Thursday, January 30, 2020

Just a few lines....

I'm short of any particularly interesting news but feel I should write a few lines, if only to keep the blog off intensive care or, eventually, from flatlining. :)

I saw the oncologist yesterday - he was "running late". We waited well over an hour after a blood-letting and the usual check on vital signs by a nurse. Nothing to read other than signs on the wall about prostate cancer, lung cancer and such like.

Anyway, it seems my blood count is reasonable, low in places but no lower than expected, and not low enough to cause more time off the Ibrance or other meds. I reported to the doctor that, lately, I've been suffering arthritis-type pains in all my finger joints, and in my shoulders and elbows. I assume it is a side effect from either Ibrance or the estrogen blocker Anastrozole. He agreed, and said if it gets bad enough that I can no longer grip properly, we'll have to do something about it. Hmmm. I'd rather hoped for more, but as I can still manage to knit and type and do most things, other than opening bottles and cans, if a little more painfully than usual, I must grin (cynically) and bear it.

On the positive side, round about the same time as those new joint pains arrived, my left femur problem has seemed to lessen somewhat. I surmise that the medications have taken this amount of time to do anything noticeable enough for me to actually feel. They could have reached deep enough in my system for other, stronger side effects to emerge, along with any positive hoped for effects. Side effects so far have been some hair thinning and appetite suppression, with loss of weight (also partially caused by the lyphacitic colitis I also had diagnosed in the midst of everything else).

Anyway, my next appointment with the oncologist is at the end of February, with another CT scan to be arranged shortly before that. The doctor wants to make sure that nothing has changed in the 3 months since the last CT scan. More anxiety about results await, but I'll have a few weeks' grace before I need to worry, so I shall try to push it out of my mind.

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Few Favourite (and Other) Things

An old friend of mine from our days in junior school in East Yorkshire - she now lives in the South of England, occasionally sends me fun stuff via her i-pad. By the way, her birthday is one week after my own (same year), that's probably how we came to be seated next to one another in school, but we became fast friends. Friendship continued even when we left junior school to continue our education - she to art school in Hull, me to grammar school in Bridlington. Anyway, here's her latest...LOL!

To commemorate her birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall. One of the musical numbers she performed was 'My Favourite Things' from the legendary movie 'Sound Of Music'. Here are the lyrics she used: (If you sing it, it's especially good, I was told.)

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,

Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,

Bundles of magazines tied up in string,

These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,

Polydent and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,

Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,

These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,

When the knees go bad,

I simply remember my favourite things,

And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,

No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,

Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,

These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinning',

Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinning',

And we won't mention our short-shrunken frames,

When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,

When the eyes grow dim,

Then I remember the great life I've had,

And then I don't feel so bad.

Well I (or the husband) haven't tried Botox or golf carts but I have several pairs of "needles for knitting" now, thanks to encouragement from my good on-line friend Wisewebwoman. Below is something I've just cast off and sewed together. It's an easy-knit kimono from a pattern I found online (see here). I made it a bit longer than the pattern stated, but it turned out even longer than I'd expected, possibly because I used a slightly different yarn for cheapness. It was a test run really and the only yarn and colour I could find at a cheaper price, is not unlike the colour of the shawl I knitted a few weeks ago. Maybe I'll splurge on some different yarn and colour, now that I know how it goes, and do another one.

Husband (anyjazz) took these on our front porch an hour or so ago.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Whinges and Other Stuff

Time for a wee whinge! Why is it that when a new, updated, version of something arrives, although it might look slick and shiny it's never quite as handy as the older version? We used to find this phenomenon at work, many years ago when our computer programs were updated - by them as knew what they were doing - allegedly. We used to complain "Why don't they come and see how we use the flippin' system before they go and reinvent the darn thing?" I've had two experiences of a similar phenomenon this week.

Our new washing machine was installed, much the same as the old one, but now it's all electronic rather than, "mechanical" (as described to us by the sales person). I did a load of laundry straight away. Knobs and settings are similar to before. As the machine did its biz I returned to the computer, expecting to hear a familiar alarm buzzer telling me when the job was done, and ready to transfer the washing to the dryer. Nothing! Had I forgotten to adjust a setting? Research online turned up that there is no buzzer on this model to signal the end of the cycle. TSK! What a flippin' nuisance. That is something I'd have thought would be standard. It's easy to forget that the washer is washing when it doesn't make a lot of noise, easy to forget all about the wet stuff. Ah well, I got out a little alarm clock - next time I used the washer I set it for 45 or so minutes ahead. Anyway, black mark awarded to Maytag - this is not up to their usual standard of excellence. More of what's becoming known as "crapification".

Another instance of crapification: my replacement basic astrology software, to becompatible with Windows 10 has similarly frustrating omissions, especially when trying to re-size a chart to post on my blog. It used to be so easy! Now it ain't, this is the same brand, but it ain't nearly as good, nor as clear due to some pale colours which almost disappear on the screen. Alos, it's no longer possible to choose one's own colours. I don't blog on astrology very often these days, so it doesn't matter much, but it's still annoying.

I was going to do a quick astro-job on author Catherine Cookson's natal chart, after we had watched a TV dramatised version (streamed on Amazon Prime) of her novel "The Black Velvet Gown". I enjoyed the story - although it is very similar in style to many (or all) of her other novels read in my younger years. 'Nuf to say, regarding her astrology, that Ms Cookson had Sun, Mercury, Mars, and Neptune in Cancer, which made her a definite Cancer-type person - sensitive, empathetic and nurturing; this definitely comes out in her novels. She also had planets in Leo (limelight) and Gemini (communication), with natal Moon probably in Virgo (practical, organised) - but her time of birth isn't known, so can't be sure.

On the medical front - nothing to report, all remains much as was - except that it appears something has changed in rules regarding prescriptions for some pain killing medicines. Last year it was necessary to obtain a paper prescription, signed in ink by the prescribing doctor, the paper to be taken to the pharmacy in person - fax and email not allowed. It now appears that faxing these prescriptions to pharmacies is allowed once more. Less journeys to the hospital to collect prescriptions - that's good!

As regards my new (or re-found) knitting hobby, I've just finished a V-shaped shawl. It was supposed to look something like:

It turned out to be somewhat bigger than expected, though my yarn and needles were as prescribed by pattern and my natural knitting tension isn't exceptionally loose. LOL! It looks exactly like something that Riah, main character of "The Black Velvet Gown" was wearing in the north of England in 1830 something. The women wore a lot of shawls back then - or at least the costume department thinks they did. The lovely colour and subtle sheen of the knitted shawl doesn't show here - lighting not too good.

Saturday, January 04, 2020


2020 has begun, for me, with a variety of new stuff. Even as I prepared this post there came a new word to add to my vocabulary. I had to look up this word from the quote on the right: Evanescent definition: vanishing, fading, fleeting. Also new for me this New Year: a new(ish) computer with new operating system, as mentioned in earlier posts. Another newcomer will be a new washing machine, delivered next week. We were reliably (I trust) told that the issue which caused our washer to stop in mid cycle, a few days ago, is not repairable - the major mechanical part involved in the breakdown of our 15-year old machine is no longer manufactured by Maytag. So, off we had to go to the Maytag store to order the 2020 version of our old washer.

What else is new for me, this New Year? A new piece of knitting - a shawl knitted in 'V' shape, up one side and down the other in some pretty but slightly awkward yarn called Homespun, I chose a colour called Tourmaline (a rich dark blue-green) . The photo comes from the online free pattern.

Also, on the knitting front, I forced myself to finish the disliked work of joining together multiple 8" squares I'd knitted during the weeks before Christmas, while playing with a bunch of colours, mixing and matching. It's not big enough for a blanket but will provide a warm throwover for the knees, or a colourful piece to "pop" - somewhere in the bedroom when Okie weather returns once again to sweaty heat.

Astrologically, there's something new too. Pluto and Saturn, planets which I believe have been bugging me for the past 2 years health-wise, moving to-and-fro opposite my ascendant and close to natal Mercury, are at last moving forward. They will soon be out of range (I hope!) It has been uncanny and at times unnerving to note how health-related stuff coincided with the movement of these two planets. Pluto and Saturn have, from time immemorial, been known to have a few unpleasantnesses to dole out when transiting close to personal planets in the natal chart. My own experiences include diagnosis of breast cancer leading to lumpectomy, mastectomy, excision mastectomy, radiation. For the metastatic bone cancer in femur and hip: local procedures and radiation; not to mention a variety of medications - not particularly nasty in themselves, but with nasty side-effects such as joint pain, nausea, hair thinning (not all lost - yet!) Lymphatic colitis emerged in the midst of all this, and led to colonoscopy and various remedies. It does often turn out that the unpleasantness experienced when these planets visit was a necessary development - something which needed to happen in order for the native to move on. Hmmm! It's a great pity that the effects of those two planets' transits are not more... erm.... evanescent!