Thursday, December 18, 2014

De-Liver Me Tour, Top of the 7th, Rain Delay Part II ~ Dec 15, 2014

UpdateIt was raining cats and dogs on the way to San Francisco. We were expecting the worst, but much to our surprise drivers were being sane, courteous and careful. Decoding the parking map for Kaiser was a bit of a challenge but we prevailed and got a bit of a walk in.

Raining Cats and Dogs - open edition Art Print
My doc told me ahead of time that he was going to do a biopsy so we could get a definitive answer as to what we were looking at. Cystic masses are quite common on organs of the body, but this one appeared denser than anticipated which was the cause for concern. We should have the results in 7-10 days. I'll remain on the Liver Transplant "pink list" accruing points, but not eligible for transplant, for the time being. 

All went as planned, and it only took about two hours. The crew was great from admissions, to the procedure room, to the "park her here until she lands back in this world" recovery area. There is something to be said for conscious sedation. I don't remember a thing, even the post procedure conversation with my doctor. Good thing Rod was there. 

Rays of sun peaking through the clouds

Watching the Sunset of Nature's Splendor with Light Beams bursting through the Clouds on A Lake Michigan Shore A Seascape Nature Photograph
Watching the sunset of nature's splendor 

Just heard from my Team Pharmacist ~ There is no longer any evidence of the Hep C virus detectable in my blood: zip, zero, squat. I'll remain on the Ribivarin and Sofosbuvir drug regimen to keep it so until the transplant. 

Time to Celebrate

 December 21, 1986
Gold Hill Hotel in Gold Hill, NV

But Seriously Folks
with our witnesses Barbara and Steve Novacek

Our 28th wedding anniversary is on Winter Solstice, December 21st. Since I am on medical hold at the moment and off my leash, we've decided a little adventure would be an great way to celebrate. We're going to spend a couple of days at the Timber Cove Inn north of Jenner. Foul weather means fireplace, reading, King's Cribbage and great food. Good weather means exploring the neighborhood, coastal walks and great food. We're talking win win here. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

De-Liver Me Tour ~ Top of the 7th, Rain Delay


I got a phone call from my doc at UCSF, the Tumor Board reviewed my most recent CT scan. Audrey and Carmine are still there of course, but the good news is that there are no new tumors. The Hep C virus is still detectable, but at such low levels the lab can't assess how much, only that it is unquantifiable. We are headed in the right direction.  

Rain Storm with High Wind at the Lighthouse Pier Head on Lake Michigan in Grand Haven Michigan No.84320pm - A Fine Art Photograph
Rain delay due to elements beyond our control

The CT scan also revealed a small cystic mass on the tail of my pancreas. It is not a typical location for liver cancer to spread, but it does raise concerns. This development puts me back on the pink list for the moment, inactive, but still accruing points. I'm not quite at the top of the list yet, but if I was and a liver became available it would go to the next person waiting. This may seem harsh, but it makes total sense. 

The next step is a trip to Kaiser San Francisco for an endoscopic ultrasound. If a sample of the mass is needed to determine its nature, the doctor will do a fine needle aspiration while I'm there. I will be in the "twilight zone" and feeling no discomfort. The first appointment available was 3:30 pm on December 15th. It is of course Trisha's birthday, so I'm taking that as a good sign. The biggest pain is going to be surviving 15 hours of no solid food other than jello, bouillon or fruit juice before 9 am. I'll be chewing on my arm by the time we get released in the late afternoon.

If is it only a cyst I should be able to return to active status on the Transplant List. If the lesion on my pancreas is cancerous, the next step will no doubt be surgery to remove it, but we'll cross that bridge IF we come to it.

Original painting - The warrior queen
The Warrior Queen

For now I remain the fearless warrior: we have our sites set on Alberta next summer and perhaps a trip to the Northeast and the Maritime states for autumn color. Taking the year off from our usual craft fair circuit was a good choice. We've been able to relax and work around the Rancho. Rod is Santa this weekend at the Garlock Tree Farm in Sebastopol. He's so totally in his element with the kids. Just call me Mrs. Claus. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Wonder ~ Can't Wait Until Friday ~ December 10, 2014

This amazing creation is simply off the hook ~ check out Terry's shop

Old Salt Shaker Cuff Bracelet, Repurposed Vintage Jewelry, Hand Crafted OOAK, Art Glass Beads Incorporated
Old Salt Shaker Cuff Bracelet ~ Repurposed Vintage Jewelry

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Little Things in Life ~ December 7, 2014

You can have an impact on a stranger's day or life with a simple act of kindness. Toss a small pebble into a quiet pond and watch it's energy move outward in infinite rings. We all have the power to make a difference.

Pink Water Lily with Lily Pad
Pond Ripples

I was at Kaiser Friday morning for my weekly blood tests. When I came out of the building entrance, I noticed a little lady with a cane standing on the opposite curb across the driveway. Without thinking I walked up and asked it she might like a hand stepping down. She looked up, gave me a big smile and reached for my hand. She asked if any cars were coming and I signaled to a red Jeep starting to pull into the lane. The driver gave a thumbs up that she'd wait. I walked with her across the road to the sidewalk. We said goodbye and she was on her way. 

As I turned back to cross the driveway the Jeep driver pulled up next to me and rolled down her window. She was smiling and had tears running down her face. All she said was "That was the sweetest thing I've ever seen."

I was floored and pretty much spent the rest of the day grinning. No matter what is going on in your life, there is always room to give a little: a smile, some assistance, or maybe just a thank you. Pay it Forward.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

De-Liver Me Tour ~ November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving is upon us and I have so much to be thankful for. The universe continues to amaze and reveal itself in curious ways.

When Starships Collide, Bright, Bold Colorful flower Photograph.  A universe of colors and texture, movement and light.  11x14 Color Print
When Starships Collide

UpdateI've been on the drug combo of Ribivarin and Sovaldi for Hepatitis C since October 17th. As reported before, there have been no side effects. What I wasn't prepared for was the swiftness of quantifiable results. I had baseline tests done on October 15th and my viral load was 135,825. At the end of the first week it was at 88 and has continued to drop. My liver inflammation indicators: AST, ALT and ALP are within the normal range for the first time in 20 plus years. Say What? I had my quarterly CT scan and MELD blood tests this week. What's next depends on the CT scan being clear and Hep C being undetectable in my blood. I should hear back from my doc next week.

One more thing off the list and a full circle tour: Headed to San Francisco on November 17th to get reacquainted with a couple we met through our friend Maureen Lomasney. Alice and John have generously offered Rod their spare bedroom while I'm captive a UCSF. After a short visit we headed to Mill Valley and on a whim stopped at Grilly's Mexican Food down near Tam High School for lunch. Great choice, excellent meal. Up and over Mt. Tam to Stinson Beach for a 2 mile walk and to check on the yard and house plants at my cousin's cabin. The day was absolutely gorgeous, we got home before dark and totally refreshed. 

Omne Trium Perfectum: In the last 5 days we've had friends visit from here and beyond, quite literally. One of my oldest pals, Tom Gross and his friend Suzanne, came by for a couple of hours on Saturday on their way back to New Hampshire. He's moving back home to Sebastopol in January after having been gone 7 years. Sunday and Monday, my college roommate, Maggie Rose and her husband came all the way from Cedro Woolley, WA for a two day visit. We hadn't seem them in 5 or 6 years. Last night my late friend Trisha showed up in my dreams with a hug and a smile. The clans and my spirit guides are gathering to walk with me on the journey, you may know them as you know me:

Crow: Questioner of Authority
Crow, nature photography, photo collage, Bird, Raven, Stormy, Clouds, Sepia, Brown, gothic, Fine Art Print 8x10

Wolf: Stamina and Strength
WOLF Watercolor Print by Dean Crouser

Swan: Beneath my serenity lies a fighting spiritWhite Swan photo bird photography, swan reflection nature art

Be thankful for family, friends and all the little things. Life is short so get off your butt and on with the journey.  Thanks once again to Etsy artisans who never fail at illustrating my thoughts and musings. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday Finds ~ Bird Garglers ~ November 21, 2014

What is a Bird Gargler™? 

From potter Douglas Fey: the name is "Derived from a combination of colonial American earthenware birdhouses called bird bottles and medieval gargoyles. As a gargoyle gargles water, the Bird Garglers™ appear to gargle birds". I think I need one of these where it can be seen from my studio. 

Llamas, & rabbits & horses

Fun Cat Birdhouse Gargler

Goons - Douglas Fey pottery

douglas fey pottery

Douglas Fey Pottery--Gargler Bird Houses

If you want to learn more check out his website at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Trunk Series ~ Moments in Time ~ December 2, 1963

Fall of 1963 was my first semester at UCSB. I didn't have a car at the time and rode home for Thanksgiving with a friend from Mill Valley. I flew back on December 2nd. Take note of the cost of the flight. Yes, you're reading it correctly at $22.37. I looked up the conversion to 2014 dollars and it translates to $171.49. The actual cost of a one way flight, half a century later, is now about $220.00.  

Check out the Hertz ticket pouch. Oh Baby, a Chevy hardtop. Maggie, my housemate in the Pine Hall dorms, had a white one. We saw a lot of California in that beast and once set a land speed record from UCSB to Mill Valley to make it to a party at Rym Partridge's house. 

It's amazing how a small piece of paper can open doors to the past, to your history, and to some of your monumental dumb ass moves as a teenager. It's a wonder we survived our youth.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fabulous Friday Finds ~ November 14, 2014

Welcome to the whimsical side of the world of Robert Stebleton. He is not only a woodcarver but an accomplished painter. Learn more about him and see his works at this link:

Randolph the Red Nosed Cat with Santa Mouse. Whimsical wood carving by artist Robert Stebleton.

I dare you to keep a straight face the rest of the day. Have a good weekend.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stop the presses! The rest of the story from the Album of the Heart entry of March 9, 1874

Shortly after I posted the March 9, 1874 entry to my blog (Nov 7th) I heard from my friend Margo Metegrano, a dedicated researcher of poems and their authors, and the driving force behind She was intrigued by the spelling of "momentoes" in the poem title and decided to look into it. Low and behold she found the author and entire poem in the online archives of Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper dated August 8, 1847. I didn't catch it but "momentoes" is a misspelling of the word "mementoes". Ida's entry was excerpted from the poem but the spelling of the title was her own.

Mementoes of the Past

Where is there a little flower,
To fill the heart with sadness?
What is there in a leafless bower,
To give the spirit gladness?
What is there in the flowing streams,
That bind the traveller fast?
Those transient, visionary gleams
Momentoes of the past!

The little violet in our path,
May give us days of sorrow;
Tis such a fondness memory hath,
Of youthful years to borrow:
Whole volumes, at such times, are read
Within the humblest flower,
As we the paths of childhood tread
If but for one brief hour!

The rust of time, frail memory's strings
May almost wear away;
But one light touch the music brings
Of some forgotten day:
The chord once struck, ah! how it thrills
And vibrates at the heart;
With harmony the bosom fills,
No string forgets it's part.

A lowly flower, a faded leaf,
The murmurs of a stream,
May give, from woe, a short relief.
Bring back a time worn dream;
May waft remembrance back from age,
Its coldness, and its rime

As, for a moment, we engage,
With warm spring's merry time. 
Through mists of years, we flutter back
To fair elysian fields,
And wander down a memory's track, 
To land the pleasure yields;

Where once we culled the sweetest flowers
Through verdant valleys passed;
Oh, welcome in declining hours,
Mementoes of the past! 

The published poem cites M. C. Cooke as the author. I believe him to be British born Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (1825 ~ 1914). He had little formal education but was well known as a mycologist, illustrator, lecturer, editor, translator and the occasional poet. He was a prolific writer and a skilled artist. His biographer, Mary English, sums him up as a "Victorian Naturalist, Mycologist, Teacher and Eccentric". 

So there you have it, the rest of the story and a wonderful poem. Thank you Margo for keeping my train on the rails. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Album of the Heart ~ March 9, 1874

This short poem in Great Grandmother Flora's Album of the Heart is from Ida Nevis. She may have been a classmate or a fellow student at the Dance Academy in San Juan. I did find a portrait artist by the name of Ida Nevis in San Francisco City Directory for the year 1883. Perhaps she was the one. 

"Momentoes of the Past"

The little violet in our path
May give us days of sorrow

Sweet Wild Violets - Walk in Peace
Wild Violets

Tis such a fondness memory hath
Of youthful years to borrow!

The Flower Children, Rod and Me
Circa 1981

Whole volumes at such times we read
Within the humblest flower

Forget-me-not greetings card. Photo card.  Macro photograph of blue forget-me-nots. Blank card
Forget Me Not

As we the paths of childhood tread
If but for one brief hour!

My mother, Barbara Le Francis Bagg
circa 1919, Flora's Granddaughter 

Once again I've combed through numerous poetic references and have not been able to find a published author. Are these words of insight and wisdom the writings of a girl in her 20's or someone of middle age looking back at youth? Who is to say? Sometimes the importance is simply in the words, not who wrote them. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

You Gotta Believe ~ November 2, 2014

You can't explain it but sometimes you just know things. When I started the De-Liver Me Tour blog I chose "innings"  to mark the sequence of events. There was no particular rhyme or reason, it just felt right. 

Photo credit Christopher Chung
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

As Giants fans we began to see a light at the end of the tunnel when the playoffs started. Perhaps an improbable dream, but I knew they'd make it to the World Series. It was also going to come down to the bottom of the ninth, game seven. They'd be there for me. If they won then I would win, the Transplant City Tour would be a success. It's as simple as that. 

Dreamer of Improbable Dreams Quote Doctor Who Inspired Necklace - Handmade
Dreamer of Improbable Dreams

It was kind of like the Professional Bull Riding finals in Las Vegas in October 2013. Our guy, J. B. Mauney, was a long shot to win but we decided we had be there just in case. The championship race was so tight it came down to the last ride on the last day. He won the title. Sound familiar?

No matter what is going on in your life, make room for your dreams, crowbar them into your consciousness if necessary. Look forward and set some goals, even little ones. Become a warrior and an advocate.   

Alice in wonderland, white rabbit, photograph, fine art photography, Andrea Clare, Key Hole, forrest, picture, art, wall decor,print
Key Hole

We have the power, we just need to remember we also hold the key to finding it. So with that said, it's time for us to get up off our collective butts and take a walk, or dance in the kitchen, maybe pick a bouquet or fix a meal for someone. Call a friend. "Life is short and if you miss something, quite frankly Scarlet, it's your own fault". My darling Grandmother said that!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fabulous Friday Finds ~ October 31, 2014

More wonderful and whimsical art. These two are from the fertile minds New Zealand ceramicist Cheryl Oliver and San Diego assemblage artist Dan Jones. 

Searching for Trees. cheryl oliver NZ
Searching for Trees 
Cheryl Oliver

Le Helicron by Dan Jones
The Helicron
Dan Jones

Keep your eyes open: any moment can bring discovery, wonder, joy and laughter. Spend more time outside yourself and your everydays, it's good for the soul and for healing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bottom of the Sixth ~ October 28, 2014

I had no idea when I started the baseball analogy for the De-Liver Me Tour that our San Francisco Giants would be in the World Series. Parallels abound. You just gotta BELIEVE and no one knows that better than I do. 

I Believe- Mixed Media Original Artwork Boho Style Girl
I Believe 

I'm on the transplant list at UCSF because of liver cancer. My tumors, Audrey and Carmine, have been kept in check with the six TACE treatments I received at UCSF between May 2013 and August 2014. The next step is to take care of some existing conditions to prepare for the journey to Transplantville.  

I have adult onset diabetes. I don't have the body type but I do have the genes. The HbA1c blood test provides an average of your blood sugar for the previous couple of months and shows how well your diabetes is being controlled. My HbA1c has been on the climb since March 2013. The ideal level is less than 6.0 and mine was hovering at 8.1 range the last time it was checked. There are a number factors that may contribute to the ascent: genetics, age, a tired pancreas, the TACE treatments from Hell or my compromised liver.  I had been able to keep my numbers down with just an oral medication, but that train has left the station.  

Cowgirl against colorful sunset with "Cowgirl Up" 12 x 24 in.
Cowgirl Up

Damn, it's time to Cowgirl Up and take the reins. You know: pay attention, be responsible, take charge. The bottom line is that uncontrolled diabetes can increase your risk for infection and slow your ability to heal after transplant surgery. I'm working with a clinical pharmacist at Kaiser to find a long term solution. I've started doing insulin once a day. I've always had a dislike of needles, but it's a simple and painless ritual. We are also adjusting current oral medications.

I also have Hepatitis C. It's important to have the Hep C virus undetectable in my blood at the time of transplant. On October 17th I started the Ribivarin and Sofosbuvir drug combo. To my delight I am experiencing none of the dreaded or expected side effects and my health plan is covering a majority of the cost. I will be on the combo until the transplant. Having my blood clear of the virus decreases the risk of exposing the new liver to Hep C. We're looking for longevity here, there are still a good number of things on my To Do List. 

So there are definitely some new routines in my life. I've got a system and a schedule set up so I remember what to do when and to track notes and progress. It's a tedious little job, but a small price to pay for long term results. 

I've licked Breast Cancer and I am a Warrior in Pink. Now I'm down to liver cancer, diabetes and Hepatitis C. For some this would seem to be a three strikes situation, but I look at it as only a small part of who I am. Bottom of the sixth, score tied, two out, bases loaded and I need a miracle. Call me Mo'ne Davis in an elder suit. Play like a girl, fight like a girl!

Fight Like a Girl Liver Cancer Throw Blanket

Following my train of thought to the next station I decided to find out what the ribbon color is for liver cancer. Come to find it's emerald green, which seems somehow appropriate for a girl born on St. Patrick's day. I just ordered myself a black zip up hoodie sweatshirt with this logo. Time to wear it proud and encourage others to fight.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Album of the Heart ~ June 17, 1880

This poem from Miss Emma J. Prescott in Great Grandmother Flora's Album of the Heart has stymied my research efforts to find an author. Many of the Album entries have been attributable to authors other than the writer. I've been through every reference I could find from Poetical Selections from Celebrated Authors to the Album Writer's Friend. I've explored and various anthologies, but there's no love at the Inn of Poetry.

May you be blessed with sweet content
In happiness your life be spent
May love and peace with you abide
And heaven ever be your guide
May you have always many friends
And reach the home that never ends
And with your treasure you'll find me
A friend that will forever be

Emma J. Prescott
San Juan South

Though Flora was born in San Francisco, she spent a good deal of time in San Juan, many of the entries cite San Juan along with the date. Perhaps Flora and Emma were friends from school or the Royal Honor Guards Dancing School.

Epiphany Isle 8.5 x 11 inch Original Fine Art Photography Print, landscape, nature, canvas, painting, Australia, countryside, water, island
Epiphany Isle

Doing a little research yesterday I found Emma's grave marker: Jan 1858-Dec 1922, a native of San Juan, daughter of William and Catherine Hobson Prescott. Then the middle of the night epiphany (who needs sleep anyway?). Great Grandmother Flora married a Hobson. Were Flora and Emma somehow related? Yet another mystery to unravel. This just keeps getting better and better. Stay tuned for further developments and needless to say if you can attribute the poem to an author please let me know. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ode to a Serious Sunday NOT! ~ October 19, 2014

While exploring the world of Pinterest 
I discovered the wonderful and whimsical pottery of Mitchell Grafton. 

The creative mind is a wonderful thing. 
Let your's out of the box to explore. 
You may just find a new path to travel. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh Baby We've Been Floored ~ October 13, 2014

The new flooring and kitchen remodel took us about two weeks. Mayhem and laughter were the watchwords of the adventure. We discovered things we hadn't seen in years, created a vision of how we'd like to resettle and in the process got a whole bunch of exercise moving boxes and furniture out of and back into the house. 

Our home of 26 years went from Holy Crap to Stunning. We moved the last of our stuff in today, consigned the potential rotating art and furniture collection to my shed and filled up the Honda with one more round of donations. It's hard to remember how it was.

And so it begins

The Hall of Shame and Bad Carpets

Old Kitchen

New Kitchen Floor

New Chef's Central for Rod

Old carpet and collections circa 2010

New living room incarnation

One of the bedrooms

The other bedroom

There was method to our re-floor madness.. Those ancient carpets were a playground for who knows what. Once I have my liver transplant I will be on immunosuppressants for life and my warrior's immune system will be compromised. The house will be a lot easier to clean and thus keep me healthy. Of course, the other plus is that we created a thing of beauty to enjoy for years.

Someone once told me life is short: eat dessert first, dance in the kitchen, be spontaneous, don't look back and damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. We live that mantra. If you're thinking about taking a leap of faith, just do it.