Monday, January 22, 2018

Good News!

Hi, friends!

I have some very exciting news to share with you. Last week I met with my doctor to go over my latest CT scan results. (If you are new to my blog or didn't catch my last post, I have Stage IV - metastatic - breast cancer. I was diagnosed in 2013, after eight years in remission from early-stage breast cancer.) The scan showed that the current treatment I am on is working, that my tumors are stable (no new growth) and a tumor in my liver that had reared its ugly head last year is now GONE.

Yay! Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. My doctor told me that he had been very worried last year when the cancer had gotten into my bone marrow, because apparently, when it's there, patients generally don't have long. (I had some pretty scary weeks in June and July when the cancer was pushing the calcium out of my bones into my blood stream [hypercalcemia], and I spent 12 days in the hospital over three different stays.) He said he was surprised I had been able to overcome that. When your doctor tells you something like that, the bottom drops out. It took me several days to process that information.

Starfish by Schick,
I think prayer has a lot to do with it. A friend told me once that she hoped I didn't mind that she would not pray for me. She said she didn't think God had time to worry about just one person, when there are so many bigger problems in the world. I had to stifle a little laugh, and resist saying, "Are you kidding me? Really?" But I love my friend, I love the way she sees the world and her courage to speak her mind, and I can see where she's coming from. I am just one person. I also, however, think about the story of the boy who was on the beach putting starfish back in the water. There were hundreds of them upside down, washed up on the shore, and they were going to die. An old man came up to the boy and said, "Why do you bother? You're not going to make a difference." The boy replied, "I can make a difference to this one," and he picked up another starfish and put it back in the water.

So thank you for your prayers, your kind words and your thoughts. We all need some good juju.

On to the stitching!

Friends & Flowers by Gail Bussi, stitched on 32-count café mocha Country French linen with DMC and The Gentle Art Sampler and Simply Shaker threads.

The first project I want to show you is from an old issue, April 2005, of Just Cross Stitch magazine. The design is by Gail Bussi. It was soooo much fun to stitch, and the overdyed threads were just yummy. I found a frame on clearance at Michael's for three bucks (score!) and actually *enjoyed* framing this myself. A lot of you awesome peeps gave me some good direction on how to solve my framing issue with the excess fabric on the back. Between some tips in old issues of Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine and Vonna at The Twisted Stitcher, I was able to tame that beast!
I'm new to the "lacing method" of stretching the linen to frame, so if you see some shoddy work and want to point out my mistakes, please bear in mind this was my first (successful!) attempt. Practice makes perfect!
I used 1/2" sequin pins to secure the linen to 3/8" foam core, then stitched down the corners, and finally, laced the back with quilting thread. Some say to remove the pins in case they later rust, but we live in an arid climate, and I wasn't very worried about that.

I'm so happy with how it turned out! I'm feeling more confident about something that, just a few short weeks ago, totally intimidated me.

This piece, Friends & Flowers, is for a friend who surprised me several times last year with meals and a gift card. (I am blessed with a lot of wonderful friends who have supported my family through the rough times, and I plan to do something for all of them, but this is where I chose to start.) The funny thing is, this person hasn't always been that close to me, so it really took me by surprise when she showed up with a hot meal. That's the funny thing about cancer, I've learned. People who you think will be right there next to you suddenly seem to disappear, and people you never thought liked you that much are there, bringing you food or sending you cards and notes. I think sometimes people just don't know what to say or how to act, so they stay away out of fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. I certainly fall into that category.

I have quite a few projects done, waiting to be finished, so I wanted to stitch something quick that wouldn't require any finishing. I found a package of six pre-finished bookmarks at a second-hand store for two dollars. I think these things normally sell for two or three bucks apiece, so I got a very good deal!

From "Harvest Bookmarks" by Deborah Lambein, published in For the Love of Cross Stitch, November 1998.

The bookmark design was intended for a 14-count bookmark, and these were 18-count, so the design is a little small on the bookmark, but I think it still looks sweet.

That's all for now. Happy stitching! And please know that I love and appreciate all of your kind words and your prayers. Looking forward to getting to know you!


  1. Well done on your framing finish! I really like the frame you scored and used for this piece. Nice job on the bookmark as well. I think that is great news that your current treatment is working and the tumor on the liver is gone. Meg, you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Meg, what wonderful news!!! I'm so pleased to hear that your current treatment is working so well for you. What a relief to hear that the tumor is gone from your liver. Your prayers have been answered and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that you go into full remission.

    Your stitch is just lovely and your framing is excellent! I'm quite impressed that you tried the lacing method. I used the tape method! Lol.

    1. Oh, girlfriend, I used the tape method, too! It just wasn't working for me (couldn't find an acid-free tape that would stay stuck!). The lacing method was horrible the first time I tried it, until I realized that the sequin pins combined with the lacing method made it much more workable.

  3. I am absolutely thrilled for you, Meg! I will continue to keep you in my prayers and I personally think your positive attitude has a lot to do with your latest results :) Keep it up girl!!!

    Love your framed piece. I just tried the lacing method this summer and found it easier than I expected. (But, I still tape small things!!)

    Hope your week continues to be a great one :)

  4. Meg I'm so thrilled with your test results. A good scan can make your day and then some. A wonderful doctor once told us everyone reacts differently to treatment so don't go by statistics. Boy we have lived by those words. It is your spirit and your attitude that makes the difference. You have the right makeup to kick butt so to speak. You continue to be in my daily thoughts and prayers.

    I can't see your photos...they are not popping up for me. But I will come back again tomorrow and check again.

  5. Well guess what the photos just popped up. I love the friends and flowers stitch...gorgeous. And I'm mighty impressed with how well you did with the lacing. I think you did a great job. I have not had the nerve to try it yet but I'm thinking about it. I finally did my first flat finish so I should keep trying new things right? RJ

  6. Hello, my name is Sandra. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on April 1st, 2013. Next April it will be my five year anniversary. I was told I would be on medication for five years; now they say the new is to stay on for 10 years. I will gladly say a prayer for you. I so believe in prayers. I love the cross stitch you made and the bookmark. I'm new to following along with your blog; but will look forward to many more of your post.

  7. Oh Meg...
    I am just happy dancing all over the place for you right now! What absolutely wonderful news! Hugs my friend...I agree that a positive attitude toward cancer absolutely helps in living with it! It is a big help in the recovery process as well! When I was diagnosed in 2015 I was bound and determined to be a blessing to someone each day, to have a positive attitude and to live my faith! Not all days are good but when the bad days come I just settle in and wait for the good ones to! I am a huge believer in prayer and I know for a fact that is what has gotten me this far! I am praying for you my friend ... every day!

    Thanks so much for your wonderful email! I loved it! I had treatment Friday morning so my energy level has been low but I will be writing soon! In the meantime I am sending lots of hugs and love!

  8. P.S. I loved your framed piece and your lacing looks wonderful! I have never tried this before but maybe! I still use the tape method...grins!

  9. Such wonderful news. Sending prayers and hugs for you and your family. beautiful stitching and framing too by the way, I really don't enjoy framing my own work but cost wise it can be a necessity. x

  10. Meg, wonderful news from the doctors and I truly hope more is forthcoming!
    Your lacing looks perfect and it certainly helps make it more affordable to mount/frame things yourself. Keep up the good work!

  11. Hi Meg, that's really good news, I'm very happy for you.
    Great work you show today, and your finish is great.
    Thanky for showing me.
    Hugs Martina

  12. I was thinking right away that I need to connect you and Jenny! I am so glad to see that you two are friends.❤️ I am praying for you Meg! This is just wonderful news! Your lacing is super! Your stitching gift is great too! God bless you Meg.

  13. Meg, I’m thrilled to read the good news. I was using a grouping of sea animals in my preschool classroom today. Something kept drawing me back to the starfish. I thought it was because my mom loves them. Maybe, but now I have a new reason to smile. 😊 Congratulations.

  14. I'm a new follower so I wasn't aware of your diagnosis. I have an acquaintance here who is Stage IV. I've learned a lot from her, lots that I needed to learn! Please keep sharing!

    You did a great job on lacing! I would have never guessed it was your first time. I hope to give it a try at some point too. I love learning new things!

  15. Absolutely great news that the treatment is working, Meg!!!!!!
    I love Friends and Flowers by Gail Bussy. You did a great job on lacing and framing this wonderful piece. Wonderful little bookmark as well.

  16. Hi Meg: Just discovered your blog through Carol's blog Stitching Dreams. Your good news is wonderful. I will keep you in my prayers for a fast and full recovery. Sorry to read about the chemo drying out your skin. But I hope your lotion will keep working for you. I really love your Friends and Flowers picture. I will have to look for that issue because I have two friends I want to stitch this for. And I am like you; intimidated to frame my x stitch designs. However, with Vonna's excellent tutorials, I have been able to make some very nice finishes and I just tell myself to take my time and do a good job. They are so fun to look at when done and think "I did that"! Take care and I will be following your blog. Cindy in northern Illinois

  17. Oh wow, what wonderful news! You certainly are a special "starfish" to God!
    Your stitching and framing look fantastic, such a pretty finish. And your bookmark is sweet too.


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