Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughts, prayers, emails, cards, well wishes, care and concern! Wow!! My recent illness has been such an encouraging and humbling experience. I kept promising an update and not delivering one because it seemed too overwhelming….I’ve never been a woman of few words. 😉 So instead of trying to do some grand summary and update to explain my absence, I’ll just give a quick update for now with a semi-brief history, and plan on more regular contact with you. That’s doable, right? It has just been easier to avoid it all because I never know where to start. But now that I have more energy again…it’s time to start engaging because I have MISSED YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!
So Hello! Creative FRIENDS, and I mean FRIENDS in the sincerest way.
For those of you new to FTHS, or for those of you loyal customers wondering what the heck was going on, I am SO sorry for the crappy customer service since July. I pride myself in my customer service, and it was non existent as soon as I was sick. I am THE ONLY one with access to my Store and email. My daughter knows my password to my MacBook, but no one else in my family, husband included, would really even know where to begin or know what websites to go to to try to help. So I’ve learned a huge lesson and may be making some adjustments. 😉 You just don’t think about yourself needing to rattle off passwords to your husband as you are going into emergency brain surgery. I think I sent off a text to my DT leaders when I arrived at the hospital and they took care of the blog. (God Bless Kathy and Imke, and the fabulous From the Heart Stamps DESIGN TEAM!!!) I honestly didn’t worry about a thing because they are so awesome.
So here’s the quick update: I am coming along wonderfully!! I started drawing again this week, and I’m so excited about that!! I have been driving for a couple of weeks, and I’m adjusting well to life without the assistance of my sweet mom (she stayed with us for 3 months, including many nights in the hospital.) I have “graduated” from speech, occupational, and physical therapy. I barely notice the loss in my left field of vision (Praise the Lord!) Occupational therapy gave me some coping strategies, and I will follow-up with my Neuro Opthamologist in a few months. I don’t think it will effect my drawing too much. It just keeps getting better every day. And, yes, I voted! And I was super excited about it!!
I am working on Holiday images, even though in this industry, I should be moving on to Valentines Day. 😉 But I just love Christmas, so that’s what I’m going to draw. My first few new images will be totally FREE. And yes, eventually the SOTM Challenge (FREE Stamp of the Month) will return. I will be receiving chemotherapy off and on for about two years. So I can’t predict at this time how the next rounds of chemo will affect me. The first round was tough as the treatment progressed beyond the first couple of weeks, but that is because I was also receiving radiation. I have been told that I am through the most intense phase. I just don’t want to say that the SOTM will start in DEC, and then not be able to continue it for JAN, etc., because I’m too sick. So that’s why I plan to get back in the swing of things by just offering freebies. I LOVE giving away images! I also have some ideas for Cancer/Chemo images…especially since I have lost my hair, etc, and know what people may be feeling during treatment. Some images will be humorous and some beautiful (I hope).
If you, or someone you love are struggling with something, I would be honored to pray for you. Please email me and let me know. Thank you so much for your prayers for me and my family! I am requesting prayers for continued healing. I have my first MRI (since post-surgery) on November 30. eek!! And then combination chemotherapy starts up again. Ugh. I mean, YAY!! 😉
I had a 4 cm Glioblastoma (GBM) Brain Tumor removed three months ago, today, on August 16. I had been experiencing severe headaches that lasted days, visual field cuts that would come and go, and confusion in mid-July. I was diagnosed with anemia, and my doctor attributed my confusion, fatigue, and headaches to anemia and pre-menopause. In his defense, this doctor had never seen me before, so my severe headaches, “brain fog” of having trouble working my iPhone and getting lost driving home from the ice arena (something I’d done a hundred times before) he said could be hormonal. 😉 I went to the ER very late at night (3am) on Thursday, August 10, I had a CT Scan and I was told I had a large brain abnormality that would require surgery no matter what it was. I was transported to Swedish Medical Center in Denver at 5am and was told I would have surgery on August 12. Because my CT Scan showed that the abnormality was on my right parietal lobe, and I’m left-handed, my neurosurgeon was concerned that surgery would affect my speech. He wanted more imaging and a functional MRI (which was fascinating!!) Surgery was delayed until Tuesday, August 16. Surgery was successful. 100%* of the “high-contrast” part of the tumor was removed. Later on, I was told that my doctor knew it was cancer right away just from it’s appearance. I had a PET Scan to check the rest of my body [for cancer]. Pathology and formal diagnosis of my brain tumor was given to us on Friday, August 19. I had to wait several more days to find out the grade. Meanwhile I was moved to the acute rehab floor to start occupational, speech, and physical therapy. That is when we found out that it was a GBM or Grade 4 Glioblastoma. My tumor had some unique features including calcification that is not usually seen. So this tumor grew more like a ballon and slower than typical GBMs. Instead of destroying my brain, the tumor grew and expanded and put extreme pressure on my brain. When they cut the bone flap during my craniotomy, the pressure of the tumor on my brain pushed the piece of bone out. No wonder I was telling my husband that my headaches felt like my brain was going to come out my ears. 😉 All of my symptoms, including vision loss, confusion, and headaches, were because of the pressure. The brain does not feel pain, but the pressure that builds causes pain in the surrounding tissues (headaches). I finally went to the ER because the pain made me vomit. I was like a new person as soon as they game me good pain meds in the ER. And I have not had a headache since. 🙂 So for those of you who suffer from migraines, I totally FEEL for you. 🙁
I will end with a Word of encouragement. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14), and even though that is the Truth, it can be hard to believe in the midst of illness. Even if your name is, Faith. 😉 If you haven’t read Psalm 139, lately or ever, I hope you do. Especially if you are in a rough spot. It’s SO good!!
*GBMs cannot be 100% removed with surgery alone. Only about half of all GBMs are operable due to their location and other factors. The goal of surgery is to remove the high-contrast part or “head” of the tumor. It is always surrounded by a margin of healthy brain tissues that also contains microscopic cancer cells. That is why radiation and chemotherapies are needed.
Love and hugs from Colorado USA,