Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Wednesday...

That seemed like a good reason to post. Am home after my trip to Town, Monday, for the MRI. Results should be at my dr a week to 10 days after the scan; roughly mid-November.

It was a decent trip in and I liked doing a bit of exploring on my own, even with my waddling with a cane. I noticed I was getting tired quickly though. Thank goodness there's benches around Town. I managed to (finally) get to COCO, which was a lovely treat yesterday morning :) And I stopped at the David's Tea in the Av mall for a cup of chocolate macaroon while I waited for the taxi to come back home. All in all, a decent trip but it sure was nice to sleep in my own bed last night with the furries around me.

On the knitting side, I'm up to row 13 on the edging of my Carson. This is a row I've decided to add beads on so taking a bit of time to get it done. Brought it with me to Town to work on at the the hostel but I found it difficult to concentrate as my back wasn't happy. Most recent pic:

What I did work on in the taxi is a new little something off the top of my head that I'm tentatively calling "Hap-Hazard". No beads so it was much more travel friendly than Carson is at this point. I put a sneak peek on Instagram, so here it is for you too:
I treated myself to a New York Fries poutine when I got to Town on Monday.

So, that's all the news that's fit to print at this point!


Monday, October 19, 2015

A Knitting Front Round-Up

Yesterday, I explained my health situation and I mentioned that I've been knitting quite a bit during this whole thing. So, I figured today I'd do a bit of a rundown of what I've been working on and where I'm at with various projects. There's even two (count 'em: 2!!) FOs to report ;)

Back in May, I started a second Carson (Romi Hill). If you've read my posts, you're familiar with my first one getting lost in the aftermath of our little flood. So, this is kind of a replacement but it's such a beautiful design that I just really wanted a finished one.
The purple is a hand-dyed with a sparkly strand spun into it that I bought while living in Regina, at the now closed (sob!!) Golden Willow. The black is KnitPicks Stroll Glimmer so that both yarns are shimmery shiny. I'm up to the lace edge on this one and I've chosen to take the shimmer and factor up a notch by adding in beads! I need my head examined lol But it's looking good and that's what I want.
Here's a view of the two yarns and the first row of beads. Progress is coming along on this beauty :)

In June, Romi Hill released the first of her 'Asymmetry' small shawls series. I love her little series; I have 3 of the 5. The first design is called "Purless", an all knit piece. It really spoke to me so I cast on with some KnitPicks Stroll Tonal in 'canopy' my dear friend Susie gave me ages ago. I think I was less than two weeks knitting it. What a sweet and quick little piece! And it works with a variety of yarn weights. Good for gifting, hint hint ;)

A few in progress shots and the finished object (Told ya I had FOs). I still haven't blocked her but I'm really pleased with how it turned out :)

My second June start was a second Purless. Remember I mentioned it can be knit in various yarn weights? I found a brilliant colorway of Patons Canadiana and immediately knew it was for Roomie's birthday gift. And after how easily I finished my Purless, I thought it was just the ticket. I started near the end of June and by mid-July I had it done :) Had to wait til she was out of town on a visit to block it but it turned out really well :)

Hmm, in a display of technology doesn't like Síle, I can't find the finished picture. But it is on Ravelry, dear knitters. The project is called 'Shoe Girls' and is under my 2015 tab as well as a few others.

In July, I started getting bored only being able to knit. I know, I know: how many times have any of us said that we want unlimited knitting time? Or that that's all we would do if we could? We've all said it at some time or other. I learned the truth isn't nearly as fun. Everything just felt like a chore and after finishing the second Purless, I didn't touch my needles for about a week. Then one evening I was watching "Princess Bride" (YTV saving Saturday night tv!!) and it struck me that what I wanted was something simple, almost thoughtless. I grabbed a skein of the Bernat Satin Shimmers I had bought (color is Amethyst; my birthstone) and cast on a Clapotis ( I haven't really worked on it since that evening, but it was just what I needed to relax my brain and hands. I have it hibernating in one of the project bags on the back of my door. If I need it, it's there.

In August I was having some difficulties. The tendinitis in my left shoulder flared up, leaving me unable to knit for a few days. I'd do a bit on Carson, and I cast on and frogged a few things. Nothing seemed right. The September KAL on the Romi Hill group on Ravelry was to knit with a yarn that is Preciousss to you. I've had this lovely hank of hand-dyed from Lindsay for awhile. She dyed it for my birthday so it's a one of a kind thing; it is my Preciousss yarn.
I cast on for Alcyone. Love the pattern and the yarn is gorgeous but the colors in the yarn were muddying the lace pattern. I set it aside. I still want to make something with this yarn now that it's caked. I frogged the Alcyone and am now looking at Diane (Romi Hill) as a possibility.

Also in September, I decided it was time I had a new sweater. And I have six balls of lovely green Red Heart Soft Touch that Roomie gave me. Hmm... My search led me to 'Amused' (; top-down with clever reversible cables at the collar and plackets, perfect for fall layering. Sold! I happily started my sweater :) But after I joined and started in the round, I discovered a problem. A big one. The other 5 balls of yarn were missing. Not in any of the stash in my room and I tore through my few remaining things in the basement: no more lovely green yarn :( I wanted to cry. I haven't frogged it and I set the project page to hibernate. If I can find more of that color at Walmart, I will finish it. I really want that sweater!! *sigh* I so rarely go for a big project like a sweater so it's a real blow. Hopefully I find more of the green.

October is upon us and boy is there a bite in the air today! We're at 5C, 2C with wind and what not factored in. Second rainy cold day; autumn or rather pre-Winter is here.

My start project this month is one that will take me the better part of a year to complete. I was looking for hockey themed knits and I happened across the pattern "Crackerjack". Originally conceived for the baseball fan, it's been adopted and adapted by fans of other sports. The basic premise is simple: a win/lose record of your favorite team's season. I started with a little border in Garter st before joining in the round, and I've happily knit 4 rounds for every game  (one game got 5 rnds as we had a shutout :)) my Montréal Canadiens have played so far. I chose 4 colors to represent away wins, away loses, home wins and home loses. And I went with 4 rnds per game in honor of the late #4 Jean Beliveau. Fitting, I thought. So after every game, I knit my 4 rnds with the appropriate color and by season's end I'm gonna have one heck of a scarf! Which is cool, because a scarf is something I can use. Unlike hats which I never wear or mitts that I always seem to lose.

If you'd like more details on any of my projects, visit my notebook on Ravelry; I'm knit-dance-repeat :) And until I can get the other pics to work here, all my good project photos are there as well. You can also follow my progress on Instagram; I'm the imaginatively named knittingsile ;)

That was quite a round-up today! Now maybe I won't take so long between posts lol


(edited 6:19pm NDT: pictures are working again :) )

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Post I Never Imagined Writing

Once again, it's been awhile. There's been a lot going on since my last post and I think I'm finally ready to set it all out. There's been a lot to process; there's more to come that I can't imagine yet.

I last posted the happy news that my Isabella Duncan shawl pattern is available for purchase through Ravelry. That was in May.

I woke up on the 12th of June and knew immediately something wasn't right. My arms and legs were shaking. Not shivering, shaking. Despite the lack of light at 4am, I could see them moving without my permission. I shut off my alarm and laid back down, hoping whatever was going on would pass off.

It didn't. At around 5, I unsteadily got to my feet beside the bed (at this point still figuring I'd be going to work), and promptly found myself sprawled on the floor.  The shaking was so bad I couldn't stand up on my own.

Lucky for me, my roommate heard my collapse and rushed in to see what had happened. She found me sprawled on floor, face first. Had I tripped? Slipped? She asked as she helped me get back into bed. Are you cold? My answer to all these questions was the same: No.

After catching my breath and realizing I was still shaking, I called work to say I wouldn't be there. I explained I had just collapsed on the floor.

I waited a few hours to go to the hospital. I didn't want to risk falling again and the thought of trying to go downstairs frightened me.

There was the usual wait at the ER. As I explained to the triage/admissions nurses what I was experiencing, they did a finger prick bloodtest to check my blood sugars; they were normal. There were also the standard blood pressure and temperature readings. All normal.

About 2 hours after that I was called in to sit inside the ER and probably 20 minutes after that I saw the doctor. As everything was normal and the shaking was subsiding, I was declared dehydrated, given a note for work and told to go home and rest and drink lots of water. That was it. No xray for the fall. No further blood work. "If it happens again, come back." Not even told to follow up with my own doctor.

I dropped off the note at work and went home. I drank lots of water and pretty much parked on the couch watching tv all day. Afterall, that was doctor's orders.

Next morning, I was back at work. By the end of my shift, I could feel something odd in my lower back. That was all; just an odd feeling, like a lump. But when I felt with my hand, there wasn't anything there.

Within a week that lump feeling intensified. It became a ball, sitting in my back and it would shift, pressing into my spine and causing pain to shoot down into my upper legs and up almost to my shoulders. And once the pain shot down, a stiffness would come over my legs, from my hips almost to my knees. At the same time I noticed my first toe next to my big toe on my right foot was loosing feeling. It wasn't changing color, so I knew that blood was getting to it, but it was numb.

I called and made an appointment with my doctor.

The pain continued to increase, the stiffness lasted longer and there were days I could all but waddle to get home after work. I went from walking up to work in 15 minutes in the morning, to it taking 30minutes to get home again.

My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories and ordered bloodwork and x-rays.  She was not pleased to see the lack of tests done when I was at ER. She could not believe the assessment of the ER doctor. But now things would be looked at; time to move forward.

My blood work came back with high levels of enzymes in my liver. Not surprising given my admission of taking more than the recommended amount of acetaminophen to try and dull the pain while at work. Nothing else was on the blood work and the xray was clear. I was prescribed muscle relaxants in addition to the anti-inflammatories and a request for a CT scan was put in, as well as for an MRI. My doctor believed I had two things going on: a back injury from the fall and something going on with my nervous system that caused the shaking (that caused the fall) in the first place. And most likely the numbness that was now in my two middle toes on my right foot and starting to happen in one toe on my left foot.

While waiting for the scan, my inability to move increased and decreased daily. Some days I made it a couple hours into my shift still able to walk and bend; other days I couldn't stand without holding onto the counter after 20 minutes. My coworkers wondered at my sanity being there at all.

The CT scan revealed a protruding disc in my back; definitely the culprit causing my back pain and the "ball" shifting around in there.  A request to be seen by a spinal specialist was sent in. And I was medically removed from working.

I settled into a sort of home routine based on how well I could get around on a given day. The days I could get to the living room/kitchen, I did simple things like wash dishes and put out food for the cats. The days I felt too precarious to try the stairs, I hung out in my room and knit or read. The days I was in too much pain to sit up, I lay in bed and watched the world from social media on my phone.

It wasn't long after that I began developing nerve pain. What an innocent sounding term. It's different for each person, but all agree it's horrible. Mine is akin to cattle prods, I figure 20-50 of them depending on the day, being applied all at once to the bottom of my feet, and set off altogether every few seconds. Most times the pain ends around my ankles, but there's always a few that go right up to my knee, at times my hip. I looked it up online and saw that vitamin D helps; I had some calcium with vitamin D pills so started taking them.

By this time, the numbness had taken over all four small toes on my right foot and the bottom of my big toe as well. On my left foot, the toe next to the big toe was also numb and the middle one was like a blinking Christmas tree light; one day normal, gone the next.

With the increased numbness and nerve pain, I started having the weird feeling of water being poured on my right thigh. The first time it happened, I thought I knocked over my glass of water, but my leg wasn't wet. A few days later, it happened again; I didn't have a glass of water. It happened every few days or so and never lasted more than about five minutes. Just another thing to get used to.

I received the letter about my MRI: October 26, 2015. This was July. It's the hurry up and wait so common in health care these days. You jump through hoops waiting for the appointment and then get to wait some more for it to actually arrive.

I had a doctor's appointment not long after. I described the increased numbness and then I mentioned the weird water on my leg feeling. My doctor was concerned. That odd feeling is a phantom sensation, a definite sign of nerve damage. She made note of it on my file and confirmed that I had my MRI appointment. And she told me that the best treatment for the nerve pain was vitamin D; she recommended 2000IU in the morning and in the evening. If the pain increased, it was safe to take more in between to help ease it.

I did ok through August and most of September. I got the letter for the appointment with the spinal specialist/surgeon: December 16, 2015. Another hurry up and wait, but I've come to expect that.

My bad days have been increasing. There have been days recently that I could not walk without holding onto walls. Even that didn't feel entirely safe. The phantom sensation has worsened; it now feels like hot water poured on that spot, followed by burning that lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. It happened most frequently at night but no time is really a safe time from it.

Last Tuesday, I bought a cane. I don't want to fall and injure my back worse or have anything else injured. I'm no faster walking with it but I'm a bit steadier. And that little bit of safety is helping. I'm able to get up and do a bit more for myself. To feel normal and not useless.

That's really been the worst of it all. The emotional side of it. Feeling helpless and useless. Knowing that six months ago, I could walk anywhere, dance, had no physical restrictions on me or what I wanted to do. I could walk to work, literally run around for 8 hours, walk home and put on my dance shoes for an hour or so and feel accomplished. Now I'm doing good if I can get from my bedroom to the couch.

There have been more times than I care to admit that I've just burst into tears out of frustration with it all. What is this and why is it happening? Can I be fixed? I'm most likely not going to be able to return to the sort of jobs I've always done (retail or food service), so if I'm able to work again, I'll need to retrain. For what, I don't know. The thought of an office job has never appealed to me. But the thought of not being able to look after myself scares me enough to think about it.

I hate this whole situation so much. Half my identity has been as a dancer. Not much of a dancer if I can't even walk. And exactly what do you do when half your identity disappears? Pretend you never were? Act like it doesn't matter even though all you really want is to put on those shoes and perform again?

So here I sit. Plagued by the thoughts of what was and what might never be again. The MRI is in 8 days. I'm not sure when the results will be in. There's times I wonder if I really want the answers. Same with the appointment with the specialist; do I want to know the answers? But life moves forward and I'll get the answers. Whether they'll be something I want to hear or not is another story. Another story for another day.

So that's my catch up post. I'll do a run down of the knitting I've been doing since that's about the only useful thing I can do during all this. Pictures and FOS! And a lot of WIPs. Maybe I'll start writing with more regularity. I said maybe; this *is* still me afterall.