I need to purge and share as we are entering a new era of more change, transformation, and growth. I normally keep everything personal under wraps and hidden from the surface, because as a business person, most people don't care why you can't do things or the limitations you have so you learn to compartmentalize the bad things and focus on doing and getting things done. As an artist who is both left and right brained, this couldn't be more true. I'm not the only one that has experienced this so for the benefit of entrepreneurs, wanna-be-entrepreneurs, artists in film, fashion, arts, music, and entertainment, business professionals, anyone in school or out of school, learning as you go, or learning on the job, the reality of life never leaves and is always there. The job is how do you manage it all, life, work, family, friends, tragedies, successes, wins, losses, good and bad. This will be the reveal of how I managed to survive the last 12 months. I hope you'll learn something along the way that will be beneficial or at least cause you to pause and reflect on and understand maybe not for me, but for yourself or others you may know.
The next phase was immediately after my friend passed away exactly six weeks from diagnosis, the second week in April 2017, I had an awful pain one evening while working and then knew I couldn't ignore it and the next morning was more evidence that something wasn't quite right. I went to the doctor and then began the series of tests that did not end until October of 2017. What I learned is that there is always a reason why something happens even if at the time it can't be explained. My life is not about coincidences, it is about a plan that was written and my calling to follow it. So when something is perceived to go wrong or not be right, I have always come to find out that it is for a reason and discovery is all part of it.
During this same time, the launch of the Worldwide Women's Film Festival (WWFF) was fully underway. We started planning the WWFF in 2016 February and one year later we were ready to launch the opening for submissions to start in May 2017. We blasted the news the launch was coming at the Phoenix Film Festival Industry Night, so all of this is happening simultaneously. From the original tests I had done in late April to early May, another discovery was found and it was not related to the first medical issue at all. Interestingly enough, the original issue I had ended up not being anything that could be diagnosed, but due to this ancillary finding, I ended up having to see another specialist and have more tests. This is all happening in May now, right up until the opening of Submissions for WWFF May 20, 2017.
Not a big deal right, just a few more tests, just the opening of a film festival and we'll all be good to go with life, right. NOOOOOOOO...that was not the case at all. That next Monday, I was feeling horrible and sick, but still trudged along, not understanding what was happening. Many don't know that I'm an energy worker and work with individuals in helping with processing, manifesting, healing, creating energy, clearing blocks, helping people find their passion, find the ways to take their life next level, etc. I bring this up because in this particular area of my life, I'm an empath as well, so not only do I feel an individual's pain or emotion, I also can feel this at a community and larger level. So that Monday was significant for many reasons as I felt someone else's pain and those around them. The next day is when I found out another friend had passed tragically and by their own hand. Why does this matter? Because I had just contacted them over the weekend to discuss the WWFF as they were a big supporter and fan as well as I of them. They were are largely known in the community and she widely supported artists everywhere. In the film and music community and entertainment, there would have been few that didn't know her.
Immediately, myself and three other friends came together as community representatives to step into a role that we had no idea where it would take us. We resolved to bring the community together for healing and to process the death of this very important and significant person in our lives. During this same time, my journey of health took a downward spiral as I experience pain like I've never felt before. I suffer from chronic pain due to sciatica as a result of a back injury from a car accident back in 1997 and the proceeding surgery and two major muscle spasms that caused me not to walk for 15 weeks of my adult life. I can state my pain is similar to those that suffer from fibromyalgia. I experienced level 9 and 10 pain for approximately 35 weeks of my adult life so I can say I'm familiar with high pain and have a high tolerance. However in June two weeks before the memorial we had planned for our friend who passed in May, I experience pain that felt like I had been superhero punched through my midsection with a huge giant whole through my stomach and my back. So we had launched the festival, a friend had passed, I have this huge pain, I still don't have the results from my second round of testing, I now have another new horrific pain, and we have the memorial coming...
Normally, I wouldn't ask anyone to feel sorry for me, but I will tell you, I did feel like death at this time all the while I had to still continue on. I'm interjecting at this point now the fact that "stress kills" because this is a true statement and really is supported by the medical community at all levels. If you internalize pain and stress, it can cause you to be in an endless cycle of more pain and stress that continues to grow. So we get the results and they have found I have a small ulcer, something going on with my esophagus, a hiatal hernia, and possibly something going on with my gall bladder still to be confirmed. So now on to the third specialist. So we make it to the Memorial on June 24, 2017 and then as soon as we are done, I get a message from another good friend that her husband passed away that day. So the third friend in a trilogy of death that occurred in my close circle from April to June. With all of these occurrences in my life happening at the same time, most people would crash and burn. So as a business person and all the other stuff I mentioned I do, how do you keep going you might ask? You just do...this is what most people have to do. We don't get the option to check-out and heal or to check-out and recoup, because we are running businesses and affect other people and the connections we have count on us close and far away.
From a health perspective, there is so much I've focused on since I had my first surgery related to cancer back in 2003, which most people don't know about to the back surgery, to where I am today. I don't treat my health lightly at all. I'm actually a little freaky about it, so if you think I could have changed all that happened to my health during that time, you might be right, but you also might be wrong because sometimes things happen for a reason and lead you to discovery. I didn't get to the specialist until end of July and then of course there were more tests. Everything I mentioned before was confirmed and by August it was determined I need to have my gallbladder removed. In the mean time they were treating my small ulcer. So you think this is now settled no big deal there is a plan to treatment and next steps. Well, in my life, there is no such thing as unplanned activities or events I can just change the schedule to something different as most of them are planned a year in advance or on a regular recurring annual basis. So there were numerous fashion events, film festivals and networking and the WWFF submission still underway.
What most people don't know is that I was operating at under 50% of my normal capacity all the while I was still going to work full-time which is technically 200% of my time with two major companies and managing all the events, while being sick. By September, my blood pressure was being affected, my liver was being compromised, by whole dietary and GI system was taking a tremendous hit and impact due to the significant inflammation my body was going through. So the level 9 and 10 pain I went through for the 35 weeks previously, I couldn't even put a number on this pain I had been experiencing since June. No one knew because I couldn't talk about it at that level. I could hardly talk at all since May to anyone because of everything I had been through. I'm the type of person who doesn't want to burden others, so imagine going day to day in a cocoon sheltering yourself from the world. It's what I did to survive. I couldn't face even the pain I was dealing with and honestly I didn't even realize how bad it was until it was gone.
Remember in August, they said I needed to have the gallbladder removed. I was waiting on a referral, but it didn't happen. I kept following up, following up, and nothing. I ended up having to schedule an appointment to go back in and fortunately the right doctor at the right time saw my need and took action, like I take action. She got me set-up with the right surgeon and then everything began to flow. Magically enough both the specialist and the surgeon ended up being energy workers as well and healers so I couldn't have asked for a better medical team of people to look after me. However that doesn't mean it was easy. September and October took a huge toll on my body and it was pretty close to shutting down and not operating which was scary but I couldn't talk about it still because I didn't want to face the facts.
Everybody kept saying gallbladder surgery is easy and actually when I went in and came out, it was not bad. However the discovery that was revealed three weeks later was enormous and actually explained a lot once the surgeon told me what they found. The gallbladder is only supposed to be about 4 centimeters in diameter, the picture they gave me of mine, it looked like a baby cocoon, which explain why I looked pregnant by October because the gallbladder had grown in size from April to October (7 months gestation if I had been pregnant). Originally the doctor before surgery had said they were not going to send it off for pathology; however, it was clearly obvious by the picture that they did the exact opposite. Guess what, they didn't tell me they were doing that. So I only knew I had an abnormally large gallbladder and it was inflamed and that's what was removed. My healing process and the support system of friends I had during this entire time was more than fabulous, so many stepped up and into my life to be part of it to check-in on me and make sure I was okay and my healing process was so much better than I expected. I'm forever grateful for this system of my people that exists in my life. So three weeks go by from surgery on November 1, I go to the doctor to follow up, and what they tell me, shocks me however also brings me great relief. The reason they sent my gallbladder to pathology is because it was not normal at all. The size concerned them and in their study of it, they found I had a tumor inside that was the entire size of the gallbladder. They didn't event know it was there until after the surgery. Fortunately it was benign so no cancer. They didn't tell me so my healing process would not be stressed by the idea that a tumor had existed which makes sense but at the same time was crazy. It explains everything though about the growth and how I ended up where I was by the time the surgery happened and how all the stress I had and the weird medical issues I had which led me from one doctor to the next doctor or specialist and to all the scans I had from April to August.
Through all this I made it through Jerome Film Festival, all the Phoenix Fashion Week events, Laughlin International Film Festival, the first anniversary of Arizona Apparel Foundation and the WWFF submission process. The last two months of the year were spent healing, still operating at not 100% at still between 60 to 75% with this huge festival coming in February of 2018. And all this time, I'm working and going through life and still dealing with all the responsibilities that an individual has including all the others that are around. I know there were a lot of people I missed events for, I didn't get to spend time with, I didn't have the chance to explain everything that happened. As you can see, this is not even the half of it. Its only a small portion of what really happened entirely.
My team and I made it through the review and submission for the film festival. We worked our asses off in January and February and then magic happened the weekend of February 9 - 11, 2018 as a dream became realized with the launch of the inaugural first Worldwide Women's Film Festival, which ended two weeks ago. The last three months was about healing and the last two weeks have been about recovering from what just happened which was a tremendously good thing. I'm forever grateful for the journey I've been on, I cannot describe the range of emotions that I've gone through. But as I look back on the last twelve months, it was important for me to document and share this as most don't get to see behind the scenes of what happens in our lives as we go through this journey called life. We share tid bits of our reality in a post, in chat, in a message, or a call, but unless your in our life fully, you'll never really know.
I share this because I want people to have hope that you can overcome the burdens you face. You can find people that will be there to support you in times of need. You don't have to be afraid to ask for help. We all have lives that are much more than what you see printed or in social media. That life exists beyond this world of electronics. That there is sadness and pain you will never understand or be able to resolve, but know that there are others that can be there to just hold your hand or to listen and to be there for you even if the problems can't be solved sometimes it's just the solidarity of not being alone but with a community of people that might understand you just a little bit. I have a number of resources I share and am growing constantly to have available for when people are in need. I'm surrounded by helpers and people in the community that want to make a difference. We are here for you and even though we have lives that happen beyond the surface, it doesn't mean we still won't strive to be there for you.
I only ask that you don't judge others if they don't get back to you right away, or they go silent for awhile, or you don't see them at the events they always go to or they miss birthdays, celebrations or get together. As you can see, life happens all the time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you'll never see it all unless you are in other peoples lives that closely. If you think something is amiss or wrong, pick up the phone and call them or be direct and ask. That type of connection is appreciated, even if they can't always talk about what's happening.
I definitely know this is not the traditional post, but I had to share so you would know what can happen behind the scenes. This next year of 2018 and beyond is on fire, my new motto for this year. So we are coming back with fire in our eyes and our belly and we are ready to take the world by storm. Stay connected and be ready for more...
Peace and love always ~ Eva