Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eek, eek steek

Well I am back in France now and embarking on some serious spring cleaning (I am always late for everything).

I spent enough time with my son,Conrad, so that he was probably relieved not to have a fussing mother around anymore. Things are a bit up and down for him. Fortunately it looks like the long term is the up and the day to day is the down. The chemo seems to be doing what is expected but the treatment is tough, his central line got infected, he picked up a hospital bug, he is in pain or drugged and has lost his hair and his sense of taste. Worst of all the ward is chronically under staffed so no matter how efficient and expert the nurses are (and they are) they can't keep up with everything. Despite everything he remains positive and hasn't yet lost his sense of humour.

Thanks for all the suggestions of knitted goodies I can make him. I took him a really soft black beanie for which his appreciation seemed a little mechanical. He vetoed the 'We call them pirates hat' so I decided to knit him a hat for his football team Bristol City. I got some
Debbie Bliss Rialto in red and white from Get Knitted (isn't it handy having your son live in Bristol?) and started knitting. Now I had assumed that the stripes would be horizontal but on seeing me knit it he informed me the stripes went the other way! My little brain struggled for a bit to figure out how I could do this without knitting sideways (I had only brought Dpns with me)then I gave up and frogged it. I am now knitting fingerless gloves in Bristol City colours.

After a consult with his partner Caroline I have planned ahead and am going to knit her
Rogue in a deep red colour for her birthday at the end of August (that should give me enough time shouldn't it?) Therefore I will be knitting by proxy. If I can't knit him something I will knit her something to wear and he can cuddle her when she wears it. Good plan heh? She is ideal to knit for since she is tiny and prone to feel the cold whereas Conrad tends to feel too hot. She is still wearing big jumpers and socks to bed.

Anyway here are the photos of the steeked tank I made for my partner, Keith. My first steek and it has worked out so well. The pattern is loosely based
More Stripes in Knitty but since I changed the guage, the neck shape and the armhole shape, it is hardly the same pattern. The yarn is Noro Kureyon in a colourway that he picked out and is so him. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the frayed edges on the inside of the neck though so I sewed over them with a satin bias tape. I know there are better ways to do this when knitting the neckline but I will save it for the next time. And there will be a next time, I was so pleased to have the colours match each side and how tidy the neckline looks.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is some yarn I have been spinning from a half kilo batt I bought at Ally Pally from
Piiku (The same as your green fibre Sue). The colours are gorgeous, I wanted to spin it singles like Noro Kureyon and do some entrelac but it is thicker than I intended. However I now have the Fibre Trends felted clog pattern (also from Get Knitted) and think this would make great clogs so I will frog.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Oops here comes the rain again, just got the laundry in. I had better post this fast as the predicted thunderstorm will be here soon and I will go offline until tomorrow. Hasn't the weather been weird? Hot and cold, hot and cold.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

As time goes by

Things have calmed down a bit chez nous since last weekend (well I have calmed down a bit - not much but a bit and my ear infection has calmed down).

The dangerous first 24 - 48 hours is past and my son is still hanging in there. His almost exuberant spirits of a few days ago have fled in the wake of the gruelling chemotherapy. On the whole though things are going pretty much according to plan. He was due to have a central line put in his chest for administering things instead of the constant strain on the veins in his arms. This hasn't happened yet possibly due to a lack of resources. (It is really hard not to compare things with France at a time like this since here if it was needed it would be done, full stop.) Also the news this morning was depressing comparing cancer remission rates in the UK and France and the rest of Europe. Thank goodness he has a very treatable cancer and is in specialist hospital.

He made it very clear to me that I was not to visit him if I had the slightest infection, and more or less said that he was not willing to pander to my wishes to see him and make sure he was alright only to die of an ear infection a few weeks later! Just because I blubber like I have the IQ and emotional maturity of an amoeba is there any need to speak to me like I am intellectually challenged? Still it was more like the Conrad I know.

Thanks so much to all the people who have sent their good wishes they are very warmly received. Some people who have left comments I have no way of contacting but thank you anyway. I have been very bad with email replies anyway lately so take it as read that your thoughts were much appreciated. Rachel I would be very grateful if you would also thank everyone on the general daily email.

Well I hope to see him at the weekend so I must sort out what knitting to take and when I get back I will have FO's to post including my first attempt at a steek which I am very proud of. I really want to knit Conrad something but he is of the trainers and eveything black generation and doesn't seem to do knitteds. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Every Mothers Worst Nightmare

I am sorry to all those I owe emails to and blogs I really want to comment on but this week has been pretty bad. It is going to get better gradually from now on but I will probably still be a bit flakey with the comms (though who knows I may throw myself into it with a frenzy).

My son has been a bit rundown physically and last week went to the doctor with bleeding gums and bruised forearms. He was told to rest and avoid stress. After I and his friends suggested a blood test was really in order he went and had one Thursday. Friday he was in hospital having a bone marrow biopsy and by the evening APL leukaemia had been diagnosed and he was having constant transfusions, drug therapy and chemo. It has been very sudden and thankfully the response has been swift. He tells me the first 48 hours were critical and now he has come through that the treatment is less frenetic.

'Luckily' the type of cancer he has is the most treatable and responds well to drugs and chemo. He was given an 80% - 90% chance at the outset of full remission. Wikipedia gave 90% and as he pointed out to me a vet friend had told him that if he was a dog his chances would be nearer 98% (so he hasn't lost his sense of humour). Which doesn't mean of course that the next few months aren't going to be very tough. He is luckily young, fit and healthy but the treatment is beginning to tire him a lot. The hospital he is in runs research trials on a very promising new drug which he is able to get only because he is there. He feels this is going to up his chances even more. Despite everything he is still very much in 'glass half full mode' and considerate of everyone else around him. His concern for how I am taking it makes me want to cry even more!

At present I am unable to visit him as the persistent cough I had had metamorphosed into a headache and nausea bug doing the rounds and finally became an agonising ear and sinus infection (no doubt the shock helped it along). I have a carrier bag full of medication now from the very sympathetic doctor I saw - both curative and prophylactic so that by the end of the week I hope to travel over and see him and hopefully be clear of everything so that I will be allowed to visit him.

The worst of the shock is over now though of course it is always on my mind and if you are like me you will now want to go and cuddle your loved ones (be it kids, partners, cats, dogs or knitting)

Enjoy every day you have, look after yourselves and I will be in touch soon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bearded Ladies

I have been off line for nearly a week because of thunderstorms everday. Extraordinary weather! Generally the mornings would start cool, the heat would build until it was oppressive, then the thunder would grumble. If we were lucky we also got lightning and if we were very lucky rain. If this isn't global warming I don't know what is. It is supposed to be spring still.

Having lost 2 routers in the past 2 years I am now super cautious about unplugging everything. Mind you even that is not always enough as my friend
Rachel found out last week. Having unplugged everything the transformer blew when she plugged it back in.

Anyway I found this nifty site for
photo widgets to put on your blog. So I thought I would try it out on the photos I took a couple of weeks ago when I clipped the goats. Some of the widgets work better than others depending on the blog template. Hope these work out.

So here are my darlings before their haircut. Don't they have lovely beards!

Click on the pile to see the next photo.

And these are them lighter by a few kilos. Click on a photo to see a larger version.

And here is the mohair ater I dyed it.
I am going to bag it up and try and sell some at
Wonderwool Wales. I have a stall there with my friend Margareta and our spinning wheels. So we need to sell stuff to fund our trip.