Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hello again ... at last

Hello, little neglected blog. Hello, bloggy friends. I'm not the most frequent blogger at the best of times but it's been an eventful year. In February, after several hospital admissions to have fluid drained from my right lung, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. As a life-long non-smoker,  it was the biggest shock for me and all my family and friends and such a struggle to come to terms with - especially as my dad died of the same disease 30 years ago at the age I am now (66).

 The first months after the diagnosis were pretty awful - killer fatigue, emotional melt-downs , aches and pains ... but now I'm feeling well ... and without being all Pollyanna-ish, I'm feeling pretty lucky.  I still get tired but can now walk around without struggling for every breath or needing to lie down after climbing the stairs. All the medical services I need are 10 minutes down the road, my oncologist is my hero and my treatment is simple - just one pill every day for the foreseeable future. That pill has already shrunk the tumour and the secondaries - see what I mean about feeling lucky?

Now that I'm stronger and pretty much back to normal, my husband is more able to enjoy doing his own thing (he's a keen golfer) instead of spending all his time  being my carer and keeping everything running at home. He's my hero, too. We've had some enjoyable outings recently in our local goldfields area - to Bendigo for the fabulous, marvellous, wonderful (can you tell I enjoyed it?) Marimekko exhibition, to Craig's (Ballarat's poshest hotel) overnight for our 42nd wedding anniversary, to tiny towns we'd never before visited for an arts trail that showed creativity is everywhere (the photo shows international quilt judge and art quilter Jenny Bacon's work hanging outdoors as part of her exhibition at Adelaide Lead school.)

So far this year there has been little crafting. Simple knitting is fine though - last month I made two cute little mice, flowers and leaves for a brooch and am making good headway with a cardigan for myself. My usual fabric crafting loves would require too much concentration than I'm up for at present but that will come.

 One of the things I have discovered in this steep-learning-curve of a year is how tremendously kind people can be. In hospital, nurses busy on their rounds would hold my hand when I was upset. There have been lots of messages, phone calls and visits (my daughter's visit from China in February and my brothers' visits  from NZ were highlights.) At night I snuggle under a beautiful quilt covered in a rainbow of  hearts - the epitome of kindness and a fine example of social media's power for good. My  Instagram post about the diagnosis was greeted with a flood of good wishes - and my lovely friend Abbe's (that's her on the right) hush-hush campaign of collecting squares contributed  by  these very same people  for a quilt. So many squares were sent - mainly from Australia but from NZ, England and Germany too -  that the quilt she made is huge, with hearts on the front and back. It was such a heartwarming gesture and the quilt is such a comfort.

So ... that's my year so far. I'm crossing my fingers that the second half of 2018 will be kind  and that there will be some crafty fabricy things made. Meanwhile, the sun is shining and we're off to Clunes (a lovely little goldfields town about half an hour away) for a craft market and coffee. If you've managed to make it this far without nodding off - thanks for your company.