Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home again ....

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig-jig

We arrived home Saturday afternoon and basically hit the ground running!

Vacation was, in one word, amazing. The entire two-week trip was wonderful. Yes, we were away for two weeks. We've never traveled more than a week at a time before, but when we were planning this trip husband and I decided that two weeks would be exactly what we needed. And it was. In fact, while I like being home and sleeping in my own bed again, there is a part of me that wishes we were still on vacation. I'd like to tell you every single detail of vacation, but I won't torture you like that. ;-) I am hoping over the next few weeks I can show you more pictures and tell you about some of it though.

We also started our home schooling year on Monday. And it looks like it's shaping up to be a big year around here. We have very grand plans and the kids are all going to be doing some extra activities that are new to us which will be a lot of fun. Or at least I hope it will be a lot of fun.

In a few days it will be September. And it will be time for my children's birthdays. And then the holidays. And I am sort of feeling that I will blink and it will be 2013.

But. There are a lot of great things happening now. And it feels like things are getting good, and might stay that way for a while. {And no, that is not a dare to fate to throw something else our way or to add another complication into the picture thank you very much}.

In the meantime, I'm trying to hold on to the relaxing feeling I got while on vacation, adjusting to everyone's new activities and schooling schedule, and to just try to find my footing again post-cancer and treatment.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sorry, no time for blogging .....

Sorry, I've had no time for blogging.

I've been busy doing this

Riding the Amtrak train from Chicago to Colorado


Enjoying fabulous sculptures in Grand Junction, CO


Playing in the pool

Rafting on the Colorado River

Seeing awesome wildlife

Petting horses on the ranch

Horseback riding 

Enjoying the view on horseback

Hanging out with these lovely people

marveling at how rocks can stay like that

being completely amazed at the landscape out here

marveling at how shifting plates, wind and water can create such amazing views

hoping the crack on this arch doesn't get any bigger while I'm resting under it!

knitting

hiking along some (not too bad) trails

watching my children also be amazed by it all

going to my first rodeo

not sure if I'm hoping the cowboys get him or he gets away lol!
  
driving

looking at imprints of fossils

checking out the locals

having picnics

smiling for the camera

taking pictures

Sight-seeing with this bunch

thinking my children are growing up too fast

hanging out with my husband

Looking at rocks and seeing what shapes I see (this looks like a sheep laying on the ground to me)

Exploring




seeing things I've never seen before


helping these guys become junior rangers

And mostly, just having fun and relaxing. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

UFO Update

I know, I know, I missed last week's update.

For good reason, not only did I have the ablation last week, but I had my mediport removed this week. Two procedures requiring anesthesia in less than 8 days left me sleepy, groggy and highly unmotivated to blog. That said, the ensuing insomnia, which I believe is my body's way of fighting back the nearly 3 days of sleep I needed after each procedure left me with ample time to craft. And so, I did.

And whoa. Did I accomplish some pretty darn good things. My original list called for me working on a quilt for my daughter for 6 hours. I figured in 6 hours I could cut the remaining pieces that needed to be cut and make a dent in sewing the top together. But once I dove in, I couldn't stop. I was determined to finish that quilt for my daughter, and somehow I did.
Rock'n'roll quilt


I'm still not sure how I pulled this off! I machine sewed the top together and machine quilted it. I did do the binding by hand. This quilt has a lot of applique. And I've learned that I don't always appreciate doing applique LOL!

rock'n'roll quilt

But I'm pleased at how it turned out and my daughter has actually been using it, which as I told her, is the best compliment I could get =)
quilt backing
the backing


Getting this finished feels amazing. I can completely cross it off my list.


I also worked on the placemats, but only a tiny bit. I think I know why I stopped where I did. I did the binding on two of them and am already bored LOL!

There are 6 of these and matching napkins that need to be finished. Then I have a set of 6 that aren't quilted yet and need to be binded (also with napkins). Although I set out to finish all of them, I think I'm going to just finish the ones in teh picture. I figured I put in a lot more than 6 hours on the quilt so we're just going to trade finishing the quilt for finishing a set of placemats. Maybe I'll get to those next year ;-)

I also finished the little bit of knitting left on the baby gifts. I can't show pictures yet because the gifts need to be sent out, but it was nice to finish those little bits (2/3 just had weaving ends and sewing on buttons. One had a little more knitting to do and then all the finishing). Well, okay, they aren't completely finished. I need to wash them and block them and then they will be ready to go. But that's the easiest part!

Oh, and, I can't believe I almost forgot! I finished the big photo project I was working on. I considered literally jumping for joy with that was over, but decided not to.

I am feeling mighty accomplished at this point. Which is good, because even though there are technically 3 weeks left for me to meet my goals, over the next few weeks I will have not much time to be crafting. And I wanted to get a bulk of it done by this point.

Here's where things stand:
*Finish photo project - I am scanning a lot of pictures in. I started, oh forever ago. This is top priority to finish.
* Spend at least 6 hours on the rock'n'roll quilt I started for daughter over a year ago


* Spend at least 5 hours on needlepoint I started for my son. Done some work on it.
* Mend 5 items
* Finish placemats started something like 4 years ago Amended to finish one set
* Pick 3 items from my UFO box to finish (But I'm not sure which 3 yet) Haven't started. May not even get to.
* Speaking of my UFO Box, I need to go through and decide if there are any projects I don't want to ever finish, so that's on my list too.
* Finish 3 baby items I have started. That are so close, but just need to be finished! 

Overall, not to bad if I do say so myself!

Hope you are all well. Some of you have shown me what you're working on over on twitter and I love it. If you're blogging about it, don't forget to leave a comment so I can come check out your work and say hi!







Monday, August 06, 2012

Health Updates

I could alternatively call this "On not being done" because well, I'm not done.

Here's the thing, when I first heard about the cancer, among so many other things, I also thought I'll just get through treatment and be done. If I've learned one thing this year so far it's that that was a very naive thought. And frankly I'm not sure there is a "done." Because contrary to how cancer is portrayed on TV, you don't get chemo, get your last chemo, go into remission and then are poof! done with cancer. There are still sometimes other treatments (radiation, medicines to take, etc). The side effects linger. Chemo remains in your body for a long time. Side effects can linger even longer. Sometimes, side effects become permanent. There are follow-ups, and follow-ups to follow-ups. Bumps will pop up along the way - new things may go wrong, but with your history they aren't just little thing to keep an eye on. Nope, that new lump? Needs to get checked out now. Trouble breathing? We need to check your lungs. Heart racing? Chemo could have damaged your heart so tests need to be run. The list goes on and on. I've been through some of, I've seen friends go through some of it.

Cancer doesn't end. I may be in remission. I may be done with chemotherapy. Radiation may be behind me, but I still take pills. I still don't have energy. I still need to nap. My body is weak. I need to watch for signs of lymphedema because I had lymph nodes out. I need to go for blood tests because my white and more recently my red blood cell counts are down. I still need surgeries - reconstruction isn't finished. Thankfully I haven't had major issues like heart problems or breathing problems because I can only imagine the tests they would throw at me. I'm still in that critical 5 year period - where the cancer could come back. This doesn't even begin to cover the emotional side of things. I'm sleeping like crap, my anxiety is heightened, I'm quick to snap at the kids.

Look, I don't mean to be a downer. And I think if you came to my house and hung out with me, I wouldn't come off as a downer. It's not like I walk around crying and afraid my shadow is the cancer coming to get me. But things aren't like they used to be (I know. I know. I probably should have known this a long time ago).

All of this to say, we've hit a few bumps in the road here lately. As I mentioned above, my red blood cells have recently dropped. {Warning, I may be sharing what is too much information. So stop reading if you don't want to know}. 3 months ago my periods returned. Okay, I can't lie, I didn't miss it one single bit. But not only did it return, but it returned with a vengeance. Heavy. Crampy. In ways it has never been before. It was so heavy, I avoided leaving the house because if I was going to be out for more than 30 minutes I needed to carry what felt like an entire drug store's wort of pads and tampons. And it showed. My red blood cell counts dropped. Not horribly at first. But, right on schedule the second one came, and my body hadn't had enough time to rebound. Iron was started. I was exhausted even more so. The hardest part was that until this hit, I was actually starting to feel good. The exhaustion was starting to get better. So in my mind, this felt like a huge blow. And I was over it.

Last week I went in for a uterine ablation. In an attempt to slow down my periods. But here's the catch, I don't know if I've ever blogged about it before, but I have a what is called a septate uterus. Basically, there is a wall in the middle of my uterus, which splits it into two halves.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_1ZmRYwNaZCo/SWOVEQojuqI/AAAAAAAAANw/-Y1avYEOLog/s400/uterine-septate.jpg

(mine is a partial one, but it extends farther than the partial one in the graphic, but not as far as a complete septate). Anyway, some testing we did prior to the ablation made us think we could do the ablation successfully. It turns out we were half right. She was able to do the left side perfectly. The right side, she wasn't able to get. The good side is, it should help. I won't know until my next period comes. It just won't be as successful as if someone with a normal uterus had it done.

The procedure knocked me down for 2 days (although, truthfully the second day was really more just sleepiness from the anesthesia and not actual pain). But it left me feeling like my body had betrayed me once again. How did I get so lucky to get a messed up uterus and breasts? And I never thought about it before, but are they linked somehow? Did the genetic code for my female parts suffer some sort of problem that hit both areas? I don't even think that's possible, or documented. And I tested negative for the genetic mutations linked to breast cancer that are known. But it's hard to not think about it. Even if it is highly improbable.

For now, let's hope that half my uterus getting the ablation stems the flow of period enough that my red blood cell counts can recover. Because I'm tired of being tired!