Beezzzz, Miss Mitty, and Uncle Will

Plodding along through phase 2 of chemo.  Not as bad as the first phase, much better although today is nausea day.  Since I get an infusion every Thursday and this drug is more predictable I pretty much know how I’m going to feel on any given day of the week.  Today is nausea and computer day.

Interesting fact about my chemo. My current drug is Taxol and it comes from the Pacific Northwest Yew.  We have one of these growing up the northeast corner of our house. I’ve always thought of that tree as our protector. A slow grower, it’s 40+ years old and it’s still only about half grown. So I think of my current chemo as a natural drug that is protecting me and ensuring long life.  But ugh.  Tingles in my lips and fingertips, extreme fatique, some nausea but less than before, less hair, but plod plod plod.

I’m currently slowly going through everything I own again. We are getting ready to move on from the home we’ve had almost 40 years. Its a bit overwhelming and one might ask why I’m dealing with this while treating cancer. It helps.  It gives me a bit of structure and I can do it at my own pace.

Miss MItty passed away a couple weeks ago and my favorite Uncle Will passed away last week. I honestly don’t have the heart to write full commentary on Miss Mitty or Will because I get on a crying jag.  But here they are looking all hale and hearty….  I miss them.

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I just finished a bag for a friend. She is a sacred musician and bee priestess.  I had a lot of fun with this bag.  I’ve sent her photos while she waits for the mail. I hope she doesn’t mind me showing you too.

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Poopyness round one

The poopyness has set in. Took all three anti nausea meds plus a pain reliever plus the pill to combat the bone marrow shot plus the mouthwash for the mouth sores I can feel starting. Pilled out fun… ate some toast so far so good. Mostly feel like I have the flu so not completely pathetic. Mostly want to avoid nausea and mouth sores, the rest I can deal with.

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It helps to have the projects going. Little tiny stitches, one stitch at a time. Need to keep the oak from looking gloomy, then red pom is so cheery… little problems.

In addition to the tree of life I’m working on a box design. It is a large heart shaped box. I plan on having a dark burned background and wood showing through, no stain or color.

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I do feel like I can do this. The fact that it’s 8 months long kind of overwhelms me but I can do this. I survived my 10 month pregnancy knowing every day that I was giving my son up, surely I can do this too. One day at a time… I have love surrounding me and that makes all the difference. Butt I may need new sofa cushions after this, there is a big butt print already. Turn and flip turn and flip. Mr. Furnance is really good at thinking of these things. He drives me, hugs me, rubs my feet, makes me laugh with the most sophomoric jokes, we have code words that are always good for a laugh. Mom is there with the food, this is the first day I don’t have an appetite. Chemo itself doesn’t make you loose weight, it’s the nausea or lack of appetite that do it.

We kind of have Valentines every day in some way. We make sure the love is right there… So grateful. Im such a lucky woman. I can be a cranky sick person so we’ve had some moments. He always accepts my apypolylogy.

I tend to leave little blurts on my Facebook wall more than posting here so if you’re curious and aren’t seeing updates here, check out my facebook wall. You will be assimilated.

Blessings all!!!
Love
Cyn

Tree of Life

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The design progresses on the tree of life embroidery. Every stitch a charm for a long and healthy life. I have a gorgeous array of threads, everything from perl cotton, fine wools, and a fine silk wool blend, maybe even some silk. We’ll see how the organic process flows.

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My path gets more thorny and long. While my cancer was downgraded from stage 3 to stage 2, it was classed a very aggressive cancer. They removed “at least” 7 tumors. Three lymph nodes were cancerous and one had burst it’s boundary which is so not good. They got everything however so that is a plus. I found this by self exam. None showed up in a mammogram. The second type of cancer I have did thank goodness. But it was stage 0. The breast tumors didn’t show up in an ultrasound either although one of the lymph tumors did. I tell you this because we are lulled into thinking that mammograms will save us. Most breast cancers are found through self exams. Mine was. My cancer is less than a year old, maybe only 6 months old. If I hadn’t found it when I did it might have been too late for the fairly rosy prognosis it is.

DO YOUR MONTHLY BREAST SELF EXS MY SISTERS!!!!!! NO EXCUSES!!!!!! It can save your life.

Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer they are going after it with everything they have. After determining that my heart will take it, I have 4 rounds of a chemo/hormone therapy three weeks apart. It’s gonna be a doozy. Then if all goes well, I have 12 more chemotherapies, one a week for 3 months. Then 6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week. The hormones wil continue for a full year. Oh. My. God and Goddess.

Work stands behind me so no worries there. I have disability insurance so that’s ok. Mr. Furnace, my love, my rock, I am so grateful for him. My mother is another rock but I so wish that at 85 with her husband in an adult home that she didn’t have to be.

Life is one day at a time. I create this piece as a testament to my journey, as a charm to bring me strength, health, and long life. I’ll post as I can. I don’t want this to be a cancer blog so will try to blend my art with my life but there might be a long bit where I only watch stupid tv because that is all I got.

Think well of me and blessings to us all.

Kryptonite

Breathe.

Sorry gang, I know it’s Christmas but I finally have the gumption to write a post. I’ve been sleeping a lot and just laying really low as I process the last week. It’s been intense. Come back and read later if you don’t want sad news.

Well friends, the jury is in.  Breast cancer that has spread to a lymph node.  The good news about that is that it is non-metastatic.  But boy howdy.

I went in for the biopsy and got a bit of a surprise. They weren’t looking at my big lump at all. There were two areas that looked like they might be DCIS and the lymph node wasn’t looking good.  They had a terrible time getting a sample of the suspected DCIS because my lumpy friend was in the way.  She said it was like trying to get through a brick wall and in 20 years she’d never experienced anything like it.  Evidently I’m a Trooper.  We started laughing about super heroes and she said maybe my lump was kryptonite.

She managed to get a decent sample of the suspected DCIS by coming at it from another angle. Yay? I insisted that I had the stamina for a biopsy of the lymph node. Told them that no way could I go home worrying about it not being tested.

These two procedures are not for the meek or shy.  I won’t go into the details but jeebuz.

So I got the results Friday just as I was leaving work for the long weekend.  The Winter Solstice. *sigh* CANCER.  Big time but survivable. She assured me I would definitely survive this. I don’t even know what the results of the suspected DCIS is yet or what stage etc.  What I know is that in their attempts to scale that brick wall, somehow, they got just enough cells to show that my lump is definitely cancer and it has taken over my axillary lymph node.  Did you know that there are probably a dozen lymph nodes related to each breast?  I didn’t know that so whew, this one is so close it’s considered breast cancer too.

Thursday I go to meet with my surgeon and to get an MRI.  I really hope that they check my left breast with the MRI.  Honestly, she has lumps too. The reason I’m concerned about this is that my big lump didn’t actually show up on my mammogram or ultrasound as anything more than a shadow that they didn’t seem all that concerned about. It’s possible they didn’t tell me but… This FREAKS ME OUT!!! Thank Goddess for the biopsy.

I will be having a double mastectomy and reconstruction.  Don’t know if insurance will pay for my left breast but I’m going to insist that it be done.  There is a 25% chance of cancer showing up in the healthy breast in the five years after treatment.  Not a chance I’m willing to take given the fact that a mammogram might not have shown this. I sure don’t want to go through this twice and hey, I would prefer a matched set you know?

I am facing a couple months of treatment, radiation looks probable and possibly chemo and/or hormones.  We shall see. I’ll know much more after the surgery appointment. I’ll have a date scheduled which will help me prepare.  The doctor assured me that any time in the next month is fine but frankly, I think I’ll scream if I have to wait a whole month. OMG.

Initially I thought I would write about the journey but we shall see.  I don’t know. There are a lot of cancer blogs out there.  But I’ll have to get some of it out of my system so there will probably be sporadic posts.

I’m working on a Tree of Life embroidery piece. I’ve decided I want to create this in honor of my defiance to kryptonite and my insistence on living a long and joyful life.  When I’m not too tired I’ll probably post photos… I won’t be around much but I will survive as soon as this Kryptonite is out of my system.

Mr. Furnace has really stepped up to the plate and I feel very loved and supported right now. He’s been a rock and so sweet and yet so matter of fact about. He’s loving without too much sympathy and no pity, just the right amount. He’s coming over soon to hang a bit, open presents, and drink hot cocoa before we go have dinner with his family.

My boss is just really gobsmacked and has given his unswerving support. I have great disability insurance at work and I’m certain they will be able to hold my job. They were going to hire a new producer in a couple months as we expect to get slammed in the spring. I’m going to suggest that they hire them now to fill in while I’m gone (he might have thought of this over the weekend his own self) and get up to speed and then I’ll be back just about the time they planned on bringing the new one in. That is my hope, that we can time this so that it will work for all concerned.  This would give me some wiggle room.  The Family Medical Leave Act says they have to keep my job if I’m gone up to 12 weeks.  If it takes longer, this plan will make it possible to be gone a little longer and still have a job to come back to. They love me there so I’m not worried but you never know…

As Arnold said in The Terminator, I’ll be back. I wish you the best and thank you so very much for your support and love.

Just in Time for Yule

The new tarot bags are complete and in the Etsy store, ready and waiting for their new homes…

Etsy Shop

Greenman Tarot Bag

Greenman Tarot Bag – Cotton velveteen lined with silk, embellished with faux suede leaves for a lovely 3-D effect. The hand made tassels are beaded with bloodstone and serpentine.

Serpent Tarot Bag

Serpent Tarot Bag – Woolen bag heavily embroidered with perl cotton and bone beads, the silk appliqued serpent crawls towards the velveteen world egg. Lined with linen, the handmade tassels are embellished with serpentine, horn, bone egg-shaped beads.

Spiral Tarot Bag – SOLD

Spiral Tarot Bag – Cotton velveteen bag, lined with silk, is hand embroidered with perl cotton and metallic threads, a silver pentagram bead in the center of the largest spiral. The hand made tassels are beaded with serpentine and quartz crystal.

Stag Tarot Bag

Stag Tarot Bag – the vigorous stag kicks his feet up as he bounds through the crisp autumn air, leaves flying into the air in his wake. Cotton velveteen appliqued with a velvet stag and hand embroidered with perl cotton and glass beads. Lined with linen with hand made tassels embellished with horn, amber, and glass beads.

Pentagram Tarot Bag

Pentagram Tarot Bag – woolen bag appliqued with velveteen leaves and a wool pentagram this bag is beautifully hand embroidered and line with silk. The hand made tassels are beaded with glass and carnelian.

Private Collection

Boline Tarot Bag

Boline Tarot Bag – Silk and wool felt applique, hand embroidered with perl cotton and glass flower beads, a sterling pentagram dangles from the sharp tip of the boline. Bag is lined with silk with hand made tassels beaded with glass and quartz crystal.

Soon Come

The construction phase of pouches is complete.  I just need to create a cord channel and add tassels.  So here is a taste.

The middle pouch on the bottom row is going to knock your socks off.  I’ve cut out tiny oak and birch leaves in 3 colors of suede for a 3-D Greenman you will love. The top two on the left are going into a private collection but the others will be posted in the Etsy shop this weekend.  Sorry for the poor quality image, my camera phone images only look good on the phone…

Waning

The days are noticeably growing shorter and the trees are just gorgeous.  I’m off work this week and have spent the days plodding. Getting some creative things done, some house things done… but all of it plod plod plod…  Going to lunch with mom in a few minutes.  Life is good.

There is much to show you and I’m almost done with the embroidery on the pouches.  I prefer to get a bunch of the embroidery done and then create a production line for putting the pouches together, sewing the seams, adding the lining if there is one, then doing the cords and tassels.  I should have all embroidery completed tonight.  Perhaps I’ll have bags in the etsy shop by next week. I sure hope so, I’m itching to work on some other projects that are crying out to be born.

And speaking of waning I’ve decided not to accept commissions any longer.  The truth is I’ve never really liked them.  It feels like pressure to me.  I prefer to just plod and create and when it is ready it is ready.  Its not that folks don’t have some awesome requests.  They do.  For sure.  But I have a zillion of my own ideas knocking on my door and honestly I’d much rather play with them.  So, from this day forth until I change my mind, which may or may not happen, I will be focusing on my own creative cycle and just let things flow as they need to.  I have a lot on my plate too.  Dad is still in adult care, helping mom with the house, a very demanding job, Mr. Furnace, the gym (oh boy is that working me HARD), and my own creativity.  It is all I can do to carve out time for me and for me that means creating what is in my head.

While you wait to see the new bags, I thought I’d send you some mood music as Samhain approaches… The wheel is noticeably changing this week…. turn turn turn…