Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Cancer Report
...and not the one I'd hoped to give

It's back, folks, and it's aggressive. I'd had some stomach problems, finally scheduled a ct scan, and it found a large number of masses in my abdomen. They are everywhere. The doctors are telling me that it will not be stoppable, but it may be possible to slow the progress.

Last Friday I was admitted to the hospital, where I underwent several procedures to lessen some of the resulting problems, and had my first new round of chemotherapy. Now we wait, and hope. 

I spent Friday-Wednesday in the cancer ward at IU Health Goshen Hospital. I cannot say enough what a professional, caring, amazing group of people work there. There are no words.

I am home again now, resting and taking the best possible care of myself. Rich has been wonderful, loving, supportive, all that I could ask. He has had some strong support from family and friends, and I ask that you all continue that for him. This is a hard thing for both of us, and not what we'd planned to be doing at this stage of our lives.

The grandkids have limited knowledge. Just hug them if you see them. I love them all so much! 

I love you all, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Well hello there
Evening sky
All is well here, as far as I know. Latest blood work came back clean, next testing is in a week or so. Winter is here:





 ...and it's beautiful! This was the first snow of the season, and all of it came yesterday.
Add caption

I've done a lot of knitting, I guess, but I haven't finished much. The pair above was finished last summer, and immediately given to my friend, Michelle. 

Triple Threat Socks by KnittyMelissa
This pair was a test knit for another designer. Knitting them one at a time reminded me of why I usually knit two at a time. One is longer than the other, both had to have parts removed and re-knit. A lovely pair of socks, though.
I've had a pair on the needles for months that I can't show because they're a test knit of a pattern for 2016 Sock Madness. They're beautiful, though! :D Just finished them yesterday.
I just can't seem to get motivated to finish anything. I feel very well, but get tired easily and it doesn't take much to distract me. My hair is growing back:

Robby and Grandma

But it's not as long as Robby's yet. :-) This was Grandparents' Day at his school.

We've had kittens again:

Robby, Purrl, and some of her newest babies

All of the kids are growing. We love them tons and bunches!
Spring Dance at the kids' school

Nothing much to report, but sometimes no news IS very good news, indeed.
See you later...





Monday, October 05, 2015

Hello...

Hello...
Typing this on my phone, which is a pain, so it'll be short and probably error-filled.
It's been awhile. There was the end of scheduled cancer treatments, we had summer, my father died, fall began. 
I've knitted, although not a lot, we've celebrated the birthdays of a couple of grandkids, my old PT cruiser developed severe problems, and we bought a shiny new yellow Prius C. 
This coming week, we head off to Harrison, Arkansas, for my favorite motorcycle gathering of the year. It was as we checked into our hotel there last year that I got the cancer call from my doctor.
This year, the plan was to celebrate the end of treatment and being cancer- free. Instead, I will tell my friends that my latest tests showed 'atypical' cells.
"Don't worry," they told me
"Your body may fight them off on their own," they said.
"But DON'T miss your December appointment," they said.
So I allowed myself a couple of days to freak out and be a big, weepy girl, and now we begin the fight once more.
Off to Harrison in a couple of days. I'll have my knitting. Oh, and don't worry that I'm publicising the fact that I'll be away and my house will be empty: with my son, his wife, and their four children still inhabiting it, it will be most definitely full!
Hugs to all.

Monday, July 06, 2015

so

A little update...

...just in case I haven't talked to some of you. Since my last post, I've undergone five out of my six prescribed chemotherapy treatments: this means that I have only ONE more to go! So far all has gone very well, I think. I've had no nausea, and no serious side-effects with which to deal, and for this I am grateful. I've lost nearly every hair on my body, and that's a bit disconcerting. I have some neuropathy in my finger tips and more in my toes, but that may or may not be permanent: we'll just have to wait and see. I am quite tired most of the time, but all in all I have no complaints. My employers continue to be amazingly supportive, my co-workers, too, my family and friends do all they can to make me feel good.
I am MOST blessed!

This is how chemo works, in my case: I show up at the cancer center at around 8:00 am for blood work.  I check in, get a lovely plastic bracelet, and step onto the scales. They draw blood from my port, which is a very satisfactory method for doing this. Then, I wait while the blood tests are run, and sometimes I see my medical oncologist.  
Once the tests are back, the doctor and nurses adjust the chemicals as needed for my weight, for alleviation of any side-effects, and for the greatest possible efficacy. I am given a tiny paper cup of various pills for nausea and other possible problems, a saline drip is begun, and, eventually, the chemical drip is started. The first drug takes at least four hours to administer, longer if I have a reaction to the preservatives in it. That has only occurred two out of five times, but when it does, I press my little button, the nurses rush in to give me assistance and I feel better fairly quickly. If this happens, the drip has to be slowed and can take much, much longer.
When the first chemical is depleted, a second is administered. That one takes about an hour, and when it is completed, my port is flushed, the connecting device is removed, I get a little Band-Aid, and I go home! The chemo treatments have taken from six to ten hours. The next two days I have two little pills to take each morning, and I return to the hospital the day after chemo for a shot which forces my body to replace some of the white blood cells that were depleted by the chemicals. Three weeks later, I go back and do it all over again. The whole thing is mind-numbingly boring, and I do a lot of sleeping during my treatments.
For each visit I have had a little room all to myself, with a fairly comfortable reclining chair, a television, breakfast and lunch made to my order if I want it and delivered from the hospital cafeteria, a selection of beverages and snacks, and warm blankets and pillows if I need them. The nurses are without rival, every single one of them. I cannot imagine the sad stories they would have to tell about their service in the cancer center, and still they are pleasant, cheerful, sympathetic, and very, very skilled at their jobs. I cannot ever thank them or praise them enough.
I am allowed to have company during treatment, and indeed I have seen a great many folks in their chairs with friends and family of all ages gathered 'round, but I find that I do better if I'm alone without having to attempt to entertain folks, and as I have not been ill, I can easily drive myself to and from treatments. Since I have not slept well in years, the rest is most welcome.

Enough of that stuff? :- ) I think so, too! That's pretty much it for now. Watch for me wearing my assortment of scarves and other headwraps. My hair is coming back, but very oddly: I have sparse white or very light blonde hair that is about 3/4" long, and very dark, short stubble. I hope it evens out as it grows!

I had a lovely treat earlier in the summer: I was invited to spend a weekend at my cousin's cottage on a small, nearby lake. It was a rainy weekend, so there was little activity on the water. I slept, and knitted, and rested, and looked at the water, and felt entirely replenished at the end of it. I was also fortunate to meet a friend of my cousin's while there, a husband and wife who are quite famous in children's literature. What an honor! We are hoping to go back for another weekend of rest and recuperation after my final chemo treatment.

Why yes, I have been knitting:

Many Hands pattern, finished, but this unfinished photo shows the lovely stitches best
 
A mystery sock that I think I forgot to post when it was finished
 
"Alohomora" pattern for my friend Pat K, and there are not many for whom I would knit in purple! 
 
A pair for the Husbeast, to keep him warm in the winter
 
"Braiding sweetgrass" pattern, for me!
 
Simple ribbed socks for my lifelong friend, Phil
 
Ripples on the Water
 
 
I am feeling very well, really, compared to many I've seen in treatment. Thank you for your continued well wishes and hugs:
I love you all!

Friday, March 27, 2015

"It's Cancer," he said, and the whole world changed.
So, it's been awhile since I posted. First things first, I am fine, and I will continue to be fine, so don't be alarmed.
I'd had some troubling things going on with this old body, so I made an appointment with my doctor for some tests. He sent me for some more tests. We left for a long weekend, on a motorcycle ride to Arkansas to see some good friends. Along the way, the doctor's office called and the nurse told me that my PAP smear and ultrasound were both abnormal, and the doctor wanted to see me right away.
We were halfway through Missouri, so 'right away' was not going to happen. The nurse said that she would have the doctor call me and we sat, shocked, for a desperate few moments, then mounted the motorcycle once more and continued to our destination. It was a very silent ride. As we were checking into our motel, my phone rang. It was the doctor. 
"It's cancer," he said, and the whole world changed. 
We made an appointment to see him the following Tuesday, and did our best to enjoy the gathering and the company of people we see far too infrequently.

"It's going to be ok. I don't know how I know it, but I know it!"
This was what one of my friends said when I told him.
I believe him.

And so, since the first of October, I have been diagnosed with uterine, or endometrial cancer, had a D&C, had a total hysterectomy, have undergone twenty-five externally delivered radiation treatments and three internally delivered radiation treatments.  They used Goshen Hospital's brand-new one of these for my surgery:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_Vinci_Surgical_System
It's a Da Vinci Surgical System.
I think it's a pretty cool invention!
I have five tiny scars.
Very cool..

I made the decision early on not to tell everyone about this cancer for awhile. I don't like to talk about my illnesses. I don't feel the need to fill up Facebook with my woes. I don't like being fussed over. We told close family members and a handful of friends. We told our employers and co-workers. Really, other than having been off work for a few weeks after the surgery, you wouldn't have known that anything was wrong, so why make a big deal out of it? My surgery was a breeze, and other than being easily tired for a time, I felt no adverse effects. The radiation went ridiculously well, with only negligible side-effects. I don't look any different than I did before the diagnosis.

It wasn't really a secret,
I just didn't want to have to talk about it ALL of the time!
Cancer, as I said recently, is scary.
It makes people sad.
It sucks all of the oxygen out of the room, and people treat you funny.
I hope that no one will feel slighted or left out. 
That wasn't my intention. 

Now, however, I am embarking on chemotherapy, and if you see me, I might look different, and so I am telling you. This coming week I will receive my port for the delivery of the medication, and my first treatment. I will have a total of six chemotherapy sessions, one every twenty-one days. 

I might get sick.
I might lose my hair. 
But I will be ok!

My doctors are confident that the cancer has been entirely removed. However, the tumor was very advanced, and so they are being very aggressive with my treatments, so it will not come back.
So.
There you have it.
I had cancer, but I don't have it any more.
If it comforts you to say a prayer, I'll be glad for your efforts.
If it helps to give a hug, I like those, too!

By the way, yes, I HAVE made regular visits to my doctor, and I HAVE had regular PAP smears. My tumor's symptoms were masked by what we thought were just symptoms of menopause, and the PAP test is only 50% reliable in detecting the type of cancer that I had. Talk to your doctor. Ask the right questions, and give the right answers.
___________________________________

There has been knitting, of course!

There was a scarf:
Advent Scarf in blues, white, grey and black
The stripes were knit one per day, beginning with December 1st and ending on December 25th
I've given it to my friend, Michelle

A little hat, modeled quite fetchingly by my great-nephew, Degan:
Cutie Pie Baby Hat
Test knit for Anita Grahn, pattern available
 HERE
And, of course, socks:
Delft Blue Socks
Pattern for colorwork bands HERE
My own design for the rest of the sock
These are mine, all mine! 

These, for my co-worker, Kathy:

These, also for me, a test-knit of a design for SockMadness:
This pattern won't be available until after the Madness

And these, also for me:

They are another pair from my trip to Germany, and the Trashbag of Yarn


So that's pretty much it for now. Don't worry. I am fine!
See you all soon...







Monday, September 22, 2014

Re-run Mode: nothing much to see here...



I feel as though we are caught in a repeating loop. My son and his family have returned to live with us again. 

It is very good to spend time with the grandkids. I gave three of them some beginning knitting lessons this weekend. Two of them seem to enjoy it. The other enjoys playing with the yarn, so maybe I'll try crochet with her, next. The youngest also wants to learn, but at a very spirited five years old, it may be more than my patience can withstand. I'll probably give it a try. Yikes!
They are beautiful children, eh?
That knitting boy is the baby that I am holding in my profile picture. The picture was taken eight years ago tomorrow. He is growing up so quickly!

Lots of knitting is being done, but I have nothing much to show for it. I've had a bad case of 'startitis' lately. I have begun several projects and they're all quite lovely, but nothing is getting finished. I have an original sock design in two-color stranded knitting, a few socks from various monthly challenges on Ravelry, a test of another designer's pattern, a shawl (that one is going to get frogged...I just don't like the design), a pair of fairly plain-vanilla gift socks for traveling and conversational knitting, and lots of ideas on the back burner. 
I also have a sweater partially knit from heavy wool yarn that was donated to my knitting group. I pulled its bag from a pile and found the half-knit sweater and the pattern and extra yarn to finish it, but I am going to rip it out and reclaim the lovely wool, perhaps for some felted clogs to warm my feet this winter.

I am finding it harder and harder to give away socks. I love doing it, but financial restrictions have put me on a no-new-yarn diet, and I'm getting to the point where all of the sock yarn I have left (and don't get me wrong, I have a LOT!) is precious to me, and I can hardly bear to part with it! How selfish, eh? I have so many pairs of beautiful socks that I can hardly fit any more in my very large sock drawer. So with every pair I whittle away at the stash, deciding which of the lovely colors I like less than the others. It's like giving children up for adoption.

By the way, I do have a child whom I might be convinced to adopt out. Or maybe I could swap him for new yarn. I'm just kidding, Nick. Sort of.

These two pair are gone as gifts:
They were socks that I donated as door prizes at the annual Tennessee Lunch Run. The striped socks went to Shelly in South Carolina. They are a basic ribbed sock knit from some of my favorite Opal sock yarn from Germany. The grey and red pair went to Charlie in Tennessee. They are from the pattern "Simple Skyp" by Adrienne Ku at Ravelry. The yarn is Kroy Sock, another favorite.

Then there were these little socks, knit for my newest great-nephew, who lives just down the road from me a bit. I am ashamed to say that I have seen pictures, but have yet to meet him in person. It seems that we are always busy, ill, tired whenever we pass his house, or that he has been away with his mom and dad.


I have nothing else finished to show.
I am a slacker.

The summer was cool and damp, and is showing serious signs of giving way to an early fall. The black walnut trees are nearly bare of leaves already, and trees in the marsh are setting themselves ablaze with the first fall colors. Winter will be here soon.
We tried to get the pool taken down this weekend, but were thwarted by rainfall.
Perhaps we will get in one more trip on the motorcycle before snow falls.

It's late, and I'm tired.
Good night.
Be safe.
Be well.
Be happy.





Sunday, June 22, 2014

Just some words...
I couldn't sleep last night. The past week's work schedule was different than usual, and I've had trouble sleeping all week. I'm thankful that I'll be back to my regular schedule this week!
While I was lying there, sleepless, I was thinking of some young women I've known who have made questionable decisions regarding the men in their lives. It makes me sad...but these words came into my mind, and I posted them on Facebook. They've received some positive attention, so I'll re-post them here:
        __________________________________________________________

This is on my mind tonight... To all of the young women I know:
Ladies, you are as strong as you want to be. There are men out there in this big old crazy world who are smart and strong and good, who behave and dress like grown men instead of like juvenile gangsta-wanna-bees, who have aspirations in life beyond getting a minimum-wage job, who will love, respect, and support you, who won't abuse you physically, verbally, or emotionally, who don't need drugs or alcohol to have a good time, who don't believe that they are men just because they can grow a beard and procreate, who can speak and maybe even write intelligently and can express their emotions without foul language, who will be good fathers and will set a good example for their children, who will be admired and respected by others and who will only improve with age. 
If you settle for a man who is none of these things, you are telling all men that this is all you want, that it is all you deserve, all you are worth, and all you expect of them. 
Ladies, hold yourselves and your men to higher standards. Perhaps they will endeavor to live up to your expectations. They are out there, I promise you, and YOU are worth the wait.

        _____________________________________________________________

I doubt that anyone will make any life changes because of my words, but I just had to share them. I'd say something very similar to the young men that I know, about the women they're choosing, but I know they wouldn't listen, either. I wouldn't have listened when I was their age...

:o) 

So, knitting. I have been slacking off and not knitting as much as usual since dropping out of Sock Madness, but these are done:


"Hit the Road" socks

...and I love them. They were inspired by a pattern in Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush.  The original pattern would have resulted in something like this:
Illustration from Knitting on the Road, "The Road to Oslo" © Nancy Bush

I doubled the length of the leg and added a repeat of the cuff pattern to the foot in order to better show off the lovely stranded colorwork, used a different ribbing pattern than the one in the original, worked the heel flaps in two-color Eye of Partridge stitch, and used the red yarn to turn the heel. The yarn is gray Opal, from Germany, and the red is a mystery yarn that I found in my stash.
I think these are some of the prettiest socks I've ever knit! Knitting on the Road is one of the first books I bought when I was learning to knit socks. I've flipped through the pages many times, and it has often served as inspiration, but I think "The Road to Oslo" is the first pattern I've knit from it.
I've cast on a couple of pair of tiny baby socks, just for knitting when I don't want to have to think too hard. There are always babies being born, and I'd like to start having some little knitted things on hand for gifts. I'm knitting all four socks at one time on two circular needles.
It is full-on summer here. The mulberries are ripe, day lilies and spiderwort are blooming, blackberries and raspberries are growing, the fireflies (AND mosquitos!) are out every evening, and it's hot outside! I've spent a lot of time already just floating in our small swimming pool to relax at the end of the day. All of our lawn mowers have died, and we will be replacing them shortly...no, I did not break them! They are just old, worn out, and deserving of retirement. The yard is looking a big shaggy, but it will get better soon.

That's all I have for today. Be well. Be strong. Be happy.