Thursday, January 14, 2016

I'm not dead!

So, despite my best intentions, last year went pear-shaped. Had to deal with my health improving with my weight loss and then it doing a 180 when my leukemia med stopped working. These are targeted therapies, but still rough on the body. I had been at a half-dose of the second-newest med for a couple years. And then, pow, bad cells popping back up.

This month marks 10 years since I found out I had CML. On the one hand, yay because I have now out-lived the expected lifetime of CML patients before the first targeted therapy, Gleevec, was developed. But, *sigh* for 10 years of side effects, switching and adjusting to new meds, bone marrow biopsies, etc.

So, my most recent stopped working last year. I have been on all but one of the targeted therapies, switching them when the side effects became too much. Or landed me in the hospital. This was the first time the issue was it not keeping the defective cells suppressed. And then I got stupid. My oncologist wanted me to go back to the original dosage of this med. Stupid me did so without thinking and I proceeded to burn through the last of my vacation and paid sick time. Because it is a day by day thing. One day you can ignore the side effects, the nest you can't get out of bed. After a couple weeks, though, the abdominal pain that made us go to the lower dose originally became constant and so I stopped that med.

Now, the question was what to do. Had to take something. Couldn't really take a medication break as my Philadelphia chromosome count was already increasing (as that goes up, the CML is getting stronger and my body would start making too many wbcs which would ultimately make me sick again). The newest medication had a 10 percent rate of death in its trials. Um, no thank you. The last time I tried Gleevec, I couldn't get out of bed within about 4 months of starting it. Sprycel I didn't really want to try again since the fun side effect there was bilateral pleural effusion and pneumonia. That left Tasigna. Was on that one for a year after i had recovered from the Sprycel fun. Ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis. Sad thing is that this was the best option.

This time, I got smart. I planned a medical leave ahead of time to start and adjust. So, I was off for 6 weeks last June/July to get things back on track. Dr and I agreed to try a half dose and monitor my pancreatic enzymes to hopefully catch it early if things start to go bad. The fun thing is that I got to have issues this time that I didn't have before. Is it because I'm a few years older? Because I'm 80 pounds lighter? Who knows. But, hello insomnia at night and fatigue during the day. So, I take 2 separate sleeping meds at night and a strong dose of Concerta during the day

But, things are going okay. December and January have been a bit rough in terms of colds and the flu and the tasigna sometimes gives me a heck of a headache, but I'm managing.

Now we get to the positives. Making some goals for this year. I want to create more, get my computer working, actually get this blog going with my jewelry and my thoughts on beady subjects. I work in the actuarial field. Before I got sick, I was having success with the exams to become credentialed. Had to stop after getting sick as those exams take a ton of prep time and I just didn't have the energy anymore. If I can get to the point with this med that I was at with the prior one, I plan to pursue the two exams needed to become an Enrolled Actuary. It's not what I had planned back in the day, but it is something that would be useful in my current job and it will be something to help soothe the hurt and frustration that I have felt since turning 40 a year ago and hitting this 10 year CML anniversary. It's been rough looking back on my life, not being remotely where I thought I would be, and knowing that the big goals I had are just never going to be possible.

So, here's to a new year. To focusing on attainable goals and celebrating them. And, finally, here's to 10 years with cancer and making it another 10 years.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap n Hop Teaser

Quick post from my kindle to show a teaser of what I sent to my partner.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

While waiting in the Wyndham Garden hotel...

So, I took 2 seat bumps today and am now being put up overnight in a hotel. Definitely hitting Ft Lauderdale tomorrow, though. :)

I signed up for a blog hop and the partners were announced yesterday. I probably won't get my introduction post done until I get back from the Bead Cruise because it is crazy cold here where the hotel computer is. Maybe the Motel 6 has computers and I can do it tomorrow. Won't be nothing degrees in Florida. (yay)

So, the blog is the Swap N Hop organized by the lovely ladies of the Bead Peeps Facebook group. Since I haven't had a working home computer, I haven't posted any of the things for it yet on my blog here, but it's on my list. We're supposed to introduce ourselves, which I didn't manage to get done more than posting some jewelry pics that I had readily available to use while on my work laptop. No pics here, obviously, but I thought I would answer some "get to know me" questions.

What got you started making jewelry?
Well, I've always really enjoyed crafts and making things. I also love working with colors and have been known to color still at times. Made friendship bracelets a lot when I was in Jr High and doing rings and such with what we called Indian seed beads was very popular at that time in Girl Scouts and I was really good at it. But that was as far as I got. I always thought I would enjoy it and it was always in the back of my mind. Especially being someone who was not only overweight, but also just has a larger frame. Buying special occasion jewelry always involved a lot of searching for places that sold larger sizes. Then came time for my best friend's second wedding. I decided to make jewelry for the both of us for the wedding, which was a small affair. She wore a gorgeous floral dress from Igigi that was white with purple, fuschia, and other tropical colored flowers. I was able to use Swarovski pearls and crystals to create something that matched and was made just for her. It was awesome. So, I started hoarding beads and making things for my family and friends for special occasions. Now I am to the point that I need to expand to more than that and actually start selling some stuff so that I can use up some bead stash and be "allowed" to buy more.

What type of jewelry do you make?
I mainly do stringing and some basic wirework. I do enjoy some beadweaving and experiment with different stitches at times. I've done right-angle weave, spiral tubular herringbone, some peyote, and some other spiral stitch that I'm not quite sold on. I make all sorts of pieces from simple to bold. I'm still an amateur but I am experimenting with forcing myself to try out asymmetry, more bead soup type of mixes, etc. I think the thing I'm best at is probably color. I have a pretty good sense of color.

What materials and colors do you use?
Semi-precious stones (lol, ask to see my red creek jasper and amazonite collection), pearls (sooo many pearls), artisan beads (huge lampwork collection, good sized Humblebeads and Jangles collections, too). I love tagua nut beads and nicely done wood beads. Love, love, love vintage beads: glass, metals, lucite. Love them. And I use a lot of chain. I don't use a lot of precious metals, just occasionally if the materials I'm using really demand it. But the plated items I use are made by quality manufacturers.

Colors. Hmm. Well, it depends on who I'm designing for. I try to use a variety of colors and to challenge myself. For my own use, I prefer silver, gunmetal, pastels, blues, purples, pinks, certain reds. But I try to design for others, as well. And I love working with antiqued copper. It has such a richness... I'm not overly fond of orange and yellow and grass green, but if the piece is right, it can catch my eye. Hate neon, though.

Well, I can't remember what other types of questions I was supposed to answer and my hands are getting mighty cold. It's around 0 here in Detroit and these hotel computers are right by the entrance. Brrr.

Thanks for reading!  :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Some of my creations

Since I will be shortly participating in a bead swap and blog hop, I wanted to get at least a few pictures of stuff I have made up so that whoever my partner ends up being maybe has a clue about what I use. :)

Lampwork, pearls (shell and freshwater), vintage lucite, vintage glass, czech glass, polymer clay, ceramic... I use it all! Pearls are probably the most used component. I love them in all of their various grades and forms. Well, except blister pearls, not quite sold on those.

Welcome to my blog!

Well, I finally made one. Not much going on yet. Mainly because I hate trying to type anything of length on my kindle and my home computer is still broken. That will be getting fixed soon, though. Blogging about my jewelry, my "creative process," the cool things I find and enjoy that others make is part of my goals for this year. I'm sure I'll share stuff about myself along the way, too.