Friday, 24 April 2015

Myeloma Update 1

Hi Everyone,

Many thanks for all your thoughts, love, hugs and prayers.  I have been busy practicing my jellyfish on the couch act....

Blue - created  on watercolour paper with copic markers, prismacolor pencils, watercolour paints....148mm x 210mm = 5.8" x 8.2" 
Small faces for me....just for fun and I started an online course called Beautiful Faces which I'm really enjoying watching the videos from and seeing other people's gorgeous work in class - I look forward to fully participating when I'm ready but for now just some no pressure, let's have fun faces and try out some big hair too.

I'm doing ok.  I went into hospital for a round of chemo on Tuesday 7th April and stayed for a few days only, not the week to 10 days as was expected.  I've been for chemo on the day ward since and have started on the Myeloma chemo now too.

I have the usual symptoms I guess you could say - food taste funny, very tired - which is very good as I need to rest to get better, I'm a bit like a wobbly duck....I walk funny now due to pain and balance....slow and steady.  I've got a nasty red rash on my upper chest but my hair hasn't started falling out so......

The biggest challenge can be the mental one...waking up on my 48th birthday wondering if it was a bad dream.....48 with terminal cancer how did my life come to this....all our lives change...some we can control and some we can't....some we need to deal with and accept and fight to change and make better but I now have a new life that involves doing 'nothing' - the most important 'nothing' of my life and that is to get rid of the nasty cells in my body..... and when they are gone I get to start another new

 Love love love this material of my new pyjamas - it's just gorgeous - the colours and the flowers/leaves! Wish I had painted it!

I've been busy colouring in - pencils, Sharpies/markers/textas and received some travel watercolour paints which are awesome, so these have given me some fun to play with.

Many thanks again to everyone for thinking about me, love and hugs back atcha.  Mxxx

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I have Multiple Myeloma

#hellomynameis Michelle and I have multiple myeloma. MM is a cancer of the plasma cells in the blood and it is treatable but is incurable.  *passes the tissues*

Miss Maya
Mixed Media on Mixed Media Paper
42cm x 30cm = 16 1/2" x 12"
I have named my latest girl Maya even though myeloma is pronounced my-loma. I created her as therapy about 4 weeks ago using a burgundy colour as this is the myeloma colour and the bubble wrap represents cells.

How did I find out I had MM?

In January I went to the local doctor for a prescription repeat and asked for a blood test for menopause as I had several symptoms that needed looking at.  The blood test came back with high protein levels - this is a red flag so the doctor requested more tests to be done.  CRAB is the anacronym for blood cancer symtpoms - C - calcium levels were ok, R- renal/kidney function was good, A - anaemia - no and B is for bone pain.

On Dec 24th I put on my superhero cape and had a busy day, I walked 4kms, did 4-6 loads of washing, cleaned the house and when I started the ironing in the afternoon lower back pain started. The chiropractor and I were best friends in January trying to sort out this lower back pain which wouldn't go away....

My local doctor sent my to a haemotologist who did more tests - blood, urine, skeletal survey where they xray most of your body looking for lesions and couldn't see anything and I had a bone marrow biopsy -which came back at 30% plasma cells. Less than 5% is normal and over 10% is myeloma and 5-10% is MGUS - monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined specifications - which is what I was hoping I had - no symptoms and no treatment.  I had asymptomatic myeloma and had to have a blood test in 3 weeks and see the haemotologist in 4 weeks.

The day after having that blood test I started getting a pain in my side ribs so when I saw the haemotologist the following week he decided I should get a CT scan to check it out.  The results came back showing I had multiple lesions on my ribs, sternum and vertebrae. The cancer cells gather on the bone and excrete a chemical which makes the bones leach calcium which causes lytic lesions - these cause bone pain which can cause muscle pain.  I've been in pain for months now. The doc has me on pain meds but I should be in hospital.

I'm booked into hospital for a week on Tuesday morning for more testing and to start treatment which will include chemo.  I'm scared of the unknown but ready to get well again. This is why I have been less active in creating art and on social media. 
This has been a lot to cope with - for me and my family and close friends.  I've been very fortunate to have caught it early, many people break bones and the xrays then show the lesions and I had a month of being asymptomatic so I did my research into it which is difficult to retain at the moment.

I'm looking forward to being in remission and well enough mentally and physically to start creating again.  Right now I'm resting up and colouring in Joanna Basfords' Enchanted Garden book which a friend gave me or creating mandala/zentangle/doodles with markers in my visual diary.

Take care my friends, leave me some love in the comments below or on FB, it would be greatly appreciated. Keep well and stay safe, until next time, love, hugs and cuddlybugs, Shells xxx

PS decided I would keep my hair appointment but just get it cut and not coloured...who knows how it will look in a couple of months!!  :D

Friday, 3 April 2015

Meet Miss Victoria

Meet Miss Victoria sho has traveled to Beverley for the Beverley Art Exhibition this weekend.

Miss Victoria
Mixed Media on Wooden Cradled Panel
42cm x 30cm = 16 1/2" x 12"
This is the first girl I have created on a wooden panel and it was great.  Canvas panels have give and air bubbles can be more troublesome but the wooden panel is hard and easier to get the bubbles out of.
Her face and hair was created on watercolour paper using watersoluble pastel and oil crayons and acrylic paint.  The background is acid free tissue paper which has been scrunched and Gelli® printed.  Her clothes and hat are Gelli® prints too.
She is available for sale at the exhibition.