Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life is beautiful....even with breast cancer.

Just over a month ago I received the news that I have breast cancer. The journey has just begun.

I have never intended this blog to be a journal of my personal life but an outlet for all the crazy creative ideas and processes I've got jammed into my head. However I'm letting all of you, my dear readers, know that I'm heading into some tough times health wise and posting may be erratic for several months.

Like the devastating news of a death in the family, this has had an extremely clarifying effect. Though it is much less than the horrible razor sharp sword wound I've felt with family deaths, it is still daunting and scary. It has brought my focus very clear and I've found that my basic optimistic outlook is still intact.

So, the good news is that it is totally curable. I've already undergone all the surgery that's necessary and am moving on to chemo next week. Our wonderful, delightful family has pulled together and will be with me every step of the way. Besides their love, their wildly quirky, intelligent, creative, sarcastic, hilarious humor lights my days. My medical team is top notch and the cancer center is one of the nation's best.

I will get through this. I feel the positive energy and prayers coming my way everyday.

And so you can see that I'm not sitting in the corner bemoaning my fate, know that....

I'll get to wear some kicking hats and scarves, including a very smart little black fedora with a silk band. And a wig? Who knows!

The Welding Man now has total bathroom cleaning duties. Excellent. He is also now the Master of the Dishwasher. ; 0 )

I cut off my long hair and found myself laughing at the total freedom I felt. Long hair, gone! The decision to dye or not to dye, gone! Oops, got it a little short on top. That's okay! No more hair stress (which you ladies all know is REAL) for months and months. I can totally deal with this.

I am cutting WAY back on my dozens of overflowing deck planters and concentrating on just a few beautiful plants. I am keeping my gorgeous ivy topiaries that grow on frames The Welding Man made to my fussy fussy standards.

I'm going overboard on holiday decorating but within a drastic budget and that's always when I do my best work. So in addition to dozens of family photos I will have some kick ass holiday displays to plan, make and share. I want to smile when I walk in to every room of my house, even if it's just a laugh over my latest cheap extravagance. Is that a contradiction in terms? lol!

I will be painting more, listening to music more, using my camera more and exercising more. I will fill my bedroom walls with all the teal, cobalt, tiffany, robin's egg blue themed paintings I can produce, then I'll paint more red and gold art for my livingroom. Everyone in the family will get paintings for Christmas!

And I will fill up my Etsy shop with whatever I create and share it with those shoppers who appreciate the things I make. I totally love it when I come up with an idea and create it and somebody enthusiastically pays me money for it!! And when I come back from the doctor to find that I've sold something it just perks me right up. You Etsy sellers out there know of which I speak. I'm moving into a much smaller, cheaper craft mall space which means I have to be creative and clever with my displays, a challenge I like.

My insanely creative daughter, Christy, will be staying with us and I assure you she will be busy with my projects as well as her own. I have a whole list of stuff we want to try out.

This will not become a cancer blog or a journal of medical minutaie. This will still be my crazy creative craft blog with as many tutes, photos and ideas as I can cram in here. I love to hear from you and your comments are priceless. Your blogs tell me what I've known all along, that women are creative powerhouses who fill their homes, families and lives with beauty everyday. You inspire me and fill me with awe.

When I'm done with all my treatments I am thinking of getting a tattoo. (Collective crowd gasp goes here) I haven't decided on the graphic but I know what it will say. It will be in a cool font and read, "Life is beautiful."

I'll be back.


  1. Ann, Love your attitude and glad that you have the surgery out of the way. My step mother went through all of that and she did fine. My husband has 2 cousins that did the same thing and have been through all the reconstruction and everything. They are all back to life in every sense of the word, and past their 5 years marks and counting!
    It did give them some very creative down time and there will be days on the chemo that won't be too much fun, but it will get better.
    Sounds like you have a massive support system there going on and you know you have one here.
    Blog it all and we will be here to help you get through it. We will pray, we will cry and we will laugh with you all the way.
    When you are wearing all those fun hats and scarves, look at the bright side. You won't have to shave either, or pluck!
    Can't wait to see what you come up with on your painting and all the new things that you will have on etsy!
    Blessings and hugs- Tete

  2. Ann, just wanted you to know that you and your family are in my prayers. Your attitude is more than half of the battle! What an amazing role model you are for your family!!

  3. I just wanted to let you know that had my first chemo treatment for breast cancer in Oct 1998-it is a very doable event0 some days you will not feel as good as usual but this passes quickly- and I did not look as bad bald as I thought I would! I had very long hair too- now I keep it short- but it is only 12 year old hair! Good luck to you my friend- I know you will be fine!

  4. I hope God blesses you on this journey. I just got done reading, "Anti cancer A new Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. He has cancer also. His book is well worth the read and very encouraging.

  5. First and foremost, please make the tattoo one of your own designs, you do such beautiful work and your family trees always reming me of the tree of life. No gasp from me, I have a tattoo with a circle of vine-ing flowers with my husband and 2 daughters' names in it. Second, YOU are an inspiration to us all. When we are challenged, few rise to the occasion with your passion, and with your zest for life. Good for you for having this stance from the get-go, it will serve you well, and serve those around you. And Yes, when you need strength, you'll have your family and friends, and please include us, your blogging buddies to support you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and know you will use this experience to enrichen so many people's lives. My love to you and your family-Erin

  6. Ann you are so inspiring. Just reading this post has given me goose bumps and is making me take a look at My life with a closer lens.
    Thank you for sharing this with us - I know that was probably hard. And even though this is your crafty creative blog please keep us updated in your journey.
    You will be in our prayers.

  7. Ann,
    I have been "lurking" for awhile and decided it was time to introduce myself! Hi, I am Sandy and it is so nice to meet you! I think that you have a WONDERFUL attitude towards this health crisis and that is 90% of the battle! I salute your family for being what you need when you need it! And you, for being so positive, I can imagine it is NOT easy in this storm.....know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I can't wait to see your holiday decorating if you care to share! Yeah, Big Lots and Dollar Stores! LOL Take care of yourself, Sandy

  8. Oh Poop like you have time for this!!! Not Now, your busy creating! You have a wonderful support group you lucky lady and your just going to get thru this intrusion in your fun! Now, you blog all you want about your journey. See, that's what us bloggers do best, we all listen and encourage, we laugh and we cry.......It's all the beauty of blogging!


  9. I agree with Carol... my thoughts and prayers are with you =)

  10. Ann, your journey with cancer began at the exact same time as my mother's. She will also start chemo next week on Thursday. Her port is being inserted tomorrow morning.

    I have found that women who are fighting or have survived cancer pull on reserves that they didn't even know they had. I've seen such strength in the color "pink". It no longer is just a soft girlie color, it's now "fight like a girl" pink, as they say.

    I saw an exhibition yesterday by a wonderful photographer. She photographed women and their struggles with breast cancer, during and after. It brought tears to my eyes as the families and friends joined together to assist in fighting the battle. The women were beautiful with their bald heads. The strength, determination, and their vulnerabilities came through in their eyes. I see your strength, will and attitude in this post and in your blog. You will make the best of this challenge and come out a better person on the other side.

    If you would like me to add your name to the prayer link on my blog, please just let me know what you would like the prayer to say.

    The strength and blessings God has granted my mother and family during this time have been too numerous to count, such is the power of our Lord, and I'm sure you have and will continue to experience the same.

    Thank you for sharing and please keep us posted.

  11. Do yourself a favor. Come back and read this exact post on the days when you just feel like spilling your guts and giving up. You have such an inspiring attitude and I can't help but express my sincerest LOVE and prayers to you. I'm adding your blog button to both of my blogs. I'm located HERE and HERE. I'm going to tell everyone to come over and offer up their prayers to you and your family. Afterall, cancer doesn't affect just one person, it affects all those around you.

  12. Bless your heart!! Someone prior to me posted that attitude is most of the battle!! So very true and you look like you are starting off right. Maybe you can develop your own line of potable chemo crafts, things to work on diting chemo to while away the wait. Bless you and take care!!!

  13. Ann....if you'll send me your address ~ I'd love to send you one of my embellished bandanas for you to wear.

    Hugs and prayers to you at this time....Lorena

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  15. I'm a lurker, too, and I just wanted to send you some warm, healing energy from Denver! I'm sorry this has presented itself on your journey of life, but your attitude sounds like you are ready to take what life is giving you with courage. Cancer happens so much, what a crappy disease it is. I don't know your story but it sounds like there was a blessing in finding it when you did. You're gonna rock the headwear!!!!


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