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janI've always had health challenges because of genetic conditions.  But in 2003 I contracted West Nile Virus which left me totally disabled.  I had to give up a career that I loved and every day was just about dealing with the pain and the constant challenges caused by the brain damage from encephalitis.  I had always been a left-brain dominant person...I did bookkeeping, was a musician and had been working as a personal trainer and nutritional consultant for many years.  But because I had never really developed my right brain through art, I felt lost when my left brain was severely compromised.  It was similar to having a stroke.

My health continued to deteriorate and in 2008 I was hospitalized with late stage pulmonary hypertension (a constriction of the arteries in the lungs that causes heart failure) as well as cancer. For the next few years I was basically waiting to die.  I was miserable physically and emotionally.  I asked God to give me a reason to want to live, something to look forward to in spite of the pain.

In the spring of 2011 something happened that changed my life.  This is the story of how I became an artist: Art for My Heart

A few months later the Pulmonary Hypertension Association asked me to do a webinar as part of their Creative Expression series.  This is a link to that presentation:

 

 

I hope my story will encourage others with debilitating health issues to consider art therapy as part of their healing journey.

Jan

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