Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Posts tagged ‘colon cancer’

June CEA(carcinoembryonic antigen) Count

Short and sweet, the count was 25.6 which is still going down. Good and bad news. Good that it is going down, bad in that the oncologist wanted it under 10. We will see how it is next month! But down from original count of 2000 – way good news.

The “New Normal”

Buffalo Dream Catcher

Buffalo Dream Catcher

Four weeks on Tuesday from the surgery date and I am almost recovered. Energy levels are up and only a little bit of soreness. So almost to the “New Normal”! Monday will be the first blood work since March, so we are waiting very un-patiently for that test result. This will pretty much define the “New Normal” and give a baseline for the chemo markers after surgery. I will post as soon as we get the results. It is usually two to three days after the blood is taken, since they have to send it out to a lab.

To the left is a photo of the Buffalo Dream Catcher. It is leather with the watercolor ground, then watercolor and colored pencil. Na ner na ner na ner to the guy at the store where I bought the leather, LOL. Watercolor and colored pencil do work pretty well on leather with a little help from the watercolor ground.

We got up at 4:30 AM today to get to the Botanical Gardens at 6:00 AM to get some photos before it was too HOT. Left there at 8:00AM sweating. It is supposed to get up to 107 degrees today. Pretty soon it will be too hot to even get up early to go anywhere (except maybe the mall which has fabulous a/c). This too shall pass! When we are crying about the heat, remind us about the wonderful winters without snow and ice, LOL! We may hibernate for the summer. At least will be staying in the A/C as much as possible.

That is it for now, stay tuned for next weeks blood work results………. it is time for a siesta,……….. it is WAY too hot to type……….Even the parrots are quiet…….the cats are asleep as usual…….. Too hot to draw…….definitely time for a nap.

Recovering….latest projects

The recovery from surgery is progressing. Each day is a little better. The three week check up is scheduled for Wednesday and everything is looking good. There is still some soreness and fatigue, but that is part of the “New, New Normal”.Wolf Dream Catcher

My yard is full of birds. We have been putting out seed blocks, suet , thistle and of course the hummingbird feeders. The fountain is attracting a few birds, but not the hummingbirds everyone else seems to have. Because of the massive seed consumption, we have learned how to make our own seed blocks. Hubby gets the large bag of seed at Costco, and we make and put out two blocks a day. I think those guys would eat more if we put it out! SO far we have seen house finches, sparrows, Abert’s Towhees, Curve bill thrashers, Gila Woodpeckers, cowbirds, White Wing doves, Mourning doves, Inca doves, grackles, verdins, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and Black Chinned Hummingbirds. They are really fun to watch, there are always little dramas going on. I am very surprised at the White Wing doves, they are very aggressive and chase the other doves away from the seed. I had always heard how peaceful doves are. Owl Dream Catcher

Here are photos of the latest Dreamcatcher projects. The third of three “black and whites” is a wolf.  Then I bought a couple of pieces of leather to try it out. Here is the first of two, the baby Great Horned Owl depicted in “Whooo R U?”. Had to learn a lot about leather to do this project. I used a ground first, then did the owl in watercolor and colored pencil. You should have seen the guys face at the leather store when I told him I would be using colored pencil. He looked at me like I am mentally challenged…..he said acrylic or leather dyes will work best. If you are a normal person, that would be true! But he had no idea that I wanted to try the new Daniel Smith Watercolor ground to see if it would really work on leather. As you can see it works really well! So what if one person in the world thinks I am crazy, Ok, well more than one…..but we won’t go there!  I am going to check to see if there is a product to stiffen it a little more, otherwise, I am very happy with the project and am trying to decide what to put on the second one! If you saw the Raven Dream Catcher, the very first project, you will notice that I have improved and refined. There is definitely more feathers and beadwork along with the placement getting better. Of course, I could not drive yet while working on the raven, and had not thought of getting beads before the surgery. But they can always be added later!

The Parrots and cats have been VERY quiet lately. I wonder what they are up to? Hmmmmmm……….if I find out, you will be the first to know! Stay tuned!

Almost Time……Finch revisited.

The Finch in Watercolor on Arches Cold Pressed Paper

The Finch in Watercolor on Arches Cold Pressed Paper

One week until surgery! This week is going to be a busy one, finishing all the testing to get ready for surgery, and then having a colonoscopy on Friday. The surgeon will do the colonoscopy, remove any polyps, and shoot dye into the surgery site, so that it can be easily identified. By the time I get through with all of the tests, I am not knowing if there will be any blood left in me, LOL. I would stay up nights studying for the tests, but so far it has not helped, so guess I will wing it and see if that works better!

Speaking of winging it, the finch is back! He was so cute, I had to try him in watercolor. Since I started driving again, I spent the last two Tuesdays painting with Candy. She reminded me about “punching the darks” and “stepping away from the painting!” It was so nice to be painting with her again. Soon I will be recovered from surgery and we will be able to paint together again! I stopped into Liberty Wildlife to visit my “Thursday Peeps”. Once again, it was awesome seeing them all, and can’t wait to feel well enough to return to volunteering!

Hubby and I made a couple of weekend trips. The first was to Flagstaff, where we took a side trip to Bearizona and another to Walnut Canyon. The weather was fabulous and we enjoyed the scenery and wildlife immensely. Last weekend, we drove to Sierra Vista spending every hour of daylight chasing down birds to photograph. We were tired little campers when we got home, but very happy as we saw many birds for the first time and got quite a few good photos. I have enough ref photos of native birds to keep me busy for a few lifetimes! Stay tuned for photos. If you can’t wait, check out my Facebook Page for the first installments.

When we returned home Sunday evening, it sounded like a ZOO here. The parrots were all screaming, “You are home, you are home, we missed you, you have been gone forever, we missed you”. And the kitties were meowing, the guy you left to take care of us did not feed us enough, time for food, time for seconds, time for thirds, time for petting and scratching. The parrots started screaming, “No, scratch us first, we are louder and love you more. We love you more than food, but give us treats and let us sit on your shoulder, we have been stuck in these cages and on the stands all weekend!” Well, you can imagine all of the petting, scratching and feeding that took place. Scuze me while I take a nap……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Step Away From the Drawing – Post Chemo Update

Pastel Pencil on Ingres

Pastel Pencil on Ingres

The finch pastel drawing is done de done done! And he is spoken for. Will be winging his way to his new owner soon! He is so cute, I decided to paint him too, so stay tuned!

No blog last week because I was too busy getting pre-op tests done. Everything back so far is looking good. The tumor markers in the blood work are down to 28, and should take a good drop again after surgery, leaving them in the range we are looking for….under 10! The tumors have all shrink and some have disappeared. The chest x-ray was normal-like anything in my life is normal, LOL! So next week should be the new normal, then the following week, medical appointments almost every day, then the following week…..surgery. Hopefully I will be able to make some progress or finish the painting before surgery since I will be in the hospital for 2-4 days and the recovery is expected to take about four weeks. Most of the chemo side effects are disappearing. The chemo tan is fading, my mouth is burning less, the nasty taste is gone, energy is back and my hair is GROWING back. Woot Woot!

In the meantime we will get to see my daughter, Melissa, in “Barefoot In The Park”. Since she is playing the lead, we are looking forward to a great laugh! A group of friends will be attending, so we will probably hurt from laughing and will be in great company!! We will be spending a weekend in Flagstaff, with a side trip to Bearizona. Then will spend a weekend in Sierra Vista photographing any bird that will hold still long enough. So stay tuned for photos! Until we tweet again!

Energy Levels Up, My Little Chickadees

First Chickadee - Pastel Pencil

First Chickadee – Pastel Pencil

Whew, last week’s chemo really took it out of me. Didn’t get back to the “New Normal” until Monday. Am feeling much better this week, nausea finally cleared up and have some energy. Now I feel like celebrating “Only Two Chemos Left!” Even though I was happy, was just too tired to celebrate last week, so let’s party now! Whooo Hooo! Thanks SO much to all of you who are praying, sending positive thoughts and good wishes. You are the wind beneath my wings!

A shout out to say: Happy Birthday to my talented, intelligent, beautiful daughter, Melissa! Thanks for all of your visits, prayers and support! Also Happy Birthday to Debi, my wonderful sister! Thanks for all of your prayers, support and packages! You guys are a great part of my family team!P1S

Am back to work this week on two pastel pencil drawings of Mountain Chickadees, here is the progress on the first one. We saw them in Flagstaff last year, and I am just now getting around to them. I am thinking of framing them as a diptych since the Ingres pastel paper is smaller than the papers I usually work on. I was a little disappointed in the Ingres Paper as it came with a little fold in it, but I guess that is what happens on the long trip from England. It does not disappoint as far as working with it though, it takes the pastel layers wonderfully. So you will be seeing a few drawings on it, LOL.

Talk to the Tail!

Talk to the Tail!

Hubby took me to Sahuaro Ranch Park the last couple of days to see the peacocks. The males are starting to display their gorgeous tails and vibrating like crazy to get the females attention. The peahens are still ignoring them, lol. Most of the males have big, beautiful tails, and the display is amazing. There was one little guy who must be this year’s clutch, his tail was only about a foot long, but he was strutting his stuff as proudly as the big guys. We had a good chuckle at his expense, but he was just so darn cute!

Display

Display

It has been nice to sit out on the patio in the sun and watch the backyard birds since it is in the 80’s here. We( I should say hubby, I just watched,LOL) took all of the parrots out on the patio this weekend, and they really enjoyed it! A hummingbird kept buzzing Loki though, and she was getting a little annoyed with him. I think the hummer thought she was some kind of big flower with her bright blue and yellow. It is a good thing the little guy did not slow down or, he would have been caught by a BIG parrot beak.  Well….guess it is back to the birds for now! Update soon.

Only 2 Chemos left! Elk WIP

China silk scarves

China silk scarves

Sorry to take so long to blog this week, but after chemo treatment # 10, I am tired, tired, tired, exhausted. Have slept a lot this week – pretty much waking up to take nausea meds and occasionally check in on Facebook. Hopefully will have a little more energy next week and will do a little longer blog. Since this was treatment # 10, the GREAT news is ONLY two more to go!!!!! Whoooo Hoooo. Will have a new tumor marker numbers next week, as they only do them once a month, but am sure it will be good news. Cancer take that – POW!!! POW!!!! POW!!!!

Sister Debi, this photo is for you – the silk scarves from China you sent. With the hair slowly disappearing, it is nice to have something pretty on my head! You can see the port really well too. It saves me from MANY bruises!

ElkFs

Elk on Black All Media Board – Pastel Pencil

The elk is about finished, I definitely am liking him better on black, but take a look and decide for yourself! Nap time, catch ya next week.

Resting Week, New Elk WIP

This has been a good resting week, I have felt good, but a little more fatigued than usual. It could be due to the build up since there are only three more chemos……or it could be because the weather is rainy here, which is very unusual in Arizona. A little more hair has disappeared, but I still have enough to comb forward to have bangs with my hats. The chemo tan is getting darker, wonder how long it will last after chemo is over?

Elk - Pastel Pencils on Black

Elk – Pastel Pencils on Black

The elk is being redone on the black media board. I am liking it better so far. Didn’t get out the good camera, but will next time! SO the camera phone is Ok, but does not do justice to the colors. I didn’t get as much done this week as I would have liked….maybe it is because friends have been taking me out to eat this week, LOL. Mary, Delia and Tom, Thanks so much! It was so wonderful seeing you all and getting out of the house for a while!

The birds and cats are all napping in this wet cold rainy weather, I think I will grab a book and curl up with a nice fuzzy blanket and so the same. Feel free to join us!

Only 3 Chemos Left! Progress on ElK

Elk Pastel Pencil

Elk Pastel Pencil

Whooo Hoooo 9 chemos down and only 3 to go!!! The nurses gave me a copy of my blood-work from Monday, and the chemo markers in the blood-work are down to 51! That is down from 75 just two weeks before.The final number should be under 10, so we are getting there!!!! I slept pretty much from Monday until Thursday this week and woke up Friday with some energy! Not as much nausea this week. Thank all of you for the prayers, positive thoughts and good wishes!

Here is the elk almost done. After the black backgrounds, it seems dull, so I am going to redo him on the black multi media board. That is the nice thing about this time of experimentation, I can try different things without the worry of how they turn out. So another silver lining with the cancer. Am still loving the pastel pencils, need to do a painting soon before I forget how to do watercolor though!

Tomorrow is the closing of the Sahuaro Ranch show, so we will go pick up the drawing that did not sell, a couple of ribbons and a check. Very exciting!

Tonight is the auction for Triple time Blues at the Houston Parrot festival Banquet. Good Luck Laney, hope the painting gets a nice contribution for the Bird Endowment!

OK, i am really getting paranoid….the parrots and the kitties have been really good this week….so I know they are plotting something. Am not sure just what though. Will be keeping a VERY close eye on them this coming week…I hear Loki whispering, see something is up. Oh Hi Loki! What? Nothing, I was just blogging…No I was not talking about you…you want a nut…..Ok. Gotta go get the bird a nut, TTYL.

Good News in the Cancer War and Other Stuff

Oncologist appointment was Friday, where we got some great news! The tumor markers in the blood-work are down to 75 from 225 last month! Four treatments to go and we want the count under ten, so we are making great progress. The original count back in September at diagnosis was 2000. Hubby, George and I were both ecstatic to say the least. Take that cancer!!!! POW!!!

Three Wild Women

Three Wild Women

Saturday, I was feeling well enough to attend daughter Melissa’s play, “39 Steps”, at Mesa Encore Theatre.  Friends Noelle, Margaret, Leo, Paul, and Josh met us there. The play great. We were all proud of Melissa and laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. During the intermission we were invited up to try on costumes, so of course the three wild women could not resist. Here we are hamming it up on stage. Thanks to Margaret for the photo! Afterwards, we went to California Pizza Kitchen for a fun dinner. The day was so fabulous! I have not been out since August and just enjoyed the heck out of it, even though very tired today. SahuaroRanchS

As promised, here is a photo of the two drawings in the Glendale Arts Council – sans ribbons. The purchase Award and the second place are both firsts for me at this show. Very exciting! With all of the fabulous stuff happening this week, I am bursting with happiness! Take that cancer! POW POW!!!

Elk

Elk

Also as expected, here is a photo of the new pastel pencil artwork. The photo reference is from a trip we took to Estes Park. This guy is so magnificent, I have been wanting to draw him for a long time. Since I have been playing with pastel pencils, I ordered some Strathmore Charcoal paper, and it is holding the pastel. But still can’t wait to get my Ingres Pastel Paper to try.  Pastel pencils are working well at showing texture, and may become one of my favorite mediums! SO I haven’t been able to get out to the art store for my famous art supply shopping, but I have discovered online shopping! Who Knew?!?!?? I can bankrupt us from home purchasing art supplies! Do your worst at chewing up my pencils parrots, I am armed and dangerous, LOL.

Stay tuned…..a very special blog is coming with guest blogger, Laney Rickman from Bird Endowment!!!!

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