Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cancer takes another good one

"England" Dan Seals passed away Wednesday night. He was once part of the duo, England Dan and John Ford Coley. His latest hit was "Meet me in Montana" with Marie Osmond.
England Dan was a gentle soul and I loved his music. He evidently fought the good fight with lymphoma.
He is survived by a wife and 4 children.
Here is the link to his obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/wacotrib/obituary.aspx?n=dan-seals&pid=125485210
Today I stitch for England Dan.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two more ornaments from a friend

My Texas friend, Jeanine, sent these two beautiful ornaments. And are these beautiful!
The finishing is some of the nicest I have seen. She stitched the angel on (what I think is) 28 count over 1. And added some metallic bling to the wings.
The blackwork (or again "pinkwork") ornament is so cute. It has a little beaded charm at the corner of the bottom and is finished on the back with pink fabric that has gold dragonflies on it. Here are the front and back of both ornaments:

Thank you Jeanine for stitching these two wonderful ornaments.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another ornament from a friend

My friend Jean sent me this sweet ornament. The finish is so cute! It actually looks like a round ornament! The pink ribbon with the flower is just so precious.
So without further ado, here is the ornament:

Thank you so much Jean for sending this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hope from across the sea

I received this lovely ornament from Jayne (or Ginnie to some of you bloggers). She lives in the UK. Isn't this just lovely? If you could see it in person you would know that it has the most beautiful beadwork and blackwork done in pink (does that make it pinkwork?).
I can't say enough about the wonderful folks who are joining me in this project. I read on another of my blogging friend's blog today that she lost a friend to cancer. I pray for the day we no longer have to lose people we love to this disease.
You can find Jayne at http://ginniescrossstitch.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The light of Cheryl and thyroid cancer

Lumière de Cheryl is the color of thread from Carrie's Threads that I used to stitch this ornament. The purple color fabric is for general cancer awareness.
This is what I know about Cheryl. She had thyroid cancer and had to have virtually her entire neck reconstructed as a result. She lived several years after her surgery and even saw one of her son's get married. But the "fake" neck collapsed and she died as a result.
Thyroid cancer isn't talked about much, so here is a little bit of knowledge for you:
Thyroid cancer is a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland. In order to understand thyroid cancer, it helps to know about the normal structure and function of the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is under the Adam's apple in the front part of the neck. In most people, it cannot be seen or felt. It is butterfly shaped, with 2 lobes -- the right lobe and the left lobe -- joined by a narrow isthmus
The thyroid gland contains mainly 2 types of cells -- thyroid follicular cells and C cells (also called parafollicular cells).
The follicular cells use iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormone, which helps regulate a person's metabolism. Too much thyroid hormone (a condition called hyperthyroidism) can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, trouble sleeping, nervousness, hunger, weight loss, and a feeling of being too warm. Too little hormone (called hypothyroidism) causes a person to slow down, feel tired, and gain weight. The amount of thyroid hormone released by the thyroid is regulated by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which makes a substance called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
C cells (parafollicular cells) make calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate how the body uses calcium.
Other, less common cells in the thyroid gland include immune system cells (lymphocytes) and supportive (stromal) cells.
Different cancers develop from each kind of cell. The differences are important because they affect how serious the cancer is and what type of treatment is needed.
Many types of tumors can develop in the thyroid gland. Most of these tumors are benign (non-cancerous). Others are malignant (cancerous), which means they can spread into nearby tissues and to other parts of the body.

Orange is for Leukemia

The orange color ribbon is for leukemia awareness. Here is the ornament I have stitched for two leukemia patients that have touched my heart.

In the center of the ornament is a charm. One side says "Love Much" and the other side says "Laugh Often"
Kim was a leukemia patient I never met, but had the joy of trying to find her a bone marrow match. I spent a lot of time with her mom and dad and with her kids. Kim had 3 boys and a husband who loved her along with her parents and aunts and uncles and friends. She is the "Love Much" side of the ornament for she was loved much. Kim fought the good fight. But in the end, this horrible disease took her from us much, much too soon.
Justin was also a leukemia patient. He developed leukemia when he was a child, went into remission and lived several years cancer free. But it raised it's ugly head when he was about 15. Justin is the "Laugh Often" side of my ornament. He was one of our spokespersons for the need for blood and bone marrow donors. Justin saved literally hundreds of lives through people who just wanted to help, but weren't a match for Justin. In the end, Justin just wanted to be a normal teenager, not a spokesperson.
His senior year of high school, Justin was so sick, but still had to try to keep up his muscle strength. But he didn't have much inspiration for working out. That is until some young, beautiful girl said YES to his invitation to prom or maybe he said yes to her invitation, I don't remember. But whatever, his mom said that day he went to lifting weights and working out again. He wanted to "laugh much".
Justin is now resting at peace, his body no longer in pain. I miss him much.
Now here is the scoop on leukemia:
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), also called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is a cancer that starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of the bones, where new blood cells are made). In most cases, the leukemia invades the blood fairly quickly. It can then spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and testes. Other types of cancer that start in these organs and then spread to the bone marrow are not leukemia.
The other types of cancer that start in lymphocytes are known as lymphomas (non-Hodgkin lymphoma or Hodgkin disease). The main difference between these types of cancers is that ALL starts in the bone marrow and may spread to other places, while lymphomas start in lymph nodes or other organs and then may spread to the bone marrow. Sometimes cancerous lymphocytes are found in both the bone marrow and lymph nodes when the cancer is first diagnosed , which can make it hard to tell if the cancer is a leukemia or a lymphoma.. If more than 25% of the bone marrow is replaced by cancerous lymphocytes, the disease is usually considered to be a leukemia. The size of lymph nodes is also important. The bigger they are, the more likely the disease is a lymphoma. For more information on lymphoma, see our document, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
The term "acute" means that the leukemia can progress quickly, and if not treated, would probably be fatal in a few months. "Lymphocytic" or "lymphoblastic" means it develops from cells called lymphocytes or lymphoblasts. This is different from acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which develops in another white blood cell type found in the bone marrow.Types of Leukemia
Not all leukemias are the same. Leukemias are divided into 4 main types. Knowing the specific type of leukemia can help doctors better predict each patient's prognosis (outlook) and select the best treatment.

Acute Leukemia Versus Chronic Leukemia

The first factor to consider in classifying a patient's leukemia is if most of the abnormal cells are mature (look like normal white blood cells) or immature (look more like stem cells).

Acute leukemia: In acute leukemia, the bone marrow cells cannot mature properly. Immature leukemia cells continue to reproduce and build up. Without treatment, most patients with acute leukemia would live only a few months. Some types of acute leukemia respond well to treatment, and many patients can be cured. Other types of acute leukemia have a less favorable outlook.

Chronic leukemia: In chronic leukemia, the cells can mature partly but not completely. These cells are not really normal. They generally do not fight infection as well as do normal white blood cells. And, of course, they survive longer, build up, and crowd out normal cells. Chronic leukemias tend to progress over a longer period of time, and most patients can live for many years. However, chronic leukemias are generally harder to cure than acute leukemias.

Myeloid Leukemia Versus Lymphocytic Leukemia

The second factor to consider in classifying leukemia is the type of bone marrow cells that are affected.

Myeloid leukemia: Leukemias that start in early forms of myeloid cells - white blood cells other than lymphocytes, red blood cells, or platelet-making cells (megakaryocytes) - are myeloid leukemias (also known as myelocytic, myelogenous, or non-lymphocytic leukemias).

Lymphocytic leukemia: If the cancer starts in early forms of lymphocytes, it is called lymphocytic leukemia (also known as lymphoid leukemia). Lymphomas are also cancers of lymphocytes. But, unlike lymphocytic leukemias, which develop in the bone marrow, lymphomas develop from lymphocytes in lymph nodes or other organs.

By considering whether they are acute or chronic, and whether they are myeloid or lymphocytic, leukemias can be divided into 4 main types:

acute myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (AML)
chronic myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (CML)
acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL)
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Although ALL is the most common of the 4 major types of leukemia among children, it is actually the least common type among adults.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hope for a cure-Organ, tissue and bone marrow donation

Hope. That is what keeps most cancer patients, their friends and families and those who are working for a cure, going. One simple word hope.
Green is also the color ribbon for organ and tissue donation and I am throwing in bone marrow donation into it also.
I received this dyed fabric from Penny. It is so pretty. And this floss is some of the Carrie's threads I bought. It is called Jelly Fish.
I felt the need to do something in spring time colors. And these two ornaments are just perfect. What better colors to spell out HOPE?
Do you know how easy it is to become an organ or tissue donor? In most states it is as simple as checking the box "yes I want to be an organ or tissue donor" on your driver's license. BUT most importantly, it is letting your family know that this is what you want after you are gone for it will be they that make this decision. Don't make them guess. TELL THEM! Remember, don't take your organs to heaven, we need them here on earth!
And do you know how easy it is to register for the bone marrow registry? As painless as swapping the inside of your mouth with a q-tip.
And while I am talking about pain (or painlessness) let me talk to you about donating bone marrow or in most cases now, stem cells. If you are a match for someone, mostly instead of bone marrow they will take stem cells from you. It is basically like donating blood. Very easy and very painless.
Donating bone marrow (if you are a match) is not really that bad either. It is a day treatment, you are asleep for the procedure and you are just a little sore in your hips for a day or so. Not too bad for what you would be doing: SAVING SOMEONE'S LIFE!
And while Caucasian donors are always encouraged to register, if you are of some other ethnic background, you are so NEEDED! Because blood types are hereditary, sometimes it takes someone of the patient's ethnic background to be the PERFECT donor for them.
HOPE! We need it! But mostly we need you to help make a difference. That is what this project and this blog is all about. Giving hope to others!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Kidney Cancer & blood donation

Green is the color ribbon for kidney cancer. First let me tell you about kidney cancer:
Kidney cancer is a cancer that starts in the kidneys. To understand more about kidney cancer, it helps to know about the normal structure and function of the kidneys.
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist and weighing about 4 to 5 ounces. They are fixed to the upper back wall of the abdominal cavity. One kidney is just to the left and the other just to the right of the spine. Both are protected by the lower ribcage.The kidneys' main job is to filter blood and rid your body of excess water, salt, and waste products. The filtered waste products are concentrated into urine. Urine leaves the kidneys through long slender tubes called ureters that connect to the bladder. Urine flows down the ureters into the bladder, where it is stored until you urinate.
The kidneys also help make sure the body has enough red blood cells. It does this by making a hormone called erythropoietin, which tells the bone marrow to make more red blood cells.
Although our kidneys are important, we actually need less than one complete kidney to function. Tens of thousands of people in the United States are living normal healthy lives with just one kidney. Some people may not have any working kidneys at all, and survive with the help of a medical procedure called dialysis. Dialysis uses a specially designed machine that acts like a real kidney to filter the blood.
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also known as renal cell cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma, is by far the most common type of kidney cancer. It accounts for about 9 out of 10 kidney cancers.
Although RCC usually grows as a single mass within the kidney, sometimes tumors are found in more than one part of the kidney or even in both kidneys at the same time. Some renal cell carcinomas are noticed only after they have become quite large, but most are found before they metastasize (spread) to distant organs in the body. Often they are found on CT scans or ultrasounds being done for concerns other than kidney cancer. Like most cancers, RCC is hard to treat once it has metastasized.
I had a good friend pass away from kidney cancer. His name was Charlie and he served on my donor council for the blood center I work for. He believed strongly in volunteer blood donors and even when he was in pain from his cancer, he still came to volunteer. It made him sad that his cancer prevented him from doing one of the things he loved to do: Saving lives by donating blood.
75% of blood products used are used by cancer patients. Without these lifesaving units of blood, many cancer patients would not be able to have the chemotherapy that is killing the cancer in their bodies.
I have a favor to ask in Charlie's name: If you can donate blood, please do so. If you can't, then encourage someone to donate. No matter where you are, blood is life. Do something great today! Donate blood!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer

Teal is the color ribbon for ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer. Here is the ornament I stitched for these cancers:

One of my directors, Keith ( in charge of golf & fundraising, sometimes at the same time) lost his mother Caroline to ovarian cancer. This ornament is in honor of her.
Now, here are some details about ovarian cancer:
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 2008. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in women.
A woman’s risk of getting invasive ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 71. Her lifetime chance of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is about 1 in 95. (These statistics do not count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.)
This cancer mainly develops in older women. Around two-thirds of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 55 or older. It is slightly more common in white women that African-American women.
The ovarian cancer incidence rate has been slowly falling over the past 20 years. The incidence rate is a precise way for scientists to describe how common or rare a disease is and is defined as the number of new cases diagnosed each year per 100,000 women.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. It is estimated that there will be about 15,520 deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States during 2008.
About 3 in 4 women with ovarian cancer survive at least 1 year after diagnosis. Almost half (45%) of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least 5 years after diagnosis (this is called the 5-year survival rate). Women younger than 65 have better 5-year survival rates than older women. If ovarian cancer is found (and treated) before the cancer has spread outside the ovary, the 5-year survival rate is 92%. However, less than 20% of all ovarian cancers is found at this early stage.
In addition to ovarian cancer, teal represents cervical and uterine cancers. One of the simplest and best ways to check and prevent or keep the cancer from spreading is a yearly well woman exam.
Now that being said, I have a confession. This well educated blogger who tries to stay on top of her other health issues and is no stranger to her physician's office, has not had a gyn exam or a pap smear in SEVERAL years. Even though her insurance now has a no out of pocket exam fee policy in effect. She has not gone for a FREE exam yet, even though she promised herself and her friends and family that she would do this in 2008 (and has promised again to do this in 2009).
Why, you may ask? I don't know. I simply don't know. Like I said, I go to my regular physician all the time.
So get out your wet noodles. This year I must go.
AND SO MUST YOU. No woman should needlessly die from any of these diseases!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Burgundy is the color of the ribbon for hemangioma. What in the world is "hemangioma" you might ask? Well this is what I Googled, but I have even more to tell you about this blood vessel filled tumor. Here is what I found:
Hemangiomas are connected to the circulatory system and filled with blood. The appearance depends on location. If they are on the surface of the skin they look like a ripe strawberry, if they are just under the skin they present as a bluish swelling. Sometimes they grow in internal organs such as the liver or larynx. In most cases, hemangiomas will disappear over time. They are formed either during gestation or most commonly they are not present at birth but appear during the first few weeks of life. They are often misdiagnosed, initially, as a scratch or bruise but the diagnosis becomes obvious with further growth. Typically at the earliest phase in a superficial lesion one will see a bluish red area with obvious blood vessels and surrounding pallor. Sometimes they present as a flat red or pink area. Hemangiomas are the most common childhood tumor, occurring in approximately ten percent of Caucasians, and are less prevalent in other races. Females are three to five times more likely to have hemangiomas than males. They are also more common in twin pregnancies. Approximately 80% are located on the face and neck, with the next most prevalent location being the liver. Although hemangiomas are benign, some serious complications can occur. Hemangiomas never develop as an adult.
Now, here is my story: My sweet niece was born with this little red spot on her cheek. It grew and grew until it looked like this

At 22 months my sister took my niece to Little Rock, where Dr. Milton Waner removed this tumor (hemanigioma). This can be a very dangerous surgery because as mentioned, it is filled with blood vessels and can bleed uncontrollably during surgery.
All went well and my niece is now 20 years old. A faint scar on her jawline is all that remains. Here is a picture of Sabrina and her boyfriend Tory:

American Cancer Society funds research into learning more about all kinds of tumors, benign and otherwise. So what we are doing is very important.
Just ask Sabrina!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This lovely ornament was made by Carol H. It is beautifully stitched and the finishing is just so lovely. Love, I have used that word a lot in this post and the word love is on the back of this ornament. I think love is the word because this was definitely made with love! Thanks so much!