Thursday, October 22, 2009

M & J Trimmings

In addition to digital scrapbooking, I sew and sell dollclothes on EBay. Last week I was in New York City visiting my daughter and we made the necessary trip to M & J Trimmings in the garment district. For those of us that sew, M & J is a wonderland. The entire store is nothing but trims, laces, appliques, ribbons and buttons. I've been there 3 or 4 times now and still haven't seen everything. Spending a lot of money there is no problem at all, so I really have to restrain myself and choose wisely. However, it's difficult not to buy something just because it's beautiful!

Anyway, here are a few photos of the store. And here's the link to their online store: M & J Trimmings

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Never Give Up

This Kit - Never Give Up - is available at Heritage Scrap. I have been honored to be their Designer of the Month this month. Thank you!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, I became acutely aware of breast cancer when I was diagnosed with it on July 31, 2001. Like so many other women, I thought it couldn’t happen to me. But it did. And it was bad. We didn’t catch it early.

I had not been very diligent about getting mammograms. I had had a bad experience with one and put them off as long as possible. But I found a lump and within two weeks it had grown and I knew I was in trouble. The look on the doctor’s face as she examined me confirmed my fears. I was sent straight to the surgeon’s office and 4 days later had a biopsy done. It was cancer.

My family was devastated. I was just in shock. It takes a while for it all to sink in. Was I going to die? I sure hoped not because, put simply, I just wasn’t finished with my life. So with the help of some very fine medical people I began my fight against Stage 3C breast cancer.

I had a mastectomy and came home the next day with a drainage tube attached to me. The tumor was large, my lymph nodes had cancer in them and it was also in the muscles of my chest wall. The prognosis wasn’t good. The oncologist and I decided to go with the nastiest of the nasty chemotherapy and radiation to battle the cancer. I had my first chemo at the end of August and was told my hair would probably fall out in about ten days.

The morning of September 11, 2001, my husband woke me up to tell me a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. I had watched the towers being built and found this hard to comprehend. How could a plane not miss something so big? I also found all the hair on my pillow a little hard to comprehend too. Why was it all falling out at once? They didn’t tell me that would happen. My hair was falling out in mass and the world had gone crazy. As I sat in front of the TV that day, I came to realize that at least I had a fighting chance to survive. The people in those planes, the Towers and the Pentagon weren’t given that chance. Suddenly my struggle was put into a different perspective. So what if I didn’t have any hair and only one breast. At least I was alive.

I made it through all the chemo and the radiation. Some days were just awful, but I made it. I did cry the day my eyelashes fell out. I had always had nice long, thick eyelashes and they were the last things to go. Because of that I had begun to think I might not lose them. Wrong! Did you know that your eyebrows keep most of the water out of your eyes in the shower? I didn’t either until I had none, eyebrows that is. I still had showers. Showers in which to view my disfigured body to remind me every day that I had breast cancer. That reminder never goes away. But 8 years later, it’s also a reminder that I have beaten the odds by still being alive. And believe me, I know how fortunate I am. My oncologist calls me his miracle patient.

My hair grew back and so did my eyelashes, though not as nice as they once were. But that kind of thing is not so important any more. I have become a spokeswoman for Breast Cancer Awareness – IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANY WOMAN! So please, for the sake of those who love you, check yourself regularly and get mammograms when your doctor says you should. I don’t know why I survived an advanced case of breast cancer and I live with the knowledge that it will probably return. But until that should happen, if and when it happens, I live one day at a time.

Every day is a gift, whether you’re a cancer survivor or not. We need to appreciate each day for what it offers us – a chance to enjoy life for what it is. Life is a constant change – some days are just wonderful, others not so good. But we must treasure each one and we must use them to their best advantage. We must also take time to appreciate the little pleasures that come with each day – the warmth of the sun, the smell of summer rain, the magic in a snowflake, the smile of a child or loved one. Take the time to tell people you care about them. You never know if you or they will be gone tomorrow. As the saying goes, take time to smell the flowers. God bless you all. And thank you for letting me tell my story.

This layout was done for a challenge last Octoober. It's still one of my favorite layouts I've ever done.