It’s not often that we get a chance to examine our lives. To make changes. To rethink the way we’ve done things up until this point in time.

I’ve recently been given such a chance. Only a little over a month ago, my life changed forever.

It was just before Christmas that I headed into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I took a look at myself in the mirror, picked up my toothbrush, and a voice inside my head said, “touch your breast…right there.” I don’t usually do breast self-exams, and I’d had a mammogram less than a year ago…but I touched the spot. To my total surprise there was a large lump. Maybe just my imagination? “Does this feel like a lump to you?” I asked my husband, Mike.

I know that so many of you have been through this same scenario yourselves…wondering and waiting, even when it comes back negative. In my case, the biopsy came back positive.

To make a long story short, I’ve already had surgery and am recovering nicely. I’m almost feeling like old, spunky self again!

For those of you who’ve been through it or have loved ones who have battled cancer, I have Stage 3 ER+, PR+, HER2+ breast cancer. It is among only 15% of breast cancers, which means I will need to have chemotherapy. BUMMER! Yes, I would actually say that 2015 sucks the big one so far! Ha.

I’ve heard of the terrors of chemo. I have to say that I am an ‘alternative medicine’ gal, myself. Never did I think I’d be putting chemo into my body. But I also do not want to die of cancer or take a chance on something unproven. Funny how, when you have the choice, the ‘proven’ method seems the way to go – So, chemo it is!

On the other side of things, I also know that SO many of you have gone through it – and if you did it, I should be able to do it, too, right? I keep that thought in my mind daily or in the middle of the night when I wake up wondering about my future. I truly think of all of you that I know and love, and the fact that you’ve survived and are prospering. Wonderful artists, all of you. If you can do it, so can I.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BLOG?

That is my question, too! I have no idea how the chemo will affect me. Will I bounce back each time and thumb my nose at chemo? Or will I be a little puddle just sitting on the sofa starring off into space? Aack! What will be, will be, I guess. But the BLOG is on my mind. So many of you have written me to say that you noticed the blog wasn’t coming out the past weeks – and that you missed reading it! WOW, REALLY?

I’m trying to make a plan for it. I will NOT write about cancer every week, that’s for sure! I will keep you updated, only if you wish that, but this is an ART blog and that’s what I want it to continue to be.

If you have requests that you would like to see me address here, that would be a huge help, actually. So, send me your wishes! Your wish is my command!

GUEST ARTISTS have agreed to do posts for me. I think you will love those I’ve chosen…most likely people you may not have heard about, but I love them and I love their artwork. I want to pass it on to you. They have promised to write about their technique and perhaps share a secret or two with us!

WHAT ABOUT THE TRIPS THIS YEAR?

If you are going to SPAIN with me, you already know that I am going to try to go with you! I think I can, I think I can…

But there’s no doubt that if my doctors allow me to join you, I will not be my usual spunky self. Two wonderful friends and fantastic teachers have agreed to join the trips to help out. I know you will love them, and many of you already know them in one way or another. Barbara Barrett from Ireland will join us for both trips, and Karlyn Holman has graciously agreed to be there for the first trip only. As it’s turning out, this is an unbelievable perk for those of you going to Spain!

By the time TUSCANY rolls around, I hope to be over the chemo and, although my hair will be shorter than you’re used to, I will be sassy and eating your gelato once again!

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Barbara Barrett and Me in SPAIN last May.

 

I think back over my life and all of the things that have transpired over the years. Not all good, for sure. I’ve had some rough spots and there is one thing that I can say about all of them…Although at the time life really stunk, down the road something good came out of each and every one of them. Somehow, my life actually improved because of a crappy thing that happened. Hmmm. Food for thought.

I wonder what this will bring? Already a 6-month vacation! (Too bad chemo is involved. Ha.)

IN THE MEANTIME I am going to weather the storm best I can. I will be hoping and dreaming of going to Spain in May…I can almost feel the warm ocean sun on my face. Something to shoot for, certainly. I’m going to give it all I’ve got!

Kathie xoxo

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