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Hi Folks, I finally decided it's time to start becoming active on the forum. I've been lurking for years but have been going through some big changes recently that has made me want to tell the world about my story how Leatherworking has helped to save my life. I have been working leather for many years and sold my goods part time only as I had a solid career in IT as a contractor that kept me pretty busy (on call a lot). Last December I was forced to retire as contractors have no job security and I was diagnosed with throat cancer stage 4 and would not be able to work during treatment. The treatments were both chemo and radiation for 8 weeks. The chemo damaged my kidney function but not enough to need dialysis, hopefully never. My throat closed up and even after the 8 weeks after treatment I still have to eat through a tube, but I am starting to swallow again finally, it's just going to take a while. The good news is so far at least the cancer is gone, I'll know for sure in July when I get another PET scan. I'm almost feeling like myself again, well my new self as I lost over 80 pounds, I'm down to 235. I did need to lose weight but that's not the best way for sure but it's done and I my blood pressure is normal without meds! Through my descent into cancer hell and let me tell you I can't imagine hell being much worse, the only thing that helped me keep sane was my wonderful supportive Wife and Son and my leather shop. Some days I could only work for a few minutes sometimes an hour or 2 on really good days. I was alone during the day when my wife and son were at work (my son moved in with us during my treatments to help out) so I tried to keep my mind occupied by working in my shop when I felt up to it. I made stuff for my family and myself only. I cancelled all my customer requests and returned their deposits, after I was diagnosed, they were very understanding. Here is my work since my cancer journey started last December. My son is a big Dr. Who fan so I made this insulated 64oz beer coozie for him. I made this wine rack for my Wife My son saw the wine rack and wanted one of his own. He is also into Roman history, so.... I also made this cig case for my wife, she is Japanese and everyone in her family smokes as is still common in Japan and lived into their late 80's so she feels that she does not need to quit. I wanted to try my hand at making these for selling to Bikers, in basic black of course This last month I made these for myself. I'm a big Godzilla fan and wanted to use the godzilla figures I collected while in Japan last fall I am keeping hope alive by planning our next trip to Japan ia a couple of years, so I made this passport wallet. I wonder if immigration will get a kick out of it! I hope to restart my business in a few months by attending the weekly Main Street market here in Columbia and going to some craft shows. I have to live for today but dreaming of the future keeps hope alive! I'm not looking for sympathy but want to reach out and hopefully touch someone who is in need of renewed hope.
Anna Stone-Boyd is a friend of mine who is going through a really hard time right now. Two years ago she had a double mastectomy to remove her breasts because breast cancer was so prevalent in her family. Yet she continued to have infections in one of the implants. She finally got a second opinion from another hospital after being told for two years this was a normal process while the body adjusted to the implants. Her surgeon had not removed all the breast material in one side and she indeed does have have stage 3 borderline 4 cancer in the breast which has spread to other parts of her body. She is unable to work during this time while she travels back and forth to a hospital a couple of hours from Rutland. Please, those of you who are survivors of this horrible disease donate anything you can afford, even if it's a dollar to help Anna through this critical time in her life. And those of you who have watched someone go through cancer as a survivor or loss someone to cancer please try and do what you can. The link to donate is https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/3195/anna-boyd-s-breast-cancer-fundraiser?utm_source=facebook Thank you for any help you can give. Cheryl