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.