Friday, December 22, 2006

The Kiwi Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all round the bach
Not a possum was stirring; not one could we catch.
We'd left on the table a meat pie and beer,
In hopes that Santa Claus soon would be here.

We children were snuggled up in our bunk beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced in our heads;
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports

When outside the bach such a hoo-ha arose,
I woke up at once from my wonderful doze.
I ran straight to the sliding door, looking about,
Jumped out on the deck,and let out a shout!

The fairy lights Dad had strung up around the door
Let me see everything down to the shore.
And what did I see, when I took a peep?
But a miniature tractor and eight tiny sheep.

With a little old driver, his dog on his knee.
I knew at once who this joker might be.
He patted his dog, and in a voice not unkind,
Cried "Good on ya, boy! Now, GIT IN BEHIND!

"Now,Flossy! now,Fluffy! now Shaun and Shane!
On, Bossy! on, Buffy! on, Jason and Wayne!
Up that red tree, to the top of the bach!
But mind you don't trample the vegetable patch."

So up on the roof those sheep quickly flew,
With the tractor of toys, Santa and his dog too.
As my sister awoke and I turned around,
In through the window he came with a bound.

He wore a black singlet and little white shorts,
And stuck on his feet were gumboots of course;
A sackful of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a postie just opening his pack.

His eyes-bright as paua shell-oh, how they twinkled!
Like an old tuatara, his skin was all wrinkled!
He had a wide face and a round, fat tummy,
That looked like he'd eaten lots that was yummy.

He spoke not a word, but got down on one knee,
And placed a cricket set under the tree,
A present for Sis,one for Dad,one for Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and held up his thumb.

He jumped on his tractor, to his dog gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, as fast as a missile.
I called out "Thanks," as he flew past the gate.
He called back: "Gidday to all, and good on ya, mate"

I would just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. Also thank you for all the kindness and support that has been shown to me this past year, during my journey with breast cancer :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Final ornaments all finished

Yeh, now I can rest. It is a relief to finish my ornaments well before Christmas.
Last year I was rushing to finish and it became quite stressful and not fun at all.
So here are the 2 alternative colourways of Sugar Plum by Cindy Valentine.

Had another dose of chemo yesterday...after once again being delayed because of low neutrophils. Now they have lowered my chemo dose so I should be able to continue 3 weekly as first planned. As it is, my chemo has been extended by 2 weeks which is a bummer, but thats how it is, and I cant do much about it.

Got all my Christmas shopping done, put up the tree and decorations, sent out all my Christmas cards. Now I just have to wrap my presents. Here are some pics of my tree.

Heres some close ups of the various ornaments on the tree.

This ornament looks amazing at night as I stitched it with quite a few glow in the dark threads.

Will attempt to take a photo of the tree at night with all the lights on...quite lovely really.

Monday, December 04, 2006

One more down

Finished another Christmas ornament, so thats 1 down and 2 more that I know of left. No doubt I will think of more to make if I get the current ones in the list done quick enough. This design is a favourite from Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornaments issue 2005 (Probably my favourite of all of them). I stitched this one for myself last year. I use beads for the little ornaments hanging off the tree. And I am really enjoying making tassles and cords. Simple once you get the hang of it.

Also I have added a closeup of the ornament I finished a couple of days ago. Andie asked who the designer was. It is called Sugarplum by Cindy Valentine and it was in the 2005 Christmas Ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch (told you it was a favourite). Me being me, I never do ornaments in the colours on the pattern...the original sugarplum is all pink. I am doing 2 more of these, one is in purples and greens and the other red and greens.

I have all the Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issues except for 2003. Does anyone know where I could pick this up please...maybe someone has seen one for sale somewhere, or has one sitting collecting dust, that is no longer needed. (I really couldnt believe that).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another ornament

Just a quick post....Got another of the Christmas ornaments I am stitching this year finished. And I have started yet another. I have a few more to do, so I am busy stitching to get them done in time, in between work, getting the vege garden ready and generally blobbing around the house.

I am keeping good health, last week was all go though. It was during 'my low blood' time (happens 7 - 10 days after chemo when blood counts are at their lowest), and my DH decided to get a viral throat thing, which constricted his throat and he couldnt breathe. I took him to see the doctor who told him to get to Greymouth hospital. Decided against getting an ambulance, because I wanted to take the children, and know what was happening. well it was on the way down there ( an hours drive) that he started having problems breathing. He kept telling me to drive faster...I wont tell you what speed I got up to. Once there, the medical staff decided he had to go to Christchurch, so he was flown over by plane. He stayed for a couple of days, got lots of antibiotics and I drove over to Christchurch to pick him up. Through all this I was fine, but doctors everywhere were concerned about me. I never caught a thing :) Hopefully my blood counts never got too low, and I get the all clear for my next lot of chemo next week.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Latest purchase

I love needlework books...I have a great collection of cross stitch, needlepoint, stumpwork and embroidery books. But I always look to add to my collection. These 2 gems are my latest buys off TradeMe (a NZ online auction site like Ebay).

Bullion Stitch Embroidery From Roses to Wildflowers


A - Z of embroidery Stitches

All the books I have give me great inspiration, and I get a lot of ideas of what I might like to achieve as far as embroidered works go. If I could half of what I'd like to do, I would be happy.

Which brings me onto another aspect...UFOs or WISPs or Unfinished Objects or Works in slow progress. My dear friend Sandie has devised UFO/WISP Challenge 2007. So I am going to join in. Its a low stress fun way of finishing off all the projects that were once lovingly started with such enthusiasm, only to be lost in the bottom of a work basket, the back of a cupboard - anywhere these UFOs are often discarded.

There are many reasons why I have UFOs - generally I have become impatient or bored with what I have been working on, because I have seen and started another 'must do'. I guess the thing I have going for me with this challenge is that I still love all my UFOs. There are none I woulndt want to complete. But that is the problem....I have never completed them.

So with this challenge it is seeking out all the abandoned works and at our own pace, working on them. We can choose when and how we work on them. And as Sandie said, there will be plenty of inspiration to be had, just by seeing the other people in the challenge working on their UFOs/WISPs.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Finally they are finished

Over the past few days I have been taking every spare bit of time to finish the 4 ornaments I make each year for my DH, my 2 children and myself. If you can recall way back in April (oh how time flies), I started making rainbow gem ornaments using metallic and rayon threads. Now they are finished, I can move on to other things.

I have my 2nd lot of chemo this morning....the neutrophils have gone back up. So this afternoon I intend to relax and stitch up a storm...if Im not too tired :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The nurse came round this morning and the Picc line was still blocked. We were so depressed about it, because we really needed another trip to Christchurch like a hole in the head. Anyway today we decided to go 4 wheel driving, and when we came hole, I thought I would see if I could give the Picc line a flush. And guess what it is all cleared. Gave my nurse a ring and told her. we are all happy again :)

Spent tonight packing up my sons stuff to go to camp. Watch out Wellingtonians....year 7 & 8 from Reefton Area School will be hitting your streets tomorrow. I bet for a lot of the children it is the first time they have left the South Island. There is heaps of things planned for them, including spending a night in the Zoo, going to Te Papa, going to the TV studios...wich I was going, had my name down for it, but with my circumstances at the moment, decided it was best not to go. They are crossing over to Wellington on the ferry, so I hope the weather is good. 52 sick children crossing Cook Straight wouldnt be fun.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A set back!

Well I didnt have chemo has been put off for a week due to my low neutrophil count.

A basic explanation of neutrophil:
Neutrophil granulocytes, generally referred to as neutrophils, are the most abundant type of white blood cells and form an integral part of the immune system. White blood cells or leukocytes are cells which form a component of the blood. They are produced in the bone marrow and help to defend the body against infectious disease and foreign materials as part of the immune system.

Generally after each dose of chemo, about 7 - 10 days the neutrophils will be at their lowest and you are more susceptable to infection. Chemo kills bad cells but also knocks over fast acting good ones like hair and blood cells. If the neutrophils dont go up....normal range is 2 - 6 (mine are at .7) chemo has to be delayed so the body is not weakened further.

The levels should go back up by next week. Hopefully I dont have to go on a 4 week cycle, that would certainly string things out for longer. There are drugs that can be given to get the levels up if it becomes too much of a problem. Sometimes hospitalisation is necessary to protect against infection. The scary thing with this is, I have felt so healthy when in fact my body is very vulnerable to infection. The only thing that can get the levels back up is rest....if I was any more rested I would be horizontal.

Another setback is that I have a wonderful thing called a Picc line in my arm to use for chemo administration and blood tests....I have shocking veins that like to hide, so this line saves digging around looking for veins all the time. Well now the thing is blocked. I have been to Greymouth today to have some drug put in that will dissolve any blockages. The first lot didnt work, so my nurse came round and put some more in...and we will see if the line is clear tomorrow morning. If it isnt I will have to go back to Christchurch again, to get another line put in. In the meantime I have to sleep tonight with all these pressure syringes hanging off the line in my arm...don't ask!!!!

On a brighter note, I have a wonderful friend who lives nearby but is from Canada. Her Mum sent us both some breast cancer awareness goodies. There is a pink cap with a pink rhinestone ribbon on the front, a pink ribbon brooch with pink sparkly stones and lastly a 25 cent coin that was issued for breast cancer awarenes month.

Also here are photos of my childrens entries into their schools pet day. There were alsorts of competitions to enter.

My daughter entered the Pet Rock section and won with her family of owls.

And my son entered the Art section and won with his pastel portrait.

I was proud of both of them :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The latest use for a cat!!!

Couldn't resist sharing this picture of the ultimate in plate holders :)

Note: No plates or Mistys were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One finish in goodness knows how long!!

This is a quick picture I stitched for my daughters birthday as an extra gift. She loved it, and I am pleased with how it turned out.

On the health front, I am doing really well. Have my 2nd lot of chemo on Thursday. Saw the oncologist on Friday, and he said seeing I had hardly any side effects from the first chemo, its unlikely I will get any from now on. The tiredness may get worse, but I havent been overly tired the past 3 weeks, so I will see how I handle that.

Since the last post I have had a No.2 haircut and now I am sporting a No. 0. Feels funny. But I couldnt bear the thought of my hair falling out, so I got rid of it before it could. Its still not falling out - it wont be too far away, I don't imagine.

I have been busy stitching the 'gem' Christmas ornaments I started a while ago, so will put up a photo of them when finished.

A lovely friend sent me this years Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue, so I have been choosing over and over which ornaments I am going to stitch....along with all the others from past issues I want to stitch.

I have sewn 6 doo-rags (fitted scarves) for my brightly garish colours, so will add that photo tomorrow.

I havent done anymore knitting, its getting too much for trying to get my cardi finished this year...but I will persist, because I really want to get it out of the way.

In between all this I have been planting out my vege seedlings and sowing more seeds, and working part time. It has worked out well, because being busy, has allowed me not to dwell on all I have been through and the treatment still ahead :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The chop!!!!!!!

Well this morning I took the plunge and gave myself a haircut. Well first DH cut it all one length and I layered it. We did a pretty tidy job. My hair feels so light now. This is in preparation to my hair falling out. Not sure if I will take a photo of me bald. Its hard enough to get photos of me in the first place.

But anyway this first photo was taken a few nights before chemo.....I was horrified that someone was sneaking up behind me with a camera...and the fact they actually took the photo...its a good memory :)

This next photo depicts the shock horror factor of my haircut LOL......

The last one just shows the new look...a bit fuzzy...I do not think the photographer focused too well.......

Still feeling sickness or nausea still. Just a little tired maybe.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tagged again

Andie tagged me this time.....

The rules; List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether or not they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

1: Perfect strangers - INXS
2: Afterglow - INXS
3: Running - Evermore
4: Long Night - The Corrs
5: For A While - Stellar
6: Savin' Me - Nickelback
7: Far Away - Nickelback

Im not sure who to if anyone reads this and wants to join in...feel free:)

Still feeling really sickness...yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

One Chemo treatment down far I have no side effects...not feeling sick or anything. 5 more doses left, but I dont have to worry about that for another 3 weeks. Going back to Christchurch to have what is call ed a PICC line put in my arm. This is to make the treatments and blood taking easier, as I have shocking veins that are hard to find.

Getting my hair cut short this weekend in preperation for the big fall. Went to Look Good Feel Better workshop during the was great. Got a heap of freebies...more than I imagined. Felt wonderful afterwards....the people who run it do an amazing job.

Off now to plant a few of my vege seedlings into the garden, then I am going to sew some headwear bandanna thingys...they are called doo-rags...and its what bikeys wear under their helmets...sort of fitting scarves with ties at the back. I will make mine a bit bigger to cover the head fully.

Have been knitting too...but sadly no stitching at this point.

Here is a hat I knitted a few weeks ago...knitted with feathers wool. Its a bit loose on my head, but a scarf underneath should fix that. Its not really supposed to fit like a beanie.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I was tagged!!!!!!!!

Sandie tagged me a week or two ago, and I thought I better belatedly respond. I have to say 5 things that are weird about myself or my pets...shouldnt be too hard.

1: I have this strange affinity with animals, in that any will come up to me...even stroppy ones or animals that don't know me or even wild ones in zoos and become quite docile. Maybe it is because I am quite obsessed with animals and they sence that I love them heaps :) This is even true of birds out in the wild, some are quite friendly and come close to people, but I have them landing on me. Out on Community Patrol one night I had a morepork land on a fence that I was leaning on. Of course I never heard it...they are native NZ owls that fly silently. That amazed not only myself but the person I was with., that one would come so close.

2: I am fascinated by insects and other creepy crawlies...much to my mothers horror, when I was a child. My children are equally horrified. Don't like big spiders though...they are pretty yukky. But things like praying mantis' are wonderful (I used to collect the eggs and have them in my room as a child. Then they would hatch and I would have hundreds of them to let out into the garden. I also like wetas (NZ native large mean scary brown grasshopper looking things).

3: In my lounge I have a 3 seater sofa and a 2 seater. When I am doing stitching or knitting, no one else can sit next to me, I have to be spread out...and everyone else have to squash onto smaller sofa....Now thats just plain mean......

4: I keep a diary, and I have done so since I was 12. I read back over some of the old diarys and wonder what on earth was going on...I cant remember so me of the details. I just love writing down what I have done each day. It comes in very useful at times.

5: I prefer to do gardening in bare feet. I love the feel of the soil and mud between my toes (Ok Ive always been grotty). When I did other peoples gardens, they were bemused when I kicked my footwear off. If the garden has lots of nasty prickly weeds, then I keep shoes on.

So now I have to tag 5 of my friends who have blogs...hopefully they havent been tagged already...I have read their blogs and havent seen any tagging :) So I will choose Andie, Anne, Rowyn, Katrina and Lisa. I will probably annoy them more than anything with this. But hopefully they will reveal their weirdness too :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A quick post

Just realised I hadnt posted in a while...hopefully people didnt think I had fallen of the face of the earth.

I have almost recovered from my surgery, but out hitting the streets again with my dog (I was getting so bored sitting around inactive). I get a bit tired at the end of my walk, but I enjoy being outside so much.

Had 2 more trips to Christchurch in the time I have posted. The first was to see a radiation oncologist, who told me what treatment has been planned for me. I am going to have chemotherapy, which I am not thrilled about for obvious reasons, but if it mops up any hidden cancer cells, I am all for it. Then I will was radiation, and then a 5 years course of drugs. All these things together have a benefit that add up to 93% chance of never getting cancer again, so its worth while.

The 2nd trip was yesterday to see the medical oncologist who organises the chemotherapy. I think it is starting next week....yuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkk!!!!!!!
I have been given info on the drugs I will be given, and I have been given extra pills to counteract the nausea. I can hardly wait for all this to start. I feel like a drug dealer.

I didnt have morning sickness through any of my pregnancies, so I am unsure of what will happen. I tend to feel sick when I am nervous about things and I know I wont be as bad as the nausea I had in hospital. At least I wont be stuck in a hospital bed. And if the anti-nausea pills don't work, they will try other ones. I will have chemo every 3 weeks...for 6 treatments, so there will be a big poster put somewhere and I will mark of the days (like preparing for a holiday when I was younger)...hey I might go and find a ticker thingymajig.

My hair will fall out shortly after the first treatment, so I am trying to organise myself for head coverings...scarves, a wig and hats. Maybe a paper bag will suffice :)

After chemo finishes I have a month off, and then start on radiation for 4 weeks, but that wont be till next year, so I wont worry about that at present.

Stitching....what is that????? Knitting....same question. I have been hopeless in these departments, can't concentrate and havent really had time. But I have planted all this years vege seeds into pots in my greenhouse, so at least we can eat.

I am going to get into gear and do some stitching/knitting so at least I remember the basics. I will let you into a secret, no concentration is brought about by broken nights sleeps. I have been thrown into early menopause and suffer from shocking night sweats. I dont really get many hot flushes during the day. I wake almost every 2 hours. I am trying to get on top of it by not having caffiene in the afternoons or nights, no alcohol, no spicy food and lots of water and walking. I think its working. I am not waking as often or as hot.

Well after that tantilising piece of information I will leave you with a photo of 2 rhododendron trees in the section next door. They tower over a tiny miners cottage - you can just see the brown roof by the fence. The trees are gorgeous...there are a lot of them around Reefton. And I will try to post more often :)

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some lovely gifts

While I have been out of action I have received some beautiful gifts...I thought I would share....

A lovely friend of mine...Sandie from Australia, made this most exquisite Victorian pin cushion for me. It is absolutely beautiful, and the work gone into it is just astounding. The base of it is wooden made by Sandies husband. It is too good to use. Sandie also made some hat pins to stick into it, which finishes the pincushion off so well. A truly lovely gift, and I cant stop touching it and looking at it.

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The 2nd gift is a Crazy Quilted needlecase made by anothr Australian lady, Florence, that I have never met. She heard about me through Sandie, and decided to make me the needlecase. Again the amount of work gone into it is amazing. The colours are so lovely. Florence also added some dyed trims that I will be able to add to my own crazy quilting projects. I had been wanting to make myself another needlecase for my sewing needles, so this gift came along at the perfect time...but it is another gift that is too good to delicate.

Sorry about the quality about the photos....I never seem to get the perfect photo.

Another gift I received a couple of months back were a heap of fabrics and a pattern.

The fabrics were...Zweigart Cashel 28ct Tobacco fat quarter, 4 x Kiwi Illusions Belfast 32ct (favourite fabric) - Wild Rose, Shortbread, Waterfall and Merino, and a Kiwi Illusions Jubilee 28ct - Seaside. Also the pattern Merry Christmas. This gift was from my good friend Andie and Linda from Countrystitch. I was thrilled to get som much beautiful fabric...I cant wait to use it.

I am slowly coming along with my cardigan. It is almost getting to hot to knit. But I want to get it out of the way, so it is ready for next winter, and so I can get back to my own stitching and crazy quilting.

Just on the health oncologist rang yesterday, and it is still likely I will have chemo...just as an insurance for any missed cancer cells. It depressed me a bit....but also I thought I would hate to sit around always wondering if all the baddies were gone, or if another one was going to pop up. You never know I might look quite sexy bald...maybe one day I will be brave enough to show the 'hair' before and after photos :)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Im back...again :)

Well there is going to be no marathon running yet, but I am at home. I look like something from Frankenstiens party, battered and bruised, with stitches all over the place. The 2 operations went well...the combined top and tail. I did have a shocking reaction to the after effects of anesthetic, morphine and drinking too much water...before the bowels started working after being thrown around during the operation. So I suffered with a shocking nausea, a hot flush feeling, and then the vomiting started...I wonder if going cold turkey off drugs is like that. But that is past. I kept the nurses on their toes that night, trying to get the right concoction of anti-sick drugs to fix me.

I have had results for both ends now. The ovary situaton...well that was just a big benign tumour (not even related to the breast good not to have the preg feel anymore, and to lose all the kilos I had gained. Now just sore with my zip pattern up my tummy. The breast side of things...there they cut out a bigger area to get a clearer margin and I had lymph nodes removed. So now I have to look after my arm and get no infections there, so I don't overload the lymph glands. And I get a numb feeling up and down my arm which will evntually pass.

Everything there has come back it looks as though I wont be needing chemo, because the cancer never spread...but still the radiation...which is such good news. I just have to wait...again...until my meeting with the oncologist who will come over to the West Coast to see me and see what the best plan of attack is. I may be back in Christchurch in around 3 - 4 weeks for radiation...just depends how quick I see the oncologist.

When I was lying in hospital recovering, every time I saw one of my multitude of doctors, I knew things would be OK because they were always so happy with how I was. And I could feel it too. Especially the lymph nodes...I felt my body was healthy there.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and best wishes. I still have a while to go on my trek...but Im getting there :)

We quite enjoyed it in Christchurch, but so glad to get back to the peace and quiet of our little town. My animals sure are glad to see me.

Hope everyone is well :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hospitals....getting used to the visits now.

Firstly I would like to say thank you to everyone who has visited my blog recently. Wow. I have new visitors...its lovely to meet you all.

Well here I am back from hospital. And guess what, I didnt have surgery. Not too much drama really but a very interesting turn of events when I mentioned the abdominal problems I have been having. Regular readers will remember around the middle of June when I said I had stomach cramp and bloating...I really thought it was due to the stress of finding out about cancer etc.

Went into the hospital on Wednesday, and the house surgeon came to visit me to see if I was in good health for surgery(LOL). Mentioned the bloating etc. She felt my minute xrays, ultrasounds and blood tests were being ordered. Well blow me I am not pregnant....I have a tumour on one of my ovarys. After a hysterectomy 6 years ago, both ovaries left...I think yippeee thats it for any surgery down there wrong can one be!

So the house surgeon & my surgeon and her registrar are all in 'we need to check everything mode' so breast surgery was put off, I had a CT scan...which showed bone lesions. So I had to have a bone scan (being injected with radioactive material is a real blast).

At this point I will explain all this. The ultrasound showed some solid bits on the tumour...which gave suspicions of cancer. What they had to determine was, had it spread from the breast, had the breast got it from the ovary, or was it another primary cancer (new). Xrays and blood tests from when I first had surgery (3 weeks ago) were all clear, so it showed any cancer in my body hadnt gone to the liver or lungs - the first places breast of ovarian cancer will go too (they are very similar in the way they act). So the CT scan would show if there was any general spreading, but this showed the lesions, so the next step, the bone scan would show if cancer had gone to the bones - that would be diastrous.

The CT scan was good, except for lesions. The bone scans thankfully, were clear. The lesions were not eating away of bone (which would be indicative of cancer), but extra bits had appeared...probably caused when I was younger from situations such as falling off horses or any other misadventure I managed to put my body through.

The breast cancer op was put on hold...the ovarys suddenly went to No. 1 position. So I met a gyno surgeon...lovely man of few words. I am booked in next week to have the ovarys removed, and then my breast surgeon will come in and do her bit. (so almost a top and tail) Nothing more can be told about the ovary until it is removed, but the general news is, after all the tests, whatever it is, it hasnt spread.

So I am looking at up to 2 weeks in hospital, surgery is next week...they really want to look after me. The whole thing put everyone in a spin...because there were discussions of various outcomes and treatments...I may of had to have chemo or radiation first. If it went to bones, they wouldnt of worried about the breast straight away....gosh I almost had the coffin nailed shut. I knew things were getting worse, when the surgeons kept going off to ring DH all the time to come up to hospital because 'He needs to hear this'.

I was allowed out on leave on Friday, and went back into the ward this morning, thinking I was going to visit the oncologist for the next step. One of the surgeons had rung me on Saturday morning (we stayed in CHCH), to say some of the tests had come back clear. That was encouraging. Then I found out this morning I didnt need to see the oncologist at this stage, because the rest of the tests were good.

So as I wrote earlier, once the ovary is out, that will say what sort of further treatment I need, and same with the extra breast surgery (just removing a clearer margin) and removal of lymph nodes. But the good thing through all this is, everything is treatable. There was even talk of maybe not having chemo...I wont hold my breath there...thats only if lymph nodes are clear.

But it is all terribly exhausting...being in hospital was great because all the people I have been dealing with, all came and sat with me for hours on end just answering questions. And they didnt care that I asked the same questions over and over. I found it hard to sleep, and the nurses on 'graveyard' duty were happy to sit and chat as well. All I can say is the staff at Christchurch Hospital are fantastic.

Which takes me back to the doctor I visited here in town here when I first got the stomach cramps...I finally got in to see a locum - after being put on hold all the time - to be poked and prodded, and sent home being told not to eat anything. The problem went away so I forgot about it. It had come back a few weeks later ( I thought due to the stress of this other business - but obviously activated by my cycle). But I never worried about it. Maybe I should have gone back to the doctor, to say the problem wasnt going away, but I didnt want to spend money to be told nothing was wrong again. In hindsight I think I am my own worst enemy when it comes to visiting doctors.

During the weekend I visited a hairdresser, and I was so tempted to cut all my hair off, I just got a good trim and tidy tends to dry out after anesthestic. Just as well I didnt have a major assault on my would have been drastic and maybe even unecessary. Thats another thing that can wait until I hear more results.

Staying with the rest of my family over the weekend was really humbling. Davidson House is where people with cancer and their families can stay during treatment - when they come from outside Christchurch. I met some fantastic people, that are dealing with their own demons.

I am still going to knit my hats though...well a couple at will keep me busy, even though I still have the dreaded cardi to knit and all my stitching and crazy quilting.

Wow, I have really prattled on, I hope it is understandable...thanks you again for all the well wishes :)

I am far from out of the woods yet and still taking one day at a time!!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not the flashest of news

It has been almost a week since we went over to Christchurch for the results of my operation. I as still coming to terms with the news.

First of all I was told the area removed was good with plenty of clear margins. The orignal lump was removed and has been sent to England, just to be totally certain what it is and that it is still harmless. Now the the area removed, there has been found a small cancer. What I had before the operation was termed 'pre-cancer' but some cancer has also been found in the area.

So now I have to go back for more surgery...they want to remove an even bigger margin and also take some of the lymph nodes out from under my arm. Which means from now on for the rest of my lfe I have to be careful not to scratch the arm, or get it sunburnt or bitten by insects. The lymph nodes remove bacteria and other harmful agents, so I can not overload the ones under that arm or else my arm will swell up...not very common these it means having antibiotics on hand at all times.

Because of all this, now before the radiation, I have to have 6 months of Chemotherapy. At least this can be done in Greymouth which is 50 minutes away. It is once every 3 weeks, to allow the body to get over each dose. I will lose my hair. For me that is so revolting, but I know it will grow back, and I have to keep in mind, that the hair loss is only temporary, and the treatment causing it, will make me better. The chemo is a still a way off yet. The surgery will be in the next couple of weeks and the results of that will say what happens after that and when.

I have even dragged out the wool stash to have a go at knitting some hats for when I do lose my hair. At least the majority of it will happen over summer, but I will still be hairless, when the weather starts to cool again next Autumn.

I am still knittting my cardi...allbeit slowly now.

Thankyou for all the best wishes so far...they means a lot :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Operation over

Its a week since I had my operation...the time has gone quickly. The hospital stay was straight forward and there were no dramas in that department. The family were able to stay at Davidson house, in another house at the back of the property, that has been devided into 2 flats. They stayed in the upstairs flat. I stayed there for 2 nights as well, the night before going into hospital and the night I came out. Really lovely and I am so thankful for the Cancer society for allowing us to do that.

As always I got no sleep in hospital....being in surgical ward, there were alsorts of dramas happening with the other parients. And the night of the operation, we had a less than thoughtful nurse who should have been in a rodeo. The poor lady she was dealing with was made to feel like she was an inconvenience to the nurses night. And because of that, the nurse kept everyone awake with her yelling and dropping of things. Oh well there is one in every bunch. Didnt get any stitching was easier just to blob around and read mindless womens magazines.

Everyone I dealt with were wonderful. I go back over to Christchurch on Monday 21st for the results of the operation and to see what is next. I hope it is good pre-birthday news for me :)

I think I have finally caught up on all my sleep, yesterday I felt like I had enough insideitis, so I went with DH on a 2 hours bush walk, just to get some fresh air in my lungs. And it was good. Of course I slept well last night.

On Sunday we woke to snow...Im not sure if they have had snow in Reefton before. DH woke me at 8am to show me, but it was all gone by 10:30. The children built a couple of snowmen, which only just melted yesterday. It was lovely to have snow again...we have missed it.

Here are a couple of snowy pictures :)

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Late yesterday afternoon the Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, died at her home at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia after a long illness. The Tangi will take a week and then she will be buried on Taupiri Mountain, the sacred burial site of Maori chiefs and the Queens ancestors. I can just imagine the sombre state Ngaruawahia will be in now. Before moving to the South Island, I lived in Ngaruawahia, just down the road from Turangawaewae. It was a nice place to live - semi rural, and I have fond memories of the place. I saw Nelson Mandela at Tuangawaewae, which was a bit of a thrill. My DS went to Taupiri school at the foot of the mountain. I knew some of the Queens family so my thoughts are with them at this time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What a surprise !!!!!

You Are: 10% Dog, 90% Cat

You are are almost exactly like a cat.
You're intelligent, independent, and set on getting your way.
And there's no way you're going to fetch a paper for anyone!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Something sent to me - thought I would share

George Carlin's View on Aging
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50

And your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!

After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90's, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them!"

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

A sleeve :)

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Well almost a sleeve...this knitting sure is dragging on,   I am spending a bit more time on it these days.  I have decided to allocate time each day for some knitting and some stitching.  Of course the knitting is getting the most time....when I do have time to sit down :)

Just baked 2 fruit loaves for a school fundraising cake stall (for my sons camp to Wellington in November), so tomorrow morning I will sit on the cake stall for a few hours to help out.  I am on the fundraising comittee, so we have planned plenty of things to bring in the money and make it a bit easier on parents for camp costs.

Got a letter to say I am to be at the hospital on the 8th August and surgery is on the 9th and I can go home on the 10th.  So at least I know a bit more.  So in preparation for surgery I am getting fitter...taking my dog for long speedy walks.  Poor old Zoe is looking very sleek these days, but she loves her walks with Mum.

I am getting lots of help and advise from the Cancer Society...there are just so many things we wouldnt know about if it wasnt for them.

On the stitching front I am continuing on with my Christmas ornaments.  No photos yet...will just  photograph them all finished .

I have just brought another Shepherds Bush needleroll kit...this one is Pansy.  My collection is slowly growing, with 4 SB's...Garden, Violet, Pansy and Stitchers....and then the 3 Lorri Birminghan NRs I brought a few weeks ago.

Well I better get off here and go walk the looks like it might rain :(


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The back for Andie...LOL

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General update

Well we went over to Christchurch and I saw the surgeon. I will be having surgery in August...hopefully early August. I will have to stay in hospital 1 or 2 nights. Then go back to Christchurch 10 days later for results. That will tell me if I need more surgery...but heres the real shock...I have to have radiation regardless. So it means a month of living away from family. I can go home for weekends. All the travelling - its 3 hours one way...I think that is the worst thing about this. So DH has to work and look after the children. His bosses are very good and are ready to help...might even consider a transfer to Christchurch while I am there. I will be able to stay at an accomodation house for cancer patients which is a bonus. The driving may get a bit much, because the side effects of radiation get worse as time goes on. When we think about it, we are none the wiser to anything...but at least we are stating to get plenty of help from DHs work and the Cancer Society.

I finished the back of the cardigan....yipppeeeeee. Now I am onto a sleeve. I am so wanting to do some stitching, but want to get the knitting out of the way first. I would of added a photo but a back would be pretty boring.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I decided to add a little bit more this was prompted by a  question ( by Singular Stitches) on my last entry asking where I got the needleroll patterns from. It is a New Zealand company called Goldings Handcrafts,  and I generally buy things from there wholesale as I have another wee hobby I do, and I have an account with them.  I am not sure whether the needlerolls  are available to the public...I guess they must be, but I couldnt find them on the site.  They will be there somewhere.

My other hobby  is painting  tiles.  I sell these to tourists at various souvenir shops and I also have a website which showcases them...Isnt if funny that I completely forgot about these until I was asked a question. 

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This is a selection of some of the tiles I paint...but you can see the rest at my very out of date website.  I have also painted tiles for people....and have had some interesting requests.

Well I have finally got a pre surgery appointment...that is on Monday, so I imagine the weekend will go very slow.  So another long day travelling over the hill.  Hopefully the surgeon will give me a date for surgery then.

The knitting is going well again...I looked at the area I made the mistake in daylight and you cant see anything wrong with it...thank goodness. 

I am going to shut my computer down in a  couple of minutes because we are having a really bad thunder storm and I get the feeling that the power will go off soon.  Hopefully all these links I left will work :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More needlerolls

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This morning 3 needlerolls chart packs arrived that I ordered from a NZ company. I got them 2 1/2 weeks after I paid for them, but that only because the company had sent them to my old address, even though I had updated my details. Thankfully the people who took over DHs old job and are in our old house, just returned them to sender, so then the company could send then to my correct address.

They are Lorri Birmingham needlerolls - Butterfly, Lady Bug and Friends. I got these really cheaply and I am thrilled with them. It was a special offer for all 3 and I snapped up the offer really quick, even though they took so long to get here, it was well worth the wait. I didnt even realise the beads and charms were included.

Can't wait to stitch these up...but of course the priority is the knitting. That almost got binned last night. For some reason, I couldnt do one particular row right. I made a mistake...corrected it (not easy undoing cables etc), then further down the row made another stupid mistake. Which meant that while fixing it, I dropped some stitches, so had to pick them up from a few rows below. Things are never easy. I havent even looked at the knitting this morning, in daylight. Hopefully I will not see any further mistakes. I know I have the correct amount of stitches on the needle, so fingers crossed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday mumbles

Well Im starting to scoot up the back of my cardigan quite quickly now. I always have lots of wool left over, so I think I might knit a Irish hiking scarf for each of the family. These are very easy to knit and just have a couple of cable rows on them. I know there was a big knit-a-long happening with some bloggers....and the photos of their scarf were great...all different colours.

I forgot to add this link to my blog after I sent it to all my friends...and I see some of them have added it to their blogs - so I wll do the same. The quicker all those signatures are collected the better.
Help save the whales :)

Heres another nice link all about friendship

I am still waiting to hear from the hospital...hopefully this week, I will hear something.

Now I will go off and do some housework...then I can knit this afternoon. As soon as I finish this cardigan, I can get onto my normal stitching.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A most excellent cheer up gift!!!!!

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Yesterday I was having one of those 'blah...I feel sorry for myself' days.  I did quite a bit of knitting and actuall got up to the armholes on the back of my cardi...yeh,  things will go a lot quicker now.

This morning my postie delivered a package to me...its fantastic.  My good friend Andie sent me a 'thinking of you and cheer up' gift.  It worked thats for sure.  I am still amazed at Andies generosity.  In the package was 3 patterns - Hummingbird Flora by Black Swan Designs, A Friend - Friendship Sampler by Lavender Wings and Celtic Seasons by Vickery Collection.  A pack of heart shaped diecut blank cards,  Two hand dyed fabrics in 32ct Belfast ( my favourite fabric) from Countrystitch - one is Tussock and the other is Eden and a collection of  threads which included a gold metallic, pink silk, pink floss, and a mixture of variegated and hand dyed perles and a lovely card.  I love my gift Andie, thanks so much.

I thought I would add some photos of my cats in todays posting.

Firstly some of Sid.....

Pretty boring I know...but look at that evil eye!!!!

Same photo with no tail

Why does Mum poke that camera at me, when I am trying to sleep?

Closing the eyes may just encourage her to go away!

What pointy ears I have.

Ok they were pretty cats don't do anything exciting.  Their daily exercise is walking to the food bowl.  Right here are some more exciting photos...these are of Misty....


If there is a box this big lying around...I may as well use it.

Yes I am a real cat...I always sleep in this stiff looking position

zzzzzzzzzzz 1 mouse, 2 mice, 3 mice zzzzzzzzzzzz

Another sleeping position...another spot

Very cute....

I love the last two photos where Mistys nose is snuffled up in her fluffy tail.  As you can tell by these photos, that sometimes I just have too much time on my hands...but hey,  thats a good thing :)


Thursday, July 06, 2006

The knitting progress

Despite health issues at the moment, I havent had time to think. I have been busy with work, reading meters...its almost as though lots of people ar leaving town. Also it is the school holidays, so its that time again to amuse the children when they are bored. I think the holidays get easier as the children get older.

I havent done that much stitching because I have been putting all my spare time into knitting an aran cardigan. Its a nightmare...there is 4 rows of general pattern and into that I have to fit in 16 rows of cable there is lots of marking off onto paper, to make sure I know where I am up to. I have only been able to do the knitting when everyone is out or quiet. I have found a couple of small mistakes, but they aren't noticable thank goodness and I havent lost any stitches :) This photo is of the back, and I am getting closer to the armholes, then it becomes quicker. The back up to the armholes is always the uphill part of knitting for me.
The wool is Aran 10 ply - Stormy Ridge Station natural wool. So lovely to knit with. I made a natural coloured jacket a few years ago which I sold as it was too big for me.

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This is what I am stitching at the moment. Just a small Irish welcome picture, I have a few ideas how I will finish it. I may change the writing in the middle to black.

I am starting to get itchy fingers for all the various projects I have on the go at the moment. At least I can do my normal stitching when the time isnt right to concentrate on the knitting.