Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching Up

 Since last we met I had my back surgery to have a stimulator implanted which has greatly decreased the pain I feel in my back.  The only post-op thing I was told was to not pick up anything over 10# for four weeks.  When I went back for the post-op appointment I found I am in a "study" regarding the implant and need to be seen every 3 months, I don't know for how long.  I asked if they would be paying me to come in but was told "no" because it would be seen as collusion.  I better not be charged for those appointments.

Last week I had a total bone scan to see what progression of the cancer in my bones had occurred.  I also had an organ scan to see if there was any cancer impact there. 

Then on Friday I started having abdominal pain.  I didn't feel sick but did hurt and couldn't eat.  I also was very restless and figured I must have the flu.  By Sunday I was not getting better, was very weak, and shaky.  I decided I was dehydrated and needed help so off to the ER we went, along with our daughter (the nurse) and her husband.  Five hours later I was rehydrated, was told I didn't have the flu, was given anti-nausea medication (I didn't have nausea), and was given the results of my two scans.

I was told that almost all of my skeletal system did not appear worse than the scan that was done in 7/2015.  There is, however, one area where significant deterioration was noted.  The ER doc said he thought the pain I was experiencing from this bone deterioration and suggested pain medication.  I decided that I will use Advil and that seems to be taking care of that pain.   And, nothing was noted in my organs.  

Meanwhile Abby has taken up Mahjong.

And Stubby has taken up protecting the baby Christmas cactus from the cold.

I have been knitting and just a very little quilting.  I keep thinking I will feel that I can get back into quilting but even thinking about it makes me tired.  Gotta build my strength.   Gari

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Is The Week

This is the week of my surgery.  Even though I was upset because the surgery didn't happen a couple of weeks ago, now I am nervous.  Today is Tuesday (night) and the surgery is Thursday (afternoon).  I know this going to be good for me but I am nervous anyway.  Over the last two weeks I have had an EKG, CT, and Blood Work.

Meanwhile, I am breaking the rule I made, "not starting anything new."  I am going to participate in the National Quilting Circle quilt block challenge.  It is a block pattern every week for 9 weeks.  The blocks don't look very difficult so I think I will be able to do one a week and have a nice little quilt top in a little over 2 months.

 These are the fabrics I have chosen for this quilt.  All of them are from stash so I am keeping with my "no buying new fabric" plan.  I am terrible at buying neutrals so I know I will have to purchase some of those as time goes by. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekender Sweater/Jacket

 This is one of the two sweater fronts that I have almost completed: knitting both at the same time.  I am currently working on the front bands and then they will be done.  I have to say that I was very confused when I looked at the picture and the band stripes ran up and down but mine were going horizontally.  Then I reread the pattern and early on it said that the fronts were knit from front to back rather than top to bottom or bottom to top.  Now it is making sense and the individual pieces are making sense.

So, once I was on the bands I brought them into the house to finish and began the sleeves in the studio.  And these start at the cuffs with 6" of garter stitch.  I am very close to finishing the cuffs and then will begin the pattern and increasing (and having to pay attention to the pattern).  The pattern is not hard but in the studio I watch TV and sometimes nod off, not good for following a pattern.  But I will try hard to get it right.

And now a not a dog picture.  This is Stubby sitting in my Auburn chair.  She sits and/or sleeps all over the deck and yard but I liked this because it gives me a chance to show one of the gifts my daughter-in-law (Sue) and son (Scott) brought to me a couple of months ago.  I had been looking for a webbed chair to have in the yard when I take the dogs out but I hadn't been able to find one.  Then when they came to visit one weekend they arrived with this chair and one for DH (purple for Northwestern).  It is so nice to have thoughtful children (in their 50s) and a cat that appreciates the finer things.

I am kind of resting for the next few days but hope to get busy after the first of the month.  Have fun,   Gari

Friday, February 10, 2017

Disappointment and Bounce Back

I really try to have a positive attitude but this past week it was somewhat difficult.  I went to my appointment with the surgeon who will be implanting the stimulator in my spine.  I believed I was going to have it done that day but rather it was a further consult (6th in this process) to set up the surgery date.  I was ready, nervous, and to be put off was really hard.  The surgery date is scheduled for 2/23 and, of course, I have pre-admission stuff to do first.  They really expected me to make the 220 mile drive to do this but I finally got them to let me get all that done locally.  I think I was not as "nice" as usual and I regret that but I also think I had been misled and I am quite tired of all of this stuff.  And there is one other thing.  Once the trial stimulator was removed the back pain came back with a vengeance.  No wonder I was ready for the next step. 

 I have a wonderful husband who, sitting in the dr's waiting room, knew I was going to need some comfort food.  He did some online research and found a really hole in the wall place that was highly rated.  The Fishing Hole is located in a small rundown strip mall but once you walk in the doors it is clean and classy.  And the food was wonderful.  Above you see Gumbo, a field greens salad and a light as air croissant.  Everything was wonderful and only a few bites in and my mood was significantly elevated. 

Since coming home I haven't done much sewing.  I did, however, finish my pillowcases and have them on the bed.  I also have pressed the fabric for my charity quilt but can't stand for long so haven't cut fabric, yet.  I have it all set up so that I can cut a couple of sets a day and maybe even sew the first part of the block.  Meanwhile I will be knitting and maybe even get back to working on my Sweet 16 project.

I don't know how everyone else sees it but at the beginning of the year there are so many new BOMs that appear online.  In the past I would start at least 3 and usually at least finished the blocks.  Now I have several I tried to do in the last 2 years so I have some (3-6) blocks done on each but nothing finished.  So this year I am not starting anything new and it is so very HARD.  I am saving several but I have not printed out anything new.  I think if I stay on this computer, I will have an ulcer by March.  😛

We are expecting company about every other week for the next month.  Fortunately no one expects me/us to cook for them so all we have to do is socialize.  It is funny that we hardly ever had visitors for the first 54 years of our marriage, but the last 2 years there has almost been a steady stream.  And we love it.

The weekend is almost here, so plan to have fun.  Gari

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fun in Alabama

I am almost done with my pillowcases.  One is ready for the final pass on the French seams.  The other is about to get it's first seam.  I like French seams because I like the neatness, even more than surging them.  I think this comes through my mother and grandmother.  Grandmother was a professional seamstress as well as a sewing teacher with Singer for many years.  And her daughter, my mother was an excellent seamstress.  She made all of my prom and graduation dresses and I must have been the best dressed girl there.  Unfortunately I did not inherited their skill.  It isn't that I couldn't sew, I just didn't like it so I have done very little garment sewing.  But give me a straight line and I can sew with the best of them.  😛

The above is my plan for the first charity quilt since I got sick.  I plan to use a disappearing 4 patch in multiple fabrics.  This is the beginning of using my stash: these are chosen from my "fat quarter" drawer.  I have two big dresser drawers of these sized fabric pieces: I have a long way to go to use them up. 

And this is how far along I have gotten with my new sweater.  Knitting the two fronts at the same time takes quite a long time but I will feel really good when they are both done.  In about 3 rows I will be adding more stitches on the opposite side for the collar.  Adding stitches will just make the rows longer, oh my.

And speaking of "oh, my," I completed the trial for the back pain stimulator and it was removed last Thursday.  The trial went very well with a significant pain reduction and because of that the permanent one will be implanted this coming Wednesday.  I am both excited and just a little nervous.  With the stimulator implanted I will have two devises in me (I have a pacemaker) both made by the same company.  My husband says I am becoming the bionic woman.

Now, lets all have a great and productive week.  Gari 

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Little Quilting, Knitting, and My Back

I am really excited, I am finally getting back to working on a quilt.  This is block 3 of Esther Aliu's 2016 BOM.  And, yes, I am way behind.  Her applique quilts really challenge me and I am very careful to choose which ones of hers I try.  Well, this one is right on the edge.  This block was not too difficult and today I finished it, as far as I can go until all of the rest are ready to be put together.

 This is the next block and the last one I have ready.  I hope to start stitching the applique down this week and to get back to working on the next block.  I have all of the pieces ready I just need to put them together, not a little job.  And then there will be 7 more before it is ready to be completed.  Sometimes I really do wonder why I love quilting.  😏

While I was choosing which thread to use I pulled out this red.  Then I took the plastic off, that holds the thread together, and saw how it was discolored.  I remembered that I had a thread bleed on a previous piece and wondered if this was the same one.  And if it discolored the plastic what would it do on my fabric?

So I decided to throw it away and not take a chance.  I know that I was VERY upset when thread made such a mess of a project and was really upset today when I saw that it came from a well known manufacturer.

 This past week I made my first and second pillowcase.  Now I know that thousands of others have made millions of pillowcases but I hadn't.  I am not showing them because they will be gifted so I am showing the fabric I pulled to make two for me.  After I get these done I will start making kids pillowcases to go with the charity quilts I am planning.  I have to do these four because I can't seem to remember the formula for how to put them together: I have had to rip out 42" of stitches.  But after four I should have the thing down. 

This is my new knitting project.  I have another sweater going but I am not sure I like the yarn I bought so when this kit came in I jumped ship and started it.

I got it from Craftsy.  The yarn came in huge balls and since I am knitting both front pieces at the same time, I have to work with two of them.  It has been lots of fun, so far.

 This is how far I have gotten.  The sweater is knit from the top down so I have done the top of the collar and have added stitches for the collar extension, I think.  I really love how the color/value of the blue changes and I like the feel of this acrylic yarn.

And now for a personal *****.  If you have read my previous blog posts (here) you know that I am working on decreasing my back pain.  The above picture is how my back looks, minus the part that goes lower.  This is all a part of a trial to see if this will work for me.  I have a "wire" up my spine and all that tape is keeping it there and in place.  Then there is a plastic box taped there and a "belt" that holds another plastic box. Each of the boxes are attached to leads that are attached to the wire.  AND, I have a remote that allows me to choose different  "programs" of stimulations that are to ease and/or block the pain.  I am on day 3 of 7.  I think I am having some relief but I am not sure that it might just be a placebo effect.  But I do know that I have been able to stand for longer periods of time, both strength and pain free.  We'll see how it goes as I try more and more things. 

Have a great week, make the most of what you have,  Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Little AL Life

Yesterday was our 56th wedding anniversary.  When we were younger, and lived just outside of Chicago, we braved the very cold weather to go into the city for dinner and to see a play/musical.  We saw some great plays with some outstanding Broadway stars and had a wonderful time.  Now we don't live anywhere near that caliber of entertainment so I entertained my husband by cracking and eating King Crab legs and drawn butter.  As you can see by this picture, this was a labor of love, both for him (laughing) and for me (eating).

I recently started getting my nails done, again, and have had Christmas trees, a flower, and now a heart painted on my ring fingers.  I had the heart done for our anniversary but I don't think it will last until Valentines so I will have to think of something else.  I have looked at several designs online but most of them are so elaborate and at this stage in my life I am a little more subdued.

 The other day, as I was getting ready to take my morning's rations of pills, I looked at that long line and was seriously amused.  For all of my life I have been a really bad pill taker.  Even when I was on birth control pills, I always had at least one or two leftover at the end of each month.  And now look what my morning activity is.  I take these with a protein drink and by the time all that is down, I am not hungry for hours.  I haven't been able to eat a good breakfast for months.  But these pills are what is keeping me going so I am not really complaining, just commenting.  😃

And, once again, our plants think it is spring and are blooming.  It has been in the high 70s all this past week so we have been running around in flip flops: I haven't pulled any shorts out but I have thought of it.  I think it is going to be in the 60s next week but even that is comfortable and allows for time outside.  I try to spend some knitting time sitting on the deck each day cuz I know when winter comes back I will be stuck inside except when I "run" between the house and the studio.

Have a great week,  Gari