Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Good News Post!!! Edited

Oh happy days!  I'm pleased, relieved, happy and filled with joy!  I've had my three month CT scan (yucky, yucky drink!!) and three month oncology appointment.

My cancer marker counts have dropped from 2300 + to 237!!!!

Life is feeling pretty wonderful at the moment because there's more good news!
My bones have hardened as they are now absorbing calcium, delaying the nasty side effects of metastasis in the bones! I can dance again!

Oh woe!  Doom, Doom!!!!  My liver was riddled!!!!  I read my first scan report as the dr left it up on the screen before I realised what it was.  I read fast.  Too fast sadly.  I'd read most of it before I realised what it was. Thank goodness it wasn't anyone else's records. I asked him to remove it so I didn't have to see it. There are some things we just don't need to know!  I'm not stupid.  I lectured in Biology and Human Health. I knew it was bad: so in short, it was indeed riddled!

But what is this??? More tidings of Joy??? 

YAY!!!!  There is more good news!!!
 A lot of the fissures (tumours) have gone completely and the rest have reduced by up to 50%!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it doesn't stop there!!

I now have normal liver function, even with the chemo effects on the liver!!!
I am me again!!!!

And yes, I do, I do!!!!  I do believe in fairies!!!!!

And what is this?????
Surely not more good news???
Can life be that good?

Oh my, yes indeed! It really can! 

My second book has been accepted by Bear Tails Illustrations publishing company and Paula, their amazing illustrator has started work on it already!
It's longer and it was written while I was at Mount Falcon in the study area of our suite (omg best holiday ever!!!!!)
'Can I Be a Hare?' will be out soon.

Fergus is very pleased as he has a major role in this story!
He gets so giddy at the thought of fame that he's quite impossible at the moment and has been banned from coming inside! 
He doesn't seem to mind and even though his bounciness is wreaking havoc on my lawn, I don't have the heart to tell him off!

And the last good news is that I have a week off from chemo now. I've had four cycles (three weeks on, one week off) and two left to go before the next scans and to find out what comes next.
It's ok though. I'll put up with anything if it works.

I'm looking forwards to some writing, crochet and of course stitching and when I'm not busy relaxing, I'll be holding my soul mate's hand and we'll go for a wander down 100 acre wood to see what we can find, to hide from heffalumps and woozles and sit down for tea with Winnie the Pooh.  We have to bring our own hunny but it's ok.  We're happy to share what we have.  And when our tummies are full, we will go on an adventure to find Tinkerbell and  then we'll all lie down by flamingo lagoon and count shooting stars!

Happy crafting everyone!

I almost forgot. I did a radio interview for Athlone Community Radio Station where I talk about the book and my approach to cancer and raising awareness.  If you would like to hear it, and hear me make mistakes and be a bundle of nerves, you can find it here: HERE
It's good news because I get a copy for my granddaughter to listen to as it includes me reading Holmsey Finds Fergus

Monday, August 8, 2016

When all you need is a needle.....

When all you need is a needle to spend an evening relaxing and then you realise that even when you find said size 26 needle for the amazing kit which has been gifted you, your fingers don't work.

Ah well, you have to laugh don't you?

My fb friend Lynn kindly gifted me this Dimensions Kit. It's the first time since my diagnosis that I've done any crafting at all. It's  called A Kiss for Snowman.  It isn't the easiest chart in the world but the picture looks so much like my granddaughter that I'm determined to finish it!

The chemo brain and nerve damage to my fingers isn't helping but hey, just a stitch at a time right?

What also helped me was receiving this lovely package.  I actually received it around the same time as my diagnosis so it was put in a safe place and forgotten about. I know, it sounds terrible but please bear in mind it is quite some journey being told that old age is no longer an option.  I was also trying to help all my family who had to hear this news plus worse,  for a second time.

Anyway, it was found and Kim (Kim McCool Designs) was thanked and it got me to thinking that it's no good waiting around to die: I have to be getting on with things or it's just time wasted right?  It's the strangest thing: you go into 'mourning' mode before you've even popped your clogs!

Kim sent me the most amazing things.

I have to admit I don't know what the little wooden things are but the sentiment is universal. Live, Laugh, Love, Blessings.  Every day has 'perfect moments'. They just have to be looked for sometimes.  And life is indeed a blessing.  I've seen lots of USA stitchers use the little paddles.  It's a shame we can't get them in Ireland.  This one has pride of place on my bedside cabinet.

And then I had even more crafty blessings.  I'd had a  huge sort out and found a quilt top I made er, three/four years ago. Yes, I know...I should have finished it but I didn't.  I also found the quilt top I was going to make for my granddaughter after daughter said 'no pink!' (and ironically the baby is always in pink now!).

Well, I decided to clear everything out waiting for my impending death (which hopefully seems to be going to be late but shhhhhhhh, I won't tell if you don't) and so I gave these away to my most amazing friend Mona who has loads of grandchildren.  I thought she would put them to good use.

Well, she didn't.  She popped round last week and she'd finished them all for me.  Quilted, bound and oh so perfect.  They must have taken her ages!

I was so amazed I cried.  It's just wonderful having something from my 'nearly' quilting days to leave behind for my husband and granddaughter.  Thank you Mona. You are a star!

So with all this craftiness going on I also managed to finish one of Holmsey's Hymms ornaments which has now been released.  Little Town of Bethlehem is, I think, the last one.  I'll have to have a sort through. There are still some waiting to be finished but the days just seem to fly by and what with having my daughter and granddaughter here and my oldest son coming on Friday, it's quite a full house.  I'm determined to be organised and stitch etc more regularly though as mentally it really helps. Swearing at frogs is so much healthier than shouting at the world regarding my situation.

Oh my gosh, I nearly forgot another piece of quite big news.  The second Holmsey Hare book has just been accepted by the publishers.  The illustrator will be working on 'Can I Be A Hare?' next week.  It's for a slightly older age group and is longer.  I was so nervous sending it in as I knew this would depend on actual skill at writing rather than the sympathy ' can I have one for my granddaughter?'   Fergus features strongly in it so he's very pleased with himself.

I decided soon after my diagnosis that I didn't need a bucket list.  I've actually achieved everything in life that I wanted to achieve.  I've no regrets and lots of blessings. I've made mistakes but I've always tried to put them right and do right by the people who have been affected by them. I'm human. No human lives perfectly but I like to think I've learned from these mistakes.

Instead, I shared with my family that I would do things that popped up regardless of what they are.  Opportunities are there to be grabbed and tried right?

My dh and I had a chat and we decided we would have our honeymoon now.  It may be 17 years late but it means you really appreciate it.  Abroad wasn't possible, not while on weekly chemo, so we decided on Mount Falcon in County Mayo which is where we had the stitching retreats.

It was amazing. We had a suite and I'm not kidding, it was bigger than my house.  I felt like we were in Downton Abbey!

There was a huge bathroom and a dressing room, and guess where I finished Holmsey's second book!

Yup, I really did!

We spent a day driving around Mayo and exploring our beautiful countryside.  We even made it to Achill Island which is so beautiful..and bizarrely has sheep absolutely everywhere.  On the roads, the pavements, in gardens and even occasionally in a field!

The ruin is Grace O'Malley's castle.  I won't bore you with endless photos of my 'honeymoon' and will just say it was amazing.  We had a day of quiet in the hotel which is where I finished the book and all I can say is thank you to the staff of Mount Falcon who treated us like royalty!

And with that I will leave you xxx Happy stitching!

Friday, July 29, 2016

In the deep dark woods!

Wooo there anybody out there?

I'm back. Sorry for the big gaps. Weekly chemo does so take it out of one!  But enough of that.  I've actually managed to get a new design out, featuring Wee Witchity

In the deep, dark woods where nobody goes,
Wee Witchity creeps on her tippity toes
She silently sneaks from tree to tree,
Up to no good, It's plain to see!

It's been modelled on three different fabrics, all produced by Chromatic Alchemy.  I love their fabrics...they are def the best around in my humble opinion!

And another piece of good news: I'm having a Christmas in July sale over at the etsy shop just for today and this weekend. Happy Christmas!!

On another note, I've decided I don't have a bucket list.  I really don't.  I've achieved everything I wanted to out of life.  My kids are nearly all grown and are amazing people.  I went from single mum to university lecturer and teacher (and general smart ass).  I've no mortgage or bills or loans.  I've got
a wonderful husband who is my soul mate.  I've had a book published (with another to follow soon. 

What more can I ask for?  Every time life threw me an opportunity, I tried it.  I succeeded at everything, either through hard work or good luck  (see, I really am a smart ass). So what else is there?
Absolutely nothing except perhaps world peace......well that is kind of a bog standard reply isn't it?

No. I don't have a bucket list but I do have a 'Do Before I die' list.  Fun things or random opportunities grabbed.  There are several things on this list. Ride a motor bike, drive a luas tram, climb Croagh Patrick (note I didn't say how far!).  The first though was to go on a Ferris Wheel.  Seriously.  It may seem a little thing to you but it's a huge thing for me.  I'm petrified of heights.  Absolutely hate them!

So yesterday hubby and I drove off to Galway where we knew there was a Ferris Wheel (at Salthill).  It was raining and windy...of course it was. What else would it be when I'm going to be suspended a hundred, million feet above the ground?

See, at least a hundred, million miles up!

I told the man to let us off when we had gone around once.....but no. The crafty beggar pretended to be on his phone when we 'landed' again so we ended up going around three times.

I just can't look!

Def.not looking!

OK, getting a bit braver now (second time around)

Brave enough to take a photo! Third time around!

Look how brave I am!!!!

And with that I will leave you with what was waiting for us when we got home.  Good ol' Roscommon.  He was quite happy watching us drive past him as he munched the hedgerow without a care in the world!

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