I ain’t in the best shape that I’ve ever been in…*

So, chemo ‘eh? Not so much with the fun…. I was given the highest dose for my square meterage (my Oncologist’s party trick seems to be working out your square meterage from your height and weight in his head) and my body did not react well to it. The Oncologist seemed surprised yesterday at all the side effects I’ve had. It started with the most horrible tiredness, it comes over me completely and makes me feel like I have a weight on my shoulders. You can set your clock by it to, 3pm and I’m done in. The rest of the time when I’m fit for more than napping it leaves me with half my brain working. I lost the ability to comprehend what I was reading, last week I showed up to an appointment at the hospital on time but two weeks early and I’m never sure what day of the week it is or what I’m supposed to be remembering, just the knowledge that I know I’m forgetting things, it’s incredibly frustrating. I actually stopped taking the first course of pills 2.5 days early as I had pain in my hands and feet, my finger tips hurt when I tried to do anything at all with my hands, even knitting, which, as you can imagine really pissed me off, don’t take my stress relief away from me! Then the balls of my feet started to feel like I’d been wearing very high heels for several days in a row, even in my slippers it hurt to walk about. Added to that was a bad upset stomach (I can’t spell and don’t really like the d word so we’ll go with the more refined upset stomach shall we?), so bad that they gave me a second week off between courses to recover and try to get things working properly as they should. I’ve gone off food, which isn’t like me at all, I don’t feel nauseous, I just can’t ever think of what I want to eat, everything just seems meh to me, if I didn’t have to feed the boys I’d be living on toast and instant noodles as they’re easy and I can generally face eating them. A few days ago the skin started to peel off my hands too, lovely… The constant drippy nose is also all kinds of wonderful.

So, I go to the Oncology unit tomorrow to pick up a lowered dose for the second course which I will start on Saturday. I’ve had to accept that napping is the norm (I used to love naps when they were a treat, now they’re necessary it’s annoying) and have applied to extend the interruption to my PhD until the start of the next academic year, that was a very dark depressing day but if I can’t read a hospital appointment letter and understand it how will I ever manage with academic articles and books? I’m also losing my words so academic writing is out the window. We’ll see if my body can get to grips better with things with the rest of the 7 courses I have to take.

I am managing to do some sewing a few days a week and I’m knitting on and off during each day so I will show you what I’ve finished off since I was last here.

Finally a picture of the cardigan I finished in January now that it’s been blocked a bit. The pattern is called Passing Showers and I used some DK cotton in Pomegranate from the stash.

Passing ShowersPassing Showers
It’s a darker red than it looks like, can’t ever get that colour to photograph well. It came out shorter and smaller than I had hoped so I’m not sure it will get much wear, we’ll see when the weather gets warmer, I do like a red cardigan.

I also finished up my Sunseeker shawl, I didn’t increase to the full number of stitches as I had less yarn, but it still came out pretty huge and I’m happy with the way it’s blocked out. I used a bamboo cotton mix from Yarntopia Treasures in the colourway Mocha Latte.SunwalkerSunwalkerSunwalker

I had a massive clear out of clothes that were looking worn or not being worn. Quite a few hand-made things are on their way to the charity shop as I finally admitted to myself that I’m not ever going to wear them so there’s no point storing them. I cleared out the hand knits too and ended up with this huge pile which is bagged to go to new homes soon. Feb 2016(just seen one in there that I’m going to rescue from the bag as I’m apparently not as done with it as I thought!)
I have realised that I’m what they call a process knitter, I like making things, but I don’t always make what I like to wear, that’s something I am determined to work on and to think about how useful things will be before I cast on or cut fabric. I also decided that as I have the time at the moment I will try to fill out my hand-made wardrobe (so much for sewing less!) and try to get back, as close as I can, to making most of my clothing. I don’t sew underwear or jeans as they’re easily bought and I don’t ever feel it’s worth the time, but everything else is fair game. My mental plan is to find a solid stable of patterns that are ‘me’ and work with my lifestyle and to create a more cohesive ‘wardrobe’, if you will, using them. I’m hoping for around 10-15 patterns that offer different ways of styling them, different lengths, finishes etc. and that I know I like to wear. I tend to make tons of things and a lot of them don’t ever get worn. I have enjoyed making dresses, but fitted bodices just piss me off to wear and I’m really not all that girly, nor do I go anywhere that requires a nice frock, so it’s a waste of fabric and time to keep making them. What I want are comfortable and easy to wear clothes that go together, rather than only having a few bits that match and thus only get worn with each other. This will mean making more basics and using plainer fabrics rather than the eye searing prints I usually am drawn to. I’ll see how it goes and keep you updated.

A pattern that is most definitely already part of my ‘stable’ is the Montlake Tee, it fits how I like my t-shirts to fit and I don’t have to add any length to it. There are several sleeve lengths to mix things up and I can add different neckbands to mix it up a little. I’ve made 6 of them so far, the first stripy one was too big, it’s more a tunic, which is fine and I’ll still wear it, but I went down a size for all the rest and they’re great. There’s a mix of long, 3/4 and elbow length sleeves and I’ll make a few more short-sleeved ones when the weather calls for them. The 3/4 length sleeve actually turns out to be full length on me so I’ve made my own marks on the pattern for my length 3/4 length sleeves, I didn’t think I had particularly short arms!
Montlake TeeMontlake TeeMontlake TeeMontlake TeeMontlake TeeMontlake Tee
The black and grey stripe is from Boyes, you’ve seen it before and you’ll see it again as I bought loads of it as it’s got lovely drape. The dots are vintage from the local sale last year. The yellow plain is from an online acquaintance’s stash clearance, the grey is from Textile Warehouse (again I bought tons of it) and I’m annoyed that even though I pinned the stripes of the ribbing before cutting it still went wonky on the front. The blue stripe and green bird prints are both from Fabricland in Brighton, bought 4 years apart. Most of these fabrics have been hanging around in my stash waiting for just the right t-shirt pattern to come along so now I finally get to wear them!

I made another Betheua top, but totally messed it up and didn’t realise until the end. I managed to sew the back piece on upside down (chemo brain). It’s wearable and the fabrics are actually pretty cheap so won’t wash well anyway so it’s not too much of a loss.Bethioua Raglan

I also made another Ilsley skirt using some mock suede (micro suede?) that’s been in my stash forever and day. I took an inch off the length and added less width to this one so the fit is better on me. I also added an ad lib lining as it’s a very sticky fabric and it’s too short to wear a slip under. These photos are awful, black skirt in low light room, sorry…
Ilsley SkirtIlsley SkirtIlsley Skirt

And finally I made a pair of Roberts Collection dungarees. I hummed and hawed for ages about which size to make and finally decided to go with the 6, a size smaller than the jumpsuit. The denim is from Textile Warehouse on Ebay, I bought 5 metres of it as it was about £4.20 a metre. There’s no stretch in it but I love the vintagy colour of it and I’m glad I stocked up. I used demin hammer on buttons on it, the buttonholes were actually the hardest part for me, I made 7 before I got 4 that I could live with, it usually doesn’t take me that many goes. This is an awful shot of me, I think you can tell that I was bored with trying to get a good photo by the time I took this one!
Roberts Collection Dungarees
I thought they looked better on me than this picture suggests, but they’re comfortable and work with the stoma so I’m going to pretend that I look fabulous in them and just not look in mirrors while I’ve got them on! I have plans for more from the Roberts pattern before I put it away.

And that’s it, I have fabric out and ready for quite a few more things, I’m hoping to have the brain power and energy to cut something out soon. Sorry for the big dump of things, took me a while to find the energy to type this and the words at the same time!

*Ani DiFranco lyrics, as are the title of the blog. The next line of this song is ‘but I know where I’m going, and it ain’t where I’ve been’, it was my New Year’s mantra to try and psych myself up to get through the cancer treatment…

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5 thoughts on “I ain’t in the best shape that I’ve ever been in…*

  1. Sounds like the chemo is really punishing for you. I am thinking of you, its so horrible feeling below par all the time and never feeling well. Must say I think the dungarees look smashing on you!

  2. So sorry to hear Anna that chemo is so rough for you, it must be so frustrating when you know your brain isn’t working as it should. I really hope this next course is gentle on you. On the plus side that’s a whole lot of organising, sorting, knitting and sewing – I am full of admiration for you.

  3. Blah to chemo! But good to hear “they” are reacting quickly and reducing the dose instead of making you soldier on. I love your dungarees! And the tees look fab too – lovely and drapey. And you finished your Sunseeker – gold star for that! 🙂

  4. Bless your heart…I hope your body adjusts to the chemo soon and it’s a little less horrible for you…I love the cardi…so cute…and all your knit shirts are so neat…the black and grey is my favorite…

    ~Have a lovely day and feel better soon!

  5. I hope your future courses get easier. I’m glad to hear you’re at least able to sew though. And that shawl – excellent pattern and the color is amazing! It reminds me of tiger eye stone. So beautiful!

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