Category Archives: Uncategorized

BRCA Journey Part 1

On July 4th 1998 I stood on the front porch of my parent’s house in Maysville, KY and cut off my 46 year old mother’s thinning hair. Earlier that year Mom had been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She fought hard for the next 10 years, taking every chemo treatment available until the treatments ran out along with Mom’s time here on earth.

Mom's haircut

I’m not sure what spurred it on, a nudge from her doctors or just her own curiosity, but Mom started researching our family history of cancer and found that her father’s side of the family was drenched in breast cancer, ovarian cancer and stomach cancer (most likely ovarian as well). Years later her half sister, Sandy, was also diagnosed.

In 2002 Mom underwent BRCA genetic testing to see if our family’s history of cancer was indeed genetic. Mom tested positive for two gene mutations confirming her genetic predisposition to cancer. Because Mom was a carrier of the mutations, there was a 50% chance that my sister and I were also carriers. We were both tested; my big sis got the luck of the draw and tested negative (yaaaay!) while I tested positive for one of Mom’s mutations (booooo!).20161124_133441.jpg

I want it to be noted that I don’t hold any negative feelings toward my sister for stealing all the good non-cancer genes. Sure she also stole the ‘I look 15 years younger than I actually am’ genes and the ‘I can multitask like a bad mamma-jamma’ genes, but I’m taller, I don’t sunburn, and eating ice cream has never thrown me into an asthmatic attack so… I call it evens. Besides, we both got the ‘derpy’ genes.

20161124_133443.jpg

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Afton, all of the Mutants I know have really incredible super powers. Does your mutation give you super strength or the ability to over consume pizza and still fight crime?” Sadly, the answer is no. While my pizza consumption is on the higher end for someone my size I have not acquired any super powers. I guess you could consider me more of a ‘Rogue’, because let’s be honest, her mutation sucks too.

rogue-xmen-dofp-1280bjpg-f55350_1280w

What the BRCA gene mutation DOES give me is:

A 55-65% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70.

A 35-70% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70

*Men who carry the mutations are also at a higher risk for breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Guys, I KNOW!! I’m totally being a Debbie Downer,

debbie1

but I want you to know this stuff because:

A) If your family tree has a crazy amount of breast, ovarian and or prostate cancer, you might have a greater risk, but you are not alone! And there’s something you can do about it. Get tested! Take control of you future.

B) There’s no good screening method for ovarian cancer. By the time most women start experiencing warning signs, if ever, it’s too late in the game.

debbie 2

C) The risk involved for those of us with the BRCA mutation is just too high to ignore. This is why most women with the mutation opt for preventative hysterectomy and double mastectomy. (If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow. That seems pretty extreme.” You’re right. It is extreme. And I pray that someday this won’t be the norm, but for now these preventative surgeries are the best options the medical community can provide.)

debbie 3

D) I will need your help! Meals, encouragement, support for Josh and the boys, maybe a hair wash.  And prayers, lots of prayers.

DD) If I look different (ahem) the next time you see me you’ll know why.

So, here I am, 4 days away from my 36th birthday. In 3 days I have an appointment at the Women’s Oncology Center in St. Louis to schedule my preventative surgeries and discuss my options. I’m not 100% sure what that will look like. I’m not afraid, a bit anxious, but also really ready to start on this journey. If these surgeries will provide me the opportunity to someday sit on the back porch with old man Josh Nordean while we watch our grandkids play in the yard then I’ll take it, all day everyday.

Screenshot_20170125-110016.jpg

Thanks for reading friends! I covet your love and support. And cheesecake. If you have any cheesecake, I covet that too.

 

Advertisements

A Little Loominous

When we found out that baby #3 was a boy I immediately set out to find the perfect fabric for his quilt. Boy fabric is tricky to me. I could spend millions on all of the pretty florals out there but I’m just not that into a lot of what’s offered up for boys. But when I saw Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous collection I knew I’d found a winner.

image

Aren’t these patterns yummy?! And those colors? Gaaaa! 😍

I had originally planned on using a random half square design, but once I got all of the blocks sewn and up on my design wall it all just looked too messy for my liking. After moving the blocks around in a few different designs and with some help from my good friend Jennifer I finally settled on a design. Unfortunately some of the fabrics I purchased didn’t make it into the final quilt, but I’m sure I’ll find good use for them in another project.

image

What do you think?

image

image

image

image

image

I’m loving it.
Here’s an in process shot.

image

Taken after Jennifer helped with the design and obviously before I cleaned my house.

image

I think he likes it.

Random Rectangles – Lauren is a Mommy!

What do you do when your college best friend/roommate has a beautiful baby boy? You make them a quilt, of course!

But let me slow down here and give you a little background info on the new mom. Lauren is an excellent sushi eating partner, she has killer dance moves, she does not like it if you fart in her bedroom and she only gets slightly irritated if she slices off part of her finger with an exacto knife, at God knows what hour of the night, and you won’t wake up to go to the emergency room with her. Don’t ask me how I know these things…especially about the farts.

  

Ohmygosh. Look at how cute we were. 

But Lauren is so much more than a great sushi date, she’s also an amazingly talented photographer and graphic designer.

  Here she is doing something super graphic designery at her computer. Hey Lauren, remember how I kept freezing up your computer because I didn’t know how to use it correctly? Yeah…good times. I was a Theater major, ok. (Let’s not even talk about what Adam did on your computer.)

Lauren’s design skills are off the charts so picking fabric and a pattern was cake for her. She gave me a couple of different options for a pattern but when I saw the Random Rectangles Quilt in 1-2-3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker I became giddy. This was the one. Lauren chose a stack of beautiful fabrics from Hawthornethreads and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Soooooooo, without further ado:

   Are you swooning? The colors! The patterns!

  It’s so much better in person. I just want to swim in it.

  

  I had so much fun with this one.

  Curley Qs.

  

  But seriously, those fabrics are so yummy!

  

 I hope it sees years of cuddles and love from sweet Baby G. With maybe a couple of crazy college stories thrown in.

A Quilt For Baby

I had been working on a quilt for Baby Brother ever since I found out we were having a boy. Unfortunately, pregnancy makes for less than stellar sewing conditions so I didn’t finish until a couple of weeks ago and finally got pictures of it last weekend.

I had found this ridiculously adorable fabric collection by Sarah Watson called ‘Indian Summer’ and knew I had to use it for his quilt.

20140503-132247.jpg
I used ‘Woodland Pine’ for the backing and on the front did a reverse appliqué to make the tepees in ‘Basket of Thyme’ and ‘Pebbled River Path’. You can check out the fabric here.

Isn’t the fabric adorable?

20140503-132855.jpg

I was super happy with how it turned out and especially liked the quilting. Here’s a closer look where you can see the reverse appliqué and quilting lines.

20140503-133147.jpg

20140503-133202.jpg
I tried freehand quilting for the first time on the bottom section in the navy blue to resemble moving water. I was pretty pleased although I’m not sure how often I’ll be free handing; it was tricky.

20140503-134119.jpg

Self Portraits by B

My 2 year old loves taking selfies…

20131119-001035.jpg

20131119-001103.jpg

20131119-001131.jpg

20131119-001204.jpg

20131119-001236.jpg

20131119-001330.jpg

20131119-001347.jpg

20131119-001416.jpg

And my favorite…

20131119-001445.jpg

I have a feeling this could be a series…

Shelf-erific

This weekend was very busy at the Nordean houshold. We took a walk to the park to take advantage of the beautiful Spring-like weather we are having, we finally had time to take down our outdoor Christmas lights, we attended an incredible talent show hosted by some of the amazing students in our Jr. High Youth Group and we still had time to make these:

Image

How about these killer shelves!

 

IMG_0887

So impressed with the hubs for putting these together.

 

IMG_0884

So cool.

I wish I could take credit for them but Josh is the mastermind behind this coolness. They just add so much character to the room. Love them!!

Bathroom Redo

Since purchasing our home, 4 years ago, the Hubs and I have known that at some point we would renovate our teeny-tiny Master Bathroom.  It’s proven to be the sort of bathroom horror stories are made of: dry rot, a sagging floor and all kinds of critters that would make their way into our hobbit size shower. I’ve stepped on one too many slugs, barefoot, in the middle of the night (Gag!). The outdated fixtures, laminate flooring and etched glass shower door (A hummingbird; I knew you’d ask) were on their way O.U.T. Finally , finally the day has come!!!!  I can hear angels singing Handel’s Messiah.

Currently we are smack dab in the middle of the reno. New floor joists are in, plywood is down, new heating duct is in to replace the old one that was rusted through and dry rot is sawed out. But before we get to all of that, please enjoy the before pictures. You know, so you can get a real good feel for the grossness. (Slugs, mice, and killer vampire spiders not pictured.)

IMG_0789

Pay special attention to the high quality paint job.

IMG_0792

IMG_0795Etched-glasserific.

IMG_0796Who needs that extra foot of shower room? Not us, my husband is a wee little guy.

IMG_0799Eeewwww. I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

IMG_0800And today Josh and I bought a new vanity, a light fixture AND we picked out tile. I’m giddy. (Josh wanted me to say “I’m as giddy as a magical pony in rainbow fields of honeycomb.” But I think it’s a bit over the top.

Stay tuned for more pics!!

Gettin’ my paint on

For the past 4 years Josh and I have had a very large, very blank canvas hanging on our bedroom wall. I had been meaning to paint something on it for a long time…about 4 years, but wasn’t sure what I wanted until I stumbled upon this little beauty on Pinterest.  It’s a custom ‘stained glass’ window made, from recycled glass and sea glass, by Daniel Maher Stained Glass. (Check out their website to see more really amazing stained glass art.) I fell in love and was instantly inspired.

Isn’t it breathtaking?!

And by ‘inspired’ I mean I totally copied the entire design of this window. I’m such a hack, I know. But I love it so much and just couldn’t swing the $4,000 for a custom piece for myself. (Someday Afton; someday.)

So here is my interpretation in paint.

Not as good as the original for sure, but just right for above our bed.

And now we have something better to look at than a blank canvas.

And one more shot just for funsies.

Coast To Coast Central™

Home of the #CoastToCoastChallenge™ - © Lindsey Eryn Clark & Lauren Palomares. All Rights Reserved.

Coast To Coast Central™

Home of the #CoastToCoastChallenge™ - © Lindsey Eryn Clark & Lauren Palomares. All Rights Reserved.