Monday, February 22, 2010

Belated post -- not about art but about life

Yes, this is a long overdue post, for which I apologize.  However I think the reason justifies why I haven't posted in over six weeks.  Sadly, the news is not good, and has to do with my health.  On January 9th I was diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer which had spread to the bladder.  I was admitted to the hospital on January 8th, and in my seven day stay, had two emergency surgeries, one to cauterize the bleeding and then one to perform right and left kidney nephrostomies.

I was not in good shape when I was released from the hospital.  I've spent the time since then trying to recover from the surgeries, and the news of my diagnosis.  Although I've had urges to make art, I simply haven't had the energy or stamina, and art has been put on the back burner for now.  I've never been through anything like this before, and am a total newbie at it.  I expect to get back to making art when I'm strong enough and the timing is right.

I know many of you may already know this news, because I made a short post about it on my yahoo groups a few weeks ago.  But many of you may not know, and I felt it was important to share this news with you.  As an UPDATE:  I am doing better, I am improving.  Progress is slow but is being made.  Right now I'm waiting to be accepted by Medicaid.  My file is in the pending status and hopefully will be approved any day.  Once that happens, I can begin 6 weeks of chemo and radiation.  Until that happens, I'm hanging in limbo regarding treatment -- not a good place to be in.

I have good days, bad days, and some really awful days.  As a newbie, I'm still learning how to deal with all of this.  I'm on narcotic pain killers, for which I'm grateful in the sense of how they help control the pain.  But I don't like the side effects at all.  They often mess up my mind to where I can't think straight or focus or concentrate, and make me so drowsy I keep falling asleep even when I want to be awake.  They also cause severe constipation, which I don't need right now.  In other words, they have many undesirable side effects, of which the ones I've mentioned are only a few.  This is the first time in my life I've ever taken narcotic medication for pain relief, and it's worse than I imagined.  But I need them so I take them.  My mind would work better without them, but the pain would be unbearable.

My family and friends, including online art friends, have been wonderful support to me.  I so appreciate that and thank all of you who've emailed me or sent me cards or art gifts.  It means a lot to me.  I especially appreciate prayers said for me, because I believe there is real power in prayer.  I am a Christian who believes in Jesus, and my faith and trust is in Him.  Yes, I am merely human, and often fall short when it comes to trusting God as I should, but I continue to try to the best of my ability.  I know that He knows every detail of what is going on in my life, and is able to meet my needs.  Perhaps not according to my own will, but according to His.  He has this under control and I am not alone.  I look to Him for comfort and strength, because I don't have the strength to walk this journey alone.  Thank you for reading this.

Val, who is in the fight of and for her life right now.  


72 comments:

christy grant said...

Oh Val, I didn't know it was metastatic. I am so very sorry. Those words seem so inadequate at times like this. Know that you are in my prayers and are in my heart as an art friend of some years now. Sending you a gentle caring hug.

Sowing Seeds said...

Val,
We will keep you in our prayers. May God send his healing power your way and I pray that your Medicaid is approved. It is terrible to have to postpone treatment for some red tape.

But, through Him, all things are possible.

LaShan

Dawn said...

Dearest Val you have been in my thoughts and I have spent so much time wondering what each day is holding for you at the moment.
I will pray ernestly for you, I am so glad you have your faith at this time... remember always the words of that poem you used "Footprints"
I wish I had your telephone number so I could call you just to tell you how much you are loved by me.
Fight the fight as hard as you can knowing that you have a lot of friends, and I am sure family rooting for you.
I hope medicaid pull themselves out quick so that you can have the treatment you need and so deserve
Take care my friend, and Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted.
All my love to you xxx

Cynthia Powell said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you every day! You will win this fight with God's help-and with family and friends support.

Heavens2Betsy said...

Dear Val, we have never met and I am new to following your blog. I am sorry that you have suffered such difficulties and send you healing wishes. Be kind to yourself x

FUNKYSIREN said...

Dearest Val precious to our creator and in a battle for her life which she WILL win. Yes trust in the power of prayer and may you be granted power beyond what is normal and can only come from our father. You are not alone so many of us in the art community will be urging you onwards and using prayer to help you through. Post to us as much as you can and keep us up to date so that we can continue to be close to you in only a small way but your important to this community. If you have anything important that you can pass on to us women as far as information as to the symptoms and discovery of this cancer and feel ready and willing to share turn it into a positive and dob in the insidious disease so that other women can also be aware. Only if you wish its a great way to take its power away from you and take charge ..take up the sword and fight back we can be an army even if its only in words I hope you gain strength and peace from the voices raised in out cry at this unfair disease striking you down ..but only for a time. Val envision yourself rising above it and conquering this. You SURELY will. hugs and hugs across the miles Michelle

Janet Ghio said...

Val
I hooope your Medicaid is approved soon! My thoughts are with you!

daysease said...

Dear Val, we serve an awesome God. Not only is HE near you always, but we are with you in prayer. We are a BODY, and one of our own is suffering, which makes us all suffer.

Dear sister, May our Lord comfort you and give you peace through all of these changes and hard times. May He fill your heart and your home with a tangible sense of His presense, and May you come to be able to say as a testimony to all... My God IS able to do above and beyond what we ever imagined. He WILL provide for your needs.
My greatest desire for you is healing... my other desire... JOY... For the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

Blessings, peace, and love to you... and many, many hugs.

celita

PAMO said...

Thank you Val for this post. You have been in my thoughts daily. You will remain in my prayers.
Love and Hugs,
Pam

Red said...

Val thanks for updating your blog friends. I am praying for you dear right now. I hope you are uplifted and healed. Please post again when you feel up to it.

Rachel Murphree said...

Oh Val, I'm so SO sorry. Words seem so inadequate, but my thoughts are with you... Hugs, Rachel

Lizbethem said...

Val, you have been in my prayers since you shared the news of your illness. God bless you, Lizbeth.

HeArt Collective said...

dear val~
i'm so so sorry that you're going through this. i hope you have someone taking care of you. i want you to know that you can call me any time if you need someone to chat with; to get your mind off things.

i'm glad to hear that you're doing better. that your faith is so strong and that you're hopeful. i think those are all signs that you're "in it to win it" and not feeling sorry for yourself.

as my dad always says,
keep the faith.
lots of love,
julee

missymarie346 said...

Dear Val,
I only recently joined the yahoo group through which I saw your posting and visited your blog. I am so sorry to hear of your fight against cancer. I will add you to my prayer list and pray fervently for you. May His healing touch heal and comfort you.
Your art is truly inspirational, I hope you can use it to find rest and peace through this time in your life. Dawn Moss

Cory said...

Dear Val...I am so sorry to hear you are ill, You are already in my prayers. Have faith...God is with you.

Norma Soulet (AZArtist) said...

Oh Val, please know you are in my prayers.
Sending healing thoughts your way!
May God bless you.

grblog said...

Val-- thank you so much for the update... sending much healing energy your way! Much love and prayers to you- you will be strong enough to tell your story via your art soon! Blessings,
Jenny from CraftTestDummies.com and CPS Yahoo Group

Tammy Freiborg said...

May you be surrounded with love and warmth during this challenge!

Toni Curtis said...

Dearest Val, I am so sorry to hear this is happening to you. Know I am praying for you. You will win this war. May God's healing light and power be with you and sustain you though what is ahead. Prayers and healing hugs, Toni

Anonymous said...

Val, I first noticed you on the Book arts yahoo group because we share the same name (there aren't that many of us) and I've been checking in on your blog for quite a while now. I'm so sorry to hear this news. My prayers are with you in this difficult time. I hope you soon feel well enough to create some wonderful art!
Val Roberts

Anonymous said...

God be with you Val

Quilters Cottage Norfolk said...

You are an amazing woman and an insiration to all ladies. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. I had cervical cancer in my twenties, it was contained and I had years of adjusting and treatment. I am still have checks 18 years later.
You can do this.I wish I could have comunicated with the world and be brave enough to do so. Keep posting and share.
I had a little journal and journaled my heart out, it clears the brain because the drugs are vital but make you twisted at times.Accept it and make every hour count in some way.
My love and healing thoughts,
best wishes,
jane C

Man for all seasons said...

Val, I have read your blog many times with great pleasure and was very shocked to read this news. I am delighted that you are doing so well at present and that your faith is sustaining you. Hopefully your Medicaid will be approved shortly and take THAT particular stress away! Very best wishes from London.

Max said...

Val, I am so sorry you have to go through all this pain and sorrow. I send you my wishes for more pleasant days and hopes for you to be healthy again. Just do what you can and don't worry about the rest of the things. The most important thing right now is to get healthy again. Your body has gone through so much trauma that you do need the rest.
Maxine

cat riley said...

i too am sorry to read of your health problems. i have been checking to see if you had updated the info but was hoping for better news. that being said, please know that you are loved and prayed for by many, even when you don't know. i add my thoughts to the choir and sing for your recovery. peace, my friend in art.
cat riley

jan said...

words fail me ....
xox

mammagil said...

Hi Val, Thank you for the up date know that I am praying for you as well try when ever possible to pour the tumultuous thoughts and emotions (after you have taken them to the Lord) into some artwork it will help you sort and process Love to you and your family
Melissa

Gail P said...

more prayers are coming your way. As someone who has talked to you on the phone I know that you're finding the strength that it takes to go through this and I know what it took for you to post this on your blog. XOXOX

Corinne said...

Val- I too did not know about your metastatic CA....I too am a Christian, have been praying for your healing, and will continue to pray to and trust in Him who cares for us in all ways. You are close in my heart....thank you for sharing your burden- we who can help shoulder this will lighten the load!!
My love to you. Your art was just in my hands a few days ago - more tangible than ever. xxoo

Daphne said...

Oh Val my dear, my thoughts are with you, as well as my prayers. Words are never enough, but please keep on willing yourself to get better. Take heart in knowing that you are not alone in this.
many hugs.

Doris Arndt said...

Val,
I'm sorry to hear about your illness. I can't imagine what you must be going through. Words are never enough at times like this to express how deeply folks care and how much we wish we could take some of your burden from you.
I do know that it is hard when the drugs that help you also knock you out so much and sap your strength. Just remember that the body needs time to heal and rest is an important part of that.
sending prayers and love your way,
doris

peggy gatto said...

I join your many friends in offering prayers and holding good thoughts for your recovery. I, too, feel helpless and wish so much I could really help. Thank you for the update, I DO care about you.

Lynifyni said...

Val, I've read your blog and please know you are in my heart and prayers. Be strong and of good faith. God Bless You!!! Hugs,
LynnF

craftirn said...

Val, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I will also pray for the peace that can come from knowing you are loved and thought about. This is a tough time to go through and know you are going through this alone.
Barb

Linda said...

Val, you remain in my prayers. God is holding your hand through this..and always...

MrsL said...

Praying that your body will heal, your faith become strong, and that somehow God will be glorified !!
Stephanie

Kim said...

Val I am so sorry. I don't know, can't possibly know how you feel, how it is for you. I do know that God has it all in His hands, and that He sent Jesus to you, for you, and that He loves you. I will keep on praying for you, and loving you in His name. He is The Great Physician... may His healing, loving arms wrap around you and hold you always. Amen.

Denise Frederick said...

Hugs and prayers
Denise LTMM

trish said...

Val,
I am so glad you shared with your bloggroup. You have been such an inspiration to all us just starting out in our art endeavors and experimentation. There is much power in prayer especially with all us art sisters praying for you. You will make it through this. Keep us updated when you feel like it.
In Him, Trish

Ann said...

I will say a prayer every day for you....

Ann said...

..just returned from posting a link on my blog....a world-wide prayer chain is what I've suggested.

sherresartmusings said...

Val, I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. May God fill you His peace and comfort. As a Christian, i know you will understnad how He can uphold you when you otherwise would crumble. I will pray for your Medicaid to be approved quickly. Hugs to you across the internet!

Anonymous said...

Dear Val. You are so right. None of us walks this journey alone, although at 4:13 AM it probably feels alone, (at least it does for me). I am so glad you posted, so that those of us who know you through your blog, can offer our love and healing prayers.
We will hold you in our thoughts. God Bless you and thank you for sharing your journey with us.
XOXO
Helen

Useful Books said...

Val, praying for strength and healing through the name of Jesus. His grace is sufficient.

Elizabeth Golden said...

Oh Val I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this. I am sending you tons of hugs and prayers. Wish we were closer so I could do something more. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Elizabeth

morningDove said...

i have been praying for you and am so glad you felt good enough to want to post to your blog. wish i had your snail mail. maybe you could send it to me. i too was diagnosed with the "c" in august 2009. if you get a chance read an alternative book "How to cure almost any cancer at home for $5.15 a day by Bill Henderson. i have chosen to go the herbal, non-traditional route for now. You are tied to me bc we serve a "Big C", creator, Christ. i have realized that the cancer in my life is not the one i was diagnosed with but anything that tries to steal my joy and time in my relationship with Christ.
prayers, prayers rising up daily.

Leann said...

Val,
I am sending you healing wishes. keep your spirits up, and art journal some of the emotion out when you are up for it.
Leann
Ab's yahoo group

Lynda said...

I'm sending you good thoughts and you are in my prayers.

Patti Gibbons said...

Val; am thinking of you. I get so angry though when I hear that until Medicaid kicks in, you can't start your treatments. I am still of the ilk that there needs to be an overhaul of the medical system..but this is not the forum for it.

I will keep you in my prayers. My 26 year old daughter is fighting a second bout of sarcoma-this time in her esophagus. It is a difficult fight for all involved...

Make sure you eat lots of food to counterbalance the pain killers. Drink lots of water (if you can) and eat lots of food. I found that a good vegetarian chile is high in fiber and protein. (I was on narcotics for months for a severe injury once) They can also mess with your head and depression.

Send me you addy privately. I think thru my blog there is a link to my email addy.

xxpatti

Linda said...

Praying for you.

Cyndi L said...

Dearest Val, I pray for your swift and complete healing from this disease in Jesus's name. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family during this fight.
With love,
Cyndi

Liz Kettle said...

Prayers and healing energy for you Val. I am also sending hope and peace.
Hugs,
Liz

Anonymous said...

Dear Val, I'm praying for you, to have continued strength of spirit for this most important challenge and to have loving friends engaged with you in the struggle. May Medicaid be cleared for you asap!
Kathleen McSweeney

janene said...

Val, life can be a struggle can't it? My thoughts and prayers are with you. As a cancer survivor of several decades, I wish the same healing for you. Janene

artistamyjo said...

Dear Val,
A world full of prayers I'm sending your way.
Stay positive,smile as much as you can. It's your umbrella and will make life easier.
Gentle hugs & a heart full of good thoughs, Amy

julie m said...

Val, my prayers are with you. there is hope. keep the positive thoughts and take it one day at a time. i was diagnosed with fast-growing metastatic breast cancer and given 6 months to live without treatment. after taking some time to weigh my options, i chose a new treatment still in study trials. i went through a year of very powerful chemo and heavy duty radiation. that was 20 years ago. i have a few side effects from the treatments but am a quite healthy specimen for my age.

the psychological shock is so great at first it is like being in a bad dream and trying to wake up. fortunately you have your faith and friends. i, too, found that is the most important thing. it takes a lot of will power to get through it all and the prayers and love are what kept me going.

one thing you might like to try to help with art withdrawal is to get some paper or a sketchbook and some pens out and do some zentangles. they take some concentration and could give you something to lose yourself in for a few minutes. also, i enjoyed watching funny videos and nature videos. the humor kept my spirits up and the beauty of nature helped me find some peace.

Red said...

Thinking of you dear and praying for you every day. Please trust that all will be alright.

Julie said...

I'm so sorry to hear your news, Val. Keep fighting and take care of yourself. I had a very serious brush with surgery back in the 80's (not cancer) and was not expected to survive. It took me 16 months to get back to work (I was in my 30's) just part-time to start with. I still live with the after effects and the battle was long and hard but I won out and so will you, especially with your faith and friends to support you. xx

Barbara said...

Dear Val,
Do you know about Caring Bridge http://www.caringbridge.org/ ? Free web sites designed for patients to stay in touch with loved ones and family. Can be a great source of support for you.
God bless you.
Barbara

LuLu said...

Dear Val,

It was good to see that you could post. If you have an appetite, I use prunes, applesauce and/or store bought cole slaw and lots of water to keep me 'regular'...

My prayers are all around you. Hope you feel better - soon.

Peace,
LuLu

Anonymous said...

Dear Val-

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time and the Lord will see you through this time of trial.
I'm also sending you a private email with "medical" stuff that might help.

Katina
LTMMA

Angie in AZ said...

Val, I am so sorry to hear such news. Two quotes that come to my mind are found on rocks at a local prayer garden: "God, I do not understand but I trust You." and "Surrender to the will of God and the suffering will lose it's power." The evil one likes to take suffering in our lives and twist it to convince us that God is not in control, not good, and not loving. But the God of the universe intimately knows suffering and he will never leave you nor forsake you. In even this, He will shine his light from you. You are such a treasured blessing to Him! Remember that the one who holds you in His hand rejoices over you with singing. He will carry you through this. I pray you sense His presence in every moment of every day and know that while your circumstances are terrible, HE is good and will take care of you. Praying for you, sweet sister in Christ.
hugs...

Dianne said...

I've thought of you and appreciate the update. I will be praying for you.

ALTERED ARTIFACTS said...

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers too. Keep your chin up ... the medical field have come so far in this fight but really the best results are with the ones that keep a never give up attitude. Keep us updated on your progress :)
Healing hugs!
Inka

sannabanana@comcast.net said...

Val I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I missed your first email about it. My friend Nick was just diagnosed with almost the exact same type of cancer. I swear so many people I love have been newly diagnosed in only this past very month. Seems like the whole world is getting cancer. I hate cancer, but like you I love the Lord. If it wasn't for Jesus how could anyone go through such things? I pray for you my friend tht God lifts you up with faith and joy. That you find new miracles even through this on a daily basis. That you learn whatever new lessons He requires of you. This life is but a blink of an eye and then comes eternity. Pain is temporary, easy for me to say I don't have cancer right! But I still believe it all. It's ok to have doubts and sometimes even be angry or sad. God is a big guy and He can handle it and anything else you may be going through. It actually bothers me more when a Christian never says he/she has any doubts during trials. Seems inhuman, like they are hiding from their true feeling out of fear of being unfaithful. The only way to work through the grief inlife is to face it whatever the stage might be at the time. So anyways I am here for you come hell or highwater. If you ever need me let me know, all my love, Sanna

Denise said...

I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you. I know that this is not any easy thing to go through and I hope that you find strength is His Word. In the meantime, please know that we are all thinkg of you. Love Denise

Anonymous said...

Val,

I'm so sorry about your diagnosis but I'm glad to see you are improving. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. And I hope Medicaid will kick in soon.

God bless,

Michaela

paru's_circle said...

just saw this.. praying for you right now.. hugs.Px

Peggy B said...

My dear craft artist sister. I was checking on the blogs I have listed on my attempt at crafting and blogging and just read about your recent health adventures. I say adventure becuase I have faith that God's will for you is going to be a successful venture, ONE DAY at a TIME, in healing that you will be excited to share with all of us to give us a good example to follow. I will keep you on my list becuase I know you will be back one day with new and exciting things to share with all of us!

~~Kristal~~ said...

Thinking about you my friend.. I am sending positive thoughts and prayers your way..

(((Great Big Hugs)))
Kristal
Altered Art of Vision and Dreams yahoo group

Anonymous said...

I'm sending you a prayer from the city of Washington, D.C. It's the first time I've been to your blog, just looking for tips on using caulking in art, and this post was the one that caught my eye, of course. I hope the best for you! Stay positive and remember that there are many people who are pulling for you!

Beachstudio said...

Prayers and hugs to you. I wish you the best for a full recovery and for hope and strength while you are going through all this.