Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flashed my boobs today. Where's my beads?

No art today.  Was kind of busy so I won't beat myself up about it this time. Went to have second opinion for chemo treatments today and well... now although I feel more educated, I also feel more confused.  First oncologist recommends AC+T, this one recommends TCH.... pro's and con's to both.  Does one get third opinion now? The Adriomyacin (spelling), or the "A" can cause more heart damage long term according to the second doctor... etc, etc.  Not to mention this doctor seemed somewhat alarmed I had opted for a double mastectomy, instead of another lumpectomy, but I must learn that every doctor will have different opinions no matter what.  I personally feel comfortable with my decision but it should not be without a lot of education, thought and weighing of options.  Lot's of research to do still, but I am still glad I got more than one opinion.

Also went to a wonderful support group tonight, and that has it's pro's and con's as well.  It made me feel a little sad, but I will definitely stick with it because it is very helpful and you learn a lot from others at different stages of what you are going through.  One very lovely young girl about to get married, worried her wedding dress may not fit right - having surgery in a few days - she was very happy to see my new half-done breasts, with temporary implants ("expanders") in them, don't look as horrible as she thought they would.  I got quite a few compliments actually, and I don't even have nipples... so this is very encouraging for all involved.  I'll show them again if it helps someone else feel better.  Although I never thought I'd be flashing a bunch of women in a rest room - ok maybe i did it once when i was really drunk, who knows, but very different reaction.   (-:

In summary second opinion - good to do.  Support group - very good depending on your personality and state of mind - flashing boobs is optional, and best when for a good cause.

love, e

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Forgot to call my Aunt..

Happy Birthday Auntie Di!  Miss You!

Unfinished Art... no...Happiness in Progress...

Picked up a few unfinished, i mean in-progress canvases this week and finally just let them become what they would.  Nothing totally finished yet, but definitely making progress.  For this particular piece, I am given away by the sunshine and greenery in the photo, since here in Connecticut we are now well covered by months of dirty snow.  Still working on it.

It's never easy getting myself started though - as in getting the water in the bowl and the paint on the brush.  It's as if I need to become accountable for "showing up" to my studio, as if it were one of my jobs.  I mean, I have never just not shown up for work - yuck - cubicles, deadlines, dress pants, rules... why was I so good at showing up for these drudgeries?  Why, when all I have is time right now, when I know how happy it makes me feel, when I can wear whatever I want all day, do I find it so hard some days to show up to my studio??? - it's next to my kitchen for heaven's sake, it is the sunniest room in the house and it is filled with all my favorite colors and my most precious things.  My therapist might say I am afraid to succeed or something along those lines...

Anyway, I made some progress by actually showing up this week and man... did I feel HAPPY when I was in there!  Breast cancer?  What breast cancer?  I can tell you that when I'm in that place, I forget about everything difficult, negative and painful, and I only feel happy, alive, and free.  Creating heals me.  As does dancing.  As does my cat.   Everyone needs something like that in there life, whether it's painting or fly fishing... I hope you all find that thing that heals you. 

I plan to actually finish a few pieces soon, which will require me to somehow find the balance of treating it like a job without compromising the joy I feel as it's happening.  It will require me to "show up".

Love, e

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recovering on couch with Stewie today

Trying to make good use of my down time... sketching a little & learning how to edit photos.  I am TERRIBLE at anything technical.  It took me days just to figure out how to set up a blog, nevermind add or edit pics.  You tube and Etsy have lots of tutorials and links to free photo editing software.  One can't really blog or have an Etsy shop, facebook, etc.  without knowing how to edit and manage photos.  Hopefully I will improve if I don't give up first. 

Originally this blog was intended to share my love of art and dance, and reach out to others like me who just have a hard time getting inspired and not procrastinating in pursuit of their dreams.  Since my life has changed so much in the past few months, I may have a hard time separating this subject matter from the life I live now with breast cancer.  So some days I may talk about artsy stuff, other days I may talk more about the cancer, other days both since it is now all a part of who I am. Since I'm on the couch today in a druggy fog, I will probably mostly talk about my breast cancer.  Read on, only if you care to...

In Feb 09, found lumps.  Doctors weren't worried because semi-quote, "you're too young and your boobs are too small to have breast cancer.  Try having less caffiene."  I had to push to get more tests, and after a few painful test procedures by October found out I had stage II breast cancer.  First surgery, lumpectomy & removed 14 lymph nodes in my right arm.  Did not get all the cancer, so beginning of December had double mastectomy and they put in these temporary expanders which they inject every few weeks until my skin stretches to the size I want. (cool, huh?) They are very hard and weird and I don't have nipples anymore, but after my chemo they will give me permanent implants, they'll tattoo me some new nips and I will be perky forever.  The surgery I had yesterday was supposedly just one more precautionary removal of skin that was close to the cancer.  The first two surgeries I had to have these horrible fluid drains hanging out of holes in  my sides, but this one I didn't so I am sooo happy about that.   And yes, all of this sucks, but seriously if I (queen of the pain wimps) can get through all this, I know anyone can.  Many days I just want to crawl out of my skin, but there are lots of great days.  If I can say one more thing about this for today is that if any doctor tells you that you have DENSE BREASTS, PLEEEEZE don't stop at the mammogram.  My first doctor told me I was fine because the mammogram didn't show anything - however most doctors should know by now that a mammogram can be useless for those with dense breasts (mine apparently didn't have a clue).  If I had gone by what that doctor said, I may not have lived to see my next birthday (not to mention finish all my unfinished art!).  Please check out the website for more education on this, as I am not an expert.  You are your best advocate for your own health, and there are many wonderful people out there who will help and support you.

I know I don't have any followers at this time, but I hope someday I can inspire at least one person to not only use creativity as part of your healing process (for whatever might ail you), but also to encourage women to think about getting checked (wayyyyy before you are 50, unlike what some people on tv say).  INSIST on an ultrasound, or at least do more research if you have dense breasts!

Ok, enough about that for now.  I am going to indulge in my favorite HGTV show Color Splash. (Hi David and Danielle... love you!)

Love, e

Sunday, January 3, 2010

nope. still no art. but lots of ORGANIZING!

Wow. A wonderful long snowy weekend and i still didn't do any art or do any dancing. My own loss. However, I did do LOTS of organizing! I LOVE to organize stuff, and throw away (recycle, give away...) stuff. My cat, Stewie also loves to organize ...that is him helping me (you may be able to just make out his 2 buggy eyes). My husband on the the other hand, does not love to organize, because it usually means he needs to build shelves or move heavy objects. I have convinced myself that a clean, serene environment is sure to inspire me. But who am I really kidding - I am well aware of the procrastination element. There is ALWAYS crap I can organize, and therefore procrastinate, and therefore 3rd day of 2010... still no art, still no dancing.

Well, I have some surgery tomorrow so I have to get in my last snack in before midnight. Third one in since November (surgery, not snack). The last one was a double mastectomy... this one just a little precautionary clean up job, so I guess no big deal.

I hope I am not the only one with this problem getting my art done. Maybe they'll give me some new drugs tomorrow that will inspire me. See you when I "come to".

Today was a good day.  Love, e.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I was supposed to do art today...

I love to make things. Pretty things. Colorful things. Things that make me feel happy. Why do I avoid my studio, my paints, my passions? I love to dance. Belly Dance. Hula Dance. Dance that makes me feel happy. Again, why do avoid my yoga mat, my music and my hip scarves?
I was supposed to do art today. I was supposed to dance today. The first day of 2010. (HAPPY NEW YEAR!) I have two and a half more hours to make these things happen. If it doesn't, I will not beat myself up. If it does, I'm sure I will feel happiness that I otherwise would not have. Either way, this is the year I plan to get my ass in my studio and make stuff happen. I am dealing with some crap that I'm not sure I can handle, but aren't we all. I hope I will find my way, somehow, and I know it must come from inside me. I know dancing, and doing art will help heal me. Nobody else will make it happen for me. I hope someone else will be able to relate, and join me in having a successful, healthy, happy, life-changing year.

Things that I DID accomplish today, and that DID make me happy:
  • I wrote my first blog post ever (forgive my amateur ways. child of the 80's. ms. pac man is my idea of high tech).
  • My husband made me some delicious coffee and quesadillas and we watched a very strange movie together.
  • My cat and I cuddled in my new pink Snuggie (yes, i have one but it was a gift. love it.)
  • I maneuvered some money and paid off half my credit card debt. (25.99% interest? i don't think so).
  • Talked to my Auntie in Florida.
My husband just called me for dinner, so I will wrap things up here. I'm sure whatever he made will be delicious, but rarely healthy. (he cooks. i clean. it works).

I'll let you all know if I make it into the studio this weekend. right now my boobs hurt. we can talk about that later.

wow... and husband just brought me dinner. holy crap. fish and spinach. seriously, it's usually always something very yummy but terribly naughty.... he NEVER makes veggies. I love him.