Blue Skies, Black Clouds

I feel, my friends, that I owe you an update, though I'm not sure I want to write it. I only want to write with the good stuff, the happy news, but life isn't always like that is it? I had the operation, it was not straightforward. My surgeon is a legend, but in her words, "we were dealt a bad hand". She thought it wouldn't come out, but it did, though there are bits left in tricky places that can't be cut away.

I've healed well from the op. I'll spare you a photo of the seams, but fortunately the medical team are just as good at cuttin' and stitchin' as I am. Still, it's a tidy scar that'll come in handy if ever the after-dinner conversation runs out.

So I will try the next stage, chemotherapy, though I've also been researching other potential options of treatment that aren't always offered at first. I want to attack it while I'm strong not wait till it gets to the last chance saloon. I don't know if these other things are options for me but I intend to ask.

Please, if you have any symptoms of bowel cancer, or if like me you don't really have any symptoms except for severe anaemia, please pester your doctor for a full colonoscopy and a CT scan. Don't take no for an answer. If I had known that anaemia as bad as mine could have been an indicator of a right-sided tumour I would not have left that hospital without a CT scan and things might have been very different. It took a long time for the doctors to find the nasty. I had a lot of other inconclusive tests.

I felt well, I nearly didn't go for the last test.

I nearly didn't go.

I know, from all your lovely messages, cards and gifts that I'm not alone in this. I know many of you have had cancer too, and have got well or are able to live with it. I know I'm not alone, but I can't tell you what a lonely place this is in spite of all that. The nights are long.

I'm an optimist. But I'm a realist too and at times that means, well, we won't got there.

My friends and family tell me I'm brave. I think I'm just a good actress. I don't feel brave. I feel scared, no, terrified. No matter how blue the skies, the black cloud won't go.

If Jamie were to read this he'd be cross with me. Tell me to stop thinking negatively, encourage me to not overthink, not look too far ahead, to have faith that it's going to be OK. He's probably right, no-one knows what life has in store and we should always live for today. Shouldn't we? I want to think of myself as a little old lady painting in my garden. I'd always thought that would be how it would work out.

I've been sewing clothes, four pairs of shorts, one pair of trousers, a cardigan and a jacket so far. I can't do my 'real' work though. I keep going in the studio and wandering out again. Even though it's not obvious, there's always so much of me in my work, my thoughts and opinions. I feel like if I were to start working, 'it' would all come tumbling out of that box where I've locked it away in my head, and would rush out in a flood and never stop.

One of the doctors gave me the best advice of anyone. She said that I must always remember that I am the same person as I was before. When everything has changed it's hard to remember that.

Perhaps I better go and find a sketchbook. Well after I've gone and blown my nose and washed my face.

Much love to you all.
Laura
x







Comments

  1. Sending lots of love and healing vibes xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. So honest and articulate. You will read these words back in years to come and never again take life for granted. Looking forward to seeing you in the studio with "the girls" for some respite when you're up to it xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With love from all at Paint and Create

      Delete
  3. Heck Laura, that must have been difficult to write. Optimist and realist arguing with each other. I think you need that sketchbook to record how you are feeling now - private thoughts but will get them out. Thinking about you and sending positive thoughts xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. We are all blowing our noses & washing our faces now. Im sure that was hard to write-I keep you & your family in my thoughts & prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh Laura. I don’t know what to say. Just be you xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Believe it or don't, Laura - you are very brave indeed. You are fighting an enormous battle and to share some of your feelings here is a courageous thing. No surprise that it got your nose & eyes running. From 'dowunder' I wish you only good days surrounded by your loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
  7. On June 1st, 2018, I became a 5 year breast cancer survivor from a very aggressive type of breast cancer. During my treatments of chemotherapy and radiation ,my motto was This Too Shall Pass. I found that I did change or at least my outlook did since having the cancer diagnosis. Changed in a way that I wanted to only do things that were important me,and be with people that were adding to my life in a positive way. I realized that cancer taught me that I was important and I needed to love myself first before I could love others. Laura love yourself first , do what makes you happy and remember this too shall pass!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My heart goes out to you Laura, you really are being so very brave! Take life a day at a time, and revel in the 'now'. Easier said than done I know, but I send positive vibes and love your way.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for having the courage to share this devastating news with us. We are all standing next to you with a giant lump in our throats and heavy hearts, trying to think of something to say when, in truth, there is little we say do to take your black cloud away. So many prayers are being whispered asking for the strength to get you through what's coming next, and for the peace to take each day as it comes. My heart aches for Linda and Jamie and your daughter as well. xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. You and Linda Jamie and Amelie have given us so much of yourselves over the past years,
    We need you to keep it coming, fight it Laura, you can do it, you know you can.
    We love you Laura.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That was a difficult read but a good thing for you to do. Sometimes it is good to write your feelings down and share with others. Agreeing with all the other comments. It is good you are doing some sewing and working back in the studio will come when the time is right. xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. I’ve never met you but I feel like I can say this anyway. From 1985-1988 I had numerous surgeries, plus many radiation treatments and months of chemo. So I understand how exhausting it can be to talk about your condition, and also how daunting it can be to field the proclamations of how brave you are, while inside you are quivering, just making it from day to day, putting on a face for everyone, because somehow that is what we feel we must do. Be strong, be yourself, embrace everything you love. Sending my very best wishes for good health.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am storming the heavens with prayers that the strength you need for the days ahead will bring you solace. I am a uterine cancer survivor. This poem/prayer helped me through so many days. I do not know the author.
    I believe in the sun even when it is not shining,
    In love even when I am alone,
    In God even when he is silent.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's so generous of you to share like this. It's OK to be scared and it is possible to be strong at the same time. You are an inspiration to all of us in so many different ways. We all want to support you in whatever way we can. From a distance that means sending love and virtual hugs and letting you know that we are thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts, it can’t have been easy for you but am sure you are inspiring others going through the same. I along with many admirers of your work and your friends will have had a tear in their eye reading this honest diary. Who knows what the future holds but we are all routing for you and can’t wait to see the art that will come once you feel able. Love to you and your family and allow yourself to go through the rollercoaster of emotions that will follow xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good for you for writing it as it is. Bless Jamie, and many others, for saying such things, possibly, probably. They may be going through it with you but they are not actually going through it. Being positive, negative, up, down, angry, sad, the optimist and the pessimist are all totally allowed and should be encouraged. It’s a totally shite (scuse the honest language) place to be. You have everyone rooting for you. I’m not going to say the obvious ‘be strong’ because you don’t have to be if you don’t want to be today. Be you now. Xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Laura, thank you so much for your honesty in stating how you feel. So many of us are actresses, but it is when we let down the façade, our true strength emerges. Your frankness in looking for clues, will possibly save someone else in the future. I know how dark it can get, but there is always a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel - even when it is hidden due to a bend in the tracks. I can so relate to not being able to create because of the fear it will all come tumbling out. Embrace it! On hot summer day, ages ago, I was home alone and in the deep pit of pity party. I'd been wanting to paint fabric, but like you I feared what my soul would expose. I did it anyway. I stood and literally threw paint onto cloth and when that one was "done", I did another. I spent the afternoon throwing paint and crying. It was the best therapy I ever had. The cloth paintings were crap, but the feeling I had after was "peace". I'd finally let myself grieve for who I had been and would never be. (A few days later, I showed a friend what I had done. As we talked I saw a wolf coming out of a fire in one of the pieces. I had captured how I felt without knowing it) I don't know if this will help you, but sometimes it helps to listen to your inner voice and let go. Know that we are all out here rooting for you and here with a shoulder to cry on. You are loved so much more than you can ever know and that is because of the beautiful person you are. Sending so much love and hope to you and yours. xo

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sending so much love. Proud of your courage and for sharing this. Rebecca, Matt and kids x

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh dear. I know how strong and independant you are, and I can read how scared you are. Damn. Take in the love that we all feel for you. Do what you need to do. Xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Write it out. I did and it helped. Work even if it doesn't turn out. Stay as busy as you are able. My thoughts are with you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh Laura I read this with tears in my eyes... I wish you the very best, a big cyber hug 🤗 xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. Give yourself some leeway there in your mind for falling apart. This is a scary diagnosis. and being positive and fighting is the right way to deal with it but you need to balance that or it all gets bottled up and messes with your head. get someone who understands and can let you fall apart then help you put yourself back together. Keep fighting. Stay strong. surround yourself with your beauty and love. You can do this.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is just to let you know that way over here in Oregon I am thinking of you. Your life and your story are something you have shared so generously, and, for so long, joyously. It has enriched all of us who have followed along. The story takes a dark turn and here you are, sharing as always, your humanity, hopes, fears. Truth, honesty. I hope you feel the support and love, spoken and unspoken, and I hope it gives some measure of strength for a hard battle. Good thoughts to you and your family...

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so, so sorry you have to experience this. I went through the rigors of rectal cancer 10 years ago. It's shitty in every sense of the word. Being yourself, and being vulnerable to share this with us is much appreciated. I wish for you a deep well filled with resilience, self-compassion, and endurance. And when that well gets low, may you have bold courage to call on others to help you get through.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The fear is real. Deep breaths. Your doctor is wise - you are not your diagnosis. Sending healing thoughts and positive energy to you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. When I was going through it the one thing that someone said to me was ‘you are on your own journey’. Don’t look at the statistics, be positive and you will come through the other side. You have too much to give and too much to live for. Love and hugs xx

    ReplyDelete
  27. Being brave is not about feeling no fear and leading from the front with a smile on your face. Being brave is doing the best you can, when you feel inadequate because you are in pain, hurt, frightened, lacking resilience or any other reason. When I've had to 'be brave', I've wanted never to have to feel like that ever again. Doing 'the best you can in your circumstances' is absolutely good enough. Maybe you should express how you feel though your sketchbook. Sketchbooks can be public, but can also be private. Anything you express there, is ok, is valid, and is yours. You've shared so much - maybe it's time for a sketchbook that is private. And you always have the right to change your mind. Much love.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don’t know what to say to you, I know nothing at the moment will help. This seems so unfair and I wish this wasn’t happening to you and your family but it is and you will find a way through it. I will keep everything crossed for you. Dark clouds are inevitable but if they linger go for counselling as it really can help. Sending lots of love xxx

    ReplyDelete
  29. So sorry for you Laura, but I'm sure you have the strenght to survive this !
    Lots of love..

    ReplyDelete
  30. You are going through a highly traumatic event and all the feelings you have are so normal. That doesn't make them easy by any means. Despite what some people may feel, I think that expressing them is the very best way to deal with this.

    I found that during a similar time in my life, writing was the best vehicle for me. I wrote just a few pages a day; completely desperate, private rants and fears and after a while things began to change. I began to feel hopeful and see more clearly where I wanted to go. Eventually, I stopped, as I no longer needed the support of the writing. But I still return to it when things get hard.

    I hope this may help a little.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sending love and positive thoughts Laura. Stay strong, stay positive and know it's okay to feel scared too xxx

    ReplyDelete
  32. It's ok to be scared! It's ok to feel bad and unsure....just know you will gain strength from your family and friends. You really will...lean on them, cry on them, laugh with them and hug them all. Start a journal of this journey. You will look back on it in a few years and you'll use it to give someone else the strength they need to go through this journey. Only good thoughts, my dear!!! We are beside you and will be throughout. Lean on us!
    \

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear Laura Every body said already lovely thing. Al I can say is fill you days with fun things and enjoy your family around you. Make every day count. And occupied you brain with these good things. Fight that thing with ART.

    Do you Watch Football? I am not a football fan at all ,but "We are Belgium" and We are winning Yeahhh. And that make us feel again like one strong nation. Maybe we will play against England again in the final. Who knows?
    And all that supporting that we do for ore Red Devils, I will do for you. Come and scream together with me against Cancer.
    When you would be here my dear friend I would give you an enormous hug.
    Lots of love from Belgium. My dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Laura,

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I believe strongly in alternative treatments. Here are two links with great promise. My best to you.

    www.cancertutor.com/ozone/
    http://www.cancerfightingstrategies.com/oxygen-and-cancer.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wishing you the best Laura. You have always been an inspiration to me in art and continue to inspire me with your strength and courage.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I wish with all my heart I could find the right words to say that would ease your pain and fear, but unfortunately they all seem so inadequate. I hope that sharing your journey with us will help you, as we are all praying and sending positive thoughts to help you. I recently met an army veteran suffering PTSD from years in Afghanistan and he found art therapy was helping him focus his mind, perhaps your painting and journals will help you to purge all the emotion spinning around inside you, and when you have healed and defeated the beast, burn these paintings as a symbol of your rebirth and strength. My thoughts and prayers are with you Laura, and also for your family and friends who are hurting for you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Such a difficult post for you to write. Thank you for the pointers. Sending love and best wishes for the next phase of your treatment. xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. Such amazing, straightforward thoughts. Thank you for sharing your strength with us, dear Laura. My family has stared cancer in the face more times than I'd hoped I'd ever have to experience. Our live have all been full of dark clouds and blue skies, taking out the rubbish and working at a quilt project. Life is a challenge, and you've worded it wonderfully. Just know that we out here across the globe are praying for you and walking this road with you every step of the way. If gene therapy is a possible option [using your own bad cells to jumpstart your fighting cells en masse], that is working wonders in many people. It's among the latest in treatments here at Seattle Children's Hospital and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. There are new treatments out there to try - as you alluded to in your 'talk' with us. God bless you and your family and friends, dear Laura. Love from Washington state in The Colonies, Flavia

    ReplyDelete
  39. Gentle hugs and robust good wishes as you walk this difficult path. Let it all tumble out!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dearest Laura, you are so very special. and the warning you are passing on shows yet again how generous you are. One of my sisters dealt with a similar cancer. Just thinking she had a tummy bug that wouldn't go away. I am so glad you have been able to have the surgery. I hope the chemo will help you. I have been praying for you and will keep doing it. And for the family, because it is very hard to feel like you are unable to help someone you love. Biggest hugs to you. Whether you think you are brave, or not, you are still amazing to us. Sandy Snowden PS don't worry about the 'work'. When you go through stuff like you are, your energy and creativity are being used up each day for life. And that is the priority.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sometimes Laura you have to let the thoughts out. They can't always be bottled up. As a mother you feel you have to be strong and that is hard. I have been there also. I found the biggest help was to go into my studio and make an ANGRY quilt. I slashed up fabric ,stitched painted burned bits etc etc and put all my anger into this piece. It helped me cope and I now have it on the wall as a reminder of how far I've come since those dark days. The symbolism is only known to me and others just admire it for the art. Stay strong. Fight. We are all behind you with our love and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Laura, you say "I feel like if I were to start working, 'it' would all come tumbling out of that box where I've locked it away in my head, and would rush out in a flood and never stop." DO IT! You will probably beat this and come out the other side exhausted and proud. Right now, the most healing thing you can do it let it out. I have 2 passion quilts. Work that I did when I was in extreme pain. They are probably the best work I've done. But the important thing is that they were both a catharsis for me, a cleansing that really helped me get past the pain and fear. They are two works that I will never sell or give away and will probably never tell anyone what they are really about. But, now, when the horror is past, I deeply love them.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Dark days are so hard to pass through, and I know where you are just now. The strength and determination that you have demonstrated and inherently OWN, Laura, are your best tools for getting next steps taken. Focus on the bright in every day- time with your beautiful little girl and Jamie too! Have those sketchbooks close at hand and just tune into the work you dream of doing as you rest and get stronger. Diving in will come - later. Be well and strong soon dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is my fight song
    Take back my life song
    Prove I’m alright song
    My power’s turned on
    Starting right now I’ll be strong
    I’ll play my fight song
    And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
    ‘Cause I’ve got a lot of fight left in me
    Rachel Platten, songwriter and singer

    Laura, listen, do what your heart and mind tell you, believe, find your path, courage and strength, trust in God to send the right people at the right time to help you the most, find your fight song, journal, create, let the negative out, medatite, visualize healing.
    ( MD Anderson Cancer Center will consult for 2nd opinion if you have not started chemo. Ranked #1 worldwide and will handle you with kid gloves and love) It is your life! Take charge!! Prayers and Blessing

    ReplyDelete
  45. It can help to draw/paint etc images portraying the cancer cells being destroyed - a little like the old fashioned computer game images Pac-Man or I’m sure you can make something way more artistic. People are true believers that this can help recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Bless you dear, sweet Laura, I am truly lost for words xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  47. So sorry you have to go through this. I'm sending you lots of hopeful feelings to bring you strength. You have a lot of friends. Some you have never met and maybe never will. We are here for you. Pulling for you. Lots of love from Chicago!

    ReplyDelete
  48. New Every Morning

    Every day is a fresh beginning,
    Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
    And, spite of old sorrows
    And older sinning,
    Troubles forecasted
    And possible pain,
    Take heart with the day and begin again.

    Susan Coolidge

    all is easier said than done. Wishing you strength and more courage and light at the end of the tunnel.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment