Friday, 11 April 2014

The Numbers ...


The last 10 months or so in numbers looks a bit like this
1 mammogram
4 ultrasounds
6 biopsies
Four ct scans
I bone scan
Four specialist doctors
ten tattoos
And 5 squillion blood tests
In fact it is a miracle I have any blood left when I think of it


2 operations
16 rounds of chemo
31 jabs accessing my cath port thingy
42 doctors appointments
And so many amazing caring nurses that I couldn't count them
3 radiation planning sessions
with impressive dismounts
I have been sneezed on by the dog 345 times
And been trapped and unable to escape his toxic farts 23 times
There have been 27 doses of radiation
 and 12 or so X-rays
which in combination with the radiation has made me glow ever so slightly
I have waited in waiting rooms for the equivalent of 2 years
And taken more medication than I knew existed in the western world


At least 7698 people have examined, drawn on, cut into, and generally played with poor lefty
I lost and regained my hair four times
Lost 726 eyelashes
Ok maybe not but those suckers turned up everywhere
Lost 2 eyebrows
And gained back one and a half so far
Have cried more times than I can count
And laughed more often than I would have expected
And been laughed at a lot more times than was possibly warranted


Have eaten 5324 slices of Vegemite toast
And drunk 8265 smoothies
Slept for 634000 hours
Watched 5 million hours of TV
Read 9870 trashy magazines
Dreamt of George Clooney more times than I can count
And chocolate twice more than George
And George and chocolate together three more times than that


 I have received a huge box full of cards and letters
Emails, gifts and paintings
Extraordinary virtual tea parties, not to mention actual tea
And chocolate...
I have been inundated with incredible positivity
And people have taken the time to share their own cancer stories with me
To support and care for me in ways that have made me cry a river of tears
at the sheer generosity of spirit that has surrounded me through all this
I have not had one day when I didn't feel cared for and nurtured
Which means for the last 300 days or so 
I have felt so grateful to have such an amazing circle of people holding me up
It is actually pretty easy to look past the awful when you have that sort of support


There are still a few numbers left to deal with
There are years of appointments, port flushes , scans and medication
But from next Monday night when I have my last radiation session I enter a new phase
When life will start to half resemble what it used to be
And I can embark on my new normal which is very cool
and I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by just how freaking cool my friends are


Being so close to the end of the of the crap stuff has made me sit and assess
Just how lucky I have been through this, and how ready I am for this phase to be done
So I feel impatient to get moving forward
To start getting stronger and to get back to being creative daily
So to help me along with that I joined Sketchbook Skool
And these pages are my start
It has felt wonderful to get my daily drawing habit going again


But there is one last, and very important number... 22
22 years ago today I married Sinus man and he is still making me laugh and taking care of me
It has been quite the ride... 
I love you Matt ....xx

75 comments:

froebelsternchen Susi said...

wonderful watercolor impressions - wow!
Happy PPF!

Laila said...

Love all your sketches, and Happy Anniversary. Oh my, reading all that you've been through makes me think, one need a strong health to be sick.
Happy PPF Tracey the Brave!

Serena Lewis said...

You are truly an inspiration to us all. I love all your artwork! I adore black and blue together with lots of white. I am intrigued about those 'mushroom' thingies...what exactly are they?? Individual capsules of moisturiser?

Happy Anniversary to you and Matt! xx

ann @ studiohyde said...

With all you have been going through, you still manage to do your drawings, blog post and make us laugh...you have a way with words and your drawings are wonderful Tracey. You brighten our days, and I'm sure I am saying this for all out here reading and enjoying your blog. We blog readers are mostly, probably, miles from you, but our thoughts are right there with you. Here's to you and your Sinus man - Congratulations on 22 years of marriage.

Nic McLean said...

What a fantastic post Tracey. It's crazy to see all that you've been through in black and white like that but what's mostly amazing is how positive and upbeat you've been yourself through all of that. I'm so glad you're back to Sketching daily and that sketchbook school sounds like a good idea. The illustrations to this post are beautiful so you're of to an amazing start. I'm so glad the worst of the treatment is coming to an end for you and I hope you and sinus have a wonderful 22nd anniversary. Xx

Nordljus said...

Wow, that's an impressive list of numbers. Most of which i'm sure you could happily have done without. Glad that you have so much support and that you're getting back to your normal drawing habit, and isn't the sketchbook skool just the perfect thing for that. Love your beautiful sketches, especially the white on black writing! Happy Anniversary to you both. Keep up the the good work, you're an inspiration in so many ways

JKW said...

Happy Anniversary, that is a wonderful milestone. Many Blessings and lots of ((((Hugs)))). Your paintings are heartfelt and poignant. Thank you for sharing. Janet, PPF

Neesie said...

Wow that's some post and milestone Trace, I'm in a heap reading it.
You are an amazing woman and truly inspiring to us all.
Your drawings add such a depth to your words and number count. It really highlights the journey you've been on that thankfully is coming to an end. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel and you can now move forward. You must be thrilled.
Have a wonderful Anniversary celebration my friend. Congratulations to you both for two reasons...1 for reaching this huge milestone in your treatment and 2 for your 22 years together. I wish you many, many, more happy times together.
xoxo

Ilona Heimböckel said...

Wow Tracey! Such an account…You have such an incredible spirit, combined with your humor it sure helps you go on and on. It's marvelous :-)
Your sketchbook looks so amazing already, wonderful drawings!
Wishing you a great move into the new phase of life!
Sending hugs from Germany
Ilona

Sherrie Roberts said...

All His Healing Angels be with you Matt! Such a Large Link you have forged and almost sealed in The Circle of Life! Have a Spicey Cup of Tea! Spice always let's you feel the Breath of Life!

Dion Dior said...

Really?? 22 years. Congratulations lovely Fletch. Loved your stats and love your sketches as always. Thinking of you constantly. Hugs xx

Lynn Noyes said...

Congratulations to you and hubby Tracey! Great blog and awesome sketches. Almost there!!

Sinderella Studio Designs said...

Happy anniversary! Cheers to sketching daily and the next phase of healing!

soulbrush said...

Firstly Happy Anni to you and Sinus Man.
Secondly I am sitting here crying and thinking how very lucky I am -even though my family genes are riddled with cancer- I am blessed with good health.
Thirdly, it really bothers me how many people moan just because they are having a bad hair day!!
Love you Tracey and am so grateful you are in my life!!
Happy happy Anni and hapy PPF. xxx

Lorraine said...

fantastic sketches, I wish you well with the rest of this journey that I cant even comprehend having never having to travel it but my friend has got through it too. Best wishes to you and your hubby

Karla B said...

Tracy, My dear friend, I am keeping you in my prayers and sending good vibrations from Brazil. I am glad your Sinus Man is by our side, protecting you. Your work is always a feast for my eyes. Wish yo all the very best.Have a magical day!
xoxo

Karla B

Ginny said...

Such an incredible post. The words, the numbers and your beautiful sketches are all such an inspiration - each in a different way. I am so happy that you are ready to move into the next phase of life. Congratulations on your 22nd anniversary. I hope that you enjoy a very special day.

Gloria said...

I am so, so happy for you, today on your anniversary. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me wonder how you do it.
Love to you and your family.

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

As always, your posts are a combination of inspiration, humor and beautiful artwork. Congratulations to you and Matt, alias "Sinus man," on your marriage. May the Lord continue to bless you with that marvelous inner strength and talent that you share each week.

Snap said...

Happy anniversary! So good to see you busy with your art. Love your sense of humor. Thanks for the smiles! oxox

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

You are freaking amazing! Happy anniversary! Much love your way.
PS: we will have our 21st anniversary one week after yours. :)

Jessica Sporn said...

Tracey - your post was so beautiful. I read it out loud to my husband who teared up at the end. I am forwarding it to my cousin Kim who is post chemo and just starting weeks of radiation. Your sketchbook is stunning. With your keen observation, both written and painted, you lift up everyone around you.

Sandra Busby said...

OMG!!! When you put it like that it's a wonder you aren't in a straight jacket!!! Wow, that is quite amazing! And you have been so inspiring to so many people... The way you have handled all of it and still managed to make other people laugh is really quite something. You are one of a kind, that's for sure! I am certain that your positive and humorous attitude is what has got you through it all. I LOVE your sketches - what a great way to record it all... I'm of to Sketchbook Skool now to check it out!! :0)

Sirkka said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful paintings and your humor after all you got through. Happy Anniversary and Happy PPF!

Patricia said...

Wow!! You are amazing, Tracey, to have such courage, grace, strength & wit as you have gone through this difficult journey. You are quite the inspiration!! So happy to hear you are thisclose to being through the worst. Sending you prayers, hugs & love & great big Happy Anniversary wishes!!!

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Laughing, crying, wanting to hug you in person, but it will have to be virtual...you freakin amaze me with your attitude and outlook on life. Ahem, you need way more dog farts to quality that number, LOL...Continued loving life and loving family and dog sneezes too. Chocolate and George Clooney dreams, ahhhhhh. xox

Ayala Art said...

Oh my gosh.... What a beautiful post!!!! I love Matt too for being there with you, I love your art, I am so happy to see you are getting better and better.... and I need a kleenex now.
Much happiness for the both of you! ♥

Laurie M said...

oh Tracy you made me cry, I will try and type through tears, you will never know how proud I am to even know you, my far away freind you mean the world to me, you are truly an inspiration, this is an amazing journal, happy anniversary to you both, he must be some special man if you chose him, you have great taste, I mean really, George is a hard act to follow,lol, take care my friend,

Colleayn said...

Tracey, you are amazing, courageous, and superwoman magnified 100,000,000 x more. I am so happy to hear you are almost done with your treatments. I wish you the best!!!!!

tutto a posto said...

I did not realize you were going through this. I have not read your blog in a while as I have been quilting rather than drawing. I am sorry you have been through all of this and am glad to see you are getting to the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for the kind words you wrote to me a while back.

Alexandra said...

First off, happy BIG anniversary to you and your amazing man, big sister. Give him a huge hug for me for taking such good care of you and standing by your side through all of this. xo

Secondly, I can only imagine a fraction of your pain. I watched my father go through alot of your list items for 2 weeks and it was heart-breaking. No one deserves to go through such pain!

I hope you know just how much YOU are LOVED. xo

Twist of Pink said...

Can not imagine all you've been through! Have dear friends who have faced similar and your post so greatly reflects what they have shared as a similar journey. Beautiful and engaging post, both in art and words!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Your sketches/water colors are fantastic! Your blog post is funny and sad. I admire your courage and strength. Congratulations on 22 years of marriage!

Carol said...

Such a beautiful and inspiring post! Happy anniversary and wishing you a beautiful and healthy future!

Faye said...

I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Tracey, you have so aptly and so beautifully expressed what I think many of us feel about the wonderful people we have met online. There is such a bond of support. I'm so glad we have gotten to know you. You are one strong woman and brave beyond words. Not many of us would have the courage to bare all. I'm so glad you are celebrating your 22nd anniversary with your supportive Sinus Man. What a gem he seems to be. Your art, as usual, is fantastic.

Netty said...

Dear Trace, thank you for sharing such a truly inspirational post and am sure will help others who are going through the same as you. Its great to see a light at the end of this long and horrendous tunnel you have been going through. A network of caring friends, a wonderful supportive family (including the dog who has a need to share all with you) My wish for you dear Trace is that you go from strength to strength and your heart is full of joy. I know this is a long comment and not like me at all but will finish by saying I love your beautiful sketches and long may you continue to do them. Happy Anniversary to you all, hugs and love Annette xxx

http://nettysartadventures.blogspot.co.uk/

minnemie said...

Dabbing tears over here... here's to you, to Sinus, to Phantom, to courage, laughter, creativity and many more to come!

MeOfCourse said...

Congratulations to you Tracey and your Sinus man. Your work is awesome and really tells a story. I'm glad to see you doing your art daily, good for you. You are a strong woman, God Bless You.

Giggles said...

Okay now you made me cry! I don't even have a funny response for you! You put everything in such clear perspective with those numbers....all I can say is WOW... what a rough ride.... and still you know you are truly loved by many! Lets hope you can soon enjoy the best of times!! Happy Anniversary! Matt you sound like an amazing person! Hugs to you all!

Giggles

JoyCorcoran said...

BEautiful sketchbooks -- you make so many people happy, dear -- we feel that sense of contentment that carries the world of woe -- that wishes you didn't have to suffer -- that there was no suffering -- but there is and we move through it picturing beauty and laughing when we can. Your next phase will be more than amazing, I'm sure.

Jennifer McLean said...

Holy Happy Anniversary Batman!! That's more heartwarming than I can about stand after reading your post. You trying to make me cry or something? I truly couldn't be happier that you are seeing the end of your torturous journey and that you made it through with your humor in tact. I love you muchly and C-Granny and I think of you daily. Sending heaps of love and support. Hugs from Canada sweetie.

Dianne said...

Oh have a Happy Anniversary! wishing you many more wonderful years together... and Tracey, I think when you are feeling closer to normal, you should seriously consider writing (and of course illustrating) a book about your crazy/funny/frightening battle with the big C!

Creatively yours Fi said...

A brilliant post Tracy :) I'm wishing you and Matt another 20 years of health and happiness together..And I love, love, love your sketch x

Michellem said...

"5" - the number of amazing, colorful watercolor layouts! Gorgeous work as always - can't wait to enjoy all that Sketchbook Skool brings your way.
A very happy anniversary to you and Sinus and a HUGE congratulations on the end of all your treatments!
Many hugs to you and yours!

VonnyK said...

You are truly a very special person, no wonder there are so many people that love you, especially one very wonderful man. Happy anniversary to you both and yay, the big "C" treatment is nearly over. It seems like a lifetime ago that you told us and now the end is almost here. Can't wait to catch up with a cuppa my wonderful friend. Love your gorgeous sketches.
Luv Von xx

Rita said...

Now you made me cry and laugh all in one post! Hurray to be at the end of the tattoo journey!! You are much loved by many, shiny lady!! :):)

Annabelle said...

A beautiful potent post Tracey that left me with a dry throat and bleary eye.
Just reading about your painful journey did me in and clearly showed me the gal behind the screen writing is truly a gift to us all . You are pure inspiration and I thank you for that Tracey. Enjoy your very special day with your fella, obviously he was the perfect choice : )
Wishing you and your family health and happiness for a very , very long time.

Hugs Annabelle

p.s. You are also a great artist and writer!

Alicia C said...

well, I definitely hope this post means that you have received some definitive good news and that, though as you note, you prob. won't be free to shrug off the medical apparatus immediately (poss. years), at least you are now given sthg resembling a 'clean bill of health'! I hope so very much! So do many. And happy anniversary too! Much love from across the world

Alicia C said...

well, I definitely hope this post means that you have received some definitive good news and that, though as you note, you prob. won't be free to shrug off the medical apparatus immediately (poss. years), at least you are now given sthg resembling a 'clean bill of health'! I hope so very much! So do many. And happy anniversary too! Much love from across the world

Christine Phelps said...

Tracey -

What an amazing post - I am so happy that a positive out of this cancer crap for you and I has been a friendship! Please know that the support and caring that you have given to me has meant the world to me! I am here sending you positive vibes and love for your last treatment. Never forget the warrior that you are and that you can take on the world because are that strong!!!! xx your friend Christine

hawkes said...

You are amazing!

Darnell J Knauss said...

Happy Anniversary to you and Matt!! And many, many, many more, Trace! You are proficient in so many ways and have all the hats to prove it: wife, mother, dog slave, artist, etc. Now you can own 'cancer survivor,' as well. Just uttering those words brings hope and inspiration to others. That is what you do so well! This month of Easter blessings and reflection is a perfect time to celebrate as you take that last step through the ring of fire. Big hugs and best wishes, my honey chile! Darnell

Kooky Makes said...

What beautiful pieces to match your heart wrenchingly beautiful numbers. I hope you enjoy sketchbook skool - I am sure it will enjoy your art and your spirit.

Jo Murray said...

...and you are still here...and loving it. Tracey you are a shining example of positive thinking...and retaining a sense of humour. I've never met you, but I love you.

kat said...

Tracey this is such a great post and touching, such great art and a wonderful state of mind, best of wishes to you dear friend,
hugs
Kat

alarmcat said...

congratulations on your 22nd anniversary!! this is a wonderful post. so glad to hear that you are near the end of the crap stuff :)

Stacey Vadaj said...

you my dear, are amazing. in your talent, your positivity when going through such a process, your ability to laugh and make others laugh along with you and your willingness to share it all with us. thanks for all of it. and congratulations on 22 years!

Carin Cullen said...

You are such an amazing person Tracey, and you have worn all those numbers so well. That last number, now that's one to really celebrate!

TwinkleToes2day said...

That's totally crazy cool how you came up with this, but I can't say that I'm surprised; your imagination is fabulous, and creative and wonderful. The sketches are fabulous of course and I adore the colours you've used; those bananas are beautiful, and I love your handwriting by the way.
You are an amazing woman and a HUGE inspiration. Keep on being you, keep on , keeping on.
ps - It will be party time soon too, before you know it ;) **hugs** Mo x

TwinkleToes2day said...

Ach - my brain must be half asleep - HaPPy 22nd AnIVerSArY to you and Matt. I wish you both another 22 years of love & happiness, plus many many more **hugs** Mo x

Jez said...

The amount of sketching you show here is amazing, all so interesting and perfect. The leafy branches are the stars, they have such movement as if the breeze is blowing through them.
What a numerical life you lead. Plus the two most important people in your life - happy twenty-twooth anniversary. May life improve a little every day, you dear lady. XX

RosA said...

I'm overwhelmed just contemplating all those numbers! But am so very pleased that at last you can see more than just a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. You are truly an inspiration, Tracey! It's always a pleasure to see your beautiful sketches and congratulations on your wedding anniversary!

bellefrogworks said...

Oh - Tracey your post made me laugh and cry at the same time. I am so glad you can see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. I think you brought your own light to this time of trial - Your sketches are just wonderful and so are you!

Terrie Purkey said...

Having not dealt with a serious illness myself, those numbers are astounding and scary (especially those dog sneezes!). That you managed to get through it with your love-of-life and humor is a testament to your positive outlook. An outlook that shines through every post you share - even when you're complaining about something, you do it with such genuine humor that each of us can identify with it in some way.

Obviously you are well loved - both at home (lucky man!) and all over the blogosphere..... it just goes to show that we don't all have to meet in person to enjoy a tea party, a supportive hug, a chuckle or a tear. Thanks for enriching our lives and if we give a tiny portion of that back to you, WE are the lucky ones!

Tammie Dickerson said...

Tracy - you are one of my favorite artists to check in on every week!! When I see your name - I jump right to it! Your work is so amazing - love the lines, love the colors, love that style that is uniquely your own! Your strength is inspiring - and your humor contagious!! I am so happy your are nearing the end of this trial and starting on a whole new normal!! You rock!!! And about the dog gas problem......we had the same issue - and after researching online, I started sprinkling every bowl of food with celery seed (or fennel seed)....and guess what - no issue with the puppy running us out of the room anymore!! It really works!! Wishing you a sweet-smelling week :)

aimee said...

The best paint-by-numbers post I've ever read. Bookmarking this for when I feel down & need to count my blessings. You are awesome & one of the bravest folks I've ever met. xo

aimee said...

P.S. You'd think that with all you've been through, the dog could lay off with the toxic farts just a wee bit?

lorik said...

Wow! What a year...but look at all that art you have produced! I love the way you write too.. inspiring, funny, honest.

Leonie said...

I so admire your attitude and humour throughout this entire experience, and I'm glad new normal is just around the corner. You seem an incredibly strong and warm woman, and I'm glad you've had such support. Wishing you all the best all the way from the Netherlands - and thanks for sharing your gorgeous artwork!

Nicole Beadwright Campanella said...

So I am sitting here with big tears running down my face. My dear sister went through all that you have and both of you are my inspiration. Your strength, courage, resolve, attitude and love shine though and beat all of these numbers.
Prayers continue on the smoke for you.
Nicole/Beadwright

Cindy D. said...

I've had this blog post open on my desktop for ages! I still don't know what to say except, thank you for sharing and it's just terrific to hear the positive outlook your rough times have turned into.

Totally love your art! I've been interested in interiors recently and one of these days will manage to give one a shot. :)

see you there! said...

Happy Anniversary Tracey. Happy all sorts of other stuff too. I'm glad to hear things are getting better for you.

Darla

pauline said...

Tracey, i can't tell you how wonderful it is to see you here... in all your glory. :-) You are showered with love because YOU shower others with love also! Artwork is amazing. Always so vibrant & alive... you GO girl! xx

Laurie M said...

oh tracey, you are well an truly loved and you made me cry, lol, happy tears ,, I am so glad we became friends, I am so proud to know you, you are an inspiration, you are, beautiful art as always,

Aga Gasiniak said...

I had tears in my eyes when I was reading your post, Tracey. You are beautiful, wise and so much talented woman and artist! Truly inspiring person. Much love to you and thank you for you!