27 December 2006


All limbs are, in fact, intact. Survived work today, and the ravening hordes of returning, giftcard spending, irrationally irritable, shoppers. Spend as much of the day as possible off the floor, staying away from the grouchies. It's sometimes better that way.

Madge asked what I was knitting in the New Year. Answer: Finish everything I didn't finish last year.

That's not entirely true. But it's funnier when I say it that way.

First, a story.

My Aunt Diane has not had an easy life. She's had a lot to drink, a lot to smoke, a lot of work, and a lot of stress, and she hasn't stopped for a minute. In 2002, she found a lump in her breast. A cancerous lump. They operated, removed the lump and several lymph nodes. No chemo, no radiation, all was well for awhile.

This spring, she was more and more tired, and she couldn't get back under herself. Her son finally panicked and bodily hauled her to the emergency room, where they discovered her unbelievably low red cell count; if Kevin had let her sleep in bed one more night, she would have probably passed in the evening.

The diagnosis was a form of pre-leukemia. Enter a course of mild chemo, shots to make her bone marrow do a better job of making mature red blood cells, and a lot of prayer. And she got better. Stronger, healthier. And she got so better, I think we all forgot the part of the diagnosis where the doctors flat out said that this disease only gets worse, not better.

About three months ago, Aunt Diane was feeling worse again, and this time the diagnosis was full blown leukemia. Into the hospital, strong chemo and radiation. This time, all her hair fell out, she got infected practically everywhere she could get infected, but still, the cancer was beaten back. But it was a near thing.

Back to the doctor for another bone marrow draw just before Christmas. And the news they had for us was...less good. Essentially, their recommendation is that she try and get into a particular study where she would take a low dose chemo pill for 21 days, and then be off it for 7 days (like one of my friends said, like Birth Control! but different). If she doesn't get into the study, they'll continue to monitor her, but they're recommending that if she falls out of remission again (and they mean when) she skip the chemo. She let them make her comfortable. And she's more or less agreeing with them.

I've been expecting this news. I talked to my sister, who is in med school, for a long time when we first got the preleukemia diagnosis. I made her help me sort through all the medical jargon, and essentially, I knew this was coming. But it always feels too soon. It could be days, it could be months, it could be years. There's no way to know.

I just know she has to be around long enough for me to finish these.

The colorway is, appropriately, Miss Violet's Pink Ribbon, by Lisa Souza, the pattern is Rolling Thunder by Sivia Harding, out of the most recent Knitty.

The beads are gilt lined opal (I think that was the name) from Earth Faire.

Here's an up-close of the edging (and it's proof I adore Sivia, because I did a hemmed edge for her!) and the gorgeous opally beads.

Sivia's design is reminiscent of the Thunderbird totem symbol, which is especially good, because in particular stories, Thunderbird has the power over life and death. Neil Gaiman picked that up in one of his more recent books -- it was either American Gods or Anansi Boys, I forget. But anyway. Thunder and Free will...good things to give to a woman facing a life-or-death decision. And yarn that Lisa made absolutely glow with positive energy and love and adoration.

When I can't handle the symbolism, I fall back on Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion socks; I haven't knit another stitch since the last time I posted about these, but I took a new picture, just because I haven't in a long time.

These are two strands of Trekking XXL and soooo warm, so good for comfort when I am a sad-K.
I hope everyone's Christmas was better than the sucky parts, and as good as the wonderful parts, of mine.

What are you knitting for the New Year?


Lisa S said...

The socks will radiate with postive energy. Just as I put thoughts of healing into every skein I alchemize, you put healing prayers into every stitch, simply because you are envisioning your aunt as you knit. She is so brave! She will "get" the socks...I wish her comfort and laughter and fuzzy feet.

Anonymous said...

And I want to add to Lisa's comment that I know from personal experience that that act of goodness and giving, of making those socks and wishing her well, will help give your aunt the strength she needs to hold onto in the harder moments. Love is pure strength in every way that matters.