You’ve Got This!

 

Hi Friends, I wanted to give everyone a little update with my health. I am trying hard not to only blog about my health, but seeing as it is the forefront in my life currently and has been, well SORRY!  But, in a bright way it has fueled my design work in really positive ways!

In a very shortened version, chemotherapy, steroids and other medicines they have had me on and off of  over the past 19 months have made me gain 40lbs (don’t forget I was in bed for the better part of 6 months from surgeries).  So here I am, 4 months into remission and I now have a paralyzed diaphragm that is cutting off a blood vessel to my heart, meaning I get very winded doing very little.  I can walk a small distance before needing a breather, I cannot lift anything or bend at all, climbing stairs is insane, the upside is I can’t vacuum and can barely do the dishes!! This makes losing the weight really difficult.  Somedays I get super pissed at my body for surviving cancer but not letting me exercise and play sports and be myself again.  I have to take a step back and realize I will slowly get back to my normal weight again, but my body is different now and I will never be the same.  

Most days I admit it takes a toll on my mood, but I have some wonderful friends who keep encouraging me not to give up or get discouraged.  So for everyone out there struggling with health issues, these designs are for you! Let’s keep our heads down and get through the crap! 

 

 

You can find these designs currently in my Society6 shop.  If there is enough request for them to be available in fabrics I may sell them eventually in select fabrications.

If you are going through any health issued and need someone to vent or talk to, please reach out.  I found that venting to people was insanely helpful, especially strangers.  Weird, I know!

I am also trying to figure out how to get a newsletter and mailing list going.  Forgive my needing to learn how to do this first, but, I do excel at the creative side more-so than the business side!

                                                                                                                                        xx Kathryn Marie

 

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REMISSION, How I Got Here

Hi friends,

Thank you for your amazing patience with me these past 15 months. Finally I can say, I am in remission! It will take me some time to transition to what my new normal will be, but for now I have started designing and quilting again. I am going to set up my dye area this coming week and I will have some new items available soon in my etsy shop!

So, for those of you who are interested in what this crazy time has been like I will give you a quick version. You can always email with questions or if you need advice. What I have to say to everyone out there regardless of sex or age or how healthy and chemical free you think you may be; GO TO THE DOCTOR!!  Get regular check ups.  Insist upon x-rays if you have any issues that are not being resolved, insist on specialists and more testing until you are satisfied with your answers.  ALWAYS get a second opinion.  If I had listened to my first surgeon I would be dead today because he told me not only that I didn’t have cancer, but that my tumor was just scar tissue and I would have it for life and learn to deal with it (when in reality it was surrounding my SVC and suffocating me). 

So the quick version of my story is as followed.  I hadn’t been feeling right for 5 years.   I went to a very prestigious hospital for 6 days of extensive testing, no results, basically was told see a psychologist.  Well, that makes you feel really good about yourself.  So for the next few years I lived in misery, dizzy daily, some days I couldn’t get out of bed, had trouble breathing but felt that since this very prestigious hospital said nothing was wrong, nothing was wrong.

WRONG.

Last May, 2017, I started having a really deep cough, I pushed it off saying it was allergies, because I am allergic to so many things.  Fast forward to August, I was out of town and was having a lot of difficulty breathing, coughing so much I could barely stop and falling asleep at 6pm from overwhelmingly exhausted.  I got home and quickly went to my primary doctor.  They did an x-ray said I probably had pneumonia, put me on some medicine and I thought all would be well.  A day later I found out there was something in my lung that was showing up on the x-ray that wasn’t normal so they wanted me to do a CT-scan.  So, I did the CT-scan to find out I had a tumor the size of an orange or so in my chest.   I will make this part as quick as possible (again if you are struggling to find answers or need to talk DM me PLEASE I will give you details and help you through).  

I had a ct needle biopsy, results inconclusive.  So, I had a right lateral thoracotomy for better samples for more biopsies.  I apologize ahead of time to anyone who ever has to endure this surgery and the healing process.  It has been 15 months and I am still in daily pain due to a severed nerve.  Seriously, message me and I will send you a package of everything that got me through! 

Inconclusive once again.  I won’t get into it but after I was released from the hospital and was able to sit in a car we drove 7 hours to Indiana University Simon Cancer Center and got a second opinion.  They immediately did a PET scan.  Results showed it was definitely cancer, what type still unknown.  I had another ct needle biopsy done, unfortunately again, results inconclusive.  They were leaning towards one type of cancer but it also had similar markers to a few other types.

My surgeon who saved my life and I will literally NEVER forget, did a clamshell thoracotomy, removed most of my right lung, lymph nodes, right phrenic nerve and my giant tumor and was able to get me a diagnosis from biopsies!  

I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, staging means nothing in my case because I had a surgery prior to diagnosis.  I started chemo about two months later when I was recovered enough to get through chemo.  I won’t sugar coat it, chemo sucked, however, I made it.  I truly was contemplating not doing chemo at one point because someone had scared me so much about it.  Don’t ever let someone else’s experience with treatments make or break your decision making.  It is different for everyone.  I had some really good days during chemo, would go to brunch and even had friends visit and went to the zoo.  You manage to embrace your good days.

So, then I went through radiation.  For me radiation aside from fatigue was totally fine.  I had no other side effects.  My radiation therapists played my favorite band, Phish, during my treatments so it was as relaxing as possible.  My biggest suggestion for treatment is making sure you are as comfortable as possible with your therapists and Doctors.  That makes a world of difference.  

So here we are at the end of 2018, more than 15 months after my first biopsy and I am still recovering but I am back to living in my beautiful cabin, sewing daily, enjoying the snow and baking like crazy!

I look forward to interacting more with you this year and am always here for anyone who may just want to talk about their experiences.

xx Kathryn Marie

 

After This I Will Be CANCER FREE!

Hi all, sorry it has been forever since my last post.  As you know I have been dealing with surgeries, cancer and a bunch of weird side effects.  But don’t worry.  I have this! I am going to kick cancer in the butt and will never see it again!

 

This was a big week for me.   I took charge of the only thing currently in my life I can control and shaved my head.  The girl that shaved my head, Kami, is a lymphoma survivor and truly I am so blessed to have been in her chair and met her.  She is amazing.

 

 


 

So not only did I shave my head but I had my first chemo infusion this past Monday.  I have chemo every other Monday for four months and I am hoping that they come and go quickly so I can return to my beautiful life of creating fabrics, quilts, and home goods!

                                                                                                                                                          xxx Kathryn Marie