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Friday, March 23, 2012

Stitchers lose another resource

A magazine that I have greatly enjoyed over the past years, The Gift Of Stitching Magazine, is stopping publication with their May issue. One of their main reasons is internet piracy (copyright violations). It is so very sad that yet another resource for stitchers is being lost due to people who just can't grasp the concept that they are stealing. It frustrates and angers me a great deal.

I've seen how these people defend themselves. They say things like they only use the stolen patterns that they download to discover new designers and then purchase real copies of the charts for designers they like. This might be true for a few of them, but it is NOT true for the majority of them. Far too many people download charts for free and refuse to see that by doing this they are crippling designers' businesses, thus causing them to stop designing as they can't earn a living wage with their designs. For this magazine specifically it has been horrendous to see that within 30 minutes of the new issue becoming available, the file is uploaded on at least 3 different major infringement sites. Then the issues are downloaded hundreds of times within a few days. Then the people who download the files argue that it doesn't hurt the business of the publisher of the magazine (it is a small business that publishes this magazine, not a large publishing company). I don't understand how they can believe that their stealing doesn't effect the publisher when hundreds of downloads do equal hundreds of lost sales to the publisher. If it were true that downloading these illegal copies do not impact designers, then TGOSM would NOT have seen such a loss in sales that just gets worse every quarter. The fact remains that designers who are being infringed upon do see major drops in their income/sales, the more frequently they are infringed the greater the drop in their sales.

These drops in sales would NOT occur if it were true that everyone who downloads a pattern just to "see if it is a good pattern" then goes and actually buys that same pattern. Since designers are seeing drops in sales, some to a point where their designing business is constantly running at a loss (in other words it costs them money to continue to design, rather than breaking even or making a small profit), it is obvious that the theft of their designs is negatively impacting their businesses.

Sadly it is true that human beings will convince themselves of whatever they need to so they can continue their behavior when they know that behavior is wrong. Many of these thieves convince themselves that stealing these designs doesn't hurt the designers and is "ok", in order to feel that it is okay for them to continue to download stolen charts. They deny the harm they are doing.

I truly am saddened that the stitching community is losing yet another great resource due to internet thieves. I loved TGOSM as it introduced me to many designers I had not seen before. It had many interesting ways of finishing stitching beyond the usual framing, pillows, needlebooks etc. It had some wonderful articles. I will treasure all the issues I have.

Kirsten, thank you for all the work you put in to publishing The Gift Of Stitching Magazine. I enjoyed it tremendously!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Commenting System

On other blogs I have seen comment sections that allow people to post a response to a specific comment. The replies are indented and show up underneath the comment they are responding to. This allows people to have a conversation with each other and receive replies directly linked to their comment. On Rosemary's blog Seeking Equilibrium, I have greatly enjoyed the system she is using for comments on her blog. So I went ahead and followed the link to the website for Intense Debate, the company (I guess it's a company) that provides the program/coding for the comments. I signed up and followed their installation instructions.

I was surprised at how easy it was to install. I then tested it (hence the two comments at the bottom of this post LOL) and it works great! 

I wanted to do this because I can't always sit up for long periods of time and thus am unable to reply via email to all the comments even when I want to. As a result my response emails can go out days (or sometimes weeks) after the original comment was made. I feel bad about that and wanted a better way.

With this program installed on my blogs I can now comment directly to people in a faster yet still personal (to each individual person's comment) way.  When you make a comment on the blog there is an option to "subscribe" to the comments and you will receive an email update about further responses. You can select "all comments", "none" or just "replies". By selecting replies you will be notified when anyone replies directly to your comment. This notification will be helpful in letting you know that someone (either myself or someone else) has posted to you so that you can view the reply and choose whether or not to respond to it. Selecting none is self-explanatory and selecting "all comments" means you will be notified of every comment posted after your own, even if they were not in reply to your statement. 

I hope you enjoy this new system. Thank you again for reading my babblings, I do appreciate it a great deal!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oncologist Visit

I wasn't expecting the oncologist to do much, but boy did they make me nervous! He is a radiation oncologist so he doesn't do much (if anything, I'm not 100% sure though) with patients until they've been diagnoses with cancer ad referred for radiation. I called him because back in 2010 he was such a great help to me. he understood and knew about phyllodes tumors, and was willing to answer all my questions.

So I went to see him on Monday. As I said, I called to find out what I needed to do and the nurse called me back. Anyway, he remembered me and asked if I had the resection done. He had recommended the surgeon go back in and take some more tissue because he didn't agree that they had gotten a wide enough margin. I explained the surgeon refused to do it. He looked a bit angry but hid it fairly well. He then agreed that yes this thing in my back might be a phyllodes but he can't say for sure whether it is or not. I said I understood that but I just wanted to know if I was thinking correctly or if I was just going off half-cocked for nothing.

I understand docs have to be careful what they say to patients, and he was very careful how he worded things. But basically yes it could be a phyllodes, it could also be any number of other things. He said I need to see a neurosurgeon to have it evaluated and that it should be removed and biopsied. So nope I'm not over-reacting, which is nice to know since I am aware that I can do that at time. It is possibly a Phyllodes Tumor, but only way to be sure is biopsy.

Soooooo..time to get a neurosurgeon to see me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

WIPocalypse March Update

Here is a picture of the Anniversary Sampler for DH and I for the March WIPocalypse. I didn't get a whole lot done, but its better than nothing.

more of the right hand border

how it looks overall
This is Sentimental Sampler © Betty Spencer from the US Magazine Cross Stitch Crazy May 2002. Here is a pic of what it should look like when completed. I did change it around just a little to make the words I wanted fit in it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Return Call From Oncologist

I put a call in yesterday (Friday) to the oncologist I saw back in 2010 after the biopsy results came back. I wanted to be sure that I had the right information about Phyllodes tumors and that everything that could be done had been done, so I went to see him even though the surgeon told me it wasn't necessary.

So I called his office leaving a detailed message and asking what tests or things I should be asking my GP about when I see him on Wednesday. The oncologist's nurse called me back a couple hours later after discussing my message with the doctor.  They apparently pulled my medical file and looked it over. The doctor is "concerned that it very well could be a recurrence of Phyllodes" and wants to see me "asap", so I was given an appointment for Monday at 11:00AM (central usa time).

The nurse told me some of the things I already knew regarding chances of recurrence, chances it could be another low-level malignant/benign Phyllodes, chances it could be a more malignant tumor (mid-level or highly malignant metastisising) etc. etc. She said that I was doing the right thing by getting it checked out and said with my history it needs to be done.

So I am now a tad more nervous and scared. To have a cancer doctor say he is "concerned" and "wants to see you ASAP" is a little unnerving. Though it is still possible this will turn out to not be a phyllodes, so I am holding on to that and doing what the doctor wants me to do.

I am still very very scared.

Thank you Sara, Christine, Mouse, Daffycat, Terriboog, Jeanne, Anne and Brigitte for your wonderful comments and well wishes. I greatly appreciate them!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

So Scared...another tumor?

If you read my entry for Tuesday (on my pain blog), where I talked about my doctor's appointment on Monday you'll know that when I asked my doctor about the cat scan results he said there was nothing spectacular going on with my spine and that my pelvis/SI joints came back as he expected. Yet again I am glad I do not totally trust my doctors on everything. I trust him to a point, same as he trusts me to a point. But from my experiences I have learned that doctors are very very busy, and as a result miss things, forget past illnesses of their patients, or flat out ignore them.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I received a copy of the cat scan results in the mail as I requested. (which was a pleasant surprise since I was expecting the receptionist to forget her promise to put it in the mail) Reading the report I came across something I hadn't heard of before, intraosseous hemangioma on my first lumbar vertebrae (L1). So I looked it up. Intraosseous means "on or within the bone" and hemangioma means "growth containing endothelial cells and blood vessels". So basically this means I have a growth of some sort (tumor) on my vertebrae at L1. What I read went on to talk about the various tumors an intraosseous hemangioma can turn out to be, many are cancerous (and yes Phyllodes is included) and a few are not.

Now I understand my doctor has hundreds of other patients and as a result it is difficult to remember every little thing their patients have been diagnosed with in the past. But to forget your patient had a rare cancerous tumor removed 18 months ago? Then to not even mention this growth when giving the test results seems wrong to me.

In June of 2010 I had a cancerous tumor called a Phyllodes tumor removed from my right breast. These are very very rare tumors, counting for less than 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses in the USA. When they do recur as a spreading (metastasis) cancer, they most frequently show up on the lungs or the spine. They are not the usual breast cancer in that they are not ductal or lobal, they are a connective tissue tumor. Also they do not spread via the lymphatic system as most breast cancers do, they spread via blood vessels and contain endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are the cells which make up the lining of blood vessels.

I did inform my pain management doctors of this tumor and its removal because it meant I was having surgery. I did inform them of what little is known about these tumors, including that they do not respond to chemo or radiation and the recurrence rates etc. etc..I did not get additional meds for post surgical pain as my regular meds should have covered it, but I still had to inform them I was getting surgery. They were also informed that a benign/low level malignant Phyllodes tumor counts as a cancer diagnosis and if it recurs it can do so as a more malignant tumor and when they do they usually appear on the lungs or the spine.

Taking that into consideration do you think it might have crossed the doctor's mind that a tumor on my spine MIGHT be something he should mention to me and recommend I have it checked out considering the similarities between a hemangioma and a phyllodes tumor and considering I have already had a rare cancerous tumor removed 18 months ago?

I say HELL YES to that question. Instead I had to find out by demanding my own copy of the written report.

So now I am scared.

I am hoping that it is not a recurrent phyllodes tumor that chose to pop up on my spine because that is pretty scary. I know the chances of survival regarding a recurrent and spreading phyllodes, which this would be a metastisis since it is on my spine not the same breast. I know the chances of it being another low level malginant/benign Phyllodes or the more malignant ones. None of it is real encouraging or very good. But the only way to find out is to have it removed and biopsied since you can't tell a phyllodes from a non-cancerous tumor without a biopsy. (They very frequently come up with a false negative for cancer result on needle and core biopsies.) You would think that a doctor would tell their patient, specially one with my history, that an abnormal growth (aka tumor) has appeared on their spine.

I see my primary care doctor to get the ball rolling for a biopsy next Wednesday.

Please please please God, not cancer ok? Or at least, not malignant Phyllodes ok? please? pretty please with sugar on top?

I need prayers and well wishes that this turns out to be nothing, if you wouldn't mind.

Thank you.

PS I did do a little stitching, but haven't gotten a pic for WIPOcalypse and I am sorry. I will try to get it up tomorrow.