Friday, April 20, 2007

Back To The Important Stuff

Slow knitting progress around here lately, and now that spring is springing, it's hard to muster enthusiasm for a wool sweater - no matter how lovely the merino yarn from which it is being knit. It's also hard to make black stockinette blog worthy. I'm at the point where no matter how much I knit, it doesn't seem to grow.

I keep thinking I'm ready to attach the sleeves and then I re-measure and find I'm not. I'm not even sure the sleeves are long enough yet. Sigh .. I'm SO ready to begin the yoke. I have faith that once I begin the yoke I'll be spurred on to just fly through the rest so I can move on to THIS:

The next project in the queue. I can't wait to begin another lace project!

There are some around here who think soccer is the Important Stuff. And so we traveled to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory last weekend so that both boys could participate in a soccer tournament. It was a great weekend with many games played and some knitting accomplished. I took along my poor neglected sock that has been on the needles forever. Here's my traveling sock photo, ala The Yarn Harlot. It seemed only fitting to pay her tribute while visiting Canada. My son is holding up the sock for me. The other guy was outside of our hotel.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Virtual Knitting

As you might imagine, I've experienced a fair amount of stress and anxiety during the past month. What you might not guess is that, in the moment at least, my cancer diagnosis was not the worst of it. No, my friends, it was not until my surgeon casually mentioned that she'd like me to have an MRI that I totally and completely became unglued.

I received this news on a Tuesday and the MRI was scheduled for the following Monday so I had a good long time to fret. I talked to everyone who would listen and accepted any and all (music, drugs, visualization techniques, more drugs) encouragement and suggestions, but I seriously did not know how I was going to get through it.

It was Hilary who suggested I pick a complex pattern to "knit" during the MRI. In my anxiety I hadn't even remembered that I once used this technique to distract myself during an unpleasant procedure years ago. Brilliant! But what to knit? Pattern? Yarn? Needle size? Virtual or not I found I could still obsess over these decisions. (Hmm .. maybe this is what Hilary was thinking all along.) I needed it to be complex enough to distract, but simple enough to memorize. Would it need a garter stitch edge to reduce curling? Did it even matter if an imaginary knitted swatch curled in the MRI machine? On the day before my MRI I took out some scrap yarn and worked up a simple swatch:

Row 1: K5, yo, k1, ssk, k3, k2tog, k1 yo, k5
Row 2: K2, p15, k2
Repeat 2 row pattern as long as necessary.

I loved that this knitting distracted me in the days leading up to the MRI, that even a virtual knitting project could get the obsessive juices flowing. I found it calming to knit up the actual prototype. But in my heart, I knew that it wasn't going to conquer my Extreme Claustrophobia. For that, I took two Xanax. I did manage to knit somewhere into the 3rd row before I lost my place, or dropped a stitch, or started a new project .. I can't really remember what happened. I only remember that I didn't care.

Two days later when I was anxiously awaiting some pre-op tests I discovered I had the wrong needles with me and couldn't work on my sweater sleeve. Desperate for a distraction I used a crochet hook to hold some stitches so I could free up a dpn, and pulling yarn from the other end of my ball I began to work my MRI pattern. It saved me again.

THANK YOU to all who left such kind comments, words of encouragement and virtual hugs after my last post.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Through The Rabbit Hole .. And Back

I made a conscious decision, when I began this blog, to stick mostly to knitting content - with just an occasional glimpse into life and family in Alaska. But the past several weeks have been too big and Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. I can't possibly just resume my customary knitting chatter and pretend it's life as usual around here.

A routine mammogram in early February was questionable. A follow up was considered "suspicious." So I flew to California for a biopsy that I WAS CERTAIN would have benign results. Wrong again.

If you are still reading and you are due or overdue for your own mammogram, get up from your computer now and go make an appointment. I'll wait. GO NOW.

My planned 4 day trip morphed into 3 1/2 weeks. The wonderful friends with whom I was staying graciously embraced this turn of events. Other wonderful friends wined and dined me. Everyone supported and encouraged me in every way possible. Nick flew down for a week to shepherd me through the lumpectomy and yet more wonderful friends welcomed our boys into their homes in Juneau. It has been one of those life events that starts out feeling devastating and ends up making you realize how blessed you are.

And lucky too. The cancer was caught early. Stage I. Prognosis: Many more years of knitting. More on that .. soon.