MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Health and Events Update

As noted in my last post, my regular posting schedule has been suspended due to health issues.  It turns out that I have cervical cancer in addition to the ovarian cyst (which grew in the month between its first sighting via ultrasound and the CT scan that followed), and ovarian cancer is also a possibility due both to troubling markings and the cyst having attached itself to the nearby intestinal wall.  I will be having surgery on the 25th of July, during which the ovary will be biopsied to determine whether or not ovarian cancer is indeed part of the picture, although the probability of both cancers having developed simultaneously is minimal, thankfully.  After I’ve recovered from the surgery I will have radiation and chemo, and while all of these treatments have their risks, I am still grateful that now there is a treatment plan, and a light at the end of the tunnel – like any good Capricorn, I am much happier when I have concrete facts and actions to ground me, and I feel like I can face anything so long as I have a plan.

This has forced me to cancel my appearances at events in June and July, and another appearance in early August, but it looks like I’ve managed to schedule the surgery with just enough recovery time to still be able to make it to Many Gods West, where I will be vending and teaching a mead brewing seminar, though I will need to take some steps to make sure that I don’t overdo it, and probably won’t be as lively at the conference as I would otherwise like to be.  I will not be scheduling further event appearances until I make it through this.

I am very grateful for the love, support, and prayers of my friends, and particularly for the aid of my maternal aunts, Dorothy, Linda, and Lucy, who have formed what Dorothy calls “The Assembly of Auspicious Aunties.” They have indeed been living up to that name and have been helping to coordinate getting me to my medical appointments and acting as clear-headed backup brains to help make up for my brain fog resulting from pain, meds, reduced appetite, and chronic sleep deprivation.  They have also been wonderful to talk to and reconnect with after many years of separation due to my stepmother’s fear and dislike of my mother’s family resulting in her actively preventing them from seeing me combined with her poisonously divisive programming of my young mind, that taught me that they didn’t want me or care about me.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m also deeply grateful for my stepmother’s two caregivers who tend to her personal care on an alternating schedule, Cathy and Grace, with whom I have developed a friendship.  I try not to worry them with my situation, but both of them check in on me and try to help me with finding ways to manage my own care while making sure that my stepmother continues to be well tended to.  They are both immigrants, so my interactions with them over the past few years have helped to educate me on the experiences of immigrants now in the era of Trump, and I find myself feeling fiercely protective of them and their families.  Their stories, their strength, their kindness and dedication and compassion move me deeply.  Even if I hadn’t grown so close to them as a result of living in the same house with each of them for half the week, I would find them admirable, but in the midst of this illness I am continually reminded that women and men like them are the people who build this country from the ground up.  My job here would be infinitely harder without them even if I wasn’t sick, and now that I am, I know that it would be impossible to get through this if I didn’t have their support.

Experiencing the loving care of these two extraordinary ladies and my amazing aunts has been the silver lining in all of this.

As has the change in my perspective.  When faced with my own mortality and even greater physical limitations than those caused by my usual autoimmune issues, priorities change.  I’ve actually become more obsessively creative, but in tiny doses throughout the day, whenever I can either beat the pain and fog enough to draw, or via knitting to distract myself from the pain when it’s bad but not incapacitating – knitting the patterns I know by heart requires even less brain power than drawing, and it’s remarkable how far you can get knitting a few stitches here, another few after the worst of the pain subsides.

For the most part, I can still woman up enough to haul myself out of bed and do what I need to in order to manage my stepmother’s care, but these days more and more of that work is conducted from my bed, with the caregivers keeping me posted on what needs to be done, reminding me of whatever my foggy brain has forgotten and making sure I stay on-task.  One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that between the brain fog and the constant pain, everything I do is much, much slower – to put things in perspective, I started this post shortly before the end of June, and have struggled each week since to try to finish it and get it posted.  If not for my extreme stubbornness, I wouldn’t get anything done at all, but I am stubborn, and each day I tackle the most crucial tasks in bite-sized pieces until those pieces add up to something complete.  Even if it’s only one small thing complete, at least it’s something.  It’s ironic that I came out here to care for a terminally ill woman, and now find myself a patient as well.  I am lucky that I can extend my influence from my bed through the computer, that I can do so many tasks electronically, even if painfully slowly.  I am lucky that I am only afflicted with brain fog and not the full-blown dementia from which she suffers, and that this illness is treatable and therefore temporary, however scary it may be.  Watching my muscle mass shrink due to my inability to eat reminds me of watching her wither due to her emotional lack of appetite when the dementia really began to become serious, though unlike her I am still actively trying to make sure that I get good nutrition, even if it is all liquids and purees.

A few months back a fellow astrologer and numerologist pointed out the combination of both the Sun and Mercury in my natal chart at 22 degrees that he saw as indicating that I would need to become a “guide” to a family member.  Since this is the area of Capricorn that Pluto will be transiting in another couple of years (a couple of years before the United States’ Pluto return), I have given much thought to how this corresponds to my efforts to help my stepmother during her lengthy process of dying.  While I am not going to assume that this disease was divinely given in order to make me more compassionate toward her by giving me an inside look at the experience of a debilitating illness, nonetheless it is perhaps a side benefit in the midst of the pain and disruption of my life, something to give me more understanding and hopefully help me to help her better during her final days (weeks, months, years…).  If all goes well with my treatment, then perhaps I will be better equipped with the empathy to help her face her own mortality.  In the meantime, like her I am becoming intimately familiar with the view from my bedroom window, and with the process of waiting.

 

 

 

Arm-Warmers in July?!?

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It seems counter-intuitive, I know, and I had intended to wait until cooler weather set in before putting these up for sale. But I tend to carry my knitting with me wherever I go, including events where I am doing tarot readings (mostly because I have one of those idle-hands-are-the-devil’s-playground attitudes ingrained), and people regularly ask what I am knitting. When I tell them, and show them what these things look like when worn, they get all excited and ask if I have them online for sale. So, I’ve finally gotten around to putting a bunch of them in my Etsy shop. 🙂

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The majority of these arm-warmer sets are knitted from various kinds of Noro yarn – lovely hand-dyed yarns from Japan. The most basic sets are pure wool, and the fancier sets are made from silk/mohair/wool blends or in one case a wool/silk/alpaca/mohair/angora blend (which feels incredible!). I’ve also got some eyelash yarns that I’ve got earmarked to make some of these sets with, so I’ll be putting some of those up once I’ve burned through my current batch of Noro.

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The pattern is something that I made myself after trying someone else’s fingerless glove pattern that just didn’t satisfy me – the gusset for the thumb was too loose and bulky, and the wrist area was too short for my liking. I wanted something more fitted and elegant, and something with some length on it to keep me warm. Thanks to my genes and my current New England habitat I am pretty constantly cold, and especially in scorching weather find that when I go from the heat outside into air-conditioned insides I wind up shivering. Having something small that I can carry with me to pull on and off that coordinates with my outfit and actually adds to visual interest while keeping the air-conditioning-shivers at bay has turned out to be even more useful than I anticipated. Earlier in the summer when I was at Unifier Festival and the weather couldn’t make up its mind, I found these especially fun for layering with. And my inner fashion maven loves fun accessories, so I’ll admit to having made several different pairs of these for myself, no doubt with more to come, because despite my goth leanings I can’t resist a splash of colour in the sea of black. 😉

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Where Have I Been?

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It’s been a long while since I’ve posted on this blog, with my last entry dating from over a month ago, when I was getting ready to vend and do tarot readings for several days at the Unifier Festival in Connecticut.

Despite getting rained out during our set-up on Wednesday night and most of the day Thursday, it still wound up being an enjoyable show, although it was a strange reversal of my previous show experiences in that none of my art or craftwork sold but I wound up doing numerous tarot readings, which put me in a somewhat surreal state for much of the weekend, because even with good grounding practices doing that many readings one after the other tends to make me quiet and introspective, and definitely changes my perceptions of social situations.

Since then, while I have done some work putting together an astrological post for this blog (the final details for which have proven elusive), mostly I’ve been in a far more hands-on mood with regard to my art and craft work, and have finally gotten some of it up on my Etsy shop, although the majority of the items I’ve been working on haven’t been photographed yet. I intend to start posting announcements of individual pieces again like I did before the show, and should have another one of those posts up in the next couple of days.

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I’ve done a significant amount of knitting during this time, and really need to start getting that photographed and up both here and on Etsy. Most of it’s my signature arm warmers, which seem dreadful to even think about in July heat, but I found them to be incredibly useful when I was experiencing the temperature fluctuations at Unifier (warm days, cold nights) and have wound up playing around with layering looks with them since as a result, which I hope to show off a bit more in an upcoming photoshoot with some of the models I’ve worked with from TempleCon, but that’s still a couple of months out.

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June also had two dance performance opportunities for me, within a week of each other, and since I hadn’t done any shows since last year it was a bit of a scramble to prepare for these. That has made me want to get back on the performance bandwagon a bit more, not simply for the enjoyment of dance and being in front of an audience, but really more for the discipline of it.

Mostly I’ve been strangely anti-social – not disliking people, but simply not interested in spending a lot of time with them or talking a lot. I suppose I can chalk it up to the past month’s Mercury retrograde, not from the standpoint of blaming it for interfering, but rather for reinforcing the introspective side of my mind and some natural reticence that comes with having been born under Mercury retrograde. Now that Mercury has turned direct, perhaps I’ll be a bit more communicative. 😉

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