Thursday, July 21, 2016

OK, Maybe It Was a Bit of a Blogging Break

My next to last blog post mentioned taking a break ... but not a blogging break. But as it turns out, it really was both.


About a week after I finished up my last chemo, I started to exhibit some symptoms that I initially chalked them up to that last intense chemo treatment. But over time the symptoms have gotten more intense and enough time has passed that I should no longer be experiencing any symptoms of this magnitude, so I've consulted with my oncologist. He and I are working on figuring out what is going on so we can get them resolved.


He moved my CT scan up from the end of the month to last week and moved our follow-up appointment to Tuesday. The good news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms ... the bad news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms. ;-) But there was more good news with the scan - everything looked the way he was expecting. And with my cancer marker staying stable, he doesn't need to see me for 3 months. He's ordered monthly bloodwork between now and October and another scan prior to my visit in October, but other than that, I'm a "free woman" for the next 3 months.


I haven't been doing any quilting since my last post, nor have I made it to Homestead Hearth to get fabric for my next project. I haven't even finalized what block I'll make my next quilt from ... I'm waffling between pinwheel, cake stand, scrap jar star and single wedding ring. Obviously triangles will be an integral part of whatever quilt I make next.


Since my last post, I have been watching the Ts swim ... their last regular season meet was last night, and they finished the season undefeated. League championships will be Saturday ... when it will be in the upper 90s with a heat index of around 110. :-o Gotta love summertime in southwestern Illinois. Ha!


Things should be slowing down next week, so I'm hoping that it will include a road trip to Homestead Hearth and some time back in the sewing room. I've enjoyed a bit of a break from the back-to-back-to-back sewing in May and June and am ready to get back to my needle and thread.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

My good friend Katy at has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Normally, I’m not a fan of blog awards, but I have to admit that I like memes that allow us to share a few previously unknown facts so we can get to know each other a little better.  So, I’m going to make an exception and join in.

Like Katy did, I have pasted the award photo and the rules directly.  Here they are:
The Rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.
*List the rules.
*Display the image of the award on your post.
*List seven facts about yourself.
*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.

Seven Facts About Me:
1. I started piecing my very first quilt on January 30, 1982.  How do I happen to know the exact date?  It just so happens that we had a blizzard in 1982 that began January 30, 1982.  We got 24” of snow.  I remember starting the quilt after dinner when the forecast was for light flurries.  The Blues were playing in Los Angeles that evening, so I was sewing while listening to the radio broadcast on KMOX, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis.  They kept interrupting the broadcast to announce that the forecast was changing … after several changes, it became apparent that we were in for a significant snowfall and that there would be no way that I was going to try to get out to go to church the next morning.  So I kept sewing … and stopped periodically to take a look at the snow falling. 
2. When I was a child, I wanted to be a groundskeeper at Busch Stadium when I grew up.  I thought it would be a good way to be able to watch the ball games and get paid.  Ha! 
3. I like food that most people don’t: braunschweiger, liver and onions, oysters on the half shell to name a few.  The list of foods I don’t like is a pretty short one: beets, parsnips, radishes, swordfish, tuna. 
4. I flunked chorus tryouts in junior high … you know, the ones where they feel obligated to pass you as long as you can carry a tune. I thought, for some obscure reason, that I’d have a better chance if I sang soprano.  I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t read music at all back then, so I couldn’t carry a tune and most likely wouldn’t  have passed anyway.  But I couldn’t have failed more convincingly if I had tried.
5. I am an anti-pack rat.  I save very little and have no regrets.  DH and I have moved about every 8-10 years of our marriage, and my philosophy on moving is “let’s move as little as possible”.  So when it comes time to pack, I’m ruthless in giving away/throwing away anything that doesn’t have sentimental or legal value or that I haven’t used/worn since our last move.  DH is, on the other hand, a quintessential pack rat and doesn’t allow me to pack anything for him.  ha!
6. After listening to my dad replay his round of golf, shot by shot, to my mom as I was growing up, I swore I wouldn’t marry a man who played golf.  You guessed it … DH enjoys golf.  At least he doesn’t regale me with play-by-play of his rounds. 
7. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old.  Prior to having to wear glasses, I used to dream about wearing glasses, even poking out the lenses of sunglasses so it looked like I was wearing glasses.  Needless to say, I now dream of not having to wear glasses or contact lenses. 
I’m going to be a rebel and pass on nominating any other bloggers … if anyone wishes to play along, join in!
I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Taking a Break

No, not from blogging, but from the sewing room. Ha! Seriously, I worked like crazy to finish my Twinkle Twinkle mini Saturday. Alas, I made it take longer than necessary because as I went to trim a random thread, I snipped into a border that I was getting ready to stitch on. Ugh! I had to cut another border piece. No, it doesn't end there! I miscut the second border piece ... too short of course. Double ugh! At least the third time was a charm. I gave it a quick press and laid it out on my design floor just seconds before dinner was ready.
I see it's not laying nice and flat ... I hope that a good pressing will take care of that because my blocks were trimmed and the sashing and borders were cut per instructions and went on easily. If not, let's hope it'll quilt out. Ha! Regardless, I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I still haven't decided what to work on next and frankly, once I had semi-tidied back up the sewing room, I just didn't feel like pulling out fabric bins (which is why Twinkle Twinkle fabric is still in the daybed and why the sewing room is only semi-tidied up). So out came my Martha Washington's Flower Garden. If you remember (and if you didn't, I wouldn't blame you because I can't even remember when I last worked on this!), I'm stitching on the connector hexies. Once I get this step done, it'll be time to join together the blocks to form the stars/tumbling blocks. Of course, I need to baste more hexies for the setting blocks ... I have a few leftover from when I began this project but not enough.
That's how much I got done before calling it a day yesterday. Since I have just two blocks to add connector hexies to (that includes the block I started yesterday - see above), I should be able to get them done today and can lay them out to finalize placement and then start piecing stars/tumbling blocks. Hopefully after a couple of days of hand stitching, I'll have decided what I'm going to work on next.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Holiday Weekend!

It looks like it's going to be a quiet weekend here at Chez Nana. DD and her family have plans with their friends, so DH and I will be on our own this weekend. And honestly? While I'll miss them, it will be nice to just take it easy this weekend as this last week was a fairly busy one.


I got the results of Monday's bloodwork, and all my counts are good. In fact, my WBC was a little high, but my nurse told me that wasn't unexpected since I'd had the Neulasta injector last week. The great news is that I am free to get out and about as desired ... no more extraordinary precautions. Yay! I will have bloodwork again on Tuesday, but after that, I'm done until later this month when I'll have my scan and meet with Dr. Powell.


More good news, health wise, is that the muscle pain in my legs is resolving ... I was even able to walk a third lap through the neighborhood last night! As recently as Wednesday, I struggled to make one lap. And the sluggishness that I was feeling seems to be resolving as well. Now if I could just get my sleep habits straightened out.


Tuesday and Thursday nights we watched our grands swim. Thursday's meet was especially exciting ... not only did their team continue their unbeaten streak, but they broke 7 team records. And forgive this grandma's bragging, but 3 of those records were broken by my Ts. T#3 broke a long-standing record in the 25-yd breast stroke.


T#1 broke his own record in the 50-yd butterfly.


And T#2 helps her relay team break a record in the 200-yd freestyle relay. It was too dark to get a good photo of that event, so here she is swimming the butterfly portion of her 100-yd IM.


And of course T#4 swam, too. She's got a long ways to go before she'll be even close to breaking any records, but hey, 6 months ago, she couldn't even swim, so we're not complaining. ;-)

Thanks for letting me brag on my grands.


I also spent a couple of days in the sewing room. I was able to get 3 of my Twinkle Twinkle blocks together ... I've trimmed one to 9"x9".


I've got the pieces for the 4th block cut and ready to sew. After I complete that block and trim the last 3, I'll cut out the sashing, cornerstones and borders. It looks like I should get this little mini finished before the weekend is over ... oops, I don't have anything in mind for my next project, let alone pulling fabrics. I still haven't had time to get to Homestead Hearth to get fabric for the cake stand quilt I want to do, and I don't think we'll get there next week either. So, I'll be making another project using my stash. Now, what block do I want to use? Decisions, decisions.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great weekend!



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Checking Back In

I had been having such insignificant side effects from my chemo, that when Dr. Powell wanted to do all three weeks' worth of Taxol last Tuesday, I said "bring it on"! Little did I know that much Taxol at one time would have made such a huge difference. Some severe fatigue kicked in Thursday, but thankfully it passed by Sunday. My energy level is now back to where it was prior to last week's chemo ... nowhere close to what it was prior to my diagnosis, but high enough that for the most part, I'm able to do whatever I'd like. I'd been having some muscle pain in my calves for the last 4-6 weeks, but with the extra doses of Taxol, the pain has gotten pretty intense. I don't let it keep me from my everyday activities, but it certainly does keep me from getting out to walk. I may have to revert back to the more frequent, shorter walks I took right after my surgery ... especially now that we're experiencing more seasonable temperatures. My energy level should continue to increase and my muscle pain should resolve with time. I'm praying for sooner rather than later.


Once my energy level jumped back up, I was able to get back into the sewing room and finished all my Twinkle Twinkle sawtooth blocks. That coin next to the stars is a quarter to give you an idea of size ... the blocks will finish at 3" square.

They're now waiting for me to cut the red setting blocks and piece the top together. My plan for today is to get in there and cut the setting blocks and maybe even get started on the sewing together. Since the weather is going to be so delightful today and since there's another swim meet tonight, that may or may not happen. Ha!


As soon as my WBC and ANC rebound, DH and I will be making that trip to Homestead Hearth. Once I get the sawtooth blocks and setting squares together, it won't take very long before it'll be time for a new project.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!



Friday, June 24, 2016

Back to Normal

In more ways than one.


My youngest sister arrived Monday and went with me to my appointment with Dr. Powell Tuesday morning (more on that later). My younger sister (the middle one of the three of us) arrived late Tuesday, swinging past my dad's to bring him down here as well. It was a delightful visit ... we learned (from my youngest sister) how to cook salmon properly. Even DH enjoyed it, which is saying a lot as he was definitely not a fan of salmon (they really don't know how to cook salmon properly here in the Midwest). We also watched our Cardinals sweep the Cubs.

Kay, the middle sister, me (complete with my post-chemo steroid flush), and Lisa, the youngest sister.


They returned home last night ... perfect timing on this trip because those post-chemo steroids meant another sleepless night, so I'm too tired today to have been much of a hostess. Ha!


Now, as promised: I got a phone call from Dr. Powell's nurse Monday evening with the report that my ANC and WBC were low. He wanted me to go over to Siteman early for a draw Tuesday morning hoping that my counts would bounce back high enough for chemo Tuesday afternoon. But alas, my counts were still too low, and since they've been trending lower each week, it was quite likely that we'd be facing this for the remaining chemos as well. But he had a Plan B to give me the Neulasta on-body injector (to increase production of white blood cells) which would allow me to receive the entire last cycle of chemo that afternoon instead of over the normal 3-week period. Lisa had planned to head back to my house anyway because DH would be able to keep me company during what would have been a 3-hour session (now a 5-hour session because of the increased chemo), so once I started the pre-chemo meds, she headed back. I texted DD who was in class ... her immediate response was that she'd be right there. Granted she had at most only an hour of her 5-hour class session remaining, but she didn't care ... she wasn't going to miss me ringing the bell! I have to tell you, that brought tears to this mama's eyes!


I am to get my blood drawn next week like normal to see how my ANC and WBC are (hopefully back to normal or very close). I'll see Dr. Powell at the end of July, after I have my ct scan. Please be praying that the scan comes back clear. My cancer marker continues to decrease ... down to 8 now. There's no specific goal we're hoping for as the change in the marker is what Dr. Powell is looking for. If the marker decreases or stabilizes in the normal range, that means the chemo is working/has worked. If the marker starts to increase fairly significantly (such as doubling), then that may mean that the cancer is active. Notice I say "may mean" ... the marker is but one tool he will use to monitor me. He will also order periodic scans and keep an eye on any symptoms that may indicate cancer activity. Unfortunately the type of ovarian cancer that I have starts as microscopic seeds that may not be visible even on a scan ... so if scans come back clear and my cancer marker stabilizes and I don't have any symptoms, I'll be considered in remission - with no evidence of disease (NED) - hopefully for a good long time. I told DH that I'm hoping to have another man in my life - Ned (NED). Ha!


I spent Sunday afternoon in the sewing room, where I finished up all my flying geese. Needless to say, with my sisters here, I didn't spend any time in the sewing room until this morning. I cut the center squares for my sawtooth stars and sewed one flying goose unit to each square. I really wanted to get the stars assembled today, but I ran out of energy. Hopefully I'll be able to get a good, restful night's sleep tonight so I can have a more productive day in the sewing room tomorrow.


We picked our first tomato Monday morning ... off our beefsteak plant. There are 3-4 more about the same size,that haven't ripened up yet. Beefsteak tomatoes are supposed to produce nice big tomatoes ... I'm hoping we didn't get a mis-tagged plant. :-o

There will be no BLTs with this tomato! Ha!


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!







Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wrapping Up Another a Week

It's been another busy week here at Chez Nana.

Tuesday was Chemo Day ... treatment #21 is now in the books, with just 3 more to go. I'm looking forward to ringing the bell and being a bit of a stranger at the Infusion Center. We finished up at Siteman and made tracks to get to that evening's swim meet just before the first event began. Whew! It was an exciting meet, against the team's arch rival ... the Ts' team won, by a mere 22 points. Papa and I were a little hoarse the next morning. ;-)

I spent Wednesday morning in the sewing room. I haven't been able to get to Homestead Hearth (and probably won't be able to for another week), so I decided to start a small quilt in the meantime.

This will definitely be a small quilt, finishing at 28" square. I culled my stash and came up with these fabrics
I'm showing two blacks (bottom row on the right), only one of which will make the cut (pun intended). I got four flying geese units pieced that morning.
Remember I said this was going to be a small quilt! ;-)

I spent Wednesday afternoon at DD's ... best way to spend a hot summer afternoon. And it was hot! My van registered 102 when the Ts and I got in the van to take T#1 to youth group. The rest of the Ts, Papa and I met Daddy at Red Robin for dinner, while Mama stayed home and studied for her Microbiology exam. A day spent doing the things I love and spent with the people I love ... it just doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday morning I took the Ts to swim practice. It was another scorcher, and I have to admit that I was sorely tempted to jump into the pool myself! ;-) It was a long day with an out-of-town swim meet that evening.

There was a very short turn-around as I tag teamed DD with the Ts swim practice. She took them to the pool and spent the first hour and a half there ... I spent the last 3 hours there and took them back home. I was so glad I got the second shift because I got to see T#3 teach himself to do a flip off the diving board after practice.

(Edited to add: it seems that this video is only viewable on a laptop; it doesn't appear to be viewable on mobile devices ... at least I'm not able to view it when I'm on my iPad.  Strange because the video was taken using my iPhone and downloaded it to my laptop from my iCloud ... I really expected it to be viewable from any device.  Obviously it must be a Blogger issue.  Grrrr)

The reason DD and I had to tag team practice was because she went to pick up T#2 from equestrian week at church camp. Doesn't this look like a girl who spent a week in her happy place?

I have to admit that I'm glad there's not a whole lot on the schedule for today. I think a relaxing day in the sewing room is just what I need after a busy week.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!