Feeling crafty

It has been nearly a year since I’ve had the desire to create anything. I spent the past week trying my hand at embroidery (something I haven’t done in about three years) because I didn’t really have anything else available. D got really excited about the embroidery and expressed her interest in learning! I was a proud mama and I purchased a little cross-stitch kit for her yesterday. My other purchases included enough fabric to finish the top for the picnic quilt that I had started last year and the materials for a baby/lap quilt. I’m very excited to be creating again. I hope to have pictures of finished projects soon.


On depression, illness, and taking things for granted

It’s amazing how much we take for granted.  From our loved ones to civil liberties, we rarely take the time to appreciate what we have and what we are able to do.  That’s one of the few things that I can thank my cancer for.  It taught me to take a breath and appreciate…well, life.

I’ve been dealing with pain and fatigue for so long that I forgot how rewarding it was to take care of myself.  Sometime Tuesday evening, shortly after my bloody steak dinner, I got this huge burst of energy and it hasn’t left me yet.  I finally started cooking again and I started organizing cabinets (insert OCD jokes here) and washing dishes and doing laundry.  I know that doesn’t seem like much, and they’re chores that I used to loathe, but for now I appreciate the simple fact that I’m able to do them.

I’ve been so depressed lately and a large part of it stems from the fact that I feel so damned useless.  I know that it’s irrational.  I’m legitimately sick and chronic pain is no joke.  I know that nobody blames me when I’m unable to keep up with dishes and laundry.  But as a SAHM, I feel as though it’s my job to keep the house tidy and such.  It’s all a slippery slope.  I feel sick and the pain gets debilitating so I take time to rest.  The house starts to fall apart because P can’t possibly keep up with it all, and I get grumpy because I hate living in a mess.  I feel guilty for not doing my part, which contributes to my grouchiness.  Cue depression.  Like I said, slippery slope.  It sucks.

Now that I have some energy, I’m playing catch-up.  I’m getting laundry done and I’m organizing some areas that have gotten way out of control.  I’ve got a few project ideas rolling around my head and I plan to get my jewelery supplies out of storage so I can get back to work.  I may even finally get around to opening that Etsy shop, which is something that I’ve talked about doing for years.

Last, but not least, I’m going to pick up the phone and call my friends.  I miss them all so much.  Unlike P, I am a social creature and I really don’t like being so secluded.  A large part of my seclusion stems from the aforementioned pain/fatigue/depression, but another part of it comes from the cancer.  I have found that it is so easy to let yourself experience a sort of disconnect from the people outside of your group of caretakers, but that is a subject all of it’s own and best left for another post.

  • Feeling better? check.
  • Feeling creative? check.
  • Reclaiming my life? double check.

Well, I guess that’s about it for now.  I’ll be talking to you all soon!



**I forgot to add that I had a great visit with the doctor today.  We finally got the test results back and I am negative  for the mutation that affects the body’s ability to metabolize drugs – so yay!  This is something that we were worried about because this mutation would increase my chances of overdosing on chemo,which would basically cause me to bleed to death.  My CBC is looking great and last week’s transfusion put me at almost normal levels for RBCs.  My platelets are finally at normal levels at well.  He has decided to keep me at half doses of chemo since I’m handling it well and he said that I am doing great right now.  I love good doctor’s visits!

Still waiting…

I’ve got an early appointment for another CBC in the morning.  I’ve been having lots of pain, I’m light-headed, and short of breath.  All signs point to a very low hemoglobin.  The research nurse told me to be prepared for a transfusion tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how it goes.  Last week, doc told me that I may be a part of the 10% of the population that doesn’t metabolize drugs properly and that may be why I’ve been having such trouble with my chemo.  I hope to hear the test results tomorrow.  I don’t know what this will mean as far as the treatment goes, but right now I just want to feel better.  P is worried about the shortness of breath, he’s afraid of me getting pneumonia again.  I don’t blame him.  I still don’t know how he made it through my episode last January.  Say what you will about being a cancer patient, but I cannot (and never want to) imagine the pain of watching your spouse or child go through this.  Chemo sucks something horrible, but I think that my parents and P have it worse.  Still, he’s holding it together much better than me.  P is the rational one.  He’s my voice of reason.  He’s what keeps me grounded.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a quick update.  I’m still on a chemo break because of my platelets and I still feel like crap.  I’ve been sleeping a lot this past week.  I guess my body is trying to recover from last week’s vincristine.  P talked to my research nurse about the pain and fatigue, but she thinks it’s just anemia and my marrow building back up.  Either way, we’ll find out more after tomorrow’s blood test.


Chemo woes

My platelets are still too low to resume daily chemo and I have to miss this month’s spinal tap.  I’m devastated, of course.  I’m still going through with this month’s dose of vincristine, so I’m going to be feeling icky later this week.  This sucks because I wanted to do something on Saturday, but I’m going to have to stay home and rest instead.

I’ve been working on a new blog.  I’ll eventually share the link to it, but I want to wait until I get a few new posts under my belt.  The other blog is going to center around food and recipes.  I’m pretty excited about it.  I decided to create a new place for a food-centric blog because I created Bethshouse as a safe haven for me to talk about my life, the universe, and everything and that doesn’t really tie with a food blog.  The good news is, you no longer have to listen to me wax poetic about what I made for dinner.  So…there ya go.

Anyway, I’m still hurting from hiking all over Hot*Lanta during Dragon*Con, even though it’s been almost two weeks.  It’s a good thing though.  I’ve got more strength than I’ve had in a long time so I’m hoping that my piddly little daily exercises will build on that.

My left ankle is still pretty swollen.  Doc looked at it today and he doesn’t think I have a blood clot or anything.  He said that there isn’t much I can do for a twisted ankle except wrap it and keep off of it.  I’m still concerned about my numb toes, but both Doc and P tell me that twisted ankles take a long, long time to heal and the numbness is from swelling.  Since I have very little experience with injuries, I’m going to have to listen to those two.

I think that’s all I’ve got for today.  I’m going to bed.  ‘Night.

School’s out…never?

Today I am reminded of why we normally homeschool year-round.  Our short summer vacay seems to have been *just* enough time for the kiddos to forget basic arithmetic, handwriting, and how to read, apparently.  I’ve heard more “I can’t do it” and “it’s too hard” and “I can’t remember” today than I really care to.  I really want to bash my head against the wall, but I am settling for eating a fattening, blood-sugar spiking (zomg!) tater tot casserole instead.

P stayed home to help me out (I’ve got a serious case of steroid swelling/pain/insomnia going on) so he assisted with lessons again.  My normally zen husband even got frustrated with their attitudes.  Now, I know that most kids detest school of any form and I have no delusions that my littles are going to lovelovelove learning just because we’re doing it at home.  I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the complaints are par for the course.  It’s just that, they’re not usually so bad.  Since we’ve typically gone no longer than three weeks in a row with no lessons (and that was at the height of my illness on the train to chemo crazytown) I’m perfectly fine with placing the blame on “Summer Break.”  It’s okay, we’re back on our year-round schedule and things will normalize soon enough.  In the meantime, we’ll all whine and complain.

The dog is licking the couch…

Which has nothing to do with today’s post.  She’s just licking the couch.  She’s a strange one.   Anyway, today was our first day of school!  Instead of starting my day bright and early, I slept a good deal of it away and tried to combat the steroid grumps and the vincristine aches.  Fortunately, all should be back to normal in a day or two.  P took over studies for the first half of the day and I finished up later in the afternoon.  The kids also helped him smoke spices and make some BBQ sauce and he said that C helped him wash dishes and they all worked on learning to tie shoes.  D had her first kitchen accident this morning (she touched a hot pan) but it was minor and she still made her eggs for breakfast.  After I finally woke up and was able to form coherent sentences, I spent a while trying to figure out who we’re going to read about for C’s science lessons…and I think we’re gonna start with Tesla in celebration of The Oatmeal’s fundraiser.  I’m considering adding some Dr NGT for D’s astronomy lessons since he rocks socks, but since we’re studying the middle ages for history I want to keep with the time period for the biographies.

All in all, we had a slow start but I’m pretty happy with our first day of school.  There were minimal complaints and (other than my crabby ass) everyone was happy.  Now if I can just shake this headache everything will be peachy keen.

Back to school…and other news

I goofed up last week, but it turned out to be a good thing.  I spent about two weeks thinking that school was starting back last Monday.  I was freaking out because I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t have all of my supplies lined up and I didn’t have a complete lesson plan.  When I looked back at the school calendar for our district (I loosely follow our school district’s calendar) I noticed that I was a week off.  What a relief!  I got my extra week to finish up the lesson plan, get to the library, and we’re heading out to pick up any last minute supplies while the sales are still hot.

I got my hickman removed this past Friday.  When they scheduled surgery, I was expecting to be put under, stitches, recovery time…the works.  Nope.  I got a mild sedation (I ended up chatting with the team the whole time) and they just yanked the catheter out.  The nurse explained that it was really just a huge IV.  It’s all good, though.  I didn’t have any trouble with bleeding (we weren’t sure if my platelets would end up being an issue) and I clotted well.  I’ve got a small bruise and knot where they pulled the hickman out, but that’s it.  I can shower today and I can submerge myself in about a week.  Yay!  As for the rest of chemo, I’m holding up rather well, so far.  I take my first dose of oral Methotrexate on Wednesday.  I’m a bit nervous because the other forms I’ve taken really mess with my stomach and apparently it’s kinda easy to overdose (which I found out causes a slow, painful, bleeding from the eyes type of death – thanks for sharing that story, Doc!).   Well, I trust my team.  The fact that she was so worried about it and she had three people check my dosage behind her is good enough for me.  I only got one month’s worth of  MTX, so I’ll be getting monitored pretty closely.

I still didn’t cook everything that I had planned last week.  I made the big dinner – the strawberry pulled pork was a bomb.  The meat itself is okay, but the sauce sucked.  P tried to doctor it, but we ended up just chucking it and using the array of bottled sauces that we had left in the fridge.  The rest of the meal was great, though.  I also made up a batch of Damn Fine Chicken for dinner last night and I served it with some sauteed mushrooms and a salad.  My mother-in-law took me and the kids out to dinner for my birthday and my mom babysat on Thursday night so we ended up just working through leftovers on the nights we were all together.  I started a batch of chicken broth yesterday so I could clear a bag of bones out of the freezer and D requested chicken soup for dinner tonight.  I guess that’s what we’ll be having.  I’m not sure what we’ll have with it.  I might make a loaf of bread to go with it.  I’ll grab a wheel of brie and the kids will probably want some PB&J.  I’m going to try to get C to try soup, but I’ve got leftover drumsticks if he doesn’t go for it.  He’s never really been a fan of wet foods so I’m not holding my breath.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I’m still adjusting to this new schedule.  It feels so strange to have free time.  Let me rephrase that.  It feels strange to not have daily appointments.  As it stands, I’m only heading out to appointments one week a month.  That’s a huge difference between the weekly and sometimes daily visits that we’ve become so accustomed to.  It’s a bit lonely for me because P is working more and I’m home alone much more than I’m used to.  It’s a tough call.  With P working more, money is a bit less of a struggle (oh, the “thing” that P was going to do fell through.  It turned out to really not be worth it) but I really miss him.  It’s funny.  I often hear so many spouses and parents talk about how much they need breaks from their family and how they can’t wait until school starts or how they couldn’t homeschool because they need the break from their kids….I understand, at least I think I do.  They all drive me nuts some times.  But for the most part, especially now, I cherish my time with them.  I love being a part of their education and I love seeing them get interested in new subjects and making new discoveries.  I love seeing them grow.  I love spending time with my husband and I love that we enjoy our time together as a unit.  If nothing else has come of this horrible experience of getting cancer, I can say that I have gained a new sense of appreciation for my family.  I think we all have.