Sunday, December 08, 2013

❤️ Happiness week of 12/1 ❤️

Hi all,
Here are a few things that have made me happy this week:

Little guy eating this nursing bracelet and looking very much like a door knocker.

Remembering when the girl was tiny. How she got to be six already is beyond me.

My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian. This book is adorable and I want to make everything in it. The girl has chosen this outfit as her first item she wants me to make. We picked out yarn today.

I don't have any pictures but the Shelf Elves are back. This year we have two of them. So far they've been reading twice, flying from the chandelier, left a gingerbread house kit (which the girl is working on today) and roasted marshmallows. They've also gotten into the leftover Halloween candy and made a grocery list for sugary things. I can't wait to see what else the elves get into.

What's made you happy this week?


Monday, December 02, 2013

A Sneaky Peak

Hi all,
I've finished the twins afghans and I think I've gone a bit over the top. N said they're a little big for baby blankets. I say nonsense, what's the point of having a blanket you can only use for a baby. But quite honestly I think he's right. They're as big as any adult afghan I've made. And I made TWO of them. They're lovely, if I do say so myself, and I hope the parents won't think it's too much of a gift. The father is N's good friend and he was our best man. 

I'll take proper pictures soon, when it gets above 40 degrees. But for now here's a peek. I snapped this on my phone (as I do most pictures on this blog) on my eat out the door. So cuddly!

Tadah post coming soon, along with a few overdue tadahs!

Monday, November 04, 2013

❤️ Happiness 11/3 ❤️

Hi there!

Halloween!i enjoy this holiday so much! A asked me to make her a Dorothy wig/hat since her blonde bob isn't the right style. I ended up in urgent care with some pain I was concerned was a blood clot. Fortunately (or not) I was just sore from walking the day before. 

My crockpot. This is beef stew but I use it at least once a week. Makes dinner for the hubby alone with two kids so much easier.

This sunset from my desk. While I hate working afternoons and missing time with my family this view was amazing.

Grandpa and his boy. He doesn't do tiny babies but G is big enough now for him to feel like he won't break him. 

Crochet update in a bit! 

What made you happy this week?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Things that make me happy this week:
The beauty of the leaves changing. Crossing the river is breathtakingly gorgeous. The yellows are so vibrant, the reds just It's amazing.

These two goofballs. Little looks more like big every day. Any expression dad has ever come up with G came out making. Watching them interact and seeing a side of N I've not really seen before makes me melt into a puddle.

Pumpkin carving. It's become a bit of a tradition with the girl. I design, cut, scoop out guts, and she picks the seeds out of the goop. I then roast them and we have them for snacks for the next couple days (okay, I tend to eat most of them as well.)

My last item I don't have a picture of, but the girl and I made strawberry scones this Sunday. I don't see her as much as I used to so I try to have us do something fun on Sunday. She's a good helper, getting out and putting away ingredients, scooping things into and out of measuring cups, wanting to taste every step and ingredient, and watching the timer on the oven and announcing every time another minute had gone by. She surprised me by eating two scones, and they were rather large. I think this week we might make peach cobbler. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Things that make me happy 10/20/13

This week has been pretty mundane. I'm working afternoons and I don't get to see my oldest very much. It's a sacrifice I have to make for now but I know she misses me (as I do her.) I'm going to try to take her out on Sunday for some girl time. This week we had Starbucks. 
Enjoying her oatmeal and raspberry steamer.

My littlest is also an amazing joy. He has started to roll already, going a couple times from tummy to back and today from back to tummy. He's getting so big!

Yesterday I wore a gorgeous electric blue sweater and a skirt with fleece lined tights. Whoever invented fleece lined tights is a genius! So comfy! (What was electric blue called before electricity was discovered?)

I'm also grateful for our crockpot. It allows me to make nutritious meals for my family to enjoy for dinner while I'm working. I knw it's hard for N to get dinner on the table while trying to take care of both kids. That being said my crockpot meal this week was a huge flop! Next week I'm trying something with cube steak. This recipe actually: I have something called soup or sauce mix that I'll use in place of cream if whatever soup it calls for. I have high hopes for this. 

Crochet update: I've completed all of the pink circles and half if the white circles have been squared with pink. I need to finish purple circles and buy a lot more white yarn. I imagine a couple more weeks and I'll have a tada moment to share. I also found some pictures on my camera I'll attempt to upload and have a belated tada for a few items.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Some Recent Work

Hi all!
I haven't updated in a while with crochet projects. Honestly I haven't been doing much. I made a baby blanket for a friend. Cute owl pattern, available <a target="_blank" href="">on etsy</a> and while it was cute and I enjoyed picking out the colors, I did NOT enjoy sewing the eyes on. Since the blanket is for a baby I crocheted the pupils instead of using buttons. It made for a lot of tedious stitching. This pattern also requires a lot of end-weaving. Altogether not my favorite thing to do. But the results are beautiful, and baby Izzy loves it!

I also made my little man a dinosaur hat. He was not amused by it.

Here's another baby blanket I made. I love this pattern, it's afghan stitch and it's a pattern my grandmother passed on to me. She called it Postage Stamp. The recipient of this blanket didn't reveal the sex of her baby until the baby shower. It's a boy, and I think my color choices are more girly. (Astute readers will notice I used the same colors as the owl blanket). Hopefully she loves it, and little baby Alasdair is also enjoying it.
The weather has started to turn chilly here and I realized that little man has no hats that fit him. I decided it was high time I make him something useful. So two hats it was. 

Modeling his new hat this morning. 

I think I'll do like I did with the girl and allow him to pick out his own pattern and colors for a blanket to call his own. So, a few years yet.

Finally, our best man and his girlfriend recently announced that not only are they expecting, but they are waiting on twin girls! How exciting for them! I quickly searched for blankets that I could make in two different colors, pink and purple, and got to work. I finally decided on <a target="_blank" href="">this cute pattern</a> and I'm going to do it like this
Here is my progress so far
Yes, that is a Clorox wipes container. It keeps balls of yarn from rolling all over the place. 

So, that's the crochet report for the last I-can't-remember-how-long. How's everyone doing?


Thursday, April 04, 2013

My caringbidge site

If you are looking for updates on my cancer and/or pregnancy please visit here:

Monday, April 01, 2013

And some more waiting....

Today I had two more appointments, my surgeon (who I LOVE) and the perinatologist. I had a rather rough ultrasound tech so I'm a bit sore tonight. The surgeon basically told me the same as last time, surgery depends on any change in the tumor or lymph nodes. I'll need to have a biopsy of both lymph nodes before surgery. Most likely all that will wait until I deliver.

Perinatologist was another doctor I hadn't met yet, at the same office. I've been three times and have seen three different doctors. They did not have in my file that I had cancer and when I said something the nurse I was talking to changed her face completely, and then brought in the doctor. They said they would be comfortable with induction at 37 weeks. Which is July 3rd. Which means I'll probably have to share my birthday with the baby. I'm ambivalent about that, it's always been my big day!

So basically surgery depends on what the ultrasound Wednesday shows, and if it's the same or within an "allowable" amount of growth it's up to me. I'm mainly decided on waiting until after I deliver.

Waiting is the new black. Or something.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Good Kind

I've been told several times "you have to good kind of cancer" or "if I had to have cancer that's the one I'd choose" To which I want to say "fuck you!" I realize people are trying to be comforting and helpful but saying things like that downplays the seriousness of my diagnosis. It's like telling someone who had a heart attack at least they didn't have to have bypass surgery, or someone who had a toe amputated that at least it wasn't their whole foot. My friend has intermittent MS and hears things like this all the time. She still has to deal with symptoms and still has MS, she just occasionally has breaks during which her symptoms aren't as severe.
I have cancer. Am I glad it's not pancreatic cancer? Of course. But I'd prefer to take the offer of the person who says "I'd choose that one if I had to have cancer" and let them have it. Because they would change their mind really quickly if they actually had to choose between cancer or no cancer. Anyone would. Add to it the complicating factor of being pregnant and I can't imagine anyone would choose this. So please, don't tell me how lucky I am, because it's demeaning. It downplays the seriousness of my situation. I will forever have a visible scar across my neck, everyone will be able to see what I've gone through.
And an update, sort of. I have another neck map ultrasound scheduled April 3. At that time I will be 24 weeks, my surgeon will see if any additional lymph nodes are compromised and/or if the tumor has grown. That gives a two week window to do surgery before I start my third trimester. They won't do surgery after that unless things get really out of hand. My thoughts on when to do surgery are all over the place, it might be easier to be recovered before the baby is born, but there's no monitoring of the baby during the three and a half hour plus surgery. I'm just going to defer to the doctors and ask favors of friends and family whenever the surgery is. So, more waiting.
I have a rare week of NO appointments next week, so I may be quiet until then. I'm still here, still growing a baby and trying not worry.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's it like?

I've been asked what it feels like to have cancer. In a way it feels like nothing. It feels the same as I have for my whole life. It's not painful. Sure, it's visible to people when I point it out to them, but much more noticeable is my belly, and the baby boy squirming and kicking inside me. Cancer doesn't let you know it's there, it doesn't wiggle or move around in a way you can feel. But it's there. It's gotten into my head (figuratively) and has cast a malicious and somewhat fearful cast over my life. It's this thing that is growing in me, that is part of me but at the same time foreign. It shows that my bodies defenses have failed, that somehow all the genetic failsafes were bypassed.

I remember just last semester learning about cancer in my biology class. We learned about oncogenes and the mechanisms in mitosis that stopped cancer from growing. About the mutations that had to happen in order for cancer to form. It seemed to me then that there's so many factors in place to prevent cancer that it's a wonder anyone ever gets it. The odds seemed so microscopically small. So many things have to fail for cancer to form. Those class sessions scared me. No one wants to hear about cancer. Or say it. Especially no one wants to have it.

So how does it feel? It feels the same. It feels completely different. It feels monumental. It feels unbelievable. It feels scary. It feels like changing.

I'm thinking about so many aspects of my life that I'm not satisfied with. I thought once I'd stick with my current job until retirement. I now have a very short fuse for some of the things that happen at work, including dealing with my co-workers. Life is too short to spend it in a toxic environment feeling unappreciated. It will soon be time to move on. Not sure what the next step will be, but Monday to Friday 8-5 sounds like a good start.

I am completely satisfied with other aspects of my life. I've said it before, and will continue to say it, I would go through my life before I met Nick repeatedly if the outcome remained the same. He gets me. Not all the time, but when it counts. He balances out my anxious and slightly neurotic tendencies. He's an amazing father. The side of Nick that I see most is one rarely seen by others. He's tender and funny and caring and sweet. He brings a structure into my life that I've never had before.

And then there's Autumn, and little man. Autumn doesn't understand the gravity of my diagnosis, she's too young to know that cancer is something scary. She calls my tumor "the circle in your neck." She continues to be her normal self, loud, funny, spacy, smart, defiant. Nothing has changed for her. It's good, it's normal and normal is great. Then this little guy who I love so much. I haven't even met h, seen his face, but it's because of him I'm not totally in a funk. He is also the reason my cancer was diagnosed. My midwife was solely responsible for all the testing and such, even ended up being the one to tell me "it's cancer." If it wasn't for this tiny little boy who knows when this would've been found. I think he's going to save my life. He definitely gives me something to live for and look forward to. His presence is easing my fear of doctors, because not only do I have to see my midwife at least monthly now I have three other doctors whose offices I'll be in rotation through frequently.

So, how does it feel? It feels good. It's very humbling but I'm so grateful for the shift in perspective cancer had given me. It is what it is (as much as I hate that phrase, it's a long version of "whatever") and it is truth.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Surgeon and follow ups

Last Monday I met with my surgeon. She told me straight off "you're going to be fine." No one had said that yet. It was good to hear. We discussed what type of surgery I would have, and what the risks were. I will have a total thyroidectomy. She also sent me for a full neck map ultrasound to check my lymph nodes. If it's spread to lymph nodes then I'll need a neck dissection as well. Surgery date will depend on the results of the ultrasound (and possible biopsy afterwards) as well as my thoughts. I can choose to have it done now, or of the ultrasound comes back clear I can wait till after the baby comes. I can't decide, but I'm leaning towards doing it sooner.

Today I had my neck map. The tech was really nice and said that she wasn't supposed to tell me anything but since I already knew it was cancer that she saw two lymph nodes to the right of my thyroid that looked questionable. They're close to the surface and she felt that I would probably get them biopsied. Told me that the left half of my thyroid looks totally normal. She said the cancer seems to be encapsulated inside a bunch of cysts, that she hadn't seen anything like that before. She said based on the proximity of the lymph nodes to the thyroid it probably won't end up being much more complicated than a thyroidectomy. Of course I'll wait to hear from my surgeon but just hearing that makes me feel better.

So more waiting. Waiting in waiting rooms, waiting in exam rooms, waiting for results, waiting to hear back from doctors about other appointments being scheduled. My whole life feels like there's waiting going on, either peripherally or immediately.


Sunday, March 03, 2013

A change of pace

So I'm not even sure where to start this. I'm pregnant. 19 weeks with a little boy. I also have cancer. Papillary thyroid carcinoma to be exact. Which, according to people (medical types who know these things) is the type of cancer they'd choose if they had cancer. Somehow that doesn't provide me with as much comfort as they seem to think it should. I want to yell, "but it's still CANCER! And I'm pregnant!" I'm still figuring out how to get my head around all of this. When I tell people I usually get a face that is probably more in disbelief than mine was when my midwife told me. Then it's pity and a lot of questions I don't have the answer to.

So here's the story. Over the last couple of years I've gained a few pounds, probably around 18. And I tried to lose them but nothing worked. Just part of getting older I thought. Then I turned up pregnant on our second month trying (yay! And holy crap that was fast) and had an appointment with my midwife at 10 weeks. She did the usual physical and when my heart rate was fast (how can it not be fast when someone you've literally just met is about to stick her hand in your vagina? Am I weird that I'm freaked out about those sort of things?) she mentioned hyperthyroidism. Then she felt my neck and there's a HUGE goiter. Like half a lime. Something I hadn't really noticed and no one else did either. She sent me for bloodwork and told me to schedule an ultrasound. She also scheduled me to get in with an endocrinologist, but the soonest was two months away. Bloodwork came back hypothyroidism. She prescribed me levothyroxine and my ultrasound was in a couple weeks.

Fast forward to that day, the tech took quite a few pictures and said I would have results in 4-5 days. The next morning the nurse called me and told me to schedule a fine needle aspiration. A biopsy of my neck. Shit. That appointment was a few weeks away. And I was scared, a bunch of giant needles in my neck? Sounds like a fun time, slightly more fun than letting a stranger stick her hand in my vagina.

The giant lump that turns out is a tumor. It's grown so slowly I like to compare it to hair. You look back at pictures from a year ago and realize how much your hair has grown. From old pictures I had this at least three years ago. Probably longer than that.

The FNA itself wasn't too bad, my nice midwife prescribed me some Ativan so I wasn't too freaked out until I was taken back. Typical surgical prep, and the doctor let me see the bump on my neck using ultrasound. To me it looked like a bunch of grapes, he described it as honeycomb. Two shots of lidocaine and a few strange sensations when the needles were taking samples and it was over. I was left with a bandaid and a faintly sore neck. No biggie. Again, results on four-five days.

Well, a week goes by, then a couple more days. I was pretty confident that this length of time meant good things. If it's bad they call you right away and ask you to come into the office, right? Two weeks after my FNA I had another appointment with my midwife. She couldn't find the results so left to find them and when she came back I asked "inconclusive?" No, papillary carcinoma. Fuck. I didn't process this right away. Went through the rest of my appointment normally, laughing and asking questions about round ligament pain and blood pressure. She told me she would call the endocrinologist (at this point my appointment was in 3 days) and the perinatologist whom I'd seen for my two ultrasounds and also a surgeon. The day went on normally with the occasional "I have cancer" thought running through my head.

Lets move forward a couple more days, at this point my week has been pretty terrible, Monday cancer, Tuesday a vet bill in the thousands, Wednesday my amazing husband breaks a tooth and needs a crown, Thursday endocrinologist appointment. She didn't really tell me anything I hadn't read in the last few days. Except she thinks I need to have surgery soon. Not after this sweet baby comes, but in a month. She would defer the final decision to the surgeon though. So here I am, pregnant with cancer. It's starting to hit me and it's scary. I announced both the baby and the cancer at the same time on Facebook and I'm glad I have a great group of people supporting me, but at the same time I feel so alone.

Monday I meet with the surgeon. I'm also thinking of calling some cancer centers to see if they can treat me and how much would it cost. In the meantime I wait. Not much else I can do.

This would be my lovely expensive cat.