Anonymous

    i once had my doc paged 3 times at a basketball game he was at. he then grudgingly sent me a referral to go to an ER for elbow & shoulder pain. which, incidentally turned out to be Gilliam Barre and i was paralyzed within an hour. (much better now). push hard, be a stinker and make them speak in understandable terms when needed. bring someone with you to every appt and bring a notebook to write down what they say. sometimes the emotion clouds the memory, plus they seem to be more thorough when it's being recorded. sending you good thoughts! linda

  29. Penny

    Hi Kellie Rae my thoughts are with you, I went through 9 months of nothing conclusive but became a diabetic at the end of it all, having been through worries of pancreatic cancer, a shadow on the pancreas, elevated white blood cell count, you name it I had it. I hope you have a positive outcome and will be thinking of you.

  30. Dana

    Good for you for pushing them to listen to what your body was already telling you. To take a second look…
    I pray that your bravery and persistence will put you in touch with caring and competent doctors that will help you triumph over your pain right now.

    Many, Many positive thoughts coming your way…

  31. Deb

    I hope all is well. Sending good thoughts your way.

  32. Boho Girl

    you are in my thoughts and prayers, my friend.

    thank you for releasing this here in your sacred space. you are not alone in this. your tribe is circling you and Jon during this time.

    sending you so much love and healing right now.

  33. stef

    my heart is with you sweet one!!


  34. deb

    i think that anyone capable of writing a post like yours is a pretty amazing human being. Know that I’m one of many people, unknown to you, out in the world sending you their best.

  35. Katie

    Hoping for the best with you, Kelly. And praying.

  36. Jeanne

    Kelly – sending amazing good white light your way. Keep thinking positive.

  37. Tamsie

    Welcome to the United States for Profit Driven Health Care System. IT’s not about what you need or your wellness. It’s about billable services, insurance, patience per hours and quotas. Sad but true. Be thankful you have the resources to pursue and push for testing. Many cannot even get that far due to lack of insurance or not enough funds to cover the tests. Many hospitals are requiring cash at the time of serivce for the non inusrance covered co-pay or for the entire fee and then reimburese the patient when the insurance pays.
    Unfortunatley, it’s not just about being ill and getting treatment.
    All things for a reason and I’m sure you’ll pull some art/journal project out of this experience one day.
    First your mom and now you. Let’s hope for a brighter week for both of you.
    PS: I have two grown kids who are doctors so I know of what I speak. Heck, both are in SF – orthopetic surgeons.

  38. pen

    i feel your words and your fear and hold hope and optimism for you particularly in the moments it may fail you.
    the world needs more like you.
    and i’ll be sending lots of positive vibes to keep your light shining bright xx

  39. stephanie t.

    you are wise beyond your years…wise enough to trust your instincts as you are trusting them now to let us in…At last count there are 107 people out there who are there for you…with me, 108…and countless others. We’re here.Big hugs, deep breath, positive thoughts.
    Dear girl…know you are loved.

  40. cindy deluz

    My sweetest one,
    My heart ached when I read your post, I went thru a very similiar experience last year and I know the roller coaster ride of emotions. Know that the universe has a way of taking you just where you supposed to go and continue to listen to your intuitive voice. I’ve read your blog for the last few months and I love your ability to feel, create, laugh, cry, and explore life’s possibilities. How wonderful to have magical John by your side. You are a light for so many of us artists and your innocent wonder is so refreshing. You truly have a rare twinkle that only a few earthly souls get blessed with. Be kind to yourself as you manuever thru the maze of medical madness and continue to discover hearts that are hiding just for you. Have tea with Mati, stroll with camera in hand, buy yourself the biggest bouquet you can find, light a scented candle as you soak in suds, be close with your mama, paint only if you truly want to, rent a silly movie like “Elf”, read your fabulous new book buy one more time, take a nap with John, and wait with grace. Always trust that God is in your back pocket.
    Most importantly……. breathe.
    Please keep us all posted, and know there is true power in prayer.
    Sending a sister a soulful squeeze,

  41. Kelly C.

    you are in my prayers, kelly. sending lots of positive energy your way from seattle.
    all love,

  42. nelda ream

    I’m adding my prayers to all the others you are receiving now. God cares about you and He is the Healer.

  43. Kathy L

    Sending white light and prayers to you. I hold a prayer time each evening with my three greyhounds. We form a little circle and I say the names of those in need of healing. We especially pray for greyhounds battling cancer but I have expanded our prayer vigil to all those who need healing. May you be comforted knowing that so many are praying for you, even our fur companions.


  44. stacy kathryn

    You are so right about following your intuition. will be praying for you and sending some positive juju your way! Hope it is all better very very soon.

  45. Anonymous

    Thinking of you and hoping and sending positive vibes, helen

  46. ama


    I love you so much and am on the verge of tears. What is a good time for me to call you? I want to hear your voice, and for you to hear mine. Your sweet, powerful heart is being kept warm in my own.
    I love you,

  47. patty craft

    Keep the faith, little sister. This is part of your journey (whatever “this” is), and you’re never alone on the path. Prayers go with you.


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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