Lung surgery: a huge process, still ongoing

Wow — thanks to all my family and friends who’ve continued reaching out to me through this whole process! The good and healing intentions — and love — are like a pool of healing light.

It’s going to take me a while to pull my thoughts together on this one. I had surgery on Thursday 1/17/19. It was initially scheduled for 5:30 AM, then for 7:30, then (according to the surgeon) 9:30, and then, according to his office, 7:30. The actual time was something like 1:30–2:00 PM. Lots of time to sit around in a hospital gown, sipping from ice chips (“nothing by mouth after midnight”), Sweetie at my side. At one point. we considered going home — 1.5 miles away — for awhile, but there was a major snowstorm brewing, and it seemed best to stay where we were.

I had the same anesthesiologist as the for the previous lymph node procedure — so surprised he recognised me! — and  I was glad. He seems competent, informative and connected. So it was a breathing treatment, and other fol-de-rol, and then I was kissing Sweetie g’bye and sailing off to the OR. That last — and the fact that I don’t actually remember entering the OR (the doors opening on the bright white room, and…) that makes me think he might have started the happy juice a little early, due to my high BP. Or simply kindness.

And kindness was the word of the next few days. The pain control was well done — I had an “as needed” (every 15 minutes) fentanyl IV button, as well as, I assume, a trickle of whatever else to keep the overall pain down to a dull roar. There was no lack of pain — the incision was between my ribs, roughly from scapula to sternum — and they had spread the ribs to get at the lung and remove and the whole upper lobe. But all of the follow-up medical staff — who each introduced themselves in soft voices, as they came in to do whatever they had to do — were skilled and gentle, and were focused on my comfort as well as my health. I know I was damned cranky on at least a couple of occasions, but they remained kind and patient.

I’ve never been in an intensive care unit before, and I was there for five days. All my needs were taken care of, often before I realized them, and every request filled as best as possible. Everyone from the janitor to the dietitian to the nurses, the nursing aides, the pulmonary technicians — everyone who entered my room — was quiet, kind, and helpful. (The food was awful, but…)

Meanwhile, outdoors was a record-breaking stowstorm. I was insulated in all possible ways, and Sweetie made his way to my side every single day, bringing me home-made bread, flowers, love, kindness, and his presence.

On my last morning, they moved me from ICU to another unit for a couple of hours before discharge, and it was there that my surgeon removed the tube that drained my chest cavity. “This will only hurt a little…” “YEEEEAHHHHOOOOWWWWW!” Goddamn. He’s a fine surgeon, but “gentle” is not a descriptor I’d use for him.

I’ve been home for a little over a week now, and things are getting better. The pain is abating, bit by bit, and Sweetie and I are learning how to communicate about what we both need in this situation. It’s been an adjustment, but “kindness” is an understatement for his commitment. I’m still really, really short of breath, and out-of-it due to the heavy-duty pain drugs. I sleep a lot. Next week I have a follow-up with the oncologist, and then with the surgeon’s NP (hoping she’ll remove the staples!).

And an upcoming show to paint for! Hopefully I’ll get my website calendar fixed in time.

And my dad is home from several days in the other hospital, with pneumonia and subsidiary problems. So glad he’s better!

Big day done, bigger day coming up

I was so dreading the chemical stress test! My late mother said she’d rather die than go through another one. And it was highly unpleasant… but only for about five minutes or so. I expect that Mother’s heart was in much worse shape than mine, when she went through it. I had no chest pain, no severe panic, or effects other than breathlessness and a very uncomfortable (full? hot? cold? Hard to describe) feeling in my muscles. There was an echocardiogram first, then another imaging involving a radioactive substance via IV and a camera that circled my upper abdomen. The tech had no name for the type of imaging when I asked. Then the chemical stressor was injected through the IV. I was already hooked up for an EKG, along with blood pressure monitor (BP very high, as usual for me in a medical setting) and then there was imaging again 20 minutes later. Before the last imaging, they gave me a cup of black coffee — my choice of caffeine source — which seemed counter-intuitive to me, but which they assured me would help my blood vessels readjust and make me feel better. True. Nice that they also brought Sweetie a cup of coffee in the waiting room. He’s always there with and for me.

The administering physician asked me about my cancer and the circumstances, and opined that I was very fortunate that my adenocarcinoma had been caught at stage 3 — that often they go to stage 4 before discovery: too late, really, for treatment. (Many thanks again to my pulmonologist!) She wished me well in the surgery, and from that I’d gather that the test results were good. I get the official results in a couple of days.

When we got home I immediately took a long nap, then had some lunch and called my dad (who is doing well at home), and took another long nap.

So: I’m scheduled for major lung surgery – a lobectomy, removal of the upper lobe of my right lung – on Thursday 1/17. My oncologist thinks that there is likely little or no malignancy left in the mass in that lobe: mostly dead tissue which shouldn’t be left there.

Surgery will be way too early in the morning, and I’ll be in the hospital for 3-4 days afterwards, then recovering at home for a month or two. If all goes well, I’ll then be cancer-free.

And my show with Chuck Haupt at Cooperative Gallery 213 is coming up in March!

News

Hi, friends –

Not very good news, I’m afraid – I won’t be able to mount my scheduled show at Cooperative Gallery 213 in August, due to serious health issues.

I have lung cancer (which is ridiculous, since I haven’t smoked in 40-some years) and possibly another cancer as well. The lung cancer is a type that mostly non-smoking women get. I’m having tests, scans, and appointments, and then I’ll be starting chemo on Wednesday. Prognosis is not as good as it was at first – it’s farther along and more widely spread. So everything is up in the air right now: not only shows and exhibits but classes as well.

I have a loving and supportive husband, as well as the rest of my family and my friends. I’m not being too terribly private about this, but hope not to see it go around on social media.

All I ask now is your good and health-giving thoughts — and prayers, if you’re so inclined.

Thanks!

Call for Artists and Fine Crafters – HOLIDAY SHOW AND SALE!

HolidayShownewsl

Dear Art Friend,

Now is the time to join Cooperative Gallery 213 – or to renew your membership – and show/sell your work at the all-members annual Holiday Show and Sale!

Supporting Membership is only $35 per year, payable when you bring in your artwork on Sunday or Monday, November 26 or 27.

Show opens with an Artists’ Reception Gala, Thursday, November 30, and runs through December 23, 2017.

CALENDAR

Notification of intent

Art/Crafts Drop-Off

  • Sunday, November 26, 10 am – 2 pm, Monday, November 27, 4 – 7 pm, or by appointment
  • All work must be labeled and ready for hanging/display. Save time by completing your inventory and membership forms and bringing them to the gallery with your work. See Requirements below.

Artists’ Reception Gala

  • Thursday, November 30, 6 – 8 pm

Art/Crafts Pick-up

  • Saturday, December 23, 4 – 6 pm (AFTER 4 pm show closing)
  • Thursday, December 28, 10 am – 2 pm
  • or by appointment

 

REQUIREMENTS: Labels, inventory

all works: (jewelry, ornaments, cards, miniature paintings, etc.): tag each item with price and an inventory number. Submit a Holiday Show inventory form including corresponding inventory numbers, media, description, and price: download forms at http://www.cooperativegallery,com, or pick up a participant kit at the Gallery during open hours.

wall-hung works: Limit 3 pieces 16 x 20 in. and above, or 5-6 pieces smaller, with two labels attached. Label 1 will be left on the work, and Label 2 will be displayed with the work. Use 14-pt. Arial or Helvetica font, appx. 2 x 3.5” label, listing Title, Medium, Artist Name, and Price.

Cost

  • $35 annual Supporting Membership (if not already a member)
  • plus 20% commission on sales

Download Forms Here, and bring to the gallery with your work

We’re looking forward to seeing you this winter holiday season at Cooperative Gallery 213!

 

“Forces of Nature” a Success, I think

Forces of Nature
Forces of Nature, at Cooperative Gallery 213

“Forces of Nature,” my show at Cooperative Gallery 213 with Chuck Haupt, closed on April 29, after a successful run. I have to extend great thanks to Chuck for designing the show card and the back wall, aiming the lights, and being generally proactive and supportive while I was distracted by my mother’s recent death and the need to finish the last two paintings for my half of the show. (Valley Watcher was still a bit wet when I hung it…)

HauptBlake
Chuck Haupt, me… mocking photographer/artist Jean Luongo

 

Prior to the opening, Chuck and I went through two TV interviews and a radio interview. I’m learning how to do those, I think — ask for questions in advance, mentally prepare answers, and make sure the camera angle is flattering — be physically demonstrative, too — but it’s a process.

The Thursday opening was lovely, despite yucky weather — so many old friends and new! My dad came, with a family friend, and I so enjoyed introducing him to various artist friends. My sweetie did his usual splendid job with the food. On the following night, Binghamton’s

My "star" tag
My “star” tag

First Friday Art Walk/Event, a Facebook artist friend, the talented Robert Hoover (who I’d met only once before in person), showed up early with a special starburst nametag for me to wear… and then wept openly in front of River Watcher.

I’ve left the palm tree I bought for the show for the next Cooperative Gallery 213 exhibitors — Bill Gorman and Geof Gould — to use in their show, which promises to be great.

 

“Forces of Nature” Opens at Cooperative Gallery 213

River Watcher
River Watcher: oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

On Thursday, April 6, and First Friday, April 7, 2017, Cooperative Gallery 213 will open “Forces of Nature,” a dual exhibit by Glenda Blake and Chuck Haupt. The exhibit, running through April 30, includes photos of nature across two continents by Chuck Haupt, and paintings / drawings by Glenda Blake of allegorical figures in natural settings. An opening reception at the gallery, public welcome, is planned for Thursday, April 6, 6-9:00 p.m.

Blake says: “My part of this exhibit is made up largely of pieces from my ongoing “Watchers” series. It’s a concept I picked up somewhere in my youthful reading — ancient religious or allegorical symbols or minor deities, observing us as we pass unknowing along their hidden paths. Humanoid objects in incongruous settings often strike me as dispassionate observers of the joys and disasters of our world. There is something in them that is positive — neither hopeful nor despairing, but also not clinging to outcomes, and open to whatever comes. I don’t normally explain my work. I can only let whatever is in me manifest itself, with little or no conscious input from me. After many years as a rational planner and designer of publications, I find this a difficult but rewarding lesson. I’m dedicating this show to the memory of my mother, Beatrice Knoeller Blake, who died on February 22, at the age of 88.” Blake is an award-winning and juried artist who has shown her work throughout the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic regions. She also shows her work at the Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD.

Haupt says: “Photographing nature has become my passion after spending 36 years as a photojournalist, telling people’s stories visually. Photography is just an extension of my personality. I look for moments happening in front of me that resonate for me. Photography freezes moments in time, forever. The camera alone does not make the picture; I make it, using my eyes, emotions and heart.”

On photographing in black and white: “I like being able to strip away the colors, which I feel enables the viewer to more easily get to the heart of the image — to not be distracted by the colors we all see in everyday life.”

Haupt and Blake have both been exhibiting members of Cooperative Gallery 213 since 2015

Cooperative Gallery 213, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk, is located on ArtistsRow / State of the Art, at 213 State Street in Binghamton. The gallery is open on First Fridays 3-9:00 p.m. and regularly on Fridays 3-6:00 p.m., and Saturdays noon – 4:00 p.m. Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter on our website at www.cooperativegallery.com or on our Facebook page, Cooperative Gallery 213.

 

Beethoven Oaks in “Strokes of Genius,” at the Maryland Federation of Art

Unlikely Dance: Beethoven Oaks - 30 x 48 in., oils on canvas
Unlikely Dance: Beethoven Oaks – 30 x 48 in., oils on canvas

Sweetie and I shipped off this 30 x 48 in. painting today, via UPS and bound for the Maryland Federation of Art’s Circle Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. Sweetie designed and built the 40-pound crate, and it was perfect — made to UPS and Circle Gallery specifications, puncture-proof, and designed to keep the painting from moving or directly contacting the crate. The shipping cost was surprisingly low.

If my hard drive hadn’t gone belly-up a month ago, I could quote from the acceptance email that said how many hundreds of artists submitted work for this show, but it was several hundred and Beethoven Oaks was one of 68 selected, so I’m thrilled. We have friends and family in the DC area, so we’ll make a pleasure trip around the opening reception in November. Funny thing, though — someone sent Sweetie a link to the show’s Call for Artists, to pass on to me… and we can’t remember who it was. Some messenger of the gods…

And while we were at UPS, we met a re-emerging artist, the woman behind the counter in the shipping office, who’d like to take my painting class. You just never know.

The First of the Watchers

Woods Watcher, 24 x 36 in., oil on canvas
Woods Watcher, 24 x 36 in., oil on canvas

I still haven’t figured out how to show a progressing project with alerts to my followers, so I’m continuing to post progressives on my professional Facebook page. But here’s the whole progression (below) of the first of my “Watchers” series. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s turned out, and I’ve submitted it for the Arnot Regional.

So, what is a Watcher? It’s a concept I picked up somewhere in my youthful reading — Watchers were pagan religious symbols, or figurines, or minor deities, ensconced or trapped in tree trunks along hidden paths. The idea took root in my mind, and when in middle age I lived in the back hills of northern Pennsylvania, there were a couple of standing tree stumps along the road that I mentally christened “the Watchers” — they seemed alert, attentive. Statuary sometimes strikes me that way, especially in incongruous or unexpected settings. And then I ran across a mannequin head in an Etsy shop that triggered the “Watcher” alert in me. With permission from the generous shop owner, I’ve commenced a series of paintings based on her mannequin (this one), as well as more statuary, mannequins, and other humanoid objects as they dispassionately observe the impending disasters of our world. There is something in them that is positive — not hopeful, not despairing — but also not clinging, and open to whatever comes.

I don’t normally explain my work and motivation like this, but this piece comes from deep within me. And that I can’t explain. I can only let whatever is in me manifest itself in my work, with little or no conscious input from me. As I tell my painting students, don’t put any effort into expressing yourself or your emotions — that will happen despite your best efforts, and it’ll be more genuine if you just let it happen while you’re concentrating on other things. After so many years as a rational planner and designer of publications, I myself find this a hard lesson.

Click in any of the tiled photos below, to switch to a slide show of progressives. To exit the slide show, click the small X in the upper left corner.

Give the gift of art!

Fiddler, Cutler Gardens
Fiddler, Cutler Gardens, 16×20 in., oil on canvas — one of my artworks for sale at the Members’ Holiday Show, Cooperative Gallery 213

Yes, it’s true — I do sell things from time to time. And what better time than the winter holidays?

Search results for earrings
Some samples of my vintage/new earrings, at both Old Barn Hollow and Cooperative Gallery 213

This year I have earrings and art cards for sale at Old Barn Hollow — my earrings are made from vintage jewelry I pick up at flea markets, antique/junque stores, and yard sales, along with some new parts, and exclusively new earwires in gold- or silver-coated nickel-free brass.  I love making these little sculptural pieces. Because many of the components I use are random vintage, I can’t guarantee what types of stone, metal, ceramic, resin, or glass they may be composed of. I make my best educated guess, and you may do the same.
My art cards are high-quality reproductions of both seasonal and non-seasonal artworks by me, on 5×7″ blank-inside cards. (For more selections and higher quantities, see my Etsy shop. )

And I have more earrings for sale — as well as artwork — at Cooperative Gallery 213. What a wonderland of unique arts and crafts this Members’ Holiday Show is!

Thurs., Dec 3 Gala Opening reception, 6-8 p.m.
Sat., Dec 12     Artist tour with MaryRose, 2 p.m.
Artists will be introduced & are invited to make a statement about their work
Sun., Dec. 13  Holiday Brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 19   Musical Performance by Doug & Eamonn Hubert, 1 p.m.
Storytime with actress Janet Normile, 2 p.m.