Blame it on the Bloggers

Or you can blame Deneen and Bron specifically. :) These two blogs give me lots and lots of ideas for projects, and remind me of patterns I've acquired and may like to use some day. Blogging has really become a great network for me to get ideas.

Sometime in the Fall of 2007 I purchased Positively Crochet by Mary Jane Hall. Like every pattern book or magazine I have, when I get it I pour through it and leave little sticky-notes on any pages that contain projects I would like to make (you'll see them in the below photos). Well, I have a serious case of book acquision syndrome and the reality is that I rarely make the projects I like so much. But a day or two ago, I was reading one of Deneen's posts about the book and I thought to myself....hmmm...why did I put that book away and forget about it? Then this morning, I discovered that Bron discussed the book, too. Kind of a fateful reminder.

So, here are a few patterns I'd like to make this year.

I love this felted bag. Simple and cute. I absolutely hate the popcorn looking trim along the top, but the brown and teal are quite lovely together.


This bag is made with Jiffy and I would not use that yarn for a purse. But a nice cotton or wool bag in this pattern would be really quite lovely. Oh, also minus the tassle.

This would be perfect for work in the warmer weather.


The white sweater on the cover is what caused me to buy the book in the first place. But again, what's with all the popcorn looking danglies in this book? The sweater is great without it though, I think. Not sure about the neckline. It's pretty, but is it practical?


This shrug is likely what I'll make first. There's one other in the book that I also would like to make.

So, I completely blame blogger-dom for getting me all psyched up for some of these projects. I probably wouldn't have thought to pull it out of the bookshelf so soon otherwise. I love how much I am exposed to via blogging, and all the ideas I gleam from people. So, thanks ladies for reminding me about this book. Now I have about 12 more to peek at to see if there's anything that strikes my fancy. :)

Noro Tote

Finally finished and felted the Noro tote bag. I adore it. I used 4.5 skeins and a J hook.

The outside pocket holds my cell phone, and there's a larger pocket on the inside to hold little odds and ends.

I also made a small gray bag using some Paton's wool to hold my checkbook and a pen. It matches the Noro bag and fits wonderfully inside.



Hat Stand


My Daddy made me a gorgeous hat stand specifically for photographing hats for etsy. It's really lovely. Actually, do you see what it's sitting on top of? That's a tongue drum that he made me last year. It has a rubber mallet and when you play it, it sounds like a xylaphone. Really pretty. His woodworking skills are fantastic.

Etsy

The Etsy Store that Sara and I opened is doing relaly well. Thank you all for your moral support and for looking at our stuffs. There's a handful of other items that I've made recently that I'm too lazy to post right now, but if you look at the store you'll see everything we have. Most of the 35 items in the store are things we've made since approximately December.

Sara's Shawl


Most certainly not a great photo. It's a basic triangle shawl in half double crochet made for her birthday in the beginning of March. Took me about 4 days.
Details:
5 skeins of Lion Jiffy in purple
Small amount of Lion Jiffy in teal
L-hook
The Jiffy is not a favorite of mine however it worked out really well. My reason for making her this shawl wasn't for some cute, stylish accessory. I wanted her to have something that she could wear around the house when it's chilly. Like everyone else in the US right now, you try to conserve your heat because oil, propane and gas are so expensive. The one excellent thing about Jiffy is that it's crazy warm. So, it serves the purpose I was hoping it would. And despite the crappy picture, it's pretty cute.

Green Market Tote

Because I work 8 to 12 hours a day at my job, I end up having to tote a bunch of stuff with me. Particularly, I take a bunch of stomach medicine before and after meals, and I also bring a lunch and often times a dinner with me. I made this cotton tote bag for carrying these items in particular. I wanted cotton so it was durable and washable, in case there's ever some food that spills, or liquid meds or whatever.


This gives you an idea of why I wanted a separate bag for medicine. This one bottle is a 9 day supply of one medicine, and it's a huge bottle. Add to that 3 other bottles plus food and I feel like I'm bringing my whole kitchen pantry with me. The tote is a bit more stylish than a plastic grocery bag, which I was using previously.



Stats:

1 ball of the super sized Lily Sugar n Cream in Hot Green (I used about 3/4)
Small amount of same in black
H-hook

I know but I don't know...

I'm sorry for the lack of update from the tests. I really don't know anything yet, so there's not much I can say. The test was fine, a little sucky and I didn't feel well the rest of the day, but ultimately it was just fine.

What I do know is that the nuclear medicine department considers my results to be normal. The doctor has not yet reviewed them and he isn't due back into his office until Wednesday so it will be a few more days. What I am unsure of is whether or not he will take into account my symptoms and my previous results, and still consider my newest result to be normal. He had previously said if there was a change in my gallbladder function he would send me to a surgeon. Well, there was a change. A 40% +/- change. I went from being at the very tail end of the normal to low range, to being 4% above what is considered to be the upper end of the normal range. So, despite all the meds I'm on (the antispasmodic especially, which slows the entire GI system down), my gallbladder function went way, way up. Not sure if he will consider that to be anything of importance or not. Though he said a significant change would result in the surgical consult, I'm not sure if he was expecting a change in the opposite direction. So, who knows. I'll let you know when I find out. They say that an overactive gallbladder can be just as bad as an underactive one. Is mine overactive? Or is it working okay somedays and not others? I don't know. I'll really just have to wait to see what he says.

Lizze, I'm sorry I haven't checked in with you in a week, but thank you for checking in on me. I'll be sure to catch up in a day or two.

Today I am taking a day off from work for a nice "mental health" day. I've been stressed with medical stuff and it's nice to just take a day off for fun. Just hanging out and crocheting. Well, and somehow doing laundry and cleaning and other household things. I feel restored and cozy, so that's good. Work and life have been a little more stressful than usual lately, so today is a nice little reprieve.

Thank you everyone for your emails. Things here really are just fine. A little nervous tension but nothing major.

Tomorrow's the Big Day...

I have my HIDA scan first thing in the morning at the hospital to measure my gallbladder function. It's the one test of all of them I'd rather not repeat because the hormone injection made me fairly sick, but I'm glad to be having it regardless. It will at least tell me once and for all if it's gallbladder or something else. If not, I'm not sure what tests come next, but at least something will be ruled out. If the function is below 35% I'll be off to the surgeon. I hope this mess is resolved soon. The weight loss really worries me. I've found some low fat/high cal foods though so I'm hoping to gain a few pounds. The new medicine kicks my ass in many ways but now that I've been on it for one week, the side effects seem to be lessening and it's not as bothersome. I suspect I'll eventually be tolerating it just fine. It seems to be helping that one stomach pain I get, but it's hard to say that I feel better since I've been nauseas, bloated, crampy and vomiting for a week now. It's better each day though, like I said, and I suspect it will work out.

Tomorrow, hopefully, something yarny to post. I have a few items that have been completed lately, but it seems like so little to me. I made a shawl for my best friend's birthday which I neglected to photograph. Purple Jiffy. I'm not a fan of Jiffy, but back in the day I was, and I think I bought the yarn for this shawl over a year ago specifically for her. Fast foward to March--I was dreading making it for her but now I'm very glad that I did. The one thing I didn't take into consideration with Jiffy is that it's insanely warm. So, it serves its purpose as a house shawl to keep her cozy. The other big project is my Noro tote bag that I've been working on since October. I kept putting it down and forgetting about it. I should have it felted tomorrow and ready for pictures.

I ordered some yarn for another blanket for Sara as well. We're doing a little afghan exchange, due by 6/1. I'm modifying a pattern that I cannot disclose or else she'll find out. I'm worried that it will be too busy, though that's how it's supposed to be. Busy, but hip and stylish. I'll have to play around with the pattern. It calls for sock weight yarn and I'm sorry, but I'm not a lunatic who would make a blanket with sock weight yarn. I'm using worsted weight and a larger hook. So...lots of modifications. If I follow the pattern exactly it would end up about 12 feet wide. It's my favorite blanket pattern of all time and I hope to make one for myself one day. I really hope she likes it. If it's terrible, I don't know what I'll do. She isn't the type of person that I would ordinarly make something funky, loud and ridiculous for. It would be something feminine and pretty, or it would be a star shaped ripple afghan. I don't know what propelled me to choose this pattern. I guess because I like it so much, and it seems like a lot of work. You know how you can more easily justify spending your time making something for someone else, than you can justify spending the same amount of time making something for yourself? I want to make it so badly, but I have a hard time justifying taking the time to make it for myself. It's not even remotely difficult to justify spending that time on something for her though. At the very least, she'll get something with more love in it than I've ever made before, since I'm so in love with the pattern.

Good News

I never thought this would qualify as good news, but....

I'm sick!

And I couldn't be happier. The new doc was pretty fantastic. He said there is no way that stress would cause me to lose all this weight and have the pain I'm having. I know it might sound stupid, but I really did need that validation after what the last doctor told me.

He's leaning toward gallbladder. Doesn't trust the previous HIDA scan results since I was given 2 different results. So, Monday morning the hospital will call to reschedule that test. If it shows any decrease in function he's sending me to a surgeon immediately.

Since I still have burning discomfort on all these acid-blockers we're phasing them out and replacing them with Carafate, which should coat my stomach to reduce any discomfort. He says that the dose of Protonix I'm on now would mean that my stomach is producing no acid whatsoever, so that acid-type-burning I get is not actually caused by acid. Chronic indigestion is common with gallbladder issues though.

If the gallbladder test comes back negative and it's functioning well, he's got a whole bunch of other tests in mind.

Also, if it turns out to be my gallbladder he did warn that there may be a secondary issue, that gb removal may not equal a cure. We just don't know, and wouldn't know until after I've healed from surgery. But he said that if my gallbladder isn't functioning well enough, it will at least be a large piece of the puzzle we've figured out.

He's very alarmed at my weight loss and wants to run tests ASAP and get me some relief quickly so I can start eating more fats. If it's gallbladder, he wants me to have surgery sooner than later so that I can put some weight back on after healing.

All in all, a good appointment. I don't mind one bit that he said "I don't know" and talked about various things that could be causing my issues. I don't care that he needs to run many more tests to figure this out. The only thing that matters to me is that he believes that I'm truly sick, believes it's a serious condition, and is willing to do everything he can to try to figure out how to help me get better. That's all I've needed all along...a smart, caring doctor in my corner.

It's Here

The long awaited first appointment with the new GI specialist is this afternoon. I made the appointment 10 weeks ago, and I've been rather impatient for this day to arrive.

When this first started in October, I was in a lot more pain than I'm in now. Reason being, the first few weeks I was put on a basic ulcer/gastritis diet. Unfortunately, I was avoiding the wrong foods. So as a result, I was in pretty awful pain most of the time, because I hadn't yet made the strong connection between my symptoms and what I put into my body. After a few months of trial and error, I've gotten to a point where those bouts of awful pain only come once per week, sometimes once every other week. It's always, always after something fattening. And when I say "fattening" I don't mean McDonald's cheeseburger. I mean fattening as in 2 or 3 grams of fat can trigger a painful reaction. I stick to about 3 grams of fat or less per meal. Every now and again even that will have me doubled over in pain, but for the most part it works out well. I have a good idea of what to avoid in order to function well without extreme. Which also means, I can give my doctor a more accurate picture of what is going on. In the beginning all I knew was that I hurt, and I hurt badly, more often than not. Now I'm hoping that knowledge is power, and with this more specific picture of what my symptoms are and when they occur, the new doctor will be able to pinpoint what is wrong with me. No matter what it is, at this point I don't care, so long as it's something tangible, something with a name and a course of treatment.

I know full well that eating less than 10 grams of fat per day is not healthy, and I know sooner or later it's going to catch up to me in ways other than fatigue and weight loss. The weight loss is bad enough. Mark and I often watch the show "Intervention" about people with addiction problems. They frequently document individuals with eating disorders. Like most people, I find myself a bit horrified to see a woman with bones jutting out of her body because she is anorexic. It's heart-breaking and it's so unhealthy. Well, the other night I was undressing for bed, and I caught myself in the mirror out of the corner of my eye. I'm not really body-conscious. I never have been. I don't stand in front of the mirror and check myself out with no clothing on, so it's not unusual that with all this weight loss I haven't really paid much attention to how my body actually looks. So I was changing out of my work clothes, and I saw my ribs, every single one of them. It stopped me dead in my tracks and I found my self grasping at my torso and starting to cry. I could count every rib. If I lean forward my spine sticks out of my back like a mohawk. My collar bone and my breast bone are both extremely prominent. My pelvic bones are sticking out. It horrified me. I don't know why I hadn't noticed this before. I know that often times if Mark hugs me, it hurts, and I've known on some conscious level that it's because I'm so boney, but I've tried to pretend it's not bothersome. I've tried to ignore the weight loss because I'm trying to remain positive and not get upset, because I know it won't help me in any way. But what I saw in that mirror? It was a total stranger. It was a body I didn't even recognize. In four months, I've lost 25% of my body weight. I cannot go on like this. So, I pray this doctor can help me. I pray that he will hear me, and see me, and take this very seriously. In the beginning I swore up and down that stress was not playing a role in these stomach issues. But now, I cannot deny that my stomach issues are playing a huge role in my stress level.

So I hope and I pray that today's appointment can give me some positive news.

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