Saturday, November 22, 2014

A nightly mantra

Every night, as I am trying to fall asleep, I repeat in my head "I am healthy. I am strong. It's time to rest, relax, and heal."

Every night I say this.

Every night I don't believe this.

Every night I say this hoping, just hoping that somehow the mere act of saying it will make it true. And I will wake up believing it.

But I don't.

And I'm so frustrated and sad and angry and disappointed with so much of my body and it's seemingly inability to act the way I want it to.

I'm also grateful and happy and thankful for it too. My body has let me do lots of things, and after all it's been through, I can still wake up every morning and walk downstairs and get myself and my family breakfast.

I'm very aware that that makes me quite lucky.

And yet, once again, I find myself quite upset with the parts of my body that are not working.

I really wanted the iron challenge this week to go well. I really want to have more energy. I really want things to stop aching.

So I say my mantra every night.

I don't believe it can change anything except for what I believe. And I really hope that there is a moment where I say it so much, I just really believe it and start to feel it.

I am strong. I am healthy. It's time to rest, relax, and heal.

Friday, November 21, 2014

And one more hat!

Yep, one more hat to share.

I made this for a friend, to order. She will be gifting this to a special baby in her life so I wanted to make just perfect!

It took a few tries to get the sizing just right - the pattern was written for 3-6 or 6-9 months and I needed a newborn hat. But I figured it out thanks to some awesome websites with measurements for different sizes and some tinkering with different needle sizes!

And oh, did it turn out.

I'm not going to lie. I wish I could have a baby right now just to put this hat and booty set on. Alas, I won't be kidnapping an newborns. I have them wrapped up and ready to ship out.

But oh, aren't they adorable?

The details ....
Pattern used:  Baby Beanie and Booties Pattern
Needle size: Size 6 (hat) and 4 (booties)
Yarn: Lion Brand Heartland Olympic

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Iron Update

For those who are curious about the iron issues:

I have shown an allergic reaction to both pill and IV form in the past. I spoke to one specialist who thought that I was probably only allergic to the IV because to be allergic to both is essentially unheard of. She advised me to get an allergist to work with, so I did. I met with him once, where in consultation with another doctor, a plan was drawn up.

Today we tried a liquid multivitamin with iron. My allergist has never worked with iron before, and not many have. There was no research on people allergic to both pills and IV, but lots on the IV and some recall reactions to the pills. But I did an iron challenge. Basically every 30-60 minutes I was to take a higher dose of the vitamin until we worked up to the full dose. I figured if we put it in my body slowly, that would be good and might eliminate my body from freaking out about it.

Anyway for my first dose, I had 1/8 of a teaspoon of liquid iron. 1 freaking 8th. And about 20 minutes in, I turned red, started itching and shaking (which at first everyone thought was me being nervous, but was part of my reaction). So I had to get benadryl. Then my oxygen levels dropped very minorly, but they couldn't take a chance and gave me a child's does of epinephrine. Things calmed down after some time. About 30 minutes later it looked as if the reaction might come back as the epi wore off - so then I was given predisone.

Where does this leave me now?
Well, if I want to try iron again, my allergist today recommends that I go to a university hospital with more specialized programs. And no matter where I went, I would need to receive in-patient treatment where basically they give me iron, I get the reaction, they try their best to keep it at bay and as long as I can keep breathing, we push through the reaction - starting with tiny doses and building up to a normal dose. 

The doctor did mention that this was so rare, no other doctors would believe him and he wished he had pictures to prove it. Ugh. Of course.

I'm not sure if I will pursue further treatment or not. It seems like a lot of work. The biggest risk to long term iron-deficiency will be to my heart, which so far ::knock on wood:: is doing okay. It also makes me cold, tired, and cranky, but I might be that way so anyway, so who knows.

This might sound a tiny (or a lot) bit crazy, but right now I can't help but think this is one of the non-money-prices I paid to be treated for cancer - as other than some mild anemia at the end of pregnancy and after birth (where I bled out with each baby) I've never had these issues. I guess if being cold, tired, and sometimes crabby is where my body is at after cancer treatment, well, I will accept it. That doesn't mean I like it and wish it weren't different, just that I'm going to try to accept it and, as a doctor told me last year, this is my new normal.

I'm also feeling very frustrated. I took iron pills for maybe 6 months before the first reaction to the IV and then the reaction to the pills started. And I don't understand why, it suddenly seems, my body can't handle iron in any form (well, aside from food where iron naturally occurs). I had really high hopes going in today and just thought it was going to work. I won't tell you how many times I dropped the f-bomb after the allergic reactions started, but it was more than a couple. Thankfully, my husband was with me as a driver, just in case. So his presence there did help.

And now I'm going to go nap again, because the reaction uses quite a bit of energy and with the meds, well, I already napped for over 3 hours today. And I just have to tell my myself that it is what it is. I can't control how my body reacts to these things, just keep doing the things I can to help myself stay as healthy as I can within the confines of my own body.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hats: The Sequel

I also made a batch of hats for another friend.

She too needed the hats because of the side effects of cancer.

[Side note: cancer sucks]

She requested autumn colors, and maybe an orange that doesn't look like a pumpkin.

She also asked for one hat. So I knit her one. Then another. And another. Because I didn't want one hat to get lonely while being shipped!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Special Knitting

A few weeks ago I read a terribly sad story on facebook. About a new baby, Olivia, who was coming into this world, but because of genetic issues -  trisomy 18 - discovered in testing, this baby will not be with us long.

And my heart crumbled into a lot of pieces. I thought of her family - nuclear and extended. And I thought of her mom, someone I went to high school with. And have remained connected through facebook.

I have never been in this position and I won't even try to pretend I understand or imagine what those closest are thinking or feeling.

So, I did what I know how to do. I started knitting. I knit and knit. Because I knew that time wasn't on my side, so I knit and knit.

I took that blanket everywhere with me. And put my heart and soul and as many good thoughts as I could into that blanket. Because whether this blanket is used for a few hours, or longer, Olivia, I felt deserved nothing less than any other baby.

And so a blanket was knit.

As an afterthought I whipped up a medium sized preemie hat. Because again, I felt strongly in my heart that this precious baby needed a hat.

I sent the blanket and hat off. And just felt so much that I wish I could do so much more.

When I knit things for people, I do it with a lot of care. Unless, a specific pattern is requested, I will easily spend 3, 4, 5 hours finding just the right pattern. And I walk around the yarn store looking for just the right yarn. It is important to me that I try to make things just right.

Yet, in the case of rough times, or bad news - knitting feels so lacking. It doesn't feel like enough.

But it's what I can do. So I do it the best I can.

The blanket arrived to my friend Heather yesterday. And the thank you note I received left me in tears. I think if I ever doubt that knitting is not enough, I'm going to go back and reread that.

Because when I knit, it doesn't magically fix things, or heal people, or repair broken hearts. But it does mean something, and that counts.

That is what I will hold onto. My gift in life may be the ability to knit. And while it's not curing cancer, or getting people on Mars, or making sure no child goes hungry anywhere, maybe just bringing comfort to people, or putting a smile on their face, well that is enough. On this day. In this moment. It is enough.

This is a lesson for all of us. We all have different gifts and talents. Use yours, whatever they may be, even if it doesn't feel like enough. You just never know who you will touch. 

If you have some prayers or good thoughts to spare for Heather, Nathan, and Olivia, I'm sure they would appreciate them. You can also watch Heather and Nathan (two very talented musicians) discuss this a little bit in this video. Thank you.