Harder than I thought

Harder – coming back after a second major illness – I had appendicitis and I am coming back, slowly – but surely.  It’s not a bounce back situation – I get tired and depressed I am not progressing fast enough.  My being a bad patient again is rearing its ugly head.  I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t this.

At least with chemo, I knew the drill – I knew how my body would react.  With appendicitis, I keep being afraid it will come back.  any little twitch on my right side is alarming – it’s nothing, but in my mind, I panic.  Geesh – I thought I was braver than this.

I guess after you’ve been on that “down” side, being sick and in the hospital – the fear is real that you’d end up back in there in a whim of your body reacting to something.  On two major health events one after another, it does strange things to your brain.

So, I’ve been concentrating on getting my brain back in shape – to try to find the joy in life again – not just fearing what might happen – what a waste of time and energy.  Sharpened up the drawing pencils again – getting back to basics.  Just pencils and paper.  Still life drawings of simple items I use every day.  Maybe that’s the way back.

We’ll see how it all works out.  I have another 3-month check up scan on June 12th.  Hoping this new plant-based diet is working on getting my body inflammation-free.  Sure still do miss lots of things I used to eat – another mind-bender.  But re-discovering veggies and other good foods is rewarding also.  Eye on the prize – no new cancer.  Eye on the prize – more life.

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Recovery

Been working hard on recovering from the appendicitis attack.  They opted not to operate because of complications, so I am on antibiotics and other assorted medicines to recover from a week in the hospital.

I cannot write about the hospital.  My emotions have not solidified enough to talk about it.  Depending on others for basic bodily actions while in excruciating pain is demeaning and barbaric.  That’s all for now.  I see my trips to the bathroom under my own power empowering now.  The pain has subsided due to the meds and I slept most of the night last night – a gift.  I tell you it is a gift.

I am still using the walker and moving slowly.  My strength is being built back up slowly.  I have a rigid schedule of medicine that I am following for it seems to bring relief and gives me back a sense of hope.

I had good dreams also last night unlike the previous two nights.  I feel that it is because I am home.  Home was always important to me.  It is my refuge, my recharge, my safe place and being here has comforted me and empowered me.

I actually drew today.  My art has always been a place for me to sort things out.  I am also reading an 1100+ page book on my Kindle – now that is escape!  Keeping my mind in a good place is a daily battle and reading helps me concentrate.

I just wish my body will get back its spark.  It’ll be a long journey, but I am up for it.

Been working…

… on getting back my strength.  I’ve been walking and swimming – well, walking in the pool – not swimming.  Never managed to learn strokes.  Hey, after almost drowning when I was a kid, getting in a pool is real feat for me.

then, my hernia gave me problems.  I had to take a three-day rest in bed for all the symptoms to go away.  Now, I am starting all over again.  Today, I went to an Art Journaling class to learn some more techniques.  It was so much fun.  Had some coffee to power my session – worked like a charm until the letdown around 10:30 a.m.  But I kept at it.  Had a great session and saw some friend who showered me with compliments!  Wahoo – just what the psyche needed.

My late son, Joe, would have been 51 on Monday, April 9th.  It seems insane that he’s been gone for so long – 30 years this December.  I keep wondering what could have been.  I could have been a grandma maybe.  all the things he never got to do haunt me daily.  But that is something I cannot change, so I live with it – I incorporate his death in my life.  I see a baby, I see Joe when he was little.  I always give them a little smile remembering what fun he was at that age – always curious – always looking behind the scenes – always “seeing” what other people don’t – a flower glistening with dew, a person that needed help, etc.  Sigh.  At least I have my memories.\

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I am also dusted off my camera and took some photos.  Enjoy.

 

Visitors!

Mike’s sisters, Pat and Katherine, flew out from Georgia for a week for a visit.  We’ve been seeing the sights – well, as much as you can when it’s raining.  Sadly, we had a couple of really cold and wet days.  We had sun when we visited the Folsom farmers’ market and the prison.  Also, sun was with us when went to Old Sac.

Had the best chow mein at Fat City in Old Sac – they have a great menu.  Construction is still going on replacing the wood ties on the waterfront.  The whole area looked a little worn – guess all the money is going to the stadium downtown.

I also saw more homeless people than ever before.  We were there in the late afternoon, so I guess they were picking spots for the night.  The Bee has been doing a running article on public toilets for the homeless – there are none, so our downtown IS the toilet.    We need a place for decent care of basic necessities, like toilets, showers, medical care.  (And no, not prison.)

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Clear!

My doctor sent me an email – my CT scan was stable and there was no evidence of cancer growth!

 

None.  Nada.  Zip.  This plant-based diet must be doing something good for me!!

Doing the happy dance today!

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No new cancer growth!!

Marian comes to town

My cousin, Marian, came to visit!  We had a grand time showing her our house and the clubhouse.  It was so good to see her!  Made my day!

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I just noticed my eyebrows have not grown back yet.  I am having some fuzz on my head – it remembers what hair used to be and now it is growing back.  Finally!  Oh well, not the time to focus on looks – living is the big thing now.  Oh, and I left my gloves on for the photo – great move there, Janice.

I have my scan on Monday to see if the cancer has returned or not.  I don’t meet with my doctor until Friday, so it will be a long week.  Trying to keep my mind from spiraling in and down – maybe a small road trip? More art?  Movie binging?  (I did watch the pilot for Battlestar Galactica this week.  I could watch that series over and over.  Who knows?

“Starbuck, what do you hear?  Nothing but the rain, sir.  Well, get your gun and bring in the cat.”  Have no idea what that means, but I’m looking for the cat.

Art Journal pics

I should have done some color balancing, but here they are anyway.    working on a painting for a friend right now.

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I did the sketch and loaded in the paint in general strokes.  I plan on using watercolor pens and pencils on top of the paint and then do some outlining in black.  Might add some pastels too – haven’t thought that far ahead.  I like the painting to point the way.

Been busy – well, as busy as I can be…

with taking a three-hour nap during the day. Still feels good to get into bed after a fun-filled day.

I completed my art class on Tuesday – we had the second class in the morning.  I then helped out at the Club Expo at the clubhouse.  All the clubs were represented.  Our Mixed Media club had a table with all our art work on it – lots of people stopped by.  It was fun.  I received some compliments on my needle-felted galaxies and my collection of Artist Trading cards.  And it was fun seeing all the other club tables from woodworking to learning to play pool.

I did some work in my art journal with stencils.  I really like using them, but I get a page all inked and I think, “Man, I don’t want to screw this up by adding anything.”  LET IT GO, Janice.  Have some fun – do it over – take risks.  I spend too much time trying make it look like something.

I have artist friends who paint flowers that look so real, you want to touch them.  Mine look flat.  There I go again, self-criticizing my work before it’s even done.  LET IT GO, Janice.  Just have some fun – you just might discover yourself in the process.  I didn’t realize I was so uptight and doubtful.  I guess that is one reason I took the class – the other reason was to get back in with people doing what I like to do.  Getting sick is so isolating.  I have to be careful of germs, cold drafts, walking distances, not carrying anything heavy, etc.  I really felt good on Tuesday – looking forward to seeing what other classes I can take.

Oh, Mike and I wanted to get on the bus ride to Chinatown in San Fran for the New Year’s celebration – but the bus was full.  I signed up for the waitlist in case anyone cancelled.  It was last Sunday – the bus was leaving at 8:30 and someone did cancel – 10 minutes BEFORE the bus left and they called us – 10 freakin’ minutes.  Sorry, I’m not that flexible.  The weather was cold anyway.  I was lucky I didn’t go.

Back to the art journal.  I’ll post some photos.

Art Class

I attended my first post-cancer treatment art class.  It is a Journaling class – full of tricks and tips to make backgrounds and interesting pages.  I signed up because my art was getting stale – and I wanted to get back into the world of people with like interests.

It was fun learning how to use stencils – we had our pick of the instructor’s toys – inks, paper, stencils and stamps.  I finally learned not to ruin the stencils with too wet an ink.  Well, generally, I tried to use paint, but that was a disaster.  I’ll post some photos when I van download them off the camera.

I also finished Addisyn’s letters for her room.  I’ll post photos of them too.

I slept a lot yesterday – I got a chill in the afternoon and started coughing and sneezing.  Went right to bed and woke up feeling better.

No art class this week – last session is the next week.  Can’t wait!!