Monday, December 31, 2018

The Year That Was, Excited for Happy New Year!

Progress has felt slow but in all reality  the health professionals are saying it has been really good. I have 6 days of radiotherapy left to face and so far very few side effects but they say, towards the end it is wearying. I have been keeping very quiet  due to the neuropraxia of my right leg and my broken left wrist so it has meant enforced rest as I could do very little, which of course has had economic repercussions as well. I have had to stay with my daughters since 16 October, as I cannot drive and treatment is in Melbourne in any case. I am now able to walk without a crutch and have been ramping up the walking to build strength again, the goal is to walk a couple of 10,000 step days a week if not most days. I am also able to use my left wrist a lot more, but there is still a way to go, to get full usage back. I think I might be game to drive again in the next week ( i have an old manual car and as my left wrist was broken, gear changing will be an issue)

                            Walking at Brighton Beach yesterday- heading toward the new year!

I have continued to work on my little  thoughts for each day since i first went to the doctor on August the 31st and received the cancer diagnosis a few days later. It has been 123 days since then, and it has had it's dark moments to be sure, but I also discovered that I am looking for and experiencing joy quite a lot, and that I am looking forward to the next year with a quite different mindset and one which is a lot lighter than I might have expected. I really feel working on the little thoughts has helped me focus and has helped me to search for whatever is good in this and has been determined to give everything my very best.

I haven't quite worked out yet, how I will mount them- I had thought of a continuous scroll though the thoughts aren't in any particular order, however that makes it difficult to display. And there will be a few more to add as well. I also though of making an accompanying handmade book that  might also incorporate favourite motifs.

There are quite a few exciting things to look forward to in 2019. I will once again  part of the ChARTres in March of 2018. I will come back to Australia for AQC  in Melbourne to help the Boneca de Atauro ladies showcase their work at a special Invitational stand ( and hopefully sell lots of their work). Depending on how i recover from radiotherapy I will be going to East Timor to help with planning for AQC  in early February and I am  looking very much forward to working with these talented women again. Then it is back to France to show my Traveller's Blankets as invitational artist ( Plaids Nomades ) at  Pour L'Amour du Fil in Nantes and any new work I manage to create by then. So i will be available for workshops in Europe from late April until the end of May.  When I come back from all that I will look for a new place to live- it is too difficult to do it at present and I will put most of my things into storage yet again.

So I hope that 2019 brings the best of everything for the readers of my blog and that you remain in good health and spirit! And again I thank you for all your good wishes- they have buoyed my heart!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Stitching Has Recommenced

I am immensely grateful for all the good wishes I have received- you don't know how much it means and how it adds to my day!  A friend from Canberra, Libby Williams sent this delightful lady angel/woman she made, when I was first in hospital with the hysterectomy and whilst i awaited biopsy results. She has been with me the entire time and is a daily reminder of friendship and good wishes, so thank you Libby she greets me every day!

The neuropraxia in my right leg has continued to improve to such an extent that I am almost game to try and walk unaided- however after having a few falls  ( not recent) your confidence  gets a bit of a shaking up and I still go out with my crutch.

My broken left wrist was reset with a metal plate and it has been quite debilitating and of course I can't drive and am reliant on other people to take me places, as until now public transport has also been out of the question. I naturally do a lot of things with my left hand, though I am not left handed, it really put an end to stitching on my wellness blanket, though I did do some stitching with a frame. My wellness blanket records  the days since my diagnosis with cervical cancer and some of the intervening incidents and I will continue it until radiotherapy has finished and I meet with the gyno-oncology unit at the Women's Hospital at the end of the radiotherapy. The words record the thought for each day ; they are sometimes filled with fear and trepidation and others with hope and even joy and a reminders to keep creative. I have tried to use my own words rather than other people's inspiring quotes, and I have been doing  quite a lot of stitching this last week to catch up the days I missed because the wrist was too immobile to do anything. I should be caught up before Christmas I hope! But it is a funny thing, you simply can't catch it up all in one go, because well the mood of the day really  does play a role in outcome.

The blanket has been a way of focusing thoughts , even the dark ones, committing them to a mark, giving it a place, but not allowing it to overwhelm. I am surprised how well it has worked and  it has given me space to focus on being as positive as I can be, and has even somehow given me a bit of a creativity roadmap. The background in the photo will be changed- I have not quite decided which colour but there is still  4 weeks of radiotherapy left ( they only take off Christmas day) so it will continue to grow as well as catch up the missing days.

Another practice that I commenced at the beginning of the year which has also been quite helpful  for my present experience and is almost a meditative process is rewriting poetry. I rewrite the words of a poet by hand every morning: it's the first thing I do. It started out  as a sort of Book of Hours kind of thing  and getting to know some poetry better, but I have enjoyed the process of simply writing another's words and also feeling, by writing my way through, poetry I might not otherwise have read. So thus far I have worked through Rainer Maria Rilke ( Book of Hours), Wislawa Szymborska ( collected poems) and some poems from Halina Poswiatowska ( an unknown Polish poet to me but found through a poem dedication in Szymborska- and am now awaiting a book by her,  though unfortunately most of her work is in Polish- her work is  heart rending and poignant) and at present, Judith Herzberg ( a country compatriot). Its been a way  to take myself out of myself, and have the thoughts of another start the day.

And last but not least I have sold my shed and block. Now starts the search for elsewhere to live and find a home. My budget is limited, but  you can build a garden and  home anywhere really- just look at cities. It will definitely be in a country area ( i have missed the "bush" these last 8 weeks) My intention is to make it an "art" home filled with things that  inspire me, and warm my soul, and where I can work! My heart would love France, but the reality is that the legal stuff becomes a bit complicated- and i want things to stay simple and not get weighed down by legalities and residence issues.

Meanwhile onward.......