Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Back again - almost a record!!

Well, here we are again! Hope you're all keeping well?

Mike and I took our trip down to Basingstoke as planned. We stayed in a hotel the night before he was due to go in and I had booked in for the extra 3 nights myself. I dropped him off at the requested time and found my way to a local Hobbycraft (well it seemed a shame not to!) I then got a phone call to say that as he'd had all the tests done the week before here, they didn't really want him to take up a bed that night - so I had to go back and collect him and take him back the next morning! It ended up being a four hour procedure - he had to lay very still for that whole time! They inject a kind of superglue into the vein on one side of the liver, which then forces the other side to regenerate itself. Then they cut away the cancerous half intact so that the infected cells and/or blood does not have a chance to enter the system. Basingstoke hospital seems to be a centre of excellence for dealing with this type of cancer, so our fingers are firmly crossed that the operation (scheduled for Dec 15th) will go well. Please keep us both in your thoughts and prayers for then.

Well, having reported on that - what have I been up to stitchywise?

A friend from the USA - Deb - sent me some fancy trim, which I used to finish off my Santa ornament. It came from a UK magazine at least a year ago - can't remember which one! It's stitched on vinyl aida - which I hated!
Recently we had several cross stitch kits available in Aldi supermarkets. Many people wanted them but they had run out in several stores! I was lucky enough to get some and I finished the unicorn for a part of my granddaughter's Christmas present. The original had a pink unicorn - and although I'm a believer - I don't believe they are pink! So I altered it and added the words. I finished it in a small hoop and made a plaited ribbon to hang it with from some narrow ribbons which I had stored away. 
 Here's the original - 
And here's my version -  - much better I think!!

I also finished the Mrs Claus project - again not quite as Brookes' Books Publishing had it, but I'm quite happy with this one.
We also went down to our van at Caister at then end of last week to make it ready for winter. We can go back to it in March, so we're hoping that by then Mike will be much fitter and maybe 2018 will be a better year for us both. It hardly seems like an entire year has gone by since Mike was taken in to hospital for an unknown cause. In some ways I feel a stronger person, knowing that I had the strength to cope with whatever was thrown my way. In other ways I am depressed because of so much that happened. It also made me take stock of what matters in life. Love, family and friends are what got me through it all - so if you were a small part of that - THANK YOU

Until next time

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Here again

Afternoon all! It's been grey and dismal days here for the most part recently. And it seems to have affected my mood. I really can't be bothered to get out and tidy up the garden before the hardness of winter strikes. Dust and cleaning? Forget it! I can just about raise enthusiasm for cooking for us both.
I have loads to be getting on with too.

So what have I achieved?

Turtle is finished, but not made up yet - looking for the perfect fabric to make the cushion.
I made some of the bubbles with DMC satin threads just to give it some added texture. 
I hope they wear well!

I also managed to put Moon Hare onto a canvas but have to get some more picture wire to actually get it up on the wall. Still not sure where to hang him. I want him somewhere prominent to remind me of our struggles over the last year and how we have had the strength to come through it. So I'll take a photo of that once I decide where it's going to hang.

I've now started the Spirit of Mrs Claus (Brooke's Books) - got a bit more done than this, but not much! (due to lethargy!)
Sorry about the quality of the photo!

and a trip to Tesco's where I found this beauty of a colouring book!

We went up to see our daughter and granddaughter during half term (last week). By this time next week my little girl will be 39!! I really don't know where those years have gone - but I expect you can all relate to that sentiment! 

Tomorrow I must phone Basingstoke to check if they are still expecting Mike on 7th November. He had pre-op tests done locally last week so the results should be with Basingstoke now. As we haven't had written confirmation of the appointment I want to  check it's all still on before I book a hotel there for the night before. To get there we have 125 mile trip, which includes driving round London on the M25 (which we joke and call the biggest car park in the world because the traffic can be so slow!) and then onto the M3 (which is often not that much better). In theory it should take about two and a half hours - but we'll see!

Oh well - better get shifting and make a cuppa - need to get myself moving!
Til next time

Friday, 13 October 2017

Catching up again

Well - the best laid plans to continue on my blog seem to have gone severely awry this year!

The main reason has been Mike's continuing ill health issues. He has had to have regular gastroscopies about every month to six weeks as he is still having issues with swallowing. Just this last week he had a stent fitted to his gullet which SHOULD last about 2 months before we see his doctor again. In the meantime he went to see the surgeon in the summer who told him that she was prepared to reverse his stoma operation at the end of August. However because his blood work showed increased levels of some indicators in his blood tests, it was postponed for two weeks. Then we saw the surgeon again, who told us that there appeared to be a cancerous lesion on his liver and that it would be more important to deal with that first. That meant an MRI which then was passed to doctors at Basingstoke hospital (they are specialists in liver cancers). This week we heard from them that they will operate on him. Hopefully we will be going down on November 7th, when they do a procedure to encourage the liver to start growing before they do the actual operation. That would follow in about a month after that.

I believe they have accommodation within the hospital for relatives who have miles to travel! So I have to make enquiries about that too. And a year down the line I am still going to be hospital visiting. At least this year Mike is in a better position to recover. His body weight has been gradually increasing so it shouldn't take him as long to recover from a serious operation.

Apart from that - what else has been happening in our life?

In June we went to the Haven Holiday site in Caister-on-Sea. We both loved it so much that we ended up purchasing a new static caravan which we got the keys for in September. Over the last month we have spent more days there than at home! And while we're there at least I don't feel guilty about not doing housework or gardening!!
Outside of van (with our new car!)

Living area


Dining area with door outside

Main bedroom
There are two other twin bedrooms as well as a family shower room and an en suite toilet in the main bedroom. We are really looking forward to getting down there many times next year. It's about a two hour drive from home (less if traffic is light) so far enough away to be a holiday, yet near enough to drive up there if we just fancy a day away. We are also going to let it out for part of the year, so that would help with the site fees.

And my stitching has also been slow progress since Mike came home - at least I blame him!

I finished stitching my Moon Hare - but have yet to actually to make him into a FFO. 
Finally completed -  but beautiful!

Then I worked on this - a pattern I bought in a shop called the Twisted Turtle in Nawiliwili on Kaui during one of our Hawaiian cruises. 

Currently I have almost completed him as I have been stitching on him while we've been up to Caister. Here is where he stands today - another weekend should see him completed. 

I have been busy buying several Heaven and Earth designs and kitting some of them up to do. I've also been gifted a few RAK patterns from them over the last year - so watch out for the next "BAP" to hit the frame!!

Better sign off and go and get some dinner for tonight. Not sure what I fancy! Might just have to raid the fridge!

Until next time - take care


Friday, 21 April 2017

Missing In Action!

Well hello there! I know - it's been almost a year since I last posted. For those of you who may know me from other areas of the web - I apologise - skip the next 2 paragraphs as you already know what I'm going to say!!

Last July my husband started to be sick - not normal vomiting - but it looked like coffee grounds. The next day he was fine and shrugged it off. A month later - same thing! So the following day (which happened to be a Bank Holiday in the UK), I forced took him to A&E in our local hospital. They took at look and ordered a gastroscopy which he took 2 weeks later. They prescribed medication and a repeat gastroscopy in 6 weeks. By the time that date arrived, he was so weak that he could hardly get out of bed, let alone get to the hospital. Finally on Nov 2nd, he collapsed in the early hours of the morning and I had to call an ambulance to get him into hospital. Once there, after rehydrating and undergoing several more CAT scans and tests, it was discovered he had bowel cancer.  We met a wonderful surgeon at that point, who said that she would operate to give him a stoma, which would allow him time to recover enough to undergo the operation to remove the cancerous part of the bowel. However when she operated, the tissue was felt to be too friable, so she removed about 65cm of bowel then and there.

Following a few days in the Intensive Care Unit, he was moved back to a main ward, where he started to recover, until he was unable to keep any kind of food or drink down. He was released from hospital on Feb 5th, after 12 weeks in hospital, still unable to keep anything down, but they were ordering gastroscopies and dilatations which they hoped would work. Three procedures later, we had a meeting with the oncologist - NO MORE CANCER!! So that was a positive step. Then we met the surgeon. Provided Mike was able to put on weight and start to heal properly, she would be prepared to offer a reversal to the stoma in about 6 months. We have an appointment booked for early July to discuss that. Finally a fortnight ago, just before Easter, Mike went in for another gastroscopy and this time it appears to have worked! He is eating and drinking a little more every day. And he is beginning to put on weight again.

So my life has virtually been ON HOLD for the last 6 months. I have had the support of friends and ex-colleagues. People I have never met - friends through the power of the Internet - have supported Mike and I in prayer or healing thoughts - and I want to thank each and every one of those people.

But of course my stitching and craft have been the mainstay of my personal battle during this time. When I felt like coming home and screaming about the unfairness of life - my little xxxxx's helped to keep me sane enough to function as a relatively normal human being!

As I can't go into more details here - I'll just post the pictures of things which I have worked on in these last months of pain and despair. (WARNING - lots of photos here!)
 Gnome cushion from magazine

 Brooke's Books Advent Animals finished and given to my granddaughter in time for Christmas 2017.

  Keyring for my Granddaughter - they studied pirates at school!

 Camper van from magazine - lettering added myself. A present for a good friend who has held my hand through all of this. 

 Fairy Grandmother - finished and hung - L&Lace

 Current WIP - HAED pattern from WOCS 

 Progress on Moon Hare to date
 Christmas 2017 for my Granddaughter

 House for the tooth fairy - Jess lost her first teeth this year! I made the whole thing from a box and felt!
 Back wall of the house!

And a bit of knitting - mermaid tail for Jess

 And a larger one for my daughter!!
Finished today!  Pompom rug for my granddaughter! If I'd planned it out I would have moved the J down a row, but hey - I didn't so it will have to be like this. Hopefully she will like it as it's in her favourite colours. She can put it beside her bed to wriggle her toes in as she gets up!

Right - well after so long away I'd better let you go and do something else instead! Hope you've all been busy. I will try to catch up on reading your blogs again. So I hope to see you again SOON!

Until then - take care and remember - you never know just when a family member or loved one will be hospitalised or worse - so talk to them often and always tell them that you love them.