Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Everything Happens for a Reason

Good morning friends!

I am celebrating another victory today.  At the risk of once again jinxing myself, my platlets counts have been stable and high for 3 months now.  I saw my hematologist yersterday and he was very happy with the results.  I am to go for blood tests every second month and will follow up with him in 6 months.  If my platlets stay up, I will see him yearly.  Fingers crossed!
Life has been busy these last few months.  I had a few setback professionaly, we adopted a dog and we welcomed a new exchange student into our home.  I don't have many scrapbook layouts to share with you, but I hope to be able to share a few next week. In the meantime, here is one on my favorites from this fall

I pride myself in being a positive person, but in September, after facing another fall in platlet levels and after losing half of my clients at my dayjob, I had trouble seeing the positive side of things. I was scared and sad and felt broken and defeated. I was watching a favorite daytime talk show of mine and they were discussing how the phrase "everything happens for a reason" was overused. They were saying how we say it almost automaticaly to give ourselves and others comfort and we don't really think of the meaning behind it. Some were saying that it simply is not true, basically a lie we tell each other.  I tend to disagree somewhat.  I don't think that we all deserve the challenges that are put in front of us, but I do think that we can learn from all of them. I think the challenges sometimes gives us the opportunity to make things better.  That instead of feeling helpless, we can always find something to be thankfull for, that in living the sadness we can fully appreciate the happy times.  I can now say that I lived through one of the toughest year of my life and I can take from it a new clarity. I am a stronger person now. It has helped me put things in focus and made me appreciate my life, my family, my friends, my job and my body so much more. I am ready for whatever come my way and look forward to the end of 2015 and the beginning of a new year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roller Coaster

Well, what a year it has been so far.  Remember last blog I wrote?  My hematologist saying that the risk of me having another flare up was low?  Well I think he jinxed it, because I was in the hospital again a couple weeks later, my platelets had dropped to 14 (reminder : a normal count is above 150). What a roller coaster! The doctor decided to try a treatment designed to have a longer term effect- since this ITP thing was chronic, auto-immune and not a one time thing like he suspected.
The treatment called Rituxan is usually given to athritis patients, but it has shown great results in some chronic ITP patients.  The treatment is given once a week by IV for 4 weeks.  I responded really well (like suprisingly fast, the nurse was amazed!) to the first infusion and went through the treatment with platlets above normal for a few weeks.  By week 3, my platlets dropped again even on the treatment.  The doctor thinks it is too early to say if the treatment worked or not- it could take up to 3 months to see lasting results.  So now we wait and see.  Unlike with the prednisone, I feel great. The side effects, mostly from the steroids that they infused to lower the risk of allergic reactions, were short term. I sleep well and have more energy.
During my last Rituxan infusion- Smiley got upgraded to a window seat
I always thought of myself as positive person who had lots of patience. I can tell you that the past months has tested that patience to the max. Waiting on blood results, waiting to see if my body is going to respond to the treatment, waiting on phone calls.  I am also getting a little paranoid, always questioning if a new bruise is a result of a bump or if my platlets have dipped again. Through all this I am smilling. Despite the uncertainty, it is way better than the first flare up and dealing with the prednisone side effects. I am thankfull that I have an awesome support system.  I am greatfull that my family has been there every step of the way and helped me keep my mind off the purple dots and bruises and help me focus on what's important. All through this, life has handed me a few more lemons to juggle on top of the ITP but I happen to like lemonade. I will get through this and keep smiling.  The doctor is very optimistic and reassures me that there are lots of options available in the event that this treatment does not work. He told me not to worry and that is what I am trying to do.  I am now going for weekly blood test to monitor my platlets and will be seeing the doctor for a follow up in 3 months- I'll keep you posted!
A sign that I've been doing better is that I actually scrapbooked!  I should make more time for it as it is very therapeutic, espcially when scapping with my amazing scrappy friends. I made a few layout using the new Zoe collection.  I love the colors of this collection and all the coordinating elements are so fun.  So cheery!
We had to cancel a week long trip we had planned to Quebec because of my Rituxan treatment.  I was really bummed about it, but we did manage to go to Halifax for a weekend during the Buskers' festival.  We had a blast!
We also spent some time on the soccer field this summer.  I love that my daughter loves soccer so much, and she's quite good at it too!

That's it for now.  I have a few more layouts that I want to share with you- stay tuned!
I still have some idea books in stock if anyone wants one, let me know.  I am also looking for a few more people to participate in my hostess club- Get 45$ in free stuff, a half price item and all you have to do is to make a 25$ CTMH order suring 9 of the next 10 months.  For more details or to participate, send me an e-mail at joce.b.roy@gmail.com

Have an awesome day!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My ITP story

Hello friends

I know it has been a while, I'm sorry for being absent all this time.  I simply lost my mojo and have just found it again.  I'll begin by warning you that this post will be long.
I am not one to complain, but the first half of this year has been one of the most challenging of my life.
Let me start at the begining.  Scrapbooking has been a big part of my life.  It has been a sanity saver for me as it helped me escape, be creative and made me focus on all the positives in my life.  Being a stay at home mom, scrapbooking has helped me connect with other women and being a consultant allowed me to scrapbook guilt free as it was also a job.  About 5 years ago, I hurt my wrist shoveling the driveway.  I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrom.  It was not bad a first, but I had to sleep with a brace and scrapbooking had become more challenging as using scissors and other tools started to hurt.  Last december I underwent Carpal Tunnel release surgery.  This was the start of my challenge.  Even though my surgery went well, and I healed from my surgery, it started a domino effect.
Shortly after the holidays, I had the stomach flu,  shortly after I had a cold that seem to be neverending.  In the middle of February I caught a sinus infections.   I was tired of being sick, but everyone around me had colds so I did not think much of it.  It was cold outside and we were getting snow storms after snow storms after all.  For the first time in months I woke up one Monday morning without a headach, able to breath from my nose.  The day went by as normal until I brushed my teeth that night and spit out blood.  I then noticed bruises on my arms that were not there earlier.  I knew I had to go to the hospital.
I was diagnosed with ITP (idiopathis thrombocytopenic purpura) in 2001, but I had not had any symptoms of the disease since I had a spleenectomy that same year.  I had forgotten I had it, but staring at my bruises and purple dots on my hands and feet, the memories of that year all came back.
I was not in the same place in my life.  I had no kids back then, Nobody depended on me like they do now. I was scared as I sat in the hospital waiting room waiting for my blood test results.  I knew when I heard my name though the intercom 30 minutes later that the results were not good. My platelet level were under 4000 ( a normal platelet count is between 150 000 and 400 000)   In the span of 2 weeks I had a platelet transfusion, immunoglobuline treatments, prednisone and iv steroid treatments and 3 blood transfusion.  I left the hospital with a platelet count of 175 000.  Feeling good, but tired with a weening schedule for my prednisone for 6 weeks.  I also had to go to weekly blood test to monitor my platelet levels.
Being on high level prednisone is no fun!  The worst is the jitters and the axious feeling that I had every day.  Then there comes the acne and weight gain and all the other side effects that comes with it.  In that 6 weeks, I gained 25 pounds.  I was going to bed  at the same time and sometimes even earlier than the kids.  I was tired, fatigued, anxious and just going though the motions everyday. Scrapbooking was not on the radar.  I walked past my scrapbooking table everyday on my way to bed and had no desire to even try to make a layout.  My mojo was not lost, it was hiding and I had no idea where to find it.
I was looking forward to the day I was done my prednisone, I was hoping that my life would get back to the way it was before my ITP flare up.  The day came and I did feel better for a few days.  Then came the withdrawls.  I was in bed with fever, nausea, headaches. It was awful!

All that said, I came over that hump, and I am feeling better everyday,  My last platelet count was normal and the doctor thinks that the chances I have another flare up is very low.  I still have to go for monthly bloodtests and will be monitored more closely to avoid another flare up.  I started watching what I eat and will start training for a 10k run next week.  It is frustrating that I have to lose that weight that I worked so hard to keep off for years but it has to be done and I know I will be proud when I attain my goal.
The first half or the year was bad, but I will make the second half make up for it.
All that to say, for the first time in a really really long time, I had not been excited about scrapbooking.  All that changed this morning.  Where was my mojo hiding?  I'll show you!
I received a lovely box of scrapbooking  products and hiding in the bottom among client's orders was these little gems!  I leafed though them while eating lunch and fell in love with scrapboking again.  I can't wait to sit down and create. I can't wait to place my consultant order on the first of August. Can't wait to order more idea books to share with my friends.
Who wants to scrap with me?  I'm scheduling a crop at my house soon, who's in?  I have a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Crush Album- Baltic Cruise Journal

Good morning!

This past August, my husband and I went on a trip of a lifetime.  We booked a cruise with Celebrity Cruises to the Baltic Seas.  We departed from Amsterdam and for 12 days, an interior cabin aboard the Constellation was our home away from home.  We docked in 7 different countries.  We knew we were going to like our trip, but we never expected to fall in love with the cruise life.  Going to bed at night and awaking in another country the next morning was so much fun.  I really loved the down time too.  I even got to scrapbook!
me working on My Crush album in the Reflexions lounge on the ship

I had packed in my luggage a CTMH My Crush album.  It would serve as my journal.  I chose the Wildwood album  and assortments as my base, but I also brought with me Skylark Picture my Life cards and the Wanderful complements stickers.  Along with those supplies, I also brought with me scissors and a journaling pen.  I had forgotten my glue, so one of our first stop was at a grocery store in Amsterdam where I purchased a glue stick (along with other necessities like food, water....).
The Crush album had none of my pictures.  I contemplated bringing my photo printer, but finally decided not to.  Instead I stocked up on tourist information flyers and other free documents at every port.

For the cover, all I added was a few stickers.  The Wanderful sticker set had the boat and the getaway stickers, the alpha stickers are from the Wildwood assortments. 
I added envelopes on the inside cover to place our receipts and other momentos that did not make it inside the album
I saved everything that was given to us and included it somhow in the album.  I don't particularly like journaling, but adding business cards, lists, cutouts of flyers and other documents was an easy way to get the message across without actually writing.
I brought journaling cards with me almost everywhere we went.  I wrote details like the menu so I did not forget later that night. 
After we sailed from Amsterdam, our fist port of call was Warnemunde, Germany.  I saved all our train tickets and entry passes.  I searched for maps of the region as soon a I stepped out of the boat.  I tried to get 2 - one to consult on our trek, one that was carefully placed in my backpack to be cut apart later for my album.
After a day at sea, our next port of call was Tallinn, Estonia.  We were given in our state room every night a destination guide which listed the excursions we could take and gave a list of things to see in the next port along with  and a schedule of activities on ship.  We actually had 2 copies of each, one in french and one in english.  I save an intact copy of each that I placed in a binder, the other copy was cut and pasted in my journal. 
 I loved that I was also able to reference the pictures in the album one I got home and compare them to my own pictures. 
 Our next destination was St-Petersburg, Russia.  We did not have visas to visit on our own, so for the only time during our trip, we booked a tour.  The only way to tour Russia without a visa is if you are on a cruise and you book a tour with a registered tour provider.  It turned out to be a great decision since we saw so much more that we could have on our own, and I think for a fraction of the price. 
We walked, we took the subway, we went by boat and hydrofoils, we covered a lot of distance!  I used the maps from our guides to trace our steps.   
I glued an envelope here to place cards and flyers that I did not want to cut.  I wanted to be able to take the out and read both sides of the documents. 
I traced out rout on another map where we went on our canal boat tour. 
Our amazing tour guide Maria in St-Petersburg brought each of us a copy of the St Petersburg Times.  She made us read this article and then brought us to see it.  I had to include it in my journal. 
We went to a traditional Russian pie restaurant.  Luckily, they had tiny menus.  I got to add one to the album.
 Our next destination was Helsinki Finland.
In Helsinki, we visited the Church in the Rock.  An amazing church that was created by blasting a hole into the rocks.  It was amazing.  They had prayer cards in so many different languages.  I added the french one to my album
From all of our port of calls, Stockholm was our favorite.  It was also the destinations that took the most pages in my album even though it was one of the destination where we spent less time.



Copenhagen was my second favorite.  We walked so much in this city, we were glad that we had a sea day the next day to rest up. 


 After Copenhagen, we had a day at sea.  Leaving the Baltic and entering the North sea, we encountered some very rough seas.  That is why I added a tab from our Gravol box.  Waves of 4-5 meters high had someone in need of some Gravol.
 Our last day in Europe was spent walking around Amsterdam.  We took a canal cruise, shopped for some souvenirs and prepared for our return home. 
 It was simply amazing, a trip of a lifetime, but at this time were ready to head back home and see our girls.   
 We look forward to visiting Europe again and to our next cruise.  Next time, I think we will bring the girls though. 
I love my album.  It was awesome reading it on the plane ride back home, reliving all the moments that I had already forgotten.  We experienced so much in those 2 weeks, it was a great idea that I set aside some time every night to journal what we had saw.  Otherwise we would never had remembered everything that is in this book.  Now when I sit down an work on my picture scrapbook.  I will be able to recall what happened on the day the picture was taken.  I will for sure bring a My Crush album on my next trip!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Tour

I have not written on my blog in a long time!  I am so sorry!  I have not scrapbooked a lot this summer and I had technical difficulties logging on to my blog since we had changed internet provider and email-  What a mess! Obviously I have gained access to my blog again and will be posting more regularly.

So I have the perfect way to get back into the swing of things!  How about a blog tour? A blog hop, sort of like a train of inspiration. 
I was nominated by my friend Michelle.  I strongly suggest you check out her site here .
She is awesome and so very talented.  Prepare to be inspired! 

I was asked these questions:


1. What am I working on right now? 
Organizing my scrap space  in order to prepare for a crop this weekend.  I am planing my card workshop for later this month. I am also going to create a memory board for my mother in law using canvas and foam like I did for Let's Capture our Memories.

2. How long does it take me to create a project?
It varies but in general, not very long.  For a layout- 1-2 hours average.  I sometimes start a layout at night, leave it on my table overnight and return to it with fresh eyes the next day to finish it.  

3. What are my favorite things to create with at the moment? 
I love taking out a picture and doing a standard layout.  I used to be intimidated by cards, but I love making them now.  On my recent trip I made a CTMH My Crush book where I journaled everything we did.  I simply love it and will definitely make another one for our next trip. 

4. How does my writing/creating process work? 
Everything usually starts a picture and then I pick the paper, sketch and everything else to match the story I want to tell

5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired? 
I have to give myself deadlines, otherwise I don't set time for myself to scrapbook.  It really is a therapy for me, I love it, I need it.  If I have fresh pictures to scrap that is all I need to be inspired most of the time.  

6. What is my signature style?

My style is ever changing.  I love bright colors, flowers, bling and ribbon.  I guess it would be a mix of whimsy, romantic and fun. 

Digging into my scrap gallery, here or some of my favorite creations








Now I have to keep this train going and nominate some of the scrapbookers that inspire me.  Other than Michelle, there are lots of fellow scrappers that inspire me.  Not all of them have blogs though. 
My first pick is one of my biggest inspiration and the one that encourages me to expand my scrappy horizons.
She was already nominated but I think you need to see her work

Aurélie over at Rustic Scraps

My second nominee is a whiz with cards.  Her cards are always so pretty and inpiring.
Alyson Mayo at Create with Alyson 

That's it for now.  Come check my blog again tomorrow where I will showcase My Crush album.  Can't wait to show it to you!

Have a creative day!






Friday, March 14, 2014

kusudama and paper cones

My friend over at Let's Capture our Memories  recently gave me a challenge to use a 6X6 paper pack in an unconventional way.  I created this really fun flower using cones and kusudama flowers.

 

It was so much fun, I decided to make another!  I used CTMH Jubilee paper to make the cones.  I love how they both turned out. 

Hope you like it!  Have a great day everyone!

Monday, February 24, 2014

100th post!

I find it funny that I'm writing my 100th post while my daughter is celebrating day 100 at school today. It does not feel like I wrote that may posts. I still feel like a Newbie when it comes to blogging.
Today I'm going to feature some of the kits I prepared over the last couple months.  Every Sunday night is reserved for my scrapbooking time.  I open up my space for others to join me and I feature an optional 2 page layout kit every month.  I sell the kits for 7$ and it includes everything you need to make the 2 page layout.  I still have a few kits of each left.
The first one is this month's layout.  It features the new Jubilee paper with this month cute Stamp of the month Wild About Love
 The next layout was January's kit.  It features the Sarita paper.  I also made flowers using  Sarita textile and some Base and Bling jewels and adhesive dots
The next 2 layouts were the November and December layouts.  I still need to get some snow and Christmas pictures developed to finish them.  The paper used to make those are now retired. 

If you want any of those kits, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail, or simply come on over any sunday night at 7PM to make the kits on site.  Consider yourselves all invited!
I hope you all have an amazing day!