Sunshine and rainbows!

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon here and I thought I’d take a picture of my quilt in progress. The colors are so beautiful in the sunlight!

I’ve had so much time to sit on the couch, and I’m trying to do something useful, so I picked up some fabric I had cut and had never had time to sew together. It’s the first large quilt I have ever hand pieced, but it’s coming right along! Another week and I’ll be ready to put on the border pieces.

I’m going to hand quilt each of the hexagons with intertwined hearts and the quilt is going to hang on the wall in our home. If it all goes well, I may even enter it in the fair!

Side effects du jour…

Cancer treatments are weird and unpredictable.

One week, I sail through the infusion with no problems – in and out in 6 hours. Another week, I have 3 separate allergic reactions and wind up sitting there for 10 hours. Same drugs, same dosage.

One month, the pills I take give me a rash. The next month, the rash goes away but I’m plagued with nausea and intestinal issues. My eyes turn bright red, then they clear up but my vision goes blurry.

The only constant is the fatigue – the overwhelming, ever-present fatigue. We’re not just talking about being tired. We’re talking about waking up in the morning so tired that getting out of bed requires you to stop and take a break. Recovering from a shower can take a couple of hours. Fixing a meal, doing the laundry, running errands – probably not going to happen at all.

And then there’s that wonderful break – once a month I get a week where I take no drugs at all. The first part of that week, the drugs are still in my system, but by the weekend I usually feel pretty good! I can run errands, joke with my family, make dinner, fold my laundry – all the things I used to take for granted.

Then Sunday evening rolls around and I face the fact that I start treatment again tomorrow. Back to the hospital for another infusion. Tuesday I start the pills again. Off on another round. Maybe this time I won’t be so exhausted? Maybe this time my stomach will behave? Maybe this month it will all be different than what it has been… I can probably count on that.

The treatments are working! My scans are good, my blood tests are good, and the treatments are going to give me a better quality of life (we hope) when they are all done. I’ve reached the halfway point – three months gone, three months to go. I know I can make it through this. I have a wonderful, supportive family to help me. But sometimes I sure get tired of being tired.

Gratitude –
cancer treatments that work
my wonderful nurses and doctors who listen to me
my darling husband who takes such good care of me
animals in the house that make me laugh and give me a reason to get out of bed
my close vision is clear so that I can still read, sew, and knit
my online friends who provide me with information and inspiration
my stash of fabric and yarn that ensures I NEVER run out of projects
all of you for reading my blog

Let’s go create something!

Lion? Lamb? Who can tell???

Around here, March wasn’t sure which animal to emulate as it arrived. We’ve had rain, sun, fog… everything but snow. Today we woke up to a beautiful morning – sunny, bright, warm, no wind – and by noon the clouds had rolled in and we had to turn on lights in the house. By 4:00 it was raining and cold and we had to close the windows. Fortunately, living right on the ocean as we do, we’re used to sudden changes in the weather. So we spent the morning outside, going to garage sales and doing yard work and I spent the afternoon on the couch. Crafting, of course!

I’ve been hand-piecing 18 quilt blocks and have decided on their placement in the quilt, but before I get started sewing them together, I decided to get some baby gifts made. So I’ve been watching “Dr. Who” and hand sewing baby things. Baby things are so much fun to make! They require very little in the way of materials and come together so quickly! (All the seams are short.) They’re a great way to use up smaller scraps, too. Surely you have some scraps hanging around your house! Pull them out and see what you can make. A preemie quilt only has to be 14″ square. Bibs, hats, booties – they all take less than 1/2 yard of fabric. You can even make use of your ribbon, lace, and rick rack scraps to decorate them. It’s a real stash buster! And it’s a great way to try a new technique before committing to a major project.

The same holds true for knitting and crocheting. Baby washcloths, burp cloths, and blankets let you try new stitches and patterns and you don’t have to worry about your gauge before you start! Just grab some baby-friendly yarn and start stitching!

I’ll be posting pictures of both the quilt blocks and the baby things soon. I’m really excited about how well the quilt is looking!

Until that time, let’s go create something!

True Love…

Another month has come and gone and I haven’t written anything new. I’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that not much is happening on a day by day level.

But, on a month by month level, this has been a productive one! I committed myself to making some projects during the Olympics. So far, I have finished one scarf:
Hydrangea lace scarf

dyed three skeins of yarn:

and made 10 African flowers towards my elephant:
African flower motifs

The elephant pattern can be found on Ravelry at this link:
Nellie, the African Flower Elephant by Heidi Bears

Those of you who know me well know that I am crazy for elephants, so this project is perfect for me. It uses lots of little bits of yarn that I have saved up and will make me smile every time I see it!

Currently, I’m working on a crocheted chemo cap. I have been fortunate enough to NOT lose my hair, but the nurses in the chemo department where I go for treatment tell me they can always use chemo caps. I ran out of the yarn I was using, so I frogged back a few rows and added in a second yarn, alternating rows for the brim of the hat. This is another good way to use up leftover yarn!

I’ve put myself on a stash diet… no more fabric or yarn for me until I catch up on some of the many projects I have planned already. So, I have five shirts to make, three quilts to finish, and a LOT of yarn to use up before I go shopping again! Glad I stocked up when I had a more steady income. Disability insurance is a real life saver, but it’s not as predictable as a salary.

I will soon be out of short-term disability and into long-term disability. I never thought I would be unable to work for so long… it’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year. But, since I didn’t really get diagnosed until November, it stands to reason that I would need some extra time to get better.

And I AM getting better! The last CT scan showed that my lymph nodes are shrinking back to normal and there are no signs that the cancer has spread! The treatments are working! It is so much easier to take the exhaustion and weakness that the treatments cause when I know IT IS WORKING!

This month also brought my birthday and Valentine’s Day. I am reminded once again how fortunate I am to have my husband in my life. He makes me laugh, takes care of me when I feel lousy, and encourages me to keep fighting. He accepts me as I am — mood swings, illness, inability to drive or concentrate — and still makes me feel like I am a gift to him, not a burden. Our life together is all I ever hoped for in a relationship. It only took me 55 years and three marriages to find him!

Parents, friends, siblings, spouses, children… anyone who truly accepts you as you are is to be treasured and appreciated! I hope you all are able to accept yourselves and have others accept you, too. Love yourself and let others love you, too!

Now let’s go create something.

Prayer for the Aging

I was going through some of my mom’s papers today and I ran across this prayer. I don’t know where she got it or how often she looked at it, but I think it can speak to all of us as we grow older. A little internet research says it was written by Cary Grant. My mom loved Cary Grant and read a lot of Hollywood biographies, so that attribution makes sense to me. Here it is:

Now Lord, you’ve known me a long time. You know me better than I know myself. You know that each day I am growing older and someday may even be very old, so meanwhile please keep me from the habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from trying to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful but not overbearing. I’ve a certain amount of knowledge to share; still it would be very nice to have a few friends who, at the end, recognized and forgave the knowledge I lacked.

Keep my tongue free from the recital of endless details. Seal my lips on my aches and pains: they increase daily and the need to speak of them becomes almost a compulsion. I ask for grace enough to listen to the retelling of others’ afflictions, and to be helped to endure them with patience.

I would like to have improved memory, but I’ll settle for growing humility and an ability to capitulate when my memory clashes with the memory of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that on some occasions I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably kind; I’ve never aspired to be a saint; saints must be rather difficult to live with. Yet on the other hand, an embittered old person is a constant burden.

Please give me the ability to see good in unlikely places and talents in unexpected people. And give me the grace to tell them so, dear Lord.

Amen

Now let’s go create something (like happy memories to cheer us in our old age)

Happy 2014!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted anything. December was so busy I just flat ran out of time. We had family to visit, worked on settling my mom’s estate, hosted the family Christmas party, started my treatments, baked all the Christmas cookies…

Whew! I has an overdid.

Through it all, I kept creating! I am still working on my baby blanket and it’s coming along nicely. Turns out that time spent receiving infusions is a good time to crochet. It should be complete in plenty of time for the new little guy.

One of the happiest things I created this month was the Christmas cookies and candies. In going through my mother’s things, I found her recipe box with all the cookies she made for us when we were kids. I pulled out all our favorites and made a batch of each of them to share with my brother. It brought back such happy memories of being little and how much our mom loved us. It was well worth the energy and time it took.

I hope your holidays have been happy and creative, and that the New Year brings you all good things. Let me leave you with this quote from Neil Gaiman:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Now let’s go create something!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

What a crazy few weeks this has been! I’ve been in and out of so many doctor’s offices, I can’t even remember them all. I’ve been poked, prodded, scanned, and tested. But progress is being made!

My oncologist tells me they have a new drug regimen that means I won’t have to go through chemo! YAY! I’ll still have to go for infusions of drugs (think long-lasting IVs), but the drugs won’t be toxic. That’s a good thing! I’m going in to have a port-cath placed so that they can deliver the drugs through that. I’ll still be sitting for 5+ hours at a time, but the port means my hands will be free for crocheting!

With company coming for the next two weekends, I realized that today, Sunday, was going to be my only day of rest until after Christmas. So I’ve given myself permission to sit on the couch and work on crafts all day! Later tonight, we’ll decorate the tree and eat Christmas cookies. It’s my favorite time of year, the getting-ready-for-Christmas time, and I want to enjoy every bit of it.

I believe I’ll start my morning with a glue gun and some felt and see if I can come up with some new decorations to tie on packages. I’m going to try felt honeycomb ornaments… I’ve got ribbon and jingle bells to dress them up and I think they’ll look cute tied onto my packages.

Here’s hoping your holidays are filled with joy and peace. May we all find some measure of comfort and contentment in the new year.

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!

Let’s go create something!