Thursday, January 31, 2008


Well, I hope some of you are cackling out loud, I certainly was this morning when I looked at my blog and realised that instead of updating the widget for my chemo countdown, I had instead managed to insert something titled 'time until next solar eclipse', or something......which I'm fairly certain is *not* in a week's time (I could be wrong here though)!
The lesson being, don't try to update these things last thing at night when someone is hounding you to turn out the light so they can go to sleep.......
Lesson duly noted.
Enjoy the joke, I cackled so loudly that the Dear Other came in from the other room to ask what the strange noise was......(just me dear!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The way we love

I've been having a bit of a funny week.
Earlier in the week I felt like I was almost having panic attacks. I was really tired and wanted to have a nap but I could hear my pulse pounding in my ears and I felt like I had indigestion almost, but I didn't really. So I couldn't sleep, even after I'd had one and a half Lorazepam. They're supposed to be muscle relaxants but I really didn't feel like I was 'un-doing'.
Then I've been oddly angry and weepy today - I went strangely pathetic when I discovered that Dear Other did not love the bedside cabinets I'd found and fallen for and thought would be just perfect, and thought he would think were just perfect......but he didn't. I'm over it; but I felt so lost - perhaps because we so nearly always concur about things, I'm not very practised at not agreeing. Not that we were arguing about it - I think it was more feeling that we were 'out of tune' with each other and I rely on him a great deal and am very used to being 'in tune' with him that it was an odd experience to not be. If you see what I mean. But, it's a bedside cabinet - it's not going to be on display to the whole world, it's not a big deal (and I do mean that). So I have the new one that I loved and he has the old one that I secretly think he loves since he's had it since the year dot. So, that's OK.

On Friday it's going to be my brother's birthday. I had hoped to go over to the States to be there for it, but I can't because I have to go and have my Pamidronate drip and Zoldex injection. Not a very nice substitute. I've send his present and card and I'll try and get him on the phone (although that's never the easiest thing!) I've discovered I'm feeling pretty nervous about his birthday - he'll be 27. Age 27 was when I got cancer and I think I'm somehow scared that something bad will happen to him - and I don't want it to (obviously). I'd really love 27 to be the year that life opens up for him, that things go right for him; that he finds his place, his niche, his perfect job; that he stops feeling so sad and depressed. If something happens to him, if he gets sick - I'll feel guilty - like I've caused it by being afraid of it. Fairly irrational I think you'll agree. I guess I'm just saying I love my little brother and I would rather the hideous weight of the world fell on me instead of him......

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Woman overboard!

You know how you pysch yourself up to go to the hospital; so you don't turn into a raving, panicking lunatic when you get there......part of what keeps me out of my tree is knowing the people. So when you suddenly have to see one of the Juniors in the Onc Clinic instead of Mme. you suddenly get all into the 'man-the-lifeboats' phase. In case you don't see where we're going with this one - this was me yesterday.
He was very nice, and very thorough - which did freak me out. Mme never bothers with the whole tap your back, tap your stomach, poke your liver, listen to excessive amounts of breathing stuff. But when you're her junior - you do every damn thing on the list because if you miss something you'll be eating your own entrails for breakfast. Or, at least, that's the impression I get....sorry Mme, you're always very nice to me though!!!
So, the result of the tapping extravaganza is that I get the same pill regime - now go away and get them...all that tapping for nought! This is making me think of the Eddie Izzard sketch about finding hidden doors - "tap, tap, tap [ordinary voice], tap, tap, tap [low, hollow voice]" Somehow I think it may work better in real life than on the printed page.
Wheee! More pills! Whoopee! (Why yes, I am an ungrateful lout....)
Had a jolly interesting conversation yesterday about cultural memory. I think I have a rather puritanical cultural memory - I am, apparently, a roundabout descendent of John Howland. So, there you go. Factoid for the day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blood and hair

So, the vein that had hardened up has now gone thready and the one that was still working has hardened up now......there's one left on the inside of my elbow and then we're into the deeper ones in my forearm. Ick, is all I have to say. Ick, ick, ick. I don't think I'm going to be real happy about digging for the deeper ones. I don't want to be a wimp, but I hate them looking for veins anyway.

I had the stitches from where they removed the mole taken out today - and I survived that, but then it started weeping and I have a nasty feeling that part of it has reopened.....I had wondered if I'd be healing slower because of the chemo and I think I may have been right. It's nothing major, but I suspect this'll be another awesome scar, because I always seem to scar like billy-o (fascinating word, how is it spelt?)

Clinic day tomorrow and I'm foreseeing a real drag of a day. I have cut it down a bit by going to have the bloods taken this afternoon; but they've shoehorned me into a clinic that was already over-booked and I'm not due until after 11am - lots of time for getting behindhand. Yak. The waiting really does just eat away at me - very bad for the nerves.

I had a fascinating conversation with a shiatsu practitioner the other day. I was talking to her about the whole range of things I've felt over the last 3 years (shit, nearly 3 years! I only just realised - no wonder I'm feeling antsy.) Anywho, one of the things I mentioned was the feeling of being broken - linking in with the feeling that my body is me; plus how trapped and difficult I found it trying to fit in with people in the rest of the world. She said to me that perhaps I had been broken *open* - no more hiding away from the world, more communication. It's an interesting take on it all. I'm thinking about it.

I was asked about my hair in a comment the other day. It has grown back, in abundance - it's down to my shoulders now and would be longer if it wasn't so madly curly. I'm still quite ambivalent about it. I think I should have kept to what I'd said about shaving it all off every year to teach myself not to get so attached to it. I'd probably be a darn sight cooler if I had it cut at least but I'm oddly proprietary of the curls and I'd be sad if I had it cut off and they all went away. So terribly contrary. My hair grew back quite quickly I think - my hair has always grown quite fast and has been quite thick and it still is, well, hmmm, it's sort of fine but there's a lot of it. It's also really babyishly soft still. I don't think my friend's grew back so quickly. So, there you go. I'm hairy. I quite wish all the other hair hadn't grown back though!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I have no smart title for this one

Last night I received an email from a girl I know - a not long turned 18 year old girl.
She's had a shed-load of grief in her life with the death of a younger sibling in an accident she was also injured in. She's had family problems as her parents have struggled with each other. And she ended up with a boyfriend who was violent with her - all this before 18.
But she got wise, she recognised she needed help with her grief, she realised that she deserved better than a man who hurt her, she started trying to take control. She's clever.
Last night her email told me that this man, this boy, had become so enraged with her over her breaking up with him that he attacked her, raped her at knife-point but fortunately the police arrived before he killed her. She's brave - she pressed charges and he at least pleaded guilty and was jailed for 6 months. 6 months - nothing; unbelievable. But he couldn't even give her the satisfaction of that - a couple of days ago she was told that he committed suicide in his cell, leaving a note for her saying he couldn't take being in prison for 6 months and he couldn't live knowing what he'd done to her. What a coward - to make her life even worse.

How can someone be so evil? And today, today I don't want to hear about how he probably had problems of his own, probably came from a family where there was violence, how maybe he was abused himself. Today I am simply angry. And sad. And aghast that such things can happen in this world. I so wish I could make things better for this girl, but I know all I can do is be there for her, and listen to whatever she needs to say. She deserves better from life.

And today, today I guess I know that whatever I may feel about my situation; however much I may hate cancer; I count my blessings today that I have never had to experience what she has been through.

My friends, do something - please. Donate to a *local* charity that supports rape victims; support a zero tolerance to violence against women campaign; volunteer for a help-line; listen to young women - give them support and acceptance. Do *something*.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Filums and k-nitting

St Trinian's was fun; the twins were entertaining - the whole thing was entertaining. I mean, obviously it's not going to be the next earth-shattering film; but I was diverted and didn't start thinking 'when does this finish?', and that's always a good sign! T'was also nice to grab a bite to eat with a friend and watch a film where we both seemed to laugh at the same bits - always a pleasure, yes?
However, they didn't use the classic St Trinian's song, but somehow I've come away humming it all the same.......dastardly! (now those of you who know it are humming along - ha ha!)

Did you can buy customised M&Ms? Astounding.

My lace knitting is going rippingly - as in, I've had to frog one line at least 3 times, because a previous one was wrong, so then I had to go back further. Things I have learnt so far:
1) This is vital - do not attempt lace knitting when you've come back from a fraught time in the chemosuite. The tension in you will transfer to your stitches and your knitting will be so tight it's unmovable. You will also make grand fuck-ups and have to frog it several times.
2) Duh! - like a recipe or exam questions - read the pattern line through *before* you even start knitting anything. When you make sense of how the next row fits with what you've already knitted you'll recognise more quickly when it's going wonky - as opposed to getting to the last repeat of the row and realising you've make a mistake in the *first* repeat.
3) Don't be lazy - count your stitches at the end of each row - sporadic counting will lead to much frogging.
4) Do *not* stop to answer the phone or speak to someone mid-row. You *think* you will remember where you'd gotten to, but you won't.

There are probably others - or there will be in due course. However it does proceed - not necessarily apace, but languidly.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Diddly pom - peas

Clinic day yesterday - I've had an extra week off between cycles because of Christmas; I should have been there on Boxing Day, but since no-one else was going to be there I took the chance to have a 2 week break in Boston. Which was nice - but now I'm back. Blah.
So, at one point I lost my dad and thought I was going to have to go into the consultation on my own - which I've never done yet and don't ever want to. I don't think I'd manage to hold myself together on my own......he was still in Starbucks with no watch and thought I was coming to fetch him - I thought he was meeting me at the clinic. Moments of panic and no mobile phone signal for either of us but he, of course, used his nouse, noticed the time on his phone and came and found me. Phew! I did have to resort to a Lorazepam whilst I waited on my own though. Scary.
Anyway, side-effects are not judged to be bad enough to reduce the dosage yet - I'm glad about that, I don't want to reduce until we absolutely have to - I don't want to run out of time, if you see what I mean. Advice was lots of E45 - which I am doing, if a little haphazardly. My onc also said when I asked her about the whole mole thing that, yes, chemotherapy can cause changes in moles and especially their pigmentation......... would have been great if the Breast Care nurse had said this to me when I was in panic mode on the phone! Instead of claiming it was unlikely to be anything to do with it and go and see my GP. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. So, increased relief there.
Also, the lump in the lymph at the base of my neck is shrinking. It's what I'm calling petit pois sized - it's smaller than a regular pea and the onc joked that it was the size you'd send back in a restaurant..... I asked if there were any significance to that shrinking - which was jolly brave of me you should agree - and she said that generally with BC if it's shrinking in one place then it's usually having an effect elsewhere. So, it *could* be shrinking the lung and bone mets too. (Mind you, it also might not be, so no counting the chickens - I'm going to have another CT scan in the next month so she can take a look.)
So, goodish news. Hopefully this is working the way it's supposed to and hopefully it will continue to do so. Keep on keeping on as Dee said to me yesterday.

So, possible time to get up - I've spent the day in PJ's, knitting and now I'm off to see St Trinians with Sweet Camden Lass. We know two of the girls in it - the twins - and we're off to see what they've made of being 'movie stars'.......have to dress for that!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Knit, knit, knit

Well, I finally took heart in hands and laid into Pocketina's yarn.
She said to me that it wasn't much so not to start on a big project. So, I decided to make a mini moebius neck warmer - no pattern - just a rectangle twisted and sewn. I used moss stitch - that's seed stitch to the Americans out there (I think).
The beginning was hilarious - because I couldn't work out how to get into the darn stuff - which was so beautifully twisted together. I've never knitted from a skein rather than a ball of yarn so that was rather messy (how *are* you supposed to manage it?!)
So, the results - the pictures are rather poor sadly - the light wasn't good enough:
This really doesn't do justice to how lovely the yarn is - very soft and quite stretchy too. I knitted with 12mm needles so it knitted up really quickly. It was yellow flecks in it and some faintly sparkly bits - so, all in all lovely and I'm very pleased with the result. I also look to have loads left, which I wasn't expecting, so I'm not sure what to do with the remainder (which sadly is a rather tangled mess now - it got out of hand and I'm not sure how to go about sorting it out....::sigh:: I foresee a lengthy job ahead.
Just to amuse, I shall show you the two different sizes on needles I've been using today:
The observant among you will spot the Addi Turbos - my first set. I am officially loving them. They are being used with Malabrigo lace yarn in Indigo to make Alice's Cheshire Cat Stole. Early days with plenty of opportunity to mess it up - hooray!!
BTW - the lump in my lymph system is now officially down-graded to petit-pois size. Also good, yes?

New Year, new Blah...

Um, yeah, Happy New Year and all that.
I'm not quite sure how I categorise a Happy New Year - so, er, here's to living another year! (Imagine me lifting a glass at this point.)