Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Stitches Are Gone!

Alyssa and Lexi were able to drive me to the orthopedic surgeon today to get the stitches and staples out. He had x-rays taken as well of both ends of the rod. Everything seems to be OK at this point, so I will go back to him in eight weeks. In the meantime, I will be having radiation therapy on the leg. I go to the Radiation Oncologist, Dr Locken, on January 19 for an initial evaluation. then I expect three weeks of treatments five days a week.

I asked Dr Jackson when I can resume driving. He said, "Oh, I think you can drive now." I had assumed he would say whenever I feel it's safe. So next week I'll be driving myself to my doctor's appointments. I'm not sure I'd really want to today, but after a few more days of walking on it, etc, I expect that leg will feel more 'agile'. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strange Sensations

When I told my older sister about this, she couldn't get her brain around it - I'm not sure I can either. When I was in the hospital and the first night I was home, I felt like I had two pairs of legs; one pair when I lay on my right side, and a different pair (not just the same ones in a different configuration) when I lay on my left side.

Also, when I tried to read another chapter of Anne of Green Gables to Lexi Saturday night, it felt like my teeth were out-sized and were knocking into each other.

Could these things be related to the anesthesia? I need to tell my knitting friend Lisa G (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) about it. I'm sure she has heard plenty about people's reactions to anesthesia.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Max's Blanket

Max now has his blanket, so I can write about it here. Since my daughter tells me that his mother sometimes reads my blog, I didn't want her to see it here before she saw it for real.

A couple of months ago, Carmen asked me to make something for her to give to a co-worker who was pregnant. The baby was a boy. He would be born in December, He would be named Max. His room would be decorated in browns. I thought about it for a while, and then came up with this.

 Yes, this is two sides of the same blanket. The yarn is cotton with a bit of silk, and can be machine washed and dried. The top, middle and bottom stripes are a stitch pattern that I like for scarves, shawls, etc., because it looks nice on both sides. In fact in my Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary from 35 years ago, it is listed on one page as 'bicolor half-linen stitch' and on the next page as 'the footstools' with a note that it is the reverse of the bicolor half-linen stitch.

The other two stripes are done in Shadow Knitting, which creates a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't 'pattern'. In this case, the pattern is HELLO WORLD! on one stripe and MY NAME IS MAX on the other. If you look at the blanket straight-on, you don't see the words. You have to look at an angle to see them.

I hope that Max enjoys his blanket. My wish for him, and for all children (after love, food, shelter and clothing, of course), is that he retain the feeling of awe and wonder at the world around him that I hope to convey in that HELLO WORLD!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Tuesday, Dr Stephen Jackson put a rod in my right femur, using three screws (1 at the top and 2 at the bottom) to hold it in place. He had said that I'd be there one night, but I only got home Yesterday, Christmas Day. My granddaughter's father-in law drove me there Tuesday and stayed until I was in a regular room. I told him he didn't need to, but he said Lexi would beat him up if he didn't. I asked her yesterday if that was true, and she said that she and Nana had both said that.

The surgery went well, but didn't start until at least two hours after its scheduled time of noon. (I had to be there at ten o'clock). Physical Therapy didn't get me up until the next afternoon. I was not expecting to have as much pain as I had 3 1/2 years ago with my hip replacement, but I  did. The first two days I had a morphine(?) pump. I felt like I was pressing that button frequently, but the nurses said I used less of that pain medication than most people do. I guess I take after my father in not needing much pain meds.

Yesterday afternoon Alyssa and Trevor came and brought me home. We stopped on the way and picked up Lexi from her grandparents' house. She spent the night with me. I know she's only half the age of the person the medical community expects to be there for the first day or so after release, but I figured I wouldn't need anything she couldn't take care of. We did just fine. 

I slept in Rose's bed because there is no step up to the bathroom there as there is in my room. Lexi was going to sleep in Sara's bed, but while we were getting ready for bed, I goofed. She mentioned that some of her dad's family have 'seen' her Papaw's parents in his house in the time since they've both been dead. We talked a bit about ghosts, etc, and I mentioned that her mother and a friend of her father's had both seen a man in this house.(I described what they saw to a man I knew whose brother-in-law used to live here. James poo-pooed the idea of ghosts, but said that description sounded like Harry Green.) Lexi changed her mind quickly, and started setting up a pallet on the floor in Rose's room.

Right now my leg is hurting; I think because I've been sitting here too long. I need to get up and walk a bit, and then take a pain pill.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How the heck!

am I supposed to use my walker? Rose spent the day with me. Sara called last night about 8 and asked if I could watch Rose today. I guess she thought that with upcoming surgery I wouldn't feel that I could. Sara said she'd bring her either last night or early this morning. When there was no sign of them by 10 pm, I turned off the light and went back to sleep (I had fallen asleep reading). About 7:15 this morning, I was awakened by a soft, "Grandmother?" at my bedroom door.

Rose is old enough to not need much 'care.' She even fixed her own peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch (and I fixed mine.) She uses that stool from her little vanity for several things.

Later she got mad at me because I wouldn't go anywhere, except maybe the Dollar General store in Fancy Farm. During her little pout, she fell asleep for about an hour. After that she played nicely with her dolls.I love listening to her tell them stories and sing to them. Sometime after 4 pm we met Reggie at the Dollar General in Fancy Farm and she went with him.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Busy Medical Week

Last Wednesday, 12/8. when I saw Dr Winkler, I told him that for two or three weeks, whenever I lean forward and put my elbows on my thighs, the right thigh hurts, Rose jumped into my lap one time and I yelped. Dr W sent me to have x-rays of my right hip, thigh, and knee. By the time I got home (28 miles) after a half-hour stop at Kroger, there were three messages in my voicemail.1) Tracy from Dr W's office saying that there is a lesion on the femur and they have made an appointment for me with Dr Jackson (orthopedic surgeon) the following afternoon. 2) A woman in Dr Jackson's office telling me of that appointment. 3) Dr Winkler saying that there is myeloma in the femur and he wants Dr Jackson to look at the x-rays. He wants me to use a walker or crutches. Also, he may want radiation therapy in the future.

The 2:40 appointment worked well with the 12:45 one I had with Dr Heine (oral surgeon), but meant that I couldn't meet Rose's bus at 3:50.

Dr Heine said that my mouth is now healing well and that I can go off the medications when I finish my supply on hand. I will go back to him on January 6.

Dr Jackson said he can put a rod in my leg. It would require only a small incision in my knee and would not interfere with radiation if that is used in the future. I didn't give him an answer about that, because I wasn't sure I wanted more surgery and more metal in my body. However, I thought about it a lot over the weekend, and decided to have the surgery. My thinking is that although my body did a good job of healing my left femur after radiation killed the myeloma cells four years ago, it likely would not heal so well after all the medication I've had in those four years. Therefore, I think I need to have the rod to strengthen my leg. I'm already tired of using the walker!

My surgery is scheduled for noon on Tuesday (12/21) at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. I need to be there at 10 am, and will spend one night there. I went there this morning to have the pre-op lab work, EKG and chest x-ray.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project complete?

What can you do with a cone of red/green/white variegated cotton, two size 7 double-pointed knitting needles, scissors, a yarn needle, needle-nose pliers, and 18-gauge aluminum wire?
I've been making candy cane ornaments for Lexi and Rose to give to their class-mates. There are only ten of them here, but I have seventy done so far. When Lexi and I had supper together Monday evening, we counted up her classmates and the kids on the cheerleading squad. After backing out duplicates and adding teachers, she'll need four dozen. I don't have counts yet for Rose's pre-school and dance classes, but it's likely to be more than 22. I'd better continue.

Lexi's cheerleading group placed first in the Paducah competition on Saturday! Last night they all went to the Paducah city commission meeting to collect their trophy and $300. The money will go toward their trip to the Nationals in Chicago in January.

I'm proud of Lexi for being in that group and helping it win the award. However, I'm more proud of her for something else she told me about at supper on Monday. Of the five sections of fourth grade at Mayfield Elementary School, she scored highest on the reading test! So she's not only agile in body, but also in mind. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Done for another year

About 10 o'clock last night I got home from the last night of the Walk through Bethlehem. We had to cancel on Saturday because of the wind - too dangerous with bonfires, but in the other four nights we had about 1500 visitors, total. Last night, I think there were several van-loads from other churches who came in place of their regular Sunday evening services.

Friday night Rose did wear a costume until her mom came to get her. She looked really cute! I think she enjoyed the whole experience.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Two down - Three to go

Nights of the Walk through Bethlehem, that is. So far, so good. It's been cold, but I've worn several layers of clothing, and there is a bonfire behind me and a chimenea (sp) beside me, so only my fingers, toes and nose have gotten cold. My toes are always cold anyway. I wore thin, cotton gloves at the beginning, but couldn't work that way, so I've just had fingerless gloves with the disposable hand warmers like hunters use..

The first night, there seemed to be dust on the top of the loom. I thought maybe it came from the smoke from the fires. I reached out to wipe it off, and discovered that it was frost! That probably was part of the reason that the harnesses were sticking. Last night was not quite as cold, and I think tonight may be a couple of degrees warmer.

I had Rose there with me part of last night, and she'll be there even longer tonight. She wants to wear a costume. I hope they have one to fit her, so she can be one of the Bethlehem children. 

I took Rose for allergy testing yesterday afternoon. She protested a great deal! I finally had to hold her. I wanted to do that from the beginning, but the nurse wanted to see if she'd hold out her arms by herself. After it was done, she realized that it wasn't too bad, after all. The only thing that she reacted significantly to was dust mites.

Today she's playing dress-up and watching movies on her DVD player. She just asked if she could have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. When I told her I'd fix it in a few minutes, when I finished this blog entry, she said she could fix it herself. I said OK, so she did - did a very good job of it, too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


 But before that - I got pictures of Lexi in the Halloween costume yesterday. (That"s Sara in the background).The foot of the sock has collapsed a bit, but you can see the variety of yarn and patterns I used in knitting the thing. Now it goes into storage - but I don't know if it will ever be used again.

I also got a picture of Lexi doing a trick Mother said her father could do - putting both feet behind her head. I was amazed since the beginning of her gymnastics classes by how flat she could go when sitting on the floor with her legs open and leaning forward. That's part of their limbering-up exercises at the beginning of each class. This trick makes use of that ability.I used to be pretty limber, but this was waaaay out of my range of abilities.

Now for Thanksgiving. Sara cooked a ham, dressing, green bean casserole and a couple of other things here. Alyssa and Lexi made twice-baked potatoes and a couple of pies at home and brought them here (they did the second baking of the potatoes here.) Reggie and his daughter Kyra came as well, after going to two other Thanksgiving meals. Trevor was working, so he didn't make it. There are left-overs in my refrigerator, as well as in Alyssa's and Reggie's.

While I had three twenty-somethings here, I had them do a few things I can't do myself, like take down the porch swing for the winter (I've lashed it to the post the last two years), straighten the skirt on my bed, and hem the costume I'll wear for the Walk through Bethlehem next week. Young people come in handy sometimes. I've always been pretty independent, but I'm learning to ask for help.

Yesterday, my sister and brother-in-law from Florida visited me. It was a very short visit, but they had been away from home for a week and wanted to get back to warm weather. They had even gotten to see snow in Louisville yesterday morning. (Sara said we had a little of the white stuff during the night, but it was all gone by the time I got up and the day was bright and sunny - but cold.) Mac said he liked snow when he was growing up in Stanford KY, but not now. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Three Weeks?

My brother was the one this time who reminded me that I hadn't written anything here for a long time.

I'm still waiting for a picture of the sock Halloween costume. Alyssa emailed one to me, but it was too dark to see. She said she has others, as well, but I haven't seen them yet. I brought the costume home with me a few days ago, because I want to take it to the knitting group. Next time Lexi is here, I'll have her put it on and take a couple of pictures.

Last night, Lexi was in a 'fashion show' to raise money for the cheerleading group to go to the national competition in Chicago in January. She didn't win anything, even though her grandfather was one of the judges.

That's her mother with her in the second picture. People are already asking if they're sisters. I've told Lexi that will happen more and more often as she gets older.

It seems strange not to have medical appointments every week. The only ones so far this month were on the eleventh - first with the oral surgeon and then at the cancer group to have my port flushed. If the port is not flushed every four to six weeks, I start to be aware that it's there. It doesn't hurt exactly, but I do feel it.

Dr Heine said that there is still a small amount of bone visible, but that my mouth is healing well. I'm still on Augmentin and using the antimicrobial mouthwash, and I go back to him this Wednesday.

I'll see Dr Winkler (oncologist) on December 8, and also have my port flushed again.

December 1-5 will be the Walk through Bethlehem at the Mayfield Nazarene Church. I'll be participating again this year as the weaver. When one of the organizers (who just got elected mayor of Mayfield) emailed to ask if November 29 or 30 would be OK for her to come and get the loom, she also asked if I have more of the small samples for barter. I only had a few, but I'm working on making more. I'm using three different small looms - a 2-inch Weave-it loom (here on top of squares I've made with it), a Structo loom and a BonHop loom (here with the strip of fabric I've made so far. I have warped the BonHop again and started on another strip. On both the BonHop and the Structo, the warp is cotton and I'm using wool for the weft. I will wash these strips in hot, soapy water with much agitation and some old jeans for them to rub against. That should cause them to full (felt), after which I can cut them into squares which will not unravel.

I'm looking forward to this event - just hope I don't freeze. I like the fact that the church does this as a ministry, not a fund-raiser. They accept donations, of course, but they do not charge admission or sell the coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies they offer inside afterwards.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hearts and Flowers shawl, again

I had not entered anything for the annual juried show at the Mayfield Art Guild for several years, but decided this year to see if my shawl that I had put into the county fair would be accepted. Not only was it accepted, but it won a merit award sponsored by Mayfield Tourism. I'm very pleased. The shawl has now won $53 for me. I hope to enter it in the state fair next year.

I was feeling OK when I was at the Art Guild reception yesterday afternoon, but shortly after I got home, I started feeling terrible - achy, cold, sore throat, stuffy nose, etc. I went to bed about 5 pm, and didn't even feel like reading as I usually do. I left the light on all night, and didn't get up until about 9 am, except to go to the bathroom a dozen times. I'm glad there's nothing I need to do today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two more teeth gone

Last Monday (10/18) Dr Heine pulled two more teeth, so I went back today for him to check on the healing. So far, so good. I'll go back again in two weeks. In the meantime, I'm still on antibiotics and the anti-microbial rinse that tastes so terrible.

I also went to the oncologist today. Things seem OK, so I don't need to see him again for six weeks. I will go back to his office in two weeks to have my port flushed, though. At that point it will be five weeks since that was done, and I'm sure I will be feeling the port by then.

I was a bit surprised that in each of the waiting rooms there was another knitter. One was knitting a dishcloth and the other an afghan. I didn't take my knitting in at Dr Heine's office because I knew I wouldn't be there long, but I got several rows of a scarf done at the Cancer Group.
Before those appointments, I took some scarves and watchcaps to the Seaman's Church Institute and four shawls to Grace Church. While at Grace, I also attended the midweek eucharist service.

When I got home I finished the little bit I had left to do on a shawl for Rose. Sunday, when I put on my shawl before we went to her birthday party, she said she wanted one. I made quick work of that, didn't I? Of course it didn't need to be very big for a five-year-old.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween already?

Sara and Reggie went to a Halloween party last night - as Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf-as-Grandmother.
That's one of my nightgowns 'Grandmother' is wearing. And of course, I think Sara is a beautiful Red Riding Hood. Alyssa went to the party also, but they picked her up after they left here, so I didn't see her costume.

I have completed the knitting on Lexi's 'hand-knit sock' costume, but haven't gotten to Hobby Lobby to get the plastic canvas to fill out the foot of it. I think I'll do that on Wednesday.


These are the last three shawls I've finished. I like the brightness of this one. The color is called Rosewood.
 On this one I alternated the Rosewood and a coordinating variegated yarn in a simple triangle and then crocheted a border in a blue that also coordinated well with the variegated yarn.
 This is a 'keyhole' shawl worked in a four/four ribbing. Putting the long end through the 'keyhole' near the other end will keep the shawl from slipping off. The yarn is a sort of gold cotton with a bit of shine that doesn't show well in the pictures.
This is a better picture of the 'keyhole.'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today was the annual parents/grandparents/other family member 'picnic' at the girls' school. Last year I went and had lunch with Lexi's class, so today I ate with Rose's. The older kids carry their trays to the gym and sit on the floor. The notice they send home about it says to bring a towel, because of sitting on the floor. Since it is hard for me to get up from the floor, I took an aluminum and canvas camp chair. We ate in the lunchroom today, because they were afraid a bunch of the trays would be spilled if the four- and five-year-olds carried them down the hall to the gym - at least one got spilled in the lunchroom. I took the camp chair again (I keep it in the trunk of the car), but didn't need to use it.

Rose is in the afternoon session of preschool, so lunch is the first thing they do every day. However, we let her ride the bus today as usual. I was the one who put her on the bus. She gets on at Alyssa's house, and we got there about an hour ahead of time. I unlocked the door, but sat on the front porch and knitted. Getting there that early was not a good idea. I don't know how many times I heard, "Where's the bus?" and "How many minutes until the bus comes?" I was giving her all kinds of outlandish answers. As soon as the bus drove away with her on it, I went inside to use the toilet, and then headed to the school. I only had a few minutes to wait once I got there.

After eating, I followed them to the playground for a few minutes. They have scooters and tricycles for them, among other equipment. The school has three different playgrounds, with different kinds and sizes of equipment, with each one being used for two or three grades.

When I left the school, I went to the senior center to visit with friends, but not many people were there. Many of them leave right after lunch and several had gone to Princeton KY today to visit a historic house and a vineyard.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Day with Rose

After my shower yesterday morning, I was sitting on the side of my bed putting on my socks and shoes. The shadow on the wall looked like Rose was standing on her bed. I asked if she was, and she said she was making her bed. I guess for someone her height standing on the bed is the easiest way to pull the covers up. She really does a good job of it.

After the dew dried, we went outside and picked up black walnuts. I thought she might have a problem with my using my 'reacher/grabber' when there wasn't one for her, but she understood that she's much closer to the ground and can easily bend down to pick up the nuts. We each had a mop-bucket that we put the nuts in and then dumped them in a pile in the spot I've used for that purpose for years. By spring the squirrels will have carried them all off. We'll need to pick up nuts again in a couple of days; they keep falling. I'd let them lie where they fall, except that we might want to mow again, although since it has been very dry, we may not need to.

After resting a bit, we took the wheelbarrow and the pruners and walked around the house cutting things that I didn't want growing where they were. The wheelbarrow got very full. We then pushed it to the burn barrel and put all the cuttings in. We can't burn now because it's so dry, but the stuff will be there when we are allowed to burn again.

After lunch, we walked to the building where we can pay the water bill (about a tenth of a mile). I thought it was Wednesday and Friday that they were open, but it's Monday and Wednesday. The building was originally a bank, so there's a night drop in the back wall. They leave it unlocked so people can drop their payments in any time, so I took advantage of that. On the way back, Rose asked where we were going now and I told her, "Home." She didn't like that answer, so she flounced off ahead of me.

 Later I handed her a tack hammer and had her pound down some of the nails on the front porch. (None of the pictures came out well.)

 Sara came home about 4 o'clock and they left soon thereafter; Sara wanted to do some grocery shopping, and Rose was begging to play with her friend Kyra.


Yes, Dominic, you can believe it. Of course, remission is not cure. They will continue to monitor my blood, and I may be put back on Revlimid as a maintenance treatment if the protein in my blood goes up. Also remember that, as my friend Sara Lewis says, tests of blood and bone marrow only show the status of that particular bit of blood or marrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Good News

When I saw Dr Heine on Tuesday, 9/28.he said my mouth is healing fairly well, but I need to continue taking the antibiotic and using the mouthwash, no matter how bad it tastes. He also said that the tooth next to the one that was pulled recently needs to come out, too. However he wants to wait as long as possible to let the Zometa work out of my system. I'll go back to him next week.

Today I saw Dr Winkler. He had very good news - results of all those tests he's had done recently. There is no myeloma in the bone marrow sample he took, and only a very small amount of protein in my blood. Therefore, all of the myeloma medication has been discontinued. They will continue to monitor me, of course, but for now we'll say I'm in remission. I go back next Wednesday to have blood work and see one of the nurse practitioners and then on 10/27 to see Dr Winkler again (more blood work, of course).

There is arthritis in my lower back and some pinching of nerves related to it, but nothing I'm complaining about yet.


Sunday at the almost-monthly breakfast one of the men's groups at church does, our deacon told me that he had taken one of the shawls I made to his aunt, and she loves it. Later, at the 'peace' another parishioner told me that her granddaughter (not quite two years old) had been given one of the shawls. I never thought of making shawls for children, but sometimes I run out of the yarn I'm using or I get tired of working that particular pattern, and the shawl turns out small. I always figured that people come in many sizes. I was thinking of adults, but now I may make a few even smaller on purpose. I know Lexi likes to wear the shawl she claimed, maybe other children would too.


Yesterday, I had both Lexi and Rose most of the day. It's fall break at school, and all the young adults were working. In the late morning, we went to Mayfield and visited the Art Guild and then the Senior Center. Then, while I was still talking, I let them go to the playground that is next to the Senior Center. I went down there a bit later and watched them for a while. We had taken sandwiches with us and ate them at the Art Guild, but by 2 p.m. they wanted a snack, so we went to Alyssa's house.

Sara got there about 3:30, and she and Rose left. Alyssa and Trevor both got home shortly after 5. I had let Lexi go across the street to play with her friend. I sat on Alyssa's porch and knitted and watched Lexi  and her friend (I'm not sure how to spell her name) doing cartwheels, backbends, etc.

Lexi is not used to sharing me and shows a little jealousy, although she claims she's not jealous of Rose. Rose thinks Lexi is bossy, and at times I agree. I need to ask Lexi's Nana how she is with her Gill cousins. Of course she's been around them all of their lives, and shared their grndparents, so it's a bit different.

Monday, September 27, 2010

From the Gourdpatch

I finally loaded the pictures I took at the Gourd Patch Festival. The first two are the gourdmobiles; the third is Lexi with her $15 gift certificate for making the most artistic one.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm back!

It's been quite a month! I guess I'll use my little journal (very brief entries) and my calendar to bring things up to date.

On Saturday, 8/21, Lexi spent the night. Lexi likes fish, but Alyssa doesn't fix it often and Nana (Lexi's paternal grandmother) won't allow it to be cooked in her house, so we often have it when she's here. Rose says she doesn't like fish, so I told Lexi that we wouldn't tell her that the tilapia I cooked is fish. Rose liked the tilapia, but not the rice and peas I served with it. Lexi asked when we'd tell her that tilapia is fish, and I said, "We won't."

Sunday, 8/22, Lexi, Rose and I went to church in Alyssa's car. The girls were very good during the service. I'm sure Rose will want to go again.

Tuesday, 8/24, My computer quit!

Wednesday, 8/25, Sara drove me to my oncology appointment, since my car is in the shop. My red cell count went up from 8.5 last week to 8.6 - still pretty low, so they gave me more Procrit. My blood pressure has been running lower than my normal for several weeks, so Dr Winkler said to stop taking the diuretic, to see if just the 50 mg of Atenolol twice a day will control it. I've been getting dizzy when I stand up more and more often recently - blood pressure? red cell count? cold?

Rose saw the front of Judy Sumner's book of sock patterns, and said she wants socks with no toes. The patterns in the book are adult sizes, but as Lexi said a couple of months ago, I know how to make adjustments, so she now has a pair of 'pedicure socks.' I've also been working on several shawls and scarves.

Tuesday, 8/31, Sara drove me to Mayfield, to the bank and then to the transmission shop to get my car. From there I went to the dentist. The cavity left by the tooth he pulled on the 12th was not healing well. It appeared that the bone was dying - a possible side effect of the Zometa that I've been getting for the past three and a half years. Drs Marsh and Freeman called an oral surgeon in Lone Oak (suburb of Paducah), who said for me to come on up. The two dentists explained the situation to me, and then Dr Marsh asked me if I was 'a woman of faith.' I replied that I am, and he asked if he could pray for me. Of course. So the three of us held hands and Dr Marsh prayed. I've never had that happen before. It was nice.

So I drove to Lone Oak to Dr Heine's office. He cleaned out the abcess a bit and made an appointment for 9/2 to scrape away the dead bone tissue.

Wednesday, 9/1, Oncology appointment. No treatment because my red cell count was too low, 8.3. In fact, Dr Winkler said I needed two units of blood! So they made an appointment for me to get blood the next day, and changed my appointment with Dr Heine to the following Tuesday.

Thursday, 9/2, Arrived at Western Baptist Hospital about 7:45 am, registered and was shown to a small room near the registration desk. I remember being in that room three years ago when pre-registering for my hip replacement surgery. After a few minutes, a nurse called me out into the hall to weigh and measure me. I walked out of the room and across the hall just fine, but as I was starting to step up onto the scale, my legs turned to rubber. If a nurse had not grabbed me from each side, I would have hit the floor. Another nurse brought a chair with wheels for me to sit on, and they got me back to the chair I spent the rest of the day in. They hadn't gotten my weight, but I told them what it had been at Dr Winkler's office the day before. It was 4:30 before I left the hospital. I have given blood many times over the years, but this was the first time I had ever received any. I have certainly felt better since then. 

Monday, 9/6, Labor Day. My sister Renee had called about a week ago and asked if we could use a bed. She's redoing her computer/guest room, with a futon or hide-a-bed, so had a double bed to dispose of. I said that we could use it for Sara's room, so she and her husband, Michael, brought it out from Louisville today. It was great to see them, and also good to get the bed. Sara had been sleeping on Lexi's cot. Now the cot is going to Alyssa's house for Rose to sleep on when she spends the night there, and Lexi will sleep on the futon in my living room when she spends the night here.

Tuesday, 9/7, Sara drove me to Dr Heine's office, since I was having general anesthesia for the procedure he was doing. He scraped away dead bone cells. He also prescribed more antibiotics and an antimicrobial mouthwash. I think I'll be on antibiotics for a couple of months, and will be seeing him every couple of weeks for a while. The first two or three times I used that mouthwash, I thought it was going to burn a hole in my mouth, but now that I've gotten used to it, it doesn't seem so hot.

Wednesday, 9/8, MRI and bone survey at Western Baptist Hospital. Finished about 10:30, then went to hospital cafeteria and knitted until it opened for lunch. After eating, I went to noonday prayer at Grace church, then talked to the office staff and the rector, catching them up on my condition. Then I went to the coffee shop for my regular knitting group.

Thursday, 9/9, Oncology visit. Again no treatment. My red cell count is up to 9.5, which is good. However my white cell count is low, so Dr Winkler has taken me off all of my myeloma medications to bring the white cell count up to help with the healing of my jaw.

Friday, 9/10. PET scan. I registered at the main entrance of Western Baptist and they sent me back to 
radiology, where they told me that PET scans are now done in the building across the parking lot. Why didn't the registration desk know that? and why didn't they tell Debbi that when she made the appointment for me? Before they do the scan, they check blood-sugar. Mine was only 79, despite the fact that I had eaten cake and ice cream the day before.

Tuesday, 9/14. Saw Dr Heine. He was glad to hear that Dr Winkler has taken me off the myeloma medication. 
Took Lexi to Art Guild to make 'gourdmobile' to race on Saturday.

Saturday, 9/18. Gourd Patch Festival in Mayfield. Saw and talked to several people I hadn't seen for varying lengths of time - nice. Lexi's gourdmobile won the 'most artistic' prize, but was eliminated in the second round of the race. If you're familiar with the boy scouts' pinewood derby, you can imagine this race. In fact, they borrow the 'racecourse' from the boy scouts.

Tuesday, 9/21. Picked up the computer. Now I need to reinstall some things.

Wednesday, 9/22. Dr Winkler took bone marrow sample for biopsy. He was very good about explaining when to expect pain. The only thing that really hurt was when he was actually pulling the bone marrow out of the pelvic bone. When he has all of the test results, he'll decide what my treatment will be going forward.

Thursday, 9/23. Drove 118 miles. First to Paducah to the Vintage Grace (for those over 60) luncheon at church. From there to Mayfield to meet Lexi's schoolbus. Later back to Paducah to take Lexi to her gymnastics class. It had been several weeks since I had taken her, so it was nice to watch the class again. Then I drove her home to Mayfield, and then me home to Milburn.

Friday, 9/24. Lexi spent the night because Alyssa, Trevor and Sara all had to work very early. Rose and I drove her to school, then went to the Senior Center, to introduce Rose to the people I used to work with, and to bring them up to date on my life.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Car trouble

Wow! My family is laying down on the job - no one has reminded me that it's been almost two weeks since I posted. Sara is still working on finding a job and getting Rose in school.

Lexi had a mini-sleepover last night, with just Rose and the girl across the street. Rose and Lexi will both be here tonight, and we'll go to church in the morning. Lexi wants to teach Rose how things are done at Grace Church. We were headed there two weeks ago, but only made it halfway. I've been having some transmission problems recently and adding transmission fluid has helped, but the problem seems to be more than just a small leak. Even Rose noticed how bad the car sounded. It wasn't upshifting to third gear, so I pulled into a safe spot and then couldn't shift at all. I called Alyssa to come rescue us. We called AAA and had them tow it to her house. She said a friend would look at it for me. The tow-truck driver got it to shift after he got it to Alyssa's and said we just hadn't pushed down hard enough on the 'button' at the top of the shifter, so I've driven it for a week and a half. However, on Wednesday I think I drove most of the way  home from Paducah in second gear. It shifted from first to second with no problem, but most of the time did not want to go to third. Yesterday I had it taken to a transmission shop. I haven't heard from them yet as to what the problem is and how much it will cost.


My red cell count was 8.5, so I got a shot of Procrit. I was supposed to get it two weeks ago, and the nurses even signed it out for me then, but didn't give it to me. Nancy made sure she gave it to me this time as soon as I got back to the treatment room. I have appointments in September for MRI, bone scan, PET scan and bone marrow sample. There will also be extra bloodwork and a 24-hour urine collection. Medicare did not pay for the PET scan a year and  half ago, but I guess the study they got me into at that time got Myeloma included in the list of diseases they will pay for it. At least Debbie says they will now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blue Ribbons Are Good for the Ego

Purple ones are even better!
 This is my Hearts and Flowers shawl that I entered in the county fair. That purple ribbon is for the Textiles Grand Champion. I know we are a small county, so there was not that much competition, but I'm still extremely pleased. Next I'll see  if it is accepted in the juried exhibit at the Mayfeld Art Guild in November.

I couldn't get a picture that shows the hearts well, but you can see the flowers and the vines. This is my own design, using motifs from my stitch dictionaries. I don't usually name my projects, but in this case the name seemed a natural. I worked the shawl in two pieces so the flowers and hearts would be right-side-up from both ends, and then grafted them together in the middle. Friends have asked me what I'm going to do with it, and I'm really not sure yet. I guess I'll hold onto it until the spirit moves me to do something else.

The past week has been quite busy. About 2:30 am last Tuesday, Carmen, Sara, Rose and Sara's friend Justin arrived. Sara and Rose are now living with me. I'm glad Justin was with them, because I didn't feel real lazy for not helping them carry stuff in. He also did a couple if minor repairs while he was here. He and Carmen left Friday morning to drive back to New Jersey. Sara has gotten much of her and Rose's stuff organized, but there are still some things to be figured out. She is also working on finding a job and getting Rose in school. Lexi started school on Wednesday (8/4), but the preschool doesn't start until the 18th. The two girls are happy to have their cousin to play with.   

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Oncology appointment again today. My red cell count was good, so no Procrit. My weight was two pounds less than three weeks ago. The increase last week was definitely from several days without my diuretic. I got it refilled last Thursday, and did spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom during the first couple of days after I resumed taking it. After the next cycle of Velcade treatments, Dr Winkler will order more x-rays, additional blood work, etc. One of the proteins in my blood is slowly creeping up, so there will probably be changes in my treatment soon. C'est la vie!


I had a good time at the coffee shop knitting group. Last week I brought home seven Vogue Knitting magazines from the past ten years, but declined the yarn that someone had given the group. Today I was asking for yarn, and brought home quite a bit. What changed? Lexi has decided to be a hand-knit sock for Halloween! My vision of this was to have the foot at the bottom and the cuff at her head. Yesterday at the Ice House, I learned that was not what she had in mind. And my friend Mary, who was there, had the same idea Lexi had. Mary has raised five kids, the youngest of whom is in college, so I imagine she's made a lot of Halloween costumes. The foot will be behind her head, and the heel will have eye and mouth holes for her face. The leg of the sock will actually be hanging down. That will mean that I don't need as much 'framework' as the way I had in  mind would require. Today, Jennifer, who has done some theater costuming, gave me more ideas. Once I get the framework done, the knitting will be easy. I'll make it very colorful - stripes, some of them with fairisle patterns.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good-bye, skink

My resident skink has been caught in a sticky trap. I was surprised that it was in the weaving room - I had only seen it in the living room, heading toward the dining room. I hope none of it's family and friends come in.

Lexi spent Monday night with me. Yesterday morning we went to the Ice House/Art Guild in Mayfield. I took three shawls along for Dana to choose one to enter in the Arts in the Community show coming up in August. She selected two of them; she has an idea for how she can display them together. She had Lexi  make a sign for the show. I'm glad Dana and Lexi are friends. I think it's good for kids to have adult friends who are not related to them.

Then we went to Lexi's gymnastics class at 4 o'clock. On the way home I asked her if she does the stretching exercises they start each session with at home. She said she doesn't, and I told her she probably should. Her smart-alec reply was, "Said by a woman who won't even walk for exercise."


Today was my oncology appointment. I had gained five pounds in the two weeks since my last one. That is probably because I ran out of my diuretic several days ago and haven't gotten the prescription refilled yet. My ankles are not puffed up, but there is probably fluid built up throughout my body.

My red cell count was down a bit again, so I also got a shot of Procrit, along with my Velcade, Zometa (for my bones), and Decadron, all through my port, and my Zofran tablet to ward off nausea. Do you think that's enough medications? Of course, this morning I took Atenolol (for blood pressure), Revlimid (for Myeloma) and several vitamins and minerals. This evening I will take more Atenolol and Revlimid and Zocor to reduce plaque buildup. 


Then I went to the coffee shop and met with my knitting friends for a couple of hours. A week ago, Valarie sent out an email about a group doing cleanup of pelicans, etc in the Gulf who wanted 10" x 10" washcloths and 14" x 27" towels. Valarie said she would collect them at the coffee shop. I took three towels and half a dozen washcloths today. Valarie said that she had received an email from the organization saying that they have already received 35,000 (or maybe it was more), so they don't need more. Valarie will give these to the local Bellewood organization that helps kids who have aged out of foster care to set up their first apartment, etc.

When I told Dana yesterday what I had been working on  for the past week, she couldn't believe that they had requested hand knit cloths for animal cleanup. I assume someone in that organization knew that there were thousands of knitters who had leftover cotton yarn and would love to spend a few hours doing some mindless knitting to use it up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Friday already?

Tuesday morning I picked up Lexi before going to the Art Guild. She and I were the only ones there (except Dana, the director) for a while. We had a nice conversation about various things. I told her about the book I'm reading - The Bookseller of Kabul. She had trouble believing that there are still people in the world who think girls should not be educated, although she seemed to know that was a common attitude centuries ago. However, I think she liked hearing that most people in Afghanistan use fingers rather than forks to lift food to their mouths. That's something that Alyssa and I both keep reprimanding her for. Now she will probably start telling us that she's pretending that she's Afghani.

By the time Alyssa came to get Lexi, Mary had arrived. She is a beekeeper, as well as knitter, crocheter, quilter, etc., and mother of five adults. There was another conversation ranging over a number of topics.

Just before Mary left, Evelyn came. She had called to see if I was there. She needed ideas for using some yarn she has for prayer shawls or scarves. One yarn was really interesting - I had never seen it before. She'll need to put something else with it to do a shawl, but we talked about colors, etc. Of course we talked about things other than knitting, too, including food. She said her son won't eat fruit - I find that very unusual. More common is that her husband doesn't like vegetables, except green beans if they are cooked down to almost mush. She said that their daughter didn't realize she likes green beans until she moved to DC and had them not overcooked.

Then before I left to go to Alyssa's for supper, I talked to Dana for about half an hour. Four good conversations in one day - not bad.

Wednesday was my oncology visit, and then knitting at the coffee shop. My red cells have stayed up, so I did not need Procrit. Everything else seems to be stable as well.

Yesterday I started moving stuff out of the room that great-granddaughter Rose will sleep in when she and Sara move in with me soon. I decided that since I have used up so much of the yarn I had accumulated, I could fit the craft (they're not all knitting) books onto the shelves in my room. Then I moved the shelves they had been on into the back room, with some help from Alyssa when she dropped Lexi off. Lexi helped put many years of several different magazines back onto those shelves, and I put other things on them. I think I like the way that back room is looking. Alyssa and Trevor are coming out tomorrow to move some other things for me, and to mow and weed-eat. 

I'm still working on the Tasha Tudor shawl. I started the edging a little while ago. Edgings always seem to take longer than I expect them to. They are so few stitches and each row does go quickly, but there are soooooooooo many of them! I do know now what my next project will be, but since I will do it with the rest of this huge ball of yarn I'm using for the TT shawl, there is no way I can start the new one before I finish the current one. Now I'm getting impatient.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Watchcaps, etc

When I went to church on Wednesday two weeks ago, our rector was on vacation. The new chaplain at the Seaman's Church Institute was subbing for her. He mentioned the help that Grace Church gives SCI with their Christmas on the River project and other things. That got me started knitting watchcaps (four, so far) and scarves (only one so far for them, but another for some other cause). Those thing are small and easy to carry with me. I'll accumulate them until about October, then drop them off at SCI when I'm in Paducah one day. 

Now I'm trying to finish a couple of projects that have been languishing. I finished a 'random' shawl in white and pastels a couple of days ago, and am now working on a Tasha Tudor shawl. I started both of these months ago and then set them aside. My random shawls usually work up pretty quickly, but this one didn't. I think the white and pastel colors aren't as interesting as the brighter colors are. The end result is very pretty though, and I'm sure someone will love it. I'm making the Tasha Tudor (a simple triangle with an interesting edging) in a light-weight, dark, boucle yarn on a size 3 needle, so it will take a while. However, it has gone well for the last two days, so maybe t won't take as long as I think.

On one of the Yahoo groups, someone mentioned that her brain was working on planning the next project while she worked on the current one. Mine usually does that, too, but now it is not. Maybe that's good for a change. I'm sure it will get back to normal before too long.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Work

I stared this post on Wednesday, but then McAfee told me I needed to restart the computer and do a virus scan. By the time that finished, I was ready for bed, and I haven't had a chance to get back to it until now.

I skipped church on Sunday - didn't feel like driving. But I went to the noon service today. I didn't need to provide Lexi's transportation to and from cheerleading practice, and my oncology appointment was at 1:15. I took four prayer shawls and a laprobe with me. I have showed a couple of them here before, but here are some others.

I don't often put fringe on shawls, but felt this one could use it. 

The purple triangle is from a combination of yarn donated to the church and some from my stash. It's small, as is the little cape with the burgundy border. The white square you see on the cape is something I put on each item I make for the knitting ministry at church. In the front it has what I have long known as 'The League Benediction' - Numbers 6:24-26. We always used it to close our Methodist Youth Fellowship meetings when I was a teenager. On the back of the card, I put information about fiber content and care.

Here are details of two laprobes. The solid-color one is from yarn donated to the church, and the other is part donated and part from my stash. I really like the way the colorful one turned out. I have a lot of fun 'designing' the shawls and laprobes. 

This last shawl is cotton that I've had for a long time. I paid a nickel a ball for it at an auction. Since I used slightly less than three balls, I call it my fifteen cent shawl.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wadena, continued

Not only were my cousin Grayce and her husband home, but her sister and brother-in-law from Iowa had arrived about half an hour before the storm (there was an all classes reunion of Wadena High School this weekend). The four of them were in the basement while the top of the house was destroyed. They are all OK, thank God! My sister Pauline and her husband can identify with that experience - they were in their house in Homestead FL when Hurricane Andrew destroyed it 18 ? years ago. That's an experience none of us want!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Yesterday morning, I turned on the radio before I got up and lay there listening to news on NPR. I heard that the governor of MN would be visiting towns in the northern part of the state that had been hit by tornadoes. "Hmmm, wonder if they're near any of my cousins." A few minutes later, the tornadoes were mentioned again, but this time they said WADENA. My eyes flew open. That's my mother's hometown! I was born twelve miles from there! My Aunt Nina and several cousins live there!

About fifteen minutes later (I had thrown on some clothes, made a cup of coffee, and turned on the computer), my sister Pauline called and asked if I had heard. She heard Thursday night (I had turned off the radio about 7 pm), and had emailed several cousins. One, who lives about 30 miles away, had replied that her son, who lives in Wadena, thought that everyone was OK.

Today, looking at pictures from the Wadena Pioneer Journal, it looks like my cousin Grayce has lost her house. I think she probably was not in town. Since retiring, she and her husband spend much of their time elsewhere, helping with clean-up and repairs following natural disasters. I guess now their hometown needs the services of the group they work with.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Procrit today

Last week's dose raised my red cell count to a bit above 10, which is in the normal range.

I guess summer is officially here for me - I shut the windows and turned on the A/C last Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Medical Problems

The Cancer Group called yesterday and changed my appointment time from 10:15 am to 2:15 pm, so I missed my knitting friends at the coffee shop.

About three weeks ago I called Dr Winkler's attention to a lump in my left armpit. He said it was just a cyst - nothing to worry about, but he lanced and drained it. I continued to squeeze stuff out of it for a few days. Since then two more cysts have appeared in each armpit. Monday night one of them on the right side opened and last night both of them on the left opened. So I've done a lot of squeezing out of puss. My sister Pauline said it's the meanness coming out. I put bandaids on them this morning so I wouldn't get junk draining onto my clothing. Strange place to put bandaids, isn't it? Dr Winkler prescribed a ten-day course of antibiotics.

Because I complained about feeling very tired and weak much of the time recently, he ordered a Procrit shot for me. My red cell count has been slightly low for several weeks. This should bring it back up to normal. He had to give me a long explanation of problems with doctors  giving too much Procrit in the past, which led to patients now having to sign permission slips. The nurse in the treatment room gave me the shot. Although next week is my week off for my Velcade treatment, I have  to go in for a blood count, and possibly another shot of Procrit. Such fun!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yard Work

Alyssa and Trevor came out today and did some mowing, weed-eating and spraying for me. I've told them that if they do the heavy yard work for me, I'll knock off some of the money Alyssa owes me. Robbie (next door) mowed much of the yard yesterday on his riding mower, so Alyssa did the fenced area with the walking mower, and Trevor did a lot of weed-eating. Alyssa also sprayed weed killer. I could do the spraying myself, but when I tried to mow Thursday evening, I wigged out VERY quickly. I feel like I'm being terribly lazy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Medical, etc.

I've been reminded by two or three people in the last couple of days that it has been over a week since I posted here. Sorry 'bout that!

Simvastatin, generic for Zocor, is the medication that takes the place of the Crestor that my insurance wouldn't pay for. 

Dr Winkler changed my medication regimen slightly today. Instead of taking 8 mg of the steroid Decadron the day before and the day after my Velcade treatments, I am to take it only the day before. They had been giving me 10 mg of it along with the Velcade, but stopped that about three months ago.

Now that school is out, Lexi will probably spend quite a bit of time at my house. She was here Thursday night because Alyssa had a migraine. We took her to the ER, where they gave her two shots and two prescriptions and recommended that she lie down in a dark room. She was feeling much better Friday morning, and went to work. They had a sleep-over (only three girls besides Lexi) scheduled for Friday night, so I was really glad they didn't have to cancel that. The girls had a really good time.

On Saturday, when Alyssa called and asked if Lexi could spend the weekend here, I said that I shouldn't have put her cot away. Alyssa said I probably should leave it up all summer. I had thought about that, but needed to put my two hand knit, wool jackets away in a storage bin behind the cot. Actually, Lexi spent three nights, and I have left the cot up.

On Sunday the boys next door yelled over and asked her if she wanted to swim. She doesn't have a bathing suit here, so she wore shorts and a tank top. She was there for several hours and had a blast. When she came home and changed into dry clothes, she was comparing her arms to mine. Even though I have a fair amount of color (for me), she is much darker. She tans easily and like most kids picks up the color gradually by playing outside. She said, "I look like a Mexican!" Please don't read any prejudice into that. Her school is probably 50% white and 25% each black and Hispanic. She is friends with everyone, no matter what their skin color.That pleases me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Good News and Bad

The heart catheterization showed  no blockages, just some plaque buildup. Therefore, I am now home. Although I 'slept' a lot today, I plan to go to bed early to read and then get some natural sleep. I have the perfect excuse to do almost nothing for the next two days. You know I'm going to take advantage of that!

Dr McElroy prescribed Crestor, but my insurance doesn't want to pay for it. The pharmacy is going to see what they can do about that for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Medical Stuff

When Dr Winkler walked into the exam room this morning, he said, "Well, you failed your test." They detected some problems with my heart, so he called Dr McElroy of The Heart Group. I will go into Western Baptist Hospital at 6:30 Friday morning. I guess they will do a catheterization to determine if they need to do anything more, like a stent. They said to come prepared to spend the night. I plan to drive myself - no need for anyone else to get up that early. Then when Alyssa goes to work a few hours later, Trevor will ride up with her and drive my car back to their house. Whenever I do leave the hospital, one of them will fetch me.

Because of this, I did not have my Velcade again today. I continue to take the Revlimid at home though. Dr Winkler agreed with me that the pain I had in my teeth over the weekend was probably a reaction to the nuclear stuff they injected into me for the scan part of the stress test. I showed him the small lump I discovered under my left arm during the night Friday/Saturday. He said it was just a cyst that had a 'whitehead' on it. I hadn't been able to see the head. He lanced it, drained what he could, and put a large bandaid on it. I'll try to squeeze out a bit more before I go to bed and put on another bandaid.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend with Lexi

Alyssa had training this weekend for her new job, and Lexi wanted to spend some time with me, so Alyssa brought her out on Friday evening. Saturday morning, Lexi got fancy with her breakfast. She has learned to scramble eggs and also to make omelets. She had meant to make an omelet, but something went wrong, so she wound up with scrambled eggs. Alyssa had brought the huge strawberries, which Lexi and I ate many of over the weekend. Here, they are the eyes and nose. On Sunday morning, she toasted a ciabata sandwich roll (big enough to share), spread it with butter and apricot jam, and then put sliced strawberries on top. It was very good. I wouldn't have thought of combining the apricots and strawberries.
Recently, Lisa G, one of my knitting friends, gave me about four ounces each of wool from four of her sheep. After breakfast, Lexi and I washed that wool. She got very good at putting together the drying racks. Lisa had written the breed of each sheep on a note, and we taped those notes to the rack so we wouldn't loose track of which was what. Next time Lexi comes, we'll need to do some flick-carding or combing with mini-combs. I have to pass this interest in fibers on to another generation, you know.

When the wool was all clean, we went outside and walked around the yard to look at the things we had planted a few weeks ago. I also got rid of some honeysuckle and pulled the dead cypress vine from last year off the fence. I like the honeysuckle on the bank beside the driveway, but I don't want it on the fence. Lexi had disappeared for a few minutes. Then she came out and called me to the back porch. She had my lunch for me. On a small tray, she had a serving of pasta salad, four of the huge strawberries, a glass of water (my favorite beverage), and several roses in a juice glass. It looked wonderful!

Yesterday, we went to church and then came back here for a few hours.. A little after 3 pm, we headed to Mayfield, swinging by to pick up her cousin Jake on the way. They were both invited to a birthday party at Pizza Hut. I took them inside to make sure the birthday girl was there, then went back to the car, rolled down two windows and knitted for about two hours. It was warm, but there were frequent cool breezes, so I was mostly comfortable and I got quite a bit done on the laprobe I started Friday.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Stress Test

I got to the medical pavilion a few minutes early this morning, but didn't have long to wait  until a tech called me back. She put in an IV, asked my height, weight and bra size (I kid you not!), and led me to another, smaller waiting room. After checking both arms, she decided that the best place was just below the inside of my right elbow. This meant that I couldn't bend my right arm very much. That made knitting a bit difficult, and slower than usual.

Next they hooked me up to a monitor and did an EKG with me lying down and then on the treadmill for about six minutes. They took blood pressure readings several times, as well. Then they injected some stuff into the IV (radioactive?) and sent me back to the small waiting room, saying I could now partake of the coffee, orange juice, muffins, etc they provided in the next room. I took a cup of coffee, but couldn't drink much of it - Coffeemate is gross!

Next they put me through a scanner of some type. I think the bra size question had something to do with the scanner. By then it was 10:15 and they told me I could leave, but needed to be back by 12:15. I went to the Senior Center to visit with old friends and to eat lunch. I still had that IV in my arm, which made driving a little awkward. Fortunately, I'm semi-ambidextrous, so eating with the fork in my left hand wasn't too difficult.

After I went back to the lab, they injected more stuff and put me through the scanner again. Then they took out the IV and said I was done. Now I just need to wait to hear from the doctor. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Today certainly turned out different than I expected. It started about 5 am when I woke up to go to the bathroom. After I got back in bed, I had some pain in my chest. I only lasted between five and ten minutes, it didn't travel any where, and my breathing was normal. I had my regular weekly oncology appointment at 11:15. When I got in the exam room, I told the nurse about it. She asked me a few questions and said she didn't want to sent her boyfriend (Carlisle County coroner) for me. She left the room and talked to Dr Winkler. When she returned, she handed me a paper bedjacket-type thing and told me to take off my shirt and bra and put that on, while she went to get the EKG machine. The EKG looked OK and my heart rate was 66, which is good. Dr Winkler called my primary care doctor and they agreed that a stress test is in order. Dr Williams' office would make that appointment. Dr Winkler said we would skip the Velcade treatment this week, so I made the appointment for next week and went to Burger King for a side salad for lunch.

By the time I finished lunch it was only noon, so I decided to go to Mayfield and knit at the Art Guild while I visited with the beading group, rather than going to the coffee shop where the other knitters wouldn't be arriving for over an hour. Also, if they were able to do the stress test this afternoon, I'd already be in Mayfield. 

It was about 2 pm when Dr Williams' office called. The test is scheduled for 8 am tomorrow. I am not to eat anything after midnight nor to have any caffeine until after the test. I'm also not to take my Atenolol (a beta blocker) tomorrow morning. Since the other things I would be taking in the morning are vitamins and minerals, I think I'll skip it all. The lady also said to wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes, since I'll probably be on a treadmill for part of the test. She also said to plan to spend most of the day there. That means I'll need to start a new knitting project, since the ones I have on the needles are too large, or otherwise not suitable to take along. I think a scarf for the Seaman's Church Institute will be good.

When I told Dana (Art Guild director) that I'd gotten my phone call, she asked if I had called Alyssa and told her about my new problem. 
"No, not yet."
"But you're going to, aren't you."
I have some good friends around here, haven't I?

I decided to drive past Alyssa's house and stop in if she was home. As I pulled into her driveway, she was coming out the door on her way to the dentist. So I drove her there, and told her about my day and the appointment tomorrow on the way.

So tomorrow will be a new experience for me.

I think I have a pet. There is a skink (a type of small lizard) in the house. I saw it one other time, months ago. I don't know if it has been in here all that time, how it got in, or how to get it out.  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weaving, knitting, etc.

I found a little 'loom' for sampling and put several warp threads of each of five different colors on it, then wove in royal blue and black filler. The black really makes the colors 'pop.' I have since discovered that one stack of the 'wheels' of stuff I have for filler is navy rather than black, so that gives me another possibility for rugs. I'm still deciding how I want to stripe the warp. I'll probably do several different warps in the next few months.

This morning I took one laprobe and nine shawls or capes to church with me for the prayer shawl ministry. It had been two months since I'd taken such things in. I think the rector was glad to see them. Now I only have two shawls on a drying rack and three on the needles. Then there are also an afghan for a great-niece, a baby hat, a dishcloth and a doll sweater on the needles. The large things will probably be finished before the small ones are.

Late yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call from a woman at church. Olivia, who will be 90 on Tuesday, said she had visited another parishioner who had one of the shawls I made. She said when she saw it she said to herself, "I can do that." She wanted to know if there were any rules about patterns or yarns. I told her that I usually use machine washable yarns because most of us don't like to hand wash things now-a-days, but that any yarn is OK. Also any pattern is OK - I usually make up my own. It was wonderful to have someone else volunteer to knit.


Thursday was my gardening day. I weeded several herb and flower beds, planted some seeds, and mowed the fenced area behind the house. I thought there were 21 gladiolus corms that Lexi planted, but there are 23 coming up.

My neighbor had a friend with a chainsaw helping him that day. While I was taking one of my knitting breaks on the back porch, Robbie asked if they could trim some of the trees on  my side of the driveway. That sounded good to me. So the friend cut down several of the volunteer trees there and they dragged them up the drive behind Robbie's golf cart. That will supply fuel for a nice bonfire later. There is plenty more stuff they can cut down, as well. Maybe it will provide fuel for all of the bonfires Robbie and his friends and family like to have throughout the summer. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Finishing touches

Well, I only got one more rug out of that warp. I don't know how long they are - I'll measure them after I cut them off the loom and let them relax for a day or two.

I set up the sewing machine today and 'finished' some of the things I've woven in the last six months or so. I hemmed the four 'looper' rugs I wove for my daughter and grandchildren last fall. I also zig-zagged along the edges of eighteen mugrugs I wove on the narrow warp I put on for the Walk through Bethlehem in December.

Tomorrow I'll cut the current four rugs off the loom and hem them, as well. Then I'll need to re-warp the loom and make more rugs. As I was doing that sewing (an some knitting), I was thinking about what kind of warp I want to do. I have enough 'filler' material to make at least three dozen more blue rugs, but I don't want all of the warp to be just blue. Maybe stripes of blue and variegated pastels, perhaps with pink or yellow thrown in? I need to do a little sampling, don't I? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three down - two? to go

rugs on the current warp, that is. I've done more weaving this week than knitting. This warp (200 threads, 7 yards long) wound on easier than any other I've ever done! When I was threading the heddles and reed on Monday, I kept smelling wood smoke. It was a cool day, so my first thought was that someone nearby was using their fireplace. However, that's not something I've ever been aware of here. It finally dawned on me that the odor was in the loom. It was from the small bonfire I was beside at the Walk through Bethlehem in December. It's not noticeable when I just walk past the loom, or even when I wove off the rest of that warp, but when I was doing that threading I had my nose almost resting on the loom.

The warp is a bit on the light side of medium blue. The first rug is royal blue, the second is stripes of royal and light gray, and the third is gray. Last December, the pastor of the church said something about maybe having door prizes at the 'Walk' next time. I figure I can donate two rugs - that blue and gray one and a red and black one I'll make before than. Those are the colors of the Graves County and Mayfield schools, respectively.

I have done some knitting each day, of course. On Sunday, I started an afghan for my great-niece Kailee. I 'designed' this blanket several months ago, when I was working on a laprobe using the same stitch. I had half of the yarn in my stash, and bought the rest shortly thereafter, but it has all been sitting on the shelf since then, while I worked on other things. It's going quickly because I like doing the stitch (two-color half-linen stitch) and the yarn is very easy on my fingers. 

One of the shawls I have on the needles is taking me ages to do because the yarn is hard on my fingers. I keep setting it aside to do other things, but am finally getting close to the end. Several times I thought about ripping it out and giving the yarn away, but I persisted. I probably will give away the yarn that is left over - enough for another shawl or a sweater.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Not what falls from the sky. The ones that grow from tiny bulbs. The stitch pattern I used here is called Snowdrop Lace; it really does look like Galanthus flowers. I wonder if the person who designed it had that in mind when she started, or if it was a bit of serendipity. (That word always makes me think of my college friend Peggy. She's the one who told me about the Princes of Serendip.) Since snowdrops are white, I figured this shawl was a good place to use the white orlon (soooo soft) yarn I got from my friend Shirley's stash after she died.

This 'interrupted mitered squares' shawl is like one I made a couple of years ago and sent to my daughter for a friend of hers. It's a bit funky, but then so is that friend. She commented that some of the holes are too big, but I made this one with the same size holes. I hope whoever gets it likes the large holes. The holes get smaller at the top. This is fun to do, and is another one of those "How did you do that?" projects.

I think I'll give this turquoise shawl to Lexi's teacher. I made a shawl for her teacher last year, because I thought she was retiring (she decided to teach one more year), but now I think I may make that a tradition. They do some team-teaching, so the shawl will be only for her main teacher. I guess I'll need to do the same for Rose's teachers, as well, especially if she is out here.

All of these are triangular, started at the point. The one with the holes has a 90 degree angle there, but the others have closer to a 120 - I increased two stitches on each row instead of only one.

This little sweater is called a "Baby Surprise Jacket." The pattern is by Elizabeth Zimmerman. It is knit all in one piece and looks really strange until the shoulder seams are sewn. I think the pattern is fun to work, and enjoyed putting in the stripes of color on this one. There are buttons to go on the front, but I can't sew them on because of the neuropathy in my fingers. I'm certainly glad the neuropathy doesn't bother my knitting!

We had quite a storm yesterday - thunder, lightning, rain, wind, but not the tornadoes some people got. It was beautiful and sunny this morning, but has clouded up now. I'm glad I got that mowing done on Friday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

More yard work

Whew! I'm tired again. I spent about three and a half hours today alternately mowing and knitting. The mowing I did was what I call trim mowing. My neighbor does most of my yard, just because he likes to mow - the riding lawn mower is one gas-powered vehicle he's allowed to operate. However, he doesn't try to get too close to the house or to trees, and he stays well away from the bank beside the driveway (he's legally blind). When the mower conked out on some high, tough grass and wouldn't restart, I gave it and me a rest. I sat on the back porch and knitted while I cooled off. The second break from mowing came when the UPS man delivered my Revlimid. I decided it was a good excuse to take another knitting break. The third break came after another conk out on tough grass. This time, as I walked to the porch, I saw that Robbie was mowing in my back yard. If he was worried that I was going to mow some of the area he usually does, he needn't have. The fourth mowing session completed the areas I had planned to do.

While I was mowing, I was also checking on the things Lexi and I  planted recently. Some of the glads have sent up their leaf-tips, three of the four lilies look great, and the other is not bad, but there is no sign of the bleeding hearts. The peonies and hosta that I moved are also fine.

I have some seeds I should have planted, especially since we expect rain tonight and tomorrow, but after finishing the mowing, I didn't feel like doing it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pulling More Weeds

I'm tired! I went out to the herb garden at 11 a.m. When I came back inside, I was amazed to see that it was 1:45 p.m. It's a beautiful day - sunny, mid-60's; warm enough that I took my sweater off shortly after I went out, but not so warm that I got hot and sweaty, even though I was in the sun the whole time. I got the rest of the quadrant of the garden that is planted weeded. There's not as much cilantro as there has been the last two years; I guess I didn't let as much of it go to seed last year as I had before. There is thyme growing in a couple of spots I wasn't aware of, the lavender and oregano clumps have grown nicely, and garlic chives is volunteering all over the place. There are two things that I'm not sure about. I hate that! I don't remember everything that I have tried to get started there, so I don't know if these are things I want or not. I'll let them grow on for a while, and then decide whether to pull them up or keep them. There's space for more plants. I don't know what other herbs I want to get established.

Now it's time to sit and knit!