Archive for January, 2009

Regular service is resumed (with photos)

January 31, 2009

I’m back to my usual Saturday morning do-stuff-while-A-is-at-work routine, so I’m on my own laptop with pictures at the ready.  Before I launch into that though, a brief update:

I called the private medical cover people and they won’t cover further tests/appointments until or unless I get a definite diagnosis unrelated to endometriosis.  Or unless this whole mess drags on into October when the 2 year moratorium on pre-existing conditions runs out.  Bugger, back to the NHS.

Work is busy, lots to do, systems which make it difficult to do much of anything.  Not really news.

Mum has been in for 2 scans to try to work out what is causing the pain in her chest (that isn’t a breast any more).  She has a follow-up appointment with her surgeon in 2 weeks. 

I’m mostly focussed on the knitting again.  We have a little extra money this month, because of the way A gets paid every four weeks but our bills are all monthly, so we’re allowing ourselves a bit of spending money.  I splashed out at Get Knitted online again yesterday, feeling kind of guilty about it but I’m sure I’ll get over that!  This time I bought a lucky dip pack of 4 different tofutsies sock yarns, a set of Knitpicks options interchangable needles anda selection of their fixed circular needles in sock sizes.  I absolutely love the ones I bought last weekend. 

So, on to pictures…

These are the Knitpicks circular needles I bought last week, along with the yarn below…

  which is rapidly becoming  

  which is becoming  

and    which will eventually be bedsocks. 

 

I also completed a skull wristband for A, and he’s really pleased with it.

The socks I’m working on are on two circular needles, which is a new technique.  It’s going well so far, but now I have to do the heel on the first one and I’m not sure I understand the instructions.  I’ve got a couple of hours now to concentrate on it so I’m sure I’ll work it out. 

The scarf could take a while, as I find so much repitition pretty boring, so I’m only working about 2 repeats per day to give me time to do other things as well.  It’s looking good though. 

I think that’s pretty much everything…I’m off to play with socks.

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Endless Medical Appointments

January 28, 2009

I’m now well into the many appointments I’ve got booked…today I had the blood test for coeliac disease, as well as a few dozen other things.  The nurse took at least 6 little bottles of blood and the Dr-man had ticked just about every box available on the form.  Hopefully something will come back with a result, preferably something treatable!  Ideally I’d like something that can be cured, but failing that I’ll be quite happy with manageable.  How defeatist is that?!

This afternoon I’m off to see the physio lady at the pain clinic again, to return the tens machine they loaned me.  It was good, but I haven’t used it since I bought my own, and the month’s loan is up.  Hopefully I won’t need any more appointments there. 

Tomorrow I have an asthma check-up with the nurse at the surgery.  Just a routine appointment to monitor the asthma I forget I have! 

Next week I just have one appointment with the Dr-man, so far.  I have to contact my private medical cover people before that, to see whether they’ll cover me for tests and consultant referrals, given that the consensus us that this probably isn’t endometriosis and therefore isn’t a pre-existing condition.  Fingers crossed – I’d really like the private cover to kick in.  I’m kind of putting off the phone call at the moment, cos I don’t want to be told ‘no’. 

I’m struggling with the pain again at the moment.  For every good day I get 3 or 4 bad ones.  I hardly slept last night, between the pain and the worry.  Someone well meaning sent me a chain e-mail, one of those that is trying to raise awareness of a particular illness.  This one was about ovarian cancer.  And I have every symptom.  I know that logically I have all the symptoms for a lot of illnesses, I know it and yet occasionally something catches my attention and even if I don’t realise it at the time it plays on my mind when I get into bed. 

I’ve got symptoms for so  many things I’ve stopped researching too much or the worry will kill me!  Ha!

In the meantime, life (and knitting) goes on.  It’s too damn short to spend much time fretting about illness, so here’s a bit about what I’ve been up to in the last week…

A had a few days off after his tooth extraction last week, so I took Friday and Monday as well.  We had a lazy day on Friday, stayed in bed far too late, wandered along to a supermarket to get some shopping, met a few friends for a drink in the evening.  We had a similar day on Sunday and not much more exciting on Monday, except we did go out for a lovely long walk. 

On Saturday though, we got up at a reasonable time and caught a train to Bristol for the day.  It was a really good day out, different to what we usually get up to.  I even…drum roll please…got to visit Get Knitted in real life (instead of online).  Man I love that shop!  Their online shop is excellent, good range, brilliant service, reasonable prices, but that’s nothing compared to the open, friendly welcoming-ness of the actual shop.  It was a good 45 minute walk from the station, but well worth it.  Even A found it interesting to look around!  Oh, and I kind of bought some stuff…but the photos will have to wait until I’m on my own laptop due to restrictions on the work one. 

We also looked around some of the usual high street shops, buying a cardigan and some t-shirts for A and a new coat for me, and had lunch in KFC.  There was even time to explore the market, and we probably should have eaten at one of the fabulous, unusual food places there.  Only we were kind of short of money by then. 

All in all, it was a nice change and well worth the effort. 

On the knitting front, I’ve finished my lovely purple bedsocks, and I’m now making myself a scarf and my Mum some socks.  I got new yarn for both when we were at Get Knitted on Saturday, some purple Malabrigo laceweight for the scarf and some Lorna’s Laces sock wool in a colour called Flamingo Stripe for Mum’s socks.  The Lorna’s Laces stuff is a special pink stripey yarn which includes a donation to a cancer research charity. 

I also bought two Knitpicks circular needles to try socks on two circulars.  So far, it’s going really well, and even though I still love my DPN’s it’s good to have another method up my sleeve.  Magic loop next! 

Anyway, because of all the appointments I gave knitting group a miss today, so I’d better not spend any longer here.  Back to work!

A mid-week post?

January 21, 2009

Doesn’t seem very likely.  And yet, here it is! 

Life is suddenly busy again.  I have a total of 4 medical appointments over the next two weeks.  My Mum has 2 scans booked in for next week, after seeing the surgeon about her chest pain yesterday.  A had a tooth removed yesterday.  The bunny has been under the weather so we’re threatening him whit a trip to the v-e-t.  So much for my drugged-up brain to remember and deal with! 

I’m taking some of the pressure off, by not committing to taking Mum to all her appointments.  While she was going through chemo last year, with all the other appointments involved, I was 100% there for her.  I took her to as many appointments as she wanted, and knew it was the right thing to do – I couldn’t have done it differently.  Right now though, I’m just not up to it.  I can’t comfortably stay off the painkillers after lunchtime for a start, which means I can’t drive.  Fat lot of use that is!  I’m also too tired, all the time, so tired.  I’ll be there as much as I can, but in the meantime I’m really hoping she is ok…that at least this is something easily treatable.   For both our sakes. 

A is doing remarkably well after having his wisdom tooth extracted yesterday.  It was done in less than 10 minutes from calling him through from the waiting room to paying at reception afterwards.  He opted not to keep the tooth!  He has had little pain so far, and even slept well.  Fingers crossed it will be that easy. 

I have to see the Dr-man this afternoon, and I will be asking for tests.  I want to be tested for anything at all that could possibly be causing this pain.  I’m not waiting to see the consultant, I need help now. 

Also this afternoon is knitting group.  I’m so busy work-wise I probably shouldn’t take the time out, but I really want to go, it’s such a good way to switch off for an hour.  Plus, I really want to finish my bedsocks so I can wear them! 

But for now, it’s back to work.

Not the best week

January 17, 2009

For some reason this week has been hard.  The pain has been bad, I’ve been tireder than ever and just haven’t got it together all week.  I only worked in the office on one morning, and on Monday didn’t do any work at all.  I didn’t even make it to knitting group, as some urgent work came up at the last minute. 

I have been giving some thought to what the consultant said about the possibility it isn’t endometriosis causing the pain.  Maybe that isn’t the bad thing I assumed it must be.  Maybe I can get some tests done, get a diagnosis and get some treatment.  Maybe I’ll get my life back. 

I read a thread in a Ravelry forum where someone told someone else that they could be tested for coeliac disease with a simple blood test.  They were however warned that they might get false negative results if they quit eating gluten ahead of the test.  That got me thinking – I had a test for coeliac disease about 4 years ago.  I had discovered that eating less wheat eased the pain I was getting from an ovarian cyst.  Unfortunately, I had already stopped eating gluten weeks before the test…could that have caused a false negative result? 

Maybe I don’t have coeliac disease.  But maybe there is something else going on, and it isn’t just endo.  Why didn’t it ever occur to me that I could have 2 different illnesses?! 

I know it isn’t actually good to have 2 illnesses, but I’m clutching at straws and hoping there might be some help with the pain, in the long run at least.  I can cut out gluten if needs be.  Whatever it takes. 

I’m seeing the Dr-man on Wednesday and I’m going to ask him a) for the coeliac test and b) what else he could be testing for.  I don’t have to wait until I see the consultant at the end of March (no luck with cancellation appointments so far), I could get tests done before that. 

It seems like a ray of light. 

In knitting news, I’m still working away on my VG alpaca bedsocks.  I’ve finished the first one, and it is pretty…

I’ve made a size bigger than I usually would, as I want them big and cosy and really comfy.  This first one is a good fit and soooo soft. 

When I have finished this one, I’m starting on my next KAL socks…socks for a cause.  I asked my mum if she had any suggestions, and she immediately announced that she wants some pink breast cancer awareness socks.  With a ribbon stitched in on the sock leg and a ribbon threaded through at the top.  It looks like I’ll be designing my own,as I haven’t seen anything like that.  I might look for inspiration on Ravelry, as there are bound to be many out there.  It’s quite exciting really. 

Speaking of Mum, she has pain in her scar area.  She’s seeing a surgeon on Tuesday, but I’m trying not to think about it…I don’t think she’ll go for more treatment if it turns out to be bad news, if they can even offer anything.  I shouldn’t be so negative, but it’s so scary. 

Anyway, the second semi-final of the Masters snooker is starting in a few minutes, more soon.

Why Photo Saturday?

January 10, 2009

Have Iever explained why photos usually turn up on Saturdays?  It’s simple (and stupid) really…technology.  Now I’m not technophobe, far from it.  I ‘do’ technology all day at work and plenty outside work too.  Only, the laptop I bought doesn’t have the right size card slot for my camera’s memory card.  A’s netbook does, but it’s linux not Windows and I don’t know how to make the machine recognise that it has the card in it.  Our old desktop has no card slots at all, but it is hooked up to the printer…which has card slots including the right sized one.  Why not just plug the new laptop into the printer?  I don’t have a copy of the software and am too lazy to track it down and install it.  Plus I don’t know if it will work with Vista.  Also, we were talking about getting a wireless printer when we can afford it anyway. 

So to sum it up, I’m a lazy doofus!  To get photos on here, or anywhere else for that matter, I have to load up the old desktop (slow slow slow) and the printer.  Then transfer the photos form the card to the desktop.  The upload them (oh so slowly) to flickr.  Finally I can shut down the desktop and printer and start doing what I want using just my pretty, clever laptop. 

Wow, that was a long story!  Luckily I do have photos to show for it.

I’ve finished spending my xmas present money, and somehow all of it went on knitting related stuff.  I’m not sure how that happened, it certainly wasn’t the plan.  After my Violet Green binge the other day, I realised that I’d only ordered one skein of the lavendar DKalpaca, when I needed two.  So, oh dear, I had to re-visit the site and order another.  And while I was there picked out this little pretty:

It’s VG Stellar sock yarn and it’s so soft and lovely.  A chose the specific colour combo, so maybe he’ll get another pair of socks from it. 

I also wandered over to Get Knitted, looking for sock blockers.  I found these:

I discovered after washing my soft cosy Araucania wool socks that they had shrunk slightly so needed stretching out while they dried.  A Ha!  Sock blockers would do that for me, as well as displaying my pretty finished socks to best advantage with the bonus of being easier to take photos of than my own feet. 

Of course, while shopping at Get Knitted it would have been rude to order sock blockers without sock yarn, now wouldn’t it? 

This is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the colourway Apple Hill.  I’ve had my eye on it for a while. 

So now I have a lovely fat stash of sock yarns, ready to wind into balls and knit into socks of great beauty.  Of course, I could end up with far more socks than I need myself.  Perhaps the time has come to start knitting them for other people?  Yeah, right, we’ll see about that. 

Next, here are the latest finished pair:

See how the sock blockers allow me to take a better picture?  Even with a reasonable close-up of the pattern itself.  I didn’t much enjoy knitting these as I made so many mistakes in the pattern.  I don’t know why.  I’ve done more complicated lace patterns than this before.  I just couldn’t get it right and nearly every round ended up with a mistake in it, which of course I had to tink and re-knit.  Never mind, the finished socks are lovely and worth sticking at. 

Now I’m on to a pair of bed-socks for myself, knitted from that VG lavendar alpaca I had to buy a second skein of.  It’s a spiral rib pattern tube sock.  I’ve never made a tube sock before, so that’s worth a go. 

Moving on to a health update, I’ve got myself a tens machine, one of my own.  It’s a bit different to the one I was loaned byt he hospital…

This is my new one (above)…and compared to the hospital one…

 

How different is that?!

I’m still playing with the settings, trying to find the most comfortable/pain relieving, but the new one should make that easier as it not only has preset and programmable features, it keeps a log of which settings have been used for how long.  It also remembers the last setting used, which is fantastic. 

Ona  less positive front, I got a letter from the consultant I saw in December, telling me she has spoken to the consultant I’m seeing in March, and they have agreed that this pain is unlikely to be endometriosis.  They don’t seem at all  interested in what it is instead.  I’ve tried phoning for an earlier appointment, and the only chance I have of getting one is to phone every few days and ask if there have been any cancellations.  What a great system! 

Okay, so that’s knitting and health covered…what else have I got to say?  Of course!  Weather!  Weirdly it has been colder than it has been for years around here, with regular snow, frost that doesn’t melt all day and lots of ice everywhere.  I’ve been walking to work as I don’t like to drive when it is so icy.  There were several small accidents in our work car park  week, where it hadn’t been gritted so the cars were just skating around it.  It takes 45 mins and I have to tread pretty carefully but I’d rather walk it thanks!

Anyway, enough for now, I’m off to meet my friend in town for lunch.

2009 already?

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!  I was thinking about that phrase earlier, having said/used it for the umpteenth time.  Isn’t it a bit odd?  I guess it’s just a contraction of ‘Have a happy new year’ or even ‘I hope you have a happy new year’.  It just started to sound really strange, I dunno. 

Anyway, it’s been over a week since I wrote…what’s the news?

Christmas day: was reasonably peaceful.  We changed our ‘seeing no-one much’ plans at the last minute because A’s mum decided she wanted to come over to our house in the morning and stay all day.  By picking her up much earlier than we had planned to even wake up, we were able to call in at my mu’s and get home again before I even had to take the first dose of painkillers, which meant I was okay to walk to dinner and back – having taken the strongest tablets. 

My Dad met us back at our house when we had done that, turning up with his typical brilliant timing, just as we served up bacon sandwiches.  Luckily we had foreseen it, and there were plenty for us all.  A and his mum then went round the corner to see his sister and her family, staying for about an hour or so.  Soon after they got back we set off for dinner. 

Dinner was nice enough.  The food wasn’t the best we’ve had, and the service was a little hit and miss, but for the sake of turning up, being waited on and walking away with no clearing up to do, it was well worth what we paid.  Next year we are thinking of seeing where else is open and trying something different, but we’ll definitely eat out again, given the choice. 

To make up for the lack of real Christmas dinner, A cooked us up a proper roast on Sunday, with all the extra trimmings that make it a Christmas dinner, not just a roast.  We had one of the organic chickens from the meat box, with lots of cheats to make it easier – the potatoes were ready to roast (coated in goose fat), the stuffing, bread sauce and cranberry sauce all came from Marks & Spencer, and the gravy was from granules.  But it was delicious.  We thoroughly enjoyed it. 

What else?  Oh yes, yesterday I finally went back to the hospital to borrow a tens machine from the physio department.  Hopefully it will help with the pain, so I can cope better with everyday things.  Like working, for example.  It seems to have a lot of different settings, and the advice was simply to test lots of combinations of settings and see what works.  A bit non-specific but as everyone responds differently, it’s hard for them to advise. 

Sadly, the xmas break is now nearly over.  On Monday I have to return to work – it seems like a year since I last worked, and yet it also doesn’t seem like ten days is over already.  Happily though, we have booked our April holiday already.  We’re off to Westward Ho! again (yes I know, yet again), staying in the same park as always, and really looking forward to it. 

And finally, in knitting news…I’ll let the photos do the talking!

 

These are the Waving not Drowning socks I knitted using the lovely soft Araucania yarn I treated myself to for my birthday.  It was expensive, but it looks so good, is really soft on my feet and is a delight to knit with. 

I made this I-Phone sock as a birthday present for my sister-in-law, Sam.  She got her I-Phone in October, just before we went on holiday, and asked me to knit a cover for it, to save it from scratches.  I forgot all about it until last weekend and realised if I was quick I could get it done for her birthday on Tuesday.  It fits perfectly, and Sam seemed really happy with it, even if my miserable brother was scathing and rude about it. 

This is the sock I’m working on at the moment.  I got all the way past the heel then realised I’d got the lace charts confused (they weren’t labelled in the instructions, helpfully), so last night I frogged the whole thing and started again.  I am determined not to give up, although this is the fourth or fifth problem I’ve had with this pattern.  Hopefully, if I get them finished, I can use them as my Knit-A-Long (KAL) project for one of the Ravelry groups Ive joined. 

And finally, this is my Christmas present to myself…ordered on Sunday, received yesterday (Wednesday)…

I cannot express how truly wonderful these skeins of yarn are – the photo does them no justice at all.  They are so soft, so beautifully coloured, so amazing.  And so expensive, but never mind that.  Look at the pretty!