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Monday, September 29, 2014

Here we are again

I had a complete bone scan a few days ago, and a follow-up with an orthopedic physician today -- and got some good news.  It appears there aren't any metastases in my right arm.  I'm very happy, as of course I don't want any surgery there. 
I have put the Gramps Cardi in hibernation for the time being, while I cruise the forums & project pages in Ravelry for some kinda clue about maintaining the cables in the yoke of this little sweater.  While it's cooling its heels, I must have some other knitting going on.  I finished the knitting for the CAP bracelet bags for the nieces, and don't "feel" the felting just now.  So...I dug around in my library, and came up with Nancy Bush's Lacy Estonian Scarf pattern in the Winter 2011 issue of Knitting Traditions.  And look!  I have several skeins of 100% baby alpaca laceweight yarn, including two that are the same color & dye lot.  And over here, I have the 2.5 mm circular needle called for in the pattern.  I started & frogged this d^$*#d thing about 12 times before I finally put some sewing thread into a needle, and started putting lifelines every 5th row.  Since then, I haven't made any errors that weren't immediately seen & fixable.   What magic is there in a lifeline?  I don't know, but I'll continue to put them in frequently, and hope the knitting sprites are happy. 
I had a call from my sister, with support & love & other good stuff as well as important news.  Dear old Dad has been moved into an assisted living facility a few miles from her home.  What a relief!  She's nearby, and he'll have access to social interaction, and someone will make sure he eats daily and gets his meds.  Now, I have some time left before I really must try to go back to work, and Sis is suggesting I travel to her home for a visit.  I would like to see Dad.  But can I afford to go?  I'll have to think about that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

And now for something completely different...

How about a little good news?  I have been in less pain lately!  Thanks to all & sundry (looking at you, Michael!) for the good thoughts & well-wishes.  My last visit with the oncologist included a discussion of the uses of radiation therapy, which it turns out would be rather limited for yours truly because of the widespread distribution of my disease; and a mention of an expected result of less pain at this point in my chemo treatments.  I'm still having more or less constant pain in my leg, right around where that one lesion resides.  If it continues thru the next month, a quick zap of radiation to that one spot may be in order.  We shall see.  I'm making plans to return to work near the end of October, and beginning to wean myself from the walker.  Don't know if I mentioned the walker here before; I had to "pimp" it up so it would be less depressing: I put a bicycle horn on one side, and a bicycle bell (a Dinger 200!  Woot!) on the other.  My wheels have a voice. 
I am still plugging on the Gramps Cardi; I'm at the point in the pattern where the designer is trusting the knitter to know how to fit those darling cables between the neckline & raglan decreases.  I'm so screwed, aka clueless, aka ready to make a small bonfire somewhere....if only this yarn weren't so lovely.  I see there's a huge thread on Ravelry of other folks trying to come to grips with this beast.  Sure do wish I had the interwebs at home, so I could peruse it at leisure! 
I was supposed to see the doctor on the 19th, and was prepared to get all pirate-y on those folks (my pirate name is Captain Anne Bonney) for ITLAPD.  Only we had to reschedule due to insurance coverage issues.  So Disco (aka Red Bess Bonney) and I dressed up to go to the laundromat, and then to the local meat-n-three.  Got lots of comments on my Captain's hat!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A second trip thru the wringer

This week I've had my most "favorite thing" of all time -- Surgery!  One of the metastatic malignancies I'm carting around ate thru 75% of my femur (that great big bone between hip & knee, for those who are anatomy-challenged).  It was at severe risk of fracturing, so now I have a titanium rod inside it to prevent that rather messy & certainly painful possibility.  I asked the doctor if he could find an adamantium rod instead, then had to explain what that was.  Now I'm thoroughly equipped:  I've a wheeled walker, an extended reach doohickey, a tub seat, and an extra tall toilet seat.  But hey! I can actually bear some weight on my leg now!  Unfortunately, our tiny crackerbox home is very difficult to maneuver through with the walker.  And it still has a lot of repair work that needs doing -- only how?  I suppose we could rent another place for a few weeks or months. 
I was not able to get much knitting done in hospital, as I had an IV in my hand that hurt.  But I've been working on the 2nd sleeve for the Gramps cardi, even putting in lifelines ( as Dog is my witness, I'm not starting over a fourth time!).  When the sleeves are done, it'll be time to work the raglan decreases of the yoke, and make the buttonband & collar.  Not much left!  I'm eager to see it done.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good news (sort of?), bad news

I've met with my oncologist, and started treatment for the cancer that has spread to my bones.  He tells me there is no cure, but with treatment I will likely survive for many more years.  I'm not sure whether or not I've dodged a bullet, but I am somewhat relieved.  The survival span he's given would take me past 3 score and 10, which is really all any of us might have anyway.  BUT .. I am still in a lot of pain, taking some heavy duty pain meds.  For someone with a strong family history of substance abuse, who's managed to avoid that trap for her entire life, this is so very depressing.  Earlier this month, at a visit with an orthopedic physician, he advised me to take the meds more often.  So for two days I took it at the shortest prescribed interval, around the clock.  Then I woke up with a "travelling" itch -- you know, where it's over on the right arm then the left knee then at the back of the neck, etc. -- and I thought I might be having a reaction.  This was about 2 am, so I quietly got up & ducked into the bath to check for a rash or hives.  Nada -- no obvious source of an itch.  I'm standing in our tiny bathroom, staring into a mirror & thinking.  I remember seeing police dramas, where some junkie is being interviewed, and the junkie's always scratching...and I had to lay my head down on the towel bar and have a bit of cry.  So now, I don't take the narcotic pain med around the clock -- I have a prescription NSAID, which I use once every day, giving me a six-hour narcotic free period daily.  And I haven't been "jonesing" for the narcotic.  I just have to keep in mind that an addiction to my pain med probably isn't a primary problem, and if the treatments I'm getting work as planned I should be in a lot less pain eventually. 
Today I met with another ortho doctor, for the tendonitis in my elbow.  He took some Xrays, and saw where that elbow had an old fracture -- and there's some arthritis around it as well.  These and my work (computer mostly) have added up to the tendonitis.  I have a sling, to add to the soft collar (for the cervical fracture) and thoraco-lumbar support (thoracic fracture).  I'm sure I look like a total wreck, or that I've been in one.  After the office visit, we went over to the Krispy Kreme for donuts.  We ate inside, where the tables are tiny and have only two chairs.  Of course, we number three.  So I asked a gent sitting alone if I could have his other chair, and he jumped up and moved it to our table for me.  The perks of looking like a wreck, I guess. 
I thank any & all who've been checking in here, I'm sure your good thoughts for me are doing me some good!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The calm before the storm

Last Friday I submitted to a CT-guided biopsy of one bony mass on my hip.  Dog, that was one unpleasant experience. For starters, I had no pre-op instruction such as "Do not eat!", so I ate a cup of yogurt at 5 a.m.  The procedure was scheduled for 8 a.m., and I had to arrive at 6 a.m. for all the paperwork processing, and to allow the radiologist to view the CD of my earlier CT & MRI scans.  Hey, I had a greatest hits CD!!  Folks who know me, know I cope with humor -- even very bad humor.  As soon as my breakfast became known, the service was postponed to 11 a.m.  I was confined to a very uncomfortable gurney from about 7 to 11.  The only bright spot was finding Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (we're Luddites, and haven't got cable at home), very cheering altho rather bloody.  The rest of the Plaid Patrol was present, but took turns running down to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Some 36 years ago, I herniated a lumbar disc, and have not been able to lay on my stomach since then.  So, when I finally rolled into the CT procedure room, I was appalled to learn that I'd have to be on my tummy for the whole thing.  And the CT table is very hard.  They kept promising me some good drugs, otherwise I think I would have made a run for it.  So, I'm on my tum, with an extra cushion under said tum, and the gown opened in back, and the nurse tells me the table is defective in that it won't slide back under the CT scanner unless I can pull my arms off the edge to a "Superman" pose -- does she know I've got a broken C-7 vertebra?  Much groaning followed.  Well, the whole thing took about 40 minutes, and the drugs were good; I dozed a bit near the end.  I  had no pain from the needle aspiration biopsy itself, but every core collected involved a loud crunch -- let's try not to think about that too much.  This Friday, I'll discuss the results with my Alpha Team Leader (oncologist), and we'll make some plan.  Enough of this topic.
Yesterday I found a "fatal error" in the second sleeve of the Gramps Cardi, so it's been frogged & restarted.  I looked at a lot of my knitting books & magazines yesterday; I still have so much to knit and possibly even less time to do so.  I surely wish I could get Disco interested in knitting, I hate to think my rather large knitting library and collection of yarn will go to some stranger.  Maybe I should consider destashing? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Unsettling, to say the least

I've been just about managing to keep working while suffering a severely pinched nerve in my neck.  My primary care physician diagnosed it (without diagnostic imaging) as a slipped disc, gave me 9 days worth of Prednisone and some muscle relaxant med to help me sleep.  When the Prednisone was a week gone, I had to call her again, wanting a referral to a chiropracter or orthopedist.  She sent me to a physical therapist.  I took PT 3 times a week for 2 weeks, then 2 times a week for 2 weeks, and wasn't really getting any relief.  The last scheduled session was cancelled by me, as I felt too much pain to allow me to do the exercises suggested.  I went home early from work that Thursday, and didn't go to work at all on the Friday after.  I was really just laying in the bed & moaning.  Saturday evening the Plaidman went to the hardware store & made a few more stops.  While he was out, I got up to answer Nature's call, took about 3 steps and heard (and FELT!!!) a huge snapping/cracking sound from my back & hip.  I was immediately immobile; Disco had to bring me a cane and take my arm to get me the last two steps to the bath (very small house).  I dithered, but eventually the pain won out and when Plaidman got home we headed to the ER in Robertson Co.  The upshot is, I've got two pathological fractures, in my cervical spine (the so-called slipped disc) and in my thoracic spine.
Other findings point to masses in my chest wall, spinal column, and hip.  The very worst of bad pennies seems to have shown up again.  I don't think I've talked much about my history of cancer, and I really don't want to now, but if you don't hear from me for a while just know that I am fighting and praying to save my life. 
Let's change the subject before I dissolve in tears.  AHEM! I've been working on the tiny Gramps Cardigan, and have one sleeve done up to the point where it'll be attached to the body.  I've started the other sleeve too!  Still tickled to pieces at this darling sweater.  I did a mini-project in cotton yarn, which should work as intended but which doesn't really deserve any more attention here.  Still working on the party purses ala CAP for the nieces, even though I still have not heard one word about the Bunny Hop being received.  Gah, all I want is one picture of the kid in it, for pete's sake.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Twice in one week

Gotta be a record for me posting, lately.  The Plaidman has his marching orders, to get in touch with some structural repair companies & have them give us estimates on the floor joist repair.  We'll just hold our breath until that's done...or maybe NOT.  But summer is now officially upon us here, and this is the time to get home repairs done  with minimal weather delays.  I don't know if anyone's interested in the process, but I think I'll be documenting it all -- just to show what I survived (if that actually is the outcome; otherwise, it'll show just where the final straw was laid on my back!).  To that end, I want to create another page here.  That would be the fourth page, although there are currently only two: I've promised DiscoDame her own page on my blog, to showcase her jewelry & stitchmarkers.  I'll need to take some more pictures!  She's really been busy since she took a class in jewelry making.  I gave her some strands & other bits that I don't wear much anymore, and she's cannabilizing them for other jewelry.  She's hoping to be able to sell some items; we'll have to set her up a PayPal account & figure out how (& how far!) she'll ship her goods.  So, I'll probably be back here this weekend to get all that set up. 
And I hope to have a Finished Object to show -- a lace scarf that I finished on Saturday.  I still need to wash & block it, but I'll get before & after pics.  Honestly, right now it looks like someone spilled Easter egg dye all over a huge vat of Ramen noodles. 
In other knitting, I finally swatched with the Knitter's Pride Trendz acrylic needles, for the Gramps Cardi.  Guess what?  I got soooo close to the stockinette gauge!  I'm so glad I forked over the $ for the Trendz interchangeable set.  I've already ordered more of the DK yarn from Knit Picks (and it's already been shipped!  yippee!), so I'll make the next larger size with the Trendz, getting a gauge just a smidgen smaller than the pattern calls for.  I'm sure I'll have to swap back & forth between the yarn I got earlier and the new yarn, as KPicks was actually completely out of the Tahitian Pearl colorway -- sure to be different dye lots.  Of course, I always order enough from KPicks to get the free shipping, so there are 6 skeins of the Coastal colorway coming along as well.  Plus some lace weight...for which there is no excuse.