Monday, December 28, 2009

A bit of sewing

Not so long ago, before everything turned upside down, I cut out some new trousers that I intended to take on the cruise, which of course is now cancelled.

Today I tackled the construction. There was a slight hiccup when the machine I was using refused to feed through the fabric. I was about to use the other one, but I was short of matching thread and unwilling to make a special trip to Spotlight. Each machine has a different bobbin. I let the machine have a rest while I googled recipes for turkey leftovers - guess what we're having for dinner tonight?

After a good clean around the bobbin area the machine decided to play nicely again, so the pants are nearly finished. Just some topstitching, elastic insertion and hemming to go. I think I might be able to finish them on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I am having a PICC line inserted in my arm which will be used to deliver the chemotherapy for the next 6 months. We are due at the hospital at 8.30 and I suspect it will be 4pm or so before we leave. The chemo treatment itself takes 3 hours, and then I am attached to a portable pump to deliver more over the next 46 hours. The pump will be disconnected on Thursday, but we have to see the oncologist, so that will probably take most of that day.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday Flowers

Part of my Christmas present from my sister Dorothy - she also gave me some earrings and a goat. The latter is in our names to a poor family somewhere.

We had a good time. No family dramas, everyone seemed pleased with their pressies and most of the food was eaten. The frozen Christmas pudding I made was a big hit - think it will be the start of a tradition, because most of the family don't like the hot version, but they all hoed into this.

I went to bed very early. This morning Helen and I each played with our new iTouch.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

I have prepared the frozen plum pudding. The bubbly is in the fridge. All the presents are wrapped and under/around the tree. The turkey is cooked, and ready to to go in the fridge to be sliced tomorrow. I am knackered.

Happy Christmas/Holidays to everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another day, another hospital, another blood test

We had an appointment at Royal Perth this morning regarding the clinical trial. There is one chance in two of being selected to have the radiation therapy as well as chemo, and I wasn't. So my treatment will be chemo alone. However I still have to have most of the clinical tests including yet another CT scan which will probably happen after New Year. It's a lousy time of the year to try to get things done.

The oncologist has decided that I need to have daily injections to prevent the formation of blood clots (I have a blood factor which predisposes for them, and there are some small ones present in my lungs). The commencement date of the chemo was moved up - I start on Tuesday now and will be pump free for New Years Eve. Not sure I will feel like celebrating, but it will certainly be a new start.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hurry up and wait

We spent nearly 8 hours at the hospital today, but it was eventually productive.

We arrived at 8am, parked the car in the multistorey carpark, and went for a blood test which was done promptly. We then walked to the radiology clinic (outside the hospital) for a 8.45 appointment. We were early for this so were prepared to wait, but at 8.30 I was ushered into a cubicle, told to put on a gown and left there, sitting on a very hard wooden bench with no reading material. By 9.15 I was a mess. No-one had come near me, I had heard the CT machine operated twice on people who had turned up after me and we had been advised that processing the films and preparing the report would take at least two hours when I had a 10.45 appointment with the oncologist. I was really stressed out.

Finally, they were ready for me and the scan started at 9.40. More problems. I needed to have a dye infusion and they couldn't pump it in - first one arm, then the other and a third attempt on the original arm. Success at the price of an aching arm because I had to hold it up straight while all this was going on. The scan itself took almost no time.

More waiting faced us, but we decided to walk down to Subiaco Square and have a coffee rather than sit in the waiting room. We collected the films at 10.30 and went to the oncologist's rooms. More waiting. At least this time Kevin had something interesting to read - he had spent over an hour waiting for me with only New Idea and Woman's Day available as reading material (he reckons he can now answer any quiz question on Brangelina) - but the oncologist has aviation magazines.

By the time we left his rooms at 11.45 we had received some more bad news (there are some small tumours on my lungs) but had treatment organised for the whole shebang. I am to start chemotherapy on New Year's Eve for the first of 12 fortnightly cycles. We were advised to make an appointment at the chemotherapy suite for an information session. We asked for one today, not wanting to drive all the way back, but could not get one before 2pm. So, yet more waiting. We had lunch at the hospital restaurant - quite nice sushi - then sat outside under shade for an hour and a bit.

When we fronted up we had to wait a bit longer - and fill in another set of forms! The oncologist rang on my mobile - he had got a waiver for me to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment. This involves radiation as well as chemo. We have another appointment for tomorrow at RPH.

The information session took over an hour. The really good thing was that they swapped our parking ticket for a fully paid one, so no parking fees today. They would have mounted up, too, at $2 hour.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Starting the fight

I had the colonoscopy today. Yesterday's prep was a bit fraught - I threw up the the first lot of prep medication, so contacted the specialist. I had to go to hospital to have the rest of the prep stuff under supervision with anti-nausea meds and a drip. 32 hours of clear liquids only, followed by a 6 hour complete fast before the procedure. I'm home now and have had FOOD!

The procedure showed the bowel cancer is quite small and could be surgically removed, but this would mean I couldn't start chemo for 6 weeks. The surgeon recommends attacking the liver cancer with chemo first, because this may also result in reducing the bowel tumour. Of course I agreed - he has already said the liver cancer is inoperable because it is too diffuse.

We are seeing the oncologist on Monday. I will keep you posted on what happens next.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unwelcome News

I have been feeling unwell ever since the bout of gastro I had a month ago and my GP ordered more tests and then a CT scan which I had on Monday.

She called me in early Tuesday morning for bad news - the scan shows advanced bowel and liver cancer. I saw a specialist Tuesday afternoon and I am having a colonoscopy tomorrow to see if surgery is an option for the bowel cancer - probably not. I am seeing an oncologist on Monday to determine treatment options. Definitely chemotherapy to start ASAP.

We have had to cancel our January cruise which is a disappointment, but fast treatment is a priority. I am so grateful for the Australian health system and private health insurance - so far we have not had to pay for anything.

I will start fiddling with fibre again as soon as possible. Forgive me if the entries are a bit patchy in the next few months.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Designing Women Christmas Party

The company was great, the food was fabulous and the venue fascinating.

Juliet, Debbie G, Jaslyn and Dorothy watching Jan as she showed some of her fire damaged treasures.

Judith, Zena, Delys, Alcira, Pauline, Loraine and Margaret P.

Iris, Barbara, Margaret F, Liz and Debbie R. Somehow I missed out on snapping Helen and Linda - pity.

Jan was a wonderful hostess.

She made us so welcome despite the recent trauma of her heritage home nearly burning to the ground. Here is an external shot of the damage.

Thanks so much, Jan. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the group.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Contemporary Quilt Group

Today was the last meeting for the year and we were asked to bring our altered pieces again. I was delighted to see that Stella has done a further alteration of her piece.

This is what I did to her piece in the original swap. This is what she has now done: added the Mad Hatter Teaparty silhouettes and some buttons like a watch and a teacup and turned the whole thing into a bag. Well done, Stella!

The ATCs made a fabulous display. I couldn't fit them all into one pic - so you get two.

Fourteen people took part and almost everyone had made 18 or 20. I like my share very much - and my total collection is getting close to 200!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling virtuous

because I have finished writing our Christmas cards AND put them into the post (except for those which need to go to Canada or the States). I have also beaten most of the people who send them to us - we have only had 4 so far. So glad one of the Christmas jobs is completed. And I still have a few cards and some stamps for anyone I overlooked.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Altered Art Journal

Finished! And I think it looks OK.

Even found some matching beads and embellished the knot at the end of the cords.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Altering Art

A couple of months ago we had a challenge at Contemporary Quilt Group where we took a piece of someone else's and altered it in some way. I received back a beaded and heat distressed piece mounted on black which was lovely, but I couldn't visualise a way to use/display it.

Today the light bulb went off. It will be the cover for a journal. So I tore up some handmade paper for the signatures, unpicked the fabric from its black base, fused a batik print on the back as a lining and machine buttonholed the edges and made some machine cords for ties.

No photos - because it doesn't look like much as yet. Maybe tomorrow. I need to finish it before Friday and the next meeting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Last month at Contemporary Quilt group we swapped small bags of mixed media materials to be used in constructing the ATCs we are going to exchange at the December meeting. The bag I received was hardly an example of mixed media - it was a half dozen fabric scraps and a length of yarn.

I was tempted to toss the bag in the bin and use other stuff, but I decided I needed to do the right thing and use the bits I was given.

So today I cut the fabric scraps into irregular strips, along with a couple of my own fabrics and constructed a crazy quilt type base.

I then used some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to embellish the seams with a decorative thread. It was starting to look reasonable.

After I had stamped the base piece all over with a text stamp and added some foiling it began to look more like a mixed media piece and I cut it into ATC sized pieces.

I have now neatened the edges of all of them and I think I am finished - except for the necessary labelling. I used every bit of the fabric I was given and I would have used the yarn to edge them, but there isn't enough of it.

It was good to spend a day fiddling with fibre.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stop the world, I want to get off!!

Another funeral today, the second in three days. Nice to see some cousins on my father's side of the family, though I hate the circumstances. Sweet story: Enid (today's funeral) died on the same day, exactly 3 years after the love of her life (Uncle Ray). She wrote poems about their life together and the eulogy stressed how much they had loved each other, even living in a nursing home.

Not so nice. Our son besieged by a collection agency claiming unpaid rent and damages from a rental he left (amicably, he thought) over a year ago. Our daughter in the throes of dealing with an eBay scam - fortunately she is listening to us and won't finish the deal before she sees the money.

No fibre fiddling for far too long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

They come in threes

Unhappy events, that is - or at least that was what Nanna used to say.

Yesterday, while we were having our Christmas lunch, the husband of one of the group rang to say his father had just died (it wasn't unexpected - just sad it happened right then).

Today I checked the Death notices - which I don't usually do - and discovered one for my aunt Enid. She was the wife of my Uncle Ray, Dad's last surviving brother, who died a few years ago. Ray was the last of my father's 10 siblings. Now, with Enid's death, there is no-one left of that generation, so we (my cousins and my sister and I) are the oldest generation. Scary.

The funeral is tomorrow morning. Three deaths and two funerals in a week. Not my favourite social occasions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Festivities

The round has started. Today it was lunch here with my sewing group. A few people missing because of conflicting engagements, but a most enjoyable occasion. Easy on the hostess too - everyone brought a dish to share and it was all delicious.

I have two events next week, so will need to do some more cooking for them. Christmas itself looms ever closer. Lunch here. I have bought a turkey - that is the extent of my preparation. It will all pan out in the end - it always does.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And now it is December

What happened to the year? (What happened to the last 5? 10? 20? 40? 50 years?)

Helen loves her quilt. I am so relieved - after all, it is 10 years since we collaborated on buying the fabric, and tastes change.

Kevin's 70th birthday party on Sunday was most successful. Thanks to Helen, her man James and our friend Margaret who looked after heating and serving the food. I felt rotten, but perked up with a few bubblies. Went to bed shortly after most people left though.

Monday was cleanup and washing. That disposes of November.

Today wasn't wonderful. It was the funeral of my mother's last surviving sister. Gwen was 90 and it was a celebration of her life. There were several children there, and I thought about how customs have changed. When our mother died at the age of 31, my sister and brother and I were not permitted to go to the funeral. We were never given the opportunity to say goodbye, and it still hurts, nearly 60 years later. After Mum died Aunty Gwen looked after Ian for 6 months - he was four years old - while Dorothy and I stayed with our grandparents. I was sorry that that act of compassion was not mentioned today to add to the the other examples of her caring spirit.

Then I was told that my uncle has bone cancer and I learned that a dear friend lost her husband a couple of weeks ago and I didn't know. Surely, if misfortune comes in threes, that must be it.