Well, ain’t that a kick in the pants…

It has been my experience that, when I make plans, life changes abruptly. Or, when I think I have “it” all figured out, something happens to prove me wrong.

This was one of those weeks.

As you recall, I went in for a biopsy last week. Now I knew it wasn’t cancer. After all, one of the symptoms of CFIDS is enlarged lymph nodes.

I spoke too soon. I have follicular lymphoma. Now let me just say this… hearing that you have cancer SUCKS! It’s not even a little bit good. No matter what they tell you about your particular cancer (and they will tell you more than you probably want to know) the bottom line is that it SUCKS!

That being said, this is one of the easier cancers to have. Apparently it is very slow-growing and very treatable, although not curable. The average life span is years to decades rather than days to weeks, so we are grateful for that. I’m undergoing more tests and more blood work and more everything… there are still questions to be answered. But it looks like I’ll be starting chemo in the not-too-distant future. This was NOT how I planned to spend my holidays.

They tell me chemo can take hours each time you get it. Hours. In a chair. With nothing to do but sit… hmmm… Crafts to the rescue once again! I shall crochet my way through chemo and have something to show for it when I’m done! What shall I crochet? Well, I have a baby blanket (yes, another one) that I’m working on and a Christmas gift or two… but the whole thing got me thinking…

If I’m going to lose my hair during the winter, I’m going to want a hat or twelve to cover my head! In every color. I never could get the hang of wearing a head scarf, but I look pretty good in hats with a small brim. Surely I can come up with something!

So off I went to Ravelry. You remember Ravelry, don’t you? The online resource for all things yarn? Well, there are a wealth of hat patterns available there. Many of them are free! One of my favorites (and the first one I’m making) is the Cuss Hat by Emily Matisz (This is her blog.) It will cover my ears and fully expresses just how I feel about chemo and cancer.

I also did a quick internet search and turned up free patterns to sew caps from polar fleece. These patterns are EASY!!! Even a novice sewer can make a chemo cap!

So I challenge you – it seems like we all know someone these days who is going through chemo, so let’s all make chemo caps! If you don’t know anyone who needs a chemo cap, get down on your knees and be grateful, and then take the chemo caps to your local hospital or oncologist office. I can guarantee there are people in your community who would be comforted by a home made SOFT cap.

Let’s go create something! (like chemo caps!)

Ouch!

So I spent the morning in the hospital having a test done. It wasn’t really as bad as I feared it would be, but I do rather feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach by a horse.

You see, one of the classic symptoms of CFIDS is enlarged lymph nodes. My doctor thought it was strange that I didn’t seem to have them – or so he thought. While doing a CAT scan to look at my enlarged liver and spleen (yeah, that’s another classic symptom) they found all the lymph nodes in my abdomen were inflamed and enlarged.

Unfortunately, as well as being a symptom of CFIDS, that can be the major indicator for lymphoma. So today I had a biopsy. At first look, they tell me they didn’t see anything scary, so we’ll just have to wait to next week to see if the lab reports come back clear.

In the mean time, I felt I needed a little extra comfort to get me through the day. I took along a small crocheted elephant that a friend made me, and I wore these:

My first ever crocheted socks! I finished them last night so that I would have them to wear to the hospital. The pattern is called “Fancy Cuffs” and can be found in “Crocheted Socks: 16 Fun-to-Stitch Patterns” by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood. I adapted the cuff on mine, but the main pattern is theirs.

If you are a crocheter, and have never tried socks, I can heartily recommend this book. These socks made up quickly (I figure about 8 hours all total) and fit like a dream. Crocheted socks do not stretch as much as knitted socks, so make sure you try them on before you’ve gone very far, just in case you need to rip out and re-size. The heel was a little tricky, but I got it on my third try, and the second sock went together like a piece of cake!

I’m sure I will be making more socks in the future (and they did bring me comfort today) as soon as I catch up on some other projects…

Make something to comfort someone you know. Whether it’s a shawl for someone who is grieving, a toy for a child (or adult) in the hospital, some cookies and tea, or some warm socks, nothing says comfort and love like home made.

Let’s go create something!