Monday, September 2, 2019

Scanxiety and a BAP finish

Hi, stitching friends!

Oh.... where to begin?

At the end of June, I had routine scans for my metastatic breast cancer. Just checking in, making sure treatment is working. No big deal (hopefully). I felt fine, so I had no cause to worry. But I worry anyway.

It's called "scanxiety" (scans + anxiety = scanxiety).

After two years of good news, this one hit me like a punch in the gut. Some new "spots" showed up in my spine, but the tricky thing with bone mets is that we can't tell from scans whether they are active tumors or scar tissue (from dead tumors). My doctor said it could also be something called "treatment flareup," where tissue surrounding a dying tumor becomes inflamed.

So, new tumor growth = bad. That means my treatment is no longer working. But, treatment flareup = good. That means treatment is working.

The only way to tell is to wait, see how I feel until my next appointment, and repeat scans to see if the spots are bigger.


Enter a Vacation and Whole30

For the longest time, I just didn't know what to say. So I didn't say anything. I've been absent from my blog and from many of yours, and for that I am so sorry. Thank you to my friends who have sent me beautiful cards and emails checking in on me. I love you for it.

At the beginning of August, I decided to make a drastic change to my diet. Did I want to lose weight? Uh... yeah. (Who doesn't relish the thought of clothes fitting better?) But my main motivation was to do everything I could to affect the outcome of my situation. If changing the way I eat can extend my life at all, it's worth giving up some goodies.

I really don't think I can cure a disease with no cure by eating better, but if I can feel better and possibly increase the number of my "good" days, then heck yeah!

Whole30 ( is very similar to the Paleo diet. Lots and lots of vegetables, a little fruit, protein and healthy fats. No dairy, grains, legumes or unhealthy fats. It was a shock at first trying to get used to it, but now that my Whole30 has ended and the "training wheels" are off, I have very few cravings for sugar and junk food. My son keeps trying to get me to celebrate completing the Whole30 by going out for cookies and ice cream, and I just don't want them. clothes are fitting a lot better.

I see my doctor again next week, and I can honestly say I feel so much better in terms of everyday well-being, and I still don't have any pain where these new spots showed up in scans. I'm looking forward to seeing what my labs say about my health.

A BAP Finish

What is a BAP? My friend Arlene at Nanaland shared the phrase with me, and it stands for "Big Ass Project"! Don't you love it?

I finally finished Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow! Woot woot! I started it the third week of January 2019, and finished just after midnight on August 29, 2019. My goal was to have it done by the end of August so the framer would have time to frame it in time for October. I'm taking it there after the long weekend is over and I know it's going to cost a fortune, but it's worth it. I'm not tackling this one myself.

Last time I wrote, I was about half done with block 9. Here it is, all finished.

I love the long-stitched wraps of the mummy.

The green diamond pattern in the background stitched up very quickly, even though it may look like a lot of work.

Here is block 10. Lots of scary eyes and swampy creatures!

Rawrrr...... Scary alligator, or swamp monster. Poor frog!

Block 11 completed. I love the designers' creativity, how the steam from the locomotive becomes ghosts.

This way to the Hollow......

And finally, block 12 completed.

That was a LOT of DMC 829. I ran out twice! The skeleton teeth are stitched over one.

The BIG Reveal coming later. I want to show you the whole thing after it's framed. Sorry, friends, but you're going to have to wait.

Now that it's finished, I feel so free to work on anything I want. I have a lot of work to do on the SAL with Mary and RJ at Stitching Friends Forever, and I want to stitch some Christmas ornaments. But you know what's calling my name? The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow. Call me crazy.

Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow Giveaway

To celebrate finishing Halloween at HRH, I'd like to offer the chart to one of you. It was so much fun to stitch, and I would love to see it go to someone who wants to stitch it and who might also pass it along to a friend afterwards. To save on postage, I would like to limit the chance to win to a USA-based stitcher.

If you would like to win the chart, please be a sidebar follower and leave a comment answering this question: What was your favorite Halloween costume or memory?

Thanks for reading! I have more in the works to show you, but I'll save those projects for another time. Thinking of all of you, especially those of you in the south facing Hurricane Dorian. Be safe.


  1. So glad to see your post this morning Meg. We are all pulling for you and praying for you! Oh my goodness, I cannot wait to see HRH framed. It is going to be beautiful. I will pass on the give away as I cannot stitch on 40 count but I know some great stitcher will be happy to have it. I have found I am not a BAP stitcher....but I am working on Riley's Wharf by Kathy Barrick and I am loving it I love to stitch houses. And I love villages. I am still working on Yule Tide at Thistle Hill. I need to complete it so I can get it framed before Christmas. Have a blessed Labor Day glad you are feeling good!!

  2. Oh Meg, your Halloween Hawk Run piece is fabulous. Congratulations on your finish and I can't wait to see how you have it framed. I was so happy to see your post this AM. You have been on my mind a lot. Praying that your next appointment and that you continue to feel good.

    My favorite costume was one of my dance recital costumes. But please don't enter me as I am not a BAP or Halloween stitcher.

  3. Congrats on the gorgeous finish Meg. I'm old and really don't remember my costumes. I do know that they were just made with stuff from around the house. I would love to be entered in your giveaway. Sending hugs and happy thoughts your way.


  4. Putting you on my prayer list, Meg!

  5. I would not have the patience to stitch any of the Hollow/Hawk series so please do not include me.

    Congratulations on the diet change. I've tried many times and just can't give up dairy and grains, it's not easy. I hope it contributes to better health for you. I had to have lung scans 6 months apart, checking for growth, and had a very difficult time waiting. I wish for you positive news on your next scan!

  6. Sending hugs ad prayers for you. Please don't enter me for the chart as I live in England, it all looks rather fabulous, by the way. x

  7. So happy to see your post. I was out of town this weekend, so I hadn't typed anything yet. I am praying hard for good results on the next round of tests. I know that is hard waiting. I am wishing you well with the eating as well. I know you will feel better from it. I do - it is not easy...Dang - to just eat a big ole pizza and some Moon Pies for dessert. Those little Moon Pies are a specific brand sold and they are like crack cocaine. very addictive...
    Anyway, praying for you and I mean it!!!
    I love your Halloween piece. It is so pretty and I can't wait to see it framed. Those little squares can be quite deceiving. They are small but lots of stitches in them. So pretty though!

  8. Sorry to hear about your cancer. I know how scary those scans can be so I am praying for a positive outcome for you. Love your stitched piece and can't wait to see if framed! My favorite costume was always a kitty. My mom made me a leotard with a tail attached and I thought that was the coolest thing ever! I would love to be entered in to your giveaway.

  9. Hi Barb, that does not sound good
    I keep my fingers crossed and I wish you all the best and the best of luck with this therapy.
    Creepy look the new blocks, but beautiful.
    Congratulation to the finished work. Let's see what it looks like within the framework.

  10. Hallo Meg,
    ich drücke dir die Daumen und bete für dich, dass bei der nächsten Untersuchung alles in Ordnung ist.
    Schön sehen die fertigen Blöcke aus. Kann es gar nicht erwarten es in voller Größe zu bewundern.
    Eine schöne Woche und Hugs, Manuela

  11. So sorry Meg to hear you are going up and down with good and bad news , my friend is going through the same at this moment .
    Keep the faith , you will be in my prays .
    Lovely stitching hugs.

  12. Meg, I am praying that you get an all clear on your next scan. I can only imagine how anxious you must be over this scan. You are most certainly in my thoughts and prayers each day.

    I am so proud of you for finishing HRH and how exciting that it will be hanging on your wall for this Oct. I'm impressed with your diligence! It is certainly a BAP and one I could not attempt. I love all the detail in each block. I can't wait to see it in its entirety and framed!! This is worth spending every penny to have it professionally framed.

    I'm passing on the chart but I have one memorable costume that I'll never forget. I was in 4th grade and my brother in 1st. My 3 other siblings were sick so we took it upon ourselves to get enough candy for us all. Well, I wore my mothers nursing cap and heavy navy wool cape that dragged on the ground. We went out right after school and didn't get home till after dinner. My parents were frantic but we had 2 pillowcases filled to the brim with candy and we were so proud of ourselves. Fighting that cap that was always falling off and the weight of that cape was so exhausting, but we had candy for weeks on end!!

  13. Meg: I will put you on my prayer list, I hope it is only scar tissue.
    I hope your next scan is an all clear.
    Your Halloween finish, I am looking forward to seeing the framed piece.
    I am sure that starting another big project is in the making for you, I am one that has done BAP and find I get very anxious during the stitching.
    I am looking forward to seeing more of your stitching.


  14. This is a beautiful piece and will look fabulous framed. I'll be sure to stop back by and check it out.

    Best wishes for good news on your scans.

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  16. Dear Meg, I know exactly how scanxiety feels. It puts you in a tailspin. We have one coming up next week and I'm already in a tizzy. You are one of my hero's however because you handle it all with such a positive attitude. And, being positive can make all the difference in the world. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers for only good news. Please stay in touch because your Godmothers will worry if we don't hear from you.

    I LOVE your newest stitch. Boy, that was a lot of work. It is so colorful and perfect for Halloween. You do great work girl! I had not heard of the BAP term but it's a good one that I need to put in my cross stitch dictionary.

    Looking forward to seeing this big stitch will be a beauty. RJ

  17. Oh Meg, prayers for your next appointment that it's just a flareup. And good for you eating healthier, it certainly can't hurt! I know it's hard at first, but it's worth it.
    Wow, you HRH looks absolutely fantastic! I'm so glad you're getting it framed in time for Halloween. So many favourite costumes to chose from, maybe Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, or Ginger from Gilligan's Island?!

  18. I can only imagine how scary that must be as you wait the results from your periodic scans. To me, you've always seemed so brave and have faced your cancer head on with determination and courage. I don't think I would be the same. I hope and pray that your next scan will not find growth in the spots. Sending you a big hug in the meantime ♥

    Your Halloween at HRH is looking so wonderful--your stitches are beautiful and each block is so delightfully detailed. I'm passing on the giveaway as (I think I told you), I don't stitch much Halloween anymore with my dad having died on that day almost five years ago. I'm doing a small one now--trying to get back into it as I always did love Halloween. Wishing you a peaceful week ahead, my friend...

  19. Sending prayers and thoughts that your scan is just a flare up. A mammography 3 years ago threw up some flags and I remember being in an anxious state waiting for the results of a cat scan (MRI?) but it was negative. If something gives you a feeling of being in control, by all means, do it. Especially if it's legal! A favorite Halloween memory was my sister and I wearing those old timey costumes with the plastic masks with eye and nose holes cut out. The masks always had blonde hair. A more modern memory was taking my 2 and a half year old daughter out as a clown. She had fun. You'd finish is outstanding, a real accomplishment. Can't wait to see it framed!

    1. Oh, that must have been awful, Shelly! I'm sorry anyone has to go through scanxiety. I remember those Halloween costumes, too!

  20. Meg,
    So good to see your post but sorry about the reason you haven't been around. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and hoping for good news with your next scan. Your HHRH is fantastic and can't wait to see it framed. I love all the detail and colors--job well done!!! Sending ((HUGS))!!!


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