Despite the fact that this blog was originally set up to share mostly crafting type things with the world, it has not been used for that lately. Instead, cancer took over this blog and became the most talked about topic around here. For good reason too. There is a lot there to talk about and although sometimes I will complain that I'm tired of talking about cancer, at the same time, it is SO amazingly helpful to get it all out. So I come. I write. I feel better. I move on.
And as helpful as blogging has been to me, so to recently has knitting. Actually knitting has always been helpful to me. One of the first things I did upon getting my diagnosis was to ask my mom to take me to the local knitting store. It just made sense. I found out I had cancer. I found out I was going to be bald. Clearly I needed some hats to wear upon my head. Alright, alright, I get it. Not every single person goes from cancer to bald to hats to knitting store. But I did.
And I knit a lot in those days between diagnosis and surgery. I knit in waiting rooms. I knit at home. I made some hats for myself. I made some for my mom. It was a good way to keep busy. It was a good way for me to work off anxiety - for the most part knitting is the same motion over and over. The repetition is lovely. And if you have the right pattern? There is a rhythm there and you can just keep working without needing to put too much thought into it. And I needed that then.
Then surgery came. And for a while I couldn't knit. I couldn't do much of anything actually. My arms might as well have just been gone for as much as I could use them at first. But true to form, I started knitting as soon as I could. I was so excited that first day I could pick up my knitting. It didn't last long. I think I managed a row of the shawl I was working on. But darn it, it felt SO good to get that row done. And so slowly, I began to knit more and more.
Then came chemo from hell. And let me tell you - one of the ways we knew it was affecting me so much - I stopped knitting. Even the husband commented on it once or twice. And believe me you, I wanted to be knitting. But I couldn't. That first group of medicines I was on was just so harsh for me. It left me barely able to do the things I needed to do (i.e. eat, get up and go to the bathroom, etc) and certainly didn't leave me any room to do much of the things I loved to do or wanted to do. But, thankfully, even that medicine's time came to an end. And as that medicine left my system, I was able to start knitting again.
Of course it came back slowly. I had to find my rhythm again. I had to find the projects calling out to me. (Yes, it may seem strange, but it is true. I believe for the most part, projects find me and tell me when it's time to knit them). And then the new medicine started to show it's lovely side effects. It attacked, more and more with each dose, my joints and mostly in my hips and knees. There were days were walking any more than necessary was just going to be an option. But oh, I could pick up those needles and knit through most of those times. Not always, the new medicine also attacked my hands and made knitting impossible some days, but thank goodness it hit my hands with less intensity.
There have been several days where at the end of the day all I can say I've done is knit and watch tv that day. And thank goodness for knitting. Because I really believe through all of this knitting has been a lifeline to me. I may not be able to whip up a 5 course meal these days, but darn-it, I can whip up a shawl. I can't always walk my son to the bus stop, but I can make him a vest he can wear proudly to school. I can't repay my mom all the kindness she's shown me - not just this summer but my entire life - but I can knit her some socks. I can make beautiful things. I can show my family I love them through my knitting. And the knitting has helped me feel connected to my family through it all.
Not only that, but it's another way to honor who I am. I was knitter before all of this. And while I may not be able to knit every single day, cancer did not take that part of my life away from me. I am still me. Cancer has changed me - it has changed me in some pretty big ways. But at the end of the day, I am still me. Cancer can change me, but it didn't take everything away from me. And having my knitting? Every stitch I make? It's a reminder to myself that I'm still me. My appearance may have changed. I may have some life experience I never really wanted, but I'm still Brandie. And knitting is still important to me.