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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last Chemo & Christmas!

Well, yesterday saw me leave the cancer centre after my last chemotherapy!!!! I still have to have one medication infused so I still have my port that's the last chemo!

A couple of days ago we went out to visit our friends who have and are still working on their new house in the country for dinner. They decided to cut down their own tree now that they don't live in the big smoke and it's the fattest tree I've ever seen! So fat that the ornaments have trouble hanging down! But it's beautiful. The next evening we got our tree together and did the yearly thing of discovering what ornaments you have! I now have two angels as when I got a new fancy one last year I couldn't bear to part with my ages old corn husk one! They both grace the top of the tree. My Dad asked if they got along... I said of course, they're little angels.

Here I am in my chair with my smidge of hair just as the last drips of Taxol go through. Today I'm tired but that may be the laundry I did and the bathroom I cleaned. But I cannot believe that I'm on the other end of the six months of treatment.

My first view of the chemo room at the Cancer Centre of Eastern Ontario here in Kingston was daunting. I didn't want to have to sit in there in green vinyl chairs looking very hospital like. My first treatment I was shaking and was so glad to have my level headed girlfriend there to actually hear all that the pharmacist was saying..... I've given myself my own injections, push the saline syringe as the nurse pulls the needle out of my port, trundle happily back and forth to the washroom with my drip stand. The marvelous volunteers bring a drink and a warm blanket and keep checking on you. The nurses check all your signs and chat about their last night getting together after an exam or getting the kids to bed. There is laughter in the waiting room as, when, after a long wait a nurse comes out and calls a patients name three of us who have been ganging up all put up our hands! This week one woman had us in fits of giggles as she got up and acted out how her vegetarian friend stuffed her first turkey!!!

While this has been going on I managed to start working on orders and got out two to Rochester NY. I got a lovely call this morning to say one had arrived (which means the other lady's will have too) and how much she loved it. Another order was picked up here at the studio yesterday. Now I have to work on the wedding dress for New Year's Eve.

I reknit the back when the fitting showed we needed it wider and longer. I changed the gauge which helped and re tweaked the pattern in Garment Designer and the next fitting went better and I knew what to do with the front fit wise. I'm trying to get hold of the bride to for another fitting then I will be able to get on with the other bits of it.... sleeves and godets in the skirt.

In a couple of weeks after the wedding I'll be able to show it on my web site.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Power of Pink

My very good painter friend Vera Donefer gave me as a gift a series of photo sessions with her son-in-law Rene Calderon (brother in law of Laura Donefer). We've done all hair, short hair just before it all fell out (one of which is on my web site home page) and the other day he came to do the 'bald'. It was just in time as my hair is rapidly making it's reappearance!! Woopeeee!!

Rene is submitting a black and white print to PhotoSensitive project of cancer survivors, there will be a book in 2008.... anyway I digress.

Rene's elder daughter Marcela came with him to help and I met a beautiful young woman in her mid teens (all of Rene's kids are to die for beautiful) who is very creative in her own right and she got to see what a messy working fibre studio is like.

On Sunday I got a call that Marcella had made me something so they dropped over. The pic above is of the T shirt she painted for me (and not just your common or garden unisex T, this one's cute!). The card she wrote is equally beautiful with here own illustration on the front.

She explained to me that the vine starts up at my 'port' location on my left chest and winds down under my right (affected) breast to signify the 'life' my chemo is giving me........

Too moved for words!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Isotopes and New Hair.

Up early this morning to high tail it down to the hospital for my MUGA (MUltiple Gated Acquisition) scan, still feeling fortunate that I was home to take the call to grab what they had. While I waited for the radioisotopes to be mixed with, or whatever they have to do to, my blood another lady came in for exactly the same thing. She'd had the same cancellation then the call back to get in first thing. She must have been up waaay earlier than me as she looked bandbox fresh with every hair and stroke of makeup in place. As we chatted I learned she was dealing with cancer which had metastasised into her liver......! What do you say?

Each time I hear the news I think myself fortunate that I got this diagnostically precious thing. The nuclear med technician said she had to prepare for the next lady, her stuff was dying as we spoke!!! This stuff doesn't keep more than a few days.

On to brighter note, I decided I wanted my head photographed each month so I could see the progress of regrowth. Here is the December one. Hair has been growing back for the last three or four weeks, enough so far to keep a miniscule layer of warm air next to my scalp so it's not freezing as I go from house to studio (two steps outdoors).

I think my head looks like that of a little old man! I was born with more hair than this!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Other Art & News.

My friend Georgia came with me to chemo last week and brought five Bottles of Hope that she had made. These ones were beautiful and this photo doesn't do them justice but was in my treatment chair and took this on the spur of the moment. Check out her blog for pics of her 'ladies' kaleidoscopes.

Well, we had our gallery Open House at Sandra Whitton Gallery. It was a cold and freezing rainy day but we did have some brave folk turn out to look at the wonderful collection of art.

Here is a shot of two of my designs among the other work.

Proprietor Sandy showing off her Barnett Design knit.

That was last weekend, this past Wednesday, my lovely ex assistant Shawna starred in an
exhibit at the Hotel Dieu Hospital Johson 7 waiting room. They mount exhibitions there every four months and it gives the patients some wonderful things to look at. In general it's wonderfully visual place to be, first with the art and second, with the 7th floor view of downtown Kingston and the harbour.

Here's Shawna standing in front of one of
her floral paintings.

Here are her African Women paintings brightening up the waiting room.

Then, last but not least today I received a phone call early to say that my MUGA scan (heart) which was scheduled for Monday, was now put off until Mid January because of the downing of Chalk River where the radioactive isotopes are made for the world. Then I read about it on the front page of our paper. As many of you might know certain drugs for breast cancer can do heart damage so a MUGA is given every three treatments. I've had three and want to know if my heart is still healthy, it was scary knowing I might have had 5 by the time I got my scan. Then an hour later I was called to tell me that if I could get my butt into the hospital by 7:30 to morrow morning they could squeeze me in!

Later I took my 88 year old Mum to the Cathedral for a concert and, though late, found a parking spot right by the door! No dropping her off then searching!!! I got home and found that my husband had moved the new obscenely huge TV to where I wanted so now my living room once again resembles a living room and not the Odeon cinema!

With that kinda luck I shoulda bought a lottery ticket... but I'm immensely fortunate to be able to have my scan.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Caring Clients

Just a quick note as we head into the week where the One of a Kind Chicago starts, I've started to get emails from my lovely US ladies to find out why I won't be there this year and it's wonderful to know I'm cared about so much. I adorer all my clients and so will miss that big city bunch who stop by my Merchandise Mart booth to touch base, catch up and often to add to their wardrobe.

This will be a quieter December for my husband and me, no blazing through Michigan's storms but also not stopping into lovely little yarn shops en route!

I have done one or two local one - three day shows and now have three pieces in Sandra Whitton Gallery in downtown Kingston. I'm off there in an hour for the Meet the Artists open house, it's snowy so I hope we have some keener's turn out as it's a wonderful showing.

I'll report back afterwards!