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Exploring the Beauty of Ohio and Beyond...


December Skies

I've mentioned in many blogs that often what you go out in search of is not what you eventually photograph. There have been many times where days looked futile with horrible weather only to turn out some beautiful photos. Sometimes you go out to shoot landscapes and end up shooting close-up trees or leaves. Two years ago, I wrote about Christmas coming at just the right time, during some untimely circumstances and a trip that had to rescheduled.

I apologize in advance for the length of this blog. A lot happened in November and December and I haven't really processed it all it. This blog has always been my vehicle for doing that and this was just got quite a bit more put into it. After the previous blog was posted, I spent about the next month still sort of up and down and I've stayed on short term disability till December 30th as I had numerous doctor appointments and a couple of procedures planned as well as I would be starting a different treatment starting December. The last treatment I was on lasted 18 months which is good for my type of aggressive clear cell Ovarian cancer. Treatments usually must be changed every 4-6 months. I was just getting to the point where I couldn’t tolerate the side effects and they weren’t sure it was still working well. I was also hoping to regain some strength and travel for Thanksgiving.

We originally planned to meet my family in Indiana where my one sister, her husband, and my nephew and his wife all live. It soon became clear I wasn't up to traveling, but everyone quickly made plans to come to Columbus. We figured out we could fit 10 people to eat at our house. We were in the process of getting ready when I started to feel even worse. I ended up in the hospital on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Really high calcium and c-diff. I had high calcium in February. It is a common side effect of a lot of cancers. It causes extreme fatigue, pain, muscle spasms especially in the hands, and confusion. For me it also messes with my emotions (probably related to the confusion part). At high levels, it can be deadly. C-Diff, if you are not familiar with it, is an infection caused by long-term antibiotic use in people who are immunocompromised. Since I was tethered to strong antibiotics 24/7 from April to September, I was a prime candidate. We canceled anyone coming for Thanksgiving.

I was released Thursday evening after a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital. I was extremely disappointed though that Thanksgiving and seeing my family hadn't take place, but we found out on Friday that one of my brother-in-laws, who had been having some health issues himself, has MRSA. God granted us the timely gift of not being exposed to MRSA and my brother-in-law could have gotten worse or hospitalized away from home had he attempted to travel.

My new cancer treatment started the first week of December. It's a combo of three chemotherapies; Gemcitabine, Cisplatin, and Bevacizumab for those interested. It takes most of an afternoon every other week to infuse them. I was fine the next day, but by Saturday I felt really bad and spent most of the next week in bed. Thankfully, by the next Friday I felt well enough to get the Covid-19 test so we could go to my company Christmas party on Saturday. Twenty-Five years in an IT job is a rare thing and I really wanted to celebrate and see everyone. While tiring, we had a great time. I work with a loving and supporting group of people. Surprisingly, on Sunday I had enough energy to go along with Jim and his sister Melody to Homestead Park. They pushed me in the wheelchair as walking it, as of right now, was out of the question. They are doing the winter hike series, I just wanted to see the Christmas lights. Another timely gift.

In retrospect, I think the first treatment hitting me so hard was mostly due to my body still dealing with the high calcium. As my second treatment was on Wednesday, December 15, my friend, Nikki, and I were a little concerned about a concert she'd bought tickets for us months ago for that Friday. We were able to go, and it was fantastic. Thankfully, we were able to get handicapped seats and were away from the bulk of the crowd. It was exactly what I needed. Yet another timely gift coming out of untimely circumstances. We won't know if the new treatment is working until my next CT scan which I do not have scheduled yet. In addition to the chemo every other week, I'm trying to do acupuncture and physical therapy visits every two weeks as well as just trying to be more active in general.

Mornings are still a huge struggle and the time I'm most likely to be in pain. Honestly, having Jim home has made things a bit easier. Oh, yes, I haven't talked about that yet. The Monday after Thanksgiving, Jim had a video meeting with his work at 10 am. He gets home around 8:30 am from his shift. The meeting lasted about 10 minutes and was basically, "sorry, we are getting rid of the night shift and laying you off." We've actually been expecting this and even joked a little bit about it before the meeting. The company that held the contract had changed twice in two years and they are down to serving one customer at that site. Jim has tended to utilize his skills with older technologies, but unfortunately that also means the jobs eventually end. He's taking some time to relax. My medical issues are really like a part-time job for him as I'm sure any caregiver can relate to. Due to my medical problems in the spring, he didn’t get a chance to train much for 5K’s but managed to run the Cat Caper in the early fall. He’s doing the Winter Hike series at our Metro Parks and even has Melody, his sister, doing most of them. Also, he wants to investigate some other fields; medical, pharmacy tech, library, etc. that may be able to utilize his combined skills from over the years. We honestly see this as a blessing as we are at a point, financially, due to some amazing blessings over the past few years that he can focus more on getting a job he wants rather than having to take something out of necessity. Another timely gift during untimely circumstances.

Speaking of endings, sadly 3060 Gallery closed at the end of the year after losing our lease. While I've only been a guest resident/resident for about a year, 3060 Gallery has been a large part of my life for the last four years. I still remember initial talks with a friend about the idea of the gallery at the end of 2017. I was at the opening in 2018 and had an August show that year. I had prints in every holiday market and participated in a group show. As featured artist in October 2020 led to a guest residency and then to full resident, all the problems of my cancer and treatments this year seemed to rob me of a lot of what I wanted to do as a resident. I will miss my time with them dearly. To all the artists I've met over the years, thank you. Coming from a very technical business-oriented background, I found creativity late in life and all you have changed my perspective on who artists are, on the need for art, how hard you work, and how much beauty you add to our world.

Through 3060 Gallery, I also displayed work at 2021 Wesley Glen Retirement Community (a show organized by fellow resident artist, Carol Wallenfelsz) and CleanTurn (a company owned by the owner of the building where 3060 Gallery was). I also participated in Studio on High's "Hit the Hop" show again.

I also have a show at Innis House in Inniswood Metro Gardens in June. This show will most likely focus on the Columbus Metro Parks. I'll send out more info as we get closer. I'm rethinking how I want to present my work online and seeking new venues to share it in.

The bulk of my work has moved to Urban Acupuncture in Clintonville until the end of January which was another timely gift coming out of untimely circumstances as I didn't have to worry about bringing EVERYTHING home right after the holidays. I was humbled and delighted that I can show here as I think Acupuncture has helped me a lot.

We decided to watch the Christmas Eve church service from home. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas evening meal and gift exchange at Jim's brother's home. The turkey and pumpkin pie we'd bought for the Thanksgiving that didn't happen thawed nicely to provide our main meal and a dessert (among far too many..lol). New Year's Eve was spent with good friends, food, and movie, a tradition that we had to skip last year.

We're slowly working on some projects around the house. A new mattress has helped with some of the hip pain the cancer/treatments was causing. Our original gas fireplace from when the house was built 18 years ago rusted out and is being replaced in January with a much better one. I get to choose the tiling to go around it after it's installed.  Jim is eager to replace our water heater since it too is aging. I've got some art I purchased that really hasn't found a home yet on my walls. We still need to get our parking pad repaved and some spots on our foundation patched up (cosmetic), but those are spring/summer jobs.

I also have a show scheduled at Innis House in Inniswood Metro Gardens in June 2022. This show will most likely focus on the Columbus Metro Parks. I'll send out more info on that as we get closer. I'm rethinking how I want to present my work online and seeking new venues to share it in. And while 2021 was mostly about sharing my existing art, I hope to create some new ones in 2022 as well.

We hope everyone had wonderful holidays and we wish you and yours a happy and blessed 2022.

Special Offer: Those of you that have received our physical Christmas Cards in the past know that for the last few years I've sent out full 5x7 photo cards. This year I had to do something different. If you want a 5x7 of ANY photo in my portfolio for free, just contact me using my Purchase Page and mention "blog". Please understand I may wait to print several requests at a time, so be patient. Let me know if the photo is time-sensitive (e.g. a birthday or anniversary gift), and I'll get it to you in time. This offer is good till 02/28/2022.

Next: Coming Soon!

  • Marc Schroeder

    on January 6, 2022

    Hi, Rose--
    Thanks for sharing, as always. What a lot of ups and downs. I am filled with admiration for your spirit--spunk--courage--positive carry-on attitude. God bless you and Jim in 2022! I'm going to try to order one of those gift prints. See if I can figure out how to do it.... God bless!

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