edina tien: April 2007

April 27, 2007

stop the world...i want to get off

I'm sorry to keep whining since I know I really have nothing to complain about but I'm going to share what's been going on just to get it all out of my head. It's been a surreal roller coaster of emotions ever since we came down to CA last weekend.

My sister-in-law got married this past Tuesday (wedding originally scheduled for August but changed due to her father's prognosis) and it was a small, lovely ceremony which my FIL managed to stand through, refusing the wheelchair. He also made it through the dinner even with his incredible exhaustion. I'm sure they were feeling the worst extremes of joy and devastation throughout the evening but father and daughter did wonderfully. FIL has good and bad days but hasn't been able to keep food down for some time now. It's really hard given the importance food has on the Chinese culture and especially in their family. One of the most insidious aspects of the cancer has been how rapidly it has deteriorated FIL's health - it's just unreal.

The medical issues of my own mother morphed into a more worrisome situation. Her kidney tumor, though benign, is too large to leave unchecked so she had to decide whether to have it removed along with the kidney (nephrectomy), or to have an embolization done to cut off the tumor's blood supply, which is not as effective but would preserve the kidney. Normally, a person can live with only one kidney but there seems to be another small tumor on the other kidney so it's more of a risk to have the nephrectomy. Also found out yesterday that chemotherapy is not an option for someone with one kidney so anyone who has a history of cancer should try to save both kidneys in the event there is a recurrence and need for chemo treatment. Clearly the embolization is the better choice for her but it's hard to pick the procedure that may not work. The lump in her upper chest will also be removed soon and studied carefully to be sure it's not a spread of cancer since she had similar tumor cells removed from elsewhere a few years ago.

Can I just say how much I HATE the words tumor and cancer. They are odious thieves of life and happiness for both the people who suffer with them and those who care. I wish so badly that I could time travel so we could all have our lives back - is that too much to ask?

April 19, 2007

artfest photos

Here are a selection of my photos from ArtFest...

Funky Wallpaper People taught by Anahata Katkin - about 80% complete

Misty Mawn teaching A Greater Perspective

one of my wood boards - 90% complete

my friend Lisa's triptych, in progress

Judy Wise, a fun and very talented artist, holding up one of her boards

artists + paint + no sleep = fun!

April 18, 2007


I've been needing a break from what I've been calling my "bubble of despair" so I spent some time today getting my ArtFest pics ready to share. Of course this happens right as Blogger is doing maintenance and won't let me upload any photos. I will post pics of my creations along with a few others tomorrow (or whenever the function comes back up again). In the meantime, visit my Flickr album here to see some of the phenomenal artwork made by fellow students. I tried to take photos of everyone's work but my apologies to those didn't make it into the album because I missed or because of poor picture quality.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the two great teachers I had at ArtFest, Anahata Katkin and Misty Mawn! Both were warm, generous, and uber-talented, and their classes were relaxing and fun. As I mentioned before, unfortunately, I had to leave early and missed my third class with Anne Bagby, but thanks to kind friends Renee, Suzanne, and Paula who were nice enough to pick up my kit and share class notes with me, I might be able to learn a few of Anne's techniques after all.

April 17, 2007

thank you

Thanks to all of you who have left and sent such thoughtful and supportive comments and emails - they mean more to me than I can put into words. I wish I could personally reply to each of you but just can't right now...

We were hoping for the best but expecting the worst and unfortunately, it's the latter. The prognosis from my FIL's oncologist is 3 months. My husband and I intended to drive down to CA for an extended period starting this Thursday but flew back last Thursday and Friday when FIL was rushed to the ER again. He was stabilized and released and is now receiving hospice care at home. We had another scare that day because MIL was also hospitalized when an ER nurse saw her clutching at her chest and worried she might be having heart problems. She seems to be OK now but will be getting that checked out.

It goes without saying that it has been an incredibly difficult time for FIL and family. I'm still trying to find my way with how I can offer my support to all of them and my husband who is now telecommuting from there, along with having to help care for his father. I have returned home for a few days to pack and prepare for us to be gone for at least a few weeks. Hubby is flying back Friday so we can drive back down together this weekend.

Spending extended time with both of our families in the Bay Area turns out to be a timely move because last week I also received a frantic call from my father that my mother found a lump a few inches down from her collar bone and possibly something suspicious on a lung and a kidney. She had and recovered from breast cancer about 10 years ago so we were concerned it might be a recurrence. After going over the initial test results in detail with a relative who is a radiation oncologist, we were relieved that everything they found was probably nothing to worry about, though my mom will be having surgery in a few weeks to have the lump removed.

Every time the phone rings, my heart sinks that it will bad news about FIL or someone else in my life. As I clean and pack, I spend a lot of time thinking about what really matters. Lately, I have been feeling ambivalent about the activities that I have always enjoyed - thinking that they aren't so important compared to spending time with friends and family but also not wanting to do away with these small pleasures in life. I have to figure out how to be at a standstill and on a racetrack at the same time.

April 01, 2007


I had a wonderful time the few days I spent at ArtFest but cut my trip short after learning that my father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His final prognosis will be determined by more tests he will undergo this week. We are all just stunned and still trying to absorb this terrible news. I will post and respond to comments whenever I can - thanks for your support and understanding.