Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wearable Art, Radiation and Maury Povich

A week of radiation treatments are under Ross' belt. The treatment itself only takes about 11-15 minutes. 
Ross is physically feeling okay so far with it. 
I believe the stress he and I are experiencing comes not from the actual treatment, but rather from what the treatment is hopefully curing. 

I am amused by the TV channel selections in the waiting room.  The remote is fair game.   Each day this week the TV was tuned to a different station.  It was quite an eclectic array, ranging from Cable News to Maury Povich.   By the way, "Rob by a DNA score of 99.9%, YOU ARE THE FATHER!"

I bring my knitting with me and although the waiting time is not long, I still manage to get in a few rows on whatever project I happen to bring with me.   As always, the rhythmic process of stitching with string and sticks help with the stress. 

The other day I decided to go through all of my completed knitting projects.  I have them tucked here and there in various dressers drawers or on shelves stored in decorative storage boxes. 

When they were all in one place, all together, I began to question why?  How many pairs of socks do I need?  What about all of those shawls?  Why?  Don't get me started the amount of hats, scarves and cowls.

 The more I pondered the "why" of my kitting obsession,  I began to understand the answer,

I often talk about the soothing and calming feeling that knitting produces, but there is another just as compelling reason I knit.

It also satisfies my creative need.   As I looked at all of the items,  I realized I was admiring 
individual pieces of art. 

Although most of the items I make are created using a pattern written by someone else,  I chose the colors. 
I like the way color choice brings my own individuality to a project.   

It's sort of like coloring in one of those "adult" coloring books.  The picture is drawn by someone else, but you get to choose the colors.
However,  unlike the coloring book, my art is wearable.

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  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.