Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jewelry with the Colors of "Donate Life"

April is Organ Donation Month.  Over 110,000 people are waiting for a life saving organ.  Sign up to be a donor at   The "Gift of Life" is the most precious gift there is.

Celebrate Organ Donation Month with these amazing designs.

Serenity Necklace -This beautiful statement necklace hangs from a shiny 12k gold plated brass oval link chain and combines turquoise and mixed dyed jade with smooth and faceted glass stones all set in hand hammered bezels.

Felicity Hoops - Four geometric hand cut crysophase, turquoise and lapis gemstones adorn shiny 12k gold plated brass hoops.

Serenity Small Stone Earrings.  Hand cut polished semi-precious dyed blue jade drops are handset in a shiny 12k gold plated hammered brass bezel.

Serenity Stone Drops - Hand cut polished semi-precious dyed green jade drops are handset in a shiny 12k gold plated hammered brass bezel.

Serenity Stone Pendant - A hand polished and dyed jade stone is suspended from a 12k gold plated double brass snake chain. Removable extender for adjustable length.

Shop Stella & Dot and see their wonderful styles and specials.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Outdoor Chic

Mixed chain lariat, is capped with white bronze plated brass finials. A mixed of gold, rose gold, and hematitite plated faceted brass beads are hand woven through a white bronze plated brass chain and accented with czech stones.

Nugget wrapped leather bracelet is adjustable to fit S-L wrists and has a button closure. 

Renegade Mini Drop Earrings are gold plated spike dangles from a black diamond pave ball.

Hematite Studs have a single shimmering CZ stone is nestled inside a hand hammered black ruthenium plated brass bezel.

Zaria Ring  is a hammered and smooth brass intertwine for a bold, yet soft effect in this unique Limited Edition ring. Slip in on to complete a polished office look and leave it on for happy hour cocktails with the girls. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Organic Shapes and Geometric Forms and Visual Interests to Stones

PIPPA NECKLACE Alternating geometric polished epoxy stones adorn a delicate shiny 12k gold plated brass chain. 37" length plus 2" extender. Lead & nickel safe. View Necklace

PIPPA STONE EARRINGS - A trio of hand set clear and opaque epoxy stones set in shiny 12k gold plated brass bezels cascade from a 12k gold plated sterling silver fish hook ear wire. 2 1/8” length,  Lead & nickel safe.  View Earrings 

CHANTILLY LACE CUFF - Gold plated filigree cuff was inspired by a piece of vintage lace. A beautiful statement piece. As seen in Fitness Magazine. 3" length. 2 1/4" inner diameter. Fits S-M wrists. Lead & nickel safe. View Bracelet 

CAMILLA RING - Aventurine stone in a vintage setting. Adjustable brass band. Lead & nickel safe. View Ring

“We get great joy out of designing irresistible jewelry. And yet, jewelry is just the tangible expression of something much greater we are creating. We have a vision of the world where STRONG WOMEN LIVE BOLD and joyful lives. They know what they want and they work for it. They inspire each other. Passion and joy are their best accessories.” -Stella & Dot

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two Trees

I have learned that everyone has beautiful qualities and it doesn’t matter what shape, size or health status possessed.  At the end of the day, the lesson is: to see the beauty in our self as well as each other, reach out to your partner and give unconditional love and you will find the true meaning of connecting spiritually.
In my speaking career, I talk about a lot of topics, mostly related to chronic illness. On a few occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing relationships.

I wrote a speech a few years back that centered on “Susie” a fictional character who has lived with a chronic illness most of her life.  She was in search of the key to a loving relationship. You may relate to Susie’s story as you lean on your partner – and your partner leans on you – in order to get through the tough times together.

Susie had exhausted all angles, to no avail. It seemed no one had the key to lasting love. She had talked to her friends, her family, and she had read many books. Nowhere did she find just the right words. Then one day an old woman approached her as she took a break on her hike through the hills.

“What is your problem, my child?” the woman said, squatting down next to Susie. “Why do you sit with such a long face?”

Susie told the woman about her quest. The woman said, “Take a look at the trees around you. What do you see?”

“They are beautiful,” Susie answered.

“What about them is beautiful?” she asked.

“Their colors and shapes,” Susie replied. “They each have a unique silhouette against the sky and their leaves are in a million shades of green, yellow, gold and orange.”

“Oh,” said the old woman, pausing to think for a moment. “They are beautiful because they are different?”

Yes, I think so,” Susie said.

“See,” the old woman said, “You already know the first lesson in love. Honor our differences – they are what make us beautiful.”

Then the old woman walked up a small hill, Susie following after her. “I think I have the perfect example for you.  See those two trees over there?”

“Yes,” Susie puffed, catching her breath. She noticed the old woman’s breathing was steady.

“They have stood next to each other for hundreds of years, each planted firmly with their own roots. But see how they have slowly grown together, their limbs delicately intertwining?”
Susie nodded.

“Look at the smaller one. Unfortunately, it was hit by lightning and has already lost most of its leaves. The other, its leaves are intact,” the old woman pointed at the larger tree’s branches, bursting with color. “Notice how its limbs overarch its partner? This year, the tree will help protect its companion so it will survive the chilly season and thrive next spring.”

“The trees are separate,” she continued, “but they will always stand side-by-side. And in the winter, like most of the trees in the valley, they will be completely naked.  But - they will have become much stronger because they have overcome adversity and know the significance of one another. 
Most importantly, they have each other to endure the cold weather together, reflecting on precious memories while sharing their dreams of what the spring will bring.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrate Freedom

This 4th of July I will be celebrating the freedom we enjoy in this country of making decisions where we go, what we want to do for a living and what we choose to wear.  This is the short list of the freedoms we enjoy. 

I will also be celebrating my 5 month anniversary for my 4th kidney transplant and freedom brings on new meaning when you do not have to rely on a dialysis machine to live.  On February 4th of this year, I was able to declare independence from a dialysis machine thanks to my step-sister Cyndi's gift of one of her kidneys. 

Every day, a person's kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products.  So, I ask that you celebrate your kidneys and salute these highly effective filters that allow freedom from the build of toxins in the bloodstream. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pee All You Can Pee

I had my kidney transplant on February 4th, so "4" was my lucky number. I have to say a working kidney does wonders for the body.  The surgery took about 4 hours.  My surgeon performed an inner abdominal transplant, which involves a 14" incision down the middle of my stomach.  They use this surgical technique when you have had several previous transplants and they are concerned about space and scar tissue.

I had 100% antibodies prior to surgery and had to undergo plasmapheris, IVIG and Retuxin therapy to prevent my body from rejecting the kidney and lower my antibodies.  Fortunately, I responded to this treatment. 

Since my first two transplants didn't work and my third one didn't work for several weeks, I was a little apprehensive if the kidney would work right away.  This was also the first time I had a living donor (my step-sister Cyndi) and was worried that everything would go smoothly for her.  My previous three transplants were from deceased donors and from the time of the call to surgery you do you not have much time to think.  Everything happens so fast.

Luckily, the kidney started working immediately on the table and hasn't stopped.  My creatnine three days after surgery was .6 (normal is .6 to 1.4).  Lower is better.  All my labs were in normal range except my phosphorus, which was low.  Now I was required to eat high phosphorus foods.  Chocolate and cheese here I come!  For laypersons out there, when you are on dialysis you have to limit your phosphorus dramatically.

I had to take large doses of steroids which make you feel invincible, but the transplant team quickly lowered my dose to 5 mg a day after two weeks post transplant.  Those of you who have taken steroids know they can take you on an emotional roller coaster ride.

I have been going to clinic twice a week and numbers are stable except for they have to adjust the medications accordingly.  I rented a guesthouse for the first couple of months to make sure I do not get an infection.  I have a zoo and a lot of traffic at my home and I wanted to do everything I can to prevent getting an infection.  That is the biggest threat right now. 

Cyndi had her 2-week check up and was given a clean bill of health.  She gave me an energizer bunny kidney, so I decided to name my kidney LouLu.  Her middle name is Louise and I spend quite a bit of time in the Lu.  I don't ever think I will sleep the night through again.

I am working on getting my strength back and spending too much time watching daytime TV.   I am hooked on American Pickers, What Not To Wear and Modern Family.  These shows are light and don’t require any thinking.  I am convinced that if you watch too much daytime TV it will make you nuts so I have switched my efforts to making button jewelry, walking, some writing and reading and talking on the phone.  My best friend Catherine works 2 blocks away and makes dinner for her family every weeknight and brings me a gourmet dinner.  I have never eaten so well in my life!  She is a great cook.  I have received so much incredible support of friends and family I am very grateful. 

There are so many advancements in transplantation.  Twenty years ago I had 98% antibodies and all I could hope for was a perfect match kidney.  It took 7 years and one came up.  I was very lucky.  But lightning does not always strike twice. 

When I visited Cedar Sinai transplant team they were very confident they could transplant me because I multiple potential living donors.  They were not concerned about blood type or antigens, just the cross-match.  Which was hard at first to wrap my brain around.  It took 9 months to go through the process, as I had to receive 7 units of blood last July due to a GI bleed, which made my antibodies crazy. 

Also, paired exchange is an option for people who may not have a compatible donor and the donor is willing to donate to someone else.  So much hope, what advancements are in our future?  The use of stem cell research to grow kidneys or a mechanical kidney?!

I am only 3 weeks out, but I am on my way to recovery.  I amazed every time I see my labs and I am in the normal range.  I can't remember that ever happening to me.  LouLu is a master chemist and my sister’s kidney is helping me pee all I can pee! 

The Day After Surgery.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is "4" My Lucky Number?

Will the numbers line up for me on February 4, 2011, the tentative date for my kidney transplant?

This will be my fourth transplant, the transplant is scheduled for the fourth of February, I am 44 years old and if you add the numbers 2011 (2+0+1+1), you get 4!  I have never been into numerology, but right now it sounds attractive!

I have a pretty hectic schedule between now and the 4th.  I will have to receive five plasmapheresis sessions. This involves my blood going through a machine different than a dialysis one.  It spins my blood.  The red blood cells go to the bottom and the plasma goes to the top.  The plasma is then sucked off and is replaced with plasma without antibodies.  The process takes about two hours.

My sister and I have to spend this Tuesday in pre-op and next week I have to receive another treatment of IVIG and a six-hour infusion of a drug called Retuxin.  I still do my dialysis treatments three times a week.  Luckily, the treatments do not cause any discomfort and I have been able to complete almost every level of “Angry Birds”!  When else would I have this much time sitting in one place?

Receiving Plasmapheresis
Leading up to February 4th, I guess I will be busy!  I spend almost every day at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center.  I am getting quite acquainted to the area around the hospital.

Having been through this schedule before, I am hoping this will be my chance to move past this crisis.  I like the numbers.  Cyndi (my donor) is my fourth sister too.

When the numbers line up, I am told, we get a special energy.  Everything works in sync.  “…when these numbers line up, the energy created by those numbers offers you this state of flow.”

The most important thing when the surgeon connects the blood vessels up to the donated kidney is for blood to flow through the kidney and turn pink.  This is supposed to happen immediately (ideally) and then it starts to produce urine.

A couple of days before the tentative transplant date, they will perform a final cross-match to determine if my body is ready for the transplant.  I sure hope it is not delayed again! The anticipation of whether February 4th will be my date can be unnerving at times, but I guess I should follow the numerology and go with the flow!