Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I look like a prisoner of war

Loosing my hair has been painful. Painful emotionally and physically. I had it cut short right before chemo started, as I mentioned in a previous post. After the second chemo cycle the hair started to fall out. In tufts, in showers, all over and in everything. Taking a shower was gross because it washed all over my face and body. My scalp hurt. I believe it is swollen from the inflammation of the hair follicles dying, and it is painful. Last night I couldn't stand the itching and rubbing so I used my husband's clipper with a 1/8 inch guide and buzzed my hair off. I do not have a completely naked scalp - you can still see hair in blotches - but it's mostly gone. It looks terrible but feels much better. I hope the rest falls out before any of it tries to grow back.

I had IV fluids again yesterday since I am still struggling with dehydration. I can eat (almost) enough but I can't eat and drink enough. I can get the fluids through my port but eating has to happen to old fashioned way - through the mouth. That's the option I choose. Never before have I had to work so hard to not loose weight! I know that lots of people, including me in the past, have wished for such a dilemma, but it is hard work. Milkshakes, candy, cookies, whipped cream are all on my approved food list right now. Very weird.

I blocked my Juneberry shawl over the weekend and I love it. Being alpaca it didn't block all that much bigger than it started out, but the lace really shows well.

I am having trouble with concentration due to "chemo brain" so I am trying to severely limit my work and fun projects so that I can finish things and get some feeling of accomplishment. I am knitting exclusively on a new hat for myself (my head is cold) and the sleeve of Bob's sweater.  I will not knit on anything else until one of those is finished. The hat is the Mandeselva pattern and I am using some lovely targhee handspun yarn in green and purple to knit it. It's not much to look at now but it's getting there. Once I have one full pattern repeat (height) I will post a photo.

My uncle sends us a basket or pot every year with amaryllis bulbs in it. This year we have a different type of flower, possibly a double blossom one. The first flower popped but the stem fell overnight and broke. So we put the stem in a vase with water and Wow! What lovely blossoms opened up. That one stem has 3 flowers on it and I was actually able to watch 2 of them open! They just started suddenly and slowly to open and I happened to be sitting nearby and noticed. Awesome!

I have 2 more cycles of the nasty chemo meds to go, then I switch  to what people tell me is a much easier drug to handle. At least the dehydration should not be a problem since the severe nausea is not a side effect of that drug. There are other problems that can arise but I will worry about that later.

It's freezing here today (15 degrees when I got up at 8 am) and pretty windy. Take care, those of you who have to be outside.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Ravens go on to the Superbowl!!!

What a game! Go Ravens!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I think we've found the formula

So much better than last cycle! IV fluids on the day of chemo, twice as much IV fluids the next day and wearing accupressure bands (like for seasickness) on my wrists seem to have made a world of difference! Two weeks ago I was still in bed, wondering how I could do this every two weeks. This morning I was up at 7:30, showered and did 2 hours of work at the computer!  I helped (just a little bit) with laundry, walked around the block and did wheel and support spindle spinning! Then I took a nap. ; )

I finished the Diana Mitt test knit and did a photo shoot today. Melanie might want to re-do some shots, but that's OK. I will now rip back the garter at the hand and decrease some stitches to make it fit me better. I am then going to play around with the charts and see if I want to do a beaded version or just knit another like this. 

I have great ripping plans. I am feeling smothered by my WIPs and UFOs. I am going to rip everything I am not in love with any longer except for things that are just about finished. That will be at least 6-8 projects, still leaving me with quite a few to finish. Some of those might get frogged, too. Normally the number of UFOs doesn't bother me but I guess I am looking to simplify my life now and so these extras are really bothering me. I cleaned out my night stand and felt so much better. Mom will be visiting soon and maybe I can get her help to do more.

I think for right now I am going to sit in the recliner and rest and knit. Maybe the Chemo Cameo, maybe Atelier. Something that doesn't require a lot of brain power. ; )

GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Ornaments are off the Tree

I love having the tree up but more and more needles are falling. I took the ornaments off the tree but left the lights in place. We'll leave it that way for a few more days or even a week, then wrestle the lights off and take it to be shredded. Sigh. I hate to get rid of it.

I am test knitting a design for Melanie. She designed some very nice fingerless mitts and I like the yarn she used, so I am doing that test knit now. I find the pattern to be a nice Rhythmic knit with an intuitive stitch pattern. I also plan to play a bit next week (after chemo day) with bead placement. I think these mitts could look good with some carefully placed beads.

I knitted on the Cancer Cameo yesterday during the football game, so that made progress. I was going to try for pictures today but it has been foggy and gray outside. I'm not sure when the sun will shine again .....

ETA that was last Sunday

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Chemo still sucks but things do get better in between doses. So, I am working, some from home and some from the office, though that is very hard to do. Adding 2 hours of driving time to a day that I struggle to get through without resting alot is tough. We'll see how long I last before I have to just stay home. Staying home is a big deal, though, considering FMLA allows for 3 months and I could be out for up to 9 months. There is also thing thing called money. It comes in handy to buy things and with less than 9 months of leave time, no short term disability and a 90 day waiting period for long term disability to kick in, money will be very tight indeed.

I am able to eat and drink now but not much of anything at one time. I plan to ask for extra hydration next dose and something good and strong for the headache. Maybe I can beat this beast into, if not submission, then at least tamer behaviour.

I really haven't gotten much knitting done. Some on the Atelier sweater, some on the Cancer Cameo shawl, but spinning seems easier for my brain to handle. I hope to update photos later today or tomorrow.

DH is finally getting around to winterizing the boat. Part of that entails running the motor (water running through it with muffs) while spraying some nasty spray into it until it stalls. Somehow that is supposed to grease the innnards so they don't freeze over the winter. Poor Bob. You can't do that job without getting pretty wet. It's in the 40's here, so not freezing but not nice out. His hands hurt so much when they get cold but he won't allow me to come out to help because I am so cold these days.

I got the most awesome card yesterday. I love turtles. Sea turtles, tortoises, regular turtles, whatever. Karen remembered that and sent a very nice card with a beautiful sea turtle on it. I smiled before I even opened it up. Oh, and then there was the purple glittery star on the outside. Purple is my favorite color.
Thanks, Karen.

I have recently been enjoying my support spindle again. It's one kind of spinning on  a spindle that I can do with little strain on my shoulder (possible torn rotator cuff, possible tendon tear). I thin I am going to  stop playing with the f=really fine, short fibers I have been suing recently and try other, regular wool. I want to experiment with what kinds of weight yarns I can produce with my support spindle. If that works well, I might start destashing some drop spindles and getting more Tibetan and/or Russian spindles. Those looks so cool. There is even a purpleheart one for less than $40.00! (I might indulge myself anyway. what good is cancer if you cant get a pity gift once in a while?  ; ))

Have a good day.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

It's official

Chemo sucks. Big time. I felt good for about 4-5 hours after it finished infusing and then the nausea hit. The next day the severe headache hit. They preach hydration but I don't see how it's possible to keep yourself hydrated when even a sip of water makes your nausea worse.

Lasts night I took a strong pain pill for the headache and was able to sleep off and on the whole night. The nausea is better today too. How am I going to purposely do this to myself every 2 weeks!?

Almost no knitting due to feeling so horrible. I did finish spinning the last of the Black Welsh Mountain fleece and plied it! That felt good. I think spinning will be better for me than knitting during this course of chemo at least.

Tomorrow I will try to get started spinning the yarn for the cowl I plan to spin and knit. The cowl probably won't be knit until after chemo though unless I feel a lot better later this week.

Oh, BTW my hair has been cut off. Not shaved but cut to about an inch in length. I could not bear to have my long hair fall out so I had it cut short the day before chemo started.

I hope your weekend has been a lot better than mine.

Go Ravens! On to Denver!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 - what's the prognosis?

It's January second. I am waiting for my hair cut appointment. I will be having most of my hair cut off. Rather than have it all go to waste, I am donating it for wig making and choosing to loose short hair instead of long hair as a result of my chemo. This is going to hurt (emotionally) a lot. It may be immature but I like my hair just the way it is. I am going to be devastated when it falls out. Maybe I will be a bit less devastated having had most of it cut off. A pre-emptive strike so to speak. Probably not. My hair is my identity. When people describe me, they always, without fail, refer to me as the redhead. They don't say anything else.  I am "the redhead in the black coat" or whatever. I hate this.

We visited Mom over the holiday. She wants to come here now to help and I am not ready for her help yet. I hope she gets over her pique. It's not that I don't want her, just that I want her later when I feel that I will need her more. Sigh.

Tomorrow is the day. I start chemo. I don't want to do this but since I decided to do it, I want it started already! Lets get going! Charlotte is coming with me - another set of ears to hear all of the instructions as well as someone to hold my hand and/or distract me during the bad parts.  ; )

Knitting - a much better topic:
Bob's sleeve is near the top - I am knitting back and forth now for the arm scye.
I have about 7 inches (of 11) of the first sleeve on Atelier knitted.
I have been working on the chemo cameo shawl also. The pattern calls for 51 picots to be knitted along one edge before adding the contrasting color and I have knitted about 38 picots.

I did some sampling for a spinning project while at Mom's house. I sampled on a spindle though I plan to spin the yarn on the wheel. I want to spin a 3 ply for a cowl project. I am excited to have chosen a project, then the fiber, then how to spin to get what I want. I hope I can spin what I want. I think this spinning will be very relaxing and enjoyable over the next few weeks. I just have to clear those bobbins of that black welsh mountain before I can get started officially.

Well, I am off to the hair salon. Fingers crossed that I don't totally hate myself when I leave there.....