Weekend stuff

We had another big earthquake in California last night. We didn’t feel it here but some people in Sacramento did.  7.1 is a big quake. Scientists are saying there could be another within the week or at the least aftershocks.  We have an emergency kit in place and directions. Usually, up here it’s fires but who knows?

Mother Earth is not happy!!

Out weather continues to be quite lovely with yesterday being a little warm at 94 degrees.

I’ve been going out to the pool and floating and it’s been nice. My daughter has done a great job keeping the pool crystal clear as B can’t do it yet. Maybe by the end of summer, he’ll be able to take over.

Today, I’m going to the gym and then straight home. Not sure what I’ll do later. I started doing some knitting again and it’s a good meditative thing to do.

Next week we have 3 appts for B including the MRI for his leg.

The doctor is reducing one of his anti-rejection drugs so that’s like 6 fewer pills a day and a few others. He will be of the one anti-rejection drug completely next week. That’s a good thing!!

I need to meal plan for the week and I’d like to use a bunch of things from the freezer and do a clean out. I made homemade pizza last night and it was perfecto!! I did use my instant pot yesterday for hardboiled eggs. It is an easy way to make them for sure.

I’m in the kitchen zone next week, so I’ll start that Sunday as it is my biggest zone.

Bad Lorna!

Well it has been a month since I blogged. Christmas is a far off memory and I didn’t even wish you all a Happy New Year! 

Still I thought I would share with you all the photos of Toni and her gift. 

Left me have a taste.

Nose licking good.

Death shake!!!

I didn’t hurt her.

Another quick taste.

A better death shake!!!!

Oh.

Oh dear.

Sorry mommy. 
The tennis ball lasted about 2 minutes and is now in the bin, the rabbit was re-stuffed and sewn and is now happily residing in Toni’s toy bag. 

I’m currently struggling with my life as the “designated take care of people” person whilst simultaneously missing my brood of children. Not enough different voices in the house. 

I really must try and blog on a more regular basis. May be someone could suggest a theme.

Nostalgia anyone?

I know it has been ages. I don’t even know where the last few months have gone. We have been busy with one thing and another. We had one of Mike’s oldest friends come to stay for a couple of weeks at the end of July while he was waiting to move into his flat. We helped my middle daughter move out, so now the nest is empty, along with a small piece of my heart. 

Those of you who are pals on FB will know I have been filling my time with baking and a small amount of knitting. The baking has mostly ended up in the bin as I have yet to get out of the habit of making muffins for five children when there is only two adults and one of those hasn’t got a sweet tooth. I must have put on a stone. 

As for the knitting, well suddenly Myeloma UK announced on their FB page that they had run out of Buddies to sell and that they had got the pattern should anyone wish to knit some for them.

The Buddy family

So far I have three made, with another two awaiting stuffing. 


In true Lorna and Micky style, the whole process was not without the usual c*** ups. So keen was I to make a start that I ordered 10 balls of the prescribed colour and type on the usual auction site, only to find that I had ordered chunky by mistake. This resulted in the following being made by Mike:

Dexy Dan and friend

The above photo is actually Dexy Dan II as the first DD was sent to Wanda and Dan. Wanda took him to do a skydive for Myeloma UK, you can find her just giving page here.

Wanda and Dan are a wonderful couple who had to firstly cancel their wedding as Dan was in hospital, only to rearrange it and it took place in hospital at the end of August. Dan is at home now, I think his treatment is now purely palliative. Yet Dan is still raising funds for Myeloma UK and yesterday Wanda started another Just Giving page for Dan’s Mamba for Myeloma. This is Wanda’s FB post:





There is an awful sense of deja vu about it all. 

Apart from the Buddies I have started to knit a little something else. Whilst trying to find the wool for my production line I was seduced by a rainbow crystal kali.


Actually it wasn’t actually kali as I never could stand the stuff, what I actually bought was this:



So I am knitting a kali cardi. 


I wasn’t sure at first, but now I think it is perfect for a little girl’s Christmas present. 

The final piece of nostalgia is the news that Mike’s HB has dropped from 15.2 to 13.7 in a month. There is no denying the trend now, that sort of drop is simply not normal for Mike. 

Welcome to the breasts, balls and bone blood gang

We met at a Mindfulness course at the Maggie’s Centre in Nottingham. I will write separately about the course, what I got from it and how I use mindfulness in my life these days – that deserves a whole post to itself.

One thing I do want to mention now though was the burgeoning of a new support system and friendships with some of my fellow course participants and a renewed connection with the Maggie’s Centre, which I had not visited since I stopped receiving counselling last year.

Some of the course participants decided to continue meeting regularly to practice, support and encourage ourselves and each other in using mindfulness along our individual journeys of living with cancer, and when the time comes, dying too I guess. Some members of the group have advanced, secondary or terminal cancer diagnoses. Whatever name is used to describe their condition, they are facing the likelihood of death sooner than the rest of us.

Two of the group are Rebecca and Uwe (neither of whom have a terminal diagnosis). Uwe is an older German man, who is short and stocky, with large round glasses that give him a slightly gnome-like look, without the regulation beard. He has an endearing vulnerable quality, which people respond readily to, as have I. He is probably the most familiar with and most committed to mindfulness. We have become close friends from hours sat around the kitchen table at Maggie’s sharing and revolutionising. Bloody anarchists!

Rebecca is younger than me, intelligent, passionate, creative, interested in so many things, and talkative. Can you see why we might get along? She has had a very rocky journey through cancerville, which I won’t go into here, but suffice to say, we have a similar attitude to living, dying and how we experience and respond to what happens in between. She has also been leading the Maggie’s singing group, which is going from strength to strength.

Rebecca has recently suffered, along with but probably entirely separate from the many complications of cancer treatment, a slipped disc. She spent more than twelve hours in pain awaiting an air or road ambulance to take her to hospital three weeks ago.

While she was well-looked after during her nine night hospital stay, they messed her around terribly when she was ready to leave – around day seven. Again she had to wait unnecessarily, this time for a Senior Occupational Therapist to assess her needs for returning home. This whole issue also deserves its own post, but it’s not my story, so it won’t happen here.

Fed up and frustrated, she walked… with the aid of crutches and her husband, out of that damn place, and went home on Wednesday night. Well done Becca! Patients taking charge!

Meanwhile, back at home, using a borrowed bed in her living room and various OT appliances, she made herself as comfy as possible, but was getting increasingly bored. Time for Uwe and I to go visit a couple of Sundays ago.

Armed with a large bar of Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate, plus a Terry’s chocolate orange, we turned up to find Becca moving quite well. At one point she even went upstairs and down again, I was well-impressed.

pomander 1When I visited her in hospital a few days earlier, we had spoken about creative stuff she could do while she was stuck at home. I came up with the idea of making orange pomanders, which I make most years, but actually haven’t done so this winter, so far. So that evening, I took oranges, cloves, ribbon and little skewers and handed them out. I showed them how to get started and let them at it. Meanwhile, I knitted.

The room was cosy, the tea flowed, sometimes made by me, sometimes by Becca, there was music and ambient lighting. The atmosphere was so lovely, I felt like I’d fallen into a Victorian Christmas scene or something.

And so we chatted gently and each did our creative thing, with little pauses of quiet, then someone would speak up and we got to know each other a little bit better. It was a special time and a very unplanned period of mindfulness that just happened because we were in the right space with the right people. Thank you both for that and for allowing me tell our tale. I’m looking forward to meeting up again. Hopefully in the new year, Becca will be up and about and we can meet up at Maggie’s again and continue our mindfulness practice.

Between us, we have breast cancer, prostate cancer and myeloma… Thus breasts, balls and bone blood!

Bronchoscopy for lung GVHD

Rather than trying to find the time to catch up and do things in the correct chronological order, I’m just going to post this now. A lot of health issues have gradually come to the surface over the past few months, but then quite suddenly seem to have rushed together into ‘something’. I will write it all up, but it may be out of order. As this is current, it’s coming first.

First, a bit of background… Prior to the allogeneic stem cell transplant, I had a lung CT scan. This was to provide a baseline, so they could monitor me in the recuperation process.

lung function testThe FEV1 test consists of taking a deep breath and keep blowing, keep blowing, keep blowing out as much air as possible into a mouthpiece attached to a tube with a recording machine at the end.

The test is not deemed to be 100% reliable, as it is effort-dependent, i.e. if you’re tired then you will blow less strongly and if you’re energised, you may blow more strongly, therefore not giving a consistently reproducible and precise representation of actual lung function. So small variations are not given too much heed.

IMG_1740My baseline figure prior to transplant is not shown on this chart, but it may be that the ’2.5′ at the top of the FEV1 column reflects that initial test.

Since then, I have had regular check-ups, with unfortunately regular, yet gradual drops in lung function. After this photo were two more appointments on 7 Nov and 5 Dec. The FEV1 results for those dates were 1.65 and 1.6 respectively.

While each time I took the test, the figure has dropped, it has not been seen as critical. The difference between 2.0 and 1.95, and the difference between 1.65 and 1.6 are negligible, given the inexactitude of the test. However, the difference between 2.4 and 1.6 over one year, is a loss of a third capacity. And this has now become an issue of concern.

In October, I had had a cough/cold for about a week, so it was possible that in November, I was still getting over it in terms of recovering my lung function. I was also very tired that day, so both these aspects may have made a difference to the test results.

Nonetheless, they asked me to have a chest CT scan and come back in a month, rather than the usual three-to-four months. The CT scan would show up if there were any signs of infection, e.g. pneumonia, TB or anything else to be concerned about. The main concern is Graft versus Host Disease [GvHD], which I’m beginning to understand is not easily diagnosed, only by eliminating the other possibilities.

I had the CT scan on 27 November. It was an innocuous procedure. Fortunately no barium this time, just lying on the moving bench and having to take and hold breaths from time to time. It was over in about 20 minutes.

On 5 December, I saw Dr James Donaldson, and the results of the scan – they showed nothing serious. However, as the FEV1 results that day showed I was now down to 1.6, clearly there had been no improvement from the previous visit. James suggested that I came back in two weeks, but said he would check with the clinic head, Dr Andrew Fogarty after I’d left, to seek his opinion on how to proceed.

A short while later, at the Transplant clinic, James called me to say that Andrew Fogarty wanted me to have a bronchoscopy at this point, rather than wait a further two weeks. An appointment was made for Tue 17 December @ 3:15pm.

Meanwhile, away from clinic… At some point in November/December, I began to notice feeling breathless on slight exertion. If I dashed upstairs or if I was talking excitedly, or talking while I walked, I’d have to catch my breath. Fortunately I rarely have to run for a bus these days. I had also developed a slight dry cough – just occasionally during the day, with no phlegm. It was only at this appointment in December that I really recognised they were happening. Sometimes things just creep up so slowly, you barely notice. This is now part of my daily reality, but fortunately, as yet doesn’t impact too much on my activities.

The bronchoscopy was to be done under sedation. The literature said I needed to arrange for someone to collect me and take me home. It also said that someone should stay with me for 12 hours after the procedure, which would mean someone staying overnight. For some mad reason, I chose to understand that this was advisory rather than mandatory.

I live alone, so I put out a request on Facebook for anyone who was willing to take and collect me. Sharron, whom I’ve befriended recently at Maggie’s, stepped up, happy to chauffeur me. In fact I was also able to help her as she had an interview beforehand near where I live, so I could accompany her and use my disabled parking badge for her to park. It felt like a win-win reciprocal arrangement. I like those!

Arriving at the Endoscopy unit at 3:15, I waited a while before being seen by a nurse to complete the consent documents, around 3:45. It was at this point that I mentioned not having anyone to stay with me. She was very down-to-earth about it and said that on a personal level, she could see that I was sensible and would undoubtedly be fine, but on a professional level, she would not be happy to proceed and nor would the consultant.

What to do? I had a few choices… I could re-arrange it for another day, I could ask Sharron to stay over or see if I could find someone else who would, or I could try having the procedure without sedation. Theresa seemed to think that I’d be fine, that the sedation is not about managing pain, but the anxiety of having a tube stuck up your nose and down your throat.

I agreed to give it a go, on the condition that if I couldn’t tolerate it, they would stop and we could rearrange. And then I waited, and I waited, and I waited, on uncomfortable narrow flip-up seats, not much better than at a bus stop. I did have a nice chat with a woman who was also waiting and was much more nervous than me, so keeping her occupied and calm passed the time and I think was beneficial for her too. Nice little aside – she used to live near the church in the old part of the village where I live.

Meanwhile, it was now almost 5:00pm and I hadn’t even been called in to the treatment room. The doctors are supposed to finish at 6:00. I hadn’t eaten anything all day as the instructions said no food for six hours prior to the procedure. I only woke at 9am. I hadn’t drunk anything since 1:00pm, for similar reasons. Strangely enough, I wasn’t annoyed or irritated, I just became very logical and assertive. I thought, this isn’t working, so I got up and left.

I was able to rearrange the appointment for Thursday 19 December @ 8:45am. It would mean an unusually early start for me, but no one would need to stay overnight, just until 10-ish at night. I would have to find someone to take me into the hospital, but Sharron was quite happy to take me home and spend the evening with me. Again, I put out a request on Facebook and another friend, Sandy (who also writes a blog) stepped up and agreed to take me in.

I’m so pleased with myself for daring to ask for help and being willing to accept it gladly. For someone who has spent most of her adult life often choosing not to ask for help for fear of resounding rejection, resulting in having to be resolutely independent, this is a big step in my inner journey.

They say “Be Strong enough to stand alone, Smart enough to know when you need help and Brave enough to ask for it when you do.” I’m happy to say that this experience was a success in that regard.

IMG_2803Thursday went much more smoothly. Firstly, I wore my new red boots from Barcelona. These super-power boots would get me through today, don’t you think? Because we all need super powers from time to time. Happily, I didn’t have to wait too long. I chose to wait in the waiting area at Reception, on comfortable chairs. I felt calm sitting in the early morning sunlight pouring through the window, knitting in fact. How mindful is that?

The procedure was fully explained to me. A tube would be passed through my nose and down my throat into my lungs. The tube is about the thickness of a ball pen, but a lot more flexible, with a camera on the end. In the treatment room was a screen to see what the camera shows. I knew from a previous colonoscopy that I would not be aware of anything at all. So sadly any curiosity I had about my insides would have to remain. They also told me they would do a lavage, where they squirt fluid into the lungs and then remove it to then try to grow cultures (bacterial, viral and fungal) in order to diagnose potential infection.

The only slight complication was cannulating me. They had to try four times before succeeding. We were close to me popping next door to Haematology to get them to do it, but fortunately the last attempt was successful. The problem with not eating and drinking is that one dehydrates and that makes it harder to find a vein. Mine are difficult enough without any further hindrance. But I have to say, they were some of the least painful attempts to cannulate me ever. And they were such a caring, communicative team of doctors and nurses, I felt very safe, respected and cared for. So a big thank you to Dr Amy Binnion and her team.

All I knew about it once they’d managed to cannulate me, was a dose of sedative, followed by an unpleasant shot of liquid local anaesthetic up my nostrils and I think a further dose of sedative into the cannula. That was it. I was out of it. I always react very sensitively to any kind of anaesthetic.

IMG_2807The next thing I knew I was waking and dozing on a trolley on and off for a few hours. And then it was time to get up, have a drink and a biscuit and ask Sharron to come and walk me over to Maggie’s where she had a yoga class. I hung out chatting in the kitchen with volunteers and other centre users. It’s such a warm friendly space to spend time and not have to do anything.

Later we went home and I cooked dinner while Sharron had some quiet time knitting and enjoying the carnations I’d bought the day before. She tried feebly to complain that she was supposed to be looking after me, but I wasn’t having it. I think she’d been more worried about me than I was, so it was her turn for a rest.

I was fine and it was nice to give something back. I just needed someone with me, ‘in case’. Fortunately, there was no ‘in case’ and we had a lovely evening eating Quorn spaghetti bolognese, with a wee glass of cream sherry and chatting till the cows went home, which after 10:00pm, Sharron did too. And no, this scenario didn’t happen. All in all, it was a really good day! How weird is that?

945838_10202487025114224_1952159590_n (2)

The Cancer Research UK website is simple and clear in its information around Graft versus Host Disease. This is what they have to say about chronic lung GvHD:You may be short of breath and wheeze when you breathe. You may also have a persistent cough, and be more prone to chest infections.” And about chronic GvHD generally: “The length of time chronic GVHD lasts varies… The average length of time to have chronic GVHD is between 1 and 3 years.”

I will be back at Dr Fogarty’s clinic on Thu 2 January to see if they’ve managed to grow any bacterial, viral or fungal cultures from the lavage. If so, then I will probably have to take tablets, but if not then I think they will confirm Graft versus Host Disease in my lungs. What they will want to do about it, I have no idea. More steroids perhaps?

18 month post-transplant review

IMG_2306Today is 18 months to the day after my allogeneic transplant. It’s my 18-month-iversary!

I’m alive, pretty well for the most part, looking and feeling good. So today is worthy of a celebration, although it is more of a quiet nod of acknowledgment than a champagne party.

Here’s a review of my current health status:

  • The myeloma is in remission. Hurray!
  • I still have 100% chimerism. Hurray!
  • All blood counts are within normal range (apart from slightly raised eosinophils, which can be indicative of Graft versus Host Disease, so no-one is concerned about them)
  • Graft versus Host Disease [GvHD] continues to make my mouth dry, tight and sensitive. No treatment has worked, I still cannot cope with spicy or hot foods/drinks. Either it has slightly improved or I have adapted to it. It doesn’t bother me as much as it did previously.
  • GvHD, in combination with being post-menopausal, also continues to make my vagina dry, tight and sensitive. I get some benefit from using Vagifem oestrogen pessaries, but mostly I just live with it.
  • I had two smear tests. The first attempt was very painful, I bled and they didn’t manage to collect sufficient cells, so it had to be redone three months later. That was slightly less painful, with no bleeding and a successful collection. The result was clear. Hurray!
  • I have had a successful mammogram. All clear. Hurray!
  • For over six months, I have been experiencing tightness and loss of flexibility in my muscles, most noticeable in my legs and arms, but also affecting fingers and other muscles. It has been investigated, with no clear outcome. My consultant is now willing to consider that GvHD may be the cause (which is what I had said all along). I will write about this in more detail in another post.
  • I am seeing a Physiotherapist to help with the muscle problem but I’m not impressed so far. He has never come across these particular symptoms before, so he has given me a sheet of generic exercises to do daily, but I’ve only done them once. I don’t believe they will make any difference.
  • A recent MRI scan showed some deterioration of my T12, L1, L2 and L3 spinal vertebrae, most of which was evident in the skeletal survey carried out on diagnosis in 2011. A bone density scan was recommended however to check for osteoporosis. I’ve had the scan, but not seen the results yet.
  • I have completed the full course of Zometa (bone strengthener). Over two years, I’ve had eight four-weekly infusions, then eight eight-weekly infusions. After that, the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw [ONJ] is deemed too high to continue taking the bisphosphonate medication.
  • Slightly more worryingly, my lung function has decreased over the past months, since the transplant. A CT scan has been requested to see if there is any lung damage caused by GvHD. The loss of lung function could just be residual effects from a recent cold virus. If it is GvHD, there is no treatment. It usually remains at the decreased level, but is unlikely to get worse.
  • As well as muscle tightness, I have recently been experiencing aching knee and elbow joints, particularly at night and on waking. This is very new and I haven’t mentioned it to a consultant yet.
  • I experience fatigue on a daily basis, usually feeling sleepy around 4-6pm, finding it difficult to do much in the evening, often sleeping for up to ten hours a night and finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. It doesn’t really stop me from doing things I want to do, but perhaps it should…?
  • your brain after chemoOn top of the fatigue is chemo brain: short-term memory loss, inability to retrieve words, almost impossible to multi-task, short attention span, difficulty concentrating and reading, etc. I’m reading (or trying to read) a book to help me manage it. More on this subject in another post.
  • I am still taking anti-depressants. I weaned off them in the summer, but began experiencing anxiety again, so after discussion with my GP, I recommenced taking them. I now feel emotionally stable and will continue taking them for a while yet.
  • After all the excitement over sleep apnoea/UARS mentioned in previous posts, I don’t use the CPAP machine absolutely every night, as it still annoys/upsets me. However I do use it if I’m sharing a room, out of courtesy.
  • At an optician’s appointment, I found out that my eyes watering, which I thought was due to tiredness and fatigue, is actually a condition called dry eye. It is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. It is a common problem with age, although it can also be a side effect of taking Fluoxetine. Treatment is with an Eyebag and lubricant eye drops. I will write about the dry eye story in more detail in another post.
  • Weird side effect of who-knows-which-bit-of-treatment is that my nose always runs whenever I eat, hot and cold food alike. I don’t have a cold or an allergy… just a runny nose!
  • IMG_2623Daily, the prescribed drugs I take are Penicillin, Aciclovir and Fluoxetine. I add Menopace, a menopause vitamin supplement and have just started taking Omega-7 to help with the dry eye. According to the blurb, it may also help the mucous membranes of my mouth and vagina. I’ll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, I love how the added orangey-red capsules make my tablet boxes a lot more colourful.

And a quick review of my current activities:

  • Tai Chi classes continue twice a week and I now assist the teacher with a new beginners’ class
  • Volunteering for Citizens’ Eye Derby continues
  • Following a Mindfulness course at the Nottingham Maggie’s Centre, a few of us continue meeting weekly or fortnightly to support our mindfulness practice
  • I have started swimming once a week with a friend, usually doing a minimum of 30 lengths (half a mile)
  • I recently participated in a Playback Theatre UK annual gathering and am looking forward to further training and workshops
  • IMG_2614Having relearned to knit, I have begun a new project to make handwarmers – photos will follow when completed
  • I proudly write a four-weekly column for the Nottingham Post newspaper and am looking for other writing opportunities to earn an income.
  • I have my fingers in a few exciting, creative project pies, which are in various stages of coming into being. Life is exciting!
  • I am not blogging much, which I miss, but somehow don’t find time, energy or head space to write, even though I have lots to share.

So, there we are then. Not the most riveting of posts, but I wanted to mark the day with an update, as much a record for myself as anything. I need to publish it now as it’s way past midnight and my anniversary is over. Roll on two years! Then I might have a more lively celebration.

In the meantime, I hope I can blog a bit more frequently. Any hints or tips on how to keep up with blogging regularly will be warmly welcomed.

Happy Valentine’s Day, I think.

Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers. I hope you are all feeling loved today, whether by a sweetheart or by friends and family.  

Traditionally the day is for lovers and secret admirers, a day when you can express your true feelings without embarrassment. Today as we all know it is a bit too commercial, flowers that you could buy last week for £5 cost £15 today. Oh well. 

Obviously it is a day for giving out love as well as receiving and so Mike has hit the jackpot. Laid up in bed with a very nasty chest infection it isn’t going to be a day of champagne and chocolates or even a card, instead he has me waiting on him hand and foot (where does that expression come from?) while he doesn’t even know what day it is. 

I shall have to keep myself occupied with giving out more love with a project that would have had Paula reaching for her stash, and probably having completed a dozen by now. As some of you might already know if you read Deb B.’s blog, she had the idea of donating hand knitted or crocheted hats to cancer patients at her local hospital and hopefully further afield. 

Off to tend to my patient. Spread the love people. 

It’s a glum bum day

I was intending to share the whole peritoneal dialysis fluid exchange procedure today – I mean it may come in handy one day – there could a question in a quiz – if it involves a lot of money though remember where you read the answer!

Instead though I decided to do a crafty post to brighten me up as the weather, Bud and my mood turned glum as the day went on.  Actually with me it’s more tired and has nothing at all to do with a late night and early morning!  With the weather it started all bright, sunny and quite warm this morning (as evidenced by no coat needed when Bud pressured me into taking him for a wander in the wood) but by lunch time it was bucketing it down and all gloomy.  With Bud its the fact that B didn’t take him for his regular walk – due to the weather!  In fact it was Bud’s expression when he realised he wasn’t getting a proper trip out that made me think of the word glum – he sat there with the most pathetic look on his face and looked a right ‘glum bum’.

I needed a quick baby pattern to knit for one of the ward nurses who was leaving to have a baby – funnily enough.  As I’d got some aran weight cotton in I decided to give Trellis another go. I altered one of the cable patterns into a more conventional four stitch cable rather than a travelling twisted stitch…

and repeated the cable on the hat with moss stitch in between.

It got Cairngorm Reindeer Herd buttons – I don’t know what I’m going to do when these run out.

The whole cardigan is knit on 4.5 mm needles with no increases once past the ‘rib’ but this results in the following…

so on the fronts and sleeves I reduced the cast on stitches only by two or three and then put then back before I started cabling and this sorted out the wibble.

I’ve also finished my latest bits and pieces afghan which turned out a ‘bit’ bigger than I was aiming for at 84 cm x 152 cm (33″ x 60″).

That photo doesn’t really do it justice so here’s some others…

Chris, the friend who was partly responsible for my late night yesterday, said the pink and blue centred rectangle above was her favourite or wait, was it the purple and purple one?  I don’t know now – she liked a lot of them.  What we both liked though was how using the yarn like this enabled colours that you wouldn’t necessarily put together to work – well we thought so.

I had thought this would use up all my outstanding ‘bits and pieces’ and I could bin the remnants but I still have too many to throw away with a clear conscience.  Since I need a trip to The Knitting Centre before I can start the next batch of things I’m making I started another blanket to use up absolutely all of them.

I’m doing a single alternating row of four different colours (if that makes sense) and intend to just carry on until each colour runs out and then add in another one.

As you can see it results in a lovely tangle of wool – me no likey that at all.

Now although this way of doing things should also let me put all sorts of colour combinations together I think this one may be too BRIGHT.

And it’s not even my Myeloma UK Myeloma Buddy orange – this one is nearly flourescent – I’d love to know what the rest of the ball made.

Now I need to get an early night as I have my big day out tomorrow.  B said to me before ‘Will you be taking your anti sickness tablets?’  I said ‘Yes’.  Then he said ‘What about anti ageing ones?’ I said something that can’t be repeated in polite company.

Getting immoral with rumps

I think I may have done something, if not illegal, then certainly immoral with some rump steak – I made steak and onions.  Now this may be perfectly acceptable with some high folotting celebrity chef but I was brought up to make steak and onions, hotpot and such like with stewing steak and as it seems to be labelled now braising steak.

B had asked constantly today what I wanted for my tea and I had absolutely no idea.  Well okay, it was probably about twice but seemed a lot more.  At lunch he started to suggest things and at the point where he said soup I had to say ‘I think you should stop mentioning food or I’m gonna throw up’.  Later in the afternoon he nipped out for some milk and wanted to know again – but although I don’t feel queasy all the time I don ’t feel particularly like eating.  B asked should he get some bread but the thought of bread turned my stomach at the time – indeed yesterday I made up some barm cakes for B but had some Ryvitas myself – just as well really since it turned out the barm cakes I’d used had a use by date of the 28th!

So tea time-ish today I went into the kitchen and looked at the rump steak in the fridge and thought ‘I couldn’t eat that fried but I could eat it in steak and onions’ so that’s what I did with it – I have to admit without chopping it into smaller pieces – I just wopped it in a pan to brown and then covered it with stock – chicken as we were out of beef.  B peeled the potatoes and we had it with mash and what I managed to eat stayed down unlike Sunday’s cottage pie.

It was, in B’s opinion, excellent.  He wasn’t being immodest as he hadn’t made it.  I decided to tackle the mince meat while B was out walking with Bud.  I donned a pair of disposable gloves and tackled the carrots and onion – better safe than sorry on the bacteria front.  B again peeled the potatoes for the topping and I remembered to do some veg to accompany it, unlike tonight’s meal.  I was enjoying it when suddenly I felt the urge to hurl and B passed me the poop bag lined sick bowl that’s stowed at the side of the settee just in time.  I did manage to finish off what was on my plate once I’d been sick.

Buddy has a reaction to seeing a sick bowl – he gets all anxious.  In this instance B passed me the bowl and before I’d even ejected the cottage pie Bud was up off his mat and over near the curtains looking at me funny.  I think it’s because his reaction is to come check I’m okay but it results in B telling him to get on his mat and when he doesn’t do it immediately B gets louder while I try and slope off to the stairs so I’m not throwing up in front of B while he’s trying to finish his food.   So it’s got to the point where I just have to move a sick bowl and Bud reacts.

Other than being a bit off my food I’ve still felt reasonably alright.  I have felt particularly tired today and didn’t go to armchair yoga this afternoon as I just didn’t have the energy/enthusiasm.  It had taken me the best part of an hour to go upstairs to set up the printer to work wirelessly – and in fact must have been fatigued as I didn’t even have the energy to threaten the netbook/printer when it didn’t work straight away.

I’ve also been a bit bunged up.  I thought that once I was home I’d start being regular again – isn’t this a lovely subject?  It was so hard to go in the Royal especially on the toilet I ended up using from my cupboard.  More people walked past the door than go through Heathrow in the length of a day.  Plus at Heathrow you don’t get people stood outside with drip machines beeping while you’re trying to ‘concentrate’.  I think I’ve taken enough laxatives to clear out a rhino but obviously need to increase them to take care of an elephant.  I wouldn’t usually be too concerned but in light of the need to go really regularly with the peritoneal dialysis I thought I better act sooner rather than later, particularly as the fluid I drained first thing this morning was a bit low which can be caused by constipation.

Meanwhile, although I really haven’t done anything today, I have previously finished off some things I did during my recent stay at the Royal.

I’ve added buttons to the aran jacket…

Sewn the ends in on the baby blanket made in the same aran (worsted) weight yarn…

Again this is from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans.

Sorted out the ends on a granny square afghan for the crèche/hospital in South Africa at one of our GP’s receptionist’s husbands is involved with…

and cracked on with the other one I started…

I am really liking this and think the cream round the two centre squares and then again round the resulting rectangles ties it all together nicely.  I think I need to add nine more rectangles to get it to an acceptable size – which should just about clear all the tiny balls of double knitting yarn that I have left or have been given.  This is just as well as I need more storage in my sewing room for all my new peritoneal dialysis stuff.  I mean I do have room but I wanted to tidy hide as much of it away as possible so that the back room doesn’t make it look like there’s someone sick in the house!

I’m all out of wool, I’m so lost without it

and I’d run out of cream which was going to be my edging colour for both the inner squares and the outer rectangles.  So under duress he brought me a new 400g ball of cream aran, a pair of 4.5 mm knitting needles and the substitute cable needle.

I had found a lovely little jacket pattern at knitty.com –

I also tracked down a hat pattern at sweaterbabe.com – Cable Baby Beanie – and altered the rib to moss stitch and changed the cable stitch to match the one on the cardy.  After B brought me a darning needle in this afternoon, they both now look like this…

Needless to say finishing things off seems to usually take ages but it’s now done and I have nothing crafty to do.  I knew I should have pressed B to bring me something else in addition to the darning needle – he didn’t even want to bring me that suggesting I might prefer to ‘Have a rest’.

Now I’m not saying I’m easily bored – oh wait, yes I am actually.  Yesterday I changed my own bed – and not because I’d had a boo boo I’ll have you know.  I was about to remind the Health Care Assistants when I thought ‘What’s stopping me doing it?’  The answer was nothing and it made a change since B changes the bed at home because the bending starts my back off however with the benefit of an adjustable bed no bending was required.  I also assisted today – well I’m going with ‘assisted’ but ‘hindered’ is probably a better description.

One of the registrars called in this afternoon and asked whether Prof had said if I could go home after the chemotherapy had finished or if we needed to wait until my counts went back up before I got released.  As it turned out I got disconnected while B was here and if I’d thought on I could have pushed to go home then!  Just kidding!!! B wouldn’t have gone for it and the nurse I said it in front of thought that that was being a bit too keen – plus although B has cleaned the bathroom today he still apparently needs to wash the bed sheets.

I forgot to mention that I’m concerned that Prof knows me too well.  As I’ve said me and the steriod Dexamethasone don’t mix well so when I got my first dose last Thursday and it was the same as last time I queried it as Prof said we’d look at reducing the amount.  The nurse said she’d ask about it and shortly after Prof and one of the junior docs arrived and he informed her, to her surprise and the surprise of the nearby nurse and subsequent visiting registrar, that in view of my extreme reaction to Dex it was up to me how much I took.  There I was all geared up for putting my case across for taking less than suggested or in fact none at all and I ended up with free reign.  Prof’s method actually worked like a charm and I had to give proper consideration to the amount I wanted to take and felt I had to take some as I’d been entrusted with a completely voluntary decision and indeed when the registrar suggested that I might want to consider taking 6 mg instead of 4 mg I immediately wanted to say ‘No way’ even though I’d thought this myself.

Other Creative Spaces can be found here – at least I’ll have plenty of time in the morning to do some serious looking at other craftiness.