Monday, December 21, 2015

Case Study #21 - Katie Remembering Nan

Katie Remembering Nan - 30" x 24" Oil on Canvas.
Katie Newell lives in Braintree, United Kingdom. In Katie's words: "I do not let NF bring me down, but nevertheless its made a huge impact on my life, and I've not been given a break. Being poked and proded at the age of seven wasn't fun! All I ever wanted to do is just do the stuff everyone else could do. I wouldn't say growing up wasn't enjoyable, but it was tiring, but worth it to be alive. I ended up with at least a few years break after life saving surgery in America where I went to Boston's Children's Hospital to have a rod inserted into my spine to help with the scoliosis, for both straightening and because of the tumors that had grown throughout my spine.

As Katie grew into a lady the growing of fibromas and plexiforms started all over again. She recalls being devastated. In her words, "You can only imagine what my stubborn-fifteen year old 'I'm-so-mature-now-I-know-what-life-is about' attitude saw upon everything. It was demoralizing that I couldn't tip-toe anymore and do ballet like I had previously enjoyed. I only had 30% lung function in one lung due to a tumor that compressed the other completely. I seriously felt like every road I took had a bump in it. Everything I enjoyed, just taken from me". 
Prep Sketch

But of course over time, Katie found new interests and new things she could experience. She can honestly say now that, yes NF is an challenge to live with, but it's a challenge she gracefully accepts. Sounds unbelievable, but compared to things like depression that she has dealt with in life it's honestly a breeze in her opinion. "You wouldn't believe what silly things actually upset me!! (looking in the bicsit tin to find its empty! That's upsetting!! aha)"

Each year, Katie and her mother pay tribute to Katie's nan by doing a balloon release. There is no cemetery to go to, so they also plant flowers in their garden as a yearly memorial. Katie's mother, Vanessa, talked not only about the strength of the grandma, but also of Katie's strength and remarkable gifts and talents. Her mother also has NF, but says it is very mild. She feels like her child has endured so much with the card she was dealt.

But like everyone in the world, Katie has good and bad days. She feels that she is no stronger, nor different than any other individual in the world, with the exception that she seriously wants a pet alpaca. Currently, she enjoys drawing "Anime" (Japanese cartoons), animating, and creative writing. She's looking toward a future of going into creative writing classes as she's always wanted to write a fantasy novel. Katie does miss ballet sometimes, but tends to not look at the stuff she can't do, but at the stuff she can do. After all, in Katie's words, "Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself!"