Sky above me

Sky-above-me

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you, I am fine.

By now I should be well on the way to recovering from round 4 of chemo but we had a slight set back.  I was due for round 4 on 2 January, but on 1 January I started to feel unwell.  This has nothing to do with any late night or consumption of alcohol on 31 December as I went to bed early and I haven’t drunk alcohol for years.  I had a bad night on 1/2 January and woke up on 2nd with a high temperature.  I still got ready to go to the hospital and by the time I left my temperature was down to normal.  When I got to the chemo suite I told them I’d been unwell and was asked lots of questions, then there were a couple of telephone conversations with the doctor and it was decided to postpone the chemo for 10 days and to put me on antibiotics in case I was ‘brewing’ an infection.

Since then I’ve been feeling OK but still very tired all the time.  Sometimes the lack of energy gets me down as I achieve very little in a whole day. Yesterday the sum total of my activities resulted in a trip to the vets to get Bill Kat sorted out and I managed to do a pile of ironing – that’s it, that’s all I did and it wore me out!

I had a blood test on Friday and as long as my blood count is OK I’ll be having chemo again tomorrow.  Wish me luck!  I’m still only half way through the treatment and it’s getting quite hard now.  Hopefully the injections I’ll get to boost my blood count will help with the tiredness this time.

So Billy Kat got in the wars again yesterday.  T got up at about 05:30am to let the cats out and then came back to bed.  I got up at about 8am and by then both cats were home again, I didn’t take much notice of them apart from putting out some food for them.  T got up at about 10am and then got cross with me because he noticed that Billy had a bloody eye and I hadn’t noticed it as clearly I should have done!

We phoned the vets and they agreed to see him almost immediately so we packed him up in the carrying box and drove down the road to the vets.  Both of our cats HATE being in the car.  They don’t mind being in the box and they don’t mind seeing the vet but the short trip there is tortuous to them.  Billy whined and howled all the way.  The vet checked out his eye, and he has a big scratch just above his eye and another just below, but fortunately no scratch on the eyeball itself.  He was given a shot of antibiotic and we have some drops to put in twice a day for the next few days.  Today he is looking a bit better although his eye is swollen and he’s not very happy that he’s been ‘grounded’ until it heals up.

We don’t know how the injury happened, he could have been fighting with his brother (as they don’t like each other much), another cat that had strayed onto ‘Bill’s’ territory or he could have caught a bird or rat that put up a fight.  That’s what happened the last time he got injured, he caught a large rat but it bit him and did a fair bit of damage before he managed to kill it.  For a while after that he was more timid and home loving, but clearly he’d forgotten all about that when he went out to patrol his territory yesterday.

The page above is the front page of my Warrior Women Journal which is finished now (yay!) and there’s just the back cover left to share.

Stay well and happy friends

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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Happy New Year!

Strength and Dignity

Hello friends!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year!

Well 2014 was certainly a year to remember but I am so looking forward to the new year, to getting through the next 3 rounds of chemo then, getting good results on the regression or elimination of the cancer and finally getting my health and strength back.

Despite my being the Christmas Grinch I actually had a good time, I saw the French side of my family just before Christmas that is my brother, his wife and my nephew and niece. On Christmas Day T and I had lunch with my parents and then in the afternoon my older brother and his wife joined us.  I got lots of really lovely gifts too and I’d like to thank all my family and friends for their generosity.

This week I’ve been feeling a lot better but when I had a blood test yesterday my white cell count was a bit low, so that now has to be monitored.

On 2 January I go in for round 4 of chemo, the drug that was taken out last time has been put back in but at half the strength or quantity I had previously.  In my ‘take home’ pack this time as well as the three lots of medication I will also have some fibre sachets and some injections that will need to be given to me on the fifth day after the chemo one a day for 5 days.  I have been told that I can give the injections myself and they will show me how, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to jab myself with a needle.  If I can’t then the district nurse will come and do it for me.  These injections are something to help build up the white cells.  Ah well that’s something different to get used to  😐

2014 has been a crazy year – we finally got our new kitchen installed (by ourselves – it took us 3 months to complete! ) after waiting nearly 20 years; the summer delivered some lovely sunny weather and that always makes me feel good; the local history group was as busy as ever with lots of exhibitions and events throughout the year; I really enjoyed the Arts Festival; I got to go to a Buckingham Palace garden party, I got a new job and pay rise within the company I work for, unfortunately I only did the job for a short time before I became sick but when I’m well I am looking forward to doing the new role and doing something that will be more challenging and rewarding than the data inputting I was doing for the previous 18 months; I have received lots of love and support from family and friends both near and far and I’ve realised that there are lessons to be learnt and good things that can be taken from bad situations.

Still, roll on 2015 and hopefully getting back to normal.

The page above is the last page of the Warrior Women Journal and was completed a few weeks ago. I have also now finished the cover and will share that with you over the next two posts.  I like the bright colours and the smiling warrior woman.

Today I am especially thinking about my friend Ruth who I met online a few weeks ago. She has had a much longer and harder journey than I have so far but she has faced each challenge with grace and dignity.  Right now things are really tough for her and she’s off line and taking time for herself.  I am so grateful to have met you Ruth and I’m holding you in my thoughts.  Onwards and Upwards.

Thanks again to you all for your support and love and please know that I wish every single one of you all the very best for the coming year – let’s make it a good one 🙂

Take 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.

 

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 ❤

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.

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.

Happy Birthday Blog!

Mandala book coverHello friends!

It’s been a while so I hope all is good with you.

According to WordPress it’s 3 years ago today that I started this blog, so Happy Birthday Blog!  Unfortunately recently I’ve been neglecting things and here we are in the middle of June and this is my first post of the month.  What happened?  I used to post regularly, often 2 posts a week, but now there are long gaps.

Working on the kitchen refurb was the start of the upset of the routine and finding the time is always a problem, but it’s more than that.  I’ve been wondering what it’s all about? Why am I putting all this stuff out there? I always found time in the past so what’s the problem now? Also there is a bit of guilt, people come along here and leave lovely comments and I read them and have every intention of replying, visiting their blogs and being supportive – every intention but I’m not always successful with my intentions.  So does that make me a bad blogger? I’m not asking for or expecting anyone to give me any answers but these are just some of the thoughts I’ve been having and I’m still confused about it…

Anyway, I’ve still found time to be creative – I’ve been working on a couple of paintings, on several journals and I managed to finish my second Mandala book, the images above and below are the front and back cover of the book.

Take good care of yourselves, until the next time

Big love

AJ 🙂

Back cover

 

 

© 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.

Your Heart is as Big as an Ocean

Your Heart is as Big as an Ocean

 

Hello friends!

This is the last spread in my board book experiment.  I just have the cover to do and it’s finished 🙂  It’s been an interesting experiment: I started off with a child’s board book and stripped off the wipe-able shiny paper which left me with a plain cardboard book.  I gessoed the pages and let that dry before painting the backgrounds with acrylic paint.

The background is quite rough and scratchy, not smooth like watercolour paper, and it’s not so easy to collage on, and always get a good fix. or to write on.  On the other hand I like it because when it’s complete it’s going to be a good sturdy book.  There are only 5 spreads in the book, so it has been quick to fill up (at least it would have been if it was the only project I was working on).

So, to be honest I didn’t reach any definite conclusion from the experiment. 🙂

I really like this spread, I think the colours work and, as I am sure I’ve said before, I really love underwater stuff.  I recently found a book about tropical fish in a charity shop and it’s been great collage fodder.

For me the collage is really like a canvas.  I like the collage because I can’t draw and collage gives me some shapes and structure to work with.  My favourite bit is playing with pens – altering and embellishing what’s on the page.  Sometimes I just get ‘in the zone’ and there is no thought about what I’m doing other than ‘playing with pens’, that’s when magic sometimes happens :-).

The quote is by Rumi (who always makes my heart sing)

The DIY project is progressing slowly, we’ve made some progress, but it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.  The construction is no problem at all, but understanding the instructions is taking some working out, like when you are given two completely different sets of measurements to work to which should you go with!?  Still it’s all cool, we’ll get there – eventually.

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.