Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Mother's Journey with Breast Cancer

I don't even know how to begin writing this post or even if I should.  I have been very silent about my mother's breast cancer because I still find it hard to believe.  It just all happened so unexpectedly. Some days, it was just too overwhelming.  I tried to keep myself busy with work and my blog so that I wouldn't have too much time to think about it.  I can still recall the day when my mom said those dreaded words to me, " I Have Breast Cancer".  And truth is, nothing or no one will ever prepare you to hear those words.  I remember going completely numb. Unable to move or react.  And to make matters worst, my mom received the news all alone.  Could you imagine having to deal with all those emotions all alone???  I can't.  And the fact that my parents live in Florida meant that I could not drive to her home to hold her and comfort her at that very moment.  I asked God to to give me the right words to say to her but just like all amazing mothers, she was the one providing all the comforting and encouragement to me. And although I can hear a bit of fear in her voice, she did not shed a tear.  Her beautiful spirit was unbroken,  She asked her family to be strong and united for the journey ahead will be long and very difficult.  "But I am going to be fine, she said.  "We will get through this" she said.

Her journey began with a Lumpectomy to remove the cancer in her left breast, along with a small margin of the surrounding breast tissue.  Unfortunately, that first Lumpectomy was unsuccessful and she had to have a second Lumpectomy.  Again, the margins were not clear and so her Oncologist advised her to have total mastectomy in order to prevent any possibility of breast cancer re-occurring. After a couple of consultations with her Oncologists and her plastic surgeon, my mother decided to have breast re-construction following with her mastectomy.  She decided to have what they call "FLAP" re-construction which uses tissue transplanted from another part of the body such as belly, thighs, or back.  The surgeon also disconnects the breast tissue completely from its blood supply and reattaches the tissue to new blood vessels near your chest.  Because their is reattaching of the blodds vessels, the surgery and the recovery takes longer.  The entire surgery, including the mastectomy was going to last from seven to eight hours.   

On March 12, 2015, my mother finally had her surgery.  Her mastectomy went well but her breast re-construction had some minor complications which extended her surgery to 12 hours.  Could you imagine a surgery this long?  This was the longest and most terrifying day of my life.  The waiting seemed endless and uncertain.  Panic and fear started to set in after eight hours of waiting.  I must have driven the poor ladies in the waiting area crazy.  But realizing that my father was just as nervous and terrified as I was, I talked myself into keeping it calm and together for the both of us.  He is has health issues of his own and this was certainly too much for him to handle.

After mom's long and complicated surgery, she was sent to  ICU.  The minute she awoke from her surgery, she was in severe pain and discomfort.  The color on her Flap appeared extremely dark.  But her surgeon re-assured us that everything was ok.  "We need to give it time" he said.  But the color on her Flap did not get any better.  On the second day, things turned terribly wrong,  The new flap or skin as they call it, was even worst in color and my mother's horrible screams and terrible desperation from the pain that she was suffering were even more unnerving.  I desperately called out to the nurses who immediately called all for help.  Her heart was starting to show signs of trouble and started having difficulty breathing.  It appeared that there was some internal bleeding but they could not be certain until they re-opened to see what was happening.  The surgeon said to me she needs to have another surgery.  To which I responded, "You have to be kidding".  She just had surgery that lasted 12 hours, you have been at the hospital just as long and are you capable of performing another surgery after such a long day.  More importantly, is my mother even able to withstand another long surgery??  Well, there was really not much choice in the matter.  It needed to be done at that point and so she had to undergo emergency surgery.  I have never been more scared or frighten in my life. Worried about her undergoing another long and delicate surgery was just too much to bare.  At times, I wanted to run off and scream my lungs out but I thank God for giving the faith, strength and ability to control my emotions and for giving me resolve to keep my father calm.  Although at times I would see his eyes fill up with tears and face with filled with worry, he managed to keep it together too.  But I tell you, there were angels watching over her.  My biggest blessing was seeing her sweet brown eyes open up after that second surgery.  She is strong and resilient.  I don't know if I be as strong.

We learned that she had developed a large Hematoma because there were problems with the new connected blood vessels.  The blood was pumping into her chest but unable to pump out and caused it to be swollen and to press against her chest.  Her surgeon had to take a vein from her leg to give it a larger opening for the blood to have better flow.  Her recovery will be slow but she is making great progress.  Some days are better than others.  Her mastectomy was successful and we pray that she continues to be cancer free.

Lastly, I cannot emphasize the importance of doing your research.  To learn all your options and to get as many professional opinions as you can.  To ensure that you are a good candidate for whatever type of surgery you choose to have and to learn all the risks before hand.  I am not a a professional on this matter but based on our experience, I don't think my mother was a good candidate for this "Flap" surgery.  And I would also have preferred for her to have the re-construction a few months after her mastectomy.

To say that this was a life changing experience is an understatement.  I learned lessons that will last a life time.  I also learned that faith, love and family will always help us endure the challenges and difficulties that life brings.  I will never forget how brave and courageous my mom was through it all. I will always remember dignity and resilience.  How she still put on a smile and had such a positive attitude through it all.  I am so proud to be her daughter.  She has taught me the best lesson of all. To cope with lives difficulties straight on and to not be afraid.   And for that reason, I felt the need to share my mom's journey.  And to give hope and information to other families that may be going through this difficult process.

Thank you for visiting my blog today for taking the time to read my mother's story.



Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Growing China Collection

Hello world.  I hope your week is going well.  We are in the middle of another wintry mess today could you believe???  Another blast of snow and ice.  It appears that winter wants to hang around a while longer.  What does one have to do to bring a bit of warmth and sunshine in these parts???  I guess moving to a warmer climate would be one solution right???  Something to think about for sure.

Today, I am sharing a few photos of my growing china collection.  Although I don't consider myself a collector but rather an admirer of beauty and fine design.  It is an appreciation for detail, history and patina. But more than that, I love making use of  my vintage pieces.  These beautiful pieces are durable and were meant to be used.

I find myself drawn to delicate floral designs.  Often I tend to gravitate to pieces with a soft and feminine color palette.  My collection today includes many pieces made in the city of Limoges, France.  

This pattern made by T & V is a perfect example of fine craftmanship and design.  So many lovely details.  I only have two of these tea cups in my collection and I consider them to be one of my favorite treasures.  I hope to find a few more pieces in this pattern someday.


I also have many English pieces by Royal Doulton,and Royal Albert.  The tea cups below are by Royal Doulton in the rare Gleneagles pattern. I was lucky enough to find a complete set at my local thrift shop a couple of years ago.  It is permanently displayed in my china cabinet.

Another favorite pattern is this blue and white set by English maker Royal Staffordshire in the highly collectible Charlotte pattern.

Here is a tea cup by American maker Pope Gosser in the Rose Point pattern.

Another pattern by Homer Laughlin.  Eggshell Georgian.

Today, we are lucky enough to find many of these gorgeous pieces at thrift shops, flea markets and antique shops.  I consider scouring these places a sport.   Maybe it's my love for a touching story or a link to the past, but my heart sighs when I come across a new treasure.  There is something about an old piece that balances my fast-paced life.   And although these pieces appear to be delicate and dainty, they are surprisingly strong and durable.  They are also an inexpensive way to add color and charm to your home decor or table.  Your home will be that much lovelier.

Are you a collector too??  What speaks to your heart???

I hope you enjoyed the peek of my growing collection of vintage china.

Thank you for visiting me today.




Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tablescapes ~ A French Inspired Table

Happy Sundays friends.   Today I am sharing a table with a bit of French influence.  My inspiration for this table were a couple of tea cups that I found at Home Goods which had a lovely Toile design in the interior of the cup and our Chanel inspired napkin rings which are now available on our website,

Although I don't set a fancy table everyday, I do enjoy to set a pretty table on my days off.   And why not treat ourselves to such simple joys when we all work too hard not to...  Celebrating everyday life is a wonderful thing don't you think???

I began with a simple white table cloth and layered a delicate open work white placemat on to each setting to add some texture to the table. A simple white dinner plate creates the base for the dark blue and white striped salad plate that matches the tea cups.  The added soft peach tulip center piece as well as the pastel colored macaroons make this table feminine and charming.   Perfect for a spring or Mother's Day tea gathering.

I love the unique design of this tea cup.  A very modern and chic design. 

I was lucky enough to find the salad plates and tea pot that matched the pretty tea cups.  All purchased from Home Goods.  Oh how I love that store.


Here are our delicate and chic Chanel inspired napkin rings made with faceted black glass beads, rondelles and white glass pearls.  Available for purchase from our online

Thank you for visiting me today friends.  For those of you that have a Facebook account, it would be wonderful if you would stop by our Napkin Ring Bling Facebook page and like  

May you all have a blessed week.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Random Saturday Inspiration

Happy Saturday to you all.  I am stopping by for quick hello and to share a little random inspiration on what has turned out to be another brutally cold and snowy day.  The only good thing about these extremely cold temperatures, is that spending all this extra time indoors allows one time to work of those projects and household chores that have been put aside or just plainly forgotten.  

One of those tasks I been putting off was sewing a couple of pillows and valances for my sun room. The makeover of the room is almost complete.  I am just working on the finishes right now.  Those beautiful objects and details that bring a room together.  And my husband is working on a radiator enclosure for the old, but still very functional, radiator in the room.  Little magical wonders from the past that keep our older home cozy and warm.  I can't wait to share the makeover with you all.

And as the winter chill whistles outside, I hope that these serene and sweet images bring a little warmth to your heart and inspiration.

How are you spending your Saturday???  

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.  Thank you for visiting.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tablescapes ~ Petal Soft

Happy Sunday friends.  I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.  Today, I am sharing a sweet and charming table inspired by the colors of spring.

When wintry breezes make their way in and frigid temperatures take over here in the Northeast, soft pastels, light linens, and spring flowers are all pretty ways to help us warm up the soul and dream of spring.

Simple Antique White plates from Mikasa and pastel pink salad plates from Ikea make charming setting.   I am always drawn to pink.  It is soft, delicate and never overwhelms.

A delicate whisper soft pink rose adds a sweet touch to each place setting. 

Our bright breakfast room is always my favorite spot to entertain.

Simple stripped dish towels from Ikea add color and texture to each place setting.  Silver plate flatware is by Oneida.  Clear goblets are from Mikasa and pink ones were found at Home Goods.

May all the joys of this romantic month be yours.

Wishing you a lovely week,


Friday, February 13, 2015

Romantic Home

February is for all of us with romantic hearts.  A month for lots of roses, pretty dishes and plenty of chocolates.  

And have I ever mentioned how much I love roses and pretty dishes??  Like these little cream and Fuchsia roses that I found at my local supermarket or the Spode Billingsley Rose china found on Ebay.  Not for using on a daily basis, but pretty to look at everyday.

Palettes of soft pastels and serene neutral tones always inspire me.  

Who wouldn't love to drink some warm tea or coffee from this sweet tea cup.

Not everyday day is sunny and warm around here.  In fact, it's been extremely cold.  SO cold that I am not even going to bother telling you.  But looking at these pretty pieces help me feel warm inside.  

Wishing you a beautiful and romantic Valentine's Day.



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