Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The British Music Experience @ O2

kit Pink Elegance- Creations by Rachel @ Gotta Pixel
another book for our library...
we got free tickets to the itisj Music Experience @ at O2 Arena through the Mousetrap Foundation and, once again these wonderful people provided an amazing outing. The last time was Peter Pan Royal Gala Premier @ Kensignton Gardens which provided an opportunity to dress up and a marvelous performance, together with a sighting ( very close indeed) of the Royal Family and (to Sarita's excitement) lots of celebrities (including some from across the pond.
That outing was registered in, and you can have a look at the slide show of the scraps HERE

This time it provided one of our favorite means of transport, the speedy boats in the Thames.
We took a cab with my Disabled Taxi Card which has saved us in so many outings as I got to a point now in which public transport is a no no 99,9% of the time...
The taxi took us to the Waterloo Pier where we bought discount boat tickets (again, with the Disabilty discount) and, of course, we were shutter here is my account of the whole thing...

kit On The Way
by Loloden @ Digital Crea Fr

paper from Coline's dream, also by Loloden
alpha freebie by a wonderful designer I just discovered (and she is Brazilian!
), Jaqueline Bampi, Dharamsala Designs
I made the frames.

here again, kit On The Way
by Loloden @ Digital Crea Fr

elements & alpha a mixture of two kits, Lucky Star & Lucky Charm by Bella Gipsy @ Gotta Pixel
paper from the freebie kit Travel Miss Honey Designs
the crowns & Union Jack are from a freebie I got long time ago, the designer is MMDC (couldn't find any more info) the kit is called My English May.

same paper here by Miss Honey
journalings tags and brown stiches came in the Mega Grab Bag Project 365
by Captivated Visions @ Gotta Pixel
paper & English themed embies are, again, from that freebie from MMDC

kit Kids Spirit by Choukette @ Digital Crea

kit I used here is called Grunge Attitude, but is not at the store at the moment. I bought it for 1.50 Euros on the *retiring soon category a while ago... by Celine Designs @ Digital Crea Fr
dymo letters are a freebie from this wonderful lady I discovered through the Yahoo Group Digital Scrapbook Freebie (as most of my freebies lately! , Gunhild Storeide

background paper from Brume de Lune by Dilo @ Digital Crea Fr
other paper cuts & most elements from Pop City by Chouk77 @ Digital Crea Fra
all brown stiches I made myself.
alpha from You've got mail from Pouyou also @ Digital Crea Fr

kit Between the Headlines by Captivated Visions @ Gotta Pixel , this girl is one of the very few British designers around, she is beautifully nice , active in the forums and very talented, of course!

kit Agatha by Isabel Mendez also @ Gotta Pixel
another very nice designer who takes her time to look at your work and praise this kit, I bought elements, papers and add on...great value on their sales, which they have regularly.
the alpha I made in my program, Digital Scrapbook Arist 2 by Serif, which is like a step before PhotoShop Elements...and I'm SO in love with it, I should write a reveiw really....
if you like the Alpha, I made that, the lower case & numbers and a mini kit with metal frames and music sheet papers, write a comment here and let me know you want it and I ll give you the link to the freebie download!

background papers by Chouk77 from a freebie that has as many as 6 or 7 kits from many designers @ Digital Crea Fr,background text by Choukette, the alpha is also from DCF, kit Angels Of Love from Droopette but she is no longer there, I followed her to the new store though, wll be showing shortly.
the rest is all a mixture of different kits but all from DCF, and honestly, these elements are CU sold in there, so they end up in all the kits, impossible to tell who originated them, because, though they do credit the designers'designers....they just mention their names, not who made what....and I better stop here or it wont be nice LOL
photo maks are courtsey of the most beautiful inside and out girl in the net,
CraftyScraps' Michelle, or Wolvsie35 if you know her from ScrapbookMax

background paper again, You've got mail from Pouyou, the frayed grey fabric and dymo alphas by Gunhild Storeide, branches from Digital Crea's freebies.
The doodled frame with the Special Day text I made with one of the program's brushes but, I have to admit, copied it from Kawouette's Day by Day (also Digital Crea Fr)

Mega Grab Bag Project 365
by Captivated Visions & Jessica Edwards @ Gotta Pixel

same as above,(Project 365) only the alpha & numbers are from another kit, Happy Being me
also by Captivated Visions

I recently discovered DigiScrapsDrive In,which has some forums I LOVE and some very talented people , some of the elements are from their freebie daily download, the bird & word art are from a freebie from Ange (designer @ Digital Crea) the background paper is from Love is all we need , SnickerdoodleDesignsByKaren, the one and only!!!! (next post is all dedicated to her :)

everything apart from the lace and white doodle page frame are from Captivated Visions Project 365

alpha City Girl by Bella gipsy @ Gotta Pixel
I made the background stiches, the red frames are from a kit called Little Things but couldn't find the designers name and I'm too tired to look in the dowload folder...same with the big frame, may come back tomorrow to edit...

Ok, so, in this responsable trying to credit all designers, I'm exhausted... easier to scrap than to blog it..... just hope you got the idea of the outing :)
I 'll be back soon!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Identity Exhibition

Hey again...
I have been trying to get to normal (or as normal as I can ever be..LOL) so I wanted to share with you the two outings we had in the middle of all that chaos that were the past 4 weeks.
Thing is, you see, I really thought in the middle of this that I had some not so much advanced stage of breast cancer, so I really wasn't looking when I scrapped these, I didn't think I would be making publish posts, so it will be a bit difficult to credit people, but will try as I go...

To get to the outing: this was the Identity exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, free to all, amazing 8 rooms with everything to do with our identity, like DNA invention, twins,and a few rooms dedicated to sexuality as it is Gay,Lesbian,Bisexual & Transgender History month here in the UK.
We took Nadia, one of Sarita's best friends, as she wants to be a doctor.
I called in advance (they were AMAZING!) and booked a parking space and a wheelchair.

This LO was made with a template I got from a freebie of Sweet Digiscraps by Liz (one of GottaPixel's owners, I learned when trying to know where I got it to link here...) only I changed everything around ...I'm a disaster scrapping with PSE, so I just took the PNGs into my DSA and resulted in this:

The girls needed the toilettes, so I waited in the corredor and took some photos until they came excited wanting to show me this (according to them) amazing hand drying device...
(these two LOs, I m sure came from Bella Gipsy @ Gotta Pixel)

It's a shame, but understandable, we couldn't take photos in the exhibition rooms, but we (of course!) ended up in the shop.
These are some captures from our stroll in this marvelous place.
This LO I know for sure was done with (again) Bella Gipsy's Lucky Star & Lucky Charm kits, from her store at GottaPixel.
The Dymo Alphas are from Gunhill Storeide (love her! see bellow)

this next LO is from a wonderful freebie called Sweetness of Blue I got from K Designs, through the wonderful Digital Scrapbook Freebies Yahoo Group (should post about that too, really!)

Next is Cardamome (one of my favorite) Pretty Little Things kit,from her store at Digital Crea France.

next, the paper is from a long time ago freebie called Denim Daisies, from MMD, the alpha from Pouyou's You've Got Mail @ Digital Crea.

this is Sarita reaching out in the shelves in the shop, I thought I make something different (though I'm not the best on fantasy stuff) as I got this kit, Entre Des Mondes, by Petitsouris @ Digital Crea

and here was where I got fascinated with the moleskin books but ended buying the one which is now my doodling diary..( you can read about it this in my previous post

the place was about to close when we were in the shop, so we went to a chinese restaurant and dinner and tons of is Sarita with the serynge/pens I bought them...
here the kit is Sheeps and Dreams, from Choubinnette @ Digital Crea, not sure but think the Alpha is from Gotta Pixel.

here is Nadia, who is a bit camera shy :)

we had fun!

finally this is something I made because I love this photo of Sarita I took in the shop. The title and journaling are a song, called Imaculada (immaculate), sung by Elba Ramalho, a song I used to sing to Sarita when I was pregnant and still didn't know it would be a she..., still, she turned out to be SO that song!
The paper is from Gunhill Storeide, another fabulous find from the women of the Yahoo Group, I will come give the links soon, she is AMAZING!

So, this is it until tomorrow.
I put together another little book with the other outing we had, which will be posting tomorrow.
I'm really eager to get to my CT work now I'm feeling better, you cannot imagine how amazing Karen's new kit is, and I also want to share about DigiScrapsDriveIn...but that ll have to be in another post..., thanks for popping in!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Returning to pen & paper....

Credit to Connie Prince's BeeHappy @ Gotta Pixel what I have been doing, these past three weeks of anxiety and uncertainty.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find out by clicking here to read my previous post.
But better let the images speak:

We bought this before all the hospital thing, when we went to the Identity exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.
I don't normally buy things in shops like this, but it seemed reasonably priced(£12) and it was the last of its kind in the shelves. Not only I thought the book had my name written on it, but I had just read a post from my friend Annemarie about Moleskin books and also found (again, thanks to Annemarie, the wonder woman) Marit's blog about Zentangling.
Having *Zentagled* (posh, modern way to refer to *doodle*?) since 1970, I could not resist to have a go now, this seemed the perfect book for it.

I wanted to be away from the computer, blogging about this issue somehow did not seem right, so in between writings I started to let my mind go and these are some of the things I enjoyed making:

I used BeeYond Happy by Cherie Shields @ GottaPixel

Credit to Creations by Rachael, also @ Gotta Pixel, kit Love My Boys.

bits & pieces from Digital Crea France's designers, Pouyou,Choubinette,Moi, Chriscrap
these and the next couple of pages are photos taken with flash,I'm experimenting to see the best way to create elements for scrapbooking from this kind of stuff.

I put the paper together (background) the bits are from Mary's Mixes and string and staples from Digital Crea freebies.
Alpha by Connie Prince @ GottaPixel.

background paper and alpha from LoveMyBoys, CreationsByRachael @ Gotta Pixel.
The rest is Isabel Mendez's Aghata kit, also @ Gotta Pixel

As you can see, Sarita loved this thing so much she added her collaboration
Faery from Chriscrap's Far Away,frayed fabric from Droopette's around the World, heart, string of clouds and bow from Choubinette's Still Loving you, all @ Digital Crea.
Dymo alpha from Gunhill Storeide.

So, there, this is what I have been up to.
I know I can't be compared to Marit not in a million years,but not only has helped me relaxing and at the same time creating, but also has given me another thing we share a passion with my daughter...and that is a wonderful experience.
So, as the text in the first image says, I have found more than one good side to all the stress and anxiety they put me through the past few weeks, and showed me once again that the ones who are there for us are always there...they aren't many, but sure are first quality, amazing friends.

Thanks to all of you who came over to comment in my previous post, I have felt beautifully your presence over this whole thing,and its great to see that people are willing to make an effort to leave a comment here too :)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Hyppocrates would be proud.....

...of all people who work at the private Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth, especially Dr Wilson, the consultant for the Breast Unit.
(well, that taken that it was Hyppocrates who wrote the oath, but I'm sure you know what I mean)
Someone else who makes proud medicine as a profession, especially taken that she is an NHS GP, is my own General Practitioner, Dr Sarah Morgan.

Making a long story short as my headache is one of those hammering ones:

When I went to the Royal Free to get the results of my biopsies, they made me wait for almost two hours only to be vague and go round in circles to tell me they wanted me to come back (again) this week as they STILL had not received the images of the mammogram I had last month.
I left in anger, swearing and banging doors.
Before I took enough Zopiclone to guarantee 24 hours sleep, I made an appointment with the private Breast Unit at St John's & St Elizabeth, which was today.

Yesterday my GP called me with the not so very good news that the Royal Free, though the biopsies came back clear were vague about not being sure if the tissue they took was actually from the problematic area, and that they were considering "removing that problematic area of the left breast completely*...


Well, at least, I thought, it is removable and not some stage 4 of something left unattended (by them) from 2006....still a surgical procedure and, giving the Royal Free's reputation, I was not enthusiastic.
My Gp mentioned St J & St E had actually contacted her, I said worse coming to the worse, I would probably choose to have surgery at UCH, but that was also a tricky option: there was were they failed with my *straight forward hip replacement* and the 3 following surgical procedures in which they try to fix it...
No point on stressing, I thought.
Lets go see what the power of money can do, right?
Wonderfully right.

This guy saw me today.
Gobsmacked to the fact that they (the Royal Free) had not explained the results of my core biopsies, had a good look at me (well, my breasts, of course) and when I repeated what my GP told me to tell him, about the others contemplating the slicing of my breast, he says: * don't wanna do that*.
He said he will be seeing me at the Whittington (an NHS hospital where he has a clinic, meaning I wont have to pay) in probably 4 to 6 weeks, but that he will still talk to the people who did the initial mammogram, give me a call. but that he sees clearly that these problematic area are calcification deposits, and that this is what they showed in the core biopsies under the microscope.
He says chances of cancer cells being inside this calcifications are remote, but all the same he will be getting me to have another mammogram in 6 months time, just in case.

So, there.
There are still people who practice medicine ethically, people who think of the whole picture apart from the pure scientific outcome.

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive, especially Peggy , my friends Cristina (another Brazilian in London, whom we have kept a beautiful friendship alive for 20 years) & Franceska, a most wonderful soul I had the blessing of coming across sometime in 2005 and has already seen me through some other difficult times, my carer Lizzie, and of course, my daughter, my beautiful, amazing, mature, intelligent, out of this world child.
These are people who have been giving me more than amazing support in *real life*. There are, of course, all of you online who have given me beautiful words and encouragement through the optical wire, and it would take me the whole night to name you....but you know how much I value your presence.

Lets just get a huge smile in our faces and the next post will be full of scraps, as I can feel my hands itching to get on doing something :) See you soon....

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Status Update....

I have to admit I am in no mood to write, but I have proved to myself many times that this helps.
And also to keep you up to date with events...but will be brief.(well, I can but try!)

When I went back to hospital on thursday, they STILL didn't have the results of my mammogram done at the health centre.
Something the surgeon who examined me found may have alerted them, so they decided to risk the budget and repeat the mammogram, but only on the left side.
Then they ultrasound me.....or should I say *knitted my left breast like some pizza dough*?
After some 20 minutes of this skquessh and squash, he tells me (not ask me) he will do a *couple* of biopsies.

He assured me this procedure is almost painless, that the anesthesia would probably hurt more than the actual procedure.
How would you know, I say.
He starts trying to explain to which my reaction,through a curtain of tears and hiccuping,was, in my best authority accent
*you are not a girl and have no boobies*
(I swear I could see a faint forming of a smile there)
*well yes, you are probably right ion that one*

He was right on the painless.
Even when he warned me as to: * this maybe a bit more painful, ok?* it wasn't, really.
Not to the levels of pain I am used to 24/7, but maybe (and only maybe) the high dose of Tramadol Hydrochloride I permanently have in my body helped.
He did warn me about the anesthesia wearing of in 4 hours and to brace myself then.
He also warned about the bruising and swelling, but instructed to leave the bandaging (which resembles the akenatom's) until tomorrow.

Results next thursday.
All good will actions most welcome.
Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

1001 reasons why I *dislike* the British NHS

I'm angry,to express it in a moderately sensible word.
Very angry.
In rage, actually.

Some of you who know me know already, I had an appointment this morning to do a follow up of a follow up of something that is not clear to me even now, to do with my breasts.
In 2005 I had cyst removed of my left breast. It was nothing, they just drained it there and then, and I had the company of a marvelous girl at the time, a girl impossible to describe, unless you see her art and what she can do
She had gone through the same before, so not only she kept me calm and free of worries in the weeks until that appointment, but also gave me a laugh and the hyper reassuring gift of her company on the date.
I had a check up 6 months later, then a year, then I forgot everything about it.
This was 5 years ago, right?

Well...if I was in South America, I would have been seen every 2 years for a mammogram as (though people tend to think we are the jungle and called us *undeveloped*) this is routine for every woman after 40. Same for smear tests. Two years.
And it is not because one has to pay. National Health Services in both Argentina & Brazil are free. One may have to wait a bit to be seen on a routine check up, but they are even getting better at that...

Anyway....just before Christmas, I had been having some sharp pain in the lower left side of my breast, so I made an appointment to see my GP (whom, I should add, has saved my life on the aftermath of the failed hip replacement...I would not have survived if this woman didn't take it up to make sure I was properly looked after).
She said it was muscular and it had to do with my using crutches.

Three weeks ago I got a letter for an appointment at a local Health Centre, for a mammogram.
I got organized and attended.
I was told, as it is normal procedure,that I would get the results on the post.
This was on a wednesday, 3 weeks ago.
On the following saturday, I got a letter communicating that they wanted to see me for further testing, only this was not to happen at the health centre or my local hospital, but the St Bartholomew's Hospital in the city.
I was so shaken up I did not realized it was to St Barth's, but one of Sarita's friends was coming to stay for a sleepover, and her mum (who is a wonderful friend too) saw the letter and called my attention to this...and the fact that is in a very, very difficult place to get when you have mobility impairments of the one kind I have....

I set up to get this changed to my local hospital, the Royal Free, which was the place I had my cyst taken out in 2005....reasonable and easy enough...wouldn't it be? would think so, if the NHS worked on something called LOGIC.
It isn't.
It wasn't.

First it took me an hour and 22 minutes (of me paying the bill) to try make the lady in the appointment line at St Barth's understand my reasons to want to change it..... Little Britain's *Computer says nooooo* lady came to mind.

Then I tried to speak to my GP.
(for all this I had to wait a weekend of uncertainty, which anyone who has gone through any kind of health matter would know, is the worse part of all. Then I had to wait for 48 hs without my doctor getting back to me.
Finally I got to speak to one duty doctor, he seemed to be listening and I thought he was, as I got a letter for an appointment at my local hospital 48 hs later.
That was last week, for an appointment this morning.
I said he *seemed* to be listening because today, this morning, I realized he wasn't.
Neither was the lady whom I spoke at St, Barth's bothered with what I could be going through..... today they did...NOTHING.
Zilt, Zero, Nada, Rien de Rien , nadinha de nada...
they did do something:
They upset me.
BIg time.

The results of the mammogram I had in the health centre three weeks ago weren't there.
And the consultant who saw me (with a very limp hand shake, I have to add, which makes me distrust people big way) almost spelled the fact that, unless I lied and said I actually had felt something in my breasts they could not see me today.

So I said yes, I have felt something in my breasts...he came back into his own steps (he was actually leaving the room...arrrghhhhhhh!!!!) and agreed to have a look.
He did, noted something in the diagram
They sent me to the mammogram.
Only the radiographer ( a gorgeous aussie girl, but to me she looked like the devil incarnate) wouldn't do it, because I had another one only 2 weeks ago.

They wanted me to wait another two weeks , *until we get the results of the mammogram from St Barth's*
Two weeks?
Another two weeks?
(wasn't that Arnie's line, what was is, Total Recall?)
That got me of on one....

In these times of digitalized everything...two weeks to get an email with the digitalized results?
Two weeks to get something from one computer in some not so distant part of town into another?
this brought back thought of Kafka, but then again, my whole life is some Kafkian joke since 2003.

But hey...if you know me, you know I would not have it, right?
I shouted.
To my poor daughter's embarrassment (but also lesson as to how to get things done) I shouted.
I threw all my health advocacy skills (which I had employed in the five years in which I was one for the Health department to which this very hospital belongs) through the window and shouted.

They got their counceler to try calm me down....but instead I got her to get me seen on thursday.
So, there.
I have another...what? almost 48 hours of uncertainty.
And I'm utterly pissed off.

Monday, 1 March 2010

To take my mind out of Chile's earthquake....

Fisherman of Dreams kit by Choubinette
I bought it a couple of days ago on the 1Euro sale, unfortunately I just saw it's gone back to the 3.90 Euros price.

The Enchanted World, freebie they had going on until yesterday, in lots of parts, by Ptitesouris,StarlightDesigns,Marta Designs, Dydige, Genedes, Choukette & Chouk77. This is mainly Chouck77 but some elements from the others.
All of them @ Digital Crea France

I got busy with these.
Not only it is scary the fact that the world is vertiginously going into natural disasters mode, that this thought of my not seeing the end of the world doesn't seem so real now, the fear for the state of affairs my child is inheriting....but also my brother lives in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, which is the very end of the south of America, and not so far from Chile...

700 deaths last time I looked (early this morning)
If we put it together with Haiti, Middle East devastation and...well, all other sad situations we have come to,live with lately...every little ache & pain of mine, every worry I can have for anything, anything at all feels dwarfed.