Mindfulness

MindfulnessHello friends

I hope all is good with you in these challenging times for all of us. Sometimes it feels to me like the whole world is going mad, there is a monumental shift taking place and I feel so out of synch with it all.

I can’t change the results of the referendum or the US election, or the way other people think, and I understand that our political systems have failed and disenfranchised so many, but this shift to isolationism and xenophobia is really worrying me.

So I keep reminding myself of that quote by Mahatma GhandiBe the change that you wish to see in the world.’  I know I have to be the very best version of myself that I can be.  I try every day to be a good, caring and thoughtful person.  I’ll be honest with you admit that most days I fail miserably, there is usually some point in the day when I get angry or upset about something or someone I don’t agree with, but every day I start again and try to improve.  I don’t know if I will ever be the person I truly want to be and I realise if I can’t even do that for myself how can I expect the rest of the world to be the caring, compasionate, inclusive world I want it to be.  Just got to keep trying…..

Practising mindfulness is helping and I am getting some clarity and calmness from it.

The image above is the back page of my 6″ by 9″ journal and it is to remind me to be mindful.

Back cover before and after

When I was 18 years old in 1973 T and I set off to travel overland to India, our first stop was Amsterdam where we spent a few days waiting for the Magic Bus  to leave.  The bus was actually going all the way to India but we only took it as far as Istanbul, and travelled the rest of the way on public transport.

While we were in Amsterdam, killing time, we were wandering about the city one evening and we came across the Stedelijk Museum of contemporary and modern art.  It was a cold and miserable October evening and it was dry and warm in the museum so we went inside.  There was hardly anyone else there and we had a great time looking at the amazing art.  There was an exhibition of machines made by the artist Jean Tinguely.  These machines were fantastic and playful, I had never seen anything like it before in my life.

The Stedelijk Museum currently (until 5 March 2017) has another exhibition by Jean Tinguely called Machine Spectacle.  If you happen to be in Amsterdam before 5 March I recommend you visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed:

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

Big LOVE

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Life as Play

Life as Play

Hello friends

It’s been pouring with rain most of the day today so I’ve been in my room painting, I’m very close to being half way through my big personal project. (So still several months to go before completion)!

Last weekend the weather was much better and I spent it out in the garden on a different kind of creative project.  I built this raised bed in an attempt to make growing vegetables a bit easier for T, as he’s struggling at the moment.  I’ve got two more to build.  Now that I know how to do it the next ones should be easier.

Veg plot before KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m also trying to eliminate the weeds from the paths by killing them then covering the area with cardboard, membrane and gravel. I bought some preserver to paint the wood too, but ran out of time last weekend and the weather is not good enough this weekend.

The image at the top is another page from my small 6″ x 9″ journal, I finished this page off on Monday when I had to go for my check up at Southampton hospital.  It’s a good job I took something to do as they were running an hour late by mid-day when I was supposed to see the doctor and I’d already been there for a couple of hours as I have to have a blood test at least an hour before my appointment.  Anyway I saw a nice young doctor and all is good and I’m still in remission 19 months after treatment finished.  🙂

To celebrate here is a lovely video by Thomas Blanchard I found on the internet this week, it’s mesmerising and I could watch it over and over.  In fact I have watched it over and over again.  If you enjoy it as much as I do perhaps you could leave a comment for Thomas? :-).

 

 

When I posted this I could see the video, but now I can’t? Just in case you can’t see it either just click on the link for Thomas Blanchard and the video is called Kingdom of Colours.

I hope all is good with you, I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

A new approach

page-14-after-penwork

Hello friends

I have been trying to figure out why I’ve been so reticent to blog this year and I’ve decided to try a different approach and see if that gets me restarted and remotivated.

From now on there will be much less personal stuff and I’ll concentrate on my favourite subject – visual art.  Afterall that’s what it was supposed to be about in the beginning.  Mainly to document my art and see if I ever made any progress (the jury’s still out on that one).

I’ll be posting my own art and some of my photographs and I’ll be sharing some of the amazing art I see online, but that’s it folks.

So if you are not interested in art and only visit my blog to see what goes on in my personal life (I really can’t imagine why anyone would find that interesting) you’ll be disappointed.  But hey that’s life 🙂

This image is from my small journal and was completed in June this year. I like it because it’s bright and cheerful and has a good message.

And here is a video of one of my favourite artists:

I met David in May 2015 at a workshop he did at Morgan in Clerkenwell (Link) shortly after that he flew out to Turkey and painted this beautiful mural. Film by Babylon TV

 

I hope you are keeping well and making lots of lovely art.

See ya soon (maybe)

Big love

AJ

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

 

Dance with your Heart

page-12-small

Hello friends

Hope things are good with you, I am absolutely fine.  I still can’t find enough time to do all the things I want to do, but I’m not stressing about it.  If things don’t get done it’s not the end of the world.

I have been quite creative recently and that’s always a good sign.  I am slowly working on my ‘secret big project’, I reckon at this rate it’s going to take another 18 months to 2 years to complete.  That’s as long as I keep at it, but to be honest I do have a history of starting things and never finishing them so we’ll just have to wait and see if I can keep at this one.  It doesn’t really matter though because I learn as I go along so all is good.  At some point in the future I might have to share it with you just to check if it’s worth continuing with.

I was going to share another black & white page from my Tikis and Totems journal today, but I just couldn’t have two b&w posts in a row, so the above page is another from my small (6″ by 9″) journal and the page was completed several months ago.

I am really curious to know why colour is so important to me, most creative people I know are really into music I think most people who are creative listen to music when they create.  While I don’t dislike music, (afterall you need music to be able to dance), left to my own devices I would never think to listen to music.  To be honest if I never heard any music I don’t think I would be too bothered.  But colour, now that’s a different story – if I can’t feast my eyes on beautiful colourful images every day, then things get a bit weird and I suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

I did wonder recently how I would cope if I ever lost my sight.  Initially it seemed that would be the worst thing that could  happen to me, but then I realised that the eyes are just the windows that let the light in and I have an amazing imagination so even if my eyes didn’t work I am pretty sure my brain would adjust and I would just ‘see’ things in a differnt way.  Don’t worry there isn’t anything wrong with my sight, other than I now need glasses for reading.  It was just one of those random thoughts that come out of nowhere, but I was reassured by the ‘solution’ my brain came up with.

Here is the before and after image:

page-12-before-and-after

When I was younger I loved dancing but I’m a bit rusty now and I have nowhere near the energy I had even 10 years ago.  Still Hoopfit class starts up again next week, that’s fun and good exercise so I’m looking forward to it.  Got to admit I’m not much good at hooping though, I spend a lot of time bending down to pick the hoop up! But the teacher is lovely, it’s definitely a giggle and it’s always easier to exercise when it’s fun.

Hope life is treating you well, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

 

 

 

Dare to be different

Dare to be differentHello friends

Week four of my return to blogland and I need to tell you that I am going offline completely again for at least a couple of weeks.  I just need to get away from all the noise on the internet.

The past month has been quite challenging on a national and global scale: there was the UK referendum, I was devastated by the result.  I know that I was in the minority and accept that we will be leaving the EU, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I know that everyone voted for the best of reasons so all I can do is hope that I’m wrong and things won’t get as bad as I feel they will.

After the referendum it got even crazier with David Cameron, our PM, resigning and other crazy things going on.  So now we have a new PM, Theresa May, I have to say I hate her politics, but I do have a grudging admiration for her, she’s a strong woman and, let’s face it, slightly better than any of the alternatives – Andrea Leadsom, a woman I’d never heard of before but came across as a right-wing loon – Boris Johnson, professional buffoon and lier – Michael Gove, who went against his word and stabbed his friend in the back in order to further his own political career (fortunately it backfired on him).  I’m really not sure why Thersa May has put Boris Johnson in as Foreign Secretary and made us a laughing stock of the world though!  It might have something to do with the fact that she didn’t want us to leave the EU and he lied to persaude people to vote Brexit, so he can deal with the consequences, I don’t know.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party, the main party of opposition in the UK is pulling itself apart because the vast majority of the membership elected Jeremy Corbyn, a progressive socialist, as leader last year.  Most of the Labour MPs don’t like him or his policies, and rather than accepting that they should be representing the views of the membership have tried their hardest to get him to resign or oust him by other means.  This means there will be another leadership election in September.  There have been all sorts of shenanigans going on in their attempt to rig the election.  I am really hoping they fail because Corbyn is the first politician in many years who has made me think that change for the better might actually be possible.  I joined the Labour Party in July to support Corbyn, but a few days later the National Executive Committee changed the rules saying that only people who had already been members for 6 months could vote unless people registered and paid £25 in order to be able to vote in the election.  After thinking long and hard about this I paid the £25 and it’s just been confirmed that I can now vote.

Of course between now and the election ‘they’ are going to try and discredit Corbyn by any means, but he is such a dignified, calm and reasoned man, he refuses to get involved in personal mud-slinging and just states his case quietly and calmly – that it’s about people.  ‘They’ keep saying he is not electable and he’s too left wing but maybe that’s what we need right now?  For the past 20 years or so it has been difficult to vote in general elections for me because I couldn’t see much difference between the two main parties, but I think Corbyn could provide me with the choice I’ve been looking for.  We’ll see.

There is other madness going on in the world too – Trump being nominated as the Republican candidate for the US president against Hilary Clinton for the Democrats!  And all sorts of attacks on ordinary people going on in Nice, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, etc. etc.  It’s all getting a bit too much to bear, so I just need to get away from the noise and calm myself down for a while.  I’m going to be off-line for another couple of weeks or so, but I will be back.

In the meantime I’m sharing another page from my small 6″ by 9″ journal.  This page was finished between April and June last year.

And here is a comparison between the ‘just collage’ stage with the completed page:

Page 11 before and after

That’s all for now folks, enjoy your summer and I’ll see you in a few weeks time.  In the meantime take good care of yourselves.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Stingray

SringrayHello friends

Well here we are week three of my return to blogland and already I’m slipping with the posting!

I meant to post something yesterday but it was sunny (actual real summer sunny) and I was busy doing other stuff.

I haven’t got much to say at the moment so here is a page from my small 9″ by 6″ journal, this page was completed in April 2015 just as I was coming to the end of my cancer treatment.  It’s a strange page about a stingray.  Ever since Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray people have been scared of them, but they are really beautiful and gentle creatures and if you are lucky enough to go swimming in an area where a stingray lives, it is going to come and check you out.  It won’t attack you (unless you surprise or hurt it) but it will swim all around you and come up close to see what you are up to.  It’s a truly incredible thing to experience and I’m lucky that it has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Anyway here is the page with just the collage and then with the penwork:

Before and afterLook after yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Happy New Year!

Page 6 7 & 8 sHello!

I hope everyone is doing well.  I hope too that you all had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the very best for 2016!

I knew I had been neglecting my blog but i didn’t realise it was four and half months since my last post!  I guess I just needed some space to get myself together after the cancer treatment.

The Bongo!

On the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis (mid-September) T and I did something exciting and possibly crazy, we spent a lot of money and bought ourselves a Bongo.  In case you don’t know what a Bongo is here’s a picture of ours:

Bongo! s

It’s an old vehicle but it’s in really good condition and it has everything we could possibly need for our planned adventures.  Inside it has been converted into a campervan and has a fridge, 2-ring gas stove, sink, loads of cupboard space and the seats convert into a bed. The roof also lifts up and there is a tent/bed up there too.  It also came with an awning/tent which can be attached to the vehicle, when it is parked up.  We think it will be perfect for us and it’s great to drive, so far we have only been out for day trips, but we are looking forward to going camping in it in 2016 once the warmer weather and longer days come back.

Making a space for another vehicle

Having got the Bongo I needed to create somewhere to park it.  There was space to park one vehicle on our land and I needed that for my car. While I am working I still need to keep my car. So T had to sacrifice a piece of the garden so I could create another parking space. It took me about a month to do that and it was REALLY hard physical work – digging out shrubs, removing about 4 car loads of soil and transporting them to the local landfill site, then building a low retaining wall from heavy blocks and filling the space with 1 tonne of gravel and more blocks.  T offered to help, but I was worried he would put too much strain on his heart so I did most of the work on my own.  Here’s the end result, unfortunately there was not enough room to make the new space for the van so my car is now parked here and the van is parked where the car used to go.

Here’s the space after the fence was removed and most of the soil taken out:

DSCF7602 s

And here is it finished 🙂

DSC00321 s 1

This is the old parking space where the Bongo has to be parked now, I also built that wall along the side of the path.  The garden used to slope down to the path, and by building the wall I was able to level out the garden with some of the soil I had to remove for the new parking bay, that saved me a couple of trips to the local landfill site, but boy oh boy those blocks were heavy to move about!

DSCF7597 s

All the while I was doing this work the weather was great, in fact perfect camping weather but I had to get on and finish the project and by the time it was done (mid October) the weather was much cooler and the nights were drawing in. So still no camping for us.

Taking a break from the local history group

In mid October I stood down from my role of Chairman and committee member of the local history group, Ryde Social Heritage Group I am still a member of the group but I felt that I needed a break from the total involvement I’ve had with the group since we formed it in 2002 and I’ve been Chairman since 2007.  I started the group with two friends in 2002 and have seen it develop and grow into an award winning group.  It’s something I’m really proud of, but after 13 years of it being a high priority for me I realised that I had left much of ‘normal life’ for T to sort out. It just wasn’t fair to expect him to carry on doing the lion’s share of the house and garden work. It felt like we needed to be spending more time together.  But I am confident that the people remaining on the Committee are as committed to the success of the group as I was, so I know it’s in safe hands and will continue the good work started all those years ago.  I have quite a bit more space in my room now that all the history stuff has been handed over, but I must admit it’s still untidy and chaotic in my room and there is still far too much ‘stuff’ in here!  That’s something I shall be addressing in the New Year (she said).

Decorating

After a short rest following the building work I decided to start another project and we redecorated our living room together: we stripped the walls, repainted the ceiling and woodwork, then repapered the walls.  We finished that job just before Christmas. Actually there are still some shelves to put up but we finished it enough to be able to use the room again over the Xmas holidays and at least it is looking fresher and cleaner now.

In Remission 🙂

I had another meeting with my oncologist earlier in December, it was a good meeting and I was told the usual ‘Everything looks OK, come back in three months’. It had been bugging me a bit that other people I know who have been treated for cancer have been told that they are in remission but no-one had ever said that to me.  So I decided to ask the doctor if ‘Everything looks OK’ means that I’m in remission and she said ‘Yes it does, I’m sorry but I can’t promise you that you will never get cancer again but at the moment there are no signs that you have it, so yes you are in remission’. So I left the hospital feeling considerably lighter and happier.

T’s health is still not 100% he has been off work for another two months and we are not sure he will be able to return to work, but most of the time we are both doing OK and mood-wise at the moment we are fine.

The strange Christmas Tree

I decided not to have a Christmas tree this year as I had seen this really cool idea on Pinterest so on the weekend before Christmas I went out in to the Cemetery (my house is just inside the cemetery gates) and collected a load of holly, ivy, yew and spruce cuttings and then spent a day decorating my dress form.  So for Christmas we had this headless and armless ‘festive’ lady standing in the corner of the room.  The cats were not sure what to make of her, but then Billy Kat discovered he could get underneath her skirt and there was a magical cat cave inside 🙂

Christmas 2015 1 s

Unfortunately I didn’t realise quite how heavy all the greenery would be and by the time Christmas was over the skirt had dropped a bit, but apart from that it did look quite effective.  If I do it again next year I’ll make sure I fix the rabbit wire skirt more securely to the torso so it will stay in place.

Art

The building and decorating projects, health issues and my return to full time working have meant that I have had very little time for art in the past 4 months, but I consoled myself that I was nevertheless still being creative even if I wasn’t making ‘my art’.  The project with my radiotherapy mask is still ongoing but it was stalled for a long while and is not complete enough to share at the moment.

The image at the top of the page is from my small journal (6″ x 9″) and was completed in April 2015 when I was having radiotherapy.  Because I had to travel to the mainland for the treatment, it meant there was a lot of hanging around waiting for ferries, buses and treatment so it was good to have a small journal and some pens with me.

Here is what the 3 page spread looked like before I played about with the pens:

Page 6 7 & 8 collage only s

So that’s all my news, in a long an boring post!  Don’t suppose anyone has managed to get through all that text (I wouldn’t have) but that’s OK because this blog is for me more than anyone else.  So that in a few years time I’ll be able to look back and say “Oh that’s what happened in 2015”  as I will probably have forgotten.

Hope all is good with you in your part of the Universe.

Big love AJ 🙂

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.

Lost!

Thoughts are not facts

Hello friends

I hope you are all keeping healthy and happy.

I haven’t posted on my blog again for ages, I’m not sure why but it just hasn’t felt right for me to do so.

The truth is that I am still feeling somewhat out of kilter and discombobulated (isn’t that a fabulous word)?  Physically I feel pretty good and,  as people keep telling me, I look ‘really well’ but the truth is my head is in a mess.  Maybe I haven’t  posted because I don’t want to sound miserable and I don’t want or need sympathy, it’s just the way things are at the moment.  It’s no great shakes just something I need to work through.

I really thought that once I had finished all the treatment and started to feel better physically everything would be just hunky dory and ‘back to normal’ in no time at all, but that’s not how things are. Right now I feel like I don’t know where I am and half the time I’m not even sure who I am.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  But that’s the nearest I can get to describing this feeling of being lost.

I am pretty emotional too and I can’t seem to keep myself on an even keel.  Sometimes I am sinking into depression for no reason that I can think of.  I don’t mean the crippling “can’t even get out of bed” type of depression, but the just the sensation of everything being flat and uninteresting.  I know it will pass and it does, but when it happens I don’t really want to have to interact with other people, and that’s tricky when I have to go to work and help to sort out other people’s problems.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer the nurse told me that it was going to change me.  I had no idea what she was talking about and I think I just dismissed it. BUT now I completely understand what she meant, it’s just that I can’t really explain it to you.

I think partly it is down to confidence (or lack of it), having 8 months of treatment has certainly bashed my self esteem a bit, and I don’t feel that confident in my ability to do things as well as I used to.  There is also the uncertainty as to whether the cancer will come back or not. I always try not to worry about bad things that ‘might’ happen, because in my experience they usually don’t and worrying about them is just a waste of time, besides if they do happen you just have to deal with them anyway.  I try not to worry, but I don’t always succeed.  I think probably the longer it goes with things being OK the more assured I will feel.

I am still being creative but for some reason at the moment I don’t feel like sharing what I’m working on, and I don’t know why that is either.  I’m working on my radiotherapy mask project, which is turning into something of fairly epic proportions!  It’s still not anything like I’ve imagined or planned it to be but I think I just have to go along with it.  Rather than me trying to shape the project I just need to let it guide me where it wants to go because it’s going to go that way anyway…

I am also working on another project with a bit more ‘depth’ to it and I probably won’t share that or much of it until it’s finished either (this one could take years). What I want to do is work through something, I’ve picked a theme and I’m just seeing what ideas come to me around that theme.  Then I am going to look at some other artists who I really like and see if and how I can use their work to influence my own art.  I’m hoping that this will help me progress and grow. It think it might also be my route for re-finding myself – the ‘where’ and ‘who’ I am. Wish me luck!

I’m back at work full time now, but because it’s such a struggle I am using up all my leave from last year so I can take breaks when it gets too much.  Like for example today I couldn’t face going in because I’ve had a really crappy weekend, with a very low mood, so I contacted my manager this morning and told him I needed to take emergency leave.  Fortunately for me he is an incredibly understanding and sympathetic person so that seemed to be OK.

T is still off work and having major problems with the cardio medication, but fortunately he finally got to see a GP who understood and between them they are working things out, it’s just taking a bl**dy long time!

I did eventually get around to writing to the local hospital to explain why I insisted on staying under the care of Southampton hospital when the radiotherapy treatment finished.  The feedback I gave included the good as well as the bad things I had experienced at the local hospital.  Last week I went in to meet up with the Specialist Nurse and her manager to discuss my rather long letter of feedback.  They seemed to take it all very seriously and were very apologetic, hopefully they will use it to make improvements to the service that people receive there.  I hope so anyway.

Two good things came out of it for me one is that I am now enrolled on a Surviving Cancer Information Programme (SKIP) which starts at the end of October and I think that will help me to cope better, and in the meantime I have been referred to a psychologist for support prior to the programme starting. So hopefully things will start to improve for me soon.  I think I could probably work things out by myself over time, but I am worried that I am messing things up at work and letting people down so I think I need a bit of support to get me through this tricky bit of fully getting back into the swing of things.

The page above (completed in May of this year) is from my small journal (6″ x 9″)  and below are the before and after penwork images.

Thoughts before and after penwork

Take good care of yourselves my lovelies

Big love from me

AJ xxx

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© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.

Everything works out

Everything works out

 

Hello friends

It’s almost a month since I wrote anything on my blog so it’s time for another update.  I hope all is well with you in your part of the universe.

Here things have settled down and we are now on a more even keel.  We are both out of our depressive moods and getting on with things.  T still has to get his medication sorted out as something is making him feel very unwell at the moment, but he’s seeing his doctor next week so hopefully she can make some changes for the better at the moment he is still on sick leave.

I have started back at work which is good.  I’m taking things slowly.  The first week I did two and for the past two weeks I’ve done 3 day weeks and I am gradually working up to being in full time work again soon.  It will be good to finally get back to normal again but at the moment I’m struggling a little with my time management.  I suppose that after 8 months of having very little to do and all the time in the world to do it in, I’ve gotten used to not doing much at all, but I’ll get back in my stride eventually.  Anyway it’s so good to feel healthy again and I’m feeling optimistic about the future.

Next week I should be working 3 days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but on Wednesday I have booked leave as I am travelling to London with a couple of friends to receive another national award for Ryde Social Heritage Group.  We are going to have to leave VERY early in the morning to be able to get to London by 10am and then at some point in the day I have to give a short presentation to lots of people, but I’m looking forward to it very much.  We have to leave London by mid afternoon in order to be able to get back to the Isle of Wight by early evening.  It will be a long but rewarding day and I’ll have all day Thursday to recover from the travel.

I’ve started working on a project with my radiotherapy mask.  At the moment I’m not sure how it’s going, definitely not quite as I expected. I think I just need to keep at it and see where it goes. The project involves papier mache and wheat paste and I haven’t played with those for a long time so at the least I’m enjoying the process and that’s more important to me than the end result.

Apart from that I still haven’t found much time for doing any other art so the page above was completed in my small journal in March this year, below is the before and after image:

Page 4 before and after

Stay healthy and happy and I’ll see you soon

Big love AJ 🙂

xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.

More Challenges!

 

Challenges

Hello friends!

I hope you are all doing well.  I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been in a bad head space for a few weeks, life continues to throw challenges my way, and I haven’t been coping that well.

Soon after my last post T developed flu-like symptoms and was clearly unwell and spent much of the time in bed.

On 26 May it was my birthday, you know one of those ‘big ones’ with a big fat zero at the end.  It wasn’t the best birthday, T was very sick and although I did get a couple of visitors to be honest I really didn’t feel that sociable.

Our holiday was booked to start on 29 May and the night before I suggested to T that we cancel and stay at home instead, but he insisted he felt a little better each day and wanted us to go.  So we packed up and went as planned.

I knew that we wouldn’t be able to do much in the way of walking or activity but I thought all we had to do was chill out and take things easy.  I packed a whole bag of art supplies to keep myself occupied so it wouldn’t matter of we didn’t go out at all.

The cottage was exactly as advertised and the area – near to Lyme Regis in Dorset – is lovely.  The weather was not brilliant, in fact it was a bit chilly at times but the cottage had good heating so that wasn’t a problem.  BUT it was not a good holiday, in fact it was stressful and difficult for both of us.  T became really unwell physically and mentally and we both really struggled to cope.  We both ended up depressed and despondent and it was definitely not the rest and recuperation I had been hoping for.

Before T became unwell I was feeling a bit flat and lost as I’d come to the end of months of treatment but had no idea whether or not it has worked. I’ve joined a cancer forum online and found out that this often happens to people when they reach the end of treatment .  All the while you are being treated it feels like you are doing something about it but then it stops and you feel like you are left in limbo all on your own. So I was already feeling low and then when T became unwell it was like a double whammy and I fell apart a bit.

Over a week after arriving home things are finally slowly beginning to improve for both of us. We managed to see a local doctor earlier in the week and he told us that heart surgery can sometimes trigger depression in patients and the heart medication might be affecting the other meds T takes for his Bipolar Disorder.  It’s certainly been a rough old ride on the emotional roller-coaster recently and neither of us have dealt with it particularly well.

It’s a bit of a shame that the medical profession seems to treat symptoms but not the ‘whole person’ in retrospect it’s pretty obvious that heart problems are going to trigger a bipolar episode but we had nothing in place to deal with it when it did.  I just wish I was better at dealing with it, but when T is in that big black hole of depression, even though I know it’s not personal, I can’t help but feel alone and depressed too.

So, anyway I didn’t get to do any art while we were away apart from the lettering on the page above.  The atmosphere was just too tense and not conducive to being creative. I tried really hard to put into practice all those things I know about being mindful, not listening to the thoughts going round and round in my head and just deciding to be happy. Writing that quote in my journal was a message to myself that I don’t have to be defeated by the stuff life throws at me. A few times I was successful and managed to lift my mood, but most of the time, despite my best endeavours, I felt defeated and despondent.  Clearly I need to practice a lot more!

While we were on holiday I went out a couple of times on my own and I discovered a fantastic cafe in Bridport called the Soulshine Cafe  there is a lovely vibe there and I found it just at a time when I really needed some sunshine for my soul.  I also saw a fantastic exhibition at Bridport Arts Centre by the A Level students of Colfox and Beaminster School.  It was really good, so much talent!  I spent ages there looking at the art and browsing through the students’ sketchbooks and then had a long conversation with the lady who was volunteering at the exhibition.

On the Monday after we returned from holiday I went on my own to see the Oncologist at Southampton Hospital.  He examined me and asked me some questions about how I was and said things ‘look OK’.  After a bit of a discussion about whether or not I should return to the local hospital he made me an appointment to see him again at Southampton in 3 months time.  Before that I will need to have another CT scan and on the day I’ll have a blood test, so hopefully I’ll find out more then.  At the moment it seems we are playing the ‘wait and see’ game.

I am so pleased that all the treatment is over now. Physically I feel good and I’m not overly worried about my health at present. I know it’s early days yet but I’m really hoping that it’s all over now.  Next week I will be starting my phased return to work after almost 8 months sick leave and I’m looking forward to getting some normality back into my life. I am a bit anxious because I’ve been away from the work environment for such a long time, but my employers have been very understanding and my colleagues have been keeping in contact with me, it will be fine and fun once I get back into it, all I have to do is ‘get up, dress up and show up’ and start getting on with the rest of my life now.

The page above is in my small journal and here is what it looked like before the penwork:

Page-10-before-and-after

That’s all for now, take good care of yourselves, and I promise I will work on improving my mood before I post again.

Big love AJ xxx 🙂

And here is a video of another old journal 🙂

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.