Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Results

Tim is now taking time away from his work to enter treatments. Test results are back and his cancer is very serious. So is Tim. Me too!

The facts are more helpful than the fantasy. Facts are that all the biopsy sites showed cancer. The bone scans have not shown any cancer but have shown a map of many of Tim's adventures through time. They also show a touch of arthritis in his hip. wonderful news considering that we were worrying that the pain was bone invasion. He is very healthy and fit for his age. He is a good candidate for surgery. We start there and move to the next step after that is finished.

Tim is an extremely active man. He moves at a pace that would exhaust most gerbils. He recently complained about his energy levels which made us chase him in to the doctor. He did this while hanging from the roof.

He has built the most beautiful gate for our little house. He has dug up the garden patch and is planting food and beauty again this year. He has a list of plans for the next sixty days.

We think we are going to go to the desert for a few days. We have finished making the kinds of tasks like will making. We love our lawyer. His name is Rodney and he drives an old Corolla. He decided that the low mileage and little need for repair would make a smaller earth footprint than buying a new car. He likes looking and acting in a low impact way. His lawyer practise is also very frugal and careful. His suggestions for things like living wills etc were also very practical and helpful. He understood my need to protect the young women attached to our family and my impractical desire to pass on gifts to people and organizations not attached to our family. He also understood the complications involved in a blended family. Lucky that our sons are all generous and fair young men. So that part has gone easy peasy.

Now it is time for us to get on with creating a new kind of life while we help Tim heal and take charge of his healing. How lucky that this has happened in the spring. We wake up to birds singing and to sunlight creeping into the windows. This is Vancouver and flowers are everywhere. I saw my first butterfly yesterday.

I am working on little pod forms with needle knotting and embroidery and cast paper. I am also finishing a mobile made from animal bones that was a commission that has really challenged me.

Trying to stay present in the world of conflicting and overwhelming medical advice. It will all work out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Days

Thank you so much to each person who has taken the time to contact me after the last entry regarding Tim's illness and our current challenges. It really means so much. I was also a little surprised to learn that people I don't really know would take time from their life to contact me and offer support. What an amazing world.

I post entries in the blog to practise writing. I am not very skilled at it and know that practise make things easier. I lost my ability to read and write for awhile with two cancer challenges. The drugs I was taking took away my ability to concentrate enough to write. I couldn't put sentences together and had very little comprehension or ability to remember. It was called chemo brain.
I also had problems with my eyes. The eyes have been fixed and are better than they have ever been. The chemo brain is much improved but I still have some problems remembering and sorting information. It gets better every day. I push it to make it better.

When I was really sick and hardly able to talk let alone read, my writer friend Peter, read to me at least once a week. He patiently listened while I struggled for words and brought me inspiration and ideas of all kinds. So did Charles, my friend and practicum student. They did this lovingly and by dedicating part of each week to allow me to re-enter the world and survive. Neither knew me well when they started doing this. Katherine, from Paris, also came and taught me to breath again after my lungs were radiated. She only knew me a little but she came every morning and spent time breathing with me. MaryEllen came and cleaned my house. Gayla came and made me tea. Juliet held my head up while I vomited. Jonathon came and just made sure I was safe. Christine brought me laughter and left me in the hospital. Alice made crumble, Karen talked to me everyday, Barney wept and held me on the bus, so did Hannah. Polly and Roberta and Marie stayed in touch with treatments and information. My children came and carried on with ordinary life in front of me. My nieces just knew when to call. Someone used to anonymously leave me prairie flowers. Derrick moved things. So many people did nice little things I will never forget.

Wonderful people are showing up again and we are learning to accept help. We are letting them in and really appreciating the support.

Encouraging words are arriving daily via the Internet and telephone. I had no idea how many people read this blog. In the last few days I have heard from Whitehorse , Yukon, Calgary, Wells, Iraq, Israel, England, New York, Winnipeg, Quebec, France etc. All words of love and encouragement.

Tim is still waiting for his treatment regime and some tests to be completed. They will decide what to do when this happens. We are in the world of waiting for results and treatments once again. But we both know that people are with us again.

Thank you so much!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shell Shocked.

It is Easter Sunday today. I am in a state of shell shock from the recent news about my life partner's cancer diagnosis. He has gone to Ontario to be with his 96 year old father and his brother.

The news isn't very good because his cancer is quite advanced. It is very strange because he doesn't look or act very sick. I have seen the results and have talked with his Doctor and know what all of this means. It is deepened by the fact that I am also not in great health.

Tim becomes highly scientific, logical and task focused at times like this. So do I. The house is very tidy, papers are organized and hoardings thrown out. Possessions mean so little right now.
I went to lunch with friends and realized I talked nothing about cancer. I talked about salt, anger at traditional celebrations, cel phones and my annoyance at people constantly texting when I am talking to them about scary things.

Three people have already made suggestions about huge diet changes. They have never eaten with me. They don't know that I grow food organically, gather wild food and eat mostly organic food. I also eat junk sometimes. I know life time vegetarians who walk miles a day live pure lives and still get cancer. So do other people. Cancer is not one disease with one cause. Both of us have very strong genetics for cancer. Tim's father is 96 and smoked and drank for many years, lived a highly stressful life as a soldier for years, meat four times a day, lived in an industrial town, had an industrial job, has been blown up, motorcycle accidents and major illness. My lovely friend's baby died before three months from a cancer formed in utero. Nothing had touched her lips besides breast milk from a fanatically pure mother. I can't bear this right now. I have plenty of information. I am an expert regarding cancer. My family have many people who are faith healers. They also have died from this stupid set of diseases.

Having the disease or surviving the disease forces us to become heroic. It forces us to think about life. Denial is hard when you really hurt. When you see parts of your body missing or damaged. I am a patchwork quilt. I know everyday that cancer once grew in my body. I have learned to do this.

I have lived with my sweet partner for 28 years. We moved in together on Hallowe'en night in 1981. We have been together for a long time. So long that I don't remember him not loving him.
We, of course, will cope and carry on and hopefully survive this new challenge. This is harder for me than any other thing that life has handed out. I understand every cliche.

I have this repeated dream for two weeks now. I dream that a very slender young man breaks into my house. He is wearing tight black clothing. He is packing everything important up and stealing it. He is doing it brazenly and keeps doing it and ignoring me when I ask him to stop. I wake myself up before he leaves my house but I can't get my breath. This week all I can do is remember how to breath. That is going to be hard because the lungs have been yanked out of me.

I don't think I will write for awhile.