summersgate: (Default)


I found the bottom one on the dining room table early in the morning as I was cleaning it off - yes - I need something to combat the fear. Love others, love myself. Concentrate on love and not fear.

The top one was the fortune I got at the Chinese buffet when Dave and I had lunch there. Seemed apt. I do need to accept this cancer, this heart condition - then I can do something about it. Or find a way to live with it. Find a way to manage it and put it on the sidelines.

The middle one was Dave's from lunch. It seemed to apply too. After eating we were heading over to look at chicken coops at Tractor and Supply. We have decided that we need to continue on as best we can, even unsure of the future. I want chickens, he wants a shed, we both want a driveway. We can pursue those things.

Today looked like a nice day to start but it is getting darker as the day goes on. Will probably rain. It is nearly 70F. I went to OA this morning - that was good. But ever since I got back home all I have wanted to do is be up for short periods and then back to bed. Very unmotivated...

I think posting photos on dreamwidth is much more time consuming than it is on LJ - it's so easy on LJ. Hopefully I have succeeded with this posting but I don't think I will bother with cross-posting from DW in the future - unless I have to.

today

Apr. 14th, 2017 11:06 am
summersgate: (Default)
page from For Today
A reading from For Today that spoke to me.

I'm finding myself to be in a bad mood a lot lately - especially with Andy. No patience with his barking or lunging at the cats. Acknowledging feelings should help to cope with them.

I have the number to call the breast cancer society but don't want to - don't want to talk about that yet - don't want to face it or even learn more right now. Though I know that would be helpful in the long run. I don't feel strong enough. Whenever I start reading about it my heart starts pounding and I feel weak. I am doing the thing where I go back to bed over and over again all day - my go-to mode when I'm stressed out. But now I am thinking it's not just stress alone that makes me do that - it has been this heart condition (RBBB) all along.

Anyway.

Posting this on dreamwidth just to try that out and see if that would work for cross-posting. I found the place that allows me to upload photos. Still not leaving LJ - and probably never will - but I want to learn more about my options.

thursday

Apr. 13th, 2017 07:48 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
4-13-17-tree-life
I see a tree that has been damaged, splitting, cracking apart but still alive and bursting with life. Spring is happening.

I had a headache most of yesterday and felt fuzzy. My tinnitus was extra loud. But in it's own way it was a good day with lots of talking to friends, lots of crying, which was just what I needed. Getting used to life as it is. Hazel drove me to the store for some shopping and carried the groceries in for me. I made progress on the crocheted baby blanket. Watched episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - good silliness. Dave swept off the front porch and back porch and made them nice. He mowed the back yard for the first time this year too. I ate my supper out back at the picnic table. We (Dave and I, Hazel and Rossy) walked Andy down to the creek and threw his ball with the ball thrower in the lower yard. Hazel has got a great throwing arm - I think cause she is so tall - and Andy got a really good work out. He loves to chase the ball.

Tomorrow Johnny and Alison and Chloe and Mike are coming for a visit. Chloe wants me to show her some new hiking trails where she can take her ARC clients. I think we will show her the trail to Rainbow Rocks - it will be a relatively easy walk that her clients can handle. Mike and Dave are going fishing.

It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day today. I have a big pot with a passionflower vine in it. I might have killed it with neglect over the winter but I want to get it planted outside soon - there might still be hope for it. I won't be able to lift it myself but I bet I can get a grandkid to help me. I am not very good with most houseplants, except succulents. I think the passionflower will have better luck outside, even with our winters - they can withstand some freezing.

I have had a dreamwidth account since 2010 but I only use it to back up my LJ now and then and never post there. The last time I backed it up was in 2012 but I am backing it up today. I have a different name there: Summersgate. https://summersgate.dreamwidth.org/ I don't want to leave LJ and don't plan to leave but just in case something happens to LJ I will be covered. I will still be posting my entries on LJ.

processing

Apr. 12th, 2017 09:23 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
4-12-17-helpless-and-hurtin
Helpless and hurting. Another period of waiting now to see what the biopsy of the lymph gland says. They have put chemotherapy back on the table as something that might happen. I originally thought it was very unlikely, now they say it might be a possibility. I don't think "they" tell the whole truth - they don't want to alarm you ahead of time if they don't have to - it's on a need to know basis. I feel so dumb. As a complication after the surgery (which itself went well) I had an episode of very low heart rate (44 beats per minute) and felt deathly ill, dizzy and sick. They kept me at the hospital overnight. Now I will be wearing a heart monitor for the next month - more stuff hanging from my hurting chest. I have a thing called Right Bundle Branch Block (RBBB) in my heart - which they tell me isn't that bad in itself and there is nothing they can do about it. That's why I feel dumb - I don't really understand why I need to have the heart monitor. But then maybe this is one of these things that is bad - and I will find out how bad later. They just don't want to alarm me yet. But I am alarmed.

I wish I could cry - I'm crying inside but it doesn't make its way outside. Have to be brave, be stoic, don't worry others, don't let others feel sorry for you, make a joke, feel the pain, horror, sadness, grief, fear only for a moment then stuff it back inside.

But the good thing is:
I am allowed to walk all I want. Biking isn't allowed for quite a while but walking is a good exercise. I won't be able to wear my big pack with all the stuff I like to carry in case of emergency on hikes - will need to travel light instead. Actually Candy says she will carry my pack for me if I want - so there.
Can't drive for about a week, no heavy lifting (grocery bags, cat litter or dog food bags) for 2 or 3 weeks, no vacuuming (yay!), no window washing (...as if I would want to), or heavy use of that arm. It is my left arm that is involved so that is good - I should be okay for jewelry work cause I am right handed. I should rest as much as possible - time for healing now. Make the most of that - take it easy.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I really liked how the colored xmas lights looked around the front window this winter (you could see them from inside during the night) and left them burning till just recently. Then I got the idea to get some strings of white led lights for inside to brighten things up around here.

night-living-room
Last night I woke up around 4 am, like I do so often, and sat and crocheted while listening to music - enjoying the lights. I thought to take some pictures of the lights as dawn was arriving. You can barely see Yoshi up on her haunches looking forward to the sun rise.

studio-art-table
Just now I put up another string under the shelves and around the ceiling in my studio room.

Tomorrow is the operation. Supposed to be at the hospital at 10. Nothing after midnight tonight. I have felt kind of stressed out and dull today. Though I did get some things done that I wanted to do. Washed two loads of clothes and changed the sheets on the bed, cooked a dozen and a half hard boiled eggs and made a big pot of vegetable soup. Jules invited us over for tacos for dinner - that was nice. Afterwards we looked at his car, which had hit a deer yesterday while Hazel was driving into town. The car might be totaled. That could be a good thing. Jules has been wanting to get a new one. Just before dark Dave took Andy in his truck and I drove my car so I could drop it off to be inspected tomorrow. On the way back we were all together and stopped at an intersection when a fire truck went by, siren blaring, and Andy howled along with it. Funny. Earlier I wanted to go biking and Dave and Rossy put a new tire on my bike but then I felt very tired and my chest hurt - I had no energy so we didn't go. I feel like my traveling pain has traveled into the middle of my chest and put its ache there now. Any exertion makes it hurt. I think it is "fight or flight" time and I can't do either. Talking to my sister tonight and that helped me relax. Maybe I just need to BREATHE more.
summersgate: (eggshells)
mini-book-bag
I really like how the mini bag turned out that I made to carry the little book I want to keep track of my food in. It only took a couple hours to make it (book and bag) last night. I think this little bag would make a neat gift. If I find a friend admiring it I will make them one too. It is a good size for a cell phone or wallet. I'm not going on a diet - can't stand doing things like that - but I figure it wouldn't hurt to be more aware of what I am eating. It might change what I am eating if I am taking note of it.

hiking-bag-3-21-17
This is a bag that was constructed in a similar way, but larger, that I made a couple weeks ago. I ended up not liking it with the thin strap that I put on it. I originally made the bag to carry when hiking in the summer when I wouldn't need to take along extra clothing but after I put in a bottle of water it was too heavy and the strap dug my shoulder too much. Chloe loved the bag when she saw it and I gave it to her. It would be fine with lightweight things in it.

Dave and I went early this morning and picked up our taxes from our tax lady. We owe about $700. I actually made money again last year with my business. Though I doubt this year I will be making a profit. Since I quit offering the made-to-size rings and bracelets I am not getting near as much business as before. I still wouldn't go back to making to-size things. I like making what I want, when I want and making things for fun and to my own liking - even if they don't sell right away.

ace of cups

Apr. 6th, 2017 07:23 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
4-6-17-ace-of-cups-yellow-b
The ace of cups, beginning of emotion, the start of feeling, the sprouting of compassion, breaking through of love, an offering of heightened affection. My meditation reading this morning was on self-love and I was thinking about how we hear all the time that we have to love ourselves before we can love others. If I can't forgive myself (a person who I know intimately) then how can I expect to forgive others? We all need forgiven together.

I feel like the news I got at the oncologist yesterday was "good news". If a person has to have breast cancer then I've got the best kind. It's small, it can be helped with hormone therapy and so far it appears not to have spread to the lymph glands - they will know more about that after the operation. I'm active and pretty healthy to start with and it might be a good thing that I'm a little overweight - the loss of some breast tissue won't be as noticeable. The operation is this coming Monday. I will have 3 weeks to heal from that before I start the radiation. Radiation will happen 5 days a week (Monday through Friday) for 4 to 6 weeks. Then I will start hormone therapy - taking a pill once a day for 5 years.

~
Something I want to do - start writing my food down as I eat it - just to be more aware. For a while there I lost my appetite and when I did eat I wasn't eating very much but the food I was eating wasn't very good for me - too much sweets and high in fat. I want to make a little book that I can carry with me to keep track of my food. But then I think I will need to make a little crocheted bag to carry it - so now this has become an arts/crafts project too.

I don't understand why everyone is so upset that LJ has asked us to sign a new user agreement. Everywhere you go you have to sign user agreements. And then as years go by you have to re-sign them. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't understand what the big problem is. I'm not going anywhere. I wish others weren't. I like to read the people on my friend's list and I don't want to have to go to multiple other places to do that - I won't go to multiple blogging platforms to read - I'm too lazy to do that. I certainly won't go to FB to do my writing - what I like to write about isn't appropriate for that place. Oh well...
summersgate: (eggshells)
I write things here cause I like to read them later - or see pictures of where I have been - remember things - things that can be public.

jpopstudio-mug-left
More from Jenny Pope's studio.

I got this mug as a gift yesterday from Dave's niece Brandi. She said she just wanted to get me something to help me through, you know, the experience of cancer - something bright and cheerful. I didn't know much about her or her personality before this cause her dad, Dave's brother Bruce (who just died) divorced Brandi's mom a long time ago and I just didn't see his girls much after that (though Dave did). Came to find that she is an extraordinarily wonderful and thoughtful person (not just cause of this gift) but in so many other ways. She is the executor of the will and is handling everything in a gentle and kind way. There are problems (that I don't want to write about here) but she is handling everything so calmly and with sympathy.

Today is the day I see the oncologist. I still need to write down the questions I want to take with me. Thankfully the appointment is in the afternoon and I have the whole morning free. That feels very good. Yesterday Dave and I went back to State College again to help out with the will and dispersal of Bruce's things. Such a long day. Six hours of driving and then all the emotions while there. We both need a day to decompress after going.

I long for time to just sit in my studio making a new piece of jewelry. After looking at this mug I feel inspired to do something with butterflies. I long for bike rides and more hikes. I long for life to go back to what is was before. But for now I need to get a shower and then write down those questions. Maybe I will get a little time to work on jewelry after that...

I dreamed last night that [livejournal.com profile] zyzyly had found a little beagle dog with a cut on its forehead and wanted me to help hold it for him while he stitched the cut up. The dog was asleep or very groggy so it was easy to hold - I just needed to keep its head in the right position for him. He was very competent and quick with his stitching. Afterwards the dog was still groggy and I needed to hold it to keep it safe and still while it recovered. I imagine in the dream I am the beagle and Zyzyly represents the world of medicine. I am turning myself over to that world now and trusting.
summersgate: (eggshells)
P1040753-wheel
Candy and I saw this interesting thing while on our walk today where a tree is trying to envelope an iron wheel.

P1040763-wheel-closer
Closeup.

We navigated another way to to get to the overlook, going part of the way using old woods roads instead of the marked trails. That was a triumph. Here's a couple pictures taken at the overlook - of things you have seen before but now it is a new season... )

It was good to get out today.

In the alternate reality - the one that I had been planning since December of last year (but it got accidentally erased) - I would be arriving in Florida right about this moment, walking up to my sister, brother-in-law and niece and giving them a big hug. The best-laid plans of mice and men.
summersgate: (eggshells)
4-2-17-mask-6inch
Trying to sort my feelings and thoughts and this drawing of a masked person came out. It actually looks like Bruce's girlfriend now that I've draw it - me wearing a mask of her. Not what I intended when I first drew it but now that is what it looks like. I find art therapy fascinating - it is like seeing dreams that come out of another area of our unconscious.

I can see that physically I'm slipping - my heart was pounding a lot of the time yesterday. Drinking coffee probably didn't help. Today after my morning coffee I'm switching to tea and decaf drinks. The visual migraine last night is a major alert to me that I am repressing emotions. I want to just be calm and accepting and hopeful. That is my goal but I'm not there.

The dawning is beautiful outside my window. Pale pearly fog. Pink sky. Frost on the grass.

I hope Dave and I can take Andy for a run today. Rainbow Rocks would be nice - or somewhere like that. It would be nice to SEE things and take note of nature, expend energy in a good way and get out of my head.
summersgate: (eggshells)
blooming-granny-colors-4-1-
I started the baby quilt today and I'm really liking the colors together.

We watched the first episodes of Detectorists tonight and loved it. It's disappointing that Netflix doesn't have the later ones on DVD. Darn.

Had a visual migraine just now and I think it's time to turn in.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Life recently has been:
Feeling anger at liars and addicts and how they make life difficult for the rest of us.
Working at letting go of anger and trying to understand.
Driving long distances with Dave to funerals or family visits.
Keeping up with the animals we have - making sure the cats are fed everyday, the cat litter is cleaned, the dog is fed and cared for, the bird feeders outside are filled, and Yoshi! (silent lizard in a glass box - easy to forget).
Bills are paid, mail looked at.
Tried to get the car inspected before yesterday - now it is illegal to drive it.
Wishing I could sleep a full night so I won't be so tired all day. I am happy if I can make it till 5 - even 4 looks good.
Finding proper foods to eat - not doing very good at that - my breakfast that I am eating as I write this is what is left in the bottom of a bag of SunChips. I long for apple pie.
Talking to people - minimizing my feelings, watching my words and guarding myself - very tiring.

Yesterday we took Andy with us to State College rather than leaving him in his box at home (with the grandkids coming over after school to let him out). He likes car rides and I almost think the excitement of riding in the car tires him out as much as a big run in the woods would. We needed to take along his travel box and put him in it while we were inside talking to Dave's family and when we ate in a restaurant but most of the day he got to sit in the backseat watching for things (at one point 6 deer ran across the road in front of the car and Andy saw them!), sniffing the air from the window or leaning his head on our shoulders. The day was very rainy. Driving at 70 mph in heavy rain on an interstate highway (or driving at less than 70 with everyone around you passing you at 70) is stressful. There was a place when we got to the top of a mountain nearing State College where there was thick fog - actually I think what happened is we got up into the cloud layer that was raining on us before cause the rain seemed to stop then. Difficult driving - good to get home and finally relax last night. I'm hoping we won't have to deal with any more of the problems that Dave's brother left behind (for a few weeks) and maybe we can get back to a normal life again - work through the grief of losing him without other issues.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I went to the surgeon this morning and he said they could either do a lumpectomy with radiation afterwards or a full mastectomy. Either would work well to eliminate the cancer – it would be my choice. I said I will go with the lumpectomy and radiation. The operation will be on Monday April 10th. I’m glad I will get in so soon. Then I will be started on some kind of hormone therapy where I will be taking a pill for some years into the future. The cancer type is called ductal cancer or IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma). That is the basics of what I know. It will be an out-patient surgery and only take about 4 hours in all. I will talk to the oncologist next Wednesday and should learn even more then.

I felt it would be a good idea to cancel the baby chicks and just concentrate on taking care of myself so I called the hatchery when we got back from the doctor's office - it's funny but that was the only thing that made me cry today.

wednesday

Mar. 29th, 2017 08:12 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
Nothing like a death in the family to distract from a cancer diagnosis! We have been very busy with lots of phone calls and then between phone calls trying to blank our minds, forget it all (or put it into some kind of order) and get some rest. One thing Dave and I did in the last few days was make a handwritten will (which is legal even if un-witnessed in PA) and make 3 copies of it, one for each of our kids. There are big problems with the will that Dave's brother wrote (part of the reason there are so many phone calls) and we do not want anything like that to happen when we die. I just this morning copied our will and put the copies into envelopes to give to the kids. It is bad enough dealing with grief without adding all kinds of drama. Today we will be busy with the funeral and tomorrow I see the surgeon - finally I will know more and hopefully learn the next step.

Here is a photo that I liked of Bruce. Taken a few years ago while on a fishing trip to the Atlantic with Dave and a friend. Bruce's beloved dog Maggie was still alive then - she went everywhere with him.

bruce-maggie-beach-smaller
If such a thing is true then they are together now.

PS - thank you all for your recent kind words and good wishes. I just haven't had many words lately.
summersgate: (this is death)
...it pours. We got bad news last evening that Dave's brother Bruce died in a car wreck. He was on his way to our house (from State College where he lived, planning to go fishing with Dave this weekend) and went off the road on a sharp curve and hit a tree. Only about 3 miles from here. Things are under a pall here. You never know - life is precarious.

lake

Mar. 24th, 2017 06:42 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
lake-3-24-17
Lake - me on a big rock - Andy and Rossy - photo by Dave.

After I got the appointment set up for the surgeon we were finally able to get out of the house and take a walk. It felt good to get outside and the weather is super nice right now. For once someone (Rossy - I was impressed) remembered to bring plastic bags with us so we could pick up the garbage that people had left strewn all over down there. We got 3 grocery bags full. Andy found a flip flop and had a good time throwing it around and fetching it from the lake before we added it to one of the bags.

Now I think it is time to take a late afternoon nap - it feels like it's been a long day.
summersgate: (eggshells)
It's not okay, but it's going to be okay.

The news is that I will need surgery to have it removed. I want that to happen as soon as possible. From what the doctor who did the biopsy said it is less than a centimeter in diameter - maybe it will be easy to remove. No vacation to Florida next month - I'm going to be seeing the surgeon and oncologist instead. I feel like I am in shock. But I do find comfort in my mantra. Facing something, doing something about it - feels better than wondering and waiting. I like having a game plan.

committed

Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:06 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
I just now made the commitment - coming the week of April 17th - 8 baby chickens!

3 Astrolorps - black
1 Rhode Island Red - red
1 Delaware - white with black tail and head
1 Barred Rock - black and white striped
1 White Rock - white
1 Golden Laced Wyandotte - brown and golden

I especially liked the idea of having Astrolorps - here is a description from the breeders:
Australorps are the Australian take on the Orpington breed. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp's exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Peaceful and dignified, Australorps are an absolutely delightful bird which we highly recommend to anyone who wants a pet chicken that lays dependably.

I had a mixed flock of about 10 chickens back in 1983 and there was one chicken that was friendlier than all the others. She was an Astrolorp. I named her Dorothy. All the other chickens died off from old age as time went on till I didn't need a chicken coop anymore for just her, so then she lived in a little dog house on a table right outside the back door. She finally died at age 9, or maybe it was 10. I think one of the new chickens will need to be called Dorothy (2).

wednesday

Mar. 22nd, 2017 08:41 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
The biopsy went okay. It was stressful and I am tired - my breast is very sore now but it was okay. I will know the results on Friday at the earliest or next week. The doctor said that statistically this type of cancerous calcification has a 70% chance of being non-dangerous. First I thought good - I have a better chance now. Then I thought - why should I be in the lucky 70%? That means someone else will have to be in the unlucky 30%. Someone has to have it. That is the price of being alive and the statistics that apply. I wouldn't wish this on anyone else. I can't be thinking of lucky or unlucky - deserving or undeserving. Let me just face what needs faced and be present for the good in each day. I have ice on it now and hopefully by tomorrow it will feel better - it should. After they were done the nurse asked if I had any questions and I thought to ask what diameter the needle was that they used for the biopsy. She said, the size of a knitting needle - not sure - she didn't really knit. Then she said, oh - here - here's one - you can see it. Ouch! it was big - it looked to be the size of about a 3 mm needle. I said - I'm glad I didn't see that before!

Something I want to remember about the procedure... At the point where the doctor came in and was doing his thing - the novocaine injection and the needle biopsy - the nurse came around to the other side and started tapping up and down on my back, buttocks and thighs (I was face down on a special table with my breast hanging down in a "vice" holding it still while the doctor worked on it). Her tapping felt just like Milo when he walks around on me when I am in bed at night - trying to get my attention and be close to me. I said she felt like my cat when he bothers me at night - but no, she wasn't bothering me - I liked that she was distracting me (from the jerking and movements the doctor was making). Then we talked about cats and what our cats were like. It was just a nice part of the thing.

~
Onto other, more pleasant things...
blooming-granny-trial-3-22-
I think I have chosen a pattern for the baby blanket I am going to make for Mara's baby boy to be. Picture this sample done up in turquoise, red, green, yellow and white assorted colors with a gray edging on each one.

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