Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Crafting for my future

Oh boy.  That was tough. So tough, I thought I would never make it through this week. If it wasn't for Paul, my mum and sister, I think I would have run away. I have been through PTSD and beaten it with EMDR but, the numbness and detachment that I felt on Wednesday was so difficult, that I feel I haven't fully recovered from my ordeal.
At the beginning of June, I agreed to go for a mammogram, my mother's side of the family has had a terrible time with female cancer (grandmother, three sisters, my mum and her cousins). With the exception of my grandmother (ovarian cancer) my mum and her siblings have all been diagnosed with cancer in their left breast. The first appointment was bad enough; the male doctor was quite rude about my weight (I'm carrying some fat around my middle, but for my height, I'm not obese). It took a lot to undress in front of a man, (child abuse survivor) and I hurt for days after my examination.  So you can imagine my panic when two weeks after my initial mammogram I received a letter recalling me. Seeing the words 'further investigation needed' was enough to send my stomach into waves of nausea and to make my mind spin. Mammograms are invasive at the best of times but to throw an ultrasound into the works as well as wait for a further two weeks for the new appointment and not know the reason for being called back, well that nearly tipped me over the edge.  I'm not scared to say that I cried a lot through the two weeks, and I hardly slept.  My mood swings were shocking as was my temper; the slightest little annoyance sent me on a verbal tirade.  Anyway, Tuesday night was horrendous I managed to cry myself to sleep and then woke four hours later drenched in sweat, for the remainder of my time in bed I tossed and turned, and I prayed furiously. I got up when my alarm went off, showered, changed, put make-up on, blow dried my hair, ate two spoonfuls of cereal, threw up, brushed teeth, walked reluctantly to the car without saying a word to Paul. Even now, I don't know how I was able to walk into the hospital, let alone make it to the department without running back out the way I came.  I nearly passed out handing my letter over to the receptionist, but I didn't have to wait long before the radiologist called my name.  I walked numbly into the room with the mammogram machine and was instantly told I had been called back as they had found something on the first image of my right breast that needed further exploration (looking past the radiologist I saw the original image with a dense white circle on it).  I broke down. I think the radiologist knew what I was thinking and what I was scared of and made a joke about me not being able to leave until I'd had the exam as she had locked the door. It forced me to laugh, but it didn't take my anxiety away. She then said maybe we should get you changed into a gown after your exam and take your clothes away so you can't leave until you've had your ultrasound and spoken to the doctor. Again I laughed even though I was petrified.  I waited 15 minutes for my ultrasound- I watched the clock the whole time. During that time someone else's husband looked at me and smiled- this is a flashback memory that I remembered while writing this. I was then led into the tiniest dressing room on the planet, which resembled a broom cupboard in size, to dress into a gown. I was told to make sure the opening was at the front of the gown. I can remember thinking do I just hold it closed, what if it falls open and then I saw the ties; I had two blue and four white. I felt like I was on the Krypton Factor trying to tie the stupid thing together.  I then dumped my clothes in a basket and went to a new waiting room. I still don't know how I got out of that broom cupboard with a basket in my hand, but I did. I then took my clothes out of the basket because I felt embarrassed that I had scrunched them up, and I sat and folded them properly. A nurse came to check on me; I must have looked mad folding my clothes perfectly.  My ultrasound took an agonising 15 minutes from start to finish during that time the nurse commented on how beautiful my sandals were, and then was someone with me today- which sent me into a panic with the thought 'Why is it  going to be bad news?'  Then 10 minutes in the doctor broke his silence (he had not spoken to me since entering the ultrasound room and had only made scrunched up faces). 'How did you come about needing a mammogram?'  I answered by telling him about my mum. Doctor: 'How long ago was your mum diagnosed?' Me: 'February.' Doctor: Understandably your emotions are still very raw with regards to your mother.' and then he said  'Hmm! It appears to be fine.'  I broke down for the hundredth time that day and wasn't sure if I had heard him properly, the nurse took my hand and said 'you've to have a large cup of tea once this is finished.'  The doctor spent another 5 minutes rechecking my arm pit, my breast bone and breast over and over again with the wand, pressing harder and harder and then said it 'appears to be a cyst. I do need another colleague to check everything, but you are free to go.  If you are recalled, please don't fret my colleague will just want to double check to be sure for himself.'  'Do you have any questions?'  I had a million that I wanted to ask but as someone who has suffered from trauma will tell you your mouth and voice don't work when your majorly stressed so I had to nod my head no. He said 'You just want to go, don't you?'  I numbly nodded yes. I was led back to the broom cupboard again but this time, I was covered in a gel that just wouldn't wipe off.  I would clear one area only for it to appear somewhere else. Lol!

So now I'm at home, my breast is incredibly tender, and I'm badly bruised. But, I'm fine and looking at ways to improve my health and eating habits.  I've lost so much weight from worrying that I aim to keep it off.  I'm safe; I'm looking at ways of trying to reduce my stress levels, but I'm jumping at the sound of the letterbox in fear I have been recalled.  I don't like living with stress it's a part of me that hasn't entirely left since having EMDR treatment. It's embarrassing, and I feel ashamed of it, I would give anything to be free of it, perhaps it's just who I am, and maybe I need to learn to love all that I am -flaws and all.


Crafting photos: Strappy top in coral broderie anglaise made using pattern Simplicity 4127.  White flower top made using Simplicity 8523     Grey floral top with orange polka dot neckline made using New Look pattern 6705. Knitting: Veyla mittens by Ysolda. New sewing gadget is the Prym magnetic pin cushion as seen being used by Charlotte Newland on The Great British Sewing Bee.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Brace yourselves.....end of term is here. Yahoo!

End of term this week, we started our holiday here on Wednesday. The run up to the end of term was pretty hectic, I stupidly volunteered to paint the little one's graduation banner (the sunshine and rainbow acrylic paint on fabric) and spent last Saturday night and Sunday morning completing it (I'm so rock and roll). Monday and Tuesday was emotional, lots of cuddles and goodbyes for the boys and girls moving on to school, they spoiled me rotten and showered me with gifts. Now it's Friday, and I'm still trying to unwind; getting up at stupid o'clock and going to bed as though it's a school night.  Hopefully, I will finally start to relax. I just need to get a scary health appointment out of the way on the 6th, not looking forward to it and feeling pretty anxious, hence all the sewing, crafting and gardening that's going on. The nearly finished skirt is a Project Runway pattern. In the style of The Great British Sewing Bee, I've decided to be thrifty (don't laugh) and construct this skirt from a brand new duvet cover that I received free from a catalogue. I've gone for the fuller skirt rather than the tulip one, and I've extended the length of the skirt, so it's sits below my knee. I've also lined it as the outer material is quite see through. It's taken me quite a few days to get to this point in the picture, but I'm rather pleased with my make and looking forward to inserting the zip and adding the waistband over the next day or so.
In the garden, everything is in bloom; my Nasturtium's have bloomed, and there is lots of bee activity around my wild flowers.  The large Fuschia bush outside my living-room window at one point had twenty bees buzzing around it, this fills my heart with joy, as I know I'm doing something right if bees want to visit my little corner of the world.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Getting smart with my hobbies

I have been super busy the past couple of weeks, the garden is fairly in full bloom and is keeping me on my toes. What with watering every day with the super hot weather and feeding once a week to keep the plants in tip top condition, I'm quite run off my feet but in a happy way.  I'm so pleased with the way the garden is looking, because in spring I was fretting that I had left all my potting of seeds and gardening prep too late. I shouldn't have worried, everything seems to be sprouting at once and every day I'm met with new miracles; first time growing strawberries, on Monday they were green and when I checked them again on Wednesday three had started to turn red.  Well, you can imagine my excitement Paul couldn't stop laughing as I jumped up and down in the garden.  My sunflowers are another miracle, previous years they have been munched and rotted away, not this year I've only put in their second much longer supports and since doing so, they have sprouted a good 4" in a couple of days.  My lettuce plants also just keep growing and growing and every time I pick the leaves they seem to double in size; at this rate I will have to think about setting up a wee homegrown produce stall to sell my veg lol!

The Great British Sewing Bee has also returned for a fourth season (Yahoo!)and is about to go on to episode 6. I love, love, love this programme so much,  I'm quite sad because I record the programme while I watch it so I can then view it again at a later date.  I also bought the book just after episode 3; I hid it from Paul as I couldn't wait until Christmas Time I had to have it now. Paul, had me sussed though with a comment along the lines of 'I hope you're waiting until the Sewing Bee book is reduced before buying it?'  I purchased the book reduced on Amazon rrp £25.00 I bought it for £9.99 bit of a bargain me thinks.  I've had a quick scoot through the book, and I've  highlighted a few items that I want to make but if I ever get round to them is a different matter. I seem to have a head full of great ideas and designs but then chicken out at the last minute as I'm too scared to go ahead with them for fear of making a mistake or a mess.  Even as I type this, my mind is going into overdrive, and I'm thinking 'I don't really do as much sewing as I should, and I have some material that I could turn into a skirt or a blouse. Hmm! Maybe I should look the fabric out and get started.'  (Pause in typing as I run upstairs to locate stuff). I've just laid the material on the bed as a reminder for later and started two headscarves for my mum (pictured).  I've also purchased some new feet for my machine (not the Merritt in the photo this is Paul's gran's machine, just out of storage), and I have big designs about extending the space in my front room to accommodate a table for cutting and a serger purchase.  Shhhh!  Don't say anything to Paul.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beware of the hunter!

It's been a busy month and a half since I last wrote a blog post and a lot has happened in that short space of time; lots of baking, crafting, worrying about my mum (poor health) and gardening has been taking place.  I seem to have even more flowers this year, most of them started from seed, grown in my little greenhouse and then hardened off, before being repotted outdoors. There is quite an array of colour going on, and I have to say I'm extremely proud of all my hard work.  I  just hope the wet weather stays away long enough so we can see them in their full colourful glory.

Of course, little Bean likes to be a part of the garden action (in the form of a hunter) she's got a real bee in her bonnet about birds.  She can quite happily spend all day staring and jumping up to the sky in the hope that she can befriend one. Well, I'm hoping she wants to be their friend, I'm pretty sure it's just harmless fun as she doesn't seem to have a bad bone in her furry little body.  I just love the shots of her in action, she is totally oblivious of the camera (plant pots, washing posts) and just goes about her thing; one minute she is rolling around, then trotting around and then using the garden as a race circuit. The latter activity usually ends in a warning, three strikes and she's back in the house, she's never hit the three strikes mark yet. Notice I said yet, she has been extremely close.

On the crafting front I've been knitting lace, trying a new craft (Tunisian Knitting/Crochet can't decide on the correct term for it) and swithering on warping my Ashford Rigid Heddle loom. I'm ashamed to say I've never used this guy before, it's only been sitting in it's bag for four or five years so I was thinking it's about time it had an airing, watch this space.  My sewing machine has also been on the go, but only for some garment repairs, I do feel a major project coming on.  I will have to have something on the go, as I'm due to come off for seven weeks summer holidays (this is a first ever in my working life). The schools break up on the 28th of June here, and we don't go back until the end of August, and there is no way I'm sitting around doing nothing for that length of time, as I may go quite mad!