Posts Tagged ‘knitting

23
May
10

A Granola Bar, a Little Whine, and Now . . .

It’s not fair!

I want to see Emily Rose dance the Sugar Plum Fairy. I want to see her graduate. I want to see her become a professional ballerina.

I *might* see the first; the last is probably right out, especially if she goes to college first.

Why do I have to have cancer? There’s so many things that I want to do. I want to go back to school for a Masters at least in literature, and maybe history. I want to fill my house with quilts I’ve made as well as give away a whole bunch. I want to knit my own wardrobe. I want to bead beautiful jewelry and have plenty of occasions to wear it. I want to keep learning to play the mandolin. I want to do some voice training, so I can at least hear the ghost of the voice I might have had if I’d had training when I was younger. I want to get back into shape (if not the shape I was in at 17, at least the shape I was in when Brian and I got married). I want to read so many more books. I want to play with the friends I’ve already got, and make new ones to play with. I want to travel. I want to get to know my nieces and nephews on both sides of the family, and get to know *their* kids. I want to continue my job where I left off, taking more responsibility for the event planning, and getting to know more about designing websites. I want to touch people’s lives, and be there for them the way so many people are being there for me in my time of need. I want to play with my cats and dog. I want to love my husband and spend a longer rest-of-my-life with him than it looks as if I’ll get.

And this is how I’m feeling 6 days after getting such excellent news on Monday. Guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t bad news!

OK, now that I’ve gotten that whine out (and had a granola bar), I feel much better. Don’t worry, Ma, I’m doing fine now.

20
Apr
10

Sunday, Lovely Sunday

My Sunday started on Friday, when Brian and I tried something I wasn’t sure I was really up for – meeting friends for dinner. In preparation, I took a nap Friday afternoon, and felt about as rested and ready as I ever feel these days. We met Shawn and Hope downtown at Mother’s, and we were there for a little over two hours. We’d warned them that I might be quiet unto napping, if the chemo was picking on me that day, but the nap seems to have headed that off, and I was able to be a full participant in the conversation.

Hope brought a photo album of her dog Scampers, who is just adorable – you can tell that he scampers pretty much everywhere. She also told some very amusing stories about how her cat (sorry, brain fade on the name) entices the dog to play with her. We had a very enjoyable dinner, and the promise that we will get together again soon when it is a good time in my chemo cycle. I’m looking forward to that!

I wasn’t up for much once we got home though. That’s the way it usually works – I can push myself to be on for a couple hours, but then it’s back into the pumpkin. Brian and I played Yahtzee (probably the simplest game we have, and all that I was up for), then went to bed by 9:30 – 10:00.

Saturday our friend Cathy and her dorky Augie came down from Longview. We talked knitting, and she helped me figure out an alternate way to accomplish something that my peripheral-neuropathied hands were having trouble with doing by the book. I had to stop part way through and go take an emergency nap, although it was mostly an emergency close-one’s-eyes-and-rest – at any rate after about an hour I felt as if I’d recouped some energy. We all went to the Mad Greek Deli for a late lunch (mmm, lamb gyros!), and got some various baklava to go.

That evening, we had crockpot potroast with garlic bread, then watched Time Bandits. Just as my favorite part of the movie came on, I got smacked by yet another “you must lie down now” brick, just out of nowhere. I stumbled up the stairs, and slept through booms and roars, sinkings and burnings, as well as ogres, Supreme Beings, and Pure Evil. Good thing it wasn’t incumbent upon me to rescue the world from Pure Evil; or if it was, well, sorry.

Sunday morning I got up relatively early (8:00 *is* early, for me at least), made a pot of coffee, and set out the baklava. We all relaxed, and Cathy and I knitted some more; round about noon, I suggested that we go lie out in the backyard in the sun. As it turned out, we only lay in the sun for a half-hour or so, then moved into the shade, as it was quite hot in the sun. I read several chapters of “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett to Brian and Cathy (and Augie and Robin, although I doubt they were really listening). Eventually we came in, had lunch, played a game of Uno (Cathy creamed us); and then Cathy had to head on back home.

What a lovely, relaxing weekend, and especially Sunday! It is days like this, with good friends and quiet enjoyment that make the miserable days of treatment worthwhile.

13
Apr
10

Chemo #3 – Days of whine and noses

The whine is mostly about a long list of side effects from the chemo – going in-depth on each one would be a very long, boring, and sometimes disgusting post. So instead, I will focus on the ones that are giving me the worst fits.

Abraxane, being a variant of Taxol (or Taxotere) has pretty much the same side effects. I’d hoped that having the different base would mean that some of the side effects would either not happen, or be less intense. No such luck.

By far the worst side effect is the pain. Muscle, joint, and bone pain all are omnipresent, and they get worse with the Neupogen and Neulasta shots to boost WBC and neutrophil counts. Bless Margaret, a lady I have yet to speak to other than by e-mail, for turning me on to the wonders of Claritin. I took a Claritin Friday instead of my usual OTC generic Zyrtec allergy pill, and had a nearly pain-free day. Saturday morning I had a Neulasta shot (because there’s two weeks between chemo 3 & 4; Neupogen is for when you have chemo every week). I checked with the oncologist about using the Claritin instead of the Zyrtec, and he said he’d heard anecdotal evidence that it helped control the pain with Neupogen shots.

Apparently it doesn’t work so well with the Neulasta shots, as Sunday and Monday I have been back to the incredible relentless pain; with the Neulasta it tends to focus in my long bones (femur, humerus), although I do have some joint issues in shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips as well. I’ve been taking at least two hot baths a day, usually with Epsom salts – that will temporarily relieve the pain. Brian massaged my ankles/knees/thighs and lower back last night, and that helped while he was doing it, but as soon as he finished, it was totally back.

I’m trying to get in a little bit of exercise each day, on the theory that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it; and in hopes that it will help with the pain. Yesterday I walked down to the mailbox with the dog, and it wasn’t a sure thing that I was going to make it back to the house – it completely exhausted me. I would say that the movement did help briefly with the pain. I also try to move around the house and go up and down the stairs as much as I can; although I got to the bottom of the stairs yesterday afternoon, and couldn’t go up, but couldn’t make it back to my chair. I sort of collapsed with my knees on the second stair, my forearms on the fourth stair, and my forehead on the fifth stair. Brian found me like this, and retrieved whatever it was I’d wanted from upstairs. He offered to help me back to my chair, but I was being stubborn and said “No, I’ll get there eventually”. And I did. I think he checked on me a couple times, though.

The other real PITA thing is all the problems with my nose and sinuses. I get bloody noses (mostly just a tinge of color, but indicative of more and worse to come). I get extremely congested, and can’t clear my nose, especially if I’m laying down. I use a saline/baking soda flush a couple times a day to help get it cleared out, but woe is me if I don’t do it at all. It’s like having a bloody cold. Yuck.

I guess the good news is that the flushes have become easy to do since I have to do them so often, so my reasons for not doing them just for my allergies have all gone by the wayside.

Oh yeah, and the mouth sores – those I thought I could avoid by having ice chips before the abraxane – it certainly worked with the adriamycin and the taxol; they’ve gotten better, but still hurt and make it difficult to brush my teeth.

Did I mention the exhaustion? So tired I can’t keep my eyes open, but often not sleepy enough to sleep. I’m not sure if it’s this that’s ruining my concentration, or early onset chemobrain. I’ve tried knitting on a hat I’ve had in the works, and keep messing it up. What the chemobrain doesn’t impact, the peripheral neuropathy does (thanks to adding in the Avastin this past week).

So, there, I ended up whining about more than I’d intended. I’m hoping that the weather is going to warm up some this week so maybe I can go lay in the backyard in the sun for a bit. I’m bored, mostly because I don’t have the focus or stamina to read, knit, bead, play games, etc. I still hold that, if I were retired, and without having to endure treatment of any kind, that I wouldn’t be bored at all. And indeed, when I’m working on a piece of knitting, or reading, or stumbling down to the mailbox, I’m not bored. It’s all the time that I spend unable to do any of these things that I am bored. Sadly, even sleeping is only good for a couple hours at a time. And it’s really bad when I am awake at night. Then I can’t even pester Brian.

I have been watching some movies, recently. I finally watched “The Perfect Storm” and “The Shipping News”, and rewatched “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” by Woody Allen. Bless you, Netflix!

10
Mar
09

Flashbacks, non-acid-related

It just occurred to me when I felt this exact same way – unable to concentrate on books, knitting, work, movies; and even more, when I really didn’t *want* to concentrate on anything – it was after my mastectomy in September of ’07, and for about 7 or 8 weeks afterward. Admittedly, I had another bout of the same thing related to chemo in December of ’07, so I presume that the chemo is catching up with me finally.

I tried to read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, but oddly enough, the random thought-pattern of Benjy was too much like my own chemo-brain pattern to allow me to focus. Instead, I read Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie – I think I can truly say that I’ve finally found a Christie I could not estomac!

I was going to watch a movie tonight, but I just didn’t feel as if I had the energy to sit through something more than an hour long; and since we don’t watch TV, I don’t have a clue what might be on broadcast.

I knit about 6 rows on my current project, but when it came time to do the cabling again, I put it down because it required concentration that I’d obviously been lacking when I purled some knit stitches on the previous row. I had the presence of mind to be able to fix them as I came upon them, but clearly I shouldn’t have been knitting in the first place.

Conversely, last night, Brian was trying to fix a problem with our amp, and popped in a movie so he would know when he got sound. It was The Wizard of Oz, and for a good 45 minutes, I sat there and stared at the movie, mouthing the words of both dialogue and song based on what was playing on the screen. Guess that was about my speed. . .

27
Dec
08

December 27, 2008

We had a nice, laid-back Christmas – slept in, had a morning beverage of choice (coffee for me, hot chocolate for Brian), sat and enjoyed each others’ company. We started cooking dinner around 1:15 (ham, yams, green bean casserole). The only disappointment for the day was that we’d invited a friend over, but due to the snow and ice she wasn’t able to make it. We offered to go pick her up, but her neighborhood was completely unplowed, and she said we’d never get there in the MINI (I was game to try, but she was convinced, and so we have made plans to get together this weekend).

Since I got through the first round of cancer, and especially since the recurrence, I have started to feel oppressed by all the “stuff” we have. Back in July we did a major clean-out, culling things we haven’t used in a long time; we took a couple loads of stuff to Goodwill and sent a couple bags to the dump. There’s still plenty of “stuff” around (especially in my office), although lots of that is books and craft/art supplies (even after clearing out my yarn stash, I still have tons of yarn, ditto beads and quilting fabrics). At any rate, I suggested to Brian that maybe this year, instead of buying each other presents, we should spend the money on clothes (both of us are wearing clothes that are so old they’re starting to develop holes and frayed spots; although I think Brian is the winner – he’s got a couple items that he’s had for more than 25 years; my oldest piece, that I only wear once in a while, is a winter sweater from the early ’90s).

We agreed, and so this was a “presentless” year. In retrospect, I find that a lot of my joy in Christmas is in *giving* gifts, and I missed watching Brian open his presents. We did buy some toys for Robin and the cats, so we got to enjoy watching them open and play with the various catnip mice and the stuffed monkey. Robin was a little weirded out by the monkey in its tissue paper. He didn’t really like it at first, so he stayed away from it. After a while, though, he happened upon it when he was doing something else, and all of a sudden it was a cool toy – go figure!

For next year, we’ve decided that we will probably give each other a little present apiece, because it just doesn’t seem right to totally skip giving someone you love so much a gift on Christmas. In the meantime, I’m feeling another purge coming on – if only so that I can find the top of my desk again.

We had more snow on Christmas day – huge flakes that actually started to accumulate a little. Friday afternoon Brian shoveled the front walk again, although the temperature had started moving up and thaw was starting to set in. When we got up this morning most of the snow was gone, except where there were drifts deeper than six inches. Now we’re getting into normal winter weather for the area – rain and mid-40s.

I’m really enjoying being on vacation – I’m taking off all next week, to emotionally prepare for starting chemo again on the 9th of January. Right now, I’m working on some quilting projects and a knitting project. My goal is to get a lot of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) finished. Then I can start some more projects ;-}

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and are ready for the upcoming new year!

07
Oct
08

October 7, 2008

The planning appointment for my radiation series went well, and quickly! They told me to plan on an hour to 1-1/4 hours, but we were out of there in 40 minutes. After my first appointment there, when the doctor was running 45 minutes late, I was prepared for the worst and so was pleasantly surprised.

The “mold” is actually something like a beanbag chair, only flattish; and the “beans” pretty much stay where they pushed them. So I lay down with my head and upper back on the mold, and the nurse had me put my arm over my head. Then two of them started pushing the beans around to conform to my body. When they thought they had it, they put a vacuum tube onto the mold’s nozzle, and sucked the air out of it. That firmed up the mold, and the beans no longer shifted around. After checking my position, they decided that it wasn’t quite right, put air back into the mold, and started shoving the beans around again. This time it was right, so then they moved me under the CT scan lights and started drawing on me, and placing metal stickers and wires on me. After the doctor came in and confirmed that the drawings were OK, they did the CT scan for the doctor to do her planning of angles, etc. They tattooed me (one dead center between my breasts, and one on each side under my arms).

My next appointment is Tuesday, where they’ll double-check all the calculations and positioning, and if it’s all correct, then I’ll have my first treatment. At that time, I’ll find out what my daily appointment time is.

I’ve been having a problem since last Wednesday night/Thursday morning with vertigo – I have BPV (Benign Positional Vertigo, which is due to small particles that form and float around in your inner ear, where they brush against the cilia and cause a sensation that you’re still moving after you’ve stopped). I had physical therapy a year or two ago that taught me how to move my head and body in a certain way to get the particles out of the inner ear, and have not had a problem with it until now.

This time, the movements haven’t helped, and I’m still having problems with the vertigo, although it has lessened significantly. I still cannot drive because I cannot turn my head quickly; and this evening riding home in the car, I started feeling motion sickness – I don’t know that it’s related, but I haven’t had motion sickness in a car except for once (at least in my memory). I called the doctor yesterday, and rather than check out my ears, he wants me to have a brain scan. When I told Brian that, he thought I was joking – I only wish I was.

Come on! This is getting ridiculous – why can’t we check out my ears first? I mean, really – I’m not having any other symptoms that might indicate brain involvement (headaches, blurry vision, seizures, peripheral neuropathy, etc.), and I have a history of BPV. Seems pretty straightforward to me!

At any rate, unless I have to go in for a brain scan this week, I’m free of medical obligations until next Tuesday. And I’m taking a class on Saturday, doing a loomwork bracelet. Matter of fact, that’s probably what I’m going to be doing the next couple nights, prestringing beads for the class. I’m also finishing up my chain maille bracelet from the class I took on the 27th. I’m getting close to finished, but I’ve been really focused on my most critical project, which is a baby afghan (and yes, the baby is already born, but for a change I’ll have the gift to her before she’s two months old. I think that’s a record for me ;-} ). I finished knitting the strips last Saturday, and am now joining them together and weaving in ends. I can carry that along with me on the train into work, and tonight I got a lot done while listening to the debate.

Of course, once all these projects are done, I’ve got a crib quilt to make, and a Christmas knitting project to work on. I suspect that I’ll be very glad I’m not going to start chemo until at least after Christmas, maybe not until after the New Year.

24
Sep
08

September 24, 2008

Brian was reading an article about volunteering tonight, and quoted the following statistic:

The biggest difference between people who volunteer and people who don’t is that people who don’t volunteer watch 23 hours of television per week, and people who do watch 15 hours per week.

I don’t watch TV at all, but I also don’t have time to volunteer.  So my new plan to make more time for myself is to start watching 15 hours of TV per week and add back in some volunteering.  I figure that should add enough time to my schedule so that I can get all the knitting and quilting I’m doing for Christmas and baby gifts done by the end of October.

My previous plan, to have insomnia a lot, doesn’t seem to help with the volunteering, although some of the knitting is coming along.




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