Saturday, 26 December 2009

Just stopping in to wish everyone that's passing by a very Cool Yule and a really great New Year xxx

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Things to be glad about ...

In true Pollyanna style I have many things to be glad about. The main one being that I now have the time to embark on my more creative hobbies ... yay, I knew there would be a plus side to chemo.

Numero Uno (1)

Through a very talented lady called Becky Hilgendorf, I have been introduced to SuziBlu's folk art workshops and I've just signed up to one called Petit Dolls. A kind of folksy art based mixed media thingamejig. It starts in January but I can't wait to get started. Update, Suzi's uploaded the videos early so we can get started. I begun to play last night (19th Dec) and I'm absolutely loving it.

Doss (s)

Yeah I know that probably isn't how the Spanish spell it but I am no doubt good at dossing and wasting time musing over muses and stuff like that. I'm gonna come back to No 2 - I'm sure there is one but for now I'm just glad to have enrolled on the art course.

What've I been creating lately? ummm these

and this ... for a UKS Challenge ...

OK it's time to bring things up-to-date I guess.

I had a mastectomy done on the 21st September and I was in hospital for 4 days. The operation itself took about 3 hours I think (I know it was dusk when I came round). My hospital stay wasn't too bad, I had my own room but that was because my surgeon uses a heat wrap around the body which helps with the healing so the room has to be temperature controlled. It was so nice to have my own space though.

I had drains in my breast for about 2 days and when they took those out there was just a light dressing. I did have a quick look at my breast on the day I left the hospital but it was a quick glance. It was about two weeks before I actually looked at it properly. I was shocked at just how much they'd taken away (and I'm small breasted). Strangely (perhaps) I didn't really get upset - I accepted it had gone quite easily.

Bringing things up-to-date now, I've just had my first chemotherapy session on 4th December. That was the most upsetting thing of all because my surgeon initially thought I may not need chemo. I was terribly upset when the oncologist said that I would need it. I had it delayed a few times due to a chest infection - maybe that was me trying to delay the inevitable. The first one went well, no nausea or sickness. I'm using the cold cap to try and keep my hair but this morning a lot more than normal came out. I've also begun to get acid indigestion really badly and last night I was doubled up in pain and sick with it. My next chemo session isn't due until 29th December so at least I'll be able to have a nice Christmas without worrying too much.

I am beginning to accept that I may lose my hair I think. That's been the worst bit to come to terms with so far. There's no guarantee that the cold cap will work and if I start to thin noticably then I guess I'm going to have to have my head shaved. It's so hard to accept now that my hair has grown down to my waist. Stupid really, you'd think I'd be worrying about the bigger picture. Forgive my indulgence but I had to record this time when I have my long hair, my only saving grace. One day it may be all I have. I can't dwell on it but I just want to record it. Oh yeah, and you can see softie boobs actually don't look so bad :-) Can you tell which one I've had off?

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Things that have been keeping me occupied this week. A little encaustic work :)

Another long week

Well went along to the hospital last Monday and they've diagnosed breast cancer. It was still a shock even though I'd prepared myself for it. I freaked out a little bit when I thought they'd suggested it had spread - I hope I've got that wrong. They couldn't really tell me much until they've got the results from the second set of biopsies they took last Monday on the breast tissue lump. Apparently they will have the full picture tomorrow. My appointment is at 9am.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Waiting for the diagnosis

Well, here's something I really didn't see myself writing about. I'm quite a lumpy boobed person and I try to examine myself before each monthly period. However, one morning, about 3 weeks ago, in the shower, I felt a lump on the upper side of my right breast - if felt different, small, hard - as though it shouldn't be there. A day or so later I decided to visit the doctor as it was playing on my mind. The doctor asked me to return a week after my period, which I did. The lump was still there and he referred me straight away to the Primrose Clinic at Derriford our local breastcare centre. I only had to wait a week for the appointment, which was last Monday.

At the clinic I had the usual visual checks and the specialist felt around and marked the area of the lump. I had a mammogram done on both breasts. The specialist saw me again and said that they were going to do an ultrasound and possibly some other tests. I went for the ultrasound and the gentleman who did the ultrasound mentioned the lump that I'd found was in the lymph, but there was a second lump in the main breast tissue. He decided to do a biopsy on the lymph lump and said that they may decide to do biopsies on the other lump on the same day. The fact that they found a second lump made me begin to worry - I hadn't felt that one at all. I went back to the waiting room as I was to see the specialist again. I was OK, reading my book, trying to take my mind off it but I began to overhear other women talking about their experiences and to be honest I couldn't zone out of their conversations - it was like a morbid curiosity scenario - anyway needless to say it began to scare me. I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I couldn't hold them back. I was trying to pull myself together when a nurse walked through and saw that I was upset so she kindly took me into the examination room and let me sit by the window to get some air. She went off to see if she could get the specialist to talk to me. A few minutes later the specialist was there with a cancer care nurse that I hadn't met before. The specialist asked me how I was feeling and all I could manage was "scared!" at that point she explained to me that they were concerned, but that whatever it was, it was treatable. She said she thought I'd been through enough that day and that they would hold off the other biopsies until next Monday when I was to go back for my results on the first set. The specialist asked if I had any questions and I said at that point I was so shocked about the second lump they'd found, I didn't know what to ask. They were very understanding and very nice. The specialist then left me with the cancer care nurse who told me that I could call her and talk to her about any concerns or worries during this week. Kindly they let me out the back way as I work very close - less than a minute's walk away. I went back to work and just collapsed into tears again. It is hard to explain all the thoughts that were going through my head at that point - I was hanging on to the fact it was treatable but at the same time I was thinking things like "I can't even tie a bandana!" stupid huh? Obviously I didn't stay at work I went home, I was a mess. I spent the afternoon talking to people on line, people who'd survived breast cancer sharing experiences and I think it's the best think I could have done. Slowly I begun to realise that there was hope, that it may not BE breast cancer to start with and, even if it was, I am not powerless, I can make choices for myself in certain areas and that I can get through it. It amazed me just how many women wanted to show solidarity - how many women wanted to say "I'll be there for you!" it was incredibly heart warming. Some people I know would keep this to themselves, wait for the diagnosis and live this week in turmoil. I honestly feel that talking to people from the outset was the right thing for me. They've really helped me to get this far without panicing myself too much. So, if you're reading this ladies - from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU.

This week I've been busying myself creating some ATCs and other artwork. I've been thinking that I want to record this time, in full, so that should one of my friends ever experience anything like this, I will be able to offer some consolation at, what I know to be, a very scary time.

The two ATCs below aren't perfect art - they're quick sketches that record how I was feeling last night. I didn't want to dwell on them too much I just wanted to record what was in my mind. Whoever reads this I want them to know that although they look negative I'm actually feeling OK. These are just recording the random thoughts that stray through your mind at a time like this :) Don't be afraid. You have to be strong.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

More Art Journaling News and Pics

Things are going pretty well, I've created a few more pages (which I'm not entirely happy with) but hey, I'm a beginning at this game :)

Here's the inchie page I created - it all seemed a bit odd to me. I couldn't really see the point but in for a penny in for a pound :)

I also completed a page where we were asked to cut out interesting shapes of people from magazines, paint over them (leaving the shape) and then add various elements such as written lists, paints, etc etc. We were supposed to drip and splatter paint but I decided to use finger painting (like a kid) and dropped glitter glue all over it :) I don't like this page, it just looks like a mess to me but at least I had a go :)

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Now a bit more about what I've been up to

hehe ... I'm getting the hang of this blogging lark now. Hosting a felt embellie swap on UKS and I've signed up to make strawberries and hearts. Last night I made the strawberries and had a lot of fun doing it ... here you go :)

Soul Armour

Well, so far so good. I'm actually enjoying art journaling (and blogging) more than I thought I might. It feels a bit self indulgent to be honest but at the same time therapeutic. Anyway, here's my soul armour for the Soul Journaling I'm undertaking. I loved messing around with the H2O paints and I'm quite happy with the end result. I wasn't sure about using armour - I would have felt more comfortable had the suit been soft ... preferably with wings, lol. Not sure if the armour is to keep me in or to keep the world out, but the idea was to write down all the things I need to sustain me and get me through the bad times in life. I hope I've achieved that.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Ahhh ... finally

Thanks to some lovely peeps on UKS I now feel inspired to give this blogging a go. I've also discovered an interest in art journalling which I've started this weekend. There are two artjournalling blogs I feel inspired by at the moment, the one by Emily on her blog Life is Beautiful which asks 52 questions to prompt journalling and also, the one that I've decided to have a go at first (as it has step-by-step instruction) Soul Journalling which is here.

I've had a go at the first day's work - covering blank pages with ... erm other ripped out pages. Should have been from a book - but I just couldn't bring myself to rip up a book. I guess that comes from being brought up to respect such things. Felt a little annoyed with myself that I couldn't bring myself to do it and be more 'free'. After pasting in these pages the next step was to write using the prompt "Today I feel ..." thought I would find that difficult but was quite surprised at the stuff that came out. My journalling included things like ...

"Today I feel ...

annoyed with myself for being so precious about books

annoyed with myself for sitting inside doing this when it's sunny outside (but I still feel the need)

undecided about what I'm hoping to get from this

slightly stupid, childish and self indulgent for doing this ... is that a good thing?

slightly out of control

I feel I need something new and exciting

I want a different life

I feel I should find something to be glad about .... Joe :-) (he's my partner by the way).

and I finished by asking myself ... Is that it for now?"

Feels oddly liberating. Feels like I've made some room in my brain for other stuff to come in if that makes any sense. Yeah ... feeling quite good so far :)