Sunday, January 8, 2012

Days with Tucker

Tucker came into our home as a kitten.  He actually was a Christmas gift to my daughter.
She wasn't escpecially fond of the cat because she said he was moody. He always seemed
to be perfectly content to lay 3 feet away from you.
Tucker didn't like being held and he wasn't a lap cat.

As soon as I was diagnosed with cancer, Tucker sensed something was wrong
and immediately jumped up on my lap and stayed with me continually.
He seemed to understand that I was hurting and needed company.
  It was still very obvious that he really wasn't fond of people.
But he followed me everywhere. If I went to bed he slept between my feet
at the foot of the bed.  I'm convinced that God gave me this cat just to help me
get through chemo and radiation because as soon as my regiment was over and I started
to feel better, Tucker resumed his normal routine.  Once again he was content to lay
on the floor away from me.  He was always close by but knew that I didn't need him to
comfort me anymore.


This was Tucker's favorite spot. He loved to lay by himself on the rocker and take
a nap in the sun.
Although he could only be with us for a short time, his life had a real purpose.  I'm not sure why he had to die so young. I'm sure many people have asked that question about people they've lost to cancer.  All I know is that God has a purpose for everything.  Tucker's purpose was to get me through a very difficult time in my life. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cows for the Cause

"Cows for the Cause"
copyright Wiseman Graphics  2011

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and I decided to create some pink
"Cows for the Cause"! 

These pink cows are still on the drawing board.  Would you purchase this work of art if it was published on a greeting card?? If you were diagnosed with Breast Cancer, wouldn't you enjoy receiving an Pink Cow card in the mail from a friend. When a friend or loved one is diagnosed we don't know what to say at a time like this.  As a Cancer Survivor myself, I can tell you that the things that meant the most to me were things that made me laugh. Sending a card to a Cancer Survivor, and knowing that all the money from your purchase was going toward Cancer Research will certainly make you feel good too. 

I need your feedback. If you want to see Pink Cows for the Cause published as a card. Let me know by posting a comment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Giving Art from the Heart

Working in my studio.

As an artist I have had so many opportunites to uplift people with my artwork. 
 Over ten years ago I was told that I had breast cancer.
After eight months of treatment
 I promised God that if he allowed me to live,
 I would not miss an opportunity to help others who are fighting cancer. 
I have been cancer-free for 10 years.

I created this work of art to bring comfort to those who are hurting.
I have hundreds of Thank You notes from people who have been touched by this painting.
Many of them are in the arms of Jesus now.
Others, like myself wake up each day thanking God for another day of life. 
If you or someone you love is facing the fight of their life,
you can own my work of art titled "Come Unto Me" FREE of charge.
Contact me with your shipping information

While you're here check out the links and video I have posted.
They are sure to to give you a lift.  Laughter doeth good like a medicine.
A good sense of humor actually prolongs life and encourages family and friends
to lighten up and live each day to the fullest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Then Came Radiation

When you're a Survivor
Everything you accomplish needs to be celebrated!

Surviving Cancer requires a moment by moment mentality.  If you think about all that lies ahead, you won't have the strength to get through one day.  After I completed my chemotherapy I was given a break and then I began radiation. 5 days on 2 days off.  Thirty-six treatments to be exact. I was told that with radiation I would experience a different kind of tired. What did that mean?  I couldn't analize everything. I just had to take it as it came.  So every day, Monday through Friday someone drove me to have radiation treatments.  My mother was my major caregiver. I lived for the weekends.  Saturday and Sunday were days to recover.

Mom and I at my daughter's wedding
Seven years after chemo and radiation.

Bonnie Mellot a very special friend
who lives 1 1/2 hrs away.

Bonnie called me and said,
"I want to be your "Sunday Angel".
On Sundays she drove over 60 miles to take me somewhere special.  Just to get my mind off of how I felt and to celebrate completing one more week of radiation. Bonnie and I had been friends for over 20 years. Bonnie was the kind of friend that would do the unexpected. Her husband and her dressed up in 50's clothing and arrived late for my 40th Birthday party.

Bonnie could make anything fun. Here she is with another
dear friend, Annie Gable in my kitchen.

Laughter Doeth Good Like a medicine!
Surround yourself with fun-loving people.
When you reach a milestone celebrate! 
You are a Hero

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fork in the Road? Take it!

No one knows what hurdles we'll encounter when we enter this life.
  In so many ways surviving cancer is like starting your whole life over again.
We've got to run the race if we want to receive the prize!

 It's a chance to face each new challenge with a child-like faith.  My mother would tell you that I was a curious kid who always managed to get myself into some kind of mess.  Whether it was drawing on the walls or catching a jar full of caterpillars that escaped in the middle of the night.
Morning would always come and reveal my mischief.

 Over ten years ago, when I got the news that I had breast cancer it was like my world stopped and suddenly all the things that were so important yesterday were not the least bit urgent now.  The only thing that mattered was finding someone who had gone through what I was about to face.  I needed to hear their story so I knew how to prepare myself.  I asked alot of questions and made alot of friends.  I found that one in eight women have fought the battle I was about to fight.  There are woman all around you that have experienced the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. I've been cancer free for ten years but my life has been forever changed by the experience.  

 I immediately determined that I was not going to go
through the trauma of slowly losing my hair.
 I locked myself in the bathroom and proceeded to cut off all my hair.  I was feeling pretty confident about my decision until I discovered that I had created a mullet and couldn't finish the job.   So I called my husband to come and cut the rest of my hair off.
I handed him the clippers and asked him to finish the job.  I had already purchased a wig which was styled just like my hair so the transition would be pretty painless.  I never considered asking my hairdresser.  I felt it was a very personal decision.  So my husband and I went outside after sunset and he buzzed my mullet off.

 I knew I had to tell my daughter who was almost 16 at the time.  When I walked in her bedroom with my head shaved she said, "that's disgusting, you look like Demi Moore."   Her compliment quickly erased the negative jolt.  So for the first time since I was a baby I had no hair.  No hair to wash or fuss over. It was so easy to just put on my wig.  I must admit,  that night I cried myself to sleep but that was the end of my pity party.  I had things to accomplish and crying wasn't going to get them done. 

My regiment of chemotherapy was every three weeks until I had 4 rounds. My white cell count remained high enough to continue straight through to end of week 12.  Everything I ate tasted like aluminum foil.  The days following a treatment were the worst. It was exhausting to lay down.  I had a list of 12 people to call if I needed anything. My church family rallied around our family and provided meals.
My daughter and I seven years after chemo.

 One of the funniest times my daughter and I ever shared together.
My daughter turned 16 while I was going through chemo. My husband didn't have the patience or the time to teach her how to drive.  There were times when I felt well enough to drive.  So I drove her to a vacant parking lot adjacent to a cemetery.  The affects of the chemo kept me calm and my daughter and I laughed with each jerk and sputter that comes with learning to drive a stick shift.  It is one of the funniest times my daughter and I ever shared together.

My husband and I seven years after treatment.

Things weren't always so funny. When the doctor bills piled up and I wasn't working, things began to get tough financially. My husband and I prayed and ask God to meet our needs. Anonymous financial gifts arrived just when we began wondering how we were going to pay a bill.  The amount that we received was often close to the exact amount we needed.

 My chemotherapy doctor  asked me to do a portrait of her and her husband
which paid off the balance that we owed her.

Collection of Dr. Poonam Strivastava 
Cancer Care Center, Selinsgrove, Pa.

 When my family couldn't drive me to my chemo appointments I had a list of friends who offered
to take me.  Having this kind of support was both humbling and convicting.  I promised God that if He would heal me, I would never miss an opportunity to help someone who is battling cancer and to use my artistic talent to bring glory to Him. That is another story for another time.