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 🙂


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.


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.






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.


Be Inspired

Hello friends

I hope everyone is well and happy.

Our big exhibition is over and all packed up and stored away.  It was a great success and we all had a great time.  I am so proud of, and grateful for having, such a great team of people.  We all put a lot of hard work in to it and are now all very tired but contented.

Today I heard what my new job will be (for the next three months at least) I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to be offered something completely different and challenging. It sounds like this is just a desk job inputting data, but I will find out more about it next week and hopefully it will better than it sounded today and something I can take ownership of and have some pride in.  At least I am still located locally and only a 20 minute drive from home, so that’s good.  If all else fails, I can carry on getting all my job satisfaction from my local history group and all my creativity from my art journal.

This spread was done back in June, it has lots of book papers, stamping, stenciling, some image transfers, acrylic paint, the flowers are painted with fluorescent paint and I finished the pages with Portfolio water soluable oil pastels.

Enjoy the rest of you week everyone.

Big love

AJ 🙂