Living with Endometrial Cancer

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Stage III C


by: ARH on Sat, Jul 28 2007 I was diagnosed with Adinocarcinoma [Adenocarcinoma] of the Endometrium Stage IIIC (T3 N1 M0) in August 2003. The cancer had spread to the left ovary, the cervix, and the para-aortic lymph nodes. After a complete hysterectomy, I went through external and internal radiation and chemotherapy. My doctors told me all about side effects from the treatment but did not mention there would be so many after effects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Living proof: Flint cancer survivor has felt scared to death twice

Posted by mawhites April 28, 2007 17:45PM

Tom Devine, 56, has felt scared to death twice in his life.

The first time, he was 19, crammed in a plane bound for Vietnam with other jittery young soldiers who camouflaged their nerves with banter and bravado.

Name: Tom Devine, 56, of Flint

  • First diagnosed: 1991
  • Type of cancer: Non-Hodgins lymphoma, Stage Three
  • Recurrences: Three. Devine has been free of cancer for the past seven years, his longest remission since the original diagnosis.
  • See and hear Tom speak about cancer in his life in
    16-year survivor.
  • Invite him: Tom Devine is available for speaking engagements. If your organization or club is interested, call (810) 720-5451 or e-mail

The plane descended. The tough talk subsided. Beyond the windows, red machine gun tracers formed a fiery rope over the ground.Devine’s heart thudded in his ears. His mind was a rifle jammed with one round: “I’m going to die.”

The second time was 20 years later. Devine was a 40-year-old husband and father living in Flint. Tanned and fit, he was sitting on a paper-covered table in an examining room, awaiting news about what he’d once been convinced was a nagging gallbladder.

But it wasn’t his gallbladder. It was cancer.

“That word was the biggest, scariest thing in the world,” Devine said. “The first thing you think of is, ‘I’m going to die.'”

Devine had surprised himself by surviving his tour in Vietnam, despite a bout of malaria and injuries sustained when he drove a tank over a land mind.

His next tour of duty was with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, an immune-system cancer that strikes more than 71,000 Americans each year. Survival rates vary by type and stage.

Devine’s cancer was advanced. It was diagnosed as late Stage Three, within shouting distance of the fourth and final stage. By the time of his diagnosis, a large mass had a strangle-hold on his esophagus and aorta.
Devine was “fighting the war all over again,” he said.

But he had a lot to fight for.

“I’d look at my wife and my 7-year-old daughter and think, ‘If this is going to get me, it’ll have to get me with a fight.'”

Free help 24/7 At the American Cancer Society’s free help line, trained cancer information specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions about cancer, link callers with local resources, give information about local events and provide emotional support. Each year, staff members at the help line personally respond to more than 1 million calls and e-mails from patients and family members. If you have questions, call (800) ACS-2345 or visit http://www.cancer.org.

Devine underwent six months of rigorous chemotherapy. An electronics engineer, he scheduled his treatments around his work schedule.But 44 weeks of daily radiation therapy forced him to quit his job. While his wife, Donna, was at work and his daughter, Jenny, was at school, Devine was often home alone with too much time to brood.

“On good days, I thought, ‘I survived being wounded in Vietnam twice; I can get through this.’ On bad days, I wanted to give up. All cancer patients feel that way sometimes. If one of them tells you they haven’t, they’re lying.”
Chemo and radiation caused hair loss, vomiting, depression and fatigue. But they did the job. The cancer retreated.

When CAT scans could no longer detect any sign of the disease, Devine was given an indefinite furlough. He need only report back for checkups every three months.

Life returned to normal, but it was never the same.

“It was better,” Devine said. “Having cancer is having someone jerk your leash and say, ‘Life is here right now. Don’t take it for granted.’ That’s a good thing.”

Devine never again took for granted a kiss from his wife, a hug from his daughter, a walk with his dog. He lived in a state of heightened appreciation – until a week before each checkup.

“You notice the date on the calendar and you start to think about it,” he said. “You go to the appointment, scared to death they’re going to find something. Each time they don’t, you want to celebrate.”

Devine had 2 1/2 years of celebrations before he heard the words he dreaded: the cancer was back.

“I came home and cried for almost a whole day,” he said. “Then I said, ‘I’ve done it once. I guess I can do it again.'”

And again.

And again.

Devine is a seasoned veteran who has fought cancer four times. Each time, he’s beaten the enemy back with an improving arsenal of chemotherapy concoctions he irreverently dubs “Mountain Dew” and “Hawaiian Punch,” according to their colors.

Somewhere along the way, Devine stopped obsessing about dying, and gave up trying to predict when death would come.

A Cancer Community The Cancer Survivors Network is an online community created by and for survivors and caregivers. With one click, you can:

  • Listen to, read or download personal stories and discussions among survivors and caregivers
  • Explore and contribute to the Expressions Gallery, a compilation of survivors’ stories, poems and songs
  • Create a personal home page to share stories and get connected to others
  • Participate in chats and discussion groups
  • Find and communicate with other survivors and caregivers via secure e-mail
  • Search suggested books, articles, Web sites, support groups and organizations
  • Become a registered Cancer Survivors Network member at no charge
  • Access the American Cancer Society’s Resource Center for cancer information

“My time card can be punched any day, but that’s true of all of us. I decided that only God knows when I’m going to die. In the meantime, he must have a plan for me.”With a new sense of purpose, Devine volunteered with the American Cancer Society and the Great Lakes Cancer Institute.

He was featured in a McLaren Regional Medical Center commercial about cancer treatment.

He ran a local support group for cancer patients and their families, and lectured publicly on what he calls “the positive aspects of cancer.”

In 1999, his activities were put on hold when he received a bone marrow transplant, courtesy of a sister who was a near-perfect match.

Treatments to prepare him for the transplant left him so weak that it took him four hours to take a shower. He suffered bouts of depression and anxiety. He developed an immune suppression disease that has left him with chronic pain and the loss of pigment in his skin and hair.

“The transplant aged me 20 years,” he said. “I’m still working on getting my strength back. Right now I’m at about 75 percent.”

Feeling better by the month, Devine knows he is living proof that cancer, even if it strikes repeatedly, does not have to mean imminent death.

He has been free of the disease for seven years – his longest remission since his original diagnosis 16 years ago.

He has lived to see his young daughter become a grown woman. In July, he and Donna will celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary.

Devine dreams of someday bouncing a grandchild on his knee. He wants to take Donna on a vacation to Hawaii. He’d like to start a new support group for cancer survivors and their families, and is ready to resume his public speaking.

“I want to get the word out that having cancer doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to die. I’m Stage Three, and I’m still here.”

Like all good soldiers, Devine knows that the enemy is stubborn and can return at any time. But he also knows its weaknesses.

“There are a lot of things cancer can’t do,” Devine said. “It can’t take away spirit, love, friendship or faith.”

What it can do is teach you the value of life.

“I enjoy each day,” Devine said.

“Cancer has taught me to love better, love deeper and love more.”

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gambling

February 15, 2008

Vietnamese Government loses $8,000,000 to Football Bets

Sports gambling has become a huge problem in Vietnam, but this might be the worst case yet. Various Government officials and civil servants had gambled aid funding on bets of mainly European Football matches.

The end losses? An estimated $8,197,485 in government funds.

Both President Tran Duc Luong and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai are expected to retire after Vietnam’s 10 National Congress ends on Tuesday, October 30th.

tran_duc_luong.jpgprime_minister.jpg
(President Tran Duc Luong on the left and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai on the right)

The whole scandal was revealed when a gambler named Bui Tien Dung, who was also a former part of the Ministry of Transport, confessed. Another Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh resigned two weeks ago due to gambling problems as well.

Since then, a computer office log was found to have 200 Ministry of Transport employees waging government funds. Mr. Dung eve

rat comic

February 15, 2008

need help for choosing.
Which do you guys like best?
First one is what I started with, and second is what I like best.

1
philisophical rat

2
philosophical rat diff font

3
phil rat not mouse

4
philso rat my year

5
philso rat my year

6
phils rat year of me

And which of these too?

7
li xi color

8
lix xi year rat huh color

9
li xi color

10
li xi rat my ass

11
li xi

and finally blank one, so you have to ‘think’ haha

12
li xi blank

illustration advice

February 11, 2008

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Illustration Career

People often write me to ask how I got started as an illustrator and if there is any advice I can give them regarding making a career out of illustration. When I first started, I wrote illustrators that I admired (Jordin Isip, Modern Dog, Kirsten Ulve) and they were very generous with their information/expertise .. so I would like to return the favor by helping out new illustrators. Hopefully, you will find something useful in this article.

Technical Skills

It’s hard to execute a good idea if you don’t have the technical skills to do it. Having great technical skills not only allows you to realize your ideas .. but also will save you a ton of time in the long run because you will be much more efficient/responsive when clients have feedback.

I highly recommend Lynda.com’s video tutorial. You pay a monthly subscription fee which gives you access to all the videos you can watch on all the major programs (photoshop, flash, illustrator, aftereffect, and tons more)

They are not paying me a dime to give them a plug … They really make learning easy.

Unique Consistent Style

The first step to a successful illustration career is to find your voice – a unique consistent style. A lot of artists have trouble committing to one style at first because it kind of goes against an artist’s nature of exploring and not limiting their expression, but as an illustrator, art directors hire you because they want to give a project a specific tone, feeling and they need to be able to count on your work being a certain way for their project, campaign, etc. Imagine if you bought a Metallica CD and it was full of acoustic Bolivian folk music .. you would be kind of confused??? Art directors usually don’t want to play style roulette.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do other styles.. it just means when you present them to art directors have consistency between the body of work. A number of illustrators, writers, and musicians work under various names for this particular reason. For example, my alter ego is Alexander Blue. This is a wackier, colorful style I do.

Here is a really good book to read regarding this subject:

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
by Al Ries and Laura Ries

Here are a few examples of illustrators/artists with unmistakable styles .. you see their work you know it’s theirs:

Marketing your illustrations

All your marketing efforts should point back to your web site. A web site is a place where you can centralize information, keep it up to date, and gives the client a few actionable options (contact you via email, phone, subscribe to your RSS feed so they are updated whenever you post new work, book mark a piece of art they like, etc).

So the first thing you do is make sure you have a good web site.

  • If you don’t already have a domain (example: http://www.youname.com) you can register you domain name at www.register.com .. All you need is the domain name .. don’t buy any extra services .. it’s not necessary.
  • Next, you need a good web hosting company. I use www.site5.com and they are amazing. They have tons of automated tools so you can install a blog at the click of a button.
  • Keep it simple – clearly explain what service you are providing – http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html
  • Usability and Search Engine Optimization – Don’t use FLASH, Frames, Pop-ups, Lightbox, etc .. stick with good old fashion XHTML/CSS! I developed Flash web sites for over 10 years .. and for an illustrator’s web site my advice is DON’T USE FLASH! 40% of my web traffic comes from Google alone and by using Flash you are making it hard for search engines to index your site and hindering word of mouth marketing because of a number of usability issues. For example, lots of social bookmarking sites (digg.com, stumbleupon.com, facebook.com, etc) won’t be able to take advantage of specific content on flash sites. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html. I have received some really big jobs from clients who found me through Google .. for example DELL Computers
  • Unique URL – Make sure every piece of art on your site has a unique url .. you know, in your browser where you type the web address .. no pop ups, no frames, no flash, no lightbox, etc – art directors often forward urls to editors, so you want to facilitate this process and not hinder it. Here is an example of a unique url that will never change. http://www.n8w.com/image/art/green_marketing/. Try Googling “Green Marketing Illustration
  • Update your site Frequently – BLOG/RSS Feed/Return Visitors – most good web hosting companies have an easy way to set up blogs, ask your isp for help or set up one at blogger.com. A blog is good because it will keep your site fresh and most clients are return visitors, so you need to give them a reason to return. Most blogs automatically generate a RSS feed. RSS feeds are not only great for search engine indexing, but more and more people and products, Windows Vista and Mac OS X, are taking advantages of RSS feeds. In a nutshell, RSS allows people to be automatically notified when a web site is updated. I subscribe to lots of illustrators RSS feeds so I can post some of the newest work on illustrationmundo.com.
  • Google Analytics – In order to understand what works, you need a good stats system to track your marketing efforts. That will give you an idea what the return on investment is for a specific marketing tactic. Google’s service is the best I have seen and its free, there is no reason not to use it. So a practical way you might use this information is to find out which thumbnail image from your portfolio is the most clicked on, this image might be a good image to use for your postcard mailer because it’s generating the most interest https://www.google.com/analytics/
  • Mailing List – once you make a connection with a client you want to keep it .. it takes more money to get a new customer than to sell to an existing one. People that have hired you are more likely to hire you again and again. There are lots of free emailing list options .. google it .. I personally recommend PHP List.

Once you have a good, user friendly, search engine friendly site. Post card mailers are probably the second most cost effective and effective tactic. Lots of times art directors just need to be reminded you exist. That is why I think higher frequency is better than spending a lot of money on one marketing tactic. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I would rather spend my money doing 3 postcard mailers a year vs. one big book ad

Cold calls are something you will have to do when starting out .. find magazines, papers, etc that you like or think would be a good fit for you art and contact the art director .. ask them if its okay to send them a few examples of your work. I would never send more than 3 pieces .. they will know what your art work is about after seeing 3 pieces.

Take advantage of online communities .. you will communicate with other artists, share info, find mentors and be more connected to the industry.
http://www.illustrationmundo.com/links.php

Attitude

After working as an art director for Microsoft’s Xbox .. I can’t say how important it is to have a positive attitude. Of course talent is crucial .. but talent isn’t the only thing that gets you work. People are people and it’s always nicer to work with someone that is positive and solution oriented. I used to hire tons of external agencies to create web sites and other online promotional material. All the agencies were extremely talented but those that could talk about their work in an exciting way, were easy to work with and accepted feedback well were the ones I hired over and over again.

I’m not saying do anything the client wants with a smile on your face. You were hired because you are an expert in your field .. articulate the decisions you made and get them excited about your ideas .. but it’s also important to stay positive and flexible.

Informational

You can save yourself a lot of extra work by asking a few questions up front.

First, get the basic information:

  • Dimensions
  • Resolution
  • Color or Black and white
  • Important Dates
  • etc

If this is the first time working with this person ask them:

  • Why did you choose me for this project?(I like your concepts, I like your painterly style, your work is cute and works well for teenage girl magazines, your style is rough and dark and works well for this editorial piece on drug abuse, etc)
  • Which pieces of work do you particularly like and why?(I like the man on the boat cause it’s funny, I like all the texture in the piece you did for Converse, etc)
  • How did you discover my work?

This will give you a better idea of what the client likes about your work, why they chose you for this particular project and what they expect.

Next, get more information about the job, if it’s a long editorial .. ask them:

  • What part of the story do they really want emphasize?
  • Is there anything they want to stay away from?
  • Do they have any ideas?(This doesn’t necessarily mean to use the idea .. but it will give you a general idea of the path they want to take or what part they think is important/interesting)

Tracking the Work

If you want to make a career out of illustration you will need a good way to keep track of your jobs so you make the deadlines and get paid for your work?

  • When are roughs due?
  • When are final sketches due?
  • Are there any jobs you need to complete?
  • Are you too busy to take on more work in a specific month?
  • Who hasn’t paid? (http://lessaccounting.com/)

There are a number of ways to keep track of this information. I programmed a little MySQL database application for it .. but you can just as easily track it using a spread sheet or some other existing software. I highly recommend http://www.google.com/calendar

14.gif

googlecalendar.gif

http://www.google.com/calendar

I have a web page for every job where the client and I can keep track of job’s progress .. this page includes:

  • the job dates
  • contact information
  • creative direction/job info
  • pencil sketches
  • final image
  • a link for the client to download the final file

I created my own solution using php/mysql .. but an easier route might be to do this using a WordPress or BLOGGER account.

process.gif

Creating the Work

  • Brain storming – get inspired by your environment – I always do my brainstorming and rough sketches outside of my house .. sometimes I take a bus ride with no destination in mind .. sit on a park bench and watch people .. or walk through the city. When you put yourself in new environments you notice things .. you notice subtleties. this is a great way to spark your creativity and start thinking of analogies that might be good for your illustration .. if nothing else it makes your life more interesting.

enviroment1.jpg

  • using your senses – we interpret the world with our senses .. and the more senses you can engage .. the more memorable your piece will be .. try and think of how the project you are working on relates to touch, taste, smell, sight, etc
  • 3 words-I try to think of the best 3 words to describe the subject matter of the illustration
    (motorist, anger, crazy) or (small mountain town, invasion, film)
  • symbols-then I try to figure out what best visually represents these words.
    (motorist=car, motorcycle, guy drinking coffee, etc)(anger=red face, hands in the air, fighting, yelling)(crazy=in this case ridiculous situation, motorist and a cyclist in a boxing ring with amazing strength) If you get stuck Google images is a great way to see images associate with specific words.
  • Relationships-then I think.. how can I arrange these symbols in a way to convey a point, show a relationship between these symbols .. there are a number of ways to do this .. by how the symbols are interacting (boxing, racing, tied together, on top of each other, etc), their size to one another, their properties (metal=strong, ice=cold)etc

Pencil Sketches

Next you can talk to the client and talk about your ideas .. I prefer just to create pencil sketches, because a lot of the time it’s hard to envision what you are talking about .. and my sketches are extremely rough so they don’t take me more than .. about … 60 seconds … I try to sketch very loose and fast so the focus is on the ideas and not on the craftsmanship .. at this stage of the process it’s all about ideas .. and you don’t want a slow drawing hand to slow them from coming out of your teeming brain.

I usually take pictures of my sketches with a digital camera .. its a lot faster than a scanner and because it’s a rough quality isn’t so important ..

Next I scare my client with my super rough sketches and explain to them .. to just focus on the concepts .. the final piece won’t look exactly like this .. 😉

The client emails/phones their feedback .. usually something something like .. “sketch 4 is great .. but can we emphasis the blah and maybe reduce or take out blah .. make the cat a dog and make the dog a cat .. etc”

Final

My process changes a little for each project .. but this will give you a general idea of how I work.

I create my work in a variety of ways .. sometimes I paint with acrylics, draw with sharpie markers, ball point pens,a wacom tablet, paint with india ink, create textures with water color or photocopy machines, etc .. but basically what I am trying to do is create a library of modular pieces I can, later, put into the computer and rearrange the size, composition, color .. etc .. I really like organic textures and loose free flowing lines .. but as an illustrator with quick turn around times I need to be able to make quick changes and easily incorporate client feedback .. so I mix all these really organic elements in a way that is easy to modify/edit via the computer.

To spark my creativity .. I often re-use pieces from my other works .. basically collaging my own stuff .. maybe a head, or a cloud, or a bike wheel, etc .. this helps me quickly create compositions .. but it’s more just for placement .. I then modify or create new pieces specific to the illustrations needs .. at the end you won’t even recognize most of these pieces .. but it really helps me get started .. breaks the ice .. gets the ball rolling .. etc

Useful Links

  • Illustrationmundo.com Q and As – More questions and answers by other people in the industry
  • Illustrationmundo.com Forums – Communicate with people in the industry (artists, illustrators, art directors, etc)
  • My Favorite Illustrators
  • www.drawn.ca
  • www.lcsv4.com
  • www.drawger.com
  • www.illoz.com
  • www.fecalface.com
  • 3×3 Magazine
  • American Illustration
  • Society of Illustrators
  • Communication Arts
  • How Magazine
  • Juxtapoz Magazine
  • and many more at http://www.illustrationmundo.com/links.php
  • fundraising

    February 11, 2008

    The 100 Chairs Project

    Writing by josef lee on Saturday, 24 of February , 2007 at 10:32 pm

    100 artists unleashed their talents on 100 wooden chairs, which will be auctioned off as pieces of art. All proceeds goes to the Singapore Children’s Society.

    100 Chairs is a fully youth-run project, supported by *scape and youth.sg. Check out the chairs and their artists here. All chairs were displayed as outdoor installations for a week-long auction process at *scape Youthpark, Singapore.

    Good news is that ALL chairs were adopted. Bad news? We missed the auction.

      ROM Spaceknight. Colaboración para el homenaje a Bill Mantlo  : : : : : :  ROM Spaceknight . Contribution to the tribute for Bill Mantlo.
      El Mono Silvio para los Grandes Éxitos  : : : : : :  Silvio Monkey for Grandes Éxitos
    Mecánicas. Colaboración para EZINE  : : : : : :  Mechanics. Contribution for EZINE
       El chupasavia. Diseño de personaje para una web de apoyo al reciclaje  : : : : : :  El Chupasavia . Character design for a pro-recycling website.