Thursday, June 23, 2016

Maybe another cancer update is due...
I've had my last scheduled chemo. I had the radiation treatment on the tumor on my spine a couple of days ago. Next week, I'll have day surgery to place a stent that should allow my left kidney to drain normally. If that works, a week later the nephrostomy tube will be removed, and no more leg bags! Sigh...then, we get a little rest.
We knew in January that the cancer wouldn't be cured, but we have slowed it down, and even pushed it back considerably. My tumors are much smaller, the doctor tells me. He also tells me I am "...doing remarkably well, especially considering how sick you were last winter!"
All very good news, eh? I think so, too. Now I will get a chance to rest and get better, and not lose a week and a half out of every month to nausea and fatigue. I'm ready for that! I will have another ct scan at the end of July, I think, and will see the doctor a week or so after that, and then we'll see what comes next. 
Until then...
Hi! How are you? What's up in your world? It has been a stupidly hot, dry summer here. We've finally gotten a little break, and some much-needed rain. All of my favorite fruits and vegetables are ripening. I love fresh fruits! Some weeks during this last round of chemo treatments, fruit was all I've wanted to eat. The melons are especially nice this summer, with all of the heat.

Since I've been off work, I was able to enroll three of the grandkids and one grand-niece in a fantastic summer program through Goshen Parks and Recreation: Sail Camp.
What a fun time we've had! They've gone every morning this week, from 9:00 to noon. None of them had ever done any sailing before. On the first day they were taught how to capsize their boats and right them, given some basic sailing instructions, and then sent out to sail, sail, sail. They are out of the boats for about ten minute midmorning, for stretching and snacking, and then back out they go. It has just been amazing to watch their confidence and skills grow as they pilot their little boats. I am so impressed! 
I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

I am doing ok. As they say, " You cannot control the wind, you can only adjust your sails."

Be well, and safe, and happy...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chemo #5 is in the books
Good news, mostly-good news, and not-so-terrible news from the chemo doc today:
  • The masses are smaller now than they were in January, some as much as 80% smaller.
  • I am going to see a urologist about having this stupid, inconvenient, easily infected nephrostomy and its accompanying drain bag removed from my kidney and replaced with a stent after chemo ends.
  • All of the fluid in my lungs and abdomen is gone.
  • My blood work continues to look good.
  • My kidneys are working pretty well in spite of the chemicals, but showing some reduced function. The doc is not concerned.
  • I will have one more treatment in June, but then will probably have some time off. If the masses begin to grow again, there will be more chemo at that time.
  • There is a mass on my spine. I'm having an MRI in a couple of weeks, and may have some radiation at that spot in the future, but the doc did not seem too worried about it.
  • I am somewhat anemic, no real surprise, and will be getting some fresh blood tomorrow. The doc promised to dig into the SPECIAL blood supply and give me only the very best.
I feel pretty well most of the time. Each chemo treatment has gone a bit easier that the previous one. I'll have a few days of nausea next week, but I have drugs to treat it and it will pass quickly. I'm fatigued all of the time, but the transfusion will help with that. I am back to work just a few days a month for just a few hours a day, and it feels great to be out of the house, see what a wonderful job my coworkers have done with the store, and visit with some of my favorite customers. I have had zero hair loss this time, and have a full head of curly, graying hair. Since the end of January, I've lost between thirty and forty pounds that I truly needed to lose, but the weight loss has slowed down and is much less alarming than it was in March. Only another hundred or so to go!
To those of you who wait until I walk away and then ask Rich, "So how is she REALLY doing?", I think I am doing REALLY well, all things considered. My attitude is much more positive. I think that I will not die in the immediate future. I am mostly incredibly bored with being home all of the time, but I am enjoying my alone time so much that I am giving serious consideration to becoming a hermit (not really).
I am unbelievably tired of talking about cancer, but I'm glad to answer your questions because I know that you care, BOTH of you who read this blog. I am unimaginably tired of
living with cancer, but it's what I have to do at this point.
So, not such bad news this time!

I've knitted a lot but not finished much. 
My Tuesday-night knitters wanted me to teach them how to do stranded fair-isle-type colorwork, so I've started these:

I'm calling them my "Very 80s Socks" because these colors were incredibly popular in home decor in that period. Who DIDN'T have a little country blue and pink in their home in those days? Don't judge me. This is the second attempt. Colorwork has a strong tendency to pull in as it's knitted, and there was no way these socks were going to go over my ankle and heel. I added a couple of repeats of the pattern to make them fit better.

I finished these in April:
They are affectionately called "Clown-Barf Socks" for what I hope are obvious reasons.

These were started AND finished in April:

Pattern is "Lake Ontario" from the Day Trips pattern. They need a good washing and drying to pull them together, but they are going to be very warm and cozy socks!

There is a 'new' Big YellowBike in the garage. It's a 2010. Anyone interested in a silver 2002?


Friday, March 04, 2016

Another Update
...and a better one, this time!

I've realized that my last post sounds like I am waiting at Death's Door, but it's not so bad as all that. I've had two chemos so far, and they take a lot out of me, but only for a week or so until I begin feeling a bit better. There will be at least two more treatments to come, and then we'll see what happens next. I am feeling quite well, other than being tired. The chemo drugs give me tremors in my hands, so it is difficult to do many of the things I enjoy, and I have the attention span of a flea.  Otherwise, all is mostly well.

We have dear friends coming quite some distance to visit very soon, and have been finishing up some projects around the house. We've had quite a bit of snow, and lots of brilliant sunshine. We are all (relatively) healthy and strong!

Until next time, be well, be strong, be happy! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Cancer Report
...and not the one I'd hoped to give

It's back, folks, and it's aggressive. I'd had some stomach problems, finally scheduled a ct scan, and it found a large number of masses in my abdomen. They are everywhere. The doctors are telling me that it will not be stoppable, but it may be possible to slow the progress.

Last Friday I was admitted to the hospital, where I underwent several procedures to lessen some of the resulting problems, and had my first new round of chemotherapy. Now we wait, and hope. 

I spent Friday-Wednesday in the cancer ward at IU Health Goshen Hospital. I cannot say enough what a professional, caring, amazing group of people work there. There are no words.

I am home again now, resting and taking the best possible care of myself. Rich has been wonderful, loving, supportive, all that I could ask. He has had some strong support from family and friends, and I ask that you all continue that for him. This is a hard thing for both of us, and not what we'd planned to be doing at this stage of our lives.

The grandkids have limited knowledge. Just hug them if you see them. I love them all so much! 

I love you all, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Well hello there
Evening sky
All is well here, as far as I know. Latest blood work came back clean, next testing is in a week or so. Winter is here:

 ...and it's beautiful! This was the first snow of the season, and all of it came yesterday.
Add caption

I've done a lot of knitting, I guess, but I haven't finished much. The pair above was finished last summer, and immediately given to my friend, Michelle. 

Triple Threat Socks by KnittyMelissa
This pair was a test knit for another designer. Knitting them one at a time reminded me of why I usually knit two at a time. One is longer than the other, both had to have parts removed and re-knit. A lovely pair of socks, though.
I've had a pair on the needles for months that I can't show because they're a test knit of a pattern for 2016 Sock Madness. They're beautiful, though! :D Just finished them yesterday.
I just can't seem to get motivated to finish anything. I feel very well, but get tired easily and it doesn't take much to distract me. My hair is growing back:

Robby and Grandma

But it's not as long as Robby's yet. :-) This was Grandparents' Day at his school.

We've had kittens again:

Robby, Purrl, and some of her newest babies

All of the kids are growing. We love them tons and bunches!
Spring Dance at the kids' school

Nothing much to report, but sometimes no news IS very good news, indeed.
See you later...

Monday, October 05, 2015


Typing this on my phone, which is a pain, so it'll be short and probably error-filled.
It's been awhile. There was the end of scheduled cancer treatments, we had summer, my father died, fall began. 
I've knitted, although not a lot, we've celebrated the birthdays of a couple of grandkids, my old PT cruiser developed severe problems, and we bought a shiny new yellow Prius C. 
This coming week, we head off to Harrison, Arkansas, for my favorite motorcycle gathering of the year. It was as we checked into our hotel there last year that I got the cancer call from my doctor.
This year, the plan was to celebrate the end of treatment and being cancer- free. Instead, I will tell my friends that my latest tests showed 'atypical' cells.
"Don't worry," they told me
"Your body may fight them off on their own," they said.
"But DON'T miss your December appointment," they said.
So I allowed myself a couple of days to freak out and be a big, weepy girl, and now we begin the fight once more.
Off to Harrison in a couple of days. I'll have my knitting. Oh, and don't worry that I'm publicising the fact that I'll be away and my house will be empty: with my son, his wife, and their four children still inhabiting it, it will be most definitely full!
Hugs to all.

Monday, July 06, 2015


A little update...

...just in case I haven't talked to some of you. Since my last post, I've undergone five out of my six prescribed chemotherapy treatments: this means that I have only ONE more to go! So far all has gone very well, I think. I've had no nausea, and no serious side-effects with which to deal, and for this I am grateful. I've lost nearly every hair on my body, and that's a bit disconcerting. I have some neuropathy in my finger tips and more in my toes, but that may or may not be permanent: we'll just have to wait and see. I am quite tired most of the time, but all in all I have no complaints. My employers continue to be amazingly supportive, my co-workers, too, my family and friends do all they can to make me feel good.
I am MOST blessed!

This is how chemo works, in my case: I show up at the cancer center at around 8:00 am for blood work.  I check in, get a lovely plastic bracelet, and step onto the scales. They draw blood from my port, which is a very satisfactory method for doing this. Then, I wait while the blood tests are run, and sometimes I see my medical oncologist.  
Once the tests are back, the doctor and nurses adjust the chemicals as needed for my weight, for alleviation of any side-effects, and for the greatest possible efficacy. I am given a tiny paper cup of various pills for nausea and other possible problems, a saline drip is begun, and, eventually, the chemical drip is started. The first drug takes at least four hours to administer, longer if I have a reaction to the preservatives in it. That has only occurred two out of five times, but when it does, I press my little button, the nurses rush in to give me assistance and I feel better fairly quickly. If this happens, the drip has to be slowed and can take much, much longer.
When the first chemical is depleted, a second is administered. That one takes about an hour, and when it is completed, my port is flushed, the connecting device is removed, I get a little Band-Aid, and I go home! The chemo treatments have taken from six to ten hours. The next two days I have two little pills to take each morning, and I return to the hospital the day after chemo for a shot which forces my body to replace some of the white blood cells that were depleted by the chemicals. Three weeks later, I go back and do it all over again. The whole thing is mind-numbingly boring, and I do a lot of sleeping during my treatments.
For each visit I have had a little room all to myself, with a fairly comfortable reclining chair, a television, breakfast and lunch made to my order if I want it and delivered from the hospital cafeteria, a selection of beverages and snacks, and warm blankets and pillows if I need them. The nurses are without rival, every single one of them. I cannot imagine the sad stories they would have to tell about their service in the cancer center, and still they are pleasant, cheerful, sympathetic, and very, very skilled at their jobs. I cannot ever thank them or praise them enough.
I am allowed to have company during treatment, and indeed I have seen a great many folks in their chairs with friends and family of all ages gathered 'round, but I find that I do better if I'm alone without having to attempt to entertain folks, and as I have not been ill, I can easily drive myself to and from treatments. Since I have not slept well in years, the rest is most welcome.

Enough of that stuff? :- ) I think so, too! That's pretty much it for now. Watch for me wearing my assortment of scarves and other headwraps. My hair is coming back, but very oddly: I have sparse white or very light blonde hair that is about 3/4" long, and very dark, short stubble. I hope it evens out as it grows!

I had a lovely treat earlier in the summer: I was invited to spend a weekend at my cousin's cottage on a small, nearby lake. It was a rainy weekend, so there was little activity on the water. I slept, and knitted, and rested, and looked at the water, and felt entirely replenished at the end of it. I was also fortunate to meet a friend of my cousin's while there, a husband and wife who are quite famous in children's literature. What an honor! We are hoping to go back for another weekend of rest and recuperation after my final chemo treatment.

Why yes, I have been knitting:

Many Hands pattern, finished, but this unfinished photo shows the lovely stitches best
A mystery sock that I think I forgot to post when it was finished
"Alohomora" pattern for my friend Pat K, and there are not many for whom I would knit in purple! 
A pair for the Husbeast, to keep him warm in the winter
"Braiding sweetgrass" pattern, for me!
Simple ribbed socks for my lifelong friend, Phil
Ripples on the Water
I am feeling very well, really, compared to many I've seen in treatment. Thank you for your continued well wishes and hugs:
I love you all!