Ups and Downs and Ups!

My poster made at Gonzo Design Workshop

Hello friends, I hope all is good with you.

More health issues but not me this time!

Life definitely gets weird at times, at least it does for me.  Just as I was beginning to feel a bit better and my mood was lifting after the month of radiotherapy T ended up in hospital! From Monday 11 May until Friday 15 May he was in the acute ward of coronary care unit at the local hospital.  Then on Friday morning he was sent over to QA Hospital on the mainland and later that day he had an angioplasty.  He came home on Saturday 16 May.

He was awake and watched the operation on a screen while it was happening and the doctor explained what he was doing.  I had no idea that any of this was possible.  When I thought of heart surgery before I imagined something really major resulting in a big cut to the chest and lots of stitches, but the only wound he had was the cut in his wrist where they fed in the wire up his artery and into his heart.  If you are interested you can see a similar operation here, it’s fascinating!

All the while he was in hospital he was pain free but pretty bored so he was pleased to get home again.

While T was in hospital I had plenty to keep me occupied: looking after the garden and greenhouse and keeping his precious vegetable seedlings alive, making sure the cats where fed and cared for, keeping the house clean and tidy, feeding myself and visiting the hospital once or often twice a day.  For some reason he didn’t want anyone else to visit him apart from me.  I also decided to repaint the walls and ceiling in the dining room before he came home.  It’s exactly the same colour as it was before only it looks a bit fresher now.   I also washed the floor, rug, curtains and blinds and put them back.  I didn’t really feel too anxious about him being in hospital because he was pain free and actually looked quite healthy while he was there, but I just wanted to keep myself busy while he was away.

Now he is home I am helping him to sort out the garden so he doesn’t get  too tired, his chest is still a bit bruised and he is on loads and loads of new medication at the moment which is slowing him down and sometimes affecting his mood.  Still I think we are doing OK at the moment.

Anyway it looks like we are still going to be able to get away for our short break, but we will be forced to take things very easy as I don’t think he will be able to walk very far.

A Treat for me!

Yesterday (May 20) I decided to give myself a treat and had a day trip to London see an exhibition by artist David Shillinglaw and attend a ‘Gonzo Design Workshop’ run by him at Morgan in Clerkenwell.  I had a great day and it was lovely to meet David.  He is very inclusive, welcoming and chatty as well as being a sensational artist.  After being quite nervous in the beginning I soon felt at ease and at home. In the workshop we made posters either about ourselves or about something we wanted to protest about. The materials we had to use were Design magazines, scissors, glue sticks, tissue paper and marker pens.  I was in my element and it was fun to just play around.  I nearly always create my art on my own and there is a whole new dynamic when you create with other people.

The image above is the poster I made about me 🙂 and here are a couple of pictures from the day.

Workbench at Gonzo Design Workshop

Workbench at Gonzo Design workshop with David Shillinglaw at Morgan Furniture London. Finished posters hanging in background/

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

David Shillinglaw and Me!

After months of being ‘chemo’ bald my hair is finally beginning to grow back!

Here is a video of the workshop:

Today I must admit I am feeling tired, but it’s worth it to have had a fun day yesterday.

Take care of yourselves and I’ll see you again soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2015 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.

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Courage

Courage

Hello friends

I’ve been away from my blog again for a while so I hope you are all doing well.  What a lot has happened since I was last here!

My health

During the last couple of weeks of radiotherapy treatment I was getting quite tired and often went to bed as soon as I got home, apart from that I didn’t feel too bad although the inside of mouth was sore a lot of the time.  The final treatment was on 29 April.  I thought I would feel euphoric at reaching the end of treatment, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  After the treatment ended the sores in my mouth became worse, my tongue felt like a piece of old carpet, I lost all sense of taste and eating was very difficult.  For a few days I suffered from what I assume was depression.  I was still functioning and being creative but I became even more introverted than usual and very emotional.  Thankfully things are now beginning to get better, my mouth is no longer sore and my taste is gradually coming back (I had no idea how difficult it would be to eat when there was no taste).  I’ve got a red mark on my face where the beams targeted the mandible in my jaw bone and I look like I’ve just been slapped, but that doesn’t hurt, it just looks a bit odd.

I do have this strange sense of being left in limbo though.  The last 6 months have been really difficult, but I have no idea if the treatment has worked or not.  I don’t go back to Southampton hospital until 8 June and I’m not sure what they will be able to tell me then as I have no scan or blood test scheduled before then.  The oncologist I saw at Southampton did tell me that after that appointment in June all subsequent appointments would be at my local hospital.  I was horrified and told him I didn’t want to go back there as I was so unhappy with the way I was treated.  We are going to talk about my concerns when I see him in June.

The face mask

At the end of my treatment I was given the mask to bring home, I also asked if I could have the ‘dreaded’ gob-stopper, they thought that was an unusual request but gave it to me anyway along with the piece of thick pink wax which was helping to protect my skin.

I think it needs to be turned into a piece of art eventually.  I’m not sure what I could do with the gob-stopper and the wax so I might just hide them inside so I will know they are there even if no-one else does.

 

Once I start to feel better physically I’m sure my low mood will improve as I generally work on the principle that if I feel OK then I am OK.

The death of a friend

cheesybitsThe friend we visited at the Hospice on 29 March sadly passed away on 15 April he was at his sister’s house and surrounded by his family when he died.  We attended his funeral on 27 April (2 days before I finished the radiotherapy treatment).  We were not very close friends and we hadn’t seen him for a few years before we visited him at the hospice, but he was part of our history. Back in the 1980s he played in the same band as my husband. He was an absolute giant of a man with a cutting sense of humour, but he was always lovely to me and I liked him a lot.

I think his death really brought home to me that people don’t always beat cancer and that probably has contributed to my anxiety and low mood at the moment.

Rest in Peace Dave “Cheesybits” Bowater and thanks for some great memories.

The earthquake in Nepal

Durbar-Square-KathmanduOn 25 April there was a massive earthquake in Nepal, a poor country where life is normally hard for the people.  The devastation caused by this earthquake has left 8,413 people dead, 17,576 injured, 260 still missing and many thousands of people homeless.

We spent time in Nepal in the early 1970s, it is a stunningly beautiful country and the people are welcoming and generous.  It breaks my heart that the people are suffering with this devastation now and I’m giving what I can to the relief fund.

The building in the image is one of the historic buildings in Durbar Square Kathmandu now destroyed.  That is sad but right now it’s the people who need our help.

Other news

On 2 May a royal baby was born and apparently the ‘whole’ country celebrated.  I’m not sure I did celebrate though, I mean I am pleased for them as a family but it’s just another baby and I’m sure there were lots born that day throughout the UK.

Then yesterday we had an election, perhaps you heard about it?  I’m just too pissed off to talk about it really.  Things are about to get even tougher for the poor and disadvantaged of this country and it does not make me proud to be British today.

Right, that’s got all that off my chest so now for something cheerful and positive 🙂

Holiday

I’ve booked our accommodation and the ferry for our holiday at the end of May and I’m just looking forward to getting away and having a break for a few days before I start my return to work.  I won’t even mind if it rains for the whole week because I’m just going to be chilling out.

The artwork

The page above is a page from my Tikis and Totems journal which I did last week, here’s what it looked like with just the collage:

I cheated with this one and I downloaded a totem pole from the internet, it was a colouring sheet for children to colour, I cut all the different parts from collage instead of colouring it in and then did loads of penwork over the top.

Before-and-after

That’s all for now folks, sorry this was a long one.

Stay well and happy.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2015 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.