Saturday, May 18, 2019

Forty-Five Minutes Closer

Finally!  Finally!  Ross starts his radiation treatments on Monday, May 20th. 

His radiation schedule was set for 9:30 a.m. Monday-Friday,  for all of the 45 treatments.   We got a call on Thursday from the woman in charge of scheduling appointments to let us know that they had to change the time of the appointment from 9:30 to 10:15.

I am a little bothered by the reason for the time change.  The radiation center is replacing one of their machines.  So they are down to only one machine. 
"Hopefully, the new machine will be online soon," said the scheduling setting lady.

Ross was diagnosed with Prostate cancer on January 31.  Part of his treatment is a medication that he has had to take daily for the last 3 months before he can start radiation. 
While we logically understand medication is part of the treatment, psychologically and emotionally it feels like radiation is the "real" treatment. 

While a forty-five minute time change may not seem to be significant,  for us it "feels" that we've been waiting to start the "real" treatment to begin since the end of January. 

So for the scheduling lady, the nurses, the doctors, and the technicians who work at the center I'm sure a forty-five minute delay for a cancer patient to get his first radiation treatment is insignificant, but for us it represents "FORTY-FIVE MINUTES" closer to Ross getting well. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Secret Shawl Society Four

One of the knit pattern designers I love is "Helen Stewart".  Her patterns are well written with clear instructions.
I believe she has trademarked her method of pattern writing.

Included with each of her patterns is a row by row check off sheet.

It looks something like this,
When working on a complex pattern which contain many rows, with different sets of design stitches across each row, it is helpful for the knitter to have a checkoff sheet to keep track of progress and to have a place keeper for where you are in the pattern.  It's also beneficial to know how many stitches you should wind up with at the end of row.
Many designers do not do that.

Helen makes sure she keeps her customers engaged by coming out with groups of patterns a few times a year.  She encourages her followers to join in and knit a pattern together as a group.

One of her signature pattern groups is something she calls "The Secret Shawl Society". (or TSSS)  This is the fourth year for TSSS and the second time I am participating.
When you join in, you basically pre-order a set of six shawl patterns.   The patterns are released one at a time during the next six months.

The first pattern of the TSSS4 was released today.   It is called "Sea Gleam".  Here is Helen wearing hers:



I am going to start on this one today.  The yarn I have chosen is by the "indie" yarn dyer "Shirsty Cat Designs"


When the shawl is finished I will have 427 stitches on my needles.  If you are not a knitter, I'll just tell you that is a LOT of stitches!

I have one other knitting project going at the moment.  It's a pair of socks for Ross.  I have the first one done and the second one is on the needles.   I'll probably go back and forth now between the "Sea Gleam" and Ross' sock. 

Socks For Ross

Perhaps I will document my progress with a weekly status update.

Well, on with my day!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day - A Nice Day Indeed

Mother's Day 2019

Holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, family vacations and the like are times when we gather together to celebrate our connections. 

In a recent post, Debbie, from "My Morning Cup of Coffee" captured my feelings so well about these times:    "You never really get over losing a child but if you want to have a good life, you must have a place for your grief to go. I bring it out, on anniversary days, holidays, etc. (sometimes)

They are the times when we send and receive messages of "thoughts and prayers".  It's as if these are the days when it's acceptable to acknowledge our grief.

For me, like Debbie,  the grief is always there, but "it's put away" on "normal" days.  It's true what "they" say.  Life goes on.

Mother's Day in particular is a tricky one to navigate.   It's likely filled with ranges of emotions for a great many people. 

I noticed it on Facebook and Instagram posts.  Along with the day's pictures of mom and her favorite child 😉 captioned with messages to "the best mom in the world", there were also many photos of moms and grandmothers who have passed on.   Lots of all inclusive well wishes for moms, stepmoms, "like a mother to me" moms and fur-baby moms. 

In the quiet time of the morning, I thought about Joe.  I imagined him smiling as he walked through the door with Anne and Domani, and perhaps another little one. 

And then it was time to begin to get ready for Jen, Derek, Bella, Ryan and Jackson's visit. 
Distracted by the busy-ness of the hustle and bustle of getting the house straightened and the table set, I "put my grief away".

What a wonderful visit we had.  The grandkids walked in each holding flowers and cards, followed with hugs and "Happy Mother's day greetings. 

The food was delicious, especially since I let "Naples Italian Restaurant" do the cooking. 😋


I smiled a lot, giggled at Jackson's antics and laughed at Bella's spot on imitation of the way her father always laments that he ate too much.

Jackson, who is 5, fancies himself to be a future YouTube star.  I made a "produced" video for him, emceed by his brother Ryan and starring himself.   I hear he liked it. 😉

My son Jimmy called to wish me "Happy Mother's Day".  He called from England where he was on a trip attending a fitness expo. 

Anne, Domani and I shared Mother's Day via Facetime. 

And how lucky am I to be Joe's Ma'. 

It was a nice day, a nice day indeed. 




Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hope Comes to Those Who Wait

Yesterday was the set-up prep day for Ross' radiation treatments.  We have both been anxious to get started with this.
Our appointment was scheduled for 9:00.am  I don't think Ross slept much the night before.  He unnecessarily had his alarm set.  We were both awake by 5:00.
The radiation center is about 25 miles from where we live.  The route is heavily trafficked.  So, even though GPS said it would take 27 minutes to get there, we left at 8:00.
The GPS wasn't too far off.  We arrived at 8:30.
For me, waiting in any medical type facility is stressful and makes me anxious. 



There is something about being in a place where "cancer" is the host.   It stands at the entrance watching for you.  It accompanies you in with its heavy hand on your shoulder.   It hovers over the room observing each of us to see which one it will descend upon, picking the most vulnerable to its ugly whispers of doubt. 

While Ross checks in with reception, I settle in, claiming my spot in the corner, knitting in my lap,  I begin to glance around the room. 
My eyes rest on the other couple across the way, waiting their turn to do battle.  I could tell he is the one cancer has chosen.  He looks tired.  She has her arm around him, rubbing his back. She says something to him which makes them both smile.  

A large bald man enters the room and hurriedly strides up to the desk to check in.  It seems as though this is just a brief stop for him before he is on the way to do important stuff.   It's a mere gnat of an imposition he has to brush away before he begins the real business of his day.   He takes his seat in the back of the room, pulls out his phone and busily scrolls through his, what I assume to be, appointments. 

Ross says something to me, I turn to him.  "What was that?" I ask.  He hands me his coffee mug and follows the nurse through the door.  

I look at my watch, it's 9:11.   The TV is loud.  No one seems to be watching.  

An elderly Asian man and his son come into the room.  He finds a seat for his father and then checks in at the reception window.  He is handed a stack of papers.  He sits next to his father to help fill them out.   I can slightly hear their voices.  They are speaking their native language. 

Ebbing and flowing, the room fills and empties.  Most who enter, look neither right or left but are solely focused on the check in window and which seat they will choose.  
Those who are there alone are looking at their phones.  Others who are in pairs are sitting quietly, now and then speaking in hushed tones to each other. 

As I look around the room,  I begin to notice something.  I've experienced this feeling before on each of the too many times I've been here.   It is the inspiring sense of hope in the room which is palpable.  It permeates the air with a sweet scent. 

Cancer may have greeted these people at the door, greedily waiting to feed on their fears but when they leave that "cancer" room they are standing taller, having had one more treatment towards kicking cancer out of their lives.  And, almost always, when they leave for the day, they catch the eye of one who is still waiting.  With a little wave, they nod and smile as if to say, you, we, are going to be okay. 

I pick up my knitting.  A sock.  Knit 30 stitches, come to the end.  Turn.  Knit 30 stitches, come to the end.  Turn.  Repeat this mantra until numb.




Ross starts his real treatments on May 20.  Five days a week for 9 weeks.  We are going to be okay. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A to Z 2019 Blogger Challenge - The Letter Z - Finished With Zeal

I will be posting six days a week for the month of April - (with a rest day on Sunday).
Each post will begin with the corresponding letter of the alphabet beginning with A and finishing with the letter Z.

I began participating in this challenge in 2012.   With the exception of last year, I believe I completed the challenge each year.   Last year I lost steam somewhere around the letter W.  

Zip-pity Do Da! I made it!!!!






Zeal


First of all I am giving myself a 👍 for finishing the 2019 A to Z blogger challenge. 

This year's challenge has been the easiest one for me.  I approached it with more of a new found zeal than in years past.   I believe one of the reasons for this is the fact that after being away from my blog for many months, I had only recently come back to writing again.
I did write and schedule 5 posts a few days before April 1.  This gave me a bit of a head start. 
In years past, the number of views and comments was a priority for me.  When there were only a small number of views and comments, I became discouraged and disappointed.  I think that's why I didn't finish the challenge last year. 
While this year I absolutely appreciated the loyal readers who came each day, and those who commented,  I cared more about who was reading and commenting rather than how many were.  
I must give a shout out to two lovely women in particular.   They each visited my blog every day and also left a comment on every post. Their visits and comments were a huge encouragement for me to finish the challenge.  
Thank you to Betty.  Her blog is "A Bench With A View".
Thank you to Liz.  Her blog is "Laws of Gravity".

I am excited that my new found zeal will carry on and inspire me to keep on writing.




A big thank you to the team of AtoZ organizers!

Arlee Bird (founder)
Blog: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/
@ArleeBird


J Lenni Dorner (team captain)
Blog: http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/
@JLenniDorner
 
 
Zalka Csenge
Blog: http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com/
@TarkabarkaHolgy
 
 

John Holton
Blog: https://thesoundofonehandtyping.wordpress.com/
@onehandtyping 


Jayden R Vincente (Google forms)
Blog: https://jrvincente.wordpress.com
@JRVincente
 

Jeremy Hawkins (graphics)
Blog: http://www.beingretro.com/
@iZombieJMH










Monday, April 29, 2019

A to Z 2019 April Blogger Challenge - The Letter Y - Yearly

I will be posting six days a week for the month of April - (with a rest day on Sunday).
Each post will begin with the corresponding letter of the alphabet beginning with A and finishing with the letter Z.

I began participating in this challenge in 2012.   With the exception of last year, I believe I completed the challenge each year.   Last year I lost steam somewhere around the letter W.



Yearly

I have mentioned in my previous posts that I host a YouTube podcast called Joey's Scarf.  The main themes are knitting, crochet and yarn.   The podcast name is in honor of my son Joe.  Joe passed away from colon cancer in 2011.
I started the podcast in January of 2017.  On an episode in February of that year I asked followers of my podcast to join me in knitting or crocheting something in honor of someone they lost.  Or perhaps they would want to create an item for someone they care about.
Personally, when I am making something for a specific person, I am thinking about that person while I am knitting or crocheting.    
I asked the participants to share what they were making, who they were making it for and why.
I explained that on the anniversary of Joe's birth, April 4th, I would randomly select someone from the group and send that person a gift of appreciation. 
Beside me there were six others who joined me.  The stories from each one touched my heart.  The items they made were beautiful. 
One of the women had just lost her daughter to cancer.  Even though we are thousands of miles apart, we made a connection and continue to keep in touch through social media.
That first year I decided to send each of the woman a little something to show my appreciation.  Their participation was a comfort to me, especially at that time of the year, near Joe's birthday. 

This has become an annual event.  April 4, 2019 was the completion of the third one.  Some of the same women have participated each year,  as well as a couple of new people.   I continue to appreciate the sometimes heartbreaking and but always heartfelt experiences that have been shared with me each time.



Saturday, April 27, 2019

A to Z 2019 April Blogger Challenge The Letter X - Can You Hear Me Now

I will be posting six days a week for the month of April - (with a rest day on Sunday).
Each post will begin with the corresponding letter of the alphabet beginning with A and finishing with the letter Z.

I began participating in this challenge in 2012.   With the exception of last year, I believe I completed the challenge each year.   Last year I lost steam somewhere around the letter W.






eXam 

I know it's a bit of a cheat, but you don't mind do you?

On Tuesday I have an appointment to have a hearing exam.
I've had several indications that I am experiencing hearing loss.
One of the first is me having to ask others to repeat themselves.
Then there are the times I have to turn on "closed caption" on the TV.  Usually that is necessary when I am watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime. For some reason the sound isn't as clear on those streaming apps.
Ross' hearing is better than mine.  He always hears when "The Godfather" theme is playing on my phone letting me know I have a message.   I don't hear it unless the phone is sitting right next to me.
I suppose for those reasons alone, it makes sense for me to have my hearing checked.
But, that's not the primary reason I am going for the exam. 
In the past few month or so I have developed something called Tinnitus.
I have read that it is common as people age.

"Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder."

My Tinnitus sounds like the sound you hear when you put a sea shell up to your ears.  It's constant and at times distressful.

Most times I am distracted from it.  That is when I am watching TV, listening to a book, or having a conversation.

I'm not sure what answers I will get on Tuesday.   I wonder if I will pass the exam.