Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crazy January Challenge

Hi Crazy Cross Stitchers Everywhere!

I decided to join in the challenge!! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about you can find it at this link. Just click on the link and it should take you there!!

http://minnanharrastukset.blogspot.com/2010/11/ristipistohassutus2011.html

Here is a list, hopefully I won't be making any changes.

Lucy Pryor's Pocketwatch Sampler from The Samplar Works
Cloisonne Pincushion
Mending from Erica Michaels
Lighthouse Sampler from By The Bay Needleart
Circue des Carreaux from Ink Circles
Buff-bellied Hummingbird from Crossed Wing Collection
Specialty Stitchers SAL
Mahelia January SAL
Heart of America from Little House Needleworks
Under the Tree
from Little House Needleworks
Pear Tree from
from Little House Needleworks
All is Calm
from Little House Needleworks
Peppermint Twist
from Little House Needleworks
Winter Band Sampler
from Little House Needleworks
Snowflake Serenade from Country Cottage Needleworks

Whew!! I know I threw some small ones in there, I have other bigger ones that I can work on should I finish these before the year is out, but I wanted a LITTLE wiggle room as I know I'll be having more surgeries next year. If this works out well, I'm going to try it again next year! You should see how my stash pile is winding down! (Although I probably have 15 more kitted up and ready to go!)

Well, my stitching pals, it's there in black and white! No turning back now...wish me luck!

*Hugs*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Mad, Mad Dash...

Here I am again friends!

Yes, I made a mad, mad dash to my LNS today. Why? Why, they were having a sale of course! I can't resist a good sale!! Can you? But...when I got there, I realized my mad, mad dash was a day too early. Yes, they were having a sale today, but the BIG sale is TOMORROW!! How could I have missed the BIG SALE?? Oh well, my fingers were itching, my list was made, and I wasn't going to drive 30 minutes back home, only to drive 60 minutes there and back tomorrow. Besides, everything I wanted might not be there tomorrow. So..... wanna see what I got?

Well, first let me explain. I belong to a yahoo group that is having a SAL beginning in January. So....I needed thread AND fabric...so why not get them on sale? I waited patiently for Christmas to be over, and then I made my move!! I looked over all the threads and finally picked one that I really LOVED the colors of (Thread Gatherer Silk N Colors Autumn Leaves)...and then asked my friend Sonya to give me a hand. Between the two of us we picked this 32 ct. cream linen. Now I can't wait to get started!!

I've been looking at sites that are having sales...and I fell in love with Snowflake Serenade by Country Cottage Needleworks. They suggested 28 Ct. Lambswool Linen and I liked the way the colors looked on it...however, I like mine small..so I got 32 Ct. and I'll work the stitches over one linen thread. I think it's going to be adorable!!

I also fell in love with the Winter Band Sampler by Little House Needleworks. They were out of the suggested fabric, but I laid the colors out on 32 ct Summer Khaki Belfast and thought it would work up nicely. I'll also work that over one thread. *grinning* I can't wait to get started on these too!!

I've been watching the ladies in the Little House / Country Cottage Needleworks yahoo group talking about starting 15 projects in the first 15 days of the year and hoping to finish them by the end of the year. Such pressure! They must be nuts!! But it must be rubbing off, because I've been thinking about it...and in the next few days (I had better hurry!!) I think I'll be sorting out 15 projects to see if I can finish them in the new year. I already have these three kitted up, and I'm sure I have at least 12 more sitting around here somewhere. I think I need my head examined...LOL Wish me luck folks! If nothing else, you'll find me sitting in the middle of a pile of stash, plucking my lower lip, babbling like a lunatic...I'm sure there are other stitchers out there in the same state! LOL

And now a bit of sad news....you may be wondering what happened to the mouse I was in a panic about a few posts ago. Well, I'm afraid to say that Thomas, the mighty hunter, finally quit playing with his little friend. The morning after that post was made I heard a few bass toned shrieks coming from the living room while the guys were getting ready to leave for the day. Thomas was now trying to lay his treasure at DS's feet, and he would run toward DS with the mouse in his mouth, then drop it and it would skitter away. I thought DS would have a heart attack! Again the wee little mousie got away. Later that morning I came downstairs to find Thomas staring under the microwave cart, tail flicking. I was on my way out to meet a "sista warrior" (another lady I know battling breast cancer) and I was glad for the excuse to run for the door before Thomas had a chance to proudly introduce his little playmate! When I returned a few hours later, though, the remains of Thomas' playmate was lying just inside the front door. Thomas sat grinning like the "cat that ate the canary" so I patted him and made cooing noises over him so that he would continue to save us from the little beasties that try to make OUR home theirs! All the while I was dying inside knowing I would have to dispose of the little carcass myself because my guys weren't due home for hours. UGH!! Thankfully though, I don't have to share my seat with my feet anymore! LOL

Off to do a quick search of my stash and see what I would like to finish this year. Oh, the decisions that will have to be made ... but what relief that I'll actually be whittling down my stash...that should make DH happy! 2011 stitchy year...here I come!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Joy to the World


“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2: 10 -11

Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas! Not just for the carols, or the good food, or the presents. It's the story behind all the traditions. It's the story of the birth of our King, our Savior, our Counselor, and our friend, Jesus! It's a story of hope, peace, joy and love! It's a story full of miracles, intrigue, passion, forgiveness and love. I read the story each year and each year I "hear" something different that makes my relationship with my Lord even more special. This year I learned that there were a lot of "bad apples" in Jesus bloodline that tells me that no matter what we've done there is still hope for us to be "adopted" into the family. David was one of the bad apples, but look!! Not only was he in the bloodline, but the Angel mentioned him specifically that Jesus would be born in they city named after him!! I also learned that Jesus dwelt among us so that we may dwell with Him in heaven! What a sweet promise that is and what great joy I received when I heard it! So I'm wishing Jesus a very Happy Birthday this year, and hoping that His birth will bring you peace, hope, joy and love this year.

The picture posted here is from one of my nativities. DH promised me that if we were ever stationed in Germany (and we were toward the end of his military career) that he would find a hand carved nativity for me, and these are a few of the pieces in that nativity. We traveled to a city called Oberammergau where a Passion Play is performed every 10 years since 1638. We visited a few shops that sold hand carved pieces and found this particular set. Oberammergau is really a lovely little German town, with beautiful paintings on the sides of a lot of the buildings portraying the life of Christ. When the bubonic plague was raging in Europe, it came to the town of Oberammergau. The citizens of the town came together and vowed to perform the Passion Play every ten years if the Lord would prevent another death from the plague. The Lord kept his promise, and so have the people of Oberammergau. I keep this nativity out all year to remind me of the love of our Lord who came to Earth to live among us, and to die for our sins, but also of the miracle He performed in Oberammergau all those years ago and how the faith of His people still exist in that beautiful town in Germany today.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! *Hugs*

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Uh oh...

Twas the week before Christmas

When all through the house

The Powers were stirring

And so was a MOUSE!!


The Powers were headed

Out the door for points south

When Thomas arrived

With a mouse in his mouth!!


He presented his treasure

At Mike’s feet with a purr

And it hit the floor running

Under the couch in a blur.


Not a moment was lost

As Thomas lurched for the beast

Disappearing under the couch

Hoping for a nice feast.


Quite a commotion was heard

As if both were crazed

And Thomas emerged

Looking lost in a daze.


Where’s the Mouse? Mike exclaimed

As Thom dove out of sight.

Don’t worry, said Ben,

We’ll find it tonight.


And as Mom slept upstairs

Her clan crept out for the day

Never leaving a note

Or a warning to say…


There’s a mouse in the house,

Better watch where you tread.

We’ll tell her tonight

So all day she won’t dread.


So here DJ sits,

With her feet in her chair.

Hoping that mouse

Won’t creep out of it’s lair.


I just found out my lovely family didn't tell me there was a mouse in the house until I called DH at work to let him know that school is getting out an hour early. Nice, eh? And the weird thing is that I THOUGHT I saw something out of the corner of my eye this morning...but I thought I was just seeing things. GULP!! Well, I've been keeping track of Thomas ever since, he'll be my champion if that little beast comes back again!! Anyone know of a humane way to get rid of little beasties? *shudder* I mean they have to live too I suppose. Just NOT in MY house!!! LOL

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blowin' in the wind...

Hi there folks! I'm back among the land of the living...at least today I am! LOL

The wind has been a force to reckon with the past few days. I've woken up with snow on the ground for a couple of days now, but it has all melted by noon, much to my son's dismay. He would love to have a few snow days (already?) so he can sit by my bed and keep his old Mom company (or wait until she's sleeping and snoop for pressies). Oddly enough the past couple of days I've been trying my darnedest to get out of the house at least for a couple of hours and "blow the stink off" as my mother would say. Well, let's just say that I did more than "blow the stink off" yesterday. Yes.... the wind she blew, and the wig she flew! Fortunately I was able to corral the naughty animal before it got too far away. I was commenting to Mouse yesterday when she mentioned how odd the "wanted posters" would sound... Searching for brown, shoulder length wig, last seen blowing across the Waugh Chapel shopping center parking lot at 30 MPH in a westerly direction. If found, please return to very chilly former chemo patient. LOL!!!

I'm headed out for another doctor's appointment today, but I thought I would update you on what I've been doing as of late. I know there are other things I should be working on, but sometimes when under pressure, I tend to shut down. Instead I'll find other ways to be "productive" and yet still procrastinate (my middle name...LOL). For some reason stitching on the Little House Needleworks set of ornaments has become a priority for me. I've stitched more than half now, and am hoping to finish up the rest before Christmas. Why? I don't know, but I'm having fun working on them non-the-less. So here they are. A few I've posted before, but I thought I would give you a complete rundown on all that I've finished in the order I've finished them.

Fa-la-la


He's a flake


Snowy Pines


Red House in Winter


Frosty Flakes


Merry Skater


Winter sheep

And there you have it. On a good day I can actually finish one, but as the holidays approach and I'm feeling better, that may change. I'm hoping to post one more time before Christmas, but if I don't, I'm wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and may you enjoy many blessings in the coming New Year! *Hugs*



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Checking in

Hi there!

I decided I had better update just in case you visit and see I haven't posted in a while. I'm still here, though things have taken a different twist. This last round of chemo sure is taking it's time passing!! I can't wait for food to taste good again!! Because this time when it does, it should stay tasting good, or at least I hope so!

Yesterday I ventured out for the first time since last Thurs. My good friend, Sonya, was having a birthday and I needed to give her a birthday hug. So I climbed out of my bed and went to visit her at her job...which happens to be my LNS! LOL I stopped to talk to folks up there, did a little shopping, came home and went back to bed. Who knew that little trip would wipe me out? We made plans to have a stitch day tomorrow but unfortunately or fortunately...depending on how you look at it, that has been canceled. I wanted to see everybody, but that little trip yesterday wiped me out! I spent the entire day in bed today, except for now when I'm here typing to you. Lots of things are going on and this is the time (7 - 10 days after treatment) when my white blood cell count is at it's lowest. I'm not sure if I caught a bug (which can be bad when your immune system is compromised), or just tired myself out, but UGH!! I just want to feel human again! *whine*

I'm going to confess, at my last doctor's appointment I was told that indeed something is going on at the site of my gallbladder surgery. The ultrasound showed that my liver is enlarged. The pain I've been experiencing is neither imagined nor exaggerated! Thank heavens, I thought I was losing my mind! They tell me there is nothing to be alarmed about, that it could be effects of chemo, or just inflammation from the surgery, but they will recheck it in 6 months. Hm...I'm not sure how I feel about that. Let's just say, that my Dad passed away 18 months ago from a liver disease that they never found the cause of, so I understand how important a liver is and I want to keep mine healthy!! They also discovered another little infection and I've been on antibiotics since last Friday. Let's just say if you shook me I would rattle (from all the pills) and I'm sure the reason it's taking me so long to recover this time is all the little "issues" I have floating around in my body. Well my one wish for Christmas this year is a healthy body next year!! LOL

I've not answered any e-mails from my yahoo groups in ages. For that I apologize. I was going to try and answer a few tonight, but I'm already thinking about my nice comfy bed upstairs...and will probably end this and head up there. Writing this, I hope, if anyone from the groups read this they will understand my silence.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention Elizabeth Edwards. I don't know if you've heard of her, if you live in the US you can't get away from the news stories about her. She recently lost her battle with cancer. It began in her breast several years ago. She fought it and thought she had won, then it returned, attacking other areas of her body. Elizabeth was a class act. She overcame so many tragedies in her lifetime, the loss of her teenage son, battling cancer not only once, but twice, supporting her husband through his political campaign only to be betrayed and lied to by him. She handled everything with grace and dignity and I admire her beyond description. Her friends and family are in my prayers tonight and will be for some time, I hope you'll join me in supporting them with your prayers. Until I began this journey, I never truly understood this fight. I'm truly saddened by her passing, but I hope she is at peace now and getting the rest she deserves.

Hug someone you love tonight...you never know what tomorrow brings. *Hugs*

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Dancing!!!

Hello fellow bloggers and friends out there in cyber land! You may wonder why I'm happy dancing today. I'm feeling like I've accomplished a lot today!! I've been stitching up a storm the past couple of days and I will show you those finishes...but the ONE BIG FINISH of the day has to do with....*drum roll* Chemo!!! Yes, today was my final Chemo treatment and so I put another notch on the proverbial gun that is eradicating the cancer!! YAY!!

Last night was our support group meeting where I met another traveler on this road to wellness. She happened to be an oncology nurse!! When I told her last night that today was my last chemo treatment, she looked for me today and switched with the nurse I was supposed to have! We discussed so many things, things that she had learned, things that I had learned, and I left there feeling like I have a new found friend for life! When I was almost finished, she came to me and in a loud voice, proclaimed to the clinic that today was my last treatment and presented me with this certificate! Being the framer that I am, I told her I was going to frame it and hang it in pride of place somewhere among my cross stitch pieces, because of all the projects I've worked on in my lifetime, this is probably the most challenging! Here's a picture, she had taken the certificate around to some of the nurses that had given me treatment in the past and had them sign. I thought that was a sweet gesture.

I've also been finishing a lot of stitching, so here are a few. The first is a needlepoint piece that was a challenge for me. I didn't realize that using the needle to pull through that tough canvas would hurt my fingers. I learned today that that was another side effect of chemo! I was surprised that my fingers hurt when I was done as they hadn't done that in the past when I worked on needlepoint. Surprise surprise. I passed a lot of my "issues" off as me being me but I learned today that my sore fingers were probably from the chemo and so are a lot of other things happening in my body. Can I just say, I'm so glad this is over and I'm on the path to wellness now and I'm looking forward to feeling "normal" again, whatever that means! LOL

I've been trying to work on the Little House Needlework Christmas ornaments that were released throughout the year. I finished Fa La La (Mouse seems to think that the two ladies in the piece are her and me....and we'll just let her think that for now....LOL) and framed it, but here are two others...one in the WIP stage. The first is "He's a Flake" and the second is "Snowy Pines".


I tried to work on this today, but every time I bent my arm, the alarm bells on my IV went off and it stopped flowing. So...I looked at it longingly and didn't get any stitching done...maybe later. LOL Sad thing is, that when I tried to eat (I was there over lunch) and the same thing happened! I finally gave up, took my glove off my left hand and ate left handed. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

I've also been working on a few things for some fellow "sisters". I'm not sure I'll finish these before the holidays, but I'll keep plugging when I can and see how far I get. So here's the first completed one....


The last piece here is a Blackbird Designs piece. I finished this on 32 count over one so it is pretty small. I think people have made them into pin pillows, but this one is so small, I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet. It's even almost too small to frame. Hm...maybe a scissors fob? If you have an idea, please comment, I'm at a loss what to do with it.

Ok, I feel the chemo brain fog descending. Usually I have a lot of energy, but I haven't slept well in the past few days. I did have a steroid with my treatment today so I feel jittery and in the past couldn't sleep. We'll see what the next few days hold. DS is having a spaghetti dinner tomorrow at church to raise funds for some trips the teens have planned this summer and I really wanted to go. Saturday night is church and the past few sermons have been really good...I really want to go. Wish me luck, because I really really want to get back to normal as soon as possible. We'll see how things go.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my good news! It's onward and upward from this point forward. I appreciate all your kinds words, thoughts and prayers. You guys keep me going! Thank you! *Hugs*

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Good Morning!

I'm praying for all my friends and family that you will find many blessings to count today and to remind you to thank the Lord who provides everything for us. I'm thankful that my Lord is ever present and helping me walk this journey. I'm thankful for my family and for those who have come beside me during the trials I've faced this year and boosted my spirits and listened to me express my concerns. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned this year and keep praying that it will soften my heart and create a new being that is ready, willing, and able to serve my Lord. I'm thankful for the many friends I've made this year and can only hope and pray that I'm as much a blessing to you as you are to me. I hope that you will find many blessings to be thankful for this day and throughout the coming year.

On a lighter note...

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious
May your pies take a prize
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!
(Seen on a "Lawson" e-card)

May your day be filled with good friends, good food and good fun! *Hugs*


Saturday, November 20, 2010

More framing!

Hi folks! Did you miss me?

Sorry it's been so long since I posted, life as you know is unpredictable and busy this time of year. Are you busy thinking about Thanksgiving? Are you busy thinking about Christmas? I know I am, but I have to say, on my good days I'm out there shopping and I'm nearly done. I'm going to slowly clean and decorate this week (I'll have my trusty sidekick home all week so I'm counting on DS to give me a hand with things) and once that's done and the cards are sent, I'm going to kick back, relax, and enjoy these holidays like never before. It's amazing the wake up call you receive when you have a serious illness staring you in the face. There are so many things I want to do this year that I haven't been able to do in the past either because I'm working or under some kind of stress. So I say, with my last chemo on Dec 2nd...BRING IT ON!!

Ok, here are a couple more things I managed to get pinned and framed this past Friday. I'm so excited to be getting these things done! Now all I need to do is somehow get them attached in the frames and wires and I'm on my way to hanging them in a little collage that I have been planning. It's going to be so much fun. So without further ado, I give you the last of my remaining framed items!

Thanksgiving is going to be a quiet affair this year. Just DH, DS and myself will be here and we have our meal all planned out. The rest of the day we plan on having a game marathon, using the Wii, board games and the like. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top! Yes, I live with two testosterone fed men who like to win. But they use their brawn...and I use my brain...who do you think will win out? *evil grin* I'll let you know after the dust has settled!

DH, DS and I went to see a movie today (it was the only thing I was able to accomplish today besides a shower LOL) and I'm not sure if it was actually getting out of the house, or the movie that exhausted me. We went to see Unstoppable and it was non-stop action. I was on the edge of my seat and even allowed a rather loud gasp to cross my lips before I could pull it back. What a movie!! All of us left exhausted, because that movie pulled you in and made you sit up and will with all your might that everything turn out ok. If you don't want to see it in theaters, please rent it when it comes out. You'll thank me later...LOL

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post again before the holiday, so if I don't, I'll wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving, and may you count your many blessings this year, no matter what has transpired. It's being thankful in all circumstances that will make you truly happy. *Hugs*

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seven down, one to go!

Just getting my last little "chores" done before I hibernate for a few days. It's strange how chemo days can be one of the "best" days...as they give you anti-nausea medicine along with a steroid and so I feel a little like *bing, bing, bing* ... Ricochet Rabbit (does anyone remember that cartoon from about 45 years ago? LOL) I feel like I could conquer the world, and I know I won't sleep tonight, but tomorrow will be another story. So...if I go quiet, you'll know where I'll be...under my quilt with a bottle of Alieve and a bottle of water trying to keep hydrated pain free. See you in a few days....

*hugs*

Happy Veteran's Day!


If you enjoy your freedom in the United States of America, then today is your day to show your appreciation to those who served! Thank a vet!

I came from a long line of vets. My Dad served in the Navy, and so did my Husband's Dad. My Husband served as well. I have quite a few cousins and uncles who served, and many many cherished friends I met while DH was serving for over 20 years. So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your service and for keeping our country safe.

The picture above was taken of DH and I on his retirement. I just LOVE a man in uniform don't you? He still looks just as good as the day he retired too. Love you Honey!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a day!!

I'll bet you thought you wouldn't hear from me so soon! Surprise!! It was an SOSDD kinda day. What is SOSDD? Same Old Stuff, Different Day. LOL

This is chemo week...and usually a very busy week. I was discharged from physical therapy otherwise I would have had more appointments this week, but thankfully that has ended. I had my last "fill up" at the plastic surgeons yesterday and though he thinks I'll need bigger implants than what he's "expanded" he seems to think he can work with what we've done. The next appointment won't be until March! YAY...MORE breathing room! I'm glad because I want to spend less time in Annapolis. I can't explain how I'm feeling, but I'm fed up with everything and maybe I'll have more time to do the things I want to do. We'll see. And today was my oncology appointment, with blood work to be done beforehand. It was early this morning, and oh how I HATE rush hour traffic! It was a day to ask questions...like..."Why have I been getting nosebleeds when I've never had one before in my life?"....and "Why am I having gallbladder pain when I don't have one anymore?"...and "What do you think about my not having radiation?" (Always good to get a second opinion...and lo and behold...he agreed with DH and myself and the radiation oncologist that the risks far outweigh the benefits and that I'm probably doing myself a favor by not having it at this time!!)...and "Why is my pulse rate extremely high even when I'm resting? And could that be what is making me so extremely tired?"...and "Is it common to feel like I've been hit by a truck every time I have chemo?"... and "When can my cat get his rabies shot?" (Yes I had to ask, because rabies is a live vaccine and I can't be around anyone who has had a live vaccine...the answer is 3 weeks after I've finished chemo). Some questions were answered with..."I don't know, let's get you tested and find out." Just when I thought I was done with appointments, I have to make more. *huge sigh* It seems never ending. BUT... tomorrow is chemo, and I will have just about a week to recover before I HAVE to do something. Hopefully by the time I have to go for the ultrasound I'll be feeling a little better. AND...I will only have one more chemo treatment after that! YAY!!

I had to stop by medical records and pick up some paperwork after that appointment. DH and I had lunch, then home. I called the insurance company to see if I needed a referral for the ultrasound...and of course they said yes...so another call to my primary care physician to get the referral, and of course they said I don't need it. AARRRRRRRGH!! I am SO tired of this silly game!! So, I picked up the paperwork that I had received this morning and marched my tail over to the clinic to talk to them face to face. Other than giving them the paperwork THEY needed, I didn't get very far with my referral. Well, all I can say is...if I get a bill...heaven help them!

Back home I realized I had a message on my cell phone. It was a sister warrior in California calling. We met here, but she moved there to be closer to her family while she went through treatment. It seems we never have time to talk, or we miss each others calls or something, but today we had time, and we talked at length. I can't describe the bond we share with sister warriors. I guess because we are having such similar experiences, and life changing moments and it's good to share what helps in certain circumstances and to share similar thoughts and feelings. I've gotten close to quite a few sister warriors. They are incredible women!

While I was talking I got a call on my home phone, but waited to call back when I was done talking with my friend. It was the framing materials I had ordered, they were ready and my friend offered to bring them to me! After all the running around today, I was exhausted and was thankful that Sonya offered to bring them. So I spent the better part of the evening stretching and framing some cross stitch pieces. Here are the ones I finished...




This is only a few of the items I have stretched so far. I have a few more, but they will have to wait until later. I plan on decorating for Christmas the week of Thanksgiving, and am hoping to get everything together before then. I'm excited to get things done...and I hope I'll feel well enough after chemo to finish stretching and framing those items in the next few days. Wish me luck! Thanks again, Sonya, for dropping them by! I really appreciate it more than I can say!

Well, tomorrow's appointment is really early, so I should head off to bed. Wish me luck with chemo...I think I'm going to need it. Tomorrow will be number seven with only one more to go! YAY!

Goodnight...*Hugs*

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thought for the day...

I just wanted to share with you a gift I received for my birthday. Here is a picture of the front.
Not only do I love the design, but the back has an engraved saying. "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a beautiful butterfly." I have marveled at the timing of this gift, and the wording couldn't have been more appropriate. I honestly feel like a metamorphosis is taking place. Hopefully I'll be a beautiful butterfly when this is over. I just had to share this thought. So the next time life hands you some extreme trials, remember, you may become a beautiful butterfly when it's over.
*Hugs*

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Overwhelmed...

I just thought I'd give you a heads up...just in case you were wondering where I've been. I haven't been online much lately, because things have just been a wee bit too busy. Hopefully things will calm down soon.

I want to apologize to people for not sending out thank you cards yet, for not sending out the contest winners their prizes (though I haven't heard back from Connie yet...if I don't hear from her soon I will chose another name from the hat, so keep checking back!), and for not commenting in the groups lately. Life is just on overload at the moment and I feel like I'm beginning to drown! My release is stitching, and I've been doing a lot of it lately, I guess trying to escape the madness.

I did graduate from physical therapy yesterday and that will free up some of my time. Thank heavens, I was beginning to dread each session, because I felt like I was wasting everyone's time and money!! I will continue exercising, but when I choose, not at someone else's schedule. I know what to do now when my arm begins to swell, and I have a coupon at a gym in Annapolis to get some help from professionals who are trained in lymph edema, I will get over there when I get a chance. My expanders should be "full" by the next appointment next week, and that will eliminate another appointment for the time being. Now all I have to do is wait for my muscles and tissues to be expanded, and the next operation will be in the wings in about 6 months. Chemo ends on December 2nd, so things are beginning to wind down.

I wanted to write about where my head is at right now, but it's hard to put into words. I'm not sure if it's because the people around me are dealing with some tough issues and my heart is torn by their heartache, or if it's the decrease in sunshine, or if it's the letdown after my birthday, or the increase in cold weather, or the rainy days we've been having, or the fact that exhaustion is setting in, or that chemo is making me achy and forgetful, or a combination of everything, BUT I'm having a tough time right now. I haven't felt sorry for myself since this whole thing began, and I'm really not feeling sorry for myself now. I'm just tired, tired of running to appointments, tired of struggling with forgetfulness, tired of struggling to try to explain my choice of treatments to my mother (who has made her disagreement painfully known), tired of doing extracurricular things...that even though I've thoroughly enjoyed, have made me extremely tired, tired of trying to console folks who are having a tough time, tired of trying to defend my decision not to return to work right now even though I caused some of my coworkers to miss a few things they wanted to do. I just want to crawl in a shell and hide for a while.

I will ask for prayers for a few fellow warriors who are dealing with some tough issues... Beth who is having surgery today, Gail who recently lost her Mom and is having a very tough time, Jackie who had surgery two weeks ago and is having troubles dealing with it all, Terry who's cousin is slowly losing her fight with cancer which has invaded her entire body now, and Denise who moved her entire family from the east coast to the west coast to be near her own family and who is struggling through chemo that is making her very sick....she has five year old twins that she is caring for during this whole thing. My heart goes out to these ladies who are so brave in their fight against breast cancer themselves. The disease is hard enough to deal with without all these added stresses in their lives.

I attended the monthly support group meeting last night. A new "sister warrior" was there for the first time last night. She confessed to the group that she is suicidal. I can't begin to express how I felt when I heard those words. I guess I admire her for her bravery for expressing what some of us might have felt at one point or another. Part of me wanted to leave at that point. It was hard to hear, it was discouraging. I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm not suicidal, but I have reached a place where I feel boxed in and overwhelmed, so though I would never hurt myself, I know where she's coming from. I have felt from the beginning that others are taking their cues from me, and that I've had to put on a brave face from the beginning and had to fight hard. Maybe that's why I'm so tired. I don't know unless you've been sitting in my position if you can truly understand the fight that we face each day. A fight to decide what treatment is our best option, a fight to explain ourselves to others, a fight to defend our decisions, our fight to keep our spirits up and those of the ones nearest us, a fight not to give in to the pain and fear we are feeling, a fight to get past the fatigue and illness we feel from the drugs, a fight to get up each day and deal with more issues as they come along. When they call us warriors, I don't know if they really know how true that description is. And this warrior is tired. I know I shouldn't be, because so many of you have worked so hard to encourage me, and I really do appreciate your kindness. I guess today is a day I'm going to indulge myself and rest. I promise it won't last long.

Anyway, that's why you haven't heard from me. I tried to read all the posts in the groups I belong to, but it became too overwhelming, so I deleted most of them. I feel terrible doing that, but it was another added pressure I couldn't deal with right now. I'm going to grab my quilt the ladies made for me, wrap myself in their love and encouragement and rest, and when I'm feeling refreshed and have more energy, I'll begin to participate again. There is no need to worry, I am and will be fine, I just need to rest. I'll see you when I get back.

*Hugs*

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And the winner is...

Hi Folks!

I know you've been patiently waiting for the results of the giveaway...well have no fear, the results are in and the winners are....

Charlene, who has won the chart and scissors with the fob!
Connie, who has won the limited edition Little House Needleworks "Where there is life" kit.

Congratulations ladies!!! Please e-mail me your addresses to tickledpinkone @ yahoo. co. uk and I'll get them in the mail as soon as possible!

Just a reminder, the winners names were picked from a hat by my son. I loved all the captions and it would have been too difficult to choose the caption that was my most favorite. I had such a giggle over all of them, you guys certainly are creative! Thanks so much for participating!! I hope you had as much fun as I did!! I know that many of you commented on the fact that you had, or were going to get your screenings. To those who haven't or are too afraid to go, please get checked, or at least perform your monthly self exam. Don't be afraid to go, it's a bit uncomfortable but not unbearable, and they have new tests now that don't involve "getting squished". Check with your doctor and see if you can have a sonogram instead! It's perfectly painless and it's better to catch these things early, trust me!!

I know I haven't answered e-mails in forever, or posted in quite some time, but things here have been insanely busy!! The past two days I've rushed around from morning until late at night. Most of it good fun (I have to say, I had a few rough days after my last chemo but I'm back on track now and back to my crazy schedule) as I've been spending time with my friends. My stitching buddies threw me a 50th birthday party...what a blast! If we had done nothing but stitch it would have been a fabulous birthday for me, but I was showered with cards and gifts. I'm sure this has been my absolute best birthday ever, thanks for celebrating with me. Here are a few pictures from the party. In case you can't read what is on the cake, it says "Oh No! The Big 50!!" (Thanks Sonya!! That oreo cake was the best!) Pat took the pictures, but she is camera shy and is always BEHIND the camera...one of these days though, I'm going to get a picture, Pat, so watch out! LOL


I've been stitching up a storm lately, finishing a lot of little kits I had lying around. I'm trying to clear up some of the stash and sort through things. Once the holidays are over, I'm going to haul out some big projects I've been wanting to work on, and I want a clean conscience! LOL Here are a few of my newest finishes.


Lastly,I attended a concert for the local High School last Thursday. Shaun Barrowes (an American Idol contestant) has benefit concerts "Live for music" for High Schools around the country. Students audition to have a solo during his concert, or to be backup singers. Shaun showcased a few students, but also the entire choir, select members of the band and dancers from the school. It was a fun evening. My friends daughter was chosen as one of the backup singers and is in the picture below, along with one of Shaun playing the piano. 75% of the proceeds of the concert went to the school arts department. I have to say I admire Shaun for giving back to the community in this way, and I hope he has a long and prosperous career.

Ok, off to get some other things done that has been let slip over the past few weeks. It's good to have some energy back! Thanks for participating in the giveaway, and keep checking back, I'm trying to think of another giveaway soon!

*Hugs*

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Giveaway update!

Hi Everyone!

I'm so sorry I'm late posting this, and not everything will be here that I wanted to post...but I'll give a little update now and a little more later.

First, I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making my birthday so special! I don't know if I told you but DH had planned to take me away for the weekend before my birthday. We spent three days down at the National Harbor in Washington DC. I knew we had plans to see Cirque du Soliel, Ovo! It was fantastic by the way!! It couldn't have been a better plan, as we were able to run out for a little while to see something, come back to the room to rest, then run out to see something else. We were able to visit the new Madame Tussaud wax museum in DC (it's been there a little while but was new to us!) and have a few pictures taken with our favorite stars. My guys make everything so much fun! Here's a picture of me and Johnny......Look Depp into my eyes! LOL

The next surprise was that DH had actually TOLD people which birthday this was...and so many folks went out of their way to send cards and gifts and even my stitching buddies threw a surprise birthday party!! I will have more pictures of the party later, because I didn't bring my camera to a "stitch day" with my buddies, who would have thought? I was literally showered with cards, a lot of them homemade, and some of them so outright funny I was in stitches reading them!! It took me over 45 minutes to open all the cards that were sent. How can I thank you? I really was overwhelmed by your good thoughts and best wishes.

About the giveaway update...anyone who has already entered in the previous post will also be entered for this giveaway too. Some stitching buddies donated this limited edition kit from Little House Needleworks "Where There is Life" to be offered as a giveaway. The words say "Where There is Life, There is Hope". All the proceeds from this kit were donated to breast cancer education and awareness programs. Thank you Sonya and Debbie! These ladies have been there with me on my journey from the beginning, and unless you've been in the same position you cannot understand how much a support system means. Sonya takes me to support group meetings and encourages me in ways she'll never really know. Even though they live near me and I see them face to face when I can, they still send cards of support and give me hugs when they see me. I don't say it often enough, but I love you guys!! You'll never know how much your friendship means to me. (sorry for the sappy post...LOL) Anyway, this is the kit, and you can still enter to win this, even though the drawing is only a few days away now.

I have a few finishes to show you. I was able to get some stitching in while away on my weekend, and the days since. Even though this new medication is easier to tolerate, I find myself getting tired very easily, and so I sit and stitch. It's been hard to do much else lately. I haven't made phone calls, or written any letters, I am just too tired. That's also why you haven't seen me post much. I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things soon. I guess I just needed a rest. Anyway....

I finished my violet sampler. I must say this was such a "fun" stitch. I thoroughly enjoyed it (thanks again Pat!!) and will have to see when I can get it framed. My bedroom is in lavender and I know it will look fabulous there!!


I finished a few Christmas kits I had lying around. And I also finished this ornament that was in the most recent Just Cross Stitch ornament issue and the pattern is from Plumstreet Samplers. I just love her stuff! I have a few charts sitting around here and I MUST stitch them soon....(yeah right) I'll be stitching long after I'm dead if I plan on stitching everything in my stash! LOL


The other two snowman pieces were fun to do, and done mostly in one day. They were kits offered at my LNS quite some time ago and finally made it to the top of my "to do" pile.


I almost forgot to mention the UFO I was working on and finally finished at my last chemo treatment. That was my sixth and treatment... I only have two left...I can't wait until this is behind me!!

I have so much more I want to post, but I'm going to quit now. I'll try to update a little here and there so it's not so overwhelming for you (or me!!). Till then, know that I'm grateful to everyone for their kindness and encouragement regarding my journey and my transition to the other side of the hill. LOL I'm sure there are better days ahead!! Thank you so much! *Hugs*

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway!!

Hello stitching fans out there!

I've been trying to think of a way to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I finally hit on something that I think might benefit all of us! First of all, since I'm dealing with this on a personal level, I encourage you all to get your yearly tests whatever they might be. Mammogram, sonogram, MRI...whichever way you choose, please pay attention and do your own monthly exam also. I found mine purely by accident while having my yearly mammogram. My tumors were found when they were too small to feel, and if the person reading the tests not been at her best, they would have been missed! I'm growing as a person on my journey here, but it isn't easy and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. So please, take care of yourself! In the long run, it's your way of showing your love to others because they want you here on this planet as long as possible too! *climbing down off my soapbox*

Ok, here's the deal. The picture above is what I'm giving away ... a chart and a pair of scissors with a fob attached (with a hummingbird charm!). I'm also going to post a picture below of my cat Thomas (though it looks mostly like a box LOL). If you want to win the giveaway, you must post a caption for the picture of Thomas in a comment under this post. Please include your e-mail address so I can contact the winner. On Friday, October 29th, my son will choose a name out of a hat. I chose this particular chart because part of the proceeds went to breast cancer research. I actually bought two charts, but decided I wanted to keep one and make it for some "sistas" (said with a Brooklyn accent) who are traveling this journey with me, so that's why you won't see the picture here. Maybe next year I'll be giving that one away. Now I know that some of you may not be able to post a comment here. So if you can e-mail your comment to me at tickledpinkone@gmail.com . I don't want to leave anyone out! So here are the pictures. It's meant to be fun...so have fun! If you give your permission, I'll post the captions in a blog entry after the contest is over. And don't forget to get your yearly exams.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I know, I know...

Sorry Pat! I've been baaaaad again!! Life just has a way of getting in the way!! I swear I sleep my life away at this point!

First I have to say, I made a mistake on my title of the previous blog post. I have only had five treatments...I'm jumping the gun I guess. I can't wait for them to be over! I DO still have three more to go...but I feel like I'm finally on the downhill slope!

It's been an interesting week, and I must say I'm very tired. Chemo was strange this time, it was the first dose of a new medication and I wasn't sure how it would affect me. The first day or two wasn't too bad, and then the fatigue and body aches set in. I have never taken so many naps in one day for so many days in a row! I feel much better now, even stayed out past my bedtime last night (thanks for the fun, Sonya!) I'm glad I have two weeks to "play" before the next round! I have physical torture...I mean physical therapy today (I'm wondering if part of the body aches were from my last session where the therapist knelt over me and put her full weight on my shoulder trying to stretch it out and "push" it back where it belongs... I tried to tell her it will take more than that to erase 50 years of bad posture!! LOL) I also hope to get some UFO stitching in today and avoid the wet noodle so precisely wielded by the Friendly Stitchers Yahoo group! Hm...I wonder how physical therapy and the wet noodle wound up in the same paragraph? Interesting eh? LOL Can you spell t-o-r-t-u-r-e?

Oh, and that reminds me!! I LOVE reading your comments!! I especially love a few that have been written to the past two posts. Edy, my dear, you crack me up!! I'm off sometime today to buy an eyebrow pencil so I can paint interesting expressions on my face! I laughed out loud when I read your comment, to the point where DH was ready to commit me to the loony bin. I mentioned what you said at the support group meeting last night too, that comment is making the rounds, girlfriend! What a hoot!!

Also, Rose Mary asked me where I got the pattern for my "D" that I have been working on the past few UFO days. Well, you know me, right? I'm a sucker for freebie charts and YES, they have the whole alphabet on this site. Here is the exact page, but do look around her site as she has some really interesting patterns (including another monogram alphabet chart that is rather pretty!). If I've done my job right, you should be able to click on the link and it will take you there! Have fun!! http://commelacigale.canalblog.com/archives/2010/05/29/18022573.html

Ok, I am off to get ready for physical therapy, and get some UFO stitching done. I'm anticipating a day with my friend Sonya tomorrow, stitching my day away with some good company and a few belly laughs if I know my buddy Sonya! Hopefully I'll have pictures in the near future of my progress. Till then, keep stitching and giggling, and leave some comments, I love to hear from you!!

Oh, by the way, I am seriously thinking about a blog giveaway to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month...so keep your eyes peeled, and come back soon! *Hugs*

Friday, October 1, 2010

Six Down Three To Go!

Hello fellow stitchers and friends!

I hope you have a cuppa handy as this may be a long post, but I promise pictures too, so sit back and I'll tell you a little tale of my week...

I finally got some stitching in last week. Whew! I really WANTED to stitch, the mind was willing but the flesh was weak! LOL I think I finally got around to it Sunday. You can't keep an addicted stitcher down! So here is my progress on my violet sampler. I really love this one!! Thanks again Pat!!


I had a visit from my co-worker who had a little gift for me. This little mouse is hand made, and when Christina ordered it she told the lady I was a cross-stitcher and about my diagnosis. So she stitched a pink ribbon on the front of this mouse. She also told Christina that she had donated part of her payment to cancer research. I just loved this little mouse, it would have been such a sweet gift, but with the rest of the story it has become very special! Thanks Christina *hugs* and big *hugs* to the lady that made it!!

Monday I was supposed to go for a physical therapy appointment but a phone call mid morning put a squash to that. For a strange reason (later explained but not THAT day) I had been discharged from the clinic. Five phone calls later (after already getting paperwork from my surgeon to say I could RESUME physical therapy) I was notified I needed more doctors orders and a referral. My primary physician is usually only working Tuesday and Thursday and I knew I would have to wait at least one day so I cancelled my appointment. The director called me back (she left a message because by that time I was so ticked off I didn't want to talk to any of them for fear I would become verbally abusive..yes I DO have a temper! LOL) and when this whole PT experience is finished I will then tell her what I think of her clinic!! *sigh* Even though I missed that appointment I spent several hours on the phone trying to get paperwork together and trying to find an answer to the discharge. That was exhausting!!

Monday wasn't a total waste though, because I got some surprises in the mail. Abi sent me a homemade birthday card and some silk to go along with it. The card is so precious Abi and the silk is lovely. I'll have to find something very special to stitch using it. I just love the colors!! Thank you so much! *hugs* I am blessed to have so many talented friends! I also received a juicy letter from Mouse. *hugs* I am so far behind in my letters and thank you cards, I hope you all understand life is just out of control at the moment but I'll get to them as soon as I'm able. So here is a picture of Abi's card and the silk.

Tuesday was a trip to the Plastic Surgeon. He had to check out the gallbladder surgeon's handiwork...LOL...and I was told I was healing well. He was surprised at the size of the one incision but when I read the report it said my gallbladder was 14 cm long and the largest scar is 18 cm long so that makes sense. When you consider it's supposed to be the size of a plum, you could say it was a LITTLE enlarged!! I got a fill up and was told we aren't there yet. I am finally beginning to look like a more woman then a cross dresser! LOL The good news is the pathology report said that though the gallbladder was purulent, it wasn't cancerous. *Huge sigh of relief* The Doctor had also said he checked the liver and the kidneys while he was in there and everything looked good. Always good to check things out visually. Did I mention that one incision was extremely small just above the belly button. There was a staple straddling it, right where a belly button ring would go? DH thinks I should get a belly button piercing there. Hm....what do you think? I have to say that staple bothered me the most, it rubbed against my clothing and eventually got infected (another week of antibiotics...oh joy!!). I don't know how people wear them....it drove me crazy! No offense to those that wear them... you have my admiration... but the irritation would drive me nuts (not that I'm not there already!) LOL

Wednesday was my PT appointment. With documents in hand I had to fill out all the paperwork again and the first appointment was a re-evaluation. I had lost some range of motion because now when I raise my arm over my head on the right side it pulls the incision OUCH. I'm sure that will get better though. My arms measured equally, so the wrap did it's job and I'm back to wearing just the sleeve!! There was great rejoicing! LOL I learned that because I was admitted to the hospital that my account was reassigned to the hospital and in order to resume PT I had to resubmit all the paperwork and have my account switched back to the clinic. I still see other doctors at the medical center so I'm a little suspicious of that, but when in Rome...

Next was a trip to the radiation oncologist. I love that doctor!! She seemed very harried and was called on the intercom several times. She's popular and I'm very lucky to have her as my doctor! She told me that it was a very gray area and there was only a 5% less chance of reoccurence with having radiation, but there are a lot of short term and long term effects that would have minor and major consequences. The surgery and chemo and hormone therapy would probably take care of everything without the radiation, but there is a slight chance it won't. Decisions, decisions. I was even told that I may have been cancer free after the surgery and that everything I do now is like buying insurance. There does come a point when you have bought too much. I'm seriously considering skipping the radiation and DH agrees. The only thing that scares me is that one of the tumors was very close to the skin and the chances of a few microscopic cells escaping is slight. Would chemo and hormone therapy take care of that? She seemed to think it might. I
hate making these decisions!!!

After those jolly experiences I ran to the lab to have blood work taken for the next day's chemo. We left right at rush hour so spent some time listening to Mamma Mia soundtrack in the car on the way home. LOL We stopped to pick up our Market Day order (a school fundraiser), ran home and threw it in the freezer, stopped to say goodbye to your neighbors (they are moving to Texas...we will seriously miss those guys!) and then went out to dinner. After that exhausting day we got home at 8 and I just went to bed. It was quite a day.

Thursday was chemo....but first a doctor's appointment. They had just moved their offices so there was lots of paperwork to fill out since they are now associated with the medical center. It's nice, all my doctor's offices are in the medical center now except for the Plastic Surgeon. If I could get him to move over there, it would be perfect! It sure cuts down on time when I don't have to drive all over town to make all these appointments, and I can schedule things closer together on the same day. The medical oncologist makes me laugh!! After the usual exams, questions and answer period, he mentioned that his phone was driving him crazy because the intercom was too loud. I suggested there might be a volume button, and of course there was. He turned it down and it was much better! I told him he could pay me my consultation fee at the end of my treatment! LOL I was given the go ahead to have chemo (even though the incision seems a little stressed and with the bloating from the steroids I have to take he was afraid it might not be strong enough yet...but so far so good!) After his appointment I had 5 minutes to get to the infusion clinic which was right next door! The new medication is not nearly as bad as the first two!! I didn't get a headache or the usual brain fog and with the IV steroids I was full of energy!

So...after a marathon session on facebook with Mouse I was encouraged to get some UFO stitching done. I decided to work on a different UFO last night because it was smaller and I can work in hand, so I didn't have to lean anything against my tummy...so here are before and after pictures of my progress.


Lastly, I got a box in the mail from my cousin who lives in Pennsylvania. Here is a picture of what she sent along with the note. I don' t know if you can read what she wrote, but she said two of her friends were walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-day race for the cure this weekend in Philadelphia. My cousin donated in my name and they gave her this little ducky with the ribbon on his chest for me. I'm blown away by the response to my condition. Thank you, Judy, for thinking of me, and for helping others who have this disease. Research has carried this disease out of the dark ages, and though there are so many more being diagnosed each day, research has advanced the treatment of this disease to the point where it's no longer a death sentence when caught early. I truly feel lucky to have been diagnosed early and at this stage in their research. So please!!! Perform your personal exams regularly and get those mammograms, I know mine surely saved my life! *climbing off my soapbox* LOL Here's a picture of Judy's ducky! Thanks again Judy! *Hugs*