Saturday, July 31, 2010

My bad, still here!

G'day all!

Thank you all for the kind messages of support. I'm still a bit freaked but I'm still here, just been realllly busy! Keeping busy is the only way I know how to deal with worry stress. (I am learning meditation which I am assured is excellent.) So I've been knitting madly on my new FO

fo_winterflies

Summerflies, which I finished just in the nick of time for July, and I've been spinning up some very pretty brightly coloured yarn, and am prepping fleece for a shawl I have to knit by mid September (my bad! but the fleece is lovely and hopefully the FO from it will be wonderfully soft), and we've been out quite a bit. We went for a drive up to Warburton on Thursday and yesterday was free public transport day after a spectacular PT fail on Wednesday, so we tooled around the city and caught the tram to the spinning guild and Brunswick and bought fabric and stuff.... I have to share pics from our travels and talk about them too but I am run off my poor sore puffy footsies and leggies! (They are a bit better than they were but my forearms are joining in the painful "fun" and my nails are still horrid.) At least I can now walk 500m in one hit ok, if a bit slowly!

I am still booked in for surgery next Thursday. I have so much to get done before then. I believe my surgeon is going to be the same one who operated on Kylie Minogue, and more importantly to me, my MiL. Yep, my MiL went through all this nearly 10 years ago.

Tomorrow we are catching the train out to Rosedale, a couple of hours east of here. We'll meet up with my big sister's family and have lunch, then head back into the city and meet up with Nathan's family and have tea! It will be a very busy day. (and Monday I have to go op shopping at Savers - we have Savers here too! The same Savers! Pity it doesn't have cashmere sweaters though.... Anyway I need some loose blouses for after my op cos getting tshirts on will be difficult. Of course with my fumble fingers I won't be much good with buttons but if it comes to it, someone else can do them up for me! Plus I have to get a front opening no underwire bra or two. I am sure such things exist but I've never noticed them....)

Golly, it's 11pm and we have to be up and at it by 7:30am tomorrow so I'll love you and leave you.

anon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Testy update

G'day all!

Over the last couple of days, I've spent most of a day at the hospital. Monday I had to talk to people about my operation. It sorta worries me when they are asking me what operation I'm having... and when the preop nurse tells me that I'm having a day procedure. The day before the operation I'm having an ultrasound with a wire put into my boob and also radioactive tracer for the sentinel node. That's a day procedure. I'm having sentinel node plus axillary dissection in one hit - they want to know which node(s) is the one taking the hit from my boob (might not be the annoyed one) and lumpectomy. So I have a small procedure the day before the big one.

The big one is 5th August and I am likely to be in hospital for three days.

2607_chorizema

Yesterday I got the results of my tests.

Good news is the primary is down to 1.3cm. I had hoped it would shrink further but the oncologist was ok with it. It is now nearly a third the size it was. He says it would be treated as early breast cancer if I had presented like this. It is still lighting up with the PET scan.

The lymph node is also lighting up. He still says it is likely to be reactive even though it is lighting up (PET scan shows metabolically highly active tissue - my larynx and tongue are apparently active, or it could be I lay in the room saying lalalalalalalalalalalala to myself for an hour as the tracer is taken up by my body....) I've had a "quite strong generalised inflammatory reaction" to the taxotere and apparently that can make an irritated lymph node light up.

I'm not quite sure that I believe him but I have to cling to that idea. At the same time, it is my lymph node in my armpit and I can feel the blasted thing All. The. Time. and it is quite annoying. I am sure it is getting bigger but that may be paranoia. It feels like it did when I first discovered it in late November 2009. The registrar surgeon I saw the other day (her name is Lola - what an awful name for a surgeon! She needs something like Bernadette or Roberta or Adelaide or some rather more serious name) said that the node is sitting on a muscle fascia which is why it is annoying - every time I move my arm, it wiggles the node and probably irritates it more.

As for the generalised inflammatory reaction, it means that my legs have puffed up, I have lots of sore muscles and you don't want to see the state of my fingernails. (But if you can't help yourself, look here and here and here.) I'll just say that my fingernails hurt like I hit them with a hammer an hour ago and some are loose and bruised looking. If I do something that annoys my muscles, like WALK or bend over or knit or spin or prune some roses, they get peeved and tell me a lot. My forearms are so tight that I can stretch them really easily - normally I am so loose jointed that getting a good stretch is difficult. Just straightening them out stretches them! I have subcutaneous swelling mostly in my legs - around my calves, around my knees, between my thighs and behind them. (My feet puff up if I don't wear "tight" shoes.) This affects all the muscles in my legs and aggravates them further cos there is just nowhere for them to contract - they are surrounded by fluid. Kneeling, bending over, putting on socks and pants, crouching, getting back up off the floor, all of these things take quite some time because whilst it doesn't hurt a lot, it just is difficult due to the fluid in the way. It is like I have big pads around my knees, calves and ankles and my legs just cannot bend as they normally would. The jeans that are usually reasonably loose are now almost full of leg. And I am three kilos heavier than I was at last chemo. But I can still fit into my slim pants reasonably well cos the legs are loose - I've gained a couple of kilos of fat around my hips but most of the weight appears to be fluid in my legs.

2607_entwined

Anyway, it is no fun with all this cancer stuff. Fear is now a part of my life and I have to learn to deal with it. Finding the new normal will be interesting. Worry is part of the whole deal, and that fear will never leave me, no matter if I live two years or another 40. Admittedly it will get better over time, if things go well for me. But I worry that they won't go well. If this lymph node hadn't flared and all my lymph nodes were clear at surgery, 97% of women in that situation are alive and healthy five years later. But if I have positive nodes, the survival rate goes down to about 50%, and the more positive nodes, the lower the survival rate.

I really would like to be a long term survivor.

Time will tell.

2607_hardenbergia

In the meantime I have to keep going. I am madly knitting and spinning and making stuff, cos heck, I have no idea how much longer I'll have on this planet and I have so many things I want to do yet! It is amazing how the fear of dying early has come back with this lymph node - whilst I was on chemo and had no lumpy lymph node, things were good. Now? Not so good. But next week, it will all be cut out of me. The lump, the nodes, the lot with any luck! 5 weeks later I'll be starting radiotherapy if the wound heals nicely - I have my setup date for 3 September and zapping starts a week later. After six weeks of that, we enter watchful waiting - three monthly check ups, six monthly CT scans for two years and then less often and if I reach five years, I still have to have regular monitoring but any recurrence is a new cancer. At this point a new breast cancer seems unlikely as I have no signs of anything else nasty or prenasty. So that is nice!

Also nice is the fact Spring is coming. The wattles are blooming (rather late!), various pears and cherries are blooming (rather early!) and our garden is springing into life again. Pics are from our front yard. Maybe this will be my renaissance from what has been a fairly horrible 8 months...

anon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bendi last

G'day all!

A week after the fact, I reckon I ought to wrap up the Bendi posts so that I can go back to whining about cancer. I'm feeling a leetle stressed currently.

It was on the Saturday morning... The Ravelry BAA breakfast. (Still haven't worked out the baa part - it is a group, etc, but why baa?) It was lovely to see some familiar faces, one of whom won the sock off:

sockoff
with the knee socks that you can't really see in my really bad pic but they are in the top left and have an almost invisible arrow pointing to them.

There was also a handspun yarn off too for those of us knitting with handspun (heck, wish I'd worn my pinwheel jacket to it but I changed outfits). I didn't take pics of this cos it involves faces and some people don't want their face online.

But then there was the exciting stuff. The lucky doorprize!

bendi_baabag
And here is my bag with its number 42, the third number pulled!

tableofawesomeness
This was the table of lusciousness that I could choose from, so I chose the piece of paper. I have lots of yarn and tops and stuff but a couple of days away during the week? Priceless!

So for me it was very successful. For others, not so successful. A few people went up more than once - they had bought more than one bag or had a bag for someone else. If I had more than one bag, I wouldn't not take more than one prize, but that is just me trying to share the love around. At the end when the random number generator on Fiestywench's iPhone kept pulling the same numbers out over and over, she called the remaining folks who had not won anything up to the table to grab a prize. There were about as many prizes as there were people. Good, eh? There were quite a number of very generous sponsors.

(The breakfast? A few people said it was very nice but I wouldn't know cos it appeared to be hamburgers and other stuff that I can't eat, so I ate my multi Os or whatever they are and drank my apple juice.)

For those who need full disclosure of stash additions, read on.

I bought these bags of fluff, supposedly downs fleece but I suspect it is something else since downs tends to be very crinkly, bouncy and rather short stuff. This has quite a length of lock not found in meat breeds of sheep.

bendi_woolrawlocks

I was just fascinated by the progression from raw:
bendi_woolraw

to washed:
bendi_woolwashed

bendi_woolpop
to dyed in hot pink and magenta :-) And all very reasonably priced too! (Can't find the lady's info but I know she lives not so far from me.) It isn't as if I don't know what wool looks like in its various guises, heck I've washed plenty in my time!, but I liked this stuff.

Here's the stuff you've been waiting for. The creme de la creme. Wendy Dennis polwarth. Mmm-mmm!

bendi_wdwhite
(Do you like the fact that I found about the only lock with a grotty tip to show off?)

This is a white "elite" fleece, and you sure pay through the nose for them. But they are worth it! Look at the length of the locks!

bendi_wdwhitelocks
(The blue is my gloved hand with my thumb at the lower right. My hands are 20cm/8" long.)

I asked David (Dennis) for a "typical" polwarth fleece and he pointed out this one. The crimp and the bounce make it typical. The length and cleanliness makes it elite.

bendi_wdwhitelock

I also bought some more grey polwarth. This one is only "export" quality.

bendi_wdgrey

bendi_wdgreylocks

This fleece has shorter locks (I've found some that are only about 7cm long so far but most are easily 10cm long) and is a bit tippy in that the ends are curled up a bit, mebbe because of the coat, mebbe because this is a lamb fleece. It still has a nice bold crimp to it.

bendi_wdgreylock

And I think that brings us to the end of our Bendigo acquisitions! Just as well it only comes once a year (and when it comes it brings good cheer!) 8-)

I've also received a couple of parcels recently and had some material acquisitions. I will blog some of these. Our little house is groaning under the influx of New Stuff. Today I had a rather productive day - I pruned some of the roses (still having problems with my fingertips and nails, makes wearing gardening gloves and handwork rather painful!), did a little weeding, knitted madly on a new shawlette, cut some fabric and made two 45cm "square" log cabin style cushion covers, went to the farmers' market and bought lots of stuff (but no fat pigs!), took pics of the flowers in the yard - Spring is coming! - and lazed in the sunshine that randomly appeared this afternoon. It was so nice to sit in the sun - I miss the sun. We've been having a rancid winter, horrid and cold and gloomy and even a bit of rain here and there (though not so much recently). A proper winter, none of this let's be sunny and not rain much at all like the winters before we went to the US. One of the parcels brought something particularly welcome on cold days :-)

anon!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A very sheepish post

G'day all!

I've been mucking around in BigHugeLabs, making a few mosaics of the pics I took of sheep up at Bendigo. OK, there's a couple of young billy goats and three alpacas as well. Pics are big (probably will obscure the side bar some) to make up for the multitude of them. DOH! Pics are obscured by the side bar and I can't figure out how to make the sidebar smaller so the pics can be seen in all their glory - you'll have to click through to Flickr to see them properly! Now I'm sheepish!

Enjoy!

ASW show pics, Bendigo 2010
Don't you take your sheep for a walk?


English Leicesters at ASW, Bendigo 2010
English Leicesters are such pretty sheep :-)


Sheep, alpacas and goats at ASW, Bendigo 2010
Almost more sheep, goats and alpacas than you can poke a stick at. Not that you should poke a stick at animals or people for that matter. I love the shot of the young Dorset Downs ram in the centre - he has an attitude!


Not all sheep are stupid
Not all sheep are stupid, but some sure look it! Which one(s) do you think look stupid? And which one(s) look clever?


Merino sheep at ASW, Bendigo 2010
Merino rams in all their glory. These sheep are HUGE in full fleece. They stand half as high as a tallish man.


Speaking of sheepish, here's a series of pics I took of a dog herding some sheep. Pics are in order.
bendi_sdt

bendi_sdta

bendi_sdtb
Getting there...

bendi_sdtc
Nearly there!

bendi_sdtdoh
DOH!

anon!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oz sheep and wool show, part 2

G'day all!

(Part 2 - part one was bouncing about winnings :-)

On Friday last I was up and at it bright and early - a kind raveller and local SnBer offered to take me up to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo. (She even brought me back home the next day!) We had to make a nice early start to give us the most time at the the woollen mill and the the show.

I have to say I had a lovely time wandering around. My emphasis is on fleece and spinning stuff when I go to a fibre fair. I can get lovely yarn at many places but spinning stuff is harder to come by (though I do have a most brilliant guild with a fleece room and excellent spinning supplies).

We stopped off at the Bendigo Woollen Mills first, site of the fabled Back Room. The back room has the closeouts and discontinued yarns and seconds and bags of laps and felting stuff. It has some good stuff there. I tried to show a little restraint and came out with:

bendi_bwmlaps
a bit over a kilo of white machine washable laps (they are really white, the pink is my jacket reflected on the plastic bag)

bendi_bwmblue

bendi_bwmbluecl
10 balls of 5ply (sportweight) in Royal Blue

bendi_bwm2ply
and four little balls of 2ply (laceweight) in girly girly colours.

Next we were off to the show! Hooray! We quickly found out that unemployed people like us don't get a concession entry, only pensioners do. Boo hiss!

After that small hiccup, we were off and running or in my case shambling. I had a lovely time talking to various peoples along the way. I met people like Mandy from Ewe Give Me the Knits for the first time ever (she's tall! Didn't expect her to be so tall 8-), caught up with Charly from Ixchelbunny, Kylie from MsGusset, Maureen the Finnsheep lady (who is a few months out from her own breast cancer treatment), the Dennises (polwarth sheep), Sarah Durrant (local Colinette yarn rep), oh all sorts of people. For someone who isn't a people person, my god I talked and talked and talked and talked. And the best thing? I still had a voice at the end of the day. It was as bad at the end of the day as it was at the start but it still made sound.

Something that tickled me pink was discovering these sheep:

bendi_dorsetd2

bendi_dorsetdribbns

Those are Dorset Downs sheep.

Earlier this year, I was looking at Deb Robson's blog. I met her when we lived in Colorado and I've been following her blog since then. She has been working on a big project to do with spinning various fleeces. One fleece she had been unable to find was Dorset Down.

So I tracked some down (ahem) for her from a chap in NZ. Now if only it had been about three months later, I could've gotten some from a very nice ex-dean of pharmacy at one of my alma maters. We had a lovely chat and when I saw where he had taught, I asked if he knew my FiL. Yes, yes he does. Well small world! Anyway, I'll see if I can get some fleece for ME from him. Downs fleece is used for woollen spun (as opposed to worsted) but isn't used that much by handspinners or industry these days. My informant tells me it is used in woollen insulation batts and also in carpets to give them more bounce and spring - the fleece is very springy, which is why it is good in woollen spun yarn. It holds a lot of air because the crimp stops each fibre from sitting closely with its neighbour (much like brushing out curly hair - it goes afro).

But it was interesting to see the sheep.

I admit I had been at the show for a couple of hours before I remembered I should go and look at the woolcraft section, see how my entries went. I also admit to hardly looking at any of the displays cos a) I was looking for my stuff too much and b) I was pretty tired even then.

So what did I get?

Well, this is part A of the stash report as I have not yet edited the pics of the fleece I bought. Yep, I managed to bring home a heap of stuff in someone else's small car. There's only one lot that I reckon I shouldn't have bought. The rest I am still very pleased with.

bendi_top
A couple of good hunks of purply tops from the Yarn Barn. This is the stuff I probably shouldn't have bought. How much purple do I really need?




bendi_shilohtop

Some Optim tops and three little hanks of yarn from Shiloh Wool. (They really need a proper website.)

bendi_shilohyarn

This yarn is totally awesome to feel - so very soft! It is a blend of silk and optim. It is also very me colours.



bendi_ixtencmultia

bendi_ixtencmulti
(Those are the same tops, just different shots)

Happy lurid bright merino/bunny/tencel tops from Ixchelbunny. It was good to see she is back in good form again after her recent problems.

bendi_ixtencmerm




bendi_egmtk

Just as happy and bright and lurid tops from EGMTK (note one has a blend of black bamboo!)

Mandy now can blend her own tops with a big commercial comber. I am totally gobsmacked at how her business has gone ahead from three years ago, when I foisted some of my unwanted tops on her. She was small time like me then and now is big time, plans to open a shop, is a distributor for Strauch and all! She deserves it too and I am very pleased for her.

bendi_egmtkyarn

Oh and I bought this totally lurid skein of sock yarn. It seems I have returned to my roots and gone nuts with COLOUR COLOUR COLOUR. I figure that it might not please other people but it sure pleases me and really? That is what matters!




bendi_gusspurp

Two skeins from the skanky hank box of MsGusset. The purply blue one took a couple of hours to untangle and ball up by hand, the other one after a good snapping is mostly untangled and should be pretty easy to wind now. One of these is going for a little trip across some water - can anyone guess which colour and to whom?

bendi_gussgreen




bendi_mittensbook

This fantastic Anna Zilboorg book from Can Do books. It was only $30, which is cheap for knitting books in Oz.




bendi_colinette

Finally, we have this lonely little hank of Jitterbug in Ischia from Sarah Durrant. I had stood there arguing with myself over buying either the mauve hank or the light green hank of Jitterbug, both of which were fairly solid colours and therefore good for knitting patterned socks, when I saw this hank and threw the other two back and grabbed this one. So much for my ideas of knitting fancy socks!




I have plenty more pics of sheep and wool to go yet! And a report on the Ravelry breakfast too. I just have to get pics edited and get my wherewithall together. Today I had to go have an MRI for the study I'm in. I'm glad to say it was not as traumatic as the last one but it hurt more - I managed to lay on the tray in such a way as to annoy the sinuses in my forehead and after 20 minutes or so was ready to get up and get out of there! But my cotton/bamboo cap helped muffle the awful alarm sounds that the MRI made for part of the scanning.

Yesterday I had to have doppler ultrasound on my legs to make sure the swelling and soreness I've got in my legs is not due to a blood clot. No, it isn't, it is Just Another Side Effect of Taxotere (JASET). I've got a few of those showing up now. It is giving me a case of the blahs cos a) it hurts, b) walking is hard and hurts a bit, c) I can only wear my slippers and my lace up boots, no other shoes fit anymore (just as well I bought them too big, eh?), d) bending over hurts and e) I can hardly get up when I crouch to pick something up. And don't ask about how much it hurts when I hit various of my fingernails. The ultrasound was interesting - he had to press on the main veins down my groin and then behind the knee and down the calf (very glad that the chemo has done a good hair removal job on me - I only have a few hairs left!). If the ultrasound probe pressure closes the vein, it is fine and doesn't have a clot. Some of the blood vessels did not close but they had thicker walls and are arteries - they are allowed not to close. I couldn't see the groin ones but from the knee down I had to sit up. It appears that I still have plenty of muscle in my calves - it was fascinating seeing their structure and the different layers of muscle with fascia separating them. And all the veins squished in a most satisfactory way. And it didn't hurt much. The ultrasonographer said that when people have cellulitis, the squishing is really painful. I can imagine, having had cellulitis in one leg. The results were good and the doc said that I should stay off my feet, put them up but also get up and walk around. Standing is bad. I showed her the action my spinning wheel requires for treadling and she said that is good (it wiggles my calves). Hooray! (And I might change back to my old doctors after this cancer treatment is done - I only went to the ones I see currently cos they were within walking distance of where I was living then.)

Tomorrow I go to have another mammogram and ultrasound and PET scan. Oh please may the results be good. This reactive lymph node is still freaking me out some. I get all the results on Tuesday and presumably will get more details of my surgery too.

Anyway, I have plenty to distract me, including not just one but two lovely parcels! I shall report back soon.

anon!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Squee! Bendi third

G'day all!

I've arrived home from Bendi - thanks for taking me up there and lugging stuff for me, Toni!

I was so excited (when I remembered to go check out the woolcraft room - only took me about two hours to remember to go look for the stuff I entered...).

Nathan's jumper (sweater for Americans, not a pinafore) won third prize in its section!

third

It's missing from the pic because it was modelled on the catwalk!

catwalk

LOL The poor young man wearing it is somewhat smaller than DH so it rather hangs on him. You can even see it in action! I almost jumped up and down squeeing but that would've made my pics and video even worse...




I also won a voucher for a couple of days at Tarndwarncoort, aka Wendy Dennis' place, aka the home of Polwarth wool at the Ravelry breakfast this morning. I had swapped my door entry bag from 39 to 42 and 42 was called up third! (39 was not called at all - how lucky was I????)

So I'll be having a lovely couple of days down at Wendy's place sometime in the next few months - maybe around my birthday given that I'll be still doing cancer stuff over the next three months... Thanks to feistywench on Ravelry for organising it all. (Someone tell me if I have her handle wrong. Hmm that sounds dodgy!)

I'll be back with more pics and stuff soon but we have a family dinner tonight, not here thank heavens because our place is turning into a shell of what it was - DH is having a lovely time demolishing the kitchen, laundry and dunny area. Plus I've not had a chance to take pics of the stuff I brought home cos it is bitterly cold out, cloudy and very windy, AGAIN - I hate this northerly wind that we've had for most of the last week. But I'll share my bounty soon. I hope I can tell you some good news soon too :-)

anon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Off to Bendi

G'day all!

Just a quickie - I'm off to the Australian Sheep Show, aka Bendi sheep show. It is the closest thing to Rhinebeck or Maryland that we have. I'll try to remember to take pics.

I'll be back tomorrow - am staying overnight! Oooh err. Hope I manage to survive it. There'll be lots and lots of sitting down along the way 8-)

anon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A sigh of relief

G'day all!

Today could've been a very bad day.

Last week, I started spinning again - haven't felt the urge to spin for about six weeks so I didn't! But I am supposedly participating in the Tour de Fleece and that means spinning.

So I decided to spin up some of my Ixchelbunny fluff - I have a fair bit of her stuff, trying to support a local businessperson and all. Plus she's been doing it tough after having to have a hysterectomy last year when the docs found cancer. Here's me, perfectly fertile until recently but not wanting kids, and Charly wants them but can't. (There's my little plug ;-)

I already had done half a hank of top and as is my wont, went over the top in spinning for about four hours on that first day. Then I backed up for some more spinning the next day, and suddenly I had a really sore shoulder, particularly the area under the shoulder blade and across the armpit into the ribs. On my right side.

In rubbing the sore bits, I found a lump in my armpit. The lump kept coming back and felt quite sore and is just about the same place as the nasty lymph node I had earlier this year.

FREAK FREAK FREAKFREAKFREAK! OMG I'MGUNNADIE!

It was a very very long weekend for one that was the usual two days. Cos of course I found the lump (consistently) on the weekend. It made for one night of very poor sleep and one night of sleeping like a log. Even when I'm stressed out of my nut, I still tend to sleep fairly well. I'll do the odd night of bad sleep but the rest I'm so exhausted that I just sleep. (Being on chemo has been an adventure in insomnia for me - I tend not to suffer it and hopefully won't in the future but during chemo? BLAH!)

On Monday morning I rang up the breast care nurses and they got me an appointment with the oncologist the next day in the regular Tuesday clinic. (Oddly enough, I was sure I'd talk to Carmel and guess which nurse answered the phone?)

Did I stop spinning? Umm, no.... Spinning is soothing. Plus I could still steal the odd feel of the lump in my armpit - it was amazing just how often my left hand stole across to check it out. Still there? DANG! I think it must've checked things out about 20 times an hour - no wonder the thing is a bit ouchy!

Today, whilst DH and my BiL put a steel support beam into the kitchen roof (so we can pull the wall out and open up the kitchen to the loungeroom), I sat and sewed a whole lot of quilting stuff. I sewed some 2.5" strips together to be part of a quilt backing. Plus I've had a pretty quilt half done for most of a year now but because all the pieces were not quite the same size, it would NOT go together. Last week I pulled apart various pieces, ironed them flat (again) and cut them all to size. Today I started putting them back together again. I won't say they are perfect but I've got a chance of making the quilt look like this:

eggplantrelayout
(my design drawing)

So far so good on the quilting front. It is looking quite good, not perfect but I can't be bothered chasing perfection currently. I'm happy with good enough. Heck I'm happy with sewn together well enough that it won't come apart immediately. And it kept me occupied as I twitched about the lump, the one I talked about on Thursday and thought was not an issue. Funny how things start dwelling on you. I have to admit crying a LOT and fearing the worst. I am rather attached to this life, I am quite enjoying it (minus all the chemo and cancer crap) and I don't want to have to give it up quite yet. I've seen close family members die of cancer and I really would prefer to die of a heart attack given the option. Even my father's descent into true vapidness seems preferable, even with the stripping away of dignity and memory as the mind fades into blankness.

The time of the appointment approached and I drove off, gritting my teeth, panicking. I get rather cranky when I'm driving and feeling stressed, and of course I got every car that does 10-15kmh below the speed limit or drives in all possible lanes or just does dumb stuff. I arrived at the hospital 10 minutes early despite the best efforts of the craptastic drivers ahead of me all the way. I then knitted frantically, determinedly, not looking at the ladies around me except for the arab lady who I am sure I sat next to at the Look Good, Feel Better seminar I went to (which reminds me, I have some makeup available for anyone with fair skin who likes stinky stuff - most of it has too much perfume for me). I knitted knitted knitted until I heard my name called (and my proper name not the one on my birth certificate).

Whatsup?

*bibble* I've got a lump in my armpit *bibble*

Hmm. let's look at it. (he feels the thing, notes that it is very mobile and quite soft). Given what I can feel, I am pretty sure it is just an inflammatory lymph node.

*bibble* It's annoyed with all the stuff it's having to clear? *bibble*

Probably. You've got tests for next week, we'll check it then. When's your surgery?

*bibble* Haven't been told yet *bibble*

Don't worry about it, it is most likely nothing. (and the implication is that surgery will get whatever bits need to be got) Here's how I think your tumour is shrinking. It isn't going down like this (effectively a balloon) - instead it is shrinking in patches (he drew a picture that looked like a rotting sponge or something).

And after thanking him, I slunk out of there wishing I could jump for joy. But the aftermath of chemo has my legs feeling leaden and really stiff, so not much dancing around here. (You should see me bending over to pick up stuff - I am like an old woman. The creaks and groans, and if I keep having to bend over, I have to have a sit down it hurts so much! I am soooo stiff.)

And I couldn't sing along with the radio on the way home either cos the chemo has stolen my voice. (I am not a great singer but I can hold a tune and I do enjoy warbling, and I really miss my voice. I can't even talk easily, or cough. I can do really good sneezes though and painful too, like a thousand little needles hitting my pharynx.)

But at least I could sorta taste the thai curry DH insisted we go get to celebrate the good news (and cos he couldn't clean up the kitchen enough for me to cook in).

:-)

Believe it or not, I did take pics last week of my chemo queen jacket. For an unknown reason, the camera decided to focus on the handrail on our stairs rather than me or the background. So nearly every picture was a dud out of about 15 that I took. I am starting to think I'll never have pics of it. And I took pics of my scone. The hair that is choosing to grow back is about a centimetre long now. It is pretty manky and has quite obviously growth "rings" on it. But it is hair. I don't think it is as thick as it was (and it was not very thick before chemo) so maybe more hair is yet to start growing after the taxotere. I'm looking forward to various other hairs growing cos my eyebrows are pretty manky and I have about 30 eyelashes all up, mostly short stumpy things. I know which hair will start growing. Eg my hairy mole on my cheek has started putting out hair again, nice dark hairs - gee thanks, mole!

Anyway, it means I can go up to Bendi for the wool show and not worry any more than I might anyway about upcoming surgery, etc. A lovely local SnBer/Raveller is picking me up early on Friday along with a friend of hers and we are staying overnight up there in a self contained flat. I can do my own meals (cos I am too late to get into the Ravelry dinner and breakfast, plus my food restrictions are not fair to place on someone so late, particularly given breakfast is pancakes/crepes). I just hope I start getting a bit more energy back and can walk a ways - currently I can walk about 300m before I flake. I need one of those old lady walkers - the ones with the basket on the front and the seat :-)

anon!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I've got the whine...

G'day all!

Anyone got the cheese?

I'm still here! I'm feeling better than I did but this last round has knocked me for six (as we say here in Oz, and possibly anywhere else they play cricket). I seem to have a mild cold as well cos my snout is playing up. (Yes, all you mums out there, I am looking after myself, taking my temperature regularly, eating as well as I can, keeping my fluid intake up, etc.) Oh and I think I am discovering what hot flushes are. Yikes!

But I must be feeling better cos yesterday and today I spun some yarn and knitted! I spun 50g of lovely BFL/seasilk/bunny from Ixchelbunny. (I should link her but she's probably plenty busy enough at present getting ready for Bendigo.) I started work on a little wrappy shawl of my own design (mainly cos I discovered 300m of yarn from last year's TdF and decided it had to be used immediately). Now if only I would sleep the night through, things would be grand!

I panicked myself today by finding a lump below my armpit. I dug around a bit on the net and discovered that it is most likely my serratus anterior muscles playing up - if I rub them, the lump and tenderness goes away and my scapula stops hurting too! I do have a not quite matching (ie smaller) lump on the other side. I am blaming spinning - I have not done any for ages and suddenly I spend four hours over the course of the day spinning, holding my right arm out oddly. I am dreadfully unfit now. Oh and spending two or three hours editing pics from our Yellowstone trip (over a year ago!) - I did a few pics from Day 2, mostly in Nevada. I never expected Nevada to be as interesting (or as green!) as it was. Then again I love rock formations and the unseasonal rain they had had just made everything wonderfully green.

Still not clever enough to take pics. Plus yesterday was a very dull, drizzly sort of day and today was variable. DH hasn't shared pics of his bruised foot from spraining his ankle, but he has lots of bruising on either side of the ankle, some on the bottom of his foot, some under his toes and some on top of his toes! It looks spectacular. My sprained ankles don't look anywhere near as pretty, they just puff up and go slightly yellow looking (not that they are sprained currently, touch wood!).

I have to find some safety pins for my Australian Sheep and Wool handspun, knitted items for their woolcraft show. I'm sending in:

fo_echo2

and:

2512_njhjumper

(minus the people, of course!)

The safety pins attach the entry tags and the samples of fleece/top/roving and yarn to each other. I figure that I can use a couple of the bent quilting basting pins I have, only I have to find them first! The Chair of the Woolcraft committee is picking my entries up tomorrow - how lovely of her! I really appreciate it - go say thanks to speave on Ravelry :-)

Nathan is having lots of fun in the kitchen currently - he and a friend are putting in a reinforcing beam as I speak. Or at least prepping for it. This will mean we can open up the wall between the kitchen and loungeroom and then really start moving on the kitchen renovations.

There are movements on the job front too for Nathan. The job he was offered a couple of weeks ago was withdrawn suddenly when he said he couldn't start with two days notice. That made us cranky! Plus the little contract he's been doing that stops him getting the dole hasn't paid yet because the time sheets went missing hither and yon. But it is in progress now and we are ok for the nonce!

So with any luck, things are looking up 8-)

anon!