Monday, May 26, 2008

just testing

Roe bent down by me and put the straw in my mouth so I might top off the concrete block forming in my gut. I could feel the curious heat of the IV contrast flow into my last good vein up to my shoulder and the wave of hot from the very core of my being started to radiate out from my chest, to my face, belly and um... my loins. The computerized man-voice told me to hold my breath. I slid through the giant mechanical donut and back. Second to last test, attempted for the third time: complete.

The dread laid pretty heavily afterwards as I was now that much closer to the final test I had scheduled- the upper endoscopy... which involved a long black flexible snake of a camera going down my throat. coughgagcough

running water
running water © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Despite all the really terrible/annoying/life-threatening/uncomfortable things that can happen, the rhythm of having a procedure has begun to lull me into a calm state. The series of questions with easy answers. Undressing and the billowy feel of the gowns. The swish of privacy curtains. The certain sting of the needle. Rolling from one room to the next. The string of faces I will forget the names of in moments. In the procedure room, Dr. Bertiger sat in the corner reading over my file. He asked what tests I had completed and having told him this was my last he decided to check and to see if my results were back for any of them.

scavenging angels
scavenging angels © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Prometheus Panel in the house. Lo and behold. All of the indicators- the antibodies- were either super low or not present at all for Crohn's or IBD. Not even borderline.

Which means NO CROHN'S.

Standing here on the cusp as I have been for now sixteen months, to my great relief, last week I was finally able to take a huge stride forward. Something inside me that has been clenched tight like a fist for ages is beginning to release its grip on me. I did, however, wonder why I still had to have an endoscopy if there wasn't going to be anything to look for. None of the other tests were back but he said that the Prometheus results were an excellent sign. Regardless we continued onward. The nurses explained that they used to use a narcotic/valium mix for the endoscopies, but changed to a non-narcotic cocktail that knocks people clean out and most awaken feeling wondering if they had a procedure at all. They had me lay down on my left side. Doc slid the bite guard over my head and into my mouth. My right arm hung in the air while the anaesthesiologist flushed my IV and hooked me up. The surge of sedatives made my wrist feel like it was going to burst and I recall groaning through the plastic tube in my teeth raaaahhhh the PRESSURE!!!

And then I passed out completely.

I awoke alone with a nurse who told me that everything looked completely normal. There is a certain order of awareness I have when I wake up. I ask the time. I ask for Michael even if I get shot down repeatedly. i wonder if the doctor will come talk to me. I never ask for drinks and something to eat, just will them to remember to bring me more. My final IV proved to be the worst I've ever had. I couldn't move my wrist properly until the next day. But my health, which had never completely left me, was now 'mine' again. Its a strange gift... like spending a lot of money to get yourself something you already own. Sure I'm happy its just an odd process to absorb the idea.

crush © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

My post-op tears last week were entirely unwarranted as the Butcher will still totally be my doctor still. This Friday I will see him to make arrangements for what will be the (hopefully) the final surgery... in perhaps as soon as two weeks. If all goes well, a year and a half after this whole business began... I should be feeling like new. Hard to conceive of, but no longer impossibly distant and certainly not forever.

ciraflage © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

To celebrate my results and my freedom to eat what I want, more or less, I packed as much action into this super long weekend as humanly possible. Starting with visiting with some of my college friends, including my very talented friend Tatyana Jula, which landed us in the newest, tallest building in Philly, the Comcast Center. Although cityscapes and aerial views are not normally my thing, when you are presented certain opportunities, you do not pass them up. Philly is very nearly breathtaking from there... it could have just been the thinner air on the 26th floor.

liberties © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Sparkly penthouse parties, curbside brunches and shady tree park picnics filled the rest of the weekend. Michael and I visited Valley Forge with a formidable spread of goodies and we got to air our cameras out for a bit, which was pleasant considering last weekend's lack of photographic delights.

flame dame
flame dame © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

We also stopped by the House of Smoke and Mirrors to make sure it had not been demolished as a non-existent location would be awkward to work around for my upcoming fashion shoot. It was still in fine form, if a bit hotter than it was in March. It is among the houses I feel most comfortable in. Despite its emptiness, it still feels warmly occupied by the spirit of its former inhabitants. And if it weren't for the crumbling kitchen, it would be quite livable. These expeditions are one of the few times I find myself having homeowner fantasies... envisioning myself living in another space... though the lack of upkeep on these places gives me nightmares. We spotted a couple of other houses worthy of returning to check out. And the overwhelming number of deer grazing at the roadside gave me my requisite nature photographer thrill for the month.

rosehips © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

How very lucky am I to have all this? Incredibly. Please can I keep it for a while and enjoy it before it gets taken away again?

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Sunday, May 18, 2008


Most people have a certain point of tolerance, which, upon reaching it, know better than to push onward. Having had Friday's procedure two times previously, I knew more or less what to expect. The first time was incredibly painful, the second a relief, the third, well, should be nearly a breeze. Right?

Going to the hospital, for once this week, was a strangely simple comfort. As I was wheeled from room to room, Michael got to help my nurses maneuver doorways, and sit by as the first nurse anaesthetist in my medical history hooked me up to what would be the first IV that did not lead to me being sick at all, post-op. Four different anti-nausea meds. Rolled into the operating room I crawl over from my gurney to the operating table and lay prone, looking at my arm as the anaesthesiologist pumps the sedatives in... and next I awake on my back, looking up at my nurses and The Butcher through bleary eyes. Asking if he is going to still be my doctor, through drugged tears. Its always curious to me what I wake up upset about when I come out of sedation. Inevitably I wake up upset, no matter how calmly I went to sleep.

Every few minutes thereafter the recovery room nurses come by and ask about my pain and if I wanted more crackers and ginger ale. My red-headed, daredevil self-appointed-surrogate-mother nurse opted out of the normal wheelchair exit from the hospital, instead walking together hand in hand. She and I stood in the doorway waiting for Michael to bring round the Oldman Mobile, talking about health, work, and men. Thereupon I was whisked away to the safety of bed, vicodin and buttery noodles.

Morning came painlessly and sunny. Knowing more of less what to expect of the bodily reactions, I felt a little braver than usual and hungry for fresh air. Mr. Michael and I threw around ideas about what we might do with ourselves on this suspiciously fine day. It was proposed we head north towards the area where he used to go camping in his youth, having recalled a wealth of abandoned and run-down houses back then. Pipersville. We hit the road, heading up Broad Street through North Philly. I was making ready with my camera, as we entered a stretch of road that was a favorite of mine. Midway through the intersection at Glenwood Avenue, a truck slows in front of us and we come to a stop in the intersection.... and suddenly we are jolted in our seats from a rear collision.

goldenrod © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Having many times driven through this area and dreaded this very sort of event, I was afraid to move or turn to acknowledge what just happened at our rear. Michael pulls off the road on the opposite side of the intersection. I look over my shoulder at the car that had just hit us and see a pile of debris in front of it. Michael gets out and goes over to speak to the other driver. There was a brief exchange with the elderly man and then Michael headed back to look at the damages on our end. And away the man... and his car full of elderly companions... drove. We sat by the side of the road for a spell, assessing our post-crunch beings and workings. The OM Mobile was basically unscathed, Michael had a stiff neck and shoulder and the thrust made me tense the um... site of the surgery a bit, but otherwise we were in working order. It made sense at this point to consider not bothering with an outing. But really it was minor, we shrugged it off and tried to make light of it as we drove onward.

Even in the grips of extreme post-accident concentration, we managed to become lost within a mile of our destination town. Again we encounter a bizarre map-related vortex... Two roads within 2 miles of each other have a matching pair with the EXACT same name that do not connect in any way just up the road. Driving twice end to end of the Wrong Old Easton Road we refused to give up and a little further on up the way, we stumble upon the Actual Old Easton Road that lead to Pipersville. Almost immediately we spot a few abandoned houses, deciding instead to go onward, awaiting the door of opportunity to open before us. As we approached and breached the edge of the Google map we had printed out, there IT was. Two, no, THREE abandoned buildings on one piece of land on a low-traffic road with ample area to drive onto the property and park it unnoticed from the road.

Michael veers off into the grass towards the center building.

And not 15 feet into the lawn, it is suddenly quite clear we are not moving any further. The previous night's rain had turned the ground into a bog. Neither reverse nor drive dislodged the car. I suggested that since we were lodged we might as well give it a rest and check out the houses now at our... stuck... fingertips. Instead Mr. Michael got out and pushed and I gunned it and turned and revved and we continued to not move... except for the part where Michael fell over in the mud. I stayed in the car and my man waved to the passing cars and the third one to pass, an older man in a pickup truck, finally stopped. Together they pushed while I gunned it. We gave him twenty dollars and again they pushed and finally heaved the car from its mucky divot. The Pusher Man asked what we were doing there, and Michael said we were seeing 'what was back there and trying to turn around.' The Pusher said his buddy had gotten stuck in the same spot not long ago. He went on his way, the car now out of harm's puddle, we decided to finally check out the buildings we had put so much work into getting to. The initially-spotted house was in too delicate a condition to be entered, the older house was a burnt-out shell with a front door ensconced in a hornet's nest and the final building, though overgrown, was locked up tight.

ghetto palm
ghetto palm © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

It was then decided that we should have definitely called off the day well before it had gone on this long. We continued onward, mapless, following only rivers and gut feelings... stopping only for peanut brittle and lunch, we finally made it home, vowing to not leave the house again until absolutely necessary.

There are really an endless number of permutations of these particular events that could have landed us in rather a lot more bodily harm and financial pain. Cripes, I didn't even get charged for my surgery because my favorite nurses was technically on lunch when she checked me in she said she would send me a bill later.

Until Wednesday morning, I should be able to manage to avoid personal damages, whereupon I will drink my celebratory contrast medium cocktails, in anticipation of the thrill of esophageal probings to come. Distractions in the form of anything are currently being accepted. Driving around North Philly's Allegheny West neighborhood with the constant threat of perishing while collecting photographic materials for the construct project, worked fairly effectively for about forty minutes on the way home from breakfast.

urban sprawl
urban sprawl © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

incompetence killed the CAT

Now in the middle of week one of Daily Hospital Visitation Spree, I am embracing Murphy's Law on a near religious level. Because it seems, if it can go wrong several times, oh it absolutely will. It is entirely unshocking that I can go to the hospital Monday and the CT scanner is broken. That someone looks at my scrip and hands me the wrong barium milkshake to drink and tells me to reschedule. That I return the next day at Dawn's Asscrack for pre-admission testing and a bundle of other bloodwork which I am first turned away for, then after a hot phone three way with my doctor's office and registration I am invited back for some of the tests... and then told to go to yet another lab for the remainder. Leaving the veins feeling a bit worse for the wear. Then arising the next day before light has started filling the sky to drink The Wrong Milkshake so that I can drive to the hospital once more with one eye open only to be told that some moron took the order for CT: Enercolisis and transcribed it as CT: INTERCOLITIS. Such that I will have to return much later since it takes 5 days for the barium to fully leave the system... in order to make room for the magical Timed Dishwater Chug x3 at next week's promised up and down Dawn's Asscrack arrival.

sovereign © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Will three times be a charm? Or will I have to start appreciating morning light ever so much more?

Normally I am not a morning person. Even if I adore you, I will gladly poke new orifices in you if you look at me wrong before 9am. Fortunately the techs that talked to me this morning did not receive the brute end of my morning force, though in addition to free parking, they should have offered to remove the concrete block firming in my entrails and replaced it with like crepes or some other morning delicacy.

first aid
first aid © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Something fascinating I discovered recently was that there is a spate of young women (I will try to qualify myself as that yet) who are blogging about chronic illness and pain. So while this was always a blog about photography, it has sort of morphed into a blog like that so without knowing that I was doing 'a thing', I kind of was. Which is alternately creepy and comforting. Seeing as, well, I wanted a photo blog here... and I haven't been really diagnosed yet, so please, don't toss me in the grave just yet.... but what I have read has been really hopeful, positive, and yeah, still pretty applicable to my current condition even without a full diagnosis. One which spoke to a broader audience, developed by um... a babe with fibromyalgia... is and the other which I found I could relate to better in terms of wry humor and condition is the blog of a girl with Crohn's, I'd Like to Buy a Bowel. And how can you not just adore that name. She is obviously the most awesome and pointed out the article in the NY Times about the Chronic Blog phenomena.

Now the morning of my procedure. I am un-cleverly avoiding the unpleasant prep and not packing. Instead I am admiring the sound of car driving in the rain and fantasizing about food. Ahh, Light & Fluffy Noodles, you will soon be mine.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008


This past week, Lifestyle sent me on a fantastic photographic mission in the wilder corners of Durham Township, PA. It was refreshing to get out shooting assignment work again, and even better to be in the company of some great artists in the gorgeous (read: abandoned/run-down house-dappled) countryside. I must revisit the area immediately if not sooner. The results of the shoot were pretty exciting and I cannot wait to share them here.

the rosebuds @ johnny brendas 01
the rosebuds @ johnny brendas © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

In other news Michael took me to see The Rosebuds (again, had not been familiar with them) at Johnny Brendas on Friday night, which he was covering for Pitchfork. We ran out of steam before British Sea Power came on but had ourselves a fine time. The opening act, Jeffrey Lewis Band was unexpectedly charming and rather hilarious. He showed two of his 'low budget movies' which were presented in the form of oversized comic books.

the jeffrey lewis band @ johnny brendas 01
the jeffrey lewis band @ johnny brendas © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

the prometheus panel

This has gone on so long now I feel like a 7-year-old who has decided to see how many grapes they can fit in their mouth without out choking on them or spitting them out. Time to launch them across the room before my face gets stuck this way, that is, silent/blogless.

The weekend prior to the most major surgery to date, Michael wanted to take us out for some explorings as it seemed unlikely I would be very mobile for some weeks to come. Unfortunately it was a rather dismal and drizzly day but we sallied forth towards the mecca of oddities that is Delaware. Revisiting some of the places Apricot Nancy had taken Shanners and myself some months before. We were on the hunt for a new untouched abandonedments, passing on quite a few that were out in the open. The daylight was waning and the weather had just cleared when on a whim we turned down a side road. And only a moment's drive down the road, we found IT.

pastoral © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

There is a long, organic list of conditions that need to be met in order to follow through with infiltration once a site has been located. It was immediately obvious that this house totally fit the bill. The smidgen of light left in the day helped guide the old man mobile down the drive and behind the house. There was an occupied house next door but the trees and outbuildings created a sufficient screen. We crept in through the open back door, met with piles of furniture, animal feces, papers, books, tools and mysterious scraps.
It appeared to have been abandoned in the early 80s.

tidal pool
tidal pool © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

The growing dark and insurmountable mountains of stuff made it impossible to get a better picture of why it had been abandoned. The upstairs was fairly barren. We meandered around the outside a bit and Michael wandered off to the side of the house nearest the residence next door.

hibiscus tea
hibiscus tea © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

I cringed as I heard a distant kid's voice saying ' taking photos over there...' followed by the sudden reappearance of Michael making a beeline for the car. Hurriedly we drove off, hearts racing, into the dreary Felton sunset.

thrush © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Having just returned from a nearly three hour consultation with my now seventh doctor, I am feeling a bit weak of body and spirit. The last month has been filled with so much hope, disappointment and anxiety, it seems I am running out of room. I'm managed to avoid documenting this all photographically for the most part, and while it feels unnatural to not do so, there is nothing beautiful about this process. I don't want to be reminded of it when I don't have to be. And I don't want to hold on to it for posterity. There is something to be said for knowing and experiencing these particular pains and heartbreaks, but honestly I wouldn't want to share them with anyone, not even my worst enemy.

Tax day, 2008. Michael came to collect me, weary and hungry, for the surgery that was to fix me, in one month's time. It was to be the biologic cork in my hole. It is unsettling when you arrive at the hospital and not only do you recognize the nurses and staff, but they recognize you and they can say without uncertainty, well you know the drill. Some fears were brewing over the new approach to anaesthesia - the spinal. Especially after the Nurse Anaesthetist had to try 3 or 4 times to just get my IV started... the idea of someone poking an uncertain needle in my spine coiled me into a tight ball of nerves I did my best not to show. The Butcher was his usual jovial, hopefully self even as I turned his handshake into a stressball while being unsuccessfully stabbed in the opposite hand.

The last thing I recall was wheeling into the OR, chatting with the nurses and assistants, being leaned over a pillow and injected in the back. They said I would have to lay down but I don't remember that at all. When I came to, I heard nurses talking about Vegas and I started to talk about going to Vegas in March and how nice it was. And I looked up and saw The Butcher with his chile pepper surgical cap on and started asking him about spicy food and where he likes to eat Korean cos there is a good one in North Wales. He prefers Thai.

Sitting in recovery, I snarfed massive quantities of saltines and ginger ale and wondered at the logistics of how my feet felt like they itched when they felt nothing at all. The nurse would periodically come over and poke me in the stomach and legs to see how much of my feeling was returning. I had the overwhelming urge to prop my knees up for quite some time, but was unable to move or feel anything from the waist down. In turn I would rub my legs to see if I felt anything. After an hour I rub my left lef with my knuckles and bizarrely my right leg spasmed. And again. It was terrifying, frustrating and oddly exciting. The feeling returning was prickly, tight and completely alien. Apparently the hips feeling returns even after the toes, so while I could move and feel my feet and legs, I wasn't allowed to stand up for quite some time. It took some three hours before I was walkable and released into the strong arms of The Michael.

We pranced around Rite Aid, me still post-op giddy, collecting high fiber nibbles and painkillers and antiobiotics. Michael had arranged for my mostly immobilized self to spend the next day and a half in his bed. Fulfilling my every whim and craving for Fluffy brand buttered egg noodles. Though we ended up talking too much to sleep, I managed to avoid the post-operative fanatic weepies and barfing for quite some time. When I was finally feeling strong enough the evening of the day following surgery... I was craving something other than cheerios and saltines... we made the ill-advised decision to drive to South Philly for some falafel. My stomach's ease had been waxing and waning all day but somehow this seemed like a good idea. Approximately 2 minutes after consuming the falafel, sitting in the car, I knew this would not end well. Attempting to race against my stomach, hurtling down 76, the falafel returned in its full glory, not 15 minutes after I put it away.

With this glowing testimonial, I can say Bitar's, you suck and you make me puke. Maoz, however has AMAZING falafel and an impressive pickly-salady-fixins bar that makes mouths happy. That came later.

The Butcher gave me a timeline of about four weeks of being gentle, no acrobatics, exercise or exertion so I wouldn't bust my cork out. This seemed manageable. The drugs were working to knock out the pain for the most part. I went back to work and didn't have any embarrassing events including but not limited to falling asleep in inappropriate places. I was uncertain, however, that it would work. I followed the rules laid out... despite the threats made by the Butcher that I shouldn't return to work at all that week. I felt pretty good... considering.

The following week I had a bit of a freak out and visited the Butcher... who still seemed optimistic despite my concerns and what seemed like stitches coming loose....

hungers © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

In an attempt to get out for an airing two weeks after surgery, Michael drove us to Quakertown to visit Qmart and browse. Afterwards, while attempting to get lost in Bucks county/find abandoned houses, we stumbled upon Henry Mercer's architectural oddity, The Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown. We half-assedly took the tour, dispensing with guides and videos, in order to to free ourselves of tour group photo-obstructions. It was right around this time that something inside fully gave way.

kiln © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Over the next five days I became increasingly certain that the surgery had failed. The signs were all too clear for me to ignore. My next follow up with the Butcher confirmed my fear and he admitted that when he saw me last he thought it was going to fail as well. He said he had consulted with a gastroenterologist colleague of his and Dr. GE said that he has never seen this sort of persistence of this condition without the presence of Crohn's, especially someone at my age. Butcher said he wanted me to go see Dr. GE, who would run some blood tests and possibly have me swallow a little pill camera, which in all honesty is about the most exciting thing I have heard EVER, with respect to my health at large.

So about three hours ago I returned from my nearly three hour consultation with Dr. Bert, the GE. Most of that time was spent with the scheduling girl who waded through paperwork, codes, diagnoses, time slots, preps, directions, scrips and phone calls. Dr. Bert and his assistant both seem quite certain I have Crohn's, its just a matter of locating it in my digestive system. Since my tests from the fall didn't show any signs, they think it might be higher up, perhaps in my stomach or upper portion of my small intestines. The coming week alone I will be visiting the hospital 3 times. In order, I am having a specialized pelvic CT scan... which involves a short fast and a barium milkshake, followed by a slew of blood tests including an insanely expensive uninsured super-proprietary test that screens for certain antibodies present with Crohn's, Colitis, and Inflammatory Bowel, called The Prometheus Panel. Which, considering it costs just short of $500, should also predict my future (at least for the next year) and take me out to dinner and a movie.

Manners, dude! Not a cheap date. Man.

disintegration © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

At the end of the next week I will have another procedure with Dr. Butcher for comfort's sake... Thankfully he says I will be needing neither a spinal nor full-on anaesthesia this time... only a local and some sedation. The next week holds the upper endoscopy.... not unlike an inverted colonoscopy, I should be out for this one they say! But that is what they said about the colonoscopy and I have some trust issues with anaethesiologists.

After my last appointment with the Butcher, I told Michael I wanted to throw caution to the wind a little since I was officially rebroken... there was technically nothing I couldn't do, for the time being. So, what, you ask, had been missing? Well... cheese. I demanded white pizza. And mojitos. And exercise. All of which I enjoyed to excess for a short window of time... until it became too painful. Exercising control once more.

On an eavesdropped tip from the doctor's office we thought a trip to the Cowtown flea market in the Jerz would be a pleasant afternoon jaunt. In under an hour we were deeply into the greenest pastures of NJ, admiring distantly some choice abandoned houses while negotiating the windy roads to Pilesgove. Curiously we entered the township of Pilesgrove, continued along the road, entered another town, and then reentered Pilesgrove, this happened at a number of different places... stopping to ask directions twice, a total of 5 attempts were made before we were able to successfully infiltrate the vortex that is Pilesgrove.

After the Cowtown experience, one wishes it was a little better hidden. Though I haven't been flea marketing for very long, I have a fair knowledge of what to expect as far as what is normally sold at them, the backwoodsy population frequenting them, and the general precautions to take. With the promise of a rodeo and a livestock auction, we thought we knew what we were getting into. Alas. It was more like we got dumped on a street corner in North Philly. I have never been afraid of getting mugged at a flea market. Until now. None of the usual tables of people selling odds and ends antiquities and second hand clothes. The stalls sold only copious bling (including enormous jewelled skull belt buckles that were really tempting), discount perfume, stripper-wear, cellphone jackets, mexican music, used VHS videos, porn, and candy. Holy ghetto batman. When I made the mistake of wandering from Michael's side for a moment, some guy with a horrifying gericurl sidled up next to me, rubbing his chest suggestively and gaped at my tits much to the horror of Michael who had fallen mere steps behind. After maybe 45 minutes, we made a run back to PA trying to piece together the hows and whys of Cowtown. There weren't anything but farms for miles around... its very existence seemed improbable at best. We both have decided we dreamed (nightmared really) the whole thing.

alison leans the kills @ johnny brendas
alison leans the kills @ johnny brendas © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

That evening Johnny Brendas welcomed The Kills to the stage... and for the first time in many months I decided to go to a show. Michael was covering it for work and invited me along to make the evening a bit more enjoyable. My only exposure to The Kills was by way of his show preview written some time before... I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. They are rather like PJ Harvey with jaggedy electronica edges. And they made me want to moan and move in ways inappropriate for public consumption.

smoke machine  the kills @ johnny brendas
smoke machine the kills @ johnny brendas © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Well. Glad to have gotten that out of my system. I should purge the thoughts more often. I am still having some trouble wrapping my head around what will be come of me the next few weeks. The tests will point to how my problem will be treated but I currently am without a timeline as to when I will be 'fixed' yet again.

interior life
interior life © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

And if I do have Crohn's, that, separate from my other malady, is a forever sort of thing. It brings up questions that I am not ready to answer or consider about my professional life. It makes my head hurt and my stomach ache. I have a lot to process. I wish it were all just photographs. They're ever so much easier to process.

NOTE For those of you in the Philadelphia area, Ms. Shanners is going to have some things she has worked on for sale at a new boutique, including a revamped gossip bench, vintage trays, a clock and prints. Expect coasters, pocket mirrors and more functional art to be available both at Bohema and in her youwannatalkjive Etsy shop by the end of the month! Details on the opening follow:

Please come to the pre-opening of Bohema Artisan and Vintage Boutique on Friday, May 9th from 6-10pm. The store's official opening will be on Saturday, May 10th, so be sure to check it out if you're in the area!

The location of the boutique is:
6152 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128

There will be hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and guests can mingle with the artists featured in the shop. The boutique is a mixture of old and new, with quality vintage as well as new merchandise, mainly hand-made by local artists and marketed to women. I'll be there, so don't hesitate to stop by and indulge in free cheese cubes with me!

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