In 2012, I was healthy enough to travel with my Master's program to Kenya, a place where my heart has remained. Because of the experience I had in Kenya, and because of the people I met there, I came home determined to go back to help. I applied to serve in the Episcopal Service Corps at Camp Mokule'ia in Hawaii to learn how to farm sustainably and to walk lightly on the Earth. I knew, from previous years of volunteer work in my home town, how to recycle, and how important it is to conserve and preserve for future generations, but I didn't know how to do things like farm without irrigation.
The more I learned about Creation Care, the more I remembered the ecofeminism class I took during my last semester of college, and the more I knew that there was a correlation between our disconnect from the natural world and the disease processes in my body.
During my time in Hawaii, I became ill again. At first, I thought that my thyroid function had simply decreased, but that didn't seem to be the case. I was in constant pain, always exhausted, my hair was falling out, and I felt completely ineffective, because I no longer felt capable of doing what it was I'd come to Hawaii to do. My family and I decided that it would be best for me to come home over Christmas break to check in with my doctor, who knew me, my family history, and my case history. I'd developed a rash and was itchy all the time, and my doctor diagnosed me with lupus. He referred me to an immunologist, who discovered that my immune system was non-functional, and that my bone marrow was incredibly stressed. He prescribed supplements, a hormone replacement, and two infusion treatments a week for three months. He also told us that even if this treatment cycle was successful, I would not be able to return to Hawaii afterwards because of the nature of my job: I spent most of my time working outside, and sunlight is a major trigger for lupus. The nearly six months I had already spent in Hawaii had been the perfect storm for my lupus to progress, and even if we were able to put my lupus into remission, it would come back as soon as I returned to my job, and it would continue to damage my joints and my bone marrow, decreasing my quality of life both now and in the future. I had to resign from ESC, which, while not a large income source because it was an internship, was my sole source of income. My doctor's office does not accept insurance, and my mom, who has been a widow for the majority of my life, cannot afford to continue to pay for the treatments while we wait to find out whether or not her insurance company will offer her any reimbursement.
My fundraising goal will cover all of my treatments in case there is no insurance reimbursement. In the event that our insurance company does reimburse a portion of the treatments, the fundraising goal will help us to cover some of the cost of the 25 hormones and supplements I take every day as well.
These are some of the beads I currently have in my stash:
And these are some examples of prayer and meditation beads, and a bracelet I have made in the past:
The first set of beads is made from goldstone, while the second set is a mixture of man-made and natural beads in differing sizes. The bracelet is made from small garnet beads, and silver-plate and crystal accent pieces. It is important to me that each bead set or beaded piece of jewelry I make fit its owner correctly, and I try to pick colors and stones that I believe will be helpful for the person using it. I am happy to help the donors at the $60 level come up with a design and select his/her desired materials.
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