Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Work, Challenges Ahead, and Choosing Optimism

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%.

Scary stuff.

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,
♥ Carolee


Johanna Parker said...

Love your optimistic spirit Carolee, and thank you for sharing all that has been weighing heavy on your mind and heart. It has to be a release for you, and it prompts all of us to support your optimism with positive thoughts of healing and strength. Please keep us posted, and may you two conquer this next hurdle that life has presented........ Thinking of you....

~ Johanna

Tamara C said...

You are right, you CAN choose optimism and I applaud your choosing to do so, sweet girl! It sounds strange coming from someone you hardly know - but I love you and your paramour and am sending you lots of positive, healing enegy!

Hugs, Tamara

SHERRY said...

My heart is with you. Daily prayers for comfort and healing are lifted.

Enchanted Productions by Joyce Stahl said...

Thank you for sharing with us Carolee and know that I'm standing with you in your optimism!

Enchanted Blessings,

softinthehead said...

One of my favorite quotes is by Helen Keller...someone who fought the odds everyday of her life...

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

You've got my number and I have your address...I am 5 hours away! Pam

BeFRuiTFuL KReaTioNS said...

The optimism is shining through and a great attitude to have during uncertain times. May God hold you close and bless you. Great idea to sell here on your blog. You will do great! Many hugs.

vintagepaletteart said...

Carolee.....both you and Johan are in my thoughts and prayers. You both have great attitudes and that is the most important thing to have in this kind of situation. I admire both of you for your strength and your courage. If you need anything....just let us know. :)

Hugs, Lori

heidi said...

My thoughts are with you,what a wonderful outlook on life you have.
They say positivity is a big help at times like these. Take care of each other.

Crowsnest Pass Primitive Folk Art said...

Don't ya hate those curve balls...but alas those curves do straighten out with positive thinking & the optimism you & your husband share...sending you lots of hugs & prayers. Susan

Monkey-Cats Studio said...

Love the strength and optimism you and John are sharing as you face this last obstacle. I can't help but believe that there is tremendous medicine in being optimistic, as attitude can greatly impact our health and lives in a positive way. Here is wishing you both strength as you make the decisions ahead of you. Miracles happen!! (yes, I tend to be optimistic too!!)

Healing thoughts and prayers,

Linda said...

Optimism, and Love are always the very Best any soul can choose to live by.
Love and blessings to you both.

quitethecrow said...

Hi Carolee...this is the first time I have been in blogdom for quite a long time. I want you to know I am thinking of you both. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 1st. My life has been overrun with doctors' appointments, surgery and now radiation. I can truly empathize and echo your sentiment. I'll keep you both in my thoughts and ask that grace continues to be your companion. I believe in your strength and know you'll get through it as that is the only thing to do. With love, Elizabeth

Rue said...

So many blessings to you both as you face this journey head-on. I'm sure you will conquer it, as you have in the past. Healing energy heading your way...