Sunday, June 26, 2022

Flower bed

Raised bed of vegetables

 Photos of the garden taken on June 16th. Everything is bigger and more lush every day.


I don’t know how long it’s been since my last post, but I bet it was before my 4th and last round of chemo, for now. (I checked and it was June 2.) I was laid low for 10 days and very weak. Now, 2 and 1/2 weeks out, I am feeling better. Not 100%, but better. I’ll see the oncologist July 8, and will get another CT scan then. I am trying to have no expectations, but I do hope that I won’t have any more chemo soon. 

Sweetie is having to work 8 days straight, for various reasons, and I worry about him. And he worries about me. The new company, who bought out the old company last October, has gutted maintenance and their budget and the mechanics are quitting and they wonder why their company is not as productive as they once were. Duh. Sweetie has seen it before and he says he will keep his head down and do his job. Around this area, his job pays really well (and there is the, you know, insurance and I need that insurance.) I was scouting out a local snack plant and the pay for sanitation workers was $13 and production paid $12. That’s a hard nope.

School Marm has ended her public school teaching career and is casting about for something part time locally. Her commute had been an hour each way, and even with her Toyota Corolla, it was costing her $70 a week in gas. She was not alone; about a quarter of the high school teachers also quit. I found out that a starting teacher here in Missouri makes $25,000. School Marm has a Masters and some other advanced certification, and I won’t say how much she made, but it wasn’t enough. It’s shameful. I’m too tired to rant. 

The garden and the entire back yard is looking great, so that’s a joy. I will hand all the glory for it to School Marm who has diligently started seeds, transplanted seedlings, dug in the dirt, and so much more. Most days I have had so little energy that all I am capable of very little. Sweetie has gotten into the spirit with the weed whacker and loppers and so the fence line is clear. 

I finished the Night Shawl, but I don’t have photographic evidence. My twitchy hands needed a project so I bought some sock yarn from Simply Socks in Ft. Wayne, IN. (I am pleased with her service; my order was shipped within an hour.) And because my brain needed a project, too, I am learning how to knit socks on 2 circular needles. I have been resistant to changing from my bamboo double points, of which I have many, but I will be attempting to knit a pair of socks using mosaic stitch and every online tutorial and pattern I ran across suggested 2 circulars. So here I am knitting a pair of vanilla socks with them and once I got into the rhythm, it has become pleasurable. I had to order the needles from Knit Picks because I did not have any. These are chrome plated size 1, and they are comfortable and smooth to knit with. I think I am a convert.


Thursday, June 02, 2022

Priorities, people!


The last round of chemo left me weak. 

It’s the little indignities that get to me; being incontinent until a week before the next round begins so I try to balance how much fluid I should drink versus how often I want to change my pee pad. It’s like I think, “I have to go pee” and my body says, “Okay!” and I say, “Wait until I get to the bathroom!” and my body says, “Oops! Too late. lol.”

I have been tired and depressed and out of sorts. Even a little weepy. The tired and depressed part very well could be allergies as I have been outside in the pollen-verse trying to garden. And the other reason is, of course, the cancer. Last time, I at least thought I was going to get well. Now, I know that I can only prolong my life at the cost of being made ill by the chemo, the next round of which begins June 8. 

There is something about growing plants from seed that makes it nice to visit the greenhouse twice a day to check their progress. And they do give me hope that I will see the vegetables bear fruit this fall and enjoy the perennials again next year. Of course, I have way too many tomato plants but I am sure I can find a home for them, just not in my garden. Ditto with the zinnias. I have saved the zinnia seeds every year now for 4-5 years. They originally came from a neighbor I call Farmer Paul because he always had a huge vegetable garden that he devoted a lot a time and energy and love to. He also would have several rows of zinnias that he saved seed from for the following year. One year, he gave me a handful of seeds and thus my surfeit of plants this year. But last fall, Farmer Paul got an infection in a cut on his foot from the garden soil and it was pretty bad. I haven’t talked to him lately, but his garden is unworked and forlorn and I know he must be missing it.

Anything else of interest? Well, the Night Shift shawl is almost done; I am working the I-cord bind off so maybe I can block it tomorrow. I am anxious to return to Mosaic Knitting. I took the book, ‘Mosaic Knitting’ by Barbara Walker to the local print/u-Haul rental and returns/office supply/USP drop off/and gift shop to have them make the paperback into a spiral bound book. (There is nothing quite so aggravating as a pattern book that will not lay flat.) This was a week ago. Long story short, the lady tasked with the job screwed up the process and the book was not satisfactory so the owner ordered me another copy of the book and I truly hope they get it right this time. 

I am not sure what I will knit first, but I may try a tubular scarf, knit in the round. The other thing would be an afghan made with mosaic knit squares. This would require me to order more yarn and I am not sure I want to commit.

Such is my life. Small plans.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Damn, girl.


My first Wordle in a long time today; solved in 5. 

I have been alternately pessimistic or upbeat about the CT scan tomorrow, but yesterday I decided to stop looking at the situation that way. Instead, I am trying to have no expectations because I just don’t know. School Marm says that is very zen or philosophical. In either case, there is nothing I can do about it. I will go and have my scan and then see what the doctor sees. It will be a long day no matter what.

I have a lot of time on my hands these days but I have so little energy. I started watching old baseball games on youtube some months ago, but I now have 4 games in rotation: the 1990 World Series featuring the Cincinnati Reds and the Oakland Athletics. Spoiler alert - the Reds win in 4. It may be weird, no, it is weird but it is soothing to me. I don’t have to listen or even watch them in order, what matters is the fact that they are being piped into my ears whenever I want, but mostly at night because it helps me sleep.

Sweetie’s brother thinks I am on the spectrum, which is something that I have sometimes considered. It would explain my dislike of certain noises such as the clattering of dishes or jazz. I like to count, even though it is not about math. It is the counting that I find comforting, and maybe that is why I like knitting. I often have felt and still feel that I don’t fit in. I used to say that I felt as though everyone else got a book of instructions at birth that explained how one should act, but that I never got mine. There was so much that I didn’t know but I marked it down to bad parenting. Why didn’t my parents tell me these things? I learned to shut up and act as if I knew whatever it was that I didn’t actually know. Emotionally crippled, I thought. I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol because I was depressed or anxious or because I wanted to feel differently. I find other people exhausting.

Then there are the phobias. Ceiling and floor fans on high, windows opened all the way, tailgating, and cabinet doors left open or ajar make me uncomfortably anxious.

But there are things I can do, such as teach classes on knitting or spinning or natural dyeing. Fuck. Is this making sense?

At my age, I have learned to pass as normal and shut up if I don’t. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fuck the Patriarchy.


Still no Wordle. My chemo-addled brain seems not to be capable. 

I am still quite tired from the last treatment and the whole process starts again next Wednesday. I’ll get another CT scan then, as well. Can’t say that I have good feelings about what the results will be, but maybe I will be surprised. I mean, my blood work looked good 2 weeks ago. This cancer is treatable, but not curable. I just hope I can gain a little strength and not have to keep getting chemo every 3 weeks until the chemo stops working. At least I am still not in any pain.

I knew a woman who had cancer similar to mine - metastatic. This was 15 or so years ago. She had had surgeries, a colostomy bag, and chemotherapy. It made her so sick. They would treat a tumor in one spot and get rid of it only to have another tumor arise somewhere else. Several trips were taken to the Mayo clinic. Anyway, after some years, she didn’t want to have any more treatment but her husband begged her to do it for him as he did not want to lose her. So she relented and had chemo again and again a different tumor appeared and this time she said “no” to any more attempts to ‘cure’ her. And she died, on her terms. She was a beautiful person and I think about her a lot. This is what I hope for. I want to die at home, not in a hospital, and as high as possible. 

With the help of Sweetie, we managed to get the plastic on the greenhouse. The previous 4 mil plastic disintegrated over the winter so this time it’s 6 mil. School Marm helped me get seeds started last Sunday and the zinnias and basil are already sprouting. It’s been terribly hot here (mid-90s) this week, along with much of the midwest. I will wait until Sunday or Monday to move more of the succulents out there; cooler temps should have arrived by then. 

If anyone is reading this dreck, could you please comment?

Friday, May 06, 2022

Just because


No Wordle. Maybe I can get back to it today.

Seven days out from my last chemo treatment, and this is the first day that I have felt almost normal, albeit still very weak. I have 10 days until I get to do it all over again. I do not hurt anywhere but my brain is thoroughly fucked. I accidentally paid School Marm’s credit card bill, not mine, and boy did that lay me low. I beat myself up for half a day because I hate that my brain is thoroughly fucked. I’m better now and all bill’s are paid. I just need to get that payment back from School Marm and get over myself. 

I wasn’t able to get my head shaved before my hair started coming out by the handfuls. I looked like the Crypt Keeper from Tales of the Crypt for a week and now it’s all gone except for a few stragglers. Interestingly, going through all this for a second time is easier; I know most of what to expect and so it freaks me out less.

Got to see a friend for the first time in a year-and-a-half; she moved state. Was so good to know she is doing well. Only wish I had more energy when she stopped by. 

Another acquaintance is in Scotland for the 4th time. I want to go and if I am able, I will go to England and Scotland this summer or early fall. Maybe Ireland, I don’t know. I’ve been an Anglophile for as long as I can remember and going there has been on my I’m-gonna-do-this list. So if not now, then when?

Had a short IM with my eldest brother. I told him I have metastatic cancer and we chatted about our health problems and death, etc. I told him I was at peace and he asked how I was able to be at peace. I said a few philosophical things and then said that not believing in an afterlife was helpful.

All I got was crickets after that. Maybe he just didn’t know how to respond to what used to be called a free thinker. I am trying to be generous.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

I'm not special


So glad to back solving Wordle on the regular. My last three tries were solved in 6, 4, and 2 and today was another 4. 

Chemo starts again on Wednesday. It hit me so unexpectedly hard this time, and this round will be worse. My hair had just started falling out. I googled why chemo makes ones hair fall out and I learned this: the chemicals in the chemo attack fast dividing cells. Hair follicles, the mouth, and stomach have a lot of fast dividing cells so the hair falls out, one can get mouth sores and a white-coated tongue, and also have stomach issues. 

I will get my hair cut very short again, I guess, but I will put it off as long as possible. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Still awkward and anxious


                                                                I have 7 of these traits.

Thank goodness for Reddit, my happy place. Please check it out if you have never been there.

Someone asked me about the Awkward Family Photos watermarked on my last post and what? That's your mother-in-law? Yeah, right. The story is true. School Marm sent in the photo many years ago to AFP who liked it and posted it on their website. They wanted to put it in their first (and only?) book but School Marm said they had too many hoops to jump through and so declined the offer. 

It's a dreary, gloomy, rainy day. Spring has burst forth, as they say. Every day is more green and colorful than the last. It's nice. 

I have been sitting in a comfy chair and knitting. Finished Sweetie's socks and he put them on and kept them on for 2 days and nights. I think he likes them. 

I am still working on the Night Shift shawl. It gets 1 stitch wider every other row, so as it grows each pass takes a little longer. I do get tired of the repetition at times, but sometimes that is what I like most about it. I also like that while there are only two charts, I can change yarn, and the perceived pattern shifts. 

I am worried about Knitting Jean in Edinburgh. She had been missing in action since Thursday.