Posts Tagged ‘quilting


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.


My First Video (or not)

In lieu of anything illuminating or deep today (because believe me, it would take a major drilling effort to find anything deep under the load of fatigue and chemobrain riding me today, and yesterday), I’m including my very first video that I’ve ever taken.

The actor does a great job, the videographer needs some training.


Well that’s revolting – I need to pay an upgrade fee to load videos onto my blog. Forget that!

Instead, here are a couple pictures of the dog, the cat and the quilt:

Ahhh . . . the cool hardwood floor!

Robin is definitely a hot dog, and he prefers to lie on the linoleum or the hardwood floor to stay cool, even during non-warm weather.

Jeremy snuggling with my new quilt

This is the quilt that Evelyn made for me – I still haven’t gotten any of the original pictures off Brian’s camera that show the whole thing, so that post is still coming up.

That’s it for today, kids!


Don’t Let This Happen to You (for the chemo-impaired)

1. I did *not* try to fix my sewing machine in order to have to buy a new one.

2. What? Quit looking at me like that!

I really was just trying to rethread it, make sure that it was properly threaded, ’cause I was sure that was the problem.

Then all I did was review the stitch and tension settings.

And I figured that cleaning out the bobbin case couldn’t hurt.

Do you think it was taking out the first screw that was the mistake?

And where was Brian as I was merrily tripping down the “I’ve done this before so there’s no way I can screw it up this time, in spite of the chemo brain” trail?

He saw what I was doing and slunk around the corner, to come back only when I called him to help me get the last screw out. To be fair, he did ask me if I thought I should be doing this – and to be fair, I answered “No,” and handed him the screwdriver.

I don’t blame him, though – he knows that I would never stand for being locked in the garage to keep me away from the sewing machine (and besides, just think what I could have done with two cars and a shop-full of tools. . .).

So I’m blogging right now in an attempt to keep myself from going downstairs and trying just one more adjustment – because surely I have it *nearly* right, and it just needs a little tweaking. . .


January 11, 2009

All’s quiet on the chemo front – it’s gone both easier and harder than what I was expecting, but nothing dramatic.

My blood pressure was high when they took me back for my visit with the doctor, as I’ve been stressing about if I was going to have an allergic reaction to the Taxol solution – somewhere between 25 – 33% of people do. If so, typically slowing down the drip and increasing the steroids and antihistamines will take care of it. Sometimes, though, it is such an intense reaction that Taxol cannot be used in the patient.

The Avastin can also cause a reaction, although it doesn’t sound as if it is nearly so serious.

At any rate, when the nurse tried to pull my blood for labwork it wouldn’t come out of the port, so she had to stick my arm. No problem with flow into the port, but either there are some clots or perhaps the tube into the vena cava is creating a suction against the other side of the vein, causing it to allow fluid into the vein, but not pull any out. Next week, the nurse will put an enzyme in the port that will clear up any clotting and we’ll try again – however the important part is working, that fluid goes in.

I was there for 4-1/2 hours, got to visit a little with my two favorite chemo nurses and see the surgeon who did my ovary removal (all three are sweethearts!), and had some Reiki (a Japanese spiritual healing technique which involves a laying-on of hands to circulate energy through the body).  I cannot vouch for the effectiveness of what the Reiki woman (as opposed to Stevie Wonder’s Reggae Woman) intended to do, but I can certainly say that it allowed me to focus on my breathing and relax significantly, and that was a major bonus.

No major reactions of any kind; indeed, perhaps because of the steroids beforehand and during, I felt pretty good afterward, and we stopped by a friend’s birthday celebration for a little while that evening. No significant nausea Friday, just hints, but I took pills that night before bed as a precaution.

Saturday morning I woke up after sleeping solidly for eight hours, and was surprisingly awake. That lasted for about 5 hours, then I really felt myself run down hard, although I kept struggling with trying to focus on what I was doing. Finally I gave it up, and lay down in my recliner and slept hard for over an hour. Woke up, had something to eat, and was “on” for another four or five hours. But by the time bedtime rolled around, I was right there.

Today was more of the same – not really much in the way of side effects except for the “puppy face-plant” kind of tiredness that hits hard and fast; and the worst thing for me – the onset of chemo brain. I don’t remember it hitting this quickly last time; and I actually thought that since this was a low dose, maybe it would not happen at all until later in the process. But as I sat at my sewing machine trying to figure out why my top thread keeps breaking even though it appears to all be threaded correctly and that I’ve set the various tensions/pressures/etc. as appropriate for free-motion machine quilting, I realized that I must be missing something completely obvious, but that I can’t figure out *what*! I’m frustrated, and it doesn’t bode well for being able to drive myself to and from the train station on work mornings. Bah!

I’ve also come to recognize, well, I was going to call it a fallacy, but I’m not sure that’s quite the right word – maybe it’s just a poor strategy, in how I have chosen to deal with this second bout of cancer (bout – doesn’t that make it sound like I’m duking it out with cancer using the Marquess of Queensberry Rules?).

I haven’t purposely avoided telling people about it, but I haven’t gone out of my way to tell more than a few people about it, either. I made clear that it was not a secret, and that it was fine to pass on the information. I have sort of been relying on word-of-mouth and the blog to get the news out there, because I haven’t really wanted to talk about it and tell the whole sordid story to every person. I think there are several things behind this – partly because I’ve been wanting to pretend that everything is all normal and not have my life be all about having cancer again; because I’m starting to feel like a drama queen – “Ooh, look at *me*, I’ve got cancer, *again* – I’m so special!”; because I have been angry at my surgeon, my oncologist, my self, my body, that I have cancer again; and because everyone is so nice, most of them either are upset because they’re worried about me, or they’re upset because they’re angry for me (there have been a couple people who have offered to deck my surgeon for me ;-}  ).

But by pretending that it is just normal life, I can see myself falling into the trap of allowing the way I feel both emotionally and physically to become the new “normal” – leading me to forget that the outcome this time is supposed to be what was intended last time – no cancer, and an end in sight. This has stretched on so long since I found the recurrence last June, and sometimes it just seems easier to think of it as normal life rather than as “The Year of Living Cancerously”, because then I just look at each day, rather than focusing on “it isn’t over yet, and it’s going to be months before it is”.

I think I need to find a balance where my eyes are on the end of the road, but that I appreciate each day for what it gives me – so today I’m going to appreciate that my friend Cathy called, that Brian is cooking dinner, and that I’ve taken the first step on the chemo road, making the end that much closer.


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!


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.


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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