Friday, February 25, 2011

In yarn news

I've been really into hats lately. I made the hat for my friend Laura, which turned out to be on the large side-its called oversized in the pattern so we were warned. She asked if I could do something to make it a little smaller so I did! I knit an i-cord and weaved it into the band of the hat, and then crocheted a flower to wrap the i-cord around and tie to hold it in place. I am really pleased with how it turned out and hope Laura will be too.

Next I attempted a hat for myself, also in Paton's Bamboo Silk, with the Track Stitch Beret pattern from Red Heart. My yarn was lighter
weight than what the pattern called for, and I used a slightly smaller hook for said yarn, so in spite of making the larger (medium) size instructions
its still a tad small for me. It is perfect for my girls though! Arenne snatched the first one up last night and wore it to school today-which must mean she likes it, and I'll be making another for Abbie next. Here's Arenne in her new hat and a close up of the hat when I finished it.
And a little not yarn news, because he's so cute and I'm a mom so its my job to boast! Drew had his fourth grade vocal concert last week, which was awesome. What was even cooler was that Drew's artwork was chosen for the big slideshow during one of the songs, and was displayed in the hallway outside. Here he is with his reproduction of a famous image:
I'm pretty proud of him and his painting is amazing, he put in a lot of detail and is definitely talented in the artwork department.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Frustating Health Update

This week I went in to get my test results from the neurologist, and also have come down with yet another virus. I'm miserable and frustrated and just not great company.

The good news: nothing showed up on the tests. No MS, no weird arteries, nothing in the spinal fluid, no tumors, or aliens (that we have the technology to see.) This isn't just good news, its incredibly fantastic news.

The bad news: still no diagnosis and it felt as if the neuro hadn't really even glanced much at my chart from when I was there 3 weeks ago until Monday. She re-asked questions (and not like she was testing my abilities in doing so) and had me do certain things again, gave me a prescription (for pain-which has never been part of my conversations with her, nor is it my primary focus) and said come back in 6 months. There were other things that really, really bothered me as well. She basically said that the a brain biopsy would be the next test-which she doesn't want to do and neither do I-at all, ever. She doesn't want to treat me for the vasculitis because of my age. My frustration with all of this is that I continue to see doctors and seek answers and am put off to wait-for months at a time-because they aren't getting results from the tests. Meanwhile, I continue to detiorate at a fairly rapid rate. If the past six months are any indication I could lose even more brain function and more control of my body.

The downside of these kinds of illnesses is that just because the tests don't turn anything up, it doesn't rule out the disease. So, no signs are good, but I still don't have an answer. I'm not being given information on how to be proactive about this, just being told to wait. Meanwhile, my body continues to fail as does my mind.

All of this has made me see (again, as I needed to relearn) how important it is that I am eating right and doing what I can to be as healthy as I can.

I'm surprised that in my visits, I am not being given information on living healthier, I am not being given information on what I can do to help myself with my brain function and mindy/body coordination, just given prescriptions and sent off to wait.

Plan of action is to get into Mayo, where an entire team of doctors will be working together-which definitely does not seem to be happening for me at the moment-and hopefully helping me figure out how to be proactive with whatever is happening to me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Actually Finished Projects!

Here is my good friend Laura modeling her new hat. :) It's a an oversized beret and perfect for her to put all of her curly hair into. It turned out much better than expected, as its one of the first of this kind I've knitted. I had a bit of trouble with the pattern as well, but modified it a little and it worked out fine. It's a nice soft bamboo which I'm pretty sure is my new favorite yarn to work with.

Below is a dishcloth I whipped up yesterday, totally random crochet-I did rows of single crochet and then threw in a row of double crochet here and there. Made with Sugar 'n Cream Twist in Country Twists. I like having something mindless that I don't have to think about or follow a pattern with for when the brain isn't working as well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almost finished with the hat for Laura!

This mishapen bit of knitting will be a hat if I can turn up any of my darning needles. I'm always buying extras but can never seem to find any when I really need one. Thinking maybe I should buy a a whole case of them.

When Laura and I were out shopping for her hippie outfit she found a hat she loved and I said "I could probably make one like that!" Usually I start these projects and then just never seem to finish them, but I am DETERMINED! The knitting is now done, I just need to sew it up. I am not sure whether I'd rather knit in the round and use dpn's or sew up the seams. At this point I'm leaning toward the dpn's.

In other news, I am reading a lovely book called The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil and I'm really, really liking it. I want to devour it, but at the same time I don't want it to end. I did find myself thinking that knitting while reading a book about knitting is a tad obsessive. I am also continuing to read Crazy, Sexy, Diet when I'm not reading the other book and am in Chapter 2 and learning about pH levels in food. I very much like the author's way of explaining things and she is pretty darn funny, so even though I am not normally big on diets or non-meat eating I highly recommend this. If she can potentially convert someone like me, others should find it even more enjoyable.

As I am not totally converted yet we'll be having a nice Valentine steak dinner (which will be chefed up as usual by the husband) and maybe I'll get crazy and do some chocolatey dessert. The author does recommend not starting the diet right before holidays or birthdays, and I fully agree!

Now, off on the quest for a darning needle and then hopefully a nap.

Happy Valentine's Day. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My fantastic Aunt Traci sent me a message suggesting we do this diet together. My first response to the word diet is to run and hide and plug my ears. Then I see that it's a vegetarian diet. Ack! No way, no how! I'm pickier than most small children in my eating habits, stubborn and set in my ways. Really.

But, I trust Traci and I love her and I'm excited she'll be living near me. She knows more than I what it means to have a disease and be limited by your own health, to face your own mortality. Instead of hedging and pretending I had an excuse to not do this I went to get the book. It's called "Crazy Sexy Diet" by Kris Carr. In true me form I find myself sitting with my latte, having just devoured a triple chocolate brownie, but I'm reading the book.

And so far I like it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't faint

but this is really two days of posts in a row. Thought I would throw up some yarny type pictures.

Here are Arenne & Abbie modeling the scarves I made them. I intended to have these done for Christmas, but in true me form I didn't finish them until January. I really love how they turned out, except I'm still not sure why one is longer than the other. I call them the asymmetrical scarves as one color is two thirds of the scarf and the other one third. One color of each is a bamboo yarn, the other merino. I made them the same-or so I thought.

Also, can you believe how OLD my girls are?!?! They are 11, will be 12 in April.

This is a bracelet I made using decorative trimming, crocheted and looking quite fancy, modeled by Abbie.

And this is my good friend Laura, who was dressing as a hippie for a work party and needed a headband. I found some decorative trimming and knitted this up. The butterfly is a barrette attached. We (she) did learn that decorative trimming can be itchy, so I will watch out for that with future purchases. I'm really liking how it works up and am looking forward to making some fun stuff for the girls with different kinds of it. This is what lead to the bracelet above.

Hopefully I'll be back to post a few more pictures soon. Sooner at least than 6 months from now!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And into another year

Even with the best of intentions, I am a failure at regularly updating this blog. I'm sure to have lost any readers I may have had, including my faithful friends.

Here we are and many months have passed. Life has thrown some pretty big changes my way, and I am now facing the loss of my job as I am just not able to keep up with it, my family, and my health issues. The church has really gone above and beyond in accommodating me with my illness and its hard to face that the time has come for me to to be done working. It feels to me like I'm throwing in the towel somehow, even if I know in reality that's not true. It still feels like a form of giving up and giving in to this illness. So, now we are into the fun-filled process of seeking disability and I am facing no longer being able to work. Maybe if I hated my job it would be different, but I very much love what I do and for so long have felt that God called me to be where I am in the church. Finding out I could no longer do it was pretty devastating and its taking me time to absorb.

Along with that is facing that this isn't some health issue that will eventually go away (although I've known that for awhile, just put off facing the inevitable.) I've recently gone through testing to see if it could be Central Nervous System Vasculitis-which is something I suspected awhile back and promptly shoved to the back of my brain. My continued loss of control of my body and my brain have made it impossible to ignore and thanks to God throwing some heavy stuff and good friends and family my way I am back on track in seeking a diagnosis. Going through illness with a lack of a diagnosis is wearying, whether its months or years. I am now in my seventh year with whatever this disease (or diseases) is (or are). I was diagnosed with Polyarteritis Nodosa, but there was talk that they may not have been correct due to some test level, and even that shouldn't be causing all of the issues I am having. For awhile they were thinking PAN with Multiple Sclerosis, but no sign of MS in any MRI or lumbar puncture over the past 7 years. My brain shows some slight degeneration, but of the sort that can be benign...or not. So now I've gone for a lumbar puncture, CT angiogram, and bloodwork to see if CNS vasculitis is making its mark. For some reason I was drawn to this disease about 3 years back and now here it comes again. I am not borrowing trouble, the trouble is here and I'd just like to know what sort it is and treat it.

All of this means that the past month has been full of some pretty darn big changes and uncertainties for my husband and I and our family. The disease is not only affecting my body quite significantly, but also my cognition and memory which in turn has negatively affected my ability to work. So, we're back to one income and may not be able to stay in our house and have lots of medical debt and are worried about health insurance and my coverage.

But, in what should be the most distressing and fearful time of our lives (outside of the girls' births and my later near death experience), we have been showered with so much love and have come together as a family in holding each other up. God has blessed us in a multitude of ways, and I am so thankful for everyone He is working through and those who have come out of the woodwork to show us care and love. I'm holding on to these verses (11-14) from Jeremiah 29: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and bring will you back from captivity. I will you gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Many of us know verse 11, but I'm clinging to the whole passage. When I share with people, I often stop at the end of verse 13, or am tempted to stop partway through verse 14. The rest seems so, well, harsh. It's a letter sent by the prophet Jeremiah to the "surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebudchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon." Its a letter to from God to His people who had been exiled. You see, God's people of Israel, referred to in the Bible as His chosen ones, His children, were thrown into exile. Their journey is a long one, fraught with many instances of turning away from God and willfully choosing their own way over God's. A few years back I read through the Bible front to back for the first time in my life. As I read through the Old Testament I found myself so frustrated with God's people because they JUST KEPT DISOBEYING HIM. Like little children who choose their own way in shortsightedness. And then one day, I realized that I am doing the very same thing, over and over, when I choose to live life on my own without Him, in all the big and small ways I choose my own path over His, and willfully delude myself into thinking I'm not really turning away from Him, not really sinning. But I am, A LOT. MUCH OF THE TIME! And here I was so frustrated with the Israelites in the Old Testament, couldn't they see what they were turning from?!?! How many more ways did God need to show them His love, His miracles? Manna from heaven??? The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, so many things that God had already shown them and they DIDN'T GET IT!

And then I realized that not only do I have those events, but I have the entirety of the Bible and all of the miracles it contains and that I know of the most precious miracle and gift of all-His Son, Jesus, who came to save me from my sin. And I have all of those moments in my own life where I know God has been working. And, just like those Israelites, I still turn to myself instead of to Him. The letter in Jeremiah 29 is God's message that for every one of us who is "in exile" He is still there for us, still loving us, still there with His arms open wide with plans to PROSPER and NOT TO HARM US, still there with HOPE AND A FUTURE. It's that love and that hope that I cling to, that I hold fast to, and that sustains my family and I right now. I am praying to God, and I admit I do not know where or how things will happen in our lives. I don't know how this disease will progress, I do not know if we will need to find a new place to live, I do not know how we'll keep up with healthcare and rising medical debt. I do know that God loves me and my family and that even when things are seeming to crumble around us, they really aren't, God is there, answering our prayers even when we may not realize it right away. And when that realization comes, wow. I am thankful that now in my walk with God I am quicker to see it, faster to realize it, and the best part is that usually I am thanking and praising Him in very short order for the blessings He gives us.