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. Michelle

    Kelly, I am a regular reader of your blog but woke up this morning and you were on my mind, which I thought was a little odd! I read your post and am so glad to hear that you pushed and made others listen to you – your health is your No 1 priority – it is the foundation for the rest of your growth.

    I have had a similar incident myself (was told nearly 16 years ago that I had a serious illness and might not make it).. won’t bore you with those details but suffice to say, I held my faith, trusted my intuition and asked the Universe for help and I’m still here – older, a little wiser and grateful.

    I am so so glad you were strong and true enough inside to push that medic for an MRI.

    Take each day as it comes. Don’t look to tomorrow or next week – just try to deal with what you are given each day. You are so loved by your family and your readers and it was, I am sure, divine intervention that nudged you to further this, regardless of the outcome.

    You and John are in my prayers.
    Michelle x

  2. Serena

    Sending postive thoughts and healing vibes from DownUnder for you and John.


  3. lacy

    Been where you are…and came out the other side. You are right to listen to your intuition. You are right to question, push, insist. Continue to do that even when it gets more complicated. Know too that you are doing the right thing by speaking truth out into the world. You are helping and being helped all at the same time. The universe is conspiring in your favor! Even in the darkest of times when you are certain you will loose it I promise you will be in awe of your own strength. I know the pain of changing your life to deal. No matter what these tests say, no matter what scary words you have to add to your vocabulary you are experiencing this for a reason. I wish I could tell you exactly what the reason but I know that the place on the map your standing in, numb leg and all has been circled for you. Give yourself plenty of time to just be… silent and also really busy! Sry to have rambled on… My journey was just yesterday it feels like. I am wishing you the very best, clear answers, quickly and a reasonable treatment plan that will “fix” you for good! May you run again soon! Very soon! With love, Lacy

  4. Laini Taylor

    Oh Kelly, all our best thoughts and hopes go out to you. May it be only a scare. We're thinking of you.
    Laini & Jim

  5. Anonymous

    I didn’t listen to you. I read your post even though you told me not to….Thank you for the personal warning, but let me be a proud voice in this chorus of people singing our praises to you Kelly. I am continually inspired by my dear friend and am so once again today. Look at all of us behind you, beside you, surrounding you. Let us reflect back the strength and light we so often draw from you. Thank you Kelly. We are here with you.

  6. Anonymous

    As an artist/RN/person who has lived very well with chronic disease for decades, I can empathise with your [resent predicament of being ‘in limbo’. What I have found to be most effective is to get intouch with the parts of yourself that are intact beyond the present circumstance. If you can strengthen your ability to access the parts of you that live in light and love, which are unattached to circumstance and outcome, it can really help to cope with fear and uncertainty.
    As a hospital social worker, you are probably aware that when a person is gravely ill it is very effective if people who enter the room leave their sadness and grief at the door and simply focus on love. Tears and fear can effect the ill person very negatively. Sometimes I think we need to learn to do the same for ourselves, to leave our worries and fears at the door and allow ourselves to bask in the strength and the depth of conviction of all the unconditional love we hold inside.
    I find that this sort of practice is not only effective for getting through the linbo of uncertain medical diagnoses, but for any stressful situation at all. to be able to immediately switch into that healthy place of light has helped me to face and flourish in all sorts of situations that I previously had immense difficulty facing.
    I am sending you huge positive support wishes and I have every faith that no matter what happens, you will flourish and be the strength and beauty that you so clearly are.

  7. Dreamy

    Dearest Kelly, sending you warm and healing thoughts from downunder. You are brave and courageous and a great inspiration! Lots of love:)

  8. Kelly Kilmer

    Sending lots of good juju…

    Very happy that you stood up and stood your ground. Stay strong!!!

  9. Miriam Kaye

    My thoughts are with you and John during this difficult time Kelly, and hope you find out soon what may be the cause of what is happening to you. I totally agree with you about trusting your intuition, nobody is more aware of their own body then oneself.

    A big kiss and hug from downunder.

    Take care,


  10. Anonymous

    Dear Kelly Rae,
    You are in my thoughts and I am sending you much love and positive energy.
    Be gentle with yourself and remember that deep, deep down you are a learner of life as well as a possibilitarian. You always seem to see through the muck and understand the learnings that life’s challenges have opened to you. It may take a while — and it will be terribly hard — but you have a community here who all believe in you.
    Thank you for continuing to share your life’s journey. You are previous and irreplaceable.
    Much love,
    Kat from Melbourne

  11. bettyann

    sending good and kind thoughts and healing prayers to you.

  12. Sarah

    I will be sending prayers up for you. . .

  13. Crystal

    This is my first time posting, although I’ve been reading your blog for awhile. I will be praying that the doctors are successful in their searching and diagnosing and that healing will be yours. Our God is a mighty God and works in marvelous ways. Take care and trust Him (I know it’s easy to say but it really is best – I know from experience). ((( HUGS )))

  14. Anonymous

    1st time I’ve left a comment for you…..i LOVE your blog and you. I think you are amazing…remember, tough times don’t last, but touch people do….

    Love helen

  15. windywillow

    Kelly, I love you blog – your honesty, creativity and optimism. There are many, many people who admire you and what you do. Be strong and know that what happens to each of us happens for a reason. Find strength in John, your family and your community of friends and artists. You are in my thoughts.

  16. bonnie

    Sending you strength, prayers and healing vibes. Hoping for the best outcome possible.

  17. carolyn

    My thoughts are with you and I’m sending armfuls of fabulous juju in your direction.

    Carolyn from Alberta

  18. Anonymous

    Sending positive healing thoughts to you~

  19. melissa

    I’m sending all the positive energy I can muster. Whatever you find out, know that you have a lot of support even if its the other side of the country. I wish I could give you a big HUG in person! Lots of love…Melissa

  20. joanie

    Hi Kelly,
    I am so glad that you shared….now you will have all our prayers and good thoughts coming your way. Please hang in there and know how much we all care.

  21. matirose

    wow, i’m getting teary reading all these messages. you are a gift my dear. i’m proud of you for taking the necessary steps and facing the fear. big love xoxoxo, mati

  22. Leah

    ((hugs)) and love and good juju are flying your way.

    and remember that no matter what, everything will be o.k.


    Hi Just letting you know I am sending positive thoughts your way. I hope everything is alright. Take care. Belinda

  24. carine b.

    Positives thought for you and your family too

  25. [Charlene]

    Not only are in my prayers, but my heart joins you in a vision for yourself in full health, in balance, and with much happiness on the other side of this dip in the road.

    Thanks for sharing the reality of your life with us honestly.

  26. Anonymous

    Sending you lot’s of love & positive thoughts from sunny CA!

    Stay positive and strong.


  27. Kim

    Kelly, I am praying for wisdom for all doctors involved, and that you and John will experience peace and patience during this time, and most of all, that you will get good news from the doctor.

  28. Bird

    I recently found your blog and read it front to back. I’ve been using it as a guide map for my own artistic journey.

    Anyway, I feel compelled to add my two cents today–well, really four.

    A very good friend of mine experienced numbness on one side of her body and what they thought was a migraine ended up being a blood clot. A brief hospitalization, some medication, and the clot was destroyed. She is now in perfect health. It was a brief, but signigicant moment. This could be you.

    My son, on the other hand, is severely, neurologically damaged. He had massive cerebral hemmorages the day after he was born and the offical prognosis from the doctor was: dismal. As a medical social worker I know you’ve met people in that position. Despite all of these things being wrong with his brain and despite the many surgeries it took to get us here, he is an amazing one-year old who loves to eat and listen to music. Physically there have been reprecussions, but mentally he is very with-it. The human brain is a complete mystery and a good doctor will tell you that. No matter what the prognosis/diagnosis it is important to remember that all doctors are simply statisticians–they go with the odds.

    I will say a prayer for you tonight as I think that’s as good or better than anything found in pill form.

  29. GrassFX

    as your intuition said, there is obviously a problem-sadly you found a dr who didn’t seem to care-hope you are finding dr’s who are good-and get you through this-and hopefully it’s not too serious~good thoughts your way. your emotions will go up and down right now-it’s normal-take a deep breath and think good thoughts~best of luck.

  30. stephanie alaine

    krr. look at the LOVE with which you are surrounded and supported! each and every person adores you for your strengths and your weaknesses. we would give anything to heal you; our spirits and our prayers are with you as you are HeALed & TouChed & LoVed. maNy, MaNY bLessinGs
    sO muCh LoVe

  31. debbiev

    (((Hugs))) I hope your gift to others will begin to turn things in the universe around for you.

  32. cyndo

    Good energy and prayers are coming your way. I have no magic words to take away your anxiety but some life experience to share. I am a paralegal in a law firm where we do primarily medical malpractice defense work. I have learned YOU are your best advocate for your health…always remember that and good for you for being persistent. Regardless of your diagnosis, research your physicians and their credentials ( It is highly recommended that they be board certified…and always get a second opinion before any major, invasive surgery, care, etc., is performed. Knowledge is power. Ask questions; research reputable medical websites; read the journals that doctors read. Be well, Kelly, and keep us posted.

  33. michele

    I would like to add my positive thoughts and best wishes to all your friends. I agree with the importance of learning to listen to our inner voice, sometimes it takes great courage to do so. All the best.

  34. Kelly Valentine

    Sending you lots of courage and love, wrapped in prayers of healing for you and tied with a ribbon of trust. Trust that everything can and will be okay. Send some gratitude to your legs for letting you know that something was not quite right. You are always such an inspiration, so let all these comments inspire you and soothe your worried heart.

    In light and love,
    Kelly V.

  35. Steph

    In partnership with all the others, I’m sending blessings and good thoughts and prayers!

  36. Star

    Coming out from the land of lurking to wish you well. You’re young and full of vitality; I’ll hold only positive thoughts for your outcome.


  37. dori

    many blessings are being bestowed upon you… feel them when you are scared… know that you are being held in the hands of the gods, goddesses, elements and healing spirits… you don’t have to be strong for you have many who are giving you their strength and optimism… just be… breathe in all the love and affection that we are all sending… xxxoooxxx, dori

  38. Anonymous

    god bless you sweetheart and hold you in his care.
    Love and healing light to you.
    Love Donna

  39. Jamie

    I am sending healing and positive thoughts your way. Jamie V in MT

  40. Gillian

    sending positive thoughts to you both at this difficult time, stay strong kelly.

  41. erin

    sending calm and healing thoughts your way…

  42. Kate

    Sending you loving energy and healing, you’ll be in my thoughts.


  43. Sheila

    I am lighting a candle for you and will send you all the healing I can muster! Much love and light to you and your John!! Breathe!!

  44. MeMe

    Oh Kelly . . .it sounds as if you’re in a terrifying space, waiting and waiting and waiting.

    I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers, trusting that you’re going to get accurate answers and excellent treatment, no matter what the diagnosis.

    Many of us live with very dibilitating conditions (I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis which causes me to be bedridden some days, and kicking it up at the water aerobic classes on others). I cope, I stand in the light of who I am, and I do the best I can in all circumstances.

    It takes time to come to acceptance. Be gentle with you.


  45. Gypsy Alex

    Holding your hand, Kelly. I’m keeping the candle burning for you ~ best wishes ~

  46. violetismycolor

    stumbled across your blog from elsewhere, but just want you to know that I am sending you ‘good juju’ (as you so brilliantly put it)…I had a very scary thing going recently (lump in armpit, then massive mammogram and ultrasound, breast surgeon, etc.), only to find it was a hamartoma, which is a benign tumor of the breast… and nothing to worry about. Now, I am not saying that I am sure you will have a similiar happy outcome. But I do know how scary it was to think ‘what if?’ and the tears and panic I spent on it. Hang in there…


  47. Supria

    Kelly: I am new to your blog..but in all that I have do very much strike me as a “OPTIMIST IN THE TRUEST FORM”, real, transparent, strong on many levels, warm, genuine, so many wonderful qualities exude from your posts…so in return I hope you receive even more positive energies willing your health to full wellness…For my part I send you universal energies of strength, care, love and light…wishing you well…keep creating as this always feeds the soul and allows healing in magical ways. MIND OVER MATTER…really…be gentle with yourself,

  48. Jennifer/The Word Cellar

    I’m lighting a candle for you and saying a prayer, for your body, mind, and spirit.

  49. Meg

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Just keep breathing.

  50. Lisa

    I just prayed for you and John. Thank you for being transparent. You are brave and strong!


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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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