....Artweeks is a time when artists and crafts people open their studios to the public for Oxfordshire's most important arts festival and the country's oldest and biggest open studio event. In the past, Steve has exhibited during Artweek, both as an individual at home and with wocART, a group of West Oxford Artists. However, since he was diagnosed with mesothelioma we started living our lives from one three monthly hospital assessment to the next. As a result, we have felt unable to commit ourselves to an event that you have to sign up to so far in advance, which is a pity.
Last year, I was lucky enough to be invited to join a group Artweeks show very late in the day. The same happened again this year, when a member of the Nomads group had to drop out close to the event, and I joined as a replacement. Steve helped me prepare in the few days between returning from Marrakech and the launch of the exhibition on Friday. The show runs all week in the centre of Oxford, finishing on 20 May. If you find yourselves near here, please come and share the art!
To my delight, our daughter Katie who has been staying with us over the weekend for a belated birthday celebration, found time to view the exhibition as did Helen, a member of wocART, after finishing hanging her own work locally. We repaid the complement yesterday evening by attending the launch of wocART's exhibition in the local community centre. It was lovely to see and talk to more members of Steve's former artist's group and share their news. We may even get involved in a smaller event planned for June, if that's not tempting fate too much!
Today we shared a family meal out with Katie, before waving her off on the train back to London where she now lives.
In between family get-togethers and exhibition preparation, we've been catching up on news from other meso warriors, who feel now like part of our extended meso family. Tess in Kent has had a bad scan result and has been taken off the drug trail that she has been participating in since last November. Tess, here are those positive vibes and hugs you asked for! Debbie in Plymouth has also had some disease progression, and will shortly be zapping her tumour Theo with chemotherapy. Will be thinking of you Debbie. Shame on you Theo - go back to sleep!
Jan has decided not to take any further treatment until September. Enjoy the summer with your hubby and the dogs, Jan... For Mavis, the news has been mixed. Her body has taken a battering from chemotherapy, so she too is taking a break from treatment. However, her tumour has shrunk, so that's great news. Good news too for Amanda and Ray - the long waited scan results show a stable disease, so they can enjoy the next few months - have fun you two!
While we were away celebrating our wedding anniversary in Marrakech, Anna whose husband has just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, left a comment on the blog which said "we are both still in shock and very frightened. Your blog has given us hope and I think it would help us to talk with others in our position. Thank you for all the work you are doing. I would love to help, but don't know how." Anna, you have started helping already, although you may not realise it yet. Keep in touch.
A comment like that reminds me how we felt when I started to write the blog, and our hope that sharing this experience would help others in the same position. Soon Steve's story will be shared with others through the ADAO's website. I hope that our experience of living with mesothelioma since June 2009 will help all of you stay positive in this most difficult time.