This isn't the easiest journal entry for me to write but I think it's important to share both sides of my situation and how it's all part and parcel of who I am, what I do, and why. Much of September and into October has been spent in and out of hospital with my mum who really hasn't been well for a long time. Her most recent stay in hospital was for two weeks and it was the result of a fractured leg in two places from a fall at home. She is now mostly bedbound with limited mobility, especially due to her breathing difficulties, and I have taken on the role as her full-time carer since she came home from hospital. My mum's COPD is a result of a genetic condition which I have also inherited have called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Up until about three months ago, my mum was on the double-lung transplant waiting list and had been for a little over three years, but due to her worsening condition, she is now considered to be going through end stage lung failure and wouldn't survive a transplant, so she has been taken off the list. Along with the deeply upsetting nature of being a carer for a parent in such a situation, there is also the physical burden of caregiving on a daily basis. Recently my own health has hit a bit rocky patch, my calprotectin levels are very elevated and in a week's time I have an appointment for a colonoscopy to assess the damage and inflammation that is present in my large intestine as a result of Crohn's Disease. To call this whole experience exhausting would be an understatement. Thankfully, we have lots of lovely family members and friends who have offered their support and are always there in a heartbeat if we need anything. In addition to support from loved ones, I have been very grateful for all of my support and sales from customers and followers of my work during these difficult times. I don't believe it to be an exaggeration when I say the work I do as a self-employed wildlife artist keeps me sane and to an extent, keeps me going. My online presence and new designs might be a little few and far between while my work needs to fit around my caregiving responsbilities, but every sale means I am being supported in my dreams and aspirations which means so much to me and for that, I just wanted to say a great big T H A N K Y O U.
To express my gratitude, I'll be running an online sale for the entire month of November as we find ourselves getting closer and closer to Christmas... Keep an eye out for the announcement on social media and in your inbox! I'll also be doing a couple of Christmas fairs this year, these can be viewed through my events page. Best wishes, Natalie