Life Book 2016 – Your Story, Your Altar

Welcome back my crafty friends!  I’m posting a little late because I was focused on something else last week and didn’t have time to finish my lesson, but here it is!

Your Story, Your Altar with Roxanne Cobble

Roxanne’s specialty is journaling, but I did her lesson on a regular 11 x 14 watercolor page to include in my Life book folder.

I started out by collaging different ephemera (magazine cut-outs) one with a focal point that I could paint over with acrylic colors to match, then added other complimentary colors.  After that was done, I jotted down events that made a big impact in my life and I illustrated them on the focal point ephemera.

The biggest impact in my life was when my dad, my husband, and I went through Cancer, one right after the other.  It all started with my dad.  At this time he was getting incontinent and I would always ask someone to please go with him to the bathroom.  One day, I asked a friend to go with him and after he met me at the table, he said my dad was bleeding.  My dad didn’t want to bother me so he hadn’t told me he was having problems.  I took him to see his regular doctor who then sent him to a urologist.  After examining him, he said he had a Cancerous tumor in his bladder.  He was 97 years old at the time and the urologist said that if he was his father, he wouldn’t do anything about it and just let him run the course. I thought o myself, “Well, he is not your father, so let’s do something about it!”

He had the tumor removed and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment – and yes, he survived.  The funny thing about all this is that my dad had a great attitude, or maybe memory lapses, through the whole process and would ask  what were the treatments for every single time.  I would remind him that he had Cancer, and he would say, “No, I don’t have Cancer!”  Perhaps that’s what helped him get through it.  And I’m thankful for that!  He lived two more years after this, but died of pneumonia, not Cancer five months short of his 100th birthday.

Then my husband’s PSA was checked on one of his routine appointments and the numbers were higher than normal.  He had another one done a month afterward and that’s when he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.  The Urologist gave him a choice to just wait and see or have treatments.

After many weeks of research, he decided that the best thing for him would be to have a prostatectomy.  “Get it out!” He said.

He had a wonderful young surgeon who believed in saving as much as he could of the nerves in the area, and left markers where the prostate was so the affected area could be found by an X-ray in case his counts went up again.  A year later, his numbers did go up again, but thanks to the markers the surgeon left in his body, he went through radiation treatments and killed what cells were left!

While my husband was going through his surgery, I started  having some unusual pain in my right breast.  I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was taking care of both my dad and my husband and I didn’t have time for me, until the pain got so sever I couldn’t touch my breast.  A few weeks later, my breast developed an “orange peel” skin.  That’s when I decided I better go see my doctor.

I explained what was going on but he refused to look at my breast because I had just had my yearly mammogram and it came back normal.  Instead, he sent me to get an ultrasound.  As I lay on the examining table, I could hear the tech say every once in a while, “Mmh” and she kept going back and forth to the same place.  I asked her, “Is something wrong?”  She replied, “Oh, no, nothing.  Your breast is very dense and I can’t see anything on the screen.”

The next week, I went back to the doctor and he said the ultrasound was normal, but I was adamant that something was wrong.  He insisted that everything was OK, but I was convinced otherwise.  So, he sent me to a surgeon who took one look at my breast and set me up for a biopsy.

 My mother had Breast Cancer and I felt the tumor before she went in for surgery, so I though I knew what to look for, but this was different.  Hers was a solid hard mass.  What I felt was pain around the areola and the breast was very tender.  Sadly, my mother succumbed to the disease after fighting it for eight years.  I didn’t want the same thing to happen to me.

So a word of advice to you, my friends; if something does not feel normal, please check it out and insist on getting a second opinion.  It could save your life.

To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  Left untreated it could lead to the Cancer breaking through the wall of the duct to other parts of the body.  The Oncologist said the tumor was 8 cm. and gave me a rating of Stage IIIA.  I had a good chance of survival because it was confined to the breast area and a few lymph nodes.

After undergoing chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation.  I am still here and in remission now for nine years this coming May.

See, I told you Cancer has made a big impact in, not only my life, but the life of my loved ones as well.

Thanks for sticking with me this far!  So now on to my project.

Altar.jpg

In this picture you can see the important events in my life in addition to the Cancer story.  I married my husband in 1972, I had my daughter in 1975; the moving van indicates the 13 moves we’ve made, and the best vacation ever – Cancún, Mexico, and of course, my art is in the middle of everything!

MainEvent.jpg

I did add other events that had a big impact in my life, but the focal point is Cancer and Hope!

Cancer

I added “this is where God lives.”

Hope

Another sad event in my life, was the divorce from my first husband.  It wasn’t all sad, because I had my first child, a son,  in 1970.

1stEvent

I added the feathers as a symbol of “finding my wings”

You will notice that in addition to the doodling, I also added stamping.

Wings.jpg

I stamped, “The best things aren’t things” in this section.

BestThings

I also added  metallic molding paste in two different colors through one of Heidi Swapp’s new art screen, Dream.

dreampink

dreambig

Our favorite vacation destination, Lake Tahoe.

BestThings

I spent a lot of time adding doodles which help me relax while sitting with my dear hubby watching TV.

Bottom

I added this last image of a girl in a canoe, because I’m afraid of water and I’m hoping one day to get in the water and swim – that’s a Big Dream for me!

canooingGirl

Thanks for coming by, and hope you return to visit again!!

Hugs, and well wishes!

Carmen

2 thoughts on “Life Book 2016 – Your Story, Your Altar

  1. Wasn’t this a fun lesson? I absolutely loved it. I love what you did with the lesson and the way you invested such a great deal of meaning into your piece. Your stories of battling cancer, supporting each other through challenging times, and ultimately overcoming and surviving are very inspirational.

    1. Thanks Laura; battling Cancer has certainly brought my husband and I closer; I don’t wish it on anyone, but if you can overcome it all it’s priceless!!

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