Encouragement Cards

Pretty Things Survivors Do Blog Hop

Pretty Things Survivors Do - Wide

Welcome to our Pretty Things Survivors Do inaugural blog hop! We are glad you’re here.

PTSD is a “psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.” (American Psychiatric Association definition)

Although mostly associated with war veterans, it affects 3.5% of the population and 4% of US children ages 13-18 will experience PTSD in their lifetime. About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. (Bran and Behavior Research Foundation)

The holidays are a difficult time for those living with PTSD. We are participating in the blog hop in the hopes that you may be reminded to reach out to loved ones, neighbors, and friends who could be living with PTSD daily. If one person is remembered this holiday season, then we have achieved our goal of spreading awareness.

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My personal story of trauma is related to my breast cancer diagnosis in May 2015.  In July of that year I had a mastectomy and due to a complication after the surgery, I spent the day in the post operative care unit.  I had another surgery in the evening and then spent three days in the telemetry ward because of possible side effects of a special cream being used on my skin.  In those four days, I had migraines, extreme pain, choked on my own vomit, was woken by the sound of alarms signaling that my heart rate had dropped below 50 beats per second, and had a scary experience with a pain killer that took effect so quickly, I felt like I’d been paralyzed. I didn’t even have the opportunity to think about or see what my body looked like until the morning I was able to go home.

I have always been open to talking about my cancer experience.  I had no problems talking about the day I found the lump, the day I went in to have it checked out and how within a few hours I’d had my very first mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy.  I could talk about receiving the call and about meeting my team of doctors a few days later when I learned that I’d have to have chemo no matter what surgical choice I made.  I could describe my decision making process, the genetics test, and the expected cosmetic outcome of various types of surgeries.  I could talk about the aftermath of the surgery. I could recite the logistics of egg retrieval and of freezing embryos, and of using cold caps to save my hair during chemotherapy. I could talk about how, laying in bed, so completely knocked out by chemo that I’d lose my breath just talking, I would wonder if that was what it felt like to be dying of old age, when your cells simply just couldn’t hang on even though your brain had plans to live on. Talking about those things was not difficult.

But when it came to talking, or even thinking about the morning of the surgery and sitting in the reception area waiting to be called, I couldn’t do it.  My eyes would immediately tear up and my throat would clench and my heart would start racing.  Just driving by the hospital, from the direction where I could see my hospital room window, was enough to trigger the same reaction.  I made it a point not to approach the hospital from a certain direction and I felt on alert for things that might be triggering.  Once, I was in a meeting with 30 other people in the room and the presenter happened to be walking right behind me when, as part of an analogy, he said the word “cancer” and I thought, uh oh, don’t think of that morning, don’t think of that morning, but of course, in trying not to think about it, I did, and I had to excuse myself from the room to catch my breath.

In talking about it with my therapist, she asked me what was going through my mind when I had these physical reactions and it was when I told her that it felt like I was back in that moment, that it felt like I was about to have surgery and not like I’d had it 18 months earlier, that she suggested that I was having symptoms of PTSD.  Within a month I had an appointment for EMDR and though I was skeptical going in, that single EMDR appointment was enough to greatly reduce my symptoms.  So much so that almost 18 months after that session, I’m able to write this post with only a couple of tears and a steady heart rate 🙂  I don’t know if it worked because EMDR actually works or because I wanted so much for it to work, but either way, I’m grateful.  If it’s something you haven’t heard of before, I’ll let you do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

20181206_212722It may be coincidental, but the timing of that EMDR session roughly coincides with when I started making cards and I can’t express how much finding this craft and a loving crafty community has helped me. So, for the hop today, I made a card using a shape and colors that make me feel warm and alive and hopeful, and a sentiment that closely mirrors what I repeated to myself during those long weeks of healing from surgery and even longer months of surviving chemotherapy.

Thank you for joining me, and us.

If you suffer from PTSD, I wish you peace and health and the knowledge that you are not alone. If you know someone who lives with PTSD and would like ways to support them, please visit the following sites and remember to reach out to a neighbor, friend or family member during this holiday season, you could make a difference in their day.

Please hop along with us:
1. Sandy Allnock
2. Josefine Fouarge
3. Rubeena Ianigro
4. Leigh Houston
5. Mamie Carson Wadsworth
6. Tania Ahmed
7. Ana Reese
8. Tracy Freeman
9. Amy Tsuruta
10. Tracie Pond
11. Sharna Waksmulski
12. Alix Davis
13. Janette Kausen
14. Mayra Duran-Hernandez
15. Kimberly Wiener
16. SkyPaperScissors (you are here)
17. Joanne Maree Soukup
18. Crissy Salima Smith

44 thoughts on “Pretty Things Survivors Do Blog Hop”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve spent a lot time in the hospital and can related to many aspects of it. I have an ongoing illness and so I have anxiety every time I start to do poorly, things that happen when your sick are very traumatizing and the fear of going through it all again is awful. I love your card and the colors. I’ve only in the last year started into this craft and have learned a lot thru the blog hop. Thank you xo

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  2. I suffer from PTSD badly so I am so appreciative of this amazing blog hop! Thank you so much for bringing awareness to it. I will remember to also reach out to others who are suffering and could use some kindness including you. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for sharing your lovely art. . xo Andrea

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  3. I have never heard of EMDR and I am very interested, thank you for sharing your story and encouragement to others with your talent.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your difficult journey and glad you are healing. Wishing you all the best. Your beautiful card is filled with hope

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  5. I want to hug you twice (at least). Once for going through that ordeal and sharing it with us so we don’t feel alone in our own story. And once for creating this beatiful card. Thank you isn’t enough but, THANK YOU!

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  6. Your story is so helpful and inspiring on many levels. Thank you for your courage in sharing it on this public forum. Your card is warm and hopeful and beautiful. Please keep sharing and inspiring through your craft. Thank you.

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  7. Your card is beautiful! Thanks for sharing such a hard story for you with us and I am glad to hear you are doing so much better. Sending hugs your way! 💕

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  8. Thank you so much for your courage and strength to share your experiences fighting breast cancer and PTSD. I hope that you’re continuing to thrive despite all odds and that you’ll keep sharing your creations.

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  9. I am honored you chose to tell us your story. I am comforted by your cheerful, heartfelt card. I’m glad the EMDR worked for you – it’s pretty amazing stuff.

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  10. I think this hop is an important one to show love and kindness to folks that really need it. We all do need love and kindness, but those with PTSD need them most definitely. They can easily be overlooked because of their actions, reactions, or lack of any actions.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your personal story and for sharing your gorgeous card with us on the hop. This is a great reminder that PSTD doesn’t have to be something huge and dramatic, but it can be something quiet and fearful that happens while we are unaware. I’m so glad that you were able to identify your PTSD and get help for it, and wish you continued good health after our cancer treatment.

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  12. I think you are brave & strong for sharing so openly the terrible ordeal you went through. I’ve been hospitalized many many times during my life & undergone many surgeries, but never for something as dreadful as what you went through. I simply cannot imagine how I would feel or what decisions I’d make if I was diagnosed with the C word. It hurt my heart reading what you went through. How strong our will to live is. I am going to look up EMDR as it is good to have knowledge that just may be shared with someone who needs it. Now onto your beautiful, gorgeous, peaceful looking card with such a great sentiment. Need I say more? 🙂

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  13. Thank you for the bravery it took to write this post. I understand only too well how just thinking of something can trigger the original stress and reactions. Sadly, many of us have had our own cancer scares. Thankfully though many of us are still around to share them. I take a lot of comfort in that… I am still here, knowing how differently the results could be. My heart hurts for you, but I am hopeful that you have good health, happiness, continued support and make a full recovery… both physically and mentally. The crafting community are with you every step of the way!

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  14. Your card is beautiful! Just like your message. You are a beautiful person to be thinking about others. Thank you for sharing your story. Bless you for being you!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your story. Love the card so much. Very bright happy colors and image. Great sentiment choice very uplifting. Thanks for sharing your art and yourself.🐧

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  16. You are so brave and courageous!! Thank you for sharing your story with us in this important hop. Your card is beautiful like you!
    ❤ J

    jwoolbright at gmail dot com
    HerPeacefulGarden.blogspot.com

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  17. Thank you for sharing how EMDR helped you, as it’s something I’m contemplating using myself. Your card makes me think of warmth and kindness radiating outwards!

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  18. The colors in your card are so bright and cheery. And that sentiment is perfect. I also suffer from PTSD, mine is related to the environment in which I grew up in and the things that I went through during that time. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday.

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  19. Thank you for sharing. My husband has chronic severe PTSD from his time in Vietnam, he had one or two sessions of EMDR before the VA re-assigned his therapist. Although it wasn’t a cure-all, it helped him resolve one of his many traumas. Who knows what would have happened if he’d been able to continue. Please remember the families of those who suffer the effects of PTSD – my children and I have all been diagnosed with our own PTSD – it is not easy sharing this world, but love and understanding makes it easier!

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