on my bedside table

A few things on my bedside table making me smile; muscari from the garden (hello spring), dipped terracotta jug from Decorator's Notebook; glass dish from iittala, the rabbit light, a gift to myself; the felt covered stones I made to remind me of something I hold dear to my heart; and the lovely Alium table light is by Hannah Nunn.  I bought it from Boo Vake a few years ago, but just realised it was made by Hannah Nunn when I read an article about her work in April's Country Living. 


six weeks, sutures, scar and sleep

Six weeks have past since my last surgery, so I can look back and see progress, here are some of my thoughts and observations (sorry if the images are a bit gruesome).

The above picture is of two of the four sutures from the first surgery (there was another near my right hip and one in the pit of my belly button).  Most of the action was on the left side of my pelvis, as that is where the cyst was and where the cancer was found.

Here is the scar from the last surgery, nearly all 20 cm of it; I think it has given my belly a slightly 'upholstered' look!  

At six weeks I'm off all pain killers, the scar is itchy and very tender at times and I still can't bare the thought of any tight or restrictive material on or close to it; I miss wearing jeans!  All of the post-surgical complications, the severe vomiting that put me back into hospital and the colic/stomach cramps that meant I survived on custard and boiled rice for most of a week have gone (thank-goodness).  Now I am left learning to manage the fatigue and the evening swollen belly.  I'm walking further and longer each day and I hope to be able to swim soon; all of the muscle tone I had has gone and I am decidedly wobbly in places!  But I can now cough, sneeze and most importantly laugh without pain, hurrah!

One demon that has reared it's head is night sweats; I knew that as soon as I came round from the surgery that removed my ovaries (and the rest of my reproductive organs) I would be in a 'surgical menopause'.  For the first couple of weeks as I vomited and couldn't eat I thought I had managed to circumvent any menopause symptoms!  Ha, I should be so lucky; over the last 3 weeks the night sweats have increased in number and duration. I now wake every 1.5 - 2 hours through the night drenched in sweat - oh the irony it's almost like having a new born, ha!  I miss undisturbed sleep!  While I can cope with broken sleep, as I spend my days healing and resting I have no idea how I'm going to manage when I'm back at work. I can see that the physical symptoms of the surgery are healing and each day I feel that my body is more like the one I knew before the surgery; some of my pre-surgery fears haven't come to fruition and some I've faced head on and found that they weren't so bad after all.  However, I'm conscious that so far I've only focused on the physical side of the surgery, but there is a whole other side to cancer; the not knowing, the dark thoughts that swirl around my head, the implications and the deep dark cavern that deserves a post of its own. 


ice cream and things

Over the easter weekend my mister took me out for ice cream (mint choc-chip …. yum) and a short walk!

We sat by the harbour, there was a sea haar (mist) travelling up the river giving an eerie chill to the warmth of the sun and hiding the far river bank in it's misty cloak.  

As we wandered along the harbour edge we came across a drift of swans ….

They were so serene and effortless as they floated around in the harbour.

A couple of things on the needles; just to remind me to finish these projects before starting anything else ;-)!  Above is a half completed Opari (pattern is by Ysolda) and below is the start of wee Envelope (pattern also by Ysolda).


god daughters and easter

I have the wonder of being a god mother to two beautiful god daughters; here's one of them wearing some fairie wings I made for her, who doesn't want to be a fairie when they're seven!

I get slightly uncomfortable around this time of year, with Easter being such a celebrated time within the 'church'; as a god mother I feel I should somehow be contributing to my god daughters spiritual well being.  However, belief in anything at all should be their choice and not something I should discourage or equally foster upon them.  Last easter, after reading this article about the life and work of the Finnish artist and author Tove Jansson, I gave my god daughters Moomin Troll books.  

Tove Jansson image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tove_Jansson

In the world that Tove created in her books, the Moomin trolls live very closely to nature and embrace diversity; I think this quote from Frank Cottrell Boyce 'one of the things I really took from them was the importance of small pleasures, that life is really worth living if we're just nice to each other and make really good coffee, and the pancakes are just right - then nothing else really matters in any substantial way' perfectly sums up the Moomins and I hope my god daughters picked up on that.

This year, I decided to keep things simple and went for the standard easter imagery - bunnies!  I guess with a nod to the coming of spring, after the darkness of winter, that brings longer days and new life that reminds us of the miracle of nature.  I'm not sure if my god daughters will have picked up on that - but hopefully they got the bunny and spring connection!  

The pattern was from Mollie Makes issue 51; I added a scarf as it's still quite cold and frosty up here in the mornings!  I changed the pattern a bit for the second bunny and used a woven wool fabric instead of felt, both had Liberty Tana Lawn for their ears and tummies.


you may feel like you've wet yourself

Once the clear cell carcinoma cells had been found, the first question was have they spread? Answering this (at a certain resolution - I'll explain more about this later) started, in my case anyway, with a CT scan. The CT stands for computed tomography - a form of imaging modality in which x-rays are used. X-rays sit, well in my mind anyway, at the left hand side of the electromagnetic spectrum - they have short wavelengths and high frequencies which means they contain lots of energy. It's the energy held within the x-rays that allows then to travel far through substances, in my case skin, flesh and bone. And as the x-rays passed through my body some of their energy was absorbed by my organs and tissues attenuating the waves and creating contrast - bright areas and dark areas, so the inside of me could be seen. However, in order to truly see what was going on inside, to illuminate what was lurking within the darkness further contrast was needed in the form of iodine flushed through my veins. And that is where the peeing myself comes in! As the cannula for the iodine was being inserted I was told that I might experience the sensation of wetting myself as the liquid iodine cursed through my veins. Of course I didn't believe them - boy was I wrong! I backed out that room with my hands over my arse convinced that the 'lovely' hospital gown I had been given to wear had a seeping wet patch that was threatening to grow larger than my hands could cover! And as I surreptitiously inched my way back to the changing room with my arse firmly facing the wall, the sensation started to disappear together with the red flush of embarrassment in my cheeks. They were right it was just a feeling, but a bloody convincing one.

And finally to resolution, what can really be resolved by a CT scan. What size of tumour or network of arteries feeding a tumour can it reveal? As a microscopist my work revolves around resolution; how small an entity can be seen? I asked the same question about the CT scan - what resolution does it provide - the answer I was given - 5 mm - half a centimetre. Small, but is it small enough?