The last month has been a whirlwind and it will take me many months to process everything, but I wanted to update you all on what's been happening with me. Warning, this post is TMI overload!
On February 25th I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, surgery was inevitable. Now I've never wanted kids but sometimes since I heard my diagnosis I'll get a little sad, like looking at an Avon book and seeing a "mom" necklace and getting teary-eyed. It doesn't happen often and it's only fleeting, but the feelings are there and I have to accept them.
On February 28th, I met with my gynecologist/oncologist and I immediately felt confident in him. He told me what to expect, that according to the initial pathology results it appeared to be in the early stages, and "you will not die from this". Then the surprise....he could do the surgery on the following Monday! He doesn't like to have a back log or waste time, so if I was ready he was ready. Was I ready? Maybe not but I had cancer why wait?
March 4th arrives and I'm absolutely giddy in pre-op. The nurses remembered me from my D&C on February 19th (which was hilarious! "Did you miss us that much!?") The anesthesiologist said I was too happy and he knew the sedative didn't work that fast! Yes this surgery meant no kids but it also meant no cancer and how couldn't I be happy about that? My doctor told my parents surgery went well, he took lymph nodes for staging, and I should be able to go home the next day which I did. The nurses on my floor were so sweet and supportive.
Recovery was going as well as could be expected, I had pains and was exhausted but I had major surgery and lost body parts, it's expected. But I did notice an annoying pain that I thought was catheter irritation and last Tuesday the 12th I got REALLY nauseous but it passed.
So here's where the near death experience comes in. The next day I was sitting at the table having lunch, stood up and started bleeding profusely from my vagina and when I say profusely I mean practically hemorrhaging. I called my doctor who said to come down, called my parents and off we went to make the hour car ride to my doctor's office. They took me in right away and started working on me. I started feeling more and more weak, and then my doctor sutured me (without Novocaine ladies!) to stop the bleeding, even though I think he knew it wouldn't stop and was just putting stitches in until he got me to the hospital. So he tells me to get to the hospital and he'd meet me there but I couldn't stand up without falling over. They checked my blood pressure and it dropped to 86/44 and next thing I know I'm on the table in his office telling my mom I just want to go to sleep and mom yelling at me "Stay awake!" Then the ambulance showed up and off I go to the hospital. Again. As it turns out, an abrasion was created during the hysterectomy but it was hidden and couldn't easily be seen. As for all the blood, I've always been "juicy" as a nurse told me once so who knows there. I spent another night in the hospital, had the same nurses who all remembered me and again took amazing care of me.
My recovery has definitely taken a step back, I should be driving this week had recovery gone well but I can't drive for another 2 weeks now because of the abrasion. I have new aches and pains to go with the older ones, and I'm even more easily exhausted if that's possible. Plus I'll need even more time off of work which means more time wtithout a paycheck but at least I'm alive! Things got really real last week, too real and I'm just grateful that I'm able to type this blog post to you all. And the LYMPH NODES CAME BACK NEGATIVE! I meet with my doctor in a few weeks, and we'll discuss what will happen moving forward. As for my art, I'm keeping a digital journal on my iPad. Unfortunately the last few entries have basically consisted of blood splatter recreations but I need to work through that as well.
Thank you for reading this all. So much has happened and I needed to get it out. Hug your loved ones and kiss your pets. :)
I wanted to post a quick note to explain why I haven't been sharing as much art with you as I used too. Basically, after 15 years of dealing with recurring depression (and having each recurrence be worse than the last) I decided to see a therapist. Going to therapy has been great even though I still struggle with needing someone else's help to better myself. I'm fiercely independent and for years thought I could fix myself. WRONG. Going to therapy has also helped me take a look at my physical health and made me realize I need to finally start taking care of myself so on the 19th barring any sickness or bad weather I'll be having a procedure done. As far as that goes, all I will say is it is no joke being a woman, and I'd be lying if I wasn't a freaked out.
But since I've started going to therapy my art production has dropped considerably. I always spent too much time analyzing things so that isn't the reason; I don't honestly know why I've stopped. I still get ideas and still get inspired but I just can't make myself pick up the paint brush or pencil. I know one of the answers is fear, but there has to be more. I guess I just have to make myself push through this.
So this post is basically me asking you to hang with me and maybe asking myself to pick it up a bit. As I say to everybody "We'll get through this!".
(I'm posting this from the weebly app on my iPad so if the post looks weird you know why.)
On Instagram a group of us led by Anika (@aisforanika) post a pattern a day each month. I think I posted 22 patterns last month which is pretty good for me, much better than my "doodle a day" output. The following picture is a sample of my patterns, all drawn in the original Brushes app.
Follow me on Instagram (@staunchstudio) to see my patterns or follow the hash tag #patternadaydec to see all the patterns being created.
Blogging once a week obviously was a chore as I haven't blogged since May 3rd. I just feel so nervous sitting down to write something for you guys. It's ironic because I always saw myself as the next great writer and still do, albeit a romanticized version of the next great writer. You know, crumpled papers on the floor, me sitting at my desk with a half empty bottle of whiskey cursing my muse for leaving me-that sort of thing.
Since I recently deleted my Flickr account, basically because I found the website boring but also because I need to spend less time on the computer, I now have nowhere to share my iPad drawings. Ding dong! I can use my blog to share my drawings with you guys. I love when things work out. :)
So here's the first of many I will share with you on this blog, it's called Make It Easier and I drew it with the Procreate app. The Procreate App is my favorite iPad art app because of the different brushes it has and because of the blending capabilities.
"Make It Easier", ©StaunchStudio 2012
The plan moving forward (for right now) with this blog is to mainly feature my iPad drawings but also let you know about news or updates with my art. I'm still trying to figure this all out. ;)
Oh and feel free to share this post with anyone you think would enjoy my drawing.
In this blog post
I talked about the books I found at Goodwill and how I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. I eventually decided to
create a bit of (can I call it) prose from the words on the page, almost like I'm collaborating with the author in a way. I read the page over and over learning what the author wants me to learn and then I create my own interpretation of the page and teach the author something he/she didn't know. Yes I know these authors are dead just go with it. :)
This was the first page (from the Henry Adams book) I did and I circled the words too closely so the colors sort of overpower them. The name Pierre was used over and over again so I went with it-"Pierre, Pierre, Pierre, and Pierre died".
The Henry Adams book again, I had to cut around the drawing because I ripped the page which is very easy to do considering how old the books are. The line I wrote is "Blanche, gracious lady, like a child sitting in the autumn depths".
This was my first mess up. I wanted to draw random squares/rectangles all over the words I didn't choose leaving some of those shapes free of color. But then the words showing through distracted me so I ended up blacking everything out with paint. I'm not sure I like this and I was going to put it in my shop but I haven't yet, I'm still kind of mad at myself. The page is from the Thurman Rice book and the line is "These impulses will recover, stimulation should be avoided and transplanted".
This is from a new book I found, The Yukon Trail by William MacLeod Raine. I'm proud of this one and it is available in my shop
. The line here is "Sheba Holt MacDonald was crack-brained only once". These pages are way too much fun to work on so definitely look for more in the future.
I used to be anti-Instagram
. Mostly because everyone else was using it and I can get all "well if everyone likes something I'm going to hate it". I make my life difficult sometimes. But I also didn't like it because I LOVE Hipstamatic
and viewed Instagram as some sort of rival app. Again, I make life difficult. But I finally came to my senses and realized instagram is a really cool social media app for sharing photos and seeing what others are up too. To me it sort of completes the twitter short-140 character update idea; with Instagram you get one photo showing someone's life at that moment. Very cool.I mostly share photos of what I'm working on or photos of me harassing my cats.
You should follow me. :) My username is staunchstudio.
Happy Easter everyone and enjoy your holiday weekend!
That's what the cashier at Goodwill said to me when I checked out. The other books were around a dollar so I guess she thought the extra .97 cents would shock me or something. Actually I was shocked that I got all 4 of these books so cheaply!
I love old books. The smell, the formality of language is different, and I always wonder who owned these books before me. What were they like, why did they buy this book? Especially the one below, The Conquest of Disease by Thurman Rice.
The Governor's Daughter
is described as an "engaging and exciting story about the lovely, spirited daughter of the Royal Governor of New York Colony who undertook a daring venture to aid her country - and who lost her heart to a man as bold and proud as she!" I do not read love stories but the cover got me I have to admit it.
And then there's Theodor Storm's Imensee. It's in German and I don't speak German but I'm 95% German so I bought it. What? ;)
What a random selection! I don't know how I'm going to incorporate them into my artwork but they were bought with the purpose of making art so I'm sure I'll figure something out. Any suggestions? Of course I won't be touching the German book because one of my many ancestors named Johannes or Wilhelm will probably haunt me in my dreams if I scribble over the German written word. :)
I've been wanting to make a zine for awhile but didn't know how to go about it until I read online about a mini zine, basically a cleverly folded piece of paper. This video shows you how to fold the paper:
But what to put in it? I remembered back in high school how I'd photocopy images of paintings and pin the photocopies on my walls at home. Weird I know but I thought I'd do something similar for this zine, so I made some mini paintings and photocopied them.
I'm also very proud of the image on the cover, it's from an old photo I found that belonged to my grandmother. :) I made 50 copies so if you'd like one please send me your name and address to my email email@example.com. This first volume is free because my folding skills were not up to par and also I learned some things along the way that will make my second volume better.
Have you made any zines and what were your experiences?
So yeah, it's been several months since I've posted on this blog. Blogging intimidates me, I mean what do I say? And why would I think anything I have to say is interesting to you all? But I need to get past that I suppose so here begins my 1000th attempt at regularly blogging. I'm setting a reasonable goal of one post a week to get back in the groove. I've tried it before and it hasn't worked but I'm stubborn as hell so maybe it will work this time. :)This post will be super easy on me and you-my submission to the Twitter Art Exhibit, which is being run by the amazing David Sandum.
You can read more about the exhibit and the charity it's supporting in this blog post
. Lots of wonderful artists are participating and it was cool to have such awesome vibes surrounding this painting as I worked on it.
I decided to call the painting "Instantly New". I've become obsessed with sanding away everything on a painting right now.