Monday, October 13, 2014

Transitions and somethings new

Autumn is my favorite time of year. There is a distinct feel in the air of change and with the changing colors of the leaves a distinct indication of coming transition. This time of year has always been a time to consider new things to come and typically lasts through New Year's Day when I host my Dream Board Party when I set intentions for the new year. I have often gotten new jobs during the third quarter of the year. Maybe a omen for me this year. It's time for me to begin the search which begins with that ominous question, What do you want to do with your life? I have some thinking to do. This has always been a difficult question for me. Do I have an aversion to commitment? Hmmm ... I never thought so. I'm committed to lots of things: keeping my health now that I've been given a second chance, giving back to the cancer cause, getting out into nature, taking pictures, blogging, and more.

I'm so enjoying my time volunteering for the Healing Arts Program at Presbyterian St. Luke's. How do I turn that into a paying position--there or somewhere else? I ponder. I am official at PSL, like being an employee. I have a badge, parking privileges, and webpage.

Red, yellow, and green ... windy and overcast ... taken yesterday on my way home from errands.

Yellow leaves with sunlight streaming through ... taken three days ago.

I love Sarah Huizenga's photos of her paisley rain boots, so this is my version with my new Danskos. Many of the nurses at the hospital wear these and praise their comfort. I love them and I needed something fun to wear. In only a few days, I've gotten lots of "I love those" comments. What a great conversation starter!

I love the picture from down low, but I didn't realize how dusty they were already!

At the Light the Night Walk, there was a sweet gal, Linda, who was giving away some of her jewelry pieces to survivors. I was attracted immediately to the little Buddha bracelet. Unfortunately, she did not have business cards and I was unable to get her contact info.

I've already acquired a couple "somethings new" that make me feel great on a daily basis! That's what life is about, isn't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Light the Night Walk Success

The Light the Night Walk for blood cancer research was a huge success due to all my and my team's friends and family who donated to this great cause! Our team's goal was $2500 and we raised $3453 with a ranking of 21st out of 401 friends and family teams! My personal goal was $1000 and I raised $1708 ranking 51st of 4,392 individual fundraisers! That's without corporate matching which has not posted yet. 

I couldn't have done my part without all of you! You guys really rock!! I'm so grateful to know that you are willing to help stamp out blood cancers. It feels incredible to give back in this way!

Following are pictures from an awesome evening!

[photo taken by Jill Turner]

White lanterns = Survivors. Red lanterns = caregivers. Yellow lanterns = in memory of.

[photo taken by Dr. Matous, my transplant doc, a wonderful man!]

It was so incredible to see the support for this cause by the number of participants present in the Denver walk. This is only a small portion!

[photo taken by Lawrence Howard, Susan's husband]

Susan Howard and I met on the Bone Marrow/Stem Cell unit at Presbyterian St. Luke's in Denver, Colorado. She had her stem cell transplant on January 28 and I had mine on January 30. I do believe we are sisters in overcoming and thriving. It's very possible, maybe even likely, that if people hadn't donated to research in the past we wouldn't be here to contribute now. It's great that we both had so many care for us and help us meet our goals for Light the Night so patients to come will be able to have the treatments they need.

[photo taken by Christine Howard, Susan's mother]

This is the team, Lissa's Walking Troupe! Jill and Sharon were two of my many caregivers during my 100 days post transplant when I needed 24/7 care. I'm so thankful to them! Left to right: Jill, me, Sharon, and Susan.

We even made the jumbotron. How's that for coolness!

[photo taken by Jill Turner]

Me looking at the lanterns. I loved the lights and I'm standing there in awe that I ventured out to participate in a crowd. I don't like crowds. But this was different. I could feel the love and caring that surrounded me there. And thanks to all my donors for being there too (in spirit).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creative Expression: Transformation Artwork

While in the hospital, I was given more medications that I care to admit. And when I returned home, the same. Part of my home med regime was magnesium infusions that I called mag bags, magnesium in a saline solution in plastic balls administered through the tri-lumen catheter in my chest. After weeks of throwing away the mag bag refuse, I thought all of this is going into a land fill somewhere; there must be something I can do with it. I began to line the syringes, caps, and lines and such up on my kitchen table. I'm sure my son thought I was crazy, but I hoped the creative muse would help me come up with an alternative!

Weeks went by. Then in July I was asked by the Healing Arts Director, Cynthia Lockhart, at Presbyterian St. Luke's if I'd like to post some of my other artwork on a bulletin board at the BMT/STC unit (bone marrow transplant/stem cell transplant). I was thrilled! As we worked on the bulletin board we discovered there was space available for something else. I had the perfect idea--use the mag bag parts to make a new piece of art. The muse came through and syringe art was born.

Below is the complete board displayed at the hospital where I got my stem cell transplant. It represents a new program in the Healing Arts Department, Unfolding the Mind: Using Words and Images. Therefore, this bulletin board will be posted for quite some time. I've gotten lots of high praise. It feels so good to have my artwork posted publicly.

click image to see larger view;

Soon patients will get to meet me as I volunteer in the Healing Arts Program. I'll be helping them use journaling, images, and drumming for healing.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going

I know I dropped off the blogosphere without any explanation, only my last post about floods in Colorado on 9/12/13. Some of you know what happened, but for those who don't, here it is.

On September 24, 2013, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) with a high risk gene (FLT3) that indicated the danger of early relapse. I was admitted to the hospital immediately upon diagnosis for a month of induction chemotherapy, then three weeks home, then a week of consolidation chemo. I was then home until January 21, 2014 when I was admitted for a Stem Cell Transplant (SCT). Five weeks later I returned home. Now 7.5 months post-transplant, I am doing well. I've walked 113 miles since May 19th, 2014 and continue adding to that number. Improvement comes every day with increased mental focus, physical stamina, and joy in living.

Portrait: Lissa post-SCT 2 months (March)
I now have some barely-there-hair :-)

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who stood by me during this journey. You helped me keep my spirits up, have something to look forward to, and take care of important matters that I couldn't take care of myself. You all know who you are, lest I will not name you individually here.

Finally, I feel up to sharing again. Yesterday I went on a neat adventure with my SCT buddy, Susan. We have walked the SCT journey together, originally meeting in the hospital. We went to the Denver Botanic Garden to see Dale Chihuly's glass art display. We wandered the gardens and took photos of the glass art (lighted at night, they must be magnificent) and the blossoms that will disappear soon with fall coming. With 19 photos to follow, this is truly a photofest. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of all the displays I depict here.

Blue Icicle Towers and me ... I lost 58 lbs on the Leukemia Diet!
Picture by Susan Howard

Blue Icicle Towers and Susan

Summer Sun

Blue Marlins

Water Lilies

Float Boat

Left: Saffron Tower; Right: White Tower

Thanks to all for visiting.
I hope to be more active here now.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's an event: Another series of flood pics

Went out again this afternoon to see if I could get close enough to the three cars in the ditch, probably Rock Creek, West of Hwy 287 on Dillon Road, but the roads were all blocked off.

On  the way back home, I did discover this farmhouse at the Public Rd. roundabout looking dangerously near flooding.

And here a span of more comprehensive flooding.

Just around the corner is the entrance to the parking lot for the Public Rd. Trailhead. No cars allowed. Crime scene tape spanning the entrance.

This is where the picnic area is and where the trailhead was.

The breach has spanned three times the original width of the creek. This is where Kobi and I often met other dogs and owners. A nice place to escape. I wonder how long it will get back to normal ... or even recognizable. The white arrow is the original width of the creek. The red arrows are where the path used to go.

And this is where the path was on the other side of the bridge where cars stop and tourist and locals alike get out to take pictures and get shooed off by the cops. My house is up the way about a quarter mile and to the left another quarter mile ... or something like that. Just a note, the creek is actually on the RIGHT side of that red arrowed walking path line.

It's an event: Flooding in Boulder County

I was certain the ground could not hold much more moisture even though we always want for it here to waylay for the forest fires. The down side though is having had forest fires, this much water just causes a bigger mess in the burn scar areas.

Now down here in the city/town, we are just getting creeks that are swelling past their capacity. I went out briefly this morning since our company called a "flood day" and I didn't have to go in. Nice reprieve!

This is Coal Creek where it goes under 119th St. in Lafayette, CO North of South Boulder Rd. and South of Dillon Rd where three cars were "eaten" when the road collapsed. I couldn't get close the that to get pictures.

Here, our walking path (for Kobi and me) has been flooded such that we can't get to our normal resting bench.

And this is the cow pasture that is usually green and lush with cows munching their feed.
Notice the arrow that shows where the creek normally flows.

I didn't let Kobi in the really deep water, but he does love to explore.

Along the path I met a few other adventuresome folks. I asked these folks names, but think I only remember Mike correctly--maybe it's Katie and Mike. They were enjoying exploring the changing landscape also.

And up the road a bit, there is another foot bridge that crosses Rock Creek--now impassable. This was one of the starting points when I did my mini-camino in the fall of 2011. So dry then ... almost too dry.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Creative Expression: I'm Moving ... to Ipernity

I thought I posted this here already, but obviously not. I've had a headache all week ... complications form a poorly adjusted new occlusal guard. Maybe that's the reason I didn't get this posted here. I am feeling human again!

I've decided to move from Flickr to Ipernity. No that's not a physical location, but a new (new to me) photosharing interface. I can't say I'm total frustrated with Flickr as some others, but I do find the new interface more challenging than the old one and I like Ipernity's simplicity. I plan to leave my photos on Flickr for now and start Ipernity forward from this point.

I keep finding myself pulled back, so may post the occasional image on Flickr, but I want see how Ipernity pans out.

You can find me at www.ipernity.com/home/lafcustomdesigns … yes, you can even customize your URL.

Thanks to Sebastian Michaels' Photoshop Grunge Artistry for lots of brushes and textures
in his Photoshop Grunge Artistry course.

Some of the benefits of Ipernity:

* Has the old Flickr "look"
* Customize your homepage
* Create albums
* Includes a Guestbook roll where people can leave a note unrelated to a specific image
* Log in with Facebook (I'd rather not, but some may like this feature)
* Move your Flickr photos to Ipernity; see script www.ipernity.com/blog/team/485851

The down side:

* As with all technology, there is a learning curve, but it's really pretty easy
* You will likely have to convince your friends to follow you to the new interface
* You might have to keep both Flickr and Ipernity going in parallel, at least for a bit
* You may feel like you're starting all over

Best to all. Thanks for connecting with me here at Flickr. I've made lots of great friends here.