Moving forward slowly…

Hello friends!

I hope you are all doing well, here everything is fine, progress is slow but things are moving forward and in the meantime I’ve finished the Little Book of Cosmic Maps :-)

Back & Front Cover

For me doodling is a really good way to pass the time..

Spread 1

Spread 2

Spread 3

Spread 4

As you can see I’ve had a bit of time on my hands recently…

I had the PET scan last week, it was OK just a bit of a hassle, it took 2 hours to get to the hospital then I had to wait an hour before I was called in, they gave me the injection of radioactive glucose and I was left on my own for another hour before I was called in for the scan.  It took about 35 minutes and then we were free to go.

I was told that I would be slightly radioactive for about 6 hours and was to avoid contact with pregnant women or children.  However I was still allowed to travel home on public transport (another couple of hours).  I didn’t stroke my two cats until the next day, but it didn’t seem to bother them.

Yesterday we went for another appointment with the consultant haematologist and she told me that the results of two of the three tests on my bone marrow are back and neither of them found the cancer in my bones.  The final test is more vigorous and the results of that are not back yet.  But so far it’s looking good.

The PET scan didn’t find any more tumours in my body (phew!) but although the tumour in my mouth has shrunk the scan found residual lesions in my jaw (I’m not sure but I think that means scaring).  So although the tumour is almost gone I still have the disease in my blood but it’s in it’s early stages and there’s a good chance that with treatment I can fully recover. So the plan (worked out by this mysterious team of invisible experts) is for me to have 6 rounds of chemo and then radiotherapy on my jaw.  It feels like I’ve been telling people for over a month now that I’ll be starting chemo ‘next week’ and that hasn’t happened but it now looks like it will start during the week commencing 3 November.  In the meantime I have to sign the consent form and have an ECG just to make sure my heart is OK. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the nurse who is going to tell me all about what’s going to happen and on Saturday I have to visit my local doctor’s surgery to have a flu jab because they want that done before the chemo starts.

Having chemo-therapy is not something I am going into lightly and in truth I’m not looking forward to it but …. ‘needs must’ as they say, I’m just not sure what to expect.

I’ve been feeling so well for the past two weeks and enjoying not being at work but tomorrow I am going to go back to work because I reckon if I take too much time off I won’t want to go back at all!  Anyway it’s pointless, and unfair on work colleagues, to have sick leave when I am not if feeling sick.  Fortunately I have good employers, I’ve worked for them for a very long time and, up until now, I have a pretty good attendance record.  I think they will be flexible around my hospital appointments and will be OK with me having time off if the chemo (or the cancer) makes me unwell over the next few months.

So all in all I am doing well at the moment, and I am staying positive and upbeat.  I hope all is good with you where ever you are in the world.

Big love

AJ :-)

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Cosmic Maps and where I am right now

Cosmic Maps

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you.

Thank you all for all the love and support you have been sending – positive energy is a powerful thing and I’m grateful to have all you people in my life right now.

So, here is where we are today but first just a quick recap.  On 10 September I had a biopsy taken from a mass in my mouth and on 17 September I was told I have Large B Cell Lymphoma – a cancer of the blood.  The next day I had blood samples taken and on 26 September I had a CT scan.  All the time the mass in my mouth was growing and I had to go onto a liquid diet because I could no longer chew any food.

I started making up superfood smoothies and drinking a litre a day.  The smoothies always contain fresh green vegetables, 2 teaspoons of ground up buckwheat, about an inch of ground up turmeric root, desert spoon of hemp oil, teaspoon of chia seeds, desert spoon of probiotic yoghurt, sprinkle of ground cinnamon; then I add fresh and/or frozen fruit to make is taste nice and coconut water to thin it down to a drinkable consistency.  I have to say I have been feeling great since starting this diet.

On Monday 29 September I saw a consultant haematologist at the hospital and she was supposed to tell me then all about my disease and the treatment plan, but that didn’t happen as the results of the scan and blood tests were still not available.  She did give me a quick examination.  She asked to look at the mass in my mouth and I warned her it looked disgusting,but her reaction of “Eugh!  That’s big and looks horrible” shocked me a little.  I already had the feeling that the tumour was shrinking by then but I didn’t say anything. So we got no definitive answers that day and we left the hospital a bit disappointed but understanding that the treatment needs to target the problem so the more information they have the better.

My next appointment, ‘by which time we hope to have the answers’, was supposed to be yesterday at 12:30 but on Tuesday I received a phone call asking me to go in at 09:30 instead so they could take a bone marrow biopsy after which I would be seeing a different consultant haematologist.

This consultant confirmed that the first biopsy had returned the cancer diagnosis and the results of the blood tests had confirmed the diagnosis.  The CT scan only found the cancer in my jaw bone, causing the mass in my mouth, and nowhere else in my body – Good News!!! Two more tests are required so that they can accurately ‘stage’ the disease – the bone marrow biopsy and I will also need to have a PET scan sometime in the next two weeks.  She said that in the meantime they can start treating the tumour in my mouth and I told her that it has already gone.  This is true since 29 September the tumour has completely shrunk and I no longer have any swelling inside my mouth.  My tooth is a bit wobbly and seems to be exposed at the roots, but all the swelling has, for the time being at least, gone.

The consultant looked at me with disbelief.  She asked me if I had been taking Steroids and I said I hadn’t had any treatment, then she checked she was actually talking to the correct patient (confirmed).  She said she had seen the tumour on the scan and that it was very unusual for a tumour to disappear without treatment.

In the light of this new development we agreed to wait until all the results are in before starting treatment.  So the bone marrow has been taken for analysis, I’ll be having the PET scan soon and more blood will be taken for retesting.  My next appointment is 21 October and I will probably start treatment soon after that.

It is such a relief that my mouth feels almost normal now after weeks discomfort, but don’t worry I am a realist and I understand that the tumour was a symptom of a much bigger underlying issue that is going to have to be dealt with in the near future.  It just feels like I’ve been given a breathing space and a bit more time to prepare myself for what lies ahead. I’m in a good place right now.

The image above is another spread from my Little Book of Cosmic Maps.

Take good care of yourselves

Big love

AJ xxx

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Feeling loved and grateful :-)

All is Good

Hello friends

I hope you are all keeping well, happy and enjoying life.

Ever since I got my cancer diagnosis on 17 September my husband, family and close friends have rallied around and given me masses of support and love.  Then when I decided to share the news here, on my Facebook page and in a couple of FB groups I belong to the messages of love, support and positive energy have been almost overwhelming.  I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to send me messages and I truly have been feeling the love.  THANK YOU <3

Of course I am still in limbo as I don’t know what the results of all the tests will be and I am preparing myself for whatever the news is next week, but in the meantime I am feeling just great.  The horrible and disgusting mass in my mouth has (without any treatment) now shrunk and I have very little swelling under my teeth, I feel much more comfortable and I can now eat properly as long as the food is soft and does not require much chewing.  For the past two weeks I’ve been living on my superfood smoothies and soup, but today I get to eat a proper meal, yay!

Today has been a lovely day, sunny and warm and after a late start I spent an hour making up today’s batch of ‘slush’ which contains lots of fresh, organic vegetables and fruit, then I took a stroll down the town and looked in a few shops.  I even bought myself some comfy clothes that will be ideal for just hanging out at home.  I’m guessing there will be quite a lot of just hanging about at home if/when I start the chemo-therapy so why not have comfy clothes to do that in?  Then I popped in to see Mum and Dad, just to check they are doing OK.  I think Mum was the person hit hardest by my health news, but we are all trying to be positive and optimistic now.

Now I’m back home I’m waiting for T to serve up dinner.  It smells very appetizing. Mmmmmm :-)

I am creating a new journal of warrior women – these are the troops I am rallying around me ready for the battle ahead.  Some will be fierce like the one I shared here and others will be more supportive and gentle, buy they are all going to help me get through this in the months ahead.  The image above is the second spread from this journal and is to remind me that whatever happens and no matter how hard things get everything is always as it should be.

Thank you again to everyone who has contacted me with lovely messages, it has really helped me get over the initial terror and shock of the cancer diagnosis and to ready myself for what lies ahead.

See you soon

Big love

AJ :-)

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Learning the art of patience.

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.

Cosmic mapsHello friends

I hope all is good with you.

Today didn’t go exactly as I had prepared for.  I had an appointment with a consultant at the hospital and I was expecting to be told the specifics of my cancer diagnosis and, more importantly for me, the treatment plan, but it didn’t work out like that.

The results of the CT scan I had on Friday were not available and the blood samples I had taken last week now have to be sent to another hospital for more rigorous testing. This means that my case will not be discussed at the Multi-Disciplinary team meeting tomorrow so no treatment plan will be drawn up this week.  IF everything can be sorted out by Friday of this week then I can be discussed as the MDT meeting next Tuesday so I now have an appointment to see the consultant again on Wednesday 7 October.

I have to be honest I felt a bit let down.  I do understand that the treatment has to be specific to the type and stage of my cancer and a few more days delay won’t affect the outcome, but I, of course, am anxious to get this show on the road and to start fighting…

Still there is good news – I am still feeling well and the tumour doesn’t feel quite so uncomfortable now.  On top of that over the past few days I have become an expert in making fruit and veg smoothies and in cooking up batches of soup.  This probably doesn’t sound a big deal to you but it’s a whole new world to me.

Anyway it’s all out of my hands so I am just going to have to be patient for a while longer.

The image above is from a little book I have been working on that I am calling The Little Book of Cosmic Maps.

See you soon

Big love

AJ :-)

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Healing takes Courage

Healing takes courage

 

Hello friends I hope you are all well and happy.

A few days ago my life got turned completely upside down when a very kind man with a concerned look on his face gently put a hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said “I’m sorry but you have cancer”.   He said lots of other things too, he explained a lot and I understood every word he said but somehow I couldn’t take any of it in.  I just wasn’t expecting him to say that, after I heard the word  cancer my mind just went into freefall and I couldn’t even think what questions to ask.

Physically I feel fine apart from a problem in my mouth.  I thought I had an abscess under one of my teeth so I went to the dentist and was put on antibiotics. They didn’t work and the swelling got bigger.  All in all I took four lots of antibiotics and it just got bigger although strangely it just felt uncomfortable and not painful.  The antibiotics made me feel awful too.  Finally I was referred to the hospital and my first appointment was for last Wednesday, but I panicked a bit and by going to A&E and asking them to check it I managed to get the appointment brought forward by a week.  The doctor I saw was very reassuring he said “it looks quite alarming but I don’t think it’s cancer”.  He did take a biopsy, just to make sure, and told me to come back on Wednesday of this week when he hoped he would have the results.

So I had a relatively stress-free week, I thought I would need surgery to have the lump removed and I knew I would lose several teeth when that was done, but afterwards I’d be getting back to normal and eventually wearing dentures. I’d get used to that…

So this Wednesday when T and I went back to the hospital we were fairly upbeat and positive and I was hoping to find out when the surgery could be done.  Then this Exocet missile came out of no-where and everything changed.   I have large b cell lymphoma and that has caused the tumour in my mouth.  I had blood tests last Thursday and I am having a CT Scan next Friday because it’s likely I have the cancer in other parts of my body too and they need to know the full extent before deciding on the course of treatment. On the following Monday I am seeing someone in the haematology department who will tell me the score.  And so my journey begins…

We are both trying to be positive and to prepare ourselves for whatever happens next, but our emotions are all over the place at the moment.

So, if you could send some love and hugs and positive energy my way I’d be ever so grateful.

Big love AJ :-)

 

PS the image above is from a new journal I have started.

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Summer

Summer

Hello friends

I hope you are all well and happy, everything is good here :-)

This is a page in my mixed media, altered book journal.  Ages ago we bought some garlic at the Garlic Farm and it came in this fantastic brown paper bag printed with a butterfly and lots of words relating to garlic, so I used that as one layer, then there was lots of paint, stamping and stencilling.  The words are just things I wrote down in my note book one lunchtime when I went and sat outside and soaked up the glorious weather.  Later I transferred them to my journal.

I can’t believe what a wonderful summer we are having, it seems like we’ve had weeks and weeks of summer, I LOVE it.

The only trouble is I am so busy I’ve not really had time to enjoy it as much as I’d like, but even when I’m stuck inside working it’s still good to look outside and see the sunshine so I’m not complaining.

Sorry it’s a short post tonight because I need to start ticking some more things off my ‘To Do’ list before it starts stressing me out.

Take care of yourselves and I’ll be back soon(ish)

Big love

AJ :-)

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Can’t see the wood for the trees

Enchanted Trees 1

 

Hello friends!

I hope life is being good to you, here we are having glorious summer weather and I’m loving it.  It’s been warm and sunny for weeks now, sometimes actually too hot for some people but not for me.  Hot days just remind me of Sunny Tobago and that’s one of my favourite places, it’s hot there all the time, all year round and I think the secret is to not be rushing about.  “Just chill mon, ev’ry t’ing is cool” besides it’s nice to be able to spend time outside when I get up in the morning and in the evenings.

I collected my two paintings from the Open exhibition at the library at the weekend so I thought I’d share them with you.  I don’t know what, if anything, anyone thought of them as the only comments I got were from Mum and Dad and they are biased towards their daughter.  I think I probably went a bit (a bit!) overboard with the colours but I do LOVE neon.  They both measure 16″ by 20″.

So, up there is the first one and below is the second one.

Enchanted Trees 2

 

I hope you are having a good summer.

Big love

AJ :-)

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The love you make

The Love you Make

Hello friends

I hope all is well with you.

The Arts Festival is over now for another year and it was a great success, I really enjoyed it this year.  The artwork, created by a local artist and local youth groups was outstanding and the opening concert was very moving.  All week there was stuff going on.  A really great effort by the team.

Since then I finished a journal I started over a year ago and the image above is the back cover.  It started out it’s life as a child’s board book that I picked up in a charity shop for a few pence.  I peeled off the plastic covering from all the pages, gave them a coat of gesso, then coloured them, added collage and penwork.  The book had a pocket in the back cover but I sealed it up completely and just left the flap.

I’ve covered the outside of this journal with strips of clear packing tape so, hopefully, the collage elements won’t lift.  You can see where the tape overlaps and I realise that might bother a lot of people, but it doesn’t bother me, the tape gives the cover a high gloss finish that I like.

Here is what’s under the flap.

The secret under the flap

 

And here is the finished journal.  I started this journal over a year ago in Teesha Moore and Jane Davenport’s Mermaid Circus 1 online workshop, but I only did one page and the rest of it has been completed as part of Teesha’s Artstronauts Club.  There are only 12 pages in total including the front and back covers, but I usually have a number of different projects on the go at the same time so that’s why it takes so long to complete anything.  I always get a great sense of achievement when a journal is finished.

Finsiehd journal

Have a good week and I’ll see you soon (ish).

Big love

AJ :-)

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be a realist!

Be a Realist!

Hello friends!

I hope all is good with you.

So the reality is I’ve become a ‘not very good blogger’ but that’s just how it is at the moment and I’ve got to stop letting it worry me.

The Ryde Arts Festival is now well under way and got off to a spectacular start on Friday evening with the opening of the Landmark Trees project and a concert of a piece of music composed (by two young composers) especially for the event.  It was fantastic!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhat was particularly good about it was that the hangings for the Landmark Trees were made by a local artist working with four different youth groups.  It took them about 3 months to paint them.

The concert ‘Seasons for a Soldier’ was played by the local Symphony Orchestra but also included an adult choir, a youth choir and the marching band of the local Sea Cadets.

The whole piece is about the seasons of 1914 – from optimistic Spring through to desolate Winter, reflecting on what it must have been like for all the young men who, in the autumn and winter of 1914 volunteered to fight for their country.  There are ribbons on all the trees outside with the names of the men from the town who lost their lives in WW1.

I’ve been volunteering over the weekend: on Friday and Saturday evening at events in the old church and this morning just sitting and welcoming the visitors who came in to see the installation and listen to a recording of the music.  (Actually I did a bit of art too while I was there) :-)  Also yesterday afternoon I spent several hours updating the Ryde Arts Festival website.

You can’t see it in the picture (because people are sitting over it) but on the floor in big white lettering are the famous words from a Rupert Brooke poem “…That there’s some corner of a foreign field. That is for ever England”.  The chairs are just put out if there is a concert, but during the daytime people walk into a vast empty space with these wonderful tree hangings, the line of poetry on the floor and the music playing.  I think it’s really impressive and I’m proud to play a small part in the annual Arts Festival.

The spread above is in my Altered Book Journal.  I was a bit surprised in how it turned out, but that’s the way the pages wanted to be so who am I to argue?

I don’t know anything about Anwar Sadat other than he was the President of Egypt from 1970.  I’m guessing like most politicians he had good points and bad.  He took his country to war with Israel but he also entered into Peace Talks with Israel which culminated in a Peace Treaty being signed.  He and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On 6 October 1981 President Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo.

Anyway I really like the quote and I needed something with an Egyptian flavour to compliment the images (which came from a picture I bought in a charity shop yesterday).

Until the next time, have fun

Big love

AJ :-)

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Getting Away With It

Getting Away With It

Hello friends

Thank you for your kind comments after my last post.  To be honest I am still feeling conflicted about the whole blog thing and I need to give it some thought.

In the meantime I have finished the front cover of my board book.  Just got the back cover to do now, but that could take a few weeks at current rate of progress.  I sealed the collage with clear packing tape, so it has a gloss finish.  You can see the lines where the tape overlaps, but I don’t mind that.

I hope you are keeping well and happy.  I’m really enjoying the sunshine and long hours of daylight at the moment.

See you soon

Big love

AJ :-)

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.