Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good news, for me

G'day all!

Thanks for the good wishes.

Blood tests and CT scan came back clear. Hooray!

Next blood test is three months away, then another blood test and CT scan in six months, etc.

Now I can focus on other things.

To our cousins across the Tasman, we are thinking of you, particularly those in and around Christchurch. Christchurch is devastated, many are dead, many more are homeless. We love to pick on Kiwis (just like big brothers and sisters pick on smaller siblings) but we will stand with you when the chips are down.

I am thinking of making up a quick quilt or two with some of the stash I have (then I am allowed to buy more fabric! Hoooray!) to send across to NZ. Never fear, it will take me a good month to get one done. I have some good ideas for some pretty quick things, like this quilt Melody is making. I have some strips of fabric all ready cut and could get a top together easily enough and a back, it is just getting the quilting done that is hard! But such a quilt would be quilted with straight (ok, I will admit it, WONKY) lines and that makes it a little easier to get done. I want to do something to help, though I didn't for the earlier quake and I couldn't do much for the Queensland floods (since DH went potty at the same time, not to the loo for you Americans but barmy, mad, loopy, and I had too little time and too much to do).

Pictures of current makings will follow - it has been a weird few days of much too cold weather for this time of year. We have to expect whackiness more and more often with climate change.


Friday, February 18, 2011

You might think

G'day all!

You might think that I am not knitting much at the moment.

Well I am knitting but I am knitting the body of this cardigan and really, progress looks slow (though I did knit a good 6cm of it on Friday whilst awaiting my CT scan). It is boring to show progress pics when the only progress seems to be endless swathes of stocking stitch.

I must say I am mighty impressed so far with the yarn I am using. It can be a little splitty but the yardage is amazing and for $2 a ball (down from $7), I am quite quite happy. It has only taken three balls to do the yoke and the upper body down to the waist. I've just added the fourth ball. I bought 10 or 12 balls and am now thinking I might be able to make a little top too!


I've been busy with work, knitting, quilting, gardening, house renos, the 365project (a picture a day) and DH, and in the last couple of days tests for my six monthly checkup. Yep, we only count from when the operation was, even though I was diagnosed with BC two Christmases ago, because I did chemo first, I am only a six month survivor. The lymphodema tests showed that I have a mild problem (I know the poor boob is not real happy) and one measurement was 1.5cm larger than the previous time (they measure the circumference of set parts of your arm), which seems totally wrong given all the rest with within a mm of last time. I am hoping the blood tests and CT scan show I am fine but I am preparing myself for the worst. I feel ok, a little twitchy but I am much much better than I was six months ago. That is the rotten thing about cancer - you are usually pretty good until it has you well in its clutches.


It would be nice to stop for a while but I like to have things to do, particularly crafting things when I am a bit stressed. The continuing uncertainty of when DH will be fit to go back to work is more annoying than worrying about if I have mets! If I do have mets, we can probably do something to manage them, but I can't manage and should not DH beyond a certain point. The rest is up to him and his doc, and with any luck if we can work out where we'll be, his coach.


I must also whine about the weather. OK, two years ago it was 40+C at the start of Feb (which then triggered the dreadful Black Saturday fires). We struggled up to about 21C today. For Feb, that is awfully cold. It is 13C at the moment. I know that those of you in far northern climes dream of 13C at the moment but BRR! COLD! It is still summer.

(Another reason why it is cold inside - we have a bit of housewrap over the hold at the moment...)

And I'm missing out on Stitches West. Whine.

But most magnificent, we watched a show on the PiLs' telly. It showed the Outback now that it is flooded. It is gobsmackingly beautiful. Absolutely amazing. I'd like to go stickybeak at it but getting there is an issue because the country out there is flat flat flat. And very very very wet. Plus all our money is going into getting the kitchen renovated. (Getting very over the kitchen renovations even though most of the enormous stuff is done - only one window, plasterboard on two point five walls, a floor, lots of tiling, new cupboards and benchtops, a stove and hood, sink, tap, hmmm, anything else to go? Gack.)


Pics today are mostly care of the camera phone, though at least I found the battery charger for the camera batteries (just rechargeable AAs). I keep forgetting to take the camera with me. Just as well I have the phone, eh? And I discovered a pretty picture function on the phone. Can you tell? 8-) It is called cartoon, though I'd call it drawing myself. The magnificent houses and gardens are in Albert Park - we had a quilting day there today and I went for a walk cos I know one whole block of that area, and it just so happens to be this one amazing block.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mental note to self #umpteen

For me, raw beetroot is a strong purgative.


I've had very small amounts of raw beetroot before and thought it was rather nice. So I made a nice raw beetroot and carrot salad as part of tea. It was very enjoyable.

Two hours later, well the troubles started! The most interesting side effect was how wobbly my legs went. That is an issue in itself as one has to move relatively quickly when "the moment" comes along.

It is now 1:30am and I'm hoping I can go to bed soon. Am very tired, rather dehydrated but cannot do more than sip water.

PS. If anyone knows where I put any of our battery chargers, please let me know. We used to have three, I got rid of one cos the batteries didn't seem to charge well in it, and I've seen both of the other two in the last 10 days but can't find them at all now.... The phone takes adequate pics but the camera does much better as one might expect from a one trick pony.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Still no rest for the wicked!

G'day all!

I'm back. Things are settling down some. It's been a fun couple of weeks but we think we are getting back to a new normal. And it is a good place to be.


I've been flat chat, what with working, doing quiltalongs and stuff with DH. Yes he is still DH - he thinks he went a bit mental a month ago and did some things he now rather regrets. We are currently in Melbourne.

It is a year and a week since the day my chemo started. I am rather pleased to be a year on from it. So far so good, but in another week I have a CT scan and then in two Tuesdays' time I go to the clinic to get my results and see how I am going. I've already done the blood screening - - I am getting all sorts of cancer markers read. It isn't quite the standard thing but I'm also part of a study and my cancer is a high risk one so I guess I get extra care! At least I don't need to have a mammo - the CT scan will probably show more and will show up any mets. I think if you squished the poor affected part at the moment, it would complain quite vociferously (or at least make me squeal like a pig - six months after surgery it is still sore on and off and I'm told it might be sore for a long time yet!). If I think too much about it, I freak cos my cancer is/was a reasonably bad one but freaking won't help me (and may make things worse) so I distract myself away from it.


I started seeing a personal trainer too - my boss likes me going along with her cos then she is forced to go an extra day per week. I thought I was going to fall off the stationary bike on Wednesday I worked so hard! But I didn't and I'm still here to tell the tale.

Knitting is going slowly. I am working on a cardigan that is worked from the top down. The yoke took a good few days to do then getting to the armpits... 322 stitches per row take a long time to knit. I'm down to 200 and something stitches now and running for the waist. I would show you pictures but despite having about 20 sets of rechargeable batteries, I umm lost the charger last week... ooops.

I've done lots of sewing, despite competing with DH for the sewing machine. Quilt tops are relatively quick to make - it is a pity that it then takes me so long to get the rest done!


The garden is going ballistic - we've had so. much. rain. Normally we get not much rain in Feb and March (and not a whole lot in January either) but in the first six weeks of this year, we've had over 160mm (over 6") compared to the usual maybe 60mm if we are lucky.


Thanks, ex Cyclones Anthony and Yasi for dumping the remains of your moisture on us! Anyway, I can't keep up with the weeds and the grass. I whipper snipped (weed whacked/strimmed) some grass in the front yard a week ago and two days ago was already over 4" tall again.

(Mmmm, homegrown corn :-)

Wish me luck in finding the battery charger. It normally lives in one particular power point but I had t0 move it to plug something else in and given how much flux there is around here at present, I'll be lucky to see it for a while...


Friday, February 04, 2011

Weather nerdery

G'day all!

What an interesting summer we are having here in Oz. I hope the subject line has told you we are not talking craft today...

Three quarters of Queensland was/is flooded.

Cyclone Anthony had a go at Perth (the only major city on the western coast of Oz).

Cyclone Yasi (category 5, not quite as big as Katrina but jeez she worked on it) hit the parts of Queensland that weren't really affected by the earlier floods.

Now Cyclone Anthony, who has devolved to just being a low pressure system has dumped well over three inches of rain on us this evening after wandering across the southern part of Australia. He's the colourful blur near the bottom of the continent.

(copyright 2011 Commonwealth of Australia, Bureau of Meteorology)
(We live down the bottom part of the Oz mainland, where the blue/green spots are. You might just be able to see a patch in the middle of the blue/green spots. That is aroundabout where Melbourne is.)

Yasi has also been downgraded and will fade away but not before she joins forces with the remains of Anthony and dumps a whole lot more rain on us. You can see her remains in the satellite picture.

We popped up to the PiLs' tonight to have an Urban Burger, not realising the horrors that awaited us. The Bureau had forecast rain and we understand rain, or so we thought. We enjoyed the burgers. About 5 minutes after we got there, it started raining. Nice big fat subtropical rain. Not the wussy temperate stuff that we know.


10 minutes later it was really starting to get a bit wet. (Excuse the crappy mobile phone pics - the light was awful)

And soon was even wetter. (I'm not admitting that Someone stood in that enormous puddle in her almost brand new shoes....)

Since it started pouring again by the time we reached the undercover comfort of the shopping centre (where we had parked our car), I chivalrously offered my PiLs the back seat of my very small car. Unusually, they were grateful to squish in there.

Driving the 600m to the PiLs' from the shopping centre was pretty traumatic. The rain was pouring so hard that the wipers were useless. The roads were a good inch deep in water (and this is on the side of quite a steep hill too) and one corner that I had to navigate (ahem!) was almost totally flooded. Jumping the five metres from the car to the verandah was a soaking experience.

We waited there for a good couple of hours whilst working out whether or not to drive home. The roads were chaotic - DH's brother and his fiancee were out near the city celebrating her dad's birthday. They drove through some pretty deep water and had to take a roundabout way home. We saw a number of cars that had conked out just on the way to the PiLs'. Driving a new(ish) car through deep water looks like a really, really stupid thing to do (not just something pretty dumb) - we saw at least one that had fried their electrics and five minutes later was still draining water out of itself.

Things seemed to have settled down by about 10:15 so we took off on our intrepid, usually 20 minute, journey in brave brave Sir Helmet. Sir Helmet did not bravely run away, or at least he took us with him as he did so. The Monash freeway was blocked off by a cop car and was chockers with cars going nowhere (we assume that the creek about 5km on had overrun its banks). The road, Springvale Road, we usually use to get home was chockers. Wellington Road had a HUGE puddle, so another couple of cop cars were blocking that off. But because we are "locals" and know other routes, we just took a different way home and had absolutely no hassles at all. We were lucky.

Since about 6pm, we've had nearly four inches of rain. Two of that probably fell in an hour as some fairly good storms rolled through. Our little bit of floodplain looks ok for the nonce. I hope others are ok too!