Diabetes Art Day 2014: Life Sentence

Life Sentence
Life Sentence

The insanely talented Lee Ann Thill, author of The Butter Compartment, T1 warrior, and all around cool individual, created Diabetes Art Day five years ago. (Happy Fifth Anniversary!) If you have a moment today, take a breath and let your feelings about diabetes flow onto a page…or a canvas… or in an image.

Art is soul moving. If I was independently wealthy, I would spend my days wandering galleries over the world, seeking out the rawness and the gentleness of the human condition. Alas, I must reside myself to hitting museums when I’m in a particular city (damn you, San Francisco and your SFMOMA siren sounds…) and taking brief, but deep, inhales as I discover a work online and devour it with my eyes.

Art is freeing. When I paint, my focus is not on what’s going on around me, but in myself and how I feel. Time is suspended as I mix the colors and choose where to place the acrylic. I’m a hack, but at least I find some peace when I immerse myself in the moment.

Art is not always pretty. And here’s where we get to Diabetes Art Day.

My piece this year as a submission is how I feel sometimes about this disease. It’s not uplifting or even representative of the type of art I normally throw onto a canvas. But it’s real. For me. The minute I finished the piece and took the image of it to upload, I felt like I could let something in me… fade. Then I let The Kid rip it up and use markers to create her own work of art. A tiny corner of it remains, pinned to the refrigerator with circles and scribbles on it that makes it look much happier than what I was feeling.

Create your art today, whether it’s for Diabetes Art Day – or for getting out on paper what your heart needs to say. If you need inspiration, view the galleries from the past years of Diabetes Art Day.

If you do make something for Diabetes Art Day, please go to the website and upload it. (You don’t have to put your name on it!) I’d love to see what other people are thinking about…


HAWMC Day 12 – Hi, Art. (Or High Art.)

HAWMC Day 12

If you’re just joining us, I’m participating in a 30 day challenge to get better abs write about my health activism.

This is today’s prompt: What have you learned about being a patient that has surprised you most?


Art FrameThe treatment of the human body is an art, not a science. 

Doctors and medical teams don’t know everything. Neither do we.

Sometimes they misdiagnose. Sometimes we don’t tell them a symptom or a trend that would have prevented the misdiagnosis. Patients can camouflage the real reasons they need assistance or blatantly lie (as in the case of fudging blood sugar logs before the days of memory in monitors…and even today, you can just “forget” to bring the right meter. I’ve done it. I admit it. Why even show up to the appointment, right? I agree.).

It’s an art, the field of medicine. If it was an exact science, they’d never get it wrong. Neither would we.

(I’m not defending those who practice gross malpractice. The ones who overpack waiting rooms because they have to meet quota to achieve their financial objectives or pay for their boat. They  have no business being diagnosticians or having medical licenses.)

I’m talking about those who listen to you. Hear what you’re saying. Hear what you’re NOT saying. Those who take the time to review your lab work, but want to know how you’re really feeling.

These are the true artists. They see the subtle patterns others do not. They look at the whole picture. These are the medical crews who smooth the jagged lines in the graphs of our continuous glucose monitors. Paint over the few high blood sugar days in favor of the good days to get the shadowing right to create a lasting masterpiece. Mold you into a better person.

The subject is the same. It’s me. And you.

It’s all in how the doctors choose to practice their art.

Some doctors are “paint by numbers” and stick figures.

Others follow in Mondrian’s and Reuben’s and Stella’s*  and John Singer Sargent’s** footsteps.

I prefer the masters.


*Do you know who Joseph Stella is? Here is his bio.

Here is his painting called Bridge.

And Coney Island.

And Purissima where I first got see to see his work up close (I touched it. Sorry, High Museum.)

*John Singer Sargent was the first painter who made me weep. I sat in the Tate in London for a long time staring at this painting. I have no idea why it moved me so much. Still does. The Internet fails to do it justice. Put it on your list of “things I must see in person before I die”…