Category Archives: Awareness Art

Art Created by Survivors to Increase Public Awareness and Prevention

Quilt Raffle ~Ends 5.27.2016

“Threads of Hope” is a collaborative Fabric Art Project[85” x 92” Queen Size Quilt]  Organized by Linda Funsch,Designed and Pieced by The Art For Arachnoiditis Quilt Group of Arachnoiditis Survivors:

Linda Funsch, Grand Blanc, MI

Elisabeth Andersson, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Paula Salum Barber, Lawton, OK

Maria Call, Tucson, AZ

Cheryl Commarato, Colonia, NJ

Pat Griffith, Nevada, MO

Wende Starr, Allen Park, MI

Larisa Bass Stogsdill, Midwest City, OK

Mo Thomas , North Kingstown, RI

And quilted by Linda Funsch

They have generously donated this Quilt to The Art For Arachnoiditis Project YEAR 2 Survivors’ Art Exhibit 2016 Fundraiser as a Raffle Quilt

Tickets will be sold online in The Art For Arachnoiditis Shop at and at SheilaLynnK Art Studio. Threads of Hope will be on display during the Year 2 Exhibit. Opening April 30, 2016 through May 28, 2016 in Wellsville NY.

Proceeds from the raffle will benefit The Art For Arachnoiditis Project

Tickets are $1 each [OR Receive EXTRA tickets when purchasing online=TWO for $1]  For ONLINE purchases: Ticket Numbers will be delivered to you via email. Please allow 24-48 hours minimum for processing. Thank you for your patience. Contact the studio if you have any questions about your order.

If you prefer to purchase your tickets through the mail ($1 each or Six for $5), do so at:     The Art for Arachnoiditis Project at SheilaLynnK Art Studio, 345 South Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895.  Please make checks & money orders payable to: 

SheilaLynnK Art Studio, Memo: The Art for Arachnoiditis Project                                                        (Stickers with your name & phone number for ticket orders of $10.00 or more are greatly appreciated)  The Winning Ticket will be drawn at 4:00pm On Saturday, May 28th during Open Studio Hours at SheilaLynnK Art Studio. Need not be present to win. The Quilt will be available for pick-up or delivery AFTER the YEAR 2 exhibit closes.

TWO for $1


Fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, tax-deductible contributions can be made to

The Art For Arachnoiditis Project via checks made payable to The New York Foundation for the Arts

Memo: The Art For Arachnoiditis Project mailed to SheilaLynnK Art Studio

Or Online at The Art for Arachnoiditis Project ~Events page

Join the Art For Arachnoiditis Project. WE aren’t finished yet.

Our Mission
Our Mission. [The Art for Arachnoiditis Project is a fiscally sponsored project of The New York Foundation for the Arts]
Our first Art Exhibit will feature Art By Spinal Arachnoiditis Survivors. Although the entry deadline has passed for work to be included in this April 2015 exhibit, it is NEVER too late to submit your Survivor Story and/or art to be included in the Art By Surivivors collection here. All entries received after the Feb. 15, 2015 deadline our reserved for consideration in future exhibits.

2014-2015 CATEGORIES: Arachnoiditis Survivor Portrait Project, Arachnoiditis In Real Life (digital photo series), Art By Survivors (see the slide show on right side of our Home page) and Art For Sale By SurvivorsSurvivors’ Stories are still being accepted for use on this website and for consideration in future project publications.  See the 2014-2015 Categories Registration Form for additional details and instructions.

We continue to receive and accept entries for the Album of the Survivors and/or the Map of Survivors.

Map of Spinal Arachnoiditis Survivors Registered at the Art For Arachnoiditis Project (3.17.15)
Map of Spinal Arachnoiditis Survivors Registered at the Art For Arachnoiditis Project (190+ registered as of 3.17.15)

Not sure what kind of art to make? Although you are never under any obligation to share the results, Healing Art Activities are a good way to begin making art. It would be an honor to share your process and outcomes with the world.

We are especially interested in seeing what you make of Healing Art Activity #20.


WE want your empty prescription bottles
WE want your empty orange and white prescription bottles

Do you have a bunch of these and don’t know what to do with them? Want to support the project but not sure how to contribute? Send your empty, clean (ORANGE w/ WHITE LIDS) script bottles to the Art For Arachnoiditis project at Sheilalynnk Art Studio with a slip of paper inside the bottle saying, “I am an Arachnoiditis Survivor” or “End Arachnoiditis Now”(if you do not have arachnoiditis). We will re-purpose them into art. [PLEASE BE SURE TO REMOVE ALL LABELS/NAMES/ID info]  

These bottles will be utilized in the completion of a NEW Arachnoiditis Awareness Art project being assembled at SheilaLynnK Art Studio for display in the NEXT exhibit. [Date, location, and CALL FOR ENTRIES TBA]





Watch the video


Arachnoiditis Art published September 2014

Art For Arachnoiditis Awareness
Cover Art & Essay The Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy Sep 2014

This artwork and story were first licensed to Pain to promote Arachnoiditis Awareness in 2013. Started in 2010 and completed in 2012, the 36″ x 36″ acrylic painting on stretched canvas was featured in the first video of the 2014 AIM|Hatchfund campaign to raise funds for the Arachnoiditis Survivor Portrait Project at SheilaLynnK Art Studio.

TimesSquare6.18.12 ArtTakesTS6.18.12

This painting was also displayed on a Sprint jumbotron digital screen in Times Square as part of the Art Takes Times Square 2012 campaign via Artists Wanted and has been featured in American News Report National Pain Report.September 2013

This last piece in the Facing Phases Series(2009-2012) is dedicated to fellow adhesive arachnoiditis patients and the support networks that keep them going.

The Story: 

Honesty & Hope (a.k.a. No Pain, No Gain)
This painting is a self-portrait of my adaptation to life with arachnoiditis.

I was a healthy, active, productive member of my community. I was a teacher, youth advocate, and artist. I have been a single parent of three amazing children since 1994.

In March 2007, at the age of 37, I had a routine right knee arthroscopy to correct an established work-related injury. During this procedure I was given spinal anesthesia which contained 5% lidocaine, w/dextrose and epinephrine (xylocaine). My knee healed well. In the weeks that followed the procedure my coordination and balance began to deteriorate. I began having excruciating pain in both ears. I could hear everything. I had persistent nausea and developed perpetual positional headaches. These headaches were relieved only when hanging upside down over the side of my bed. I had to lie down on my office floor to continue my work obligations. I managed to do this through the
summer months but eventually was forced to take a medical leave of absence.

The left side of my face and body began to go numb. My left leg would give out unexpectedly. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if my foot was touching the ground. Other times it felt like I was walking on thistles in my bare feet. While sitting at my desk it felt like my leg was laying in a puddle of ice water.

I was diagnosed with gastroparesis of unknown origin. I developed painful muscle spasms in my extremities. Painful spasms around my shoulder blades restricted the range of motion in my arms. At night I would wake up unable to move them at all. I developed persistent pelvic pain, abdominal pain, and constant pain through my left ribcage. By November of 2007, I could not walk from my front door to my car without assistance. Too much time in a vertical position resulted in bowel and bladder dysfunction. The crippling headaches induced vomiting. My legs would not hold me up. I developed sacroiliitis/sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This causes pain and inflammation in the back of the hip joints and pinches the sciatic nerve.

I lost my job. I could no longer maintain my three story house or take care of our beloved epileptic golden retriever, Lily. We could not find anyone else willing to take on that responsibility. She had to be put down. I was physically unable to stop the neighbors rescued Rottweiler from tormenting my daughter on the way home from school when it got loose. I was unable to stop those dogs from killing our cat, Sophie. My children were finishing high school and I missed out on the majority of that process.

Local practitioners were unable to solve the mystery of my symptoms. Finally, in 2010, I received a conclusive diagnosis. The specialist told me that I had spinal adhesive arachnoiditis in the lumbar and thoracic spine. My early symptoms were apparently caused by effects similar to chemical meningitis. The anesthesia used in my procedure was not FDA approved for spinal use. It left significant nerve damage and scarring in the thoracic and lumbar region of my spine. This scarring had obstructed the rotation of cerebrospinal fluid. It was pooling in my lumbar region and thoracic region. It had formed a pseudocyst which was displacing the spinal cord in the thoracic region (in between my shoulder blades). There was not enough fluid around my brain. This had caused significant bilateral trauma to the nerves in my ears. There was scarring in the tip of my spinal cord from a needle that had penetrated the conus. Spinal anesthesia is NOT guided
by fluoroscopy. I was told that there is no cure for this condition. Subsequent diagnostic procedures: spinal tap, epidural blood patch, and radionucleide cisternogram had added to this injury to my spinal nerves, spinal cord, and central nervous system. My body now interprets cold as pain. I was informed that there is no cure for this condition.

The specialist deemed me permanently disabled. Vocational Rehabilation determined that I was unemployable. For the rest of my life I will have to lie down every three hours to control spinal fluid levels. I use an inversion table every day. Opiates do NOT relieve the nerve pain that I experience. My children and I relocated to a much smaller, single story, home about two miles from the pain management clinic. Accommodations learned there permitted me to regain some range of motion and some strength in my lower extremities. Time management has become a crucial part of my adaptation to life with arachnoiditis. Art and horizontal time spent with my infant Grandson healed my heart and mind. Being Honest, every Hope and every Gain is tainted by the knowledge that it will be accompanied by pain, ALWAYS.

I am currently working with vocational rehabilitation to meet my self-employment goals in my live/work studio space.~sheila l. kalkbrenner


Sample Survivor Portrait In Progress

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  We join this project already in progress…


Hanging on to summer as long as I can, such as it is in upstate New York this year, I have been spending as much time as possible outside, away from my computer, as much as I can. 

Although I have not worked on it since May 2014, I have resumed working on it with intentions to complete the drawing by September 1st…in time for the Wellsville Art Association Annual Member Show.   I am not an expert in the use of colored pencils. I am enjoying exploring this media. 

On a more personal note, this image has become a composite of multiple characters and sacred geometry & colors which influence, empower, and reflect me on this journey into the world of arachnoiditis.   I explored this symbolism during the Root:30 Day Journal Project with Lisa Sonora Beam and The Mandala Project from my show Around Now In A Square Time.

The Platypus is a new totem which represents a new dimension of the character of the person I am now.

The Arachnoiditis Survivor Portrait Project has been designed to permit me to make composite drawings of other survivors. Using imagery of traits, characteristics, and interests, these portraits will depict an image of the person NOT the “patient”. When I have accumulated what feels like enough of these drawings, I will host a public exhibition to increase awareness and prevention efforts. The collection will become a portrait of what it means to live with arachnoiditis. Hopefully, this will take place some time in 2015. 

My first interview is with an Arachnoiditis Survivor in South Bend, Indiana. He is also a survivor of the 2012 Fungal Meningitis Outbreak. I am looking forward to meeting him and hope that I can do justice to his story. ~Sheila L. Kalkbrenner 


Logo~Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness and Prevention

Logo~Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness and Prevention

Logo designed for ASAP by Survivor & artist, Nicola Reeves

Additional information and support for Arachnoiditis Survivors can also be found at:


Arachnoiditis USA


Arachnoiditis Foundation, Inc.

The Burton Report on Adhesive Arachnoiditis

Circle of Friends with Arachnoidits (COFWA)

The End Depo-Medrol Now Campaign (EDNC) on Youtube: and Google+ :

Support Groups and chats can be found via Life With Arachnoiditis on Facebook:    and  Private groups on this list: