I have much to tell, but first let me show you a little piece that's been bringing me smiles all week long (no small feat given the week we've had here!)
It's a display stand/plant stand I found at a local antique barn some weeks ago...sitting in a corner, looking very forlorn, slightly cracked and wearing a drab, dark brown stain. It was just crying to come home with me in the little Beetle, and be given a second life, full of bright color and whimsy...The gentleman at the antique barn dated it around the 1930's or '40's, but I suppose there's no way to tell for sure. A little wood putty, a little sanding, a little paint.....I think it's turning out splendidly though, don't you!?
To be perfectly honest, like a couple of pending commissions, this piece should have been finished days ago, but LIFE has a way of throwing the occasional curve ball.
I suppose I should start at the beginning, and tell you this isn't something we've shared with many people, but recent developments will make it apparent soon anyway...
Many years ago, when Courtney was just little, John was diagnosed with a rare, yet slow progressing form of non-hodgkins lymphoma. Slow progressing, but incurable. After trying a few rather unpleasant treatment options to no avail, he made the decision to stop treatment, and just enjoy life. Miraculously, this worked for many years...Aside from a recurrence in the mid 90s (when he underwent radiation) he's felt pretty good.
Fast forward to two years ago when he had his first heart surgery (regular readers may remember he's had two in the last two years and is the proud owner of a mechanical mitral valve) and blood tests were done prior to the surgery, indicating the cancer had progressed. But the heart was a priority, and he was cleared for surgery. Complications and a second surgery followed, but he's still felt pretty good.
Fast forward again to last week, when (at another Dr's recommendation) he visited U Penn for a consultation with an expert in this type of cancer, which included a biopsy and more thorough blood tests. Long story short, the lymphoma has progressed to stage 3, and they're strongly recommending interferon, along with another treatment. With these treatments, there's an approximate 30% chance of remission, and still greater chance of at least some improvement. Without it, the prognosis for five year survival is only about 50%.
But both of us being blessed with fairly optimistic spirits, we're hopeful. Like the heart surgery, this is one of those situations where the only way out of it is through it.
See the little badge on my right sidebar? "Choose Optimism". (Thanks, Jo!)
I believe with all my heart we have that choice. We may not be able to control the disease, or even it's progression. But we CAN control how we handle it. Yes, it will be challenging, and no, it won't always be pleasant. But we can choose optimism.
That said, there are immediate, practical concerns having to do with insurance issues and mounting medical bills, so in addition to choosing optimism, I'm also choosing to work a few extra hours. :) To that end, look for a blog sale to be announced in the next couple of days - Selling items directly on the blog not only saves the time and fees involved with eBay sales, but it allows collectors to purchase items at a price generally lower than the ending eBay bids. And it gives me a chance to focus on happiness and creativity as we face the challenges ahead. Soooo, stay tuned. ;)
Finally, thanks very much to everyone who's left such kind comments on facebook, and offered prayers and positive thoughts! We are incredibly blessed, and send you all much love.
Until next time,