Sharpie happy team of Radiation Therapy Nurses.

I was always told not to write on myself or the ink will poison my blood and I would get really sick.  Uhm…no one seems to have told my team of Radiation Therapy Nurses.

I have a line drawn down my sternum.  Kind of looks like an off kilter butt crack.

Sharpie mark on my sternum

Sharpie mark on my sternum

I think the nurses are going to be playing a game of Tetrus on my upper belly instead of doing Radiation Therapy as I have been lead to believe.

Maybe a bit of Tetrus being played

Maybe a bit of Tetrus being played

Maybe some drunken pirates couldn’t remember exactly WHERE “X” marked the spot on my map.  I have an “X” in my left armpit and one to the front of my left underarm.  This is where, I’m told, my lymph nodes are that are being treated.  Likely story.

Which "X" actually marks the spot?

Which “X” actually marks the spot?

I have an “X” from last Friday when I went for my initial CT scan on the outside rear of my right side.  A new one was added to the outside rear of my left side.

Rear outside of my left side

Rear outside of my left side

Rear outside of my right side

Rear outside of my right side

No one has even signed their artwork!  Can you imagine that?!

I have been told that I will get a burn, similar to having been outside in the hot sun, before the week is out.  I have been given a lotion that I have to use each night before I go to bed.  The radiation is going to not only burn my skin, it will also dry it out.  Hot damn!  We are going to have some fun now.  I also have a cleansing foam that I have to use on the area being radiated.

Lotion and skin cleanser I have to use during radiation therapy

Lotion and skin cleanser I have to use during radiation therapy

After I got home from my trek to downtown Oklahoma City for my first treatment, I spent a few hours working on my IKEA drawer sets.  I’m liking how they are coming together.  I was not so very sure about the color choices Pantone has put together, but now I do have to say they are quite pleasing to my eye.  The colors I am using are in their “Grand Canyon” collection.

Close up view of the paper covered drawers

Close up view of the paper covered drawers

Unfinished drawers at the bottom still

Unfinished drawers at the bottom

I’m going to keep working away on this project.  I probably should be putting some things in the drawers as I get them finished.  There are some drawers with contents inside, I just can’t remember what is in them right now.  I may have to put some kind of fixture on the front with a label to remind me.

Well, off to my second radiation therapy session.  I wonder if there will be more drawings made with the Sharpie?

Leslie

IKEA Moppe Collection and Pantone Color of the Year

I have just about got everything put back into my room.  In order and organized.  I have done a lot of purging.  I have a pile of stuff that I will be giving away either on my YouTube channel or here on my blog.  Once I get that mess sorted into something more than a pile that is threatening to become an avalanche, that is.

My room needs some color…other than stark white.  I have a set of wooden drawers from IKEA.  When I bought these….in about 2003….they went by a different name.  Today they are called MOPPE.  These cubes are unfinished wood.  Check out Pinterest to get some ideas for your storage needs.

I am using the Pantone Color of the Year.  I am choosing the papers to cover the drawer fronts from the “Grand Canyon” collection.  Deep earthy tones ranging from rich browns, deep purples, blue gray, dark peach, and greens.  I can do this from my recliner.

As you can see, by the photo below, prints don’t matter in this case.  Just use the color range if you have the vast array of paper scraps as I have.  Good Lord!

IKEA Moppe collection

IKEA Moppe collection

Hey, look a bit further down on the wooden drawer fronts and you will see that I had made an attempt to cover the drawer fronts years ago.  The great thing about this IKEA set of drawers….there is another side of the drawer if you don’t like what you have done.  Just like our paper when rubber stamping.  Make an “Oopsy”, flip the paper over and try again.  😀

I’m using papers that I have on hand in my various scrap paper bins.  The purple drawer, you see in the photo below, is using a 12 x 12 piece of Halloween paper I’ve had for a number of years.  One side has glitter and the side I chose has circles.  I had to piece the paper together to get it long enough.  These wide drawers are more than 12 inches.

Purple and green on the first set of cubes

Purple and green on the first set of cubes

I’m using a mix of text weight paper and card stock.  Whatever has the color I want to use and that will fit.

I keep the Pantone colors open on my iPhone as I go about the color selection.  The actual colors from the site and the papers I have in my stash don’t necessarily match each other.  I am using it as a guide to introduce me to being bolder in my paper choices.  Meh, failure just means I’ve learned something.  And I do have the other side LOL.

Pantone site on iPhone

Pantone site on iPhone

Once you choose the paper for your drawer front, check it for fit.  I hold it as firmly as I possibly can.  Press along the edges of the drawer front then use a pencil to draw along the drawer.  Include the finger notch.  Then cut along the inside of the pencil lines.

Fit the paper and press along the edges

Fit the paper and press along the edges

Using a pencil, draw around the drawer front, including the finger notch

Using a pencil, draw around the drawer front, including the finger notch.

Apply glue of your choice to the drawer front then smooth out.  Check to make sure you don’t have any voids or dry areas.  Especially along the edges.

Add glue of your choice

Add glue of your choice

Smooth it out and check for voids

Smooth it out and check for voids

Apply your paper and press well to adhere.  Use a brayer or a credit card to get out air bubbles and seat the paper well into the glue.

Apply paper to the glued surface

Apply paper to the glued surface

Use a brayer or a credit card to work out air bubbles

Use a brayer or a credit card to work out air bubbles

My radiation treatments begin today.  This afternoon I will start a five to seven week regimen which will be Monday through Friday.  Wonder if I will glow in the dark by the time it is over.

Never fear, I will be back to making video tutorials.  Hopefully next week.  This week I will finish editing the videos I have made for the wonderful and loving gifts I have received.  Watch for those.

Leslie

This is what happens when my creative space looks like

A bomb went off.

All the cupboards and drawers vomited everything out.

I’m in hiding in case there is a film crew heading for my front door to do a “Hoarders, Buried Alive” series featuring me.

My craft room has become a "Crap" room!

My craft room has become a “Crap” room!

I can't even get in my craft room.  The floor is piled up.

I can’t even get in my craft room. The floor is piled up.

Forget about trying to use my desk.

Forget about trying to use my desk.

When my creative space is like this, what do I feel?

  • Guilt
  • Disgust
  • Disrespecting the gorgeous hand crafted gifts mailed in packages of LOVE from you all.
  • Procrastination, big time.
  • Frustration.

I have been working on this room for five days now.  I pulled everything out and proceeded to dump it on our kitchen table, in the living room, and on kitchen counters.

The Chemo treatments that I had gone through – the last one was January 23, 2017 – still linger in my body.  Plus I am taking a drug to block my Estrogen Sex Hormone which I will be taking for the next five to 10 years.  This drug makes me dizzy, stagger around like I’m drunk, lose my train of thought, and my energy levels are way down low.  I’m talking near the floor down low.  Like about ankle  height, low.

I am so blessed to have Joe as my husband.  He is so understanding and helpful.  We can’t use the kitchen table for our meals.  He is okay with having our meals in the living room….in our recliners.  Those are the two surfaces I have not piled high.

I need my recliner to nap in during the day to recuperate from the work I have been doing.

I have finally found the “Kathy Orta style Envelope Mini Album” project I started and had not finished.  So I can get to work on it……as soon as I get my crap room cleaned up and organized.

Here is a sneak peek.

I can get in my craft room!

I can get in my craft room!

So, in case you have been wondering where I have been for the past week.  Wondering if I am still alive.  Yes, I am.  And I’m kicking butt.  Although I can kick the butt of an ant or a beetle.  I’m still kicking.  🙂

Leslie

15 minutes at a time will get the job done.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Renae Bergstad.  Thank you Renae for your AWESOME creation.

Created by Renae Bergstad

Created by Renae Bergstad

I have been so very blessed by you guys sending me cards and gifts in the mail.  Your wonderful things were piled on the floor against the wall and on my table.  Not the best way to take care of tons of love.  😦

Terrible way to honor love

Terrible way to honor love

I went to Michaels yesterday afternoon to purchase two storage boxes.  One is called a “Photo Box”.  This box holds all the beautiful cards you have made and sent to me.  Now in one place instead of scattered everywhere.

Your cards are in this box

Your cards are in this box

I had to purchase another box, a pretty box, to hold your gifts that I can use in my crafting.  I’ve put your things together in baggies instead of just dumping the whole bounty inside the box and not knowing who blessed me with what.

Box for bounty

Box for bounty

Each baggie has the name of the giver and holds the gift

Each baggie has the name of the giver and holds the gift

Not much has changed in my craft room.  It is still quite a mess but I hope to be able to get another 15 minutes in there today to make a larger dent in that mess.

The current state of my craft room

The current state of my craft room

Michelle Birdsong had posed a question to me more than a month ago.  She had received a large gift of craft supplies from someone.  In the bounty was a set of Flock.  Michelle wants to know how to use the stuff.

Flock

Flock

This coming Monday – February 27, 2017 – I will be answering that question on my YouTube Channel.  So if there is anyone else that has this same question, then stay tuned.

Flock….quite a number of you will remember what that is.  Wallpaper and lamp shades had this velvety raised stuff.  Mostly the images were a form of brocade.  Black flock on white background was a particular favorite in many homes.

Brush up against the wallpaper and some of the flock would come off on your clothing.  High traffic areas would find the flock rubbed clean off the design.

These little bottles of Flock from Doodle Bug Designs, which can still be purchased today, may seem skimpy for content by many standards.  This stuff though is like glitter.  A little goes a long way.

So come join me on Monday, February 27th while I answer a Subscriber Question.  Now I’m going to get the “Flock” out of here.

Leslie

What’s on my work desk Wednesday?

What's On Your Work Desk Wednesday?

What’s On Your Work Desk Wednesday

Well, as  you can tell.  A WHOLE LOT OF CHAOS!

CHAOS:

Synonyms:  disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, uproar, maelstrom.

Yep, that just about sums up my creative space.  Now that I am starting to feel like my old self again I think it is high time I get in there and do at least 15 minutes.  Just because I feel really good does not mean that I am going full bore on things.  About 12 days ago I had a Mastectomy of my left breast.  You can watch that video below.  NO, it is not of the actual mastectomy surgery!

 

I’m trying to get back into the swing of my tutorial videos on my YouTube Channel.  My first one is on thinking out of the box.  Creating a tool needed in a person’s creativity when a proper one is not on hand.  Using junk mail!


I have to get my craft space organized and cleaned up.  Pronto!  I have to finish my tutorials on making the Envelope Mini Album Kathy Orta Style.  I have Part 1 and Part 2 done.  Part 3 won’t get done if I don’t have a cleared space to do it in.

So…WHAT’S ON YOUR WORK DESK WEDNESDAY?

My Mastectomy. Breast Cancer journey almost over.

Are you facing treatment for Breast Cancer?  Have you been filled with horror stories about what is ahead for you?

Chemotherapy or radiation therapy?  There are frightening stories of people constantly vomiting and being severely nauseous from the Chemo.  Humiliated and discouraged over the loss of head hair.  Having no strength or stamina to take care of normal everyday duties.  Fatigue that is constant and debilitating.  The kind which you can’t get out of bed except to go to the bathroom and that is difficult in and of itself.

I don’t have any experience with the radiation therapy, as of yet.  So I can’t speak to that treatment.

If I had to recommend a place to be treated for breast cancer, it would be OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The OU Physician Center, Stephenson Cancer Center, OU Surgical Center, OU Medical Center, and Stephenson Infusion Center have the most caring staff I have ever dealt with.

From my experience, my attitude had everything to do with the low amount of side effects I had with all of my treatments, from the initial diagnosis.  Pain was at a low level and was tolerable.  That is until my last rounds of Chemo when I was switched to a different type.  My breast cancer was a temporary medical problem. The end result was always going to be a mastectomy.

Look, to be honest, the process is a bit scary.  What are the doctors and nurses going to be doing to me?!  Does my boob get whacked off today?  When does the Chemo come in?

You can do tons of research on the internet about breast cancer and the treatments of it.  Every person is different, and every cancer diagnosis is different.  Treatment protocols are different depending on the cancer Stage and type.

Let me tell you!  There are many different types of breast cancer.  I thought there was just one…breast cancer.  Check out this page from breastcancer.org “Types of Breast Cancer.

Some people have an attitude that “This is only temporary and won’t rule my life forever”, while others are totally freaked out by the diagnosis and have an attitude that is, more or less, “Poor me.  My looks are going to be ruined and no one will ever love me again!”

Some people have a very low tolerance for pain.  The growing cancer tumor in the breast would, possibly, be extremely painful to some.  For me, it was a sporadic slight burning sensation that lasted from one to two seconds in the beginning.  Later, as it grew the burning pain would last longer even though it was still sporadic – not a constant pain.  Up to 10 seconds.  It was very uncomfortable.  Not so uncomfortable that it stopped me doing my  normal daily activities or interfered with my truck driving job.

I had my first breast biopsy on June 27, 2016.  Ultrasound guided breast biopsy is what I had.  I had several of this type of biopsy done before Chemo started.  I was given a local anesthetic for each biopsy to lessen the pain caused by the steel needle injected into the breast and directly into the cancerous tumor.  Three core samples were taken with each biopsy.  The next day my breast would be painful and I would need a pain pill – two at the most for the week.

I had a PET Scan on July 22, 2016.  This scan was from my head to about mid thigh to see if my breast cancer had spread to other parts of my body.  Being a 40 year pack a day smoker the scan would spend quite a bit of time on my head and chest area before going down to the lower extremities of my body.  My head and chest were clear of any worrisome markers.  My stomach had a spot that needed to be checked, there was a questionable spot on top of one of my kidneys, and there was a dark black spot on my right hip bone that would need to be checked.

On August 8, 2016 I had a Bone Biopsy of my right hip joint.  Each of these radio-logical procedures were a bit frightening to me.  I had not had prior experience with any of these giant machines and didn’t know what to expect.  Having a bit of claustrophobia I was more terrified of being stuck in a tight tube than I was of the procedures.  The results of the hip bone biopsy were negative…no cancer in the hip.

On August 11, 2016 I had a Stomach Scope to check the dark spot shown in the PET Scan.  Turns out I had a bit of an ulcer which was treated with a course of antibiotics.  No cancer in my stomach.

On August 19, 2016 I had another breast biopsy and my first round of Faslodex shots to stop the growth of my cancer.  My cancer tumor was continuing to grow, causing the underside of my left breast to be swollen and purple.  My type of breast cancer was hormone related.  Meaning that this cancer fed off of estrogen in my body, and sugars from my liver.  The Faslodex would inhibit estrogen from being made in my body.

On September 2, 2016 I had my second round of Faslodex.  Turns out this treatment was not as effective as my doctors had hoped it would be.

I had another breast biopsy on September 24, 2016 to see how much growth the tumor continued to have.  It was growing quite a bit and was very uncomfortable.  On September 26, 2016 my Oncologist, Dr. Sobia Nabeel,  decided that I would be put on a Chemo regimen.  That would be determined after I had a Heart Scan.  This scan would let my Oncologist know if my heart was healthy enough for the rigors of Chemotherapy.

On October 7, 2016 I had a surgical procedure to install a Chemo Port in my right upper chest.  This was done as an outpatient procedure.  It was quite uncomfortable for a few days after it was placed under my skin.  I had some difficulty sleeping on my right side with the port being in the way of my comfort.

Chemo Port implant

Chemo Port implant

October 12, 2016 began my Chemotherapy treatments of DoxirubicinYou can read my blog post about that here.  November 1, 2016 I was admitted to the hospital for a Urinary Tract Infection that had gone septic.  I spent November 1 to 6 in the hospital under very good care.  The fluids they pumped into me caused my body to swell until I thought I was going to POP!  October 26, 2016 was my second round of the Red Devil – Doxirubicin that lead to the UTI and subsequent hospital stay.

Just so I know that they have the "Big Guns" going...I guess

Just so I know that they have the “Big Guns” going…I guess

December 23, 2016 my chemo drug was changed from Doxirubicin to Paclitaxel or Taxol.  My last Taxol treatment was on January 23, 2016.  This Paclitaxel or Taxol as the nurses called it, was supposed to be not as bad as the Doxirubicin.  I had not had any bad side effects with the Doxirubicin, other than losing my hair.  So in my way of thinking the Taxol was going to be a breeze.  Uhm, not quite.  I had a lot of bone pain with the Taxol.  I swear, there was someone in the Stephenson Cancer Center that had a voodoo doll made just for me.  That person had one job and that job was to jab a pin in the doll at any place they wanted and for how long they wanted.

The pains from the Taxol were sharp, intense, and lasted no longer than 10 seconds.  That 10 seconds was quite exciting!  The little bone at your outside ankle, know where I’m speaking of?  That was one place that would be frequently hit by the sharp, intense, pain.  Within minutes after the ankle, between by ear lobe and jaw bone the next pain would show up.  That one brought me up in my seat or stopped me from moving.  A few minutes later my left mid thigh bone – femur I think it is called – would have the sharp and intense pain.  Not quite as bad as Liam Neeson had done in the movie Taken.  Just in the same general area.

After that last chemo treatment my doctor visits began to slow down.  I have not had any further breast biopsies.  I did have a Mammogram of both breasts on January 24, 2016 to see if the cancer was still growing or if the chemo drugs had done their job.  The radiologist came to me after the procedure was finished to say, had there not been a marker placed in my breast during the first biopsy she would not have known that I even had a cancerous tumor.  There was nothing there.

Although the Chemotherapy was rough on my body….tired all the time, extremely low energy levels, not being able to keep up with daily household chores, and being knocked down and out if I overdid some housework.  Which means if I spent longer than 10 minutes on housekeeping duties for the entire day then I was whacked for that day and into the next.  I did not have a lot of trouble with the Chemotherapy.

The next part of my cancer treatment was to have the Mastectomy.  When a breast gets lopped off, how does the surgeon put skin back over the wound?  That is the question I asked my surgeon’s nurse.  She had to hide a giggle at my question to remain professional.  🙂

The procedure is not what I had envisioned.  My surgeon, Dr. William Dooley  has been so good at explaining everything to me.  He has a tall cart with a laptop.  He types stuff as we talk about my tumor growth, the Chemotherapy, the biopsies, why I have the same shot of pain in the exact same area of my right breast as I have with the cancerous left breast.  Per Dr. Dooley, the nerves coming from the spinal column at my breast height connects the two breasts together.  What one feels the other does as well.

On the day of my Mastectomy he took a bit more time to let me know what he was going to do.  He was going to cut all the way,  horizontally, across my left breast to near my arm pit.  The skin was going to be rolled upward to my collar bone and the lower skin was going to be rolled down to my ribs.  Dr. Dooley would then remove all the of the breast tissue, go down into the muscles to take some of them away, and then go into my arm pit area to remove the lymph nodes both Dr. Nabeel and Dr. Dooley found to have cancer in them.

This whole procedure was done in an Outpatient Surgery Center.  Once I came out of the Recovery Room without any problems I was taken to a monitoring area while the drugs were further wearing off and I was no longer talking gibberish.  Joe was waiting for me when I arrived.  About 30 to 45 minutes later I was discharged and sent home.  I was home at a little after 1:00 p.m.  Surgery was at 8:15 a.m., we were told to arrive at 6:30 a.m. for all the prep needed before the surgery.  So all tolled it was 6 1/2  hours then home.

My left breast is sunken in the center.  I have two drains, one comes from way up in my arm pit and the other comes from the surgical area.

 

Image result for mastectomy drains

Photo courtesy of Susan G. Komen Mastectomy The Procedure.

I have to drain the bulbs three times a day and record the amount of fluid removed from each bulb.  Joe is really good at doing this for/with me.

I have the most comfortable bra on…yes you read that correctly!  It has two pockets that hang down from the bra.  The pockets are to hold the drain bulbs.  Why, oh why, did it take having a mastectomy to find a bra that fit well?!

Image result for mastectomy drains and bras

Photo courtesy of Surgery Supplements.

Dr. Dooley told me I would have “muscle spasms” that would burn.  Let me tell you, he got the burn part right but I don’t know if it is muscle spasms or not.  At my arm pit I will get one (excuse me) hellacious burning sensation that lasts about 15 seconds.  Typical example is a burn from the hot oven when your arm touches the oven rack.  That kind of a burn sensation!

I have read in the literature supplied to me that it will be several WEEKS of recuperating from this major surgery.  I am not to life anything that weighs more than a gallon of milk – about 8 pounds.  No strenuous activity.  Lots of rest.

I do some of the cooking.  Joe has done a bit of it as well.  He asks if I need help, or he will ask if he can help me.  He doesn’t make a nuisance of himself asking me that question frequently.  I get really testy and nasty if he does that.

As far as actual “PAIN” goes.  I’ve had a C-Section and that pain is bad enough to make your ears ring and you cry for days.  I don’t have that kind of pain with this mastectomy.  The reason I think is because with a C-Section your stomach muscles are used to sit up, stand up, walk, bend over, reach for things, and just general all around use of the muscles.  The chest muscles are not used so much as the stomach.  Thus, almost no pain.  That is until I press on or near the surgery site.  YIKES!  OUCHY, OUCHY, OUCHY!

All in all, I am doing well.  This seven month journey has not been all bad.  I have been blessed with professional help all along the way.  Doctors, nurses, reception staff, and all the other support staff in the Infusion Centers, Oncologist and Surgeon office, medical testing areas – radiological testing and procedures.

All this to say that I am doing well and nearing the end of my breast cancer treatment.  Although everything that has happened and been done in this treatment regimen has not been terribly bad….I don’t want to go through this again that is for sure.

Well that is my refresher on events and a current update.  This has been three days in the making and it is now finished.  Blah blah blah I know.

Leslie

 

DIY Flowers from scraps

Flowers from scraps using punches

Flowers from scraps using punches

This is a “fiddly” project.  I am an impatient person and this took quite a long time to do.  Punching the scrap paper is quick and painless.  LOL

Flower punch 1

Flower punch 1

Flower punch 2

Flower punch 2

Flower punch 3

Flower punch 3

My steady hands for taking photos began to suffer as I progressed, so please forgive the blurred photos.

I separated each type of flower in a pan I am using as the “assembly” station for the various punched items.  I tried to shape them a bit with the stylus tool on a mouse pad.  Meh, they are no longer flat.

Punched flowers waiting for assembly

Punched flowers waiting for assembly

Using a paper piercing tool and a brad to hold the pieces together….I selected three flowers, layered them, then drove the piercing tool through the centers.  This makes the hole for a brad to complete the assembly.

Three flower pieces, a brad, and a paper piercing tool

Three flower pieces, a brad, and a paper piercing tool

Piercing the layers

Piercing the layers

I refer you back to the first photo of the assembled flowers.  Fiddly!  They look pretty good though.

I had quite a number of the smaller punched flowers left over.  Heading for the “Bling” cupboard in my room I brought out my SELDOM used half back rhinestones and pearls.  Each time I go to Michaels I stroll along their $1 and $1.50 bins.  Shiny stuff always ends up in my basket.  When I get home with it I always as myself “What the HECK were  you THINKING?!”

Hey, today I get to use up some of my half back rhinestones and pearls that have been hanging around for a number of years.

Bucket of "Bling"

Bucket of “Bling”

Red half back rhinestones

Red half back rhinestones

Blue half back rhinestones

Blue half back rhinestones

Yellow half back rhinestones

Yellow half back rhinestones

Green half back pearls and rhinestones

Green half back pearls and rhinestones

I am getting quite an assortment of coordinating embellishments to go in the Envelope Mini with photos.  I don’t know when that will be happening.  :/

Embellishment stash is growing!

Embellishment stash is growing!

Well, this is all for today.

Leslie

Previous Older Entries