Thursday, November 8, 2018

Life, Lemons and Sharing Stories.

Scrolling through old blog posts recently, I realised how much I miss the "behind the scenes" life and family news that I used to record here. Instagram gets more attention, but I miss this space for recording the details and my more considered thoughts.

My wee girl is about to become a teenager, and I've missed recording a huge chunk of her life. I've made LOTS of things that I haven't had the time or inclination to photograph. I've had a fabulous overseas holiday that I haven't mentioned here.

That's my girl in the orange. :) 

Real life has been a priority. Just living it....sometimes just surviving it... and everything worked around the constants of keeping home, family and work together. The last three years have been full of it. Great Big Real Life. All the good, bad, ugly and difficult, a lot of mundane and a few magic moments.

Exactly a year ago, I received the advance copies of my book, The Savvy Seamstress.

It was the same day that I received confirmation that the small lump that had been mammogrammed, ultrasounded and biopsied in the preceding weeks, was indeed cancer. I was one of the (approximately) 49 women in Australia to be diagnosed with breast cancer that day, and one of the "1 in 8" women who will be diagnosed with it in her lifetime.

I wasn't very interested in the box of books on my doorstep. Things quickly spiralled in a different direction.

I've been quite open about it on Instagram and Twitter - sharing images throughout chemo, and I'm still posting images of my ongoing art therapy journey. But for some reason, the slower, more considered reflection hasn't happened here on the blog.  And still, I don't even know where to start, except to say "check your boobs, girls!".

My early diagnosis was just a little too late to avoid chemotherapy (and a higher likelihood of recurrence) than had I checked a few months earlier, when it had crossed my mind but I didn't get around to it.

Check your boobs. Often.

I did a Look Good Feel Better workshop, and wholeheartedly agree that looking as good as I could made me feel as well as I could, under the circumstances. 

Years of making hats and sewing knit fabrics came together quickly for me, and I whipped up an endless supply of hats for every occasion and outfit. My treatment was through the hottest of summer months, so I didn't want knitted or crocheted yarn hats.

Dressing up made me feel better. Hats made me feel better.

Recently, I've been playing around with hat patterns and thinking about how I might make some sort of "impact for good" with them. At the moment, I'm assessing the needs of people who are going through chemo to see what might work best. If you or someone you know is going (or has been) through treatment, and can help me with a small 2-minute survey, please do so here.

Or maybe just share your stories. I'm interested. Email me at info at nicolemdesign dot com dot au. 

When I feel that my stitchy art therapy work is taking a more cohesive shape, I might write a post about it. In the meantime, you can see it on Insta and let me know what you think.

And yes - I'm much better now, thanks. I even have hair and eyelashes, and my prognosis is good.

Wishing you all health and happiness.
And reminding you to check your boobs.
xx Nikki


Jan said...

Fab hats, Nikki - they almost make we wish I'd lost more hair! (I was ecstatic to avoid chemo though and my miracle pill is still doing its thing well). Your creative pursuits are wonderful ... mine are mainly small but having been through months when just staying alive seemed impossible they make me happy. All the best to you and your wee girl. Be kind to yourself. Xx

A Peppermint Penguin said...

I'm just glad you are still here. all the best of everything to you and your teenager.

Tania said...

So good to read you in this space - especially with all those excellent outcomes and inspiry bits. x

Jomc said...

I'm in Nth Queensland so I think a sunsmart version would go well up here( and be highly appropriate) I haven't got breast cancer but I did have a SCC incised from my temple earler this year. So a brim, possibly removeable, could be a winner in the sunshine state.

Nikki said...

Thanks for your comments! Lovely to see old friends back in this space and to hear the stories and input from new 'faces'. xx

méri said...

It's so good to read you again! I was feeling that something wrong was going with you but now I'm feeling well knowing from you you are feeling well. You are just the same face and smile you always look luminous. I'm so happy with your return to blog. I'm feeling so bad with facebooks, instagrams and so on. I still have my blog writting and doing fewer than years ago. Noe I have some difficulties with my hands nothing serious at all only less handworks
Take care of you and your teen girl Always think positive after all Life is something special - bad things happens certainly but without them we don't feel the happy times happening A BIG big hug my dear Nikki

Vireya said...

Great to see you again! I'm very glad to hear that things are looking up.
And thanks for that reminder.

Cath said...

Hey Nikki... very happy to complete your survey xx

Anonymous said...

I've been a You SEW, Girl reader and fan (and earlier, customer when you had the online shop) so have been following you for years. So sorry to hear about the health setback. Having just had one myself a few months ago, I know it can knock the stuffing out of us and put cracks in our confidence and security. I feel for you. But the chances of a complete recovery are extremely high, YAY and thank you all you medical researchers and caregivers out there, so I'll be rooting for you. Meanwhile, You SEW, Girl!

Nikki said...

Thanks, Anonymous. xx