Guissell

Mom Journal: Coming Full Circle

by Cat on May 4, 2011

Mother’s Day is coming up, and Designing Mom Guissell and her mom have much to celebrate together.  For her mother it means being cancer-free, while Guissell now ponders a rarefied moment in her life on how to invest in her free time.  Here’s to taking some time out in being as passionate about yourself as you are with your loved ones this Mother’s Day!

by Designing Mom Guissell of Earthy Beginnings

Dealing with my mom’s condition made me reevaluate my life and how I was “living” it.  Perhaps it was the amount of stress or my soul’s simple need of, but I submerged myself again in the world I had left behind once I started my family, the world of live music.  I believe I have mentioned this previously but my grandfather was a firm believer that art in its various forms was essential to one’s soul, which I have to agree.  Prior to motherhood, I was a music major and was constantly involved in live music especially that of my fellow musicians. Although I may not be able to experience it to the same degree I did back then I am happy to have found a way back through live photography.  I am very gracious that my family has been very supportive of my new personal project.  Photography has always been a side hobby I was never sure what to do with, but tying it to live music was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.  It allows me to get lost in the moment and to re-energize myself to be able to deal with all of life’s pressures.   Where will this lead? I don’t know and quite truthfully I don’t care to know.  I am just happy with being able to take it all in and being back in the world I have always loved while also being able to enjoy my family.  The scales are now balanced.

Having my mom be “cancer free” at the moment also helps! A LOT!!!

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Shop: Sweet Pea Toad

by Cat on October 6, 2010

by Designing Mom Guissell of Earthy Beginnings

Adorable handmade hats by SweetPeaToad.  Just looking at the lion hat you can see how much attention to detail is given to each product, ah but the beauty of handmade! My favorite is a toss up between The Little Lion and the Dr. Who? hat…  Available at my favorite indie marketplace, Cargoh!  Check out Cathy’s shop for more goodness.

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Best of our Blogs: Emily Part 2

by Cat on September 23, 2010

Here’s a followup to one of Designing Mom Guissell’s favorite posts from her blog Earthy Beginnings
If you recall, her little man had a certain crush on Angelina but things quickly changed…

from Designing Mom Guissell:

While riding on the elevator w/a neighbor and my 3yr old this morning:
Me: “E do you have a girlfriend?”
E: “Yes!”
Neighbor: “You do?!!”
E: “Yeah!”
Looking at my neighbor perplexed points at himself and tells him, “I’m a boy!”
Neighbor: (laughs)…”This is best thing I’ve heard today!!”

Me: “WOW! So what’s her name?”
E: “Emily!”

It’s official the Angelina craze is over! In the meantime here’s the heart he gave me when he asked me to be his valentine last week. I’m so last weekend!… sigh.

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Story: One Day at a Time…

by Cat on August 16, 2010

This is such a touching and courageous post by Designing Mom Guissell of her mom.  What a battle it has been and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her and her family to hear of the exciting news!   And if I can just add…Guissell, this is your mom at 53?!  A beautiful mom like you!    

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Designing Mom Guissell (of Earthy Beginnings): 

This post has been in the making for a couple of months now, mainly because it’s painfully personal.  About a year ago our lives turned upside down when my mother was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, a form of kidney cancer, after a visit to the ER for abdominal pain.  The long week wait for results to come back was excruciating to say the least and just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, the doctors informed us that her cancer had already metastasized to her liver and both lungs putting her in stage 4 of the cancer.  Words can’t explain all the emotions that we were all experiencing, life literally stopped for me.  I’m the oldest of three but my age gap with my siblings is so big I’ve always had the position of being mom’s assistant rather than just another child.  My mom and I are best friends, yes she’s my mother but she’s truly my confidant. 


To say that the health insurance process was difficult is a complete understatement. After months of battling, I was able to start my mom in her treatment (almost 3 moths after she was diagnosed). The first month of treatment was bad but not as bad as we all thought it would be. The second cycle however was really tough.  By the end of the third cycle I found myself at the ER with doctors telling me my mother’s liver was failing. Her oncologist had explained that this treatment would be really aggressive and to expect things like this to take place.  Once her body stabilized scans were done to check on her progress.  What we realized was that the medication was making her really ill during the last two weeks of the 28-day cycle treatment.  Once she came off the medication she was back to 100% in two weeks, crazy I know.

I will never forget the night her oncologist called me with the test results, it had been now about a month since the scans, something that felt more like a year. He started to explain each result one by one while I prepared my heart to hear the worse.  The mass around her liver he explained was completely gone.  The numerous nodules in her left lung were also all gone!  In her right lung there is only now 5 tiny nodules all under 1cm in diameter left.  He explained the treatment had done far more than what he had expected it to do, far more than what we all expected it to do that’s for sure!  Hearing this and being able to give that news to my family was beyond all happiness I have ever experienced really.  Needless to say we remain hopeful, my mother since has finished her fourth cycle and is on her fifth cycle now.  She has managed to figure a way to do her treatment so that she doesn’t get too sick that requires bed rest (we haven’t been back to the ER since early this year whoo hoo!).  Once she finishes this cycle she will have scans again to check on her progress.  We’re all praying for the best of course!

My mother’s strength is truly one to be admired.  Her life story alone would fill up a book!  I am grateful to have her as an example, as a friend, as my mother.  Every day I give thanks for being able to hold her hand, see her smile, and for continuing to form memories.  Although it is uncertain what tomorrow will hold, for now we’re simply taking it one day at a time!


above: Mom at 16: One of my favorites because it really defines my mother’s spirit to date, always very live and looking to have a good time.



above: Mom at 53.  I took this picture a couple of weeks ago after a day out with the family, her spirit a bit worn but still wanting to take in the setting sun.

Mom I know you’re reading this, I love you!

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Story: Angelina Who?

by Cat on August 12, 2010

This is one of Designing Mom Guissell’s (of Earthy Beginnings) favorite posts on her blog and she’s sharing with you here.  To all of us with boys…uh oh…is this what’s to come?!

Designing Mom Guissell:  
Excuse me but what does a 3yr old know about beauty? A couple of weeks ago while giving thanks my 3yr old said, “thank you for Angelina!” Knowing there’s a little Brazilian girl in his class named Angelina I followed by asking him if that’s who he was referring to and he said yes. So I had to ask, “Do you like Angelina?” To my amazement something that was usually followed with a yes “he/she is my friend” was now followed by, “She’s beautiful!”… He continued to mention her more often at home so like any curious mother would do I asked one of his teachers if he even spoke to Angelina during class. The teacher’s response: “Who are you telling!! He has been like this since the first week of school. Angelina, Angelina… It’s too much! Just today he was calling her not even 5min after waking up from nap time! I don’t understand how he can know what he likes at such a young age!”… Perhaps that was more than I expected to hear. My baby in love?? No way! I’m not ready for this people! ha!!!

Needless to say the Angelina craze continues to date… I’ve lost my baby to Angelina!! Jen I now know how it feels!!!

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