October 31, 2008

Time to be still, God is here, and all is well.

I have been so fortunate to have time to rest and have the kids be at my parents. So many wonderful friends and family have come by, to cook, clean and visit with me. I have a sleeping pill and although sore, manage to sleep through the night. My body is altered, deformed, but with the expander in and saline already in it...it appears ok...everything is going to be ok.

Dr. Rosenkranz called today....my pathology report is back....I'M CANCER FREE!!!! It's a weird thing...I knew it, my faith led me to believe...but at the same time I can't believe it to be true. It's so surreal. Today is a new day...a day to be an instrument of God and make a difference to people. I'm born again...Free to be who God intended me to be.

Alleluia, praise His name, Lord, Jesus Christ. I am so gratful and humble for all the blessings He has bestowed onto me.

October 29, 2008

CoolMomPicks Safter Toy Guide 2008 includes HHQ~~~

Happy House Quilts is proud to be one of this year's chosen toys from the
Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide.
Threadibilities Craft Kits are a sure bet to get your kids crafty, communicating with you and on to the road of high self esteem while they learn a new skill of sewing and develop a fashion flair for their hair! Ideal for girls ages 5-12. Create from within!

Totally a work in progress...still!

So here is my wall hanging so far...it's quilted, and embellished but needs a binding, more beading and free hand painting or rubber stamped texture/words to express even more depth of what i was trying to convey. Faith, Believing in the Father, Surrendering to the Holy Spirit in ALL things. To firmly grasp your roots and hang on for dear life, to drink from the puddles that come forth from the rain of God. Let the rain fill your soul with mercy and humility. Surrender to a place of safety and tolerance where one can heal and then re-emmerge to be who they are destined to be, to be who I am destined to be. To be who God intended you to be so that you may indeed help others along their journey. I so hope to pay all this forward some day soon!here is the old and the new MRI's side by side. The MRI on the left side of the picture is the old one from april...you can see the white contrast material is on the right breast, this is the 3+ inch tumor.

Now, you must take a moment to understand that it takes a tumor 10 years to reach 1 cm....mine was over 8!!!...the right image is the MRI taken after the 6 cycles of chemotherapy. The mass is clearly gone and the lymph nodes are all but non exisitant. I still needed the surgery but now surgery should be less messy and less intensive to remove the tumor/mass from my left breast.

So surgery yesterday was far easier...they did do a radical mastectomy and removed 2 levels of lymph nodes. They put in the expander for future reconstruction and added 250 cc of saline to it. another 100 cc of saline will be added next week. I'm lopsided, sore, and very out of it. Here are some more pics of my team...

Dr kaufman, my oncologist, this was taken right before discharge...i look like hell warmed over!Now here is my surgeon, Dr. Rosenkranz...she looks and is like someone that I could go have cocktails with. She's bubbly and straight forward. She is very sharp in her understanding of the disease but treats me like an individual which is priceless!Here is Dr. Collins, she is my plastic surgeon...she will now be the one taking over my care along with her entourage...all those residents that follow behind her coat tails. She is the one that calmed my nerves about having a double vs. a single mastectomy. She said, once it's gone, it's gone...you will be monitored and scanned so much to look for any new abnormalities, but rushing to do a double mastectomy under stress isn't smart. So I agreed. She's so wonderful to give me the gift of time. She also removed a small cyst from my left jawline.
Here is me with my folks, Bill and Sandy...they were with me through it all...that's what parents do, God bless them and their determiation...oh my goshums...my girls better not ever put me through all what I have put them through...but come hell or high water...i will be right by their side through it all.From the bottom of my heart, thank you to my family, friends, doctors and everyone inbetween that prayed for me and held my hand and made sure i didn't miss a meal :) You all know who you are....and it really does take a village...

I feel like i can say that I am moving along in this journey with new courage and new stamina as well as a new quest for who I am going to become. With the Lord as my shepherd, I will surely find my way! Blessings to you all.

October 27, 2008

Out of Surgery

I just wanted to put up a quick post. Jodi is out of surgery and it seems to have all gone well.

I will add more details as I get more information.


October 26, 2008

And this too shall pass...

I leave today for the drive up to the medical center as I have to be there very early in the morning. My parents are taking me and staying with me until Tuesday when I will be discharged. Not sure what to expect or what condition I will be in...keep posting here and please keep phone calls to a minimum as i recover. I believe a friend will post my status in the next day or so.

Chemo was bad, I never want to go through that again...this is going to be under anesthesia (which is good) and then each day i'll heal...every few weeks I'll get saline added to the expander and next summer another surgery...but that is very far off...in the mean time I'll have daily radiation to keep me occupied this winter.
My parents will be in the waiting room for 3-5 hours...my prayers are with them as they struggle to help me in so many ways. Thanks be to God for having me move to be close to them.

My children will be with friends and my gratitude is with those that will be watching them for me as well. Amazing women (and a great guy) are all around us...but we have to work at relationships...i don't have sisters and I really consider many of my friends to be lifers...sisters in a sense...I do hope to pay all this attention that they have heaped onto me forward to another friend some day. Just hope it's for a better situation and not cancer.

The small wall quilt above is a piece my middle DD did these past couple of months. We worked on it together but she lead the process. She calls it "Sunshine" and she has identified all the flowers to be "mommy and her girls" (mommy is the biggest). Kids are amazing...this is such a great visual hug from afar, I guess I'm doing something right?
blessings to all, as always.

October 23, 2008

EtsyKids is kicking off Holiday Shopping with a BOGO Sale!!!

BOGO Me Baby!!

(click on logo above to take you to search at etsy.com)

Friday October 24th and Saturday October 25th be a part of a massive Etsy Street Team event. An EtsyKids BOGO sale of monstrous proportions!! With over 175 EtsyKids’ shops participating you’ll be sure to find huge deals on what you need this holiday season for children big and small.

Gratefulness by Bother David

Wow...this is all i can say...the video says the rest!
Thanks Koryn of the Taffy Box for sending it to me...We are EtsyMoms together and now survivors together...her surgery is the day after mine...God works in wonderful ways to bring people together...don't 'cha think?
see her blog where she too writes about her journey through breast cancer here

October 20, 2008

Caring Bridge helps Spread personal stories for Cancer Patients

Just wanted to share with you all about a website geared up for cancer patients to share their daily journal/stories with family and friends. It's much like a blog but maybe a little less intimidating...
here is what they say about their organization...
CaringBridge is a free, nonprofit web service that connects family and friends to share information, love and support during a serious medical condition, treatment and recovery.
so here is the link for CaringBridge.org
and I hope some folks find it helpful...I know that blogging has been amazing for me to share details and daily events without feeling the burden of calling everyone all the time or emailing everyone...everyone IS important...but when all you want to do is sleep or be with your kids or sit in the silence of God...it get's overwhelming to then let everyone in on what's happening...kwim?

blessings to you today!

October 19, 2008

Radiology Report 9/24/08

Just wanted to share my most recent radiology report (MRI) post chemotherapy. Keep in mind I am diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast cancer due to the over 3" size of my tumor and due to 3 lymph nodes being enlarged or having cancer cells found in them after biopsy.
See old MRI picture here...just click on this sentence.

I quote the report...
Compared to previous MRI of 4/28/08 there is dramatic improvement in the size and intensity of enhancement of the patient's known locally advanced breast cancer. There is only minimal residual patchy enhancement in the lateral and upper, outer left breast and improvement in the kinetics of enhancement as well.

Previously noted enlarged left axillary nodes have resolved.

the doctor said it's hard to measure now but the radiology tech told me on the phone it went from about 8 cm to 2.8 cm....THAT'S AMAZING to me!!!

My adjuvant chemo regime was TAC
Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxan
Taxotere is a drug that's [FDA] approved for use as a second-line agent in advanced or metastatic breast cancer

Wow...MY NODES HAVE RESOLVED!!! DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT!!!! Surgury will stink but I am on the road to life!!! And I give my savior Jesus Christ full credit for my wonderful response to treatment...with all the stress going on in my life, kids, work, separation...bla, bla, bla, The Lord has had mercy on my soul and needs me to do more work here on earth!
Blessings to all!

PS~ I intend to get a picture but the computers were down last week when i met with my oncologist...will still work on getting the picture.

Here is the link to the post where both MRI images are shown side by side.

October 18, 2008

I am not my hair

sorry I am not my hair is unavailable...click here to hear the remix version that I don't like as much, but here is another song by India Arie that is also uplifting

October 11, 2008

Update on Echinacea Wall Hanging: the symbolic representation of 3

Just a quickie update on my Art Therapy wall hanging....it's still a work in progress
The picture doesn't do it justice but the leaves are all needle punched on cotton batting, painting the color on with wool and silk as I went along, then i stitched them down to the quilt top using needle turn applique and stuffed them like in the technique trupunto...there is such a 3-D effect! The flower centers will be stuffed too...and the center flower petals will be free flowing...attached at the cone's base...i do hope i can get most of it done prior to surgery...beading will have to wait for another year...but that is in my vision too.
The "ground" is made of silk fusion in green and purple and then hand painted (by me) scrim was used to over lay and add further depth and texture...the painted scrim actually weaves through the center leaf (center bottom)...which is only attached at particular points on the quilt top.

I'll leave most of the self analysis out of the post for your ease of reading...I get a little carried away...but I will share the the symbolic representation of how the number 3 plays it's part in the composition...as it represents my past, present and future as well as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, oh yea, and my 3 girls and how it has impacted their lives...they are so little...blooming away despite this disease.That is me (center flower above), standing tall, putting forth all my color to get through chemo...
my bloom will wither as surgery comes...this picture was taken the other day of my garden and what the flowers look like now.but only to await another bloom after dormancy...I WILL persevere just like the perenial Echinacea plant I chose for the project.
the flowers need to be stitched and the petals added again to the center flower...but those will be last as I will do the "quilting" prior to adding them...to ease the process of machine stitching.

See this other post back in July when i started this project...you can see how it's changed

And this link about how I dyed the silk and did "Silk Fusion" for the base and petals

Create from within everyone!
The kids and I are also back on track for working on the Art Therapy project with the dolls (see this post for more info)...Ellie (she will be 7 in Nov) has drawn pictures to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end...and we just filmed a dress rehersal...we realized we need a script...Emily (who is 8 1/2) will work on that...and we will re-tape the dramatic story and I will need to figure out how to upload the movie to my computer...so stay tuned....but be patient.

October 10, 2008

NH Mirror October '08 edition - Highlights Happy House Quilts

Hooray...HappyHouseQuilts @ etsy.com is highlighted in this month's NH Mirror magazine,
In the Shopaholic Section
NH Mirror is a NH magazine for women...about women...yippee!

Awww and they picked my breast cancer awareness ribbon bookmark...perfect for breast cancer awareness month!

October 8, 2008

I can eat sweets again! Praise the Lord!

Jamie at BootieBabies added me to a treasury( click on the pic to take you there before it goes away) all about cupcakes, thank you so much Jamie!!!...and I can actually eat them again! Hooray my taste buds are getting better! The quote, "this too shall pass" really works....and a lot of praying. Enjoy your sweets!

October 6, 2008

Sisterhood is amazing to me!


Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Careers end.


Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how

many miles are

between you. A girl friend is never farther away

than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you

have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life

will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,

praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on

your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the

valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk

beside you...Or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,

daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,

Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended

family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and

neither would I. When we began this adventure called

womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or

sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we

would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on

to all the women who help make your life meaningful.

I just did. Short and very sweet:

There are more angels than I can count in this world.

Some are peacefully sleeping on clouds. Others are

playing. And one is reading this blog at this

moment.Be proud, stay strong,
Love Jesus and...
hug a girl today!

October 4, 2008

It's time for me to SHINE!

Alicia Keys
The Thing About Love
Love the Lord, Love yourself, Love your kids, family and friends...
Love those that don't love you...
Love those that don't know how to show their love to you.
Just LOVE life...as Life is so short.

October 3, 2008

Cure for FREE!

Hey Free is good but CURE is better...
this subscription link was sent to me from a friend of a friend...but it's free and chock full of great stuff...be well my friends...be well.

October 1, 2008

Looky...looky what I made...so proud

I have been meaning to make one of these for a long time...however my attention to detail got the best of me and it took a long time...so this will not be for sale...but a Christmas gift instead...see more pics of it at my flickr account.

Create from within gang!