May 7, 2008 – I just wrote the following paragraph to my friend Debbie who had received my last update and she was saying that she had thanked God for the beautiful day she was enjoying and for getting this far in her recovery from breast cancer and I thought I would share it here, with you.
“I really never thought I would get to this point and I am so lovin' it here! Mind you, I am not without my anxieties but they don't seem to occupy my thoughts so often anymore. When they do come and try to get in I have to be strong and say to myself - "I will deal with that IF it becomes necessary but I WILL NOT spend my precious time worrying about what "might be" in the future. I live for today. The future will just have to take care of itself! I, too, thank God for all my wonderful life - and the chance, twice over, to live it well. It is now an obligation to make the most of it after being given two more chances to get it right!”
I am not going Priscilla Preacher on you here, never fear, but I do want to make note that even though I do not attend a church, I chatter to God all day when I am in my garden (if you remember, I MUST touch the earth every few days and draw my energy up into my body so I feel very spiritual when I am in my garden) or when I read a very moving passage in a book, or when I am just so happy and thankful I could burst. I don’t think it matters who you believe in or what you believe but I do know it is very comforting to me to be able to have my “inner chats” with God, who, to me, can be “she, he or it,” depends on the day! God is a presence I feel. That has made my journey easier.
May 14 – Okay, this next entry really has nothing to do with breast cancer but I really do have some things to share. First – I am so out of the fashion loop. I wear three outfits until they are threadbare and then go buy three more that I wear until they are in the same condition. So about every three years or so I go shopping. Sometimes I do find clothes in odd places. The last ten or so clothing items I have purchased were from Cracker Barrel when we stopped there for dinner! I am going off to a convention at the end of the month and will be teaching, working in a booth, filming an online class, attending some receptions and generally flitting about so really needed some new stuff to flit about in. So Flitty Flo took over and hauled my butt to the Mall. First stop was the Clinique counter to buy face cream and lipstick. They didn’t even make the products any more so I had to choose new things. The counter lady looked at me painfully so I know she was thinking that maybe I needed to stop in a little more often. On to buy pants. I needed a pair of black jeans and a nice pair of blue jeans. I HATE to try on clothes so after four pairs that either didn’t fit or looked awful I came out of the dressing room and lo and behold, there was a pair of black jeans hanging on the rack where you put stuff you don’t want to buy. I looked at the tag to see how much they were and almost fainted when I saw 108.00. What! 108.00 dollars! For a pair of jeans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then I saw the sale tag and that was reasonable AND there was a tag that said they were Butter Soft Tummy Tuck jeans! I NEED tummy tuck jeans! Remember Tanya the Tummy? So I went to the saleslady and asked if there were more of them and she said, ‘They’re not your daughter’s jeans and we have more over here.” What? I was by myself so why did she say such an odd thing to me. Who even said I had a daughter and why would she care if they were my daughter’s jeans??????????????????? (I was telling the story to my real daughter Jen and she laughed as she KNEW – she is obviously in the fashion loop!) Thank heavens I didn’t say any of what I was thinking as when we arrived at our destination there was a whole display of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans or NYDJ for short. Who knew they were a brand? I did end up buying the ones on sale and they do look good and I do love them because right inside the waistband it says “Made for real women with real curves.” Okay, I’ll take curves. Curves that need a Tummy Tuck pair of jeans (they also are supposed to lift your butt – well they tried to anyway)! But this is the best part. There was a message inside that I pulled off and saved. It said, “NYDJ cannot be held responsible for any positive consequences due to your fabulous appearance when wearing the Tummy Tuck jean. You can thank me later, Lisa Sandel.” I might just have to but them at regular price in the future for giving me such a good time!
On to get sleeveless shells. I love to wear jackets but get so hot so I need shells. I found some on sale so I bought ten of them in black, brown, beige, red and navy so now have enough for about five years so I am good! I liked one so much that I bought two of the same thing!
So, I have new face cream and lipstick, new jeans, lots of shells and a new jacket and a pair of shoes. Oooooooooooooo I am good for at least three years now!
Now this next bit is just showing off! This coming Thursday is Third Thursday which means Gallery Opening night. SJ and I were turning in our artwork for the Gallery Opening when the Gallery director said he needed to talk to me and he asked me to do live painting for the Samantha Brown party since everyone loved it when I did the live painting at the Gallery awhile ago. I said sure (I do love to do live painting) and I thought it was someone local who was having a party at the Gallery so was surprised to find out that Samantha Brown is from the Travel Channel and the party was for her! Just found out today that I actually get paid for doing this! I am hoping to find out when the feature would air -if they are shooting that day - maybe it is just a party for her - I really don't know much at this point - only that I have to be there next Tuesday at 3:30 to set up. I think the Travel Channel is probably doing an article on what there is to do in Orlando but that is really just a guess. Doesn’t matter – this is all just too much fun! You can tell I am excited about this!
May 17 – I met my worst fear yesterday. I was making copies at our local Staples yesterday and a very attractive woman came in with a pink scarf wrapped around her head and it was obvious that she had no hair. She set up next to my machine and began to copy breast cancer related information so after a bit I said to her that all of that brought back memories and we went on to have a great conversation. You are probably wondering what the worst fear part was. For the last for five years (moi – I hit my five year mark in July) she has been on and off, mostly on, and currently on every two weeks indefinitely, because she had an aggressive form of breast cancer (moi again), was Her2 positive (moi ditto) it recurred (moi ditto, ditto) and it came back again and has spread to her brain, liver and other areas and she needs constant chemo to keep it at bay (moi’s worst fear). I could feel my stomach clench and I started to feel cold at those words because that is what I fear most of all if my cancer returns. The Herceptin regimen I was on for a year decreased my chances of a recurrence by 50% but that does leave the other 50% hanging out there! Meeting her was a good thing for me though. She was flitting about making her copies, was there by herself so did not need anyone to help her, was very involved in cancer advocacy and we spoke about how all of it becomes your new normal and that here we both were chatting away about how good it was to be alive! Our parting words were that we hoped to run into each other in years to come. Life lessons do come in odd places. I could do it again if I had to.
June 6 – Just a bit of trivia here….on this day 43 years ago I graduated high school from Waterford Kettering in Waterford, Michigan. Lordy!
Now for the really big news………………..I passed my four month oncology check-up with flying colors! My doctor is extremely pleased with my progress (me, too!) and says that I have come a very long way. Well…..that is an understatement if I ever heard one! I so agree with him and can hardly remember some of the really bad times now that I feel good and everything seems to be going just fine. I really hope this little paragraph has some meaning for someone reading these journals. I am fine so that means you can be fine or your friend or relative can be fine. Certainly not a guarantee and maybe not forever but for NOW (and that is where I live – in the present) all is well. So, I am good for another four months! Part of the new normal I live with and it is justa’ fine with me!
Just got back from a painting convention in Tampa, Florida – I was there as Artist Annie for a whole week! Exciting things happened there and I was sooooooooooooooooo glad I felt so good so I could do EVERYTHING! I was part of a group that taught 100 people, 10 at a time, for 5 ½ hours on Monday. On Tuesday morning I met with a representative from a company that wants to turn some of my designs into kits – I agreed. On Tuesday night I was at the book signing for the long awaited Russian Santa book – do you even remember my talking about it? Fifty 14 ½” hand carved in Russia Santas, all exactly the same, were sent out to 50 artists worldwide in the beginning of the year. We could do whatever we wanted to them and paint them in whatever theme we chose. The book debuted at the convention and since a lot of the artists were there they had us all meet on Tuesday night so people could buy the book and have it signed by all the individual artists. What an exhilarating experience that was! I have included the book pics as my Photo of the Week this time since I am so very proud to be in the book. Then on Wednesday I filmed my first on-line class for the Society of Decorative Painters! I was a basket case and after talking basically to myself for three hours I asked the guy doing the filming (and who will do all the wonderful editing!) if I sounded as stupid on the monitor as I did to myself and, if so, could he fix it? He just laughed. I saw a friend later on who assured me that she felt the same way and when she saw the edited version she was amazed that it was even her so I have hope! It was exciting though, just to be asked to do it and now that I have got one under my belt I am ready to do some DVD’s for my website! How’s that for a quick recovery! Thursday I did painting demonstrations for the brush company I work with and then taught a class on Thursday night until 10 p.m. and then all day Friday I worked in a paint company’s booth, went to a reception that night, worked again in the booth on Saturday, helped to tear it down and pack it up for shipping, raced back to my room, freshened up and headed off to the ending banquet. Up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and headed home. How’s that for a grueling week? You know I have to be in good health to accomplish all of that. Plus, your adrenalin is running at top speed all week because you are surrounded by other artists and they are all excited, too, so the energy in the air is actually palpable.
Are you ready to throw up at all my gushing good news yet??????????????????? I must say, it is sooooooooooooooooo nice to not be writing about some strange side effect or new ailment concerned with breast cancer. Hurray, yippee, whoopee!
Photo of the Week – Here is the book cover and page with my “Jeweled Santa.” I chose to paint him black and then paint my signature white roses on him and then decorate him with “jewels” some of which are charms from the Decorative Arts Collection (they commissioned the book) of past years and then jewels from my stash of “stuff. If you are in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the Santas are on display at the Decorative Arts Collection Museum. If you would like a copy of the book you can purchase it from me, of course (www.margotclark.com) or from the Museum (www.decorativeartscollection.org) Hopefully, it will also be available soon in bookstores. It is really a gorgeous book!
Margot a.k.a. Perky Polly and Droopy Dolly, Artist Annie, Priscilla Preacher, Flitty Flo and Tanya the Tummy. Note the absence of any “down” personas!
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