Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sydney impresses

G'day all!

Just a quick one to say I'm home from Sydney. It was lovely to spend time with my husband. We are much happier together than apart, I think.

(Blurry us in front of the Endeavour replica. Oh my - what a sad end for the original! Read the link...)

I'll be blogging the trip on Victorian, on the move (linkie later when I've blogged). For the nonce, I'll just say that Sydney really turned it on for me - it didn't rain at all on me! (Sydney likes to remind me that its annual rainfall is somewhat more than Melbourne's, despite how it may feel.) Lots of sunshine, though not that warm still but inside I did wander around without a cap on - BLISS!


Friday, August 27, 2010

A little word

G'day all!

Daffodil Day has come and gone again. It is the annual fund raiser for the Cancer Council.

I've been passionate about supporting the Cancer Council for quite some years now. When I worked at AXA, I was a charity captain (for the Heart Foundation) and helped run quite a number of charity stalls. I always made myself available for as much Daffodil Day fundraising as I could manage.

Well of course now I am a recipient of Cancer Council aid. Quite a bit of the information I've received this year has been paid for by the Cancer Council (and therefore by people who've helped raise funds and also govt money I believe).

This year, I bought a pen, a shopping list pad/pencil and a keyring.

This one little word on the keyring practically brought me to my knees.

I never realised how powerful hope is. I tear up just looking at it.

Part of this cancer journey is the fear that I will die. I know I'll die sooner or later but I sorta thought it would be in another 40 or so years and I'd have plenty of time to do everything I want to do. But now I just don't know. I might be lucky and dodge the bullet and get those 40-odd years. But I might not too. I have never asked what my chances are - I've never been game. I think I've got even odds. The idea of dying like my mother and aunt did terrifies me.

But do I let myself hope that I will survive? Can I afford to allow myself to hope? Dare I let myself hope?

It is such a small word but it is amazingly big at the same time. It encompasses so much in those four letters.

I'm trying to get as much as I can out of every day. I don't know how many "good" days I'll have, days where I feel capable of doing at least some stuff. I might have many (and look back at this time with a certain degree of amusement and sympathy for this current self), I might have few. So I keep hammering away, trying to get better, trying to make the most of things, trying to get as much done as I can without unnecessarily wearying myself.

And I'll keep looking at that keyring. Maybe one day I'll let myself believe in it. Maybe one day I'll let myself dream of the future. But not yet.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

We have a winner!

G'day all!

My blogiversary contest is now closed. We had 16 entries. (Hmm, guess my blog is not too popular, eh? I've seen contests with a thousand entries! Yikes!)

Anyway, my random number generator picked number 13.

Lusks, come on down! You are the lucky winner of your choice of the little pinwheel quilt, the shawl or the yarn/tops. Let me know what you'd like! (PM on ravelry or email is fine.)

It is DH's birthday today but he is a long way away. Not too far but far enough. I'll see him this weekend. I've been arguing with myself about how to get to the airport. Take the train and the bus? Drive? Taxi to the airport? It is ridiculous that we do not have a train to the airport but the govt sez we don't need one. Yah, right. $100 for a taxi from here to there. OUCH! If we had a train and it was normal fares, it would cost about $6 for a two hour all zones ticket, which would get me from here to there. But no, we can't have a train cos that would destroy the taxi industry and the parking at the airport industry - the airport charges like a wounded bull for short term parking and long term parking is only slightly better.

Oops, rant off!

I have some birthday socks to finish. I am yet to finish the first sock but I hope by the time I'm leaving on Monday evening, I'll have finished both it and the second sock. I have not finished the cushions that I started weeks ago - I can't use the rotary cutter yet cos I can't hold the ruler with my right arm and I can't stretch forward fully with it either. My left (dominant) hand might be pretty clever but it can't manage to hold a ruler down and do the cutting at the same time. I never thought it would be an issue! I can sew ok cos that does not use my full reach but to sew, I have to have something cut up! Maybe I should be looking at using my very small stash of precut material....or just sew strips of the charms from the swap I did with online buddies from the ORBQ group (details on my side bar) or sew together the siggy swap blogs that I got a month ago... Hmm. Looks like I've been pretty slack on taking pics of things I've received but really the weather has been atrocious and getting pics of little squares of material is difficult when they are blowing away!

I read back through my block and I've been whining about the weather for quite some days now. Don't expect it to stop until the weather gets better! The sun broke through quite a bit today but it is still mighty cold by our standards. 10C, feels like 7C, heading for feeling like we are in a fridge again. Poor little heater is on all the time, trying to keep one room warm.

Despite the weather, M and I went up to BAAG today. I love BAAG. It is my favourite "normal" nursery. (Kuranga is my favourite native nursery, closely followed by Bushwalk who probably have a greater range of plants and certainly have the best $2 plants in the Melbourne area). She had never been before! Now she knows the joys and delights of BAAG. If BAAG had a cafe, it would be perfect!

Also? Shoutout to Gibbering for doing lots of things for me recently, like mucking out the chook roosting area and doing yardwork with MC, and looking after the cats this weekend.

Boo hiss to the phone, which I didn't put on the charger, and has just said it can't do that, Lynne - it died. It needs to be charged before I can make calls. It won't make a call whilst sitting on the charger. Stupid design!

Now if only dinner would cook up, I could eat it and go off to crafties. I think I will let the remains cool on the stove - they will be much too hot to put in the fridge but if I leave them for a bit over an hour, they will be fine...


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Brr - thank heavens for an afghan

G'day all!

I have been a very naughty and remiss blogger.

Ages ago, way back in July, I received the most wonderful gift.

I haven't blogged it cos I was trying to get "nice" shots of it.

I've given up on getting "nice" shots. Here's a couple of less nice shots that don't show enough of it (and btw, be careful when typing shots - i sits right next to o on the keyboard....).


Do I look happy or what? And it came with a cap, which I crammed on my head over the striped hat I was wearing when I opened the box.


A big thank you to all my friends at Green Planet Yarn in Campbell, California. I miss hanging out with you guys! I've been much too slow in acknowledging the wonderfulness that you sent me. But I am appreciative! Hardly a day has gone by when I don't warm myself under its woolly goodness. And all of the blocks came with swing tags saying who knitted them. I have to finish getting pics of all the blocks - the weather here has been atrocious for WEEKS! So windy that anything not tied down blows away. It is like we've been stuck with a vicious northwesterly for about a month. (We did have one quite calm afternoon, which I used to spray the nectarine/peach and the almond trees for leaf curl rather than getting pics of lovely things.)


I got out into the garden today. I did quite a bit of weeding. Apart from the wind, it was quite nice - a bit of sun, not too cold. Two hours of weeding and I was done for (note that I have quite some more weeding to do!). I came inside to have lunch and suddenly it clouded over and the wind picked up to gale force and well, I guess the weeds have blown halfway down the road now cos I had not cleaned up after myself - I thought I'd do it after lunch. Then it started raining but I hadn't noticed as I was playing with my new iron.


Yes, I am officially old. I was playing with an iron. It is shiny and new. It has a larger sole plate than the one I was using (an ex-housemate's cast-off complete with busted water reservoir that leaked). I ironed ALL of the material that I washed yesterday. (Strong NW wind is great for drying when it is not bringing rain!) (All except the 10m of bleached calico that I'm going to use for dyeing. Couldn't come at ironing 10m of 280cm wide calico....) I washed a lot of material, like enough to keep me ironing it for about 3 hours. (Then I was good and ironed my shirts too! A miracle!)

Would you like to see the washing line in action yesterday? Of course you would! It is more interesting than you might think 8-) It certainly shows off the sorts of material that I like. Lurid fits the bill - surprised? :-)

Something that is quite bizarre that I've noticed over the last couple of days is my armpit/shoulder/pec area is getting chills. I don't know any other way to describe it. It is like I have a chill just in one area - the peach fuzz stands up on end or does its best and feels shivery but I'm not running a fever. I am wondering if it is either the bruised/pinched nerve waking up or the slicy dicied nerve repairing itself. The surgery damaged and/or cut nerves in my armpit. I still have no skin over my tricep, or so I would think if I couldn't see it. It just is numb, except for when it is incredibly tender (neuropathic pain?). I'm not too fussed about not being able to feel much in my armpit given it keeps puffing up with this seroma. The weird feeling might be related to movement too, which backs up the idea of something reinnervating or recovering function. Or it might just be the way things will stay due to nerve damage. However given it has changed over the last few days, I hope it means things are getting better.


Another thing that I thought is interesting is I've had a lot of problems with my muscles after taxotere. I know a little bit about muscle, as should any student of physiology, and thought it might be a problem with the way the nerves talk to the muscle. Taxotere is known to cause peripheral neuropathy (numb/tingling sensations in fingers and toes) due to damage to the neurons (nerve cells), so why wouldn't a similar thing happen with the nerves innervating muscle? After doing a bit of digging around, I discovered that yes, taxotere does also attack the nerves where they tell the muscle what to do (neuromuscular junction). The nerves need to regenerate. I've noticed that if I keep doing a certain thing, I start getting better at doing it- today it was really hard to get down to the ground the first time but after that it got easier (ie not a muscle fatigue thing cos fatigue would get worse as I repeated the effort). I guess I am retraining my body. The muscles are not used to doing various of these things. The foot drop that I was developing along with the knock kneed shuffle is getting better (also part of the attack on my muscles). I've also noticed that on occasion, if muscles get really fatigued, I need to sit down and stop for 30 seconds to a minute. That's all. It seems to reset something and I can keep on going. I'm not sure how I retrain my voice though - I still can't speak without sounding like a crow or worse, a frog in my throat. I can sing better than I can speak, though I have very little range.


Flower pics are of native plants in our yard. It is gearing up for spring :-) Oh if only the weather would moderate some. It is lovely that our dams have gotten to 40.1% full for the first time in some years but please, less wind, thanks! I don't mind rain but this danged wind is driving me batty.

Remember to enter my blogiversary contest! If you become a follower, you get a second entry and if you advertise my competition on your blog, you get a third entry! You just have to let me know that you've done so.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy 6th Blogiversary to me!

G'day all!

I've now been blogging for six whole years. I think that deserves a crikey! I only pull out the crikeys for special occasions :-)

(Actually, it was yesterday but it is still the 20th of August in the States so that is good enough for me. 8-)

In honour of this momentous occasion, I think I need to spread the love around. Yep, this means giveaway time!

What have I got to give away?

Well, what about this lovely little quilt? It's big enough for a lap and plenty big enough for a cot. All cotton outside, including thread, and bamboo/cotton batting on the inside. Patterned fabric is Lila Tueller's "Eden."

(you can see the back of it here)

But that is not all! If I get more than 100 comments on this blogiversary post, then I will add another TWO prizes to the offering.

How about this rather lurid handspun, handknitted shawl? BFL and silk, hence the brightness of the colours.


And the third prize will be 200g of anything you like (spinning fibre or dyed yarn) from my old shop (which I have to update cos I have found more goodies for it, particularly spinning fibre such as the one in the background of my blog title pic. Honest, this isn't as crap a prize as it might seem at first 8-).

But in a new twist (added 24 August 2010), I'll let the first person choose the quilt, the shawl or the yarn/tops, the second person has two choices and the third person has whatever is left! If I get less than a hundred comments, only one prize will be offered and it will be the winner's choice of the three prizes. Make sense?

How to enter? Leave a comment on this post. Make sure I have a way of contacting you - Blogger does not automatically give me your email address. If your blogger profile is private, I cannot contact you. ie leave an email address! (But spam block it if you will, mary12atnibbledotcom.)

Want a second entry? Become a follower of my blog. (and tell me!)

Want a third entry? Advertise my blogiversary on your blog!

Entries close at 5pm AEST August 26 2010 (that's Australian Eastern Standard Time, UTC +10), or if you prefer midnight PDT (Pacific Daylight Time, aka west coast USA time) at the start of the 26th.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why why why... seroma

G'day all!

I'm a bit grumpy tonight.

Not going to Sydney. Stupid seroma. It won't lay down and be good (I don't want it to die, I just want it to not puff up so much I can't do my exercises).

Feeling crabby. Poopy stupid seroma. I have to create filks of songs for it.

My, my, my, seroma!
Why, why, why, seroma?

Listn to me,
(and to me!)
while I tell you
(yes I drain you)
of the seroma that blighted my life
(If anyone gets the second one, I will be very surprised - DH will get it because I've sung along with the song quite a few times but gosh it is an oldy)

I still haven't taken pics of my knitting. I was horribly busy today - spent too much time spinning this morning, then had to dash up to the library with a book that I thought must be horribly overdue cos I couldn't even find it on our accounts. Ahem. No, we had accidentally stolen it - it wasn't checked out properly. They said thanks for bringing it back, I said "can I borrow it now please?" so now it is borrowed properly. I guess some people would be happy to keep the book but I would feel horribly guilty. Apart from the usual pens and post it notes from the work stationery cupboard, I've not purloined anything deliberately (and even then the pens and post-it notes were usually used for work I was doing at home. Plus their pens sucked big time and I had to buy my own). Then I hurried to the supermarket and lugged enormously heavy kitty litter back to the car (umm, yeah, naughty me drove. the hardest bit was getting the key in and out of the ignition), and for what purpose STUPID SEROMA? (Oh, our cats don't usually have a litter tray indoors - they can access the greenhouse at night, and it has mulch in the bottom of it, or in the case of Nutmeg, she seems to have the bladder of a very large critter.) I even had to run for the train despite my two minutes fast watch saying the train was due in two minutes. I can't run very well yet, and am very very bad at running uphill. I thought I was going to die on the train and the way people were looking at me, they thought so too! Thank heavens for knitting distracting me.

So I went into town today to see my sister's new apartment. It is verra nice. Modern. Filled with light. Fabulous for someone living the minimalist dream. (Not me!) Great views!



(She can even see the bay but my pic wasn't very good so you get pics of the CBD and of a nearby garden in its winter colours - bare trees and very green grass.)

Very impressed. She'll experience a totally different lifestyle - everything is in walking distance, hardware shop under the building (these are important things you realise!), supermarket across the road, work 1.5 blocks away, bars and restaurants an easy stagger (not that my sister is the sort to get totally off her face but a bit squiffy is quite fine)....

After waving her off, I went with her daughter to look around docklands some. Only one pic - not really worth that many pics!


I really liked this sky anchor. I'm still waiting for the cloud ship to appear.

Onto the tram, off the tram, grab some Lord of the Fries (GF chippies! yay! Becoming less of a treat now that I've had them twice in one week...), onto the train, onto the bus, out to the hospital to get Mr Seroma looked at again.... stupid annoying blasted thing. I told Gemma, the BC nurse, she is my best friend - I've seen her three times this week and probably will see her again tomorrow. She said she would come with me on the train if I took her along. I was tempted. I didn't know that there is a sleep-on-able couch in Nathan's apartment. Back onto the bus and off to a different train, the train that takes me home. It rained on me as I walked home. I was very glad that I lugged my raincoat around all day - it was brilliantly sunny until 4pm or so.


This was not tonight's sunset. Tonight's sunset matched my mood - grey and drizzly. I've rebooked my train trip for our anniversary, 3 weeks away. DH says we can take the train out to the Blue Mountains. I've whizzed through them in a car but never had a chance to look around. Oh crap. I'll have to make sure I'm not starting radiotherapy that day. A couple of extra days shouldn't be an issue, I just have to make sure they are aware of my unavailability those days! Plus I'll see if I can fly up next weekend for DH's birthday. I might need a compression bandage on my arm, but if I fly up, I can get this seroma drained on the Friday without an issue. If I still need to get it drained. (Why isn't DH coming home instead? Cos he might want to stay!)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wild and woolly

G'day all!

Alas still no pics of my knitting! If I had laid it out today for a pic, it would've been blown away and I'd never see it again! It has been (and is) amazingly wild and woolly outside - if only there was fleece blowing around but sorry, just wind. And it is c-c-c-c-c-c-cold!

(North Americans will laugh when I say 10C without wind chill is c-c-c-c-c-c-cold but it is cold and a little damp and the wind chill brings it to fridge temps. I've had the little heater on all day and it has barely managed to get things warm - I've got on a singlet, a tshirt, a long sleeve tee, a fuzzy jacket, my rain coat, a pair of trakky dax, my flannel(ette) leisure pants and socks and slippers, plus woollen hat with cotton liner and I'm only just managing to stay warmish.)

I am rather looking forward to a short break in Sydney, where it will be sunny and around 18C. That will feel very warm to me! Sydney is warmer in winter than Melbourne (hello! We are further south and exposed effectively to the Southern Ocean, so cold fronts can swing up from Antarctica to us - we buffer Sydney) but our summers are more pleasant as we don't get the humidity Sydney gets.

I had to go get this stupid seroma drained again today. 160mL of fluid vs about 100mL a couple of days ago. It is getting bigger! I'm a little worried about the trip to Sydney - how will I cope if it is blowing up this often? I've spent the rest of the day with my arm clamped to my side, doing only the bare minimum of lymphoedema exercises and also I stuck a (brand new kitchen) sponge under my arm, not to absorb fluid but to provide a little more pressure to see if that stops it swelling up. Noone told me to do, that I'm just trying it out, see if it helps any. If I need to, I can go back tomorrow afternoon to get it drained again. That works pretty well with my day of going into town and seeing my sister's new apartment. If I time it well enough, I can get the train from the city and the bus to the hospital and then continue on that bus to umm, gosh, forgotten where it meets up with my train line.... Anyway, it all works to some extent!

(A random shot of a bit of garden just the south side of the Yarra River opposite the Melbourne CBD. We love our palm trees here - it is like we are saying SEE? Warm enough for palm trees!)

Must give a big shout out to:
a) my friend M, who has been a champ driving me around on Monday and today, and for taking on the horror that is the remnants of the old kitchen and cleaning it up. She scrubbed pots, she scrubbed the bench, cleaned the stove, sorted crap out from good stuff... Thanks! Also she's lent me a heap of DVDs. I watched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day this evening. Aww, what a nice movie :-) Heh. The lead of the movie is also the person who narrated "The Botany of Desire" which I've been watching recently. Her voice is very different as she was raised by Canadians in Pittsburgh (!!) but speaks with a Brit accent in the movie.

b) Gemma, the BC nurse I've been seeing. She is rushed off her feet but always makes time for me. OK, it is her job but she is genuinely fabulous.

(Also, my cousin in the GOO tribe, KW, for making me a very yummy vegie/lentil soup. Thanks!)

Must remember to take the camera with me tomorrow to get pics of the new flat. It sounds wonderful. My sister is very excited about it. Then I have to download pics and get them online ASAP as I'll be offline most likely for the time I'm in Sydney - DH isn't set up with mobile net in Sydney yet, though he does have a shiny new Android phone, alas awaiting a sim card.

I must also acknowledge the wonderful afghan I got from my old buddies at Green Planet Yarn in the US. Yes, I've had it for ages and have not managed to get one decent picture of me with it - mainly cos my arm doesn't stretch far enough away 8-) DH is too far away to take pictures of me (even with the 10X zoom on the new camera). Plus it has been so windy so often recently that I can't even lay it outside to get a pic. Grr. But I must email thanks, sadly with no decent pic. (OK, it was not very windy yesterday afternoon but I spent that time spraying the fruit trees before bud burst cos I want them to be healthy and grow well, not have leaf curl, etc.)

There, another rambly post. Rambling posts mean that I don't have anyone to talk to. DH is on the group retreat - a three day holiday where they do a bit of team building, by the sounds of it a fair whack of drinking cos he was rather merry, and recharge. At least he sounded more enthused - he had found people to talk to who didn't just gossip but who actually think about things. He's a thinker, not a gossiper or social butterfly.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Even more ramblings

G'day all!

Well what an interesting week it has been so far.

Yesterday DH was ok with the world and all was good. My seroma was deflated and felt ok.

Today DH was lonely cos his work is in the middle of a restructure and also his group are going on a trip and everyone was running around like headless chooks. Except Nathan. And I couldn't get our hot water service relit after it went out, so I had no hot water and was very unhappy indeed about that! But our elderly neighbour came to the rescue - he is the chap who engineered the original ones of these hot water heaters. After I had spent hours trying to get the blasted thing going, he got it first try. Grrr. It obviously doesn't like a woman's touch. DId I mention that it was less than 10C as well? And my seroma re-inflated at an incredible rate - it feels like I've got half a lemon inside my armpit skin. I have to go back to get it looked at again. It is uncomfortable at either end of the scar too and I really don't want it to either burst the thing or get infected from being drained. I've had it since Saturday, when I started doing more advanced exercises to stop frozen shoulder and lymphoedema, and I'm already over it. There is no treatment for it apart from occasionally draining it and waiting for it to go away. I bet if men suffered this problem, they would work out why it occurs and how to prevent it or at least manage it. (Men actually do get seromas but not too many have to have axillary clearance so they don't get them in their armpits.) If it was "waterbed chest" after mastectomy I reckon I could tolerate it more easily cos at least it would be like having boobs rather than something that makes you hold your arm on a funny angle cos there's a big squishy uncomfortable thing in the way.

Life wasn't meant to be easy, as one of our Prime Ministers famously said.

Do I have any new pics for you? My bad! oK, I just edited some. They are pics of my city from last Sunday. Weather wasn't the best - you shoulda seen how black it looked for quite a bit of the day!

(The Elizabeth Street clock tower on Flinders St Station)

Have I any knitting or spinning to show you?

My bad!

I've been distracted. I went for a good long walk today and didn't feel totally knackered after it. OK, the walk was to the local shops via my chiro, but that is 2km round trip and whilst my stride was getting shorter and shorter as I got closer to home, I didn't keel over. That is a victory in my books! (But I did forget to buy the eggs that were the main reason for going. DOH! Maybe I haven't gotten over chemo brain yet. Or maybe this is just me!)

(the east end of Melbourne's CBD)

This weekend I'm going up to Sydney by bus/train to see DH. He is lonely. I am lonely too, even though I have LOTS to occupy me. I'm used to having him around. He's used to having me around. After so much togetherness, it is weird to not have him here. But we'll find a way to cope, even if it involves running up a huge phone bill. We can't use voice over IP at present or video conferencing or anything cos he doesn't have internet at the place he is staying. He has to wait until he gets mobile internet via work. That will take a few more days.

I think the most unsettling thing is not knowing how often we'll see each other. DH has to settle in to a new job (and a new city), I have to learn how to cope with everything here. (I admit to contemplating giving the chooks away - they are an added complication that I don't know I can cope with at present, especially since they are not doing what we got them for. If they were good laying hens, I'd be like eh, they are fine but nope they aren't laying and they are digging up stuff I like....) If things go well, we might be doing the one of us travels every second weekend. But we might not too. Or DH might spend a couple of weeks here, working, every month or two. But all is in flux. I'm a little over flux.

So I'll have to stay in the moment, not worry about the future much cos it will get here sooner or later (sooner in my experience!). I can look forward to a long bus and train trip, and I can hope this stupid seroma stops being so excitable.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

My seroma

G'day all!

I am bopping around to the happy tune of "My Sharona" done with new words.

Yes, indeedy, I have a seroma (an accumulation of lymph/extracellular fluid that accumulates in empty spaces where tissue used to be) in my armpit. Most armpits curve inwards, mine bulges outwards. It is rather uncomfortable. It feels very like when your clothes bunch in your armpit, only you can't just pull the offending sleeve out or take that item off. It does rather hurt sometimes. Last night I had to sleep on my left side until it drained itself a little. And of course it puffed up on the weekend, as nearly every single one of my complications has. GRRR!

So tomorrow I annoy the bc nurses again and then probably toddle off to the docs to get it drained. I can't do my exercises properly and if I can't do them, I can't have radiotherapy and I may get lymphoedema (effectively water retention in the operated arm).

I'm alternating bopping around to My Seroma (ooh my little puffy one, my puffy one, when ya gonna deee-flate, my seroma!) with pouting and whining. Today Nathan and I went into the city and he got on the bus to the airport and flew away to a new life.

I get stuck with this life down here, a house full of crap and a kitchen that is mostly gutted and split between the loungeroom and the kitchen. We, ahem, DH didn't get time to move the kitchen stuff back into the kitchen, or indeed move all the tools and stuff out of the kitchen so the kitchen stuff can go back in whilst we, ahem, I organise new windows and getting the new bog plumbed in and the old one removed, along with its room, and then get the new plastering done after some wiring to ensure we have enough power points (they can be done afterwards easily enough but why not plan first before the walls are plastered?), etc, etc. Then we can get cupboards made and buy a new stove and get it plumbed in (we have town gas) and get the dishwasher and new sink plumbed in and oh yeah, order the new benchtops. We'll probably go with wooden benchtops because they will suit the rest of the kitchen and whilst I like the manufactured stone with added sparkles, I don't like its hardness and coldness. Wood will need maintenance but that is part of the price of having its beauty. And it is beautiful. Oh and once everything is done, I can get the splashback measure and quote and get it made up and installed. We are going with glass cos it is easy to clean and doesn't have much in the way of gaps. Plus it is very modern and should last some time and is recyclable technically speaking...

It isn't as if I don't have lots to do with Nathan not here, it's just we've been in each other's pockets for 3.5 years now and it is going to be very odd not seeing him very often. I can't travel currently, or to be more precise, I am not willing to sit on a bus for 14 hours or take a bus and a train for 12 hours. This leaves me with flying but before I can fly, I have to get this seroma resolved and get a lymphoedema compression garment made. Then I read that I probably can't take the plane whilst I'm having radiotherapy, again due to risk of lymphoedema.

Our place is such a mess.... Heh. Partly my fault cos I do so love my stash. The rest is stuff for renovations or bits pulled out or tools or general crap that builds up when one is not well enough to organise stuff and put things away properly and the other is too busy running around trying to get all the heavy work done before he leaves.


After DH left on the airport bus, I wandered into the centre of town and looked at cameras. I had to send him up to Sydney with my camera and my mobile phone - he has strict instructions to take lots of pics! Also since I know the mobile's number I can call him easily enough. Cameras here are awfully expensive compared to the US. Take the price of pretty much any camera and add somewhere between $100 for low end stuff to double the price for high end cameras. I ended up buying a chunky, heavy Canon (SX120IS) for more than I wanted to pay but it has features that I like on our older camera like manual mode so you can override all the settings and make it take the pics you want it to. It also has a big zoom for a point and shoot - 10X. I happily wandered around taking pics of things.

(Zoom in action - those two pics of the old GPO clock tower were taken from almost the same spot.)

I also went to the arts centre Sunday market, which has moved as they are redoing the performance art hall that it normally resides around. I caught up with Ixchelbunny there - the people you meet at a market. She used to sell stuff there but after her cancer issues, decided to just sell online and at special markets. I also bought a B&W print of a snow daisy from a local photographer. It made me ache to go to the high country, but of course it is winter there currently, not summer and it is summer that I love most with its wildflowers and balmy breezes. I haven't been there for nearly five years I think now and it is one of my favourite places in the world.

(Behind the arts centre I found these bronze sheep gallivanting - tres amusement!)

So now I have to adjust to a quasi single life, with cooking meals for me and me alone, at least until we have a kitchen and a living space and I can invite friends around, dealing with everything on my own, running up large phone bills and even larger travel bills.... I know I can do it, I just would prefer not to have to do it. I like hanging out with my husband - that is why I married him. If I didn't like him, I would not be with him. But now I can't be with him anyway. sigh.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rav's international shawl swap

G'day all!

A few months ago, I joined the international shawl swap on Ravelry.

A couple of days ago, I received my shawl.


Isn't it pretty? And beautifully knitted and blocked.

It is Evelyn Clark's Prairie Rose Lace Shawl, knitted by KateB in Jaggerspun Zephyr in Aegean Blue.

I am very pleased with it. (Though that is not my most flattering shot 8-)



I am working on my partner's shawl. It won't be anywhere near as ethereal since she lives in Scotland and would prefer a practical shawl.

Still puttering along here. I think the armpit is getting better but it is still pretty crabby and I get the most amazing zings from it every now and then. It feels like it is 10 times the size of the other armpit even though I can't feel it - I just get pain signals. But when I look at it, it looks normal enough, not particularly puffy or anything. It's just grumpy.

DH leaves on Sunday! Today we have to get him some new clothes and in particular, shoes. We can't have him starting a new job with his shoes in the state they are in. And yes, he effectively only has one pair. He wears in a pair of shoes and then gets rather attached to them. (Ahem!) Plus he needs pants that don't have oil/grease from the bike on them. And new shirts. The big G might be a casual workplace but there are limits. I think 8-) Before he goes, I must get pics of me with something even more special than the shawl.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The final straight

G'day all!

I'm most of the way through this part of the cancer journey. There's more to go, but I truly hope that the worst is done.

Today I got my drain out. Very happy about that! Hooray for getting the drain out cos it was getting pretty annoying, lugging around a bag of ew. (Actually it wasn't that oogy at all, cos after the first day it was pretty much just extracellular fluid/plasma looking straw coloured stuff, but it was annoying!) Plus they took the dressings off. I just have tape over the armpit wound. The boob scar is very neat and tidy. Dunno about the armpit though - it is still disguised.

Wasn't happy about having to wait for over 2 hours - the surgical registrar I saw had to perform a "procedure" and it put her well behind time.

Got the results of my pathology too.

I am in a very mixed mind about the pathology.

a) they got all the lump out with clear margins, though they were scant on one side
b) it was still cancerous (high grade = aggressive)
c) the lumpy lymph node (which was one of five sentinel nodes) was cancerous, and
d) the other 17 nodes sampled were not.

I didn't know that when they do an axillary dissection, they just take out a lump or two of fatty tissue from the armpit. I think the sentinel nodes are dissected separately. (Did I say that when they tested the sentinel node injection on me, the probe made a Space Invaders or bad 1980s SF movie noise? It was fantastic!)

Anyway, the size of the lump was a little smaller than after FEC but that node came back up again. It is sorta making me think that the taxotere didn't really do much. It was supposed to knock this thing on the head but well it didn't. It rather annoys me because it really knocked me around (and cost a bomb to boot, just didn't cost me $$$ directly) and yet doesn't seem to have had much effect. However, if I had had the surgery first, I would have one less boob and would be given the same chemo treatment with no knowledge of its efficacy. I hope it has provided the study I'm in with some valuable data. It has to have done someone some good!

In a month or so I'll be starting radiotherapy and hoping it knocks off anything that remains. And I'll be hoping no nasty little cells got away and are breeding someplace else in my body. People will say, "You'll be fine," but they don't have cancer and they don't have a particularly aggressive form of cancer with no specific treatment for it (unlike ER+/PR+ or HER2+ cancers). It is pretty freaky having to trust to luck and modern medicine that I'll still be here in 5 years. As far as I can tell, it's even odds that I will live that long, let alone have disease free survival. I just have to wait and see what happens. I'll be on three monthly monitoring and six monthly CT scans I believe. It will drive me nuts worrying about every little ache and twinge and headache and wheeze, so I'll have to learn how not to worry. Guess I'd better get better at meditation and chilling out, eh? You'd think with all the knitting, spinning and sewing I'd be gold.

It makes me somewhat more determined to get as much stuff done as I can for the nonce!

Alas, since I am still recovering from surgery, it is hard to get much done. I can knit quite easily. I can potter around the house quite well enough. I can potter around shops if I can get to them. I can do some cooking but am having difficulty cutting some vegies up. My finger tips are getting much happier and even my nails feel a lot better (they still look awful though and will for some months to come). The water retention problem is nowhere near as bad, thanks to the DVT stockings I had to wear in hospital, so I am increasingly mobile. My muscles and tendons are not as sore, though they are still quite vocal and tell me all about it if I do something they don't like! I have a fair whack of hair now - some of it is nearly 2cm long, but it is pretty thin. I hope more grows back. I still can't sing - am wondering how much longer I will sound like a crow. I can't lift heavy things or do overhead work and if I twist suddenly, YIKES! Poor armpit whines. Boob is fine with everything bar leaning over or pressing it. I can't wear any bras that press on the armpit scar - very glad that I am not well endowed. The irritation and wobble is bad enough with a b cup (and when we hit a speed hump a little too fast today? Ouch!) Can't do any machine sewing yet or prepping fleece/tops for spinning. I can spin though. I just don't have anything prepped and ready to go. And of course I can't drive a car for probably another two weeks, certainly not little Helmet with his manual steering. Even lightweight power steering is beyond me currently. Thank heavens for public transport and the odd willing friend! (and for the next three days, DH, before he goes to Sydney.)

Thank heavens also for knitting, even if the grumpy district nurse told me that I should be resting! Resting is for the dead. I have no idea how much time I have left on this planet and I want to get cracking with making stuff and doing stuff. Heck, I might have another 50 years or I might have two. Who knows? I've got to live whatever time I've got left. If things get dire then I'll hope that I'm knocked on the head sooner than later. I've watched two people die slow horrible deaths of cancer and hoped I wouldn't get it too, but the worst has happened. Now I have to deal with it!

But it is good to know that I am ostensibly free of cancer. It is a pity that I don't know about the little gorbers that may be lurking in my bone marrow or lungs or brain. I'll just have to take things day by day and see how I go.

Thanks for your support. I don't always answer the comments I get from people whose email addies I have - my bad. Sometimes I just don't cope or it's beyond me to reply. And I can't answer some people's comments at all cos blogger does not supply email addresses unless you set it up in a certain way and without an email address or a blog, I can't reply to you. But it doesn't mean I don't appreciate the support 8-)


Monday, August 09, 2010

Totally lurid

G'day all!

Every day I am getting a bit better. Hooray! Today I went for a walk to the post box and back and didn't really need to sit down afterwards. OK, it is only a 600m or so walk but yay me! Now if only I didn't have leaky lulu dripping from my armpit, things would be grand. LOL I just have to wait a couple of days.

Whilst I was in hospital, I knitted a sock. I started it the day before I went in - I thought I might be a bit loopy and starting would not be a good idea. Well I did manage to knit some sock after my surgery, like at 1am the next morning when my vertical and horizontal hold started working again (I have no idea what they had given me but every time I opened my eyes, the whole world flicked upwards and/or sideways. Not fun!).

I finished the sock, even wove the ends in, before my sister appeared to pick me up.

Would you believe that this yarn

made this sock?

I would!

pattern: my own, even though it looks like Leyburn, on 2.5mm knitpicks
yarn: 80:20 wool nylon by EGMTK

Mebbe I'd better stick this on Ravelry. It won't have a matching mate cos I am going to do the other one with butterfly bows, just like I did for this one.

We have some big news too which I guess can now be made public. DH has a job. He has a job with the mob who own Blogger. On Sunday he is moving to Sydney to start his new job on Monday. Moving to Sydney is like moving from SF to LA or maybe even San Diego (in American terms, sorry I have no other comparators). I'll be staying here whilst I finish treatment and then we'll see if I am moving up there or what, depending on how the job goes and how they feel about Nathan working from home home on occasion. It is nice to know that soon one of us will have an income even if it means we'll be nearly 900km apart. It will be tough and will be yet another test of our marriage, which has taken quite some battering over this year. I'll be going up to Sydney on occasion and Nathan expects to come back home every second weekend or so. It has been made trickier by the lack of a train between here and the halfway point to Sydney due to absolutely abysmal track "fixing" - the train track was relaid on concrete sleepers and reballasted during a drought and when it rained, half the ballast effectively disappeared, leaving the train tracks unsupported.... Now they have to go and do the job properly. I was going to take the train because flying is not a good idea soon after having lymph nodes taken out (plus I can get the train into the city and take the interstate train direct from there, whilst to get to the airport it is train and overcrowded bus, or a taxi) but with having to take a bus instead of a train and having the overnight journey interrupted halfway through.... sigh. We are as bad at running railways as the USA. Why we can't put a little more effort in to get high speed rail between Melbourne and Sydney (one of the busiest air routes in the world)....


Friday, August 06, 2010

Home sweet home

G'day all!

I am home! They sent me home today cos I am doing well. My cancer has been cut out of me. Things are a bit odd, as one might expect a couple of days after surgery but I am quite well. The wounds sting a bit if I move around much and one feels like it is dripping once in a while (and I have a drain) but it isn't really, cos it a) can't drip and b) I have no feeling in that area so it is just some weird nerve thing. They kept plying me with paracetamol and voltaren at the hospital cos they want to make sure I have no pain but I prefer a little pain and no head weirdness from being plied with all sorts of stuff. Anyway, the pain is no worse than a minor cut with a band aid on it.

It is nice to be home. Nutmeg has harrassed me and sat on my lap for 5 minutes! Very unusual for her.

Hospital stay was ok. I have a new pair of thigh high white stockings - they are compressive to reduce the chance of getting DVT (blood clots). Didn't get much sleep though, mostly not to do with me! I was in a shared ward with an extravert in pain and then a chap who liked watching his footy through his eyelids (watching wasn't the issue, it was the sound!). But we survived and we're home and the operation went well. I'm not sharing pics though!

I started a sock on Wednesday and finished it this morning. It is the first sock I've knitted in months. Guess the sock mojo is back! It is mighty lurid :-) I was knitting the night after surgery (heck I couldn't sleep due to Ms Moaner in the next bed so I figured I'd try knitting instead and I could!). I'm also working on a very overdue shawl.

Time to go find something to eat. Food was a little light on - last night's tea was a piece of steamed fish. That was it! No veg or anything.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It's lump, it's lump, it's lump

G'day all!

Terrified now! Even a little giddy feeling. In twelve hours I'll probably be prepped for surgery. I am so ready to get rid of this thing but at the same time HOSPITAL! Yikes! It is all very exciting and challenging. I've only had one overnight stay in hospital and that was for my wisdom teeth extraction (and was before I was GF and DF and before my mum died and I was still living at home, so she looked after me). Don't have anyone to look after me now, well apart from DH and my siblings and my MiL, but it isn't quite the same cos most of them don't live with me. And DH is not very good at this stuff - he makes me look like a dedicated nurse! And I am so not a nurse.

I don't know how long I'll be in hospital - it could be overnight or it could be for three days. I have packed everything I can think of that I'll need - clothes, knitting, a book, a couple of quilting and knitting mags, some munchies, one thing in a tin that will be a nice lunch. I am bereft of my rings, one of which hasn't been off my hand for about 20 years now. I feel sorta naked without them. I've still got my wedding ring on.

Apart from the panic stress, I feel pretty good. Legs are still relatively easily wearied, tend to feel very tight and sore and are a bit puffy. I'm now a good 6 kilos up on my weight at the beginning of chemo and nearly 4kg up on my weight at the end of chemo but my torso measurements are pretty much the same. I can still fit into my skinny pants, though with less room than before on the hip! When I measure my legs, they are 2.5cm bigger at least at every measurement. I guess that I can hold a lot of water in my legs! My forearms are also quite sore and don't stretch anywhere near as much as normal (which is to say they are now in the normal range of movement not my usual hypermobile range). I can do stuff all day now though I do get tired and have to have a sit down for a little while along the way. I can't walk more than about 500m in one hit unless I'm distracted or slow (still faster than a lot of people who are out shopping). Walking up hills or ramps is hard - it seems the angle stretches unhappy muscles more. Standing on a ramp hurts too. If I sit down for 30 seconds or a little longer, it seems to reset the muscles and they are happier. Weird. My legs don't obey me well when they have to carry my weight. Don't ask how I was when I had to RUN up the ramp at the railway station the other day - missing the train would've been disastrous as we would've missed our country train. I can't run up hills and thought I was going to have a heart attack. And my fingernails are still gross and likely to get grosser before they get nicer (still might fall off... ack).

Wonder if I'll wake up with "Lump" in my head tomorrow? It has been my ear worm for the day.

Smoke me a kipper, etc, etc but I might be a couple of days before I'm back for breakfast! I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything at all after midnight - thank heavens for an early start! I have to be at the hospital at 7am. *blink blink*