Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Cat Naps

RustyOne thing about cats, they sure do know how to nap! They sleep fifteen to twenty hours a day, sometimes just dozing for about fifteen minutes at at a time. Rusty here looks pretty relaxed doesn’t he? So during “rest week” I am trying to learn form the cats and taking little naps during the day.

Since it is “rest week”, I feel way better than “chemo week” so between naps am making slow progress on the Black Crowned Night Heron.BCNH6

Friday we meet with the surgeon, so will probably have news on next week’s blog as to the schedule. Since it is a first appointment, I am not really sure what to expect, so this journey continues, as I take one step at a time.

With the big “C” diagnosis, some changes in perspective happen. I have been reflecting a little on them and have realized I have to pare life down to the bare essentials and decide what is really important. First of all of course are my relationships. Next is my sense of identity. Realizing that I have put a lot of energy into being an artist, but not just an artist…. a “successful artist” in the eyes of the world. I realized that I have been spending a lot of that energy in trying to market and sell my art to be  the world’s version of artist. That puts a lot of stress on me and eats up time and energy. With depleted reserves, I am choosing to do the art and stop the marketing and selling, so will be shutting down my Etsy site, and may make changes to the website, so that I can concentrate on the battle in front of me and keep the art as a therapy/fun part of my life. There have been a lot more changes in my perspective, but for now it is time to take a little nap.

Thanks again for all of the prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts, you all are awesome!

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Here is the new chemo hair! Claudine was kind enough to come over and cut it for me. For some reason during the treatments, I sweat a lot, and would wake up with a sweat soaked, smelly ponytail. The fatigue was making it hard to keep up with it so decided it needed to go! It has been many years since wearing it short, so I keep wondering who that person in the mirror is! LOL.

This week’s chemo was merciful! Monday after the three hour treatment, I came home with my pump, knew from experience that the first day is good because of the steroids they add. So I did not go home and pig out, LOL. Ate moderately, took nausea medication and went to sleep. Only had one little bout with nausea on Tues am, started the meds for the cramps, and went back to sleep. Pretty well slept through Friday morning with short breaks for food and meds. SO here I am the week is over, and I am feeling like Rip Van Winkle, LOL.

BCNHgThe rest has helped a lot, I actually worked on the Black Crowned Night Heron today, here is the update. Do not panic, I am just sketching in where water and grasses will be, it is pretty messy right now…but hey! I am feeling like doing art again!!!!! Whooooo Hooooo! Thanks for all those prayers, good wished and positive thoughts!

Week to rest….

I can see why they give you a week off after chemo. Even though they have come far with management of side effects, it is still not for the faint of heart, nor is it fun. It is challenging and it is a battle. The “C” word is scary from the start. My husband says I am brave, but it is not bravery – it is putting one foot in front of the other foot – keeping on going because it is the only way I know how to live. It is a battle to keep a positive attitude. A battle to overcome each side effect as it rears its ugly head. A battle against fatigue. A challenge to be a human being instead of a human doing as you forgive yourself for all of the stuff you didn’t get done and have to watch your loved ones work extra hard to pick up the slack. Each battle is important and victory is not ensured. It is WAR. So I do not mean to trivialize the battles in this war that many of us are fighting. But this is my way of fighting……keeping a positive attitude and overcoming the challenges. And once again with all of your good wishes, prayers and positive thoughts, and with my family and therapy critters –  I do feel lifted up and I do feel like victory is the only outcome.

It is cooling off here in AZ and I have a new addition to the therapy team, the backyard birds. Have been spending time in the mornings and evenings sitting on the patio watching all the little dramas going on in the back yard. This subject deserves it’s own blog, so stay tuned for photos and stories…..

The pet scan results came back, they now know the location of the colon tumor and I have an appointment with the surgeon in late October. SO the war wages on, and this week I get to rest!

Hubby takes me to the Palo Verde Cancer Center Monday at 1PM to start chemo. Neither one of us quite know what to expect, even though we have been given reams of information, TMI. So I pick a recliner, get hooked up to my port and meds are administered for three hours, I am given shots to help with the worst side effects, steroids to help swelling and healing, anti nausea medication good for 48 hours and a medicine to stop cramping, and fluids. 20140930_122647Then at the end of the session I am hooked up to a portable unit, which will still keep pumping meds for 48 hours. We come back Wed to have the unit removed then have a 90 minute session, and I am free for a whole week.

So Monday on coming home, I felt better then I have in ages. That must have been some steroid! Had a nice dinner sleep all night, then woke up to cramping and dry heaving. NOT fun. Luckily I had some meds to address this, started taking them, and much better day…..Just tired. Wed after having portable pump out, came home napped a little and actually felt like eating dinner! It is Thursday, and I feel better than I have since the diagnosis! At this rate, I will be back to drawing and painting soon! Thanks again for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, and good wishes! I am so Thankful for the advances in cancer treatment.

SunnyThose of you who have followed my blog have been exposed to the antics of the cats and birds in my flock. Now they have all been added to my Therapy Team! What can be more soothing than a therapy kitty purring in your ear, or a therapy bird cuddling with you wanting preening? It is very hard to not feel that all is well with the world with one of these guys administering Critter Therapy. RustyFor those of you new to the blog, the flock includes, Loki, Blue and Gold Macaw, Sunny, Sun Conure, Charlie, Hahn’s Macaw, Birdie, Green Cheek Conure, Dante, Tuxedo Kitty, and Rusty, Orange Tabby. Here are a few photos of “Critter Therapy”. Will post after the first chemo treatment, but right now, I am feeling the need for some Therapy!Dante

It is hard to find any stops or time outs on the cancer train once it starts. I will post updates when possible. SO the chemo port is in, chemo starts next Monday and I am eager to get on with this battle. It would be remiss not to stop and thank all of you who have sent encouragement, prayers, positive thoughts, hugs and well wishes. You may not know it, but all of these e-mails, cards, calls, texts, FB comments, and blog comments have become my greatest weapon in the fight so far. The first part of the war involves “attitude”…..keeping a positive attitude is one of the keys to beating cancer. Every one of you who have given encouragement, have provided me with ammunition against self pity. During the chemo port installation, we were given the message that everything was running 45 minutes late. I was vulnerable to self pity, because my pain meds were going to run out and faced 45 minutes of increasing pain. Hubby gave me a big hug and said “It will be OK”, I turned away from him to have a good cry, then got a text from a friend sending hugs. I turned back to hubby and away from self pity and started thinking of all the well wishes. BOOM! Take that cancer! SO now every time I am vulnerable to self pity, I picture little ZAP! Boom! Pow! messages, think of my friends and say, “Take that cancer!” I feel like Adam West in Batman, LOL! Eat broccoli, then say POW! Take that cancer. So Thank you so much for the ammunition! ZAP! Take that cancer!

BCNH2Found out from the Dr. on Friday, I have Stage 4 colon cancer. The good news is that it responds well to treatment. So the battle begins! Thank God, I have a great support team in my family and friends. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. There are still a lot of paintings in me waiting to get out! Have had a lot of fatigue, but have still been working on this one. This is the continuation of the Black Crowned Night Heron.

Well, that is a new one on me! Going into the store the other day, I noticed green slime all over the sidewalk, and as I was leaving the checker said, “Watch out for the caterpillars!” I had been in a hurry, so it took that remark to bring it to my attention that all of that slime was squashed caterpillars. On the way out, I looked more closely and realized caterpillars were dropping from the sky. I guess we are going to have to come up with a campaign to save the caterpillars now. 

Realizing I have been in quite the hurry to get the Spix Macaw painting done in time to send with Mary Rose, I realized that I had not even taken the time to talk about them. A lot of you are bird fans, so know their story, but in case some of you are not: The last known wild Spix Macaw died in 2000. There are under 100 in captivity and several breeding projects have been going on to keep the species going. They have been turned over to the Brazilian Government who is in the process of restoring a habitat for them. It is our fervent hope that the species may be restored to the wild, but the project has been beset with challenges. If you are interested, please research more, they are BEAUTIFUL birds, and extinction should not be their fate. We have the capability to save other endangered creatures who are also passengers on our spaceship earth and it is also our responsibility. As much as we have tried to separate ourselves from the natural, it is time to reconnect and realize that we are all  in this together, and each loss of a species is our great loss.BCNH

Ok, so I will step off of my soapbox and give you a glimpse of “Going Native Again”. Here is the rough drawing of my next Black and White project. Hopefully it recognizable as a Black Crowned Night Heron, LOL!

Due to deadlines to get this painting scanned and to Loro Parque before the convention this year, it is time to step away from the painting! A great Big “Thank You” to Mary Rose who is going to take the painting for me. Hope you enjoy!SpixF

Another one of the Spix macaws done! Gotta get back to the drawing board……oops painting board.SPix4

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