End-Staged Liver Disease
My Donate Life Butterfly image was born in 2012 after I was diagnosed with end-staged liver disease at the age of thirty four. I was shocked to have been told I had cirrhosis. I had mistakenly believed you had to drink heavily and frequently to get it. I’d never been drunk, never had a shot (in retrospect, I kind of wish I had one to have had that life experience), I rarely had a drink at home nor socially, I had only been belly up to a bar a handful of times.
After coming to terms with my diagnosis, learning about my future and starting my journey at the transplant clinic and after I started volunteering with LifeLink, I was compelled to a) live the best life I could and I took up running & biking to make myself as fit and “deserving” of the Gift of Life as I could while I could. I even ran races with an Nasogastric tube up my nose! And B) I drew this image that expresses the sentiment Donate Life in some of the many languages my friends and family speak. I enlisted their help and it’s a true representation of how a successful transplant takes a village. The caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly is a perfect symbol of how the Gift of Life can transform a life of suffering into a full and productive, beautiful life.
You can purchase my Donate Life Butterfly Image merchandise from my store.
Not everything can be warm and fuzzy.
Sometimes they’re warm and squishy... I like how in your face it can be to have a drawing of a anatomical heart on a t-shirt. So much of transplant is raw. But also, this image symbolizes the chaotic EKG wave that, upon dawn, gives way to a steady EKG wave. Out of pain & chaos something beautiful is born. The Gift of Life gives others the opportunity to become whole again and allows them the chance to become active members of their families and society.
You can purchase my Organ Donors Save Lives Acrylic Heart Image merchandise from my store.
Peace * Love * Recycle
The very heart ❤️ of the matter. Where you find peace and love, you can find the will to recycle your organs when they are no longer of use to you. You can pass along the most precious Gift of Life to someone in need, waiting to survive! Again, I use my acrylic anatomical heart for the discussion value. I love when I’m at the Mayo clinic and someone asks me about my shirt. They’re important conversations to have!
You can purchase my Peace * Love * Recycle Acrylic Heart Image merchandise from my store.
Cling to What is Good
From a Bible verse, Romans 12:9 - One must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. With chronic illness, organ transplantation, and a whole lot of waiting, the community must wait patiently and cling to what is good. All the little things become major accomplishments and perspectives change so that what we’re blessed with is a life view on what is truly of importance. Cling to the good things. Your family, your ability to stand, dress, walk, eat, and breathe. There is so much to cling to if we let our minds and hearts see it.
This image was a watercolor image turned digital art.
You can purchase my Cling to What is Good Image merchandise from my store.
The Velveteen Zebra
The Zebra is the symbol of the Ehlers Danlos Society. In med school, doctors are told if you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras. Meaning, think of the more common vs rare. The zebra has been adopted by the rare disease community. Because doctors are told to look for horses when they hear hoofbeats, they often miss rare disease diagnosis. It took doctors 27 years of symptoms to be accurately diagnosed!
To embrace my inner zebra, I did this picture of a zebra with my favorite words from the Velveteen Rabbit: He said "You become, it takes a long time, that's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby, but these things don't matter at all because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." - M Williams
The significance of that passage to me, with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, is that we do break easily and we must be carefully kept. We are especially loose in our joints and can seem shabby. But I still became. I am real. I am not ugly to those who understand what I have been through!
You can purchase my "Velveteen Zebra" merchandise from the Red Bubble store.
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
It’s an age old question... was it really to get to the other side? Or was he forced to due to unforeseen circumstances? He may have suffered from Invisible Illness! He may have seen his true love! He may have had a death wish. We’ll never know, but I love Chickens and I love this image!
You can purchase my Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road Image merchandise from my store.
Be Brave (White d0n8life)
In 2018, I’d felt my bravery sapped out from my soul. It was a combination of being awake during a procedure to place my G/J tube and encounters with really poor, egotistical doctors who make me lose my brave. When I feel my brave slipping away, I spend a lot of time in reflection working to get my mind in the proper brave space to take on the next medical challenge!
You can purchase my Be Brave (White D0n8life) Image merchandise from my store.
Be Brave (Black d0n8life)
You can purchase my Be Brave (Black D0n8life) Image merchandise from my store.
Sharing the Love
This image was created as one to give back. Each month, I’ll chose a charity partner to share a portion of the earnings with.
You can purchase my Share the Love Image merchandise from my store.
Iconic Old German Car
Brian LOVES cars. For my engagement present, he bought me a very rough 1964 VW Beetle. It's still in process of getting restored 20+ years later. I did this initial image and I had to remove it from my shop - I found out it was because I called it a Volkswagen, so it's back up and available for purchase without calling it a VW. Details, details!
You can purchase my "Original Iconic Old German Car" Image merchandise from my store.
Iconic Old German Car - Remixed
I decided to take my original, more rough, Iconic Old German Car image and make some changes to it. Most noticeably the license plate. It's not a huge change, but Brian said we should keep both in the shop.
You can grab Iconic Old German Car - Remixed on Red Bubble.
Warm & Fuzzy Peace, Love, & Recycle
The very heart ❤️ of the matter. Where you find peace and love, you can find the will to recycle your organs when they are no longer of use to you. You can pass along the most precious Gift of Life to someone in need!
You can purchase my Peace, Love, Recycle Image merchandise from my store.
Bee Brave 1
As I mentioned previously, I’ve misplaced my brave in 2018 and in efforts to reflect on that and focus on a ositive way to channel that and tell myself to focus that energy into “Beeing Brave’.
Additionally, I found a new home as a “WeBe” in a organization called HealthBeMe. It has helped me connect with other Zebras (people with my rare disease, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) in our Dazzle Hive, a sort of virtual support group designed to help raise each other up. Fact: a group of Zebras is called a Dazzle! HealthBeMe’s motto is to “Be Orange” and that means to follow their values. Simply put in social media we say 🐝🍊. So the bee images have dual meanings for me. I’m ever so grateful for finding Marissa Barker who introduced me to HealthBeMe!
You can purchase my Bee Brave 1 Image merchandise from my store.
Bee Brave 2
You can purchase my Bee Brave 2 Image merchandise from my store.
Butterfly Words Donate Life
Taking my favorite Donate Life Butterfly Image, I’ve added words like:Live, Gife, Donation, Gift, Life, Organ. The words help to make the image more obvious versus having only the representation of “Donate Life” in various foreign languages.
You can purchase my Butterfly Words Donate Life Image merchandise from my store
Butterfly Words Donate Life 2
Taking my favorite Donate Life Butterfly Image, I’ve added words like: D0n8Life, Donate, Organ, Recycle, Love Life, Give. The words help to make the image more obvious versus having only the representation of “Donate Life” in various foreign languages.
You can purchase my Butterfly Words D0n8life Image merchandise from my store
D0n8life Folk Butterfly with Organs
It’s been a long time since I’ve created something I’m really proud of. Learning new styles and retaining information is a big challenge. But with perseverance I overcame it to design this.
It’s birth coincided with the loss of a beautiful friend of mine, Ana, who underwent a multiviceral transplant tragically to die the day after. She had to wait too long and her health deteriorated too much to get her through. She’s an angel of ours now.
You can purchase full sized image clothing and various miscellaneous items using this link: Donate Life Folk Art Amish Hex Butterfly
You can purchase smaller sized image clothing items using this link: D0n8life Folk Art Amish Hex Butterfly - Small
Brian’s Studebaker Birthday Present
You can purchase Brian’s Studebaker (63 Lark Cruiser) Birthday Present Image merchandise from my store - by request only.
There's nothing but love in the decision to Donate Life. I did a watercolor half wreath and a butterfly with a semicolon as the body to express what is to come after...
You can buy "Donate Love" in the Red Bubble shop!