October 1, 2008
I’m sure you are all probably wondering why I am naming my website “tweety bird flies”. At the age of 8 I used to imitate my second grade teacher’s fast twittering eyes. I have big eyes and my mom thought I resembled tweety bird. We would quote his cute little speech impediment voice “I thawt I taw a puddy tat!….I did! I did see a puddy tat!” We still continue to this day talking in “tweety bird” language when no one is around. Our favorite is saying “that’s tewwable!” :o)
This was also the same year I was diagnosed with an illness. We can put that aside for now.
Back to tweety bird.
What does Tweety Bird represent? Is there some deeper meaning to Tweety Bird?
What I know about Tweety Bird:
Can fly but rarely does.
Big round head.
Kept by a grandmother with a dangerous umbrella.
At war with a hungry cat.
Most people don’t even watch Looney Tunes cartoons any more. So what gives? Why does Tweety Bird remain important? Is there a fundamental archetype that Tweety Bird represents?
I have asked myself this and come to the realization that tweety is a clever, witty, and full of ideas with getting away from the big hungry cat. People ask “why doesn’t he just fly away?, it would be so much easier.” Oh come on people! would the show be as good and funny as is? Taking the easy way out is not part of tweety birds plan.
While reading the diaries of Anne Frank last year, I came across this, “We have many reasons to hope for great happiness, but…we have to earn it. And that’s something you can’t do by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working…”
—Anne Frank, July 6, 1944
Welcome to my website everyone! Please note everyone has an impact on my life, I believe you are who you meet even the fictional tweety bird:o) And as far as my illness it is called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). You won’t find me describing my medical journey in one blog entry… plain and simple its boring!!!…It’s so much more than that, it’s the bits and pieces that have made the medical journey sweet and sour and in-between shape who I am today. It’s not something that affects me everyday even though it walks within me because it’s all about mentality. As a friend of mine named Amber puts it “NF is 90 percent mental and 10 percent surgeries”. You are the captain of your souls having NF or not…
Peace and cheese(yes I said cheese),
July 24, 2009
During my first year at RIT I came home for Thanksgiving to enjoy time with friends/family and medical appointments. My MRI scans were good/stable except there was a tumor located in the 3rd ventricle of the brain that grew slightly. Already I started to panic, every time I’m happy something comes along to ruin the moment. So we sat down with the doctor and discussed my options. I asked questions about the location and function
The third ventricle is a narrow, four-sided, irregularly shaped opening in the middle of the brain that provides a pathway for cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is the cushiony fluid that protects the brain and spine from trauma. Basically the tumor was sitting in a fluid sac. My dad made a joke telling my Dr, “lets go fishing” it broke the ice and made me laugh.
*Protects the Brain From Trauma
*Provides Pathway for the Circulation of Cerebrospinal Fluid
I asked my Dr. what would happen if I left the tumor for now. I was in no pain at the moment and felt fine to tell you the truth. He said my vision would start going down. As soon as he said that I noticed my eyes were a bit different lately…I wear my favorite dorky bright blue glasses for distance but I noticed I was straining slightly with them on but it wasn’t too bad at all, I just figured it was from stress with all the work I was doing at school. RIT is ridiculously fast having 3qtrs not the typical 2 semesters like other colleges. It was 11 weeks- the 11th was for testing. So you had to be very on top of things PLUS all the college fiestas made me poooped HAHA. But right then I thought…face deafness AND being blind …no way I can’t. I started shaking uncontrollably and wanted the tumor out before it grew and made things worse. He told me vision would go down because the floor of the third ventricle is formed by the following structures: the optic chiasm. The optic chiasm is an area in the brain where optic nerves (nerves that help us see) cross over. The mammillary bodies are small, round, paired group of cells located in the bottom part of the hypothalamus. I asked about the procedure and what they would be doing/ how long I would need to heal. The tool to be used was a rod lens endoscope coupled with a tracking device for optically guided stereotaxy. I would have a scar on the top of my head, from the incision but all my scars I find badass anyway plus I’m a girl and I have lots of hair on m head :). The surgery would range from 3-5 hours. I had a two-week Winter Break for the holidays/new years two weeks after starting my second qtr session. My doctor said I would need three weeks and would write a medical note and teachers would understand my one-week absence. I was okay with this so far. I asked if my vision could jump back up after the tumor is removed and he said yes it could. I asked what are some effects that could happen besides death with this surgery. (Death is an effect for ANY surgery and I’m used to that). He stated the main risk would be short-term memory loss. He explained it so simple. “if someone asked you to meet them at the store in 30 minutes you would forget” He said it wouldn’t last forever just a short time period after surgery. As time was ticking and would be heading back to college we set the date for surgery on December 16th. I would come home in two weeks instead of the 3rd week which break begins. I told my professors and had a doctor’s note. They were very understanding. I was planning to study abroad in Italy over the summer and became good friends with the only other deaf student in my Italian class, her name was Sofia. So as I was in Italian Level 2 in the second quarter I told Sofia I will see her soon after surgery and will keep in touch with how I’m doing. My brother came to Rochester to pick me up over the weekend. We enjoyed a nice weekend in Rochester. He met a lot of my friends too. We left the day and headed home. Christina my roommate and one of my best friends who has Nf2 as well gave me a hug , a card and a gift bag with cute slippers for the hospital stay. She would be coming to NYC the following weekend during break with her family to spend the weekend before heading back to her home in Texas, so I would see her soon.
The ride home was nice, relaxing. All the trees were covered in ice and as the sun gazed upon them i thought of the snowdrop flowers and their strength (you can read about the snow drop flower in the blog below). I had one free day after my arrival home. It consisted of my pre-surgical set up at the hospital and then my uncles work party at the Chateau Briand at night. I work for him when I’m available in the summers. I had surgery the next morning and wasn’t allowed to eat past 10pm due to the anesthesia so I stuffed my face as soon as I arrived. I left the party and I wasn’t feeling like going home just yet. I can never really sleep before a surgery. I texted one of my best friends, Nick, to see what he was doing. He said to come over so I did. We talked a bit and I gave him my Christmas present early. I remember I was being negative that something was going to happen. I just felt like something wasn’t right. I’m usually positive but I couldn’t help it. I felt rushed into this and it was happening to fast and I knew it wasn’t going to go as easy as explained.
I was right. After the surgery I was very dozed out. I would be awake for minutes and then doze off again and again. The nurse’s would tell my mom, “she’s probably very tired from the anesthesia, don’t worry”. The following day I was doing the same actions. My mom knew something wasn’t right. I was rolled in for a cat scan to see if something was going on inside my head. In the waiting room I had passed out. My mom jumped up, lifted my eyes to find they were rolled backwards. She panicked and ran to the front desk and told the women to call my doctor NOW! They scrammed through their medical address book and called him right away. He was currently in surgery but his nurse ran inside. She rolled me into the CAT scan for a quick picture, came back out with no time to explain and said I needed to go back into the operating room right away. My mom was left standing there in a complete mess. She told me she ran out of NYU and ran across the street crying almost getting hit by a car. My mom never left my side in the hospital .as with any surgery I have had. She slept on a chair for the 10 days I was there. She’s an amazing woman. My mom is my sister and my other half.
After the second time I was omitted into surgery they explained what was wrong. I had a buildup of fluid in my head and they inserted a tube to train it all out. From that point I was in the 3rd dimension. I was forgetting everything but I knew who people were. I was texting all my friends and family things like a five year old. This lasted for two months and as you can see I never made it back to school for the second quarter. My mother was a wreck and all my friends and family were saddened just hoping I would snap out of it soon. The doctors were predicting for it to last up until summer.. There predictions were wrong. I one morning at the end of January woke up and just flicked back on. I know that sounds simple but that’s how it happened. I slowly put my hands on my head and felt my scar. I went downstairs as fast as I could. I never felt so weak in my life. I said, “mom, mom! What the f$%# happened to me?” in tears and she knew I was back. I asked what the date was and I said, “I’m supposed to be in school”. I saw Obama was our new president. I felt like I’ve been gone for so long. It was the most bizarre experience. I have so much respect for the mentally challenged. I was literally trapped inside my head. I looked at my cell phone and saw all the texts. My jaw dropped. I knew there were more texts since I was told I had my phone the whole entire time.
As the days passed I started to get things back in order. I kept apologizing to people after hearing/seeing all the things I would say. But they understood and told me there’s no need to apologize. But then it became funny and I started to loosen up about it all. My dad saved a lot of the texts and showed me. On one text I wrote, “Daddy its so cold up here in my room I feel like an ice cube” HAHA! When I saw Nick he showed me a text he saved. It was a long dying speech and full of I love yous and farewells HAHA. Oh yes and my friend Amber had a saved conversation on aim how I was talking about being on vacation in France! HAHAHA.. Man, I wished people saved everything I would have loved to make a book to reminisce on this experience.
I did a lot of research and came across some eastern mystics…I found this…
The 3rd Ventricle functions as a gateway to other ways of knowing and perceiving our selves and our reality. The concept of higher and lower levels with each level influencing and being informed by all others, thereby creating a nested, interpenetrating holarchy of awareness and understanding is found in most ancient spiritual traditions including the seven chakras of eastern Yogic traditions, the ten Sephirot in Jewish mysticism, the seven Gardens of the Alam-al-mithal of the Sufi tradition, Dante’s levels of purgatory, the three worlds of the Shaman, and the Great Chain of Being recognized in Eastern disciplines. More recently, Wilber’s “Spectrum of Consciousness,” Kohlberg’s developmental levels of ethical behavior, and Beck’s “Spiral Dynamics” introduced modern versions of the Great Chain of Being. All these different spectrums of awareness and understanding come together in the teachings of the “True Heart.”
The meditations of the “True Heart” help each person visit these vastly different and more rarefied levels of consciousness. We return from these hidden, invisible dimensions with ever-greater awareness. Indeed, the 3rd Ventricle serves as a gateway into the deepest levels of human knowing and understanding. When one opens their “True Heart” they discover how to co-create with soul and Universe. It is ever so!
That is exactly what I felt. Even though it was bizarre it came to the realization of myself. I stopped doing art when I came to RIT and when I realized I did so I started crying on how much I missed it. I am now back in it and storming away at projects. I just wanted to see if I would be interested in something else but I wasn’t happy at all. I remember sitting in the classes, writing papers and reading. I just feel good when I’m being creative and making works of art. Also the people I truly cherish in my life I would text. I now have a better awareness of what really matters to me, my “true heart”. Here is a painting I did a few days ago. I call it, “Inside the Temple of my Soul”. I name it this because of the ideas of both Eastern and Western science that perceive the 3rd ventricle as the temple of the soul, a role in reaching enlightened states of awareness, thereby enabling each of us to become a more fully human and conscious being.
I started back at RIT in March 8th for the 3rd qtr. With my new art schedule after sitting with my fabulous counselor. Laughs continued with friends about my text messages. They helped me get by. I was very nervous… I felt like I was still forgetting and I was still pretty weak. I did however manage to get a 4.0 GPA for the qtr in my new set of art classes! I was back on track and happy as ever. My vision was back to what it was as well. Being back in school helped me get better faster. Christina graduated with her BS Degree in Interior Design but she will still be living in Rochester next fall to start work, which makes me super happy. I did have one disappointment. I was no longer going to Italy that I had my heart set on. Sofia cried but I told her she will have an amazing time and it’s the perfect way to end her schooling credits. I gave her a hug; a card and we parted ways at the end of the qtr. We will always keep in touch!
December 16, 2008
I have a tattoo of the Snowdrop flower located on my right ankle. I fell in love with the flower when i learned about it and did lots of reading,drew up a sketch so it would be my own drawing and got it done. Here are a few words about this flower…
The Snowdrop symbolizes the beginning of something new.
It can help us to overcome situations that seem hopeless and to finish hopelessness.
In new parts of our life the Snowdrop can fill us with new confidence.
The snowdrop is the first flower of the year, that shows its nice flowers.
Often the blossoming of the snowdrop is a sign, that the winter is transforming to springtime.
Therefore the snowdrop symbolizes hope, the hope that this winter will finish too, that new warmth will enter our lives.
The snowdrop is able to melt the snow in its surroundings because it has its own heat. The hope for new warmth is fullfilled by the snowdrop not only by the date when it starts blossoming but also by the heat it produces.
Even when it can stand the strong coldness of the winters end the snowdrop seems innocent who it stands on the ground with its fragile white blossoms. It looks like it’s playing there like funny little bells.
Here is a children’s short story which I thought was cute…
The Snow Drop
By Hans Christian Andersen (Adapted)
The snow lay deep, for it was winter time. The winter winds blew cold, but there was one house where all was snug and warm. And in the house lay a little flower – in its bulb it lay, under the earth and the snow.
One day the rain fell and it trickled through the ice and snow down into the ground. And presently a sunbeam, pointed and slender, pierced down through the earth, and tapped on the bulb.
“Come in,” said the flower.
“I can’t do that,” said the sunbeam – “I’m not strong enough to lift the latch. I shall be stronger when springtime comes.”
“When will it be spring?” asked the flower of every little sunbeam that rapped on its door. But for a long time it was winter. The ground was still covered with snow, and every night there was ice in the water. The flower grew quite tired of waiting.
“How long it is!” it said. “I feel quite cramped. I must stretch myself and rise up a little. I must lift the latch, and look out, and say ‘good morning’ to the spring.”
So the flower pushed and pushed. The walls were softened by the rain and warmed by the little sunbeams, so the flower shot up from under the snow, with a pale green bud on its stalk and some long narrow leaves on either side. It was biting cold.
“You are a little too early,” said the wind and the weather – but every sunbeam sang, “Welcome,” and the flower raised its head from the snow and unfolded itself – pure and white, and decked with green stripes.
It was weather to freeze it to pieces – such a delicate little flower, but it was stronger than any one knew. It stood in its white dress in the white snow, bowing its head when the snowflakes fell, and raising it again to smile at the sunbeams, and every day it grew sweeter.
“Oh!” shouted the children, as they ran into the garden, “see the snowdrop! There it stands so pretty, so beautiful – the first, the only one!”
December 10, 2008
I love this song, it was from the Lord of the Rings – by Annie Lennox. Here are the lyrics. What an amazing story and tale of such wisdom and imagination…. J.R.R Tolkien , what a guy…….This song was in the 3rd installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy when frodo’s journey was coming to an end and was going to a place called heaven but he let his friends know they will see him again soon. He had been succumbed by evil of holding the ring but had been on a incredible journey and became a legend because it was far too different than the life he should have lived, “the normal hobbit life”, But destiny chose him to save the world….and he did. He wanted to go to a place where he can have another chance to be fully happy again.
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You have come to journey’s end
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across a distant shore
Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You’re only sleeping
What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn
A light on the water
All souls pass
Until the world of night
Through shadows’ falling
Out of memory and time
We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you’ll be here in my arms
What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West
I found a video in Sign Language for both hearing and Deaf to enjoy. It brings tears every time i watch it. She signs so beautiful.
December 4, 2008
Back in 2005, I, Krissy Diaz graduated from high school! whoo hoo! Lets celebrate, but wait you need another operation first. ”This time”, my doctor said, “your hearing will be gone”. I took a deep breath and knew I would manage this. I have been learning ASL privately in 12th grade every morning to prepare myself for the road ahead. I enjoyed my summer for a month and in July I was ready to undergo surgery. No, wait I take that back, who could be ready for something like losing one of your senses forever? I put my health first mentally and realized the tumor was large and I would eventually die from this as it kept growing. “Death or Deaf?” Headaches were starting to occur and that’s not something I want to live with.
After my operation in July 2005, I started college at Nassau Community College. Hold on, did you want to know what it was like after surgery? Painful, sucky, depressing, ect. Yeah who wants to hear those things? So I can get your sympathetic support? Nah, Anyway, Instead of sitting home depressed, alone and clueless on deaf life that could maybe be good for me I was ready for college! I remember meeting my counselor who works with students who have hearing losses and for students with disabilities for the first time to set up my schedule. She was amazing. She signed perfectly and spoke at the same time. I thought “this can’t be so bad”. I was nervous and said “I can’t do this, I don’t have ANY experience with interpreters” ”Oh don’t be silly”, she said “you can do this” . I did it well. I put on my brave face and before you know it I was the star of every class. Heads turned in every class at “the deaf girl”. I felt like a hot foreign exchange student haha!:) I learned so much in my two years at NCC. Thank you Sharon Grossman, for pushing me because you believed in me.
Well back to Florida, after almost completing my first year at NCC, I signed up for the NF2 gathering in Florida. The NF2 support email group hosts gatherings across the states and i figured why not? I knew one of the girls going, Amber Duby. What a great girl! my official first friend with NF2 I met online on the NF2 support group. We are still always there for each other and share so many laughs. I am glad to have met her, she is more positive and influential than anyone I have ever met. There was another girl attending named Jessica Stone. All three of us tried to get other girls to come but in the end it was just us three. We messaged back and forth. Jess made tank tops for us that had our names on the back. What a cute idea! I was so excited to meet her. When we all met we had a great time. I bonded with Jessica as if I knew her forever. Constant laughing, joking, relating and sharing stories. I remember Amber saying we were too giddy for her. We would laugh at the stupidest things like “Asian foot rubs”, It was the most I have laughed after undergoing such a painful time in my youth, undergoing surgery that no one wants to face at such an age of prosperity…she wasn’t at that stage yet but I had hoped I showed her it will all be OK. When Florida was over we all parted ways. I already knew amber so I knew we were still friends. Jessica was an uncertainty. “I hope we still talk”, I thought. ”I hope she doesn’t think I’m a weirdo” ;). We haven’t stopped talking since. In fact we became the best of friends, more like sisters as she puts it. Over the 3 years we have known each other there is good times and bad but there is no regrets. It’s only this. Wherever we end up and the people we meet, there will always be a special place in my heart that will never be replaced. I believe in fate. Dorky me have even made a movie poster in my graphic design class of a movie about us. I want you all to know this…even in the most horrible circumstances there is always something you gain…for me, it was a sister. Life is sweet even when your going through something sour. I wouldn’t have met such amazing people if it weren’t for having this sickness. Yea that sounds strange but I believe things happen for a reason, no one said the “things” need to be all good things. The world is a much smaller place than you could ever think. It makes you finally realize what you are going through is something that other people are going through too. it makes the ride so much better not thinking you are the only one. It makes your desire to succeed so much stronger. It makes everything better and worthwhile.
November 15, 2008
A few months ago I saw a post on a deaf group on facebook about a young women needing some answers to questions about being deaf. I responded and said I would love to answer.Turns out I helped her a lot with her inspiration to make an animation on deaf and body language. I’m flying home to long island, I am at the airport typing on my blackberry as I write.. Looking forward to seeing andreas studio and work in manhattan. Her website is amazing and she’s a talented artist. Please check out andrealira.com
I finally had a chance to meet Andrea during my thanksgiving break in her manhattan apartment on the upper east side. It was the best time! she showed me her work and we went over some sign language. I so want to have an apartment in NYC when I’m finished with college. We had thai food for lunch and just talked about life. We are on the same thinking level.. it was destiny we met! Looking forward to helping more with her work and seeing her film come to life in the few months ahead.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your art, it makes my day brighter when I help someone.: and hey you even gain a new friend out of it:)
check out Andrea’s website http://andrealira.com/ and under videos make sure you check out “open language” based in silence and hand movements that we worked together on
November 14, 2008
My mother runs a day care service at our home. It gets crazy at times and the kids or “animals” are crazy, loud and winy. Yet there are some that are so cute that you can’t resist having them around. One summer my mom got a call about a family in need of a babysitter. They were three girls. Kristin was the eldest, Julie was the middle child and Jackie was the youngest. They were a mess. But I was such a bitch I admit that I wouldn’t talk to them that much or would snicker with a laugh behind their back with some girl I don’t even talk to anymore, figures. My brother who made fun of all the kids mostly influenced me. John if you are reading this you were a jackass! ☺ The nickname my brother made for Kristin was “bugs bunny” and the middle sister, Julie, had the puffiest hair you can imagine and we called her a “puff head”. It was pretty mean but really didn’t last too long. I got to know Kristin more and more and we became best friends, a sister I never had, really.. As things progressed with my medical life, I transformed into a strong, wise and non-judgmental person. I got to know them more and more and acted like an old sisters towards them. My mom became a second mom to them as well. There was some family troubles growing up and we were by their side throughout everything. Kristin please forgive me for bugs bunny, but you will always be my bugs bunny. I hope you can see that you are a big influence in my life. You are the other Looney Tunes character, but instead of starting my medical life you started my life of the person I want to be. Thanks for sticking by my side through everything.
Love ya always homie, Sisters fo’ life!
November 11, 2008
So my mom got Tweety Bird down, but my dad would always call me something else. He called me Pocahontas. I had long nearly black hair and tan skin. One day when my hair was in pig tails braided my dad had said “hey Pochontas” and the nickname remained.
Some things I have come to love about Pocahontas…
She was a Native American women born into the Powhatans tribe. Pocahontas was a princess. Pocahontas’s name means “mischievous one” or “playful”. She was born around 1596 near Jamestown, Virginia and died in March 1617 in Gravesend, Kent, England. Her life was incredibly short (twenty-two years), but she did some amazing things. Her strength, bravery, courage, determination, charisma, and perseverance live on.
Pocahontas’s main objective in life was to stop the fighting between the Native Americans and the English colonists. All of these traits were crucial to saving John Smith ,the captain of the English from being executed and succeeded.
She put a lot of effort and time into uniting the Powhatans and the colonists. It is sad to think that once she died, all of that went away and the fighting went on as though it had never stopped. Whether or not it was her dream, she sure did make a difference.
Courage was a key element to uniting the Powhatans and the colonists. She was not afraid in captivity because she was already familiar with—and friends with—the colonists. Since she was nearly fearless, she always stood up for what she believed in, no matter how dangerous the consequences were.
What a an icon and amazing women. I am always interested in Native American Stories. Pocahontas was fierce, beautiful, accepting to earths surroundings and determined. Thank you for seeing that in me dad! POW WOW!
“What I love most about rivers is you can’t step in the same river twice, The water’s always changing, always flowing”-Pocahontas