Waiting room knitting

Sometimes I spin or knit with a specific project in mind. Sometimes it is just to pass the time. Recently I have been doing a lot of that while sitting in waiting rooms.

Several months ago I wrote that my mother-in-law was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She went for radiation therapy in April, which, unfortunately didn’t work. The tumor grew, which was a complete shock; the doctors did not warn us that this could happen.

In May she had the operation to remove the tumor and because of the location, a permanent colostomy was also done. Five days later she was home, and considering the heart problems she had after surgery I believe this was too soon. (But who am I to argue with doctors, oh, and they also failed to show her how to change her colostomy bag).

The surgery she had was major. She had one incision up her stomach, the colostomy, and the incision were they removed her anus. And all of this needed post operative care. For this you either go to the nearest clinic or pay for a nurse to visit you in your house. We paid for a nurse, and my mother-in-law had weekly visits at the hospital with her surgeon to exam her progress. This was a slow and painful process, and an infection in the perineum incision meant she had to go back into hospital.

During this time we also received her biopsy result, not from the doctor but from the report. The cancer was in her lymph nodes, stage III. I understood this, but I am not sure my mother-in-law did, and our visit with her surgeon to discuss the results was rather vague, (…of course the doctor had a very bad cold and we had been waiting 6 hours to see her, so no one really wanted to talk about anything).

That was in July, and now she is feeling better. The incision still hasn’t healed, (it has to heal slowly from the inside out) and for the past two months we have been seeing the oncology doctor to start chemotherapy. This has been frustrating because the oncologist would like to begin treatment, but can’t until the incision has healed and other hospital procedures are completed, and everything inside the hospital takes time…even with URGENT written on it.

My part in this has been my mother-in-law’s advocate and nurse. I learned quickly, crash course style, how to change a colostomy bag, how to change a dressing, how to talk to doctors, how to go from one department to another inside the hospital looking for results and answers, and how to have a lot of patience. Knitting helps with that.

So far our worst “waiting” day was arriving at 10am and being seen at 2pm, then being told we had to see her surgeon who was working in emergency. So off to emergency where we waited till 9pm to be seen. That was a long day. I learned that being nice helps getting the nurses on your side.

I also joined an on-line ocular melanoma group which has really helped me understand more about my nevus. It is a hard group to belong to, sad, and sometimes I feel like there is cancer every where I go. But I also think this has made it easier for me to help my mother-in-law.

I think her cancer has been very hard for her and her family because no one has seen the effects of her caner. Her cancer never made her sick…the operation made her sick and in pain, but not the cancer. Everyone is scared of cancer, but without physical symptoms this cancer is hard to blame.

I know this is supposed to be a fibre blog, and I am sorry for going off track, but helping my mother-in-law is a large part of my life at the moment. Luckily, I have my mom visiting and she has helped support me through all of this. She has been here since June, and it is very nice having her here for this long stay.


And just because this is a fibre blog, here is some waiting room knitting, and soon exciting news from Créatif!

9 thoughts on “Waiting room knitting

  1. Theresa Merkling says:

    So sorry to hear about your mother in law. Praying for her and your family. She’s lucky to have your support.

    • Thank you, she is a strong woman and has a loving family around her. Sometimes I feel that her family does not talk about the cancer enough, but maybe that is partly because of the different cultural as well as personal beliefs, and I need to learn to respect that. I can not force my way of dealing with cancer onto them, everyone deals with cancer in their own way.

      Thanks again for your wishes.

  2. Isobel says:

    This is a hard and wearing time for you and your mother-in-law. I imagine these hospital visits are having quite an impact on the whole family.
    Is there a support system for people with cancer and their families? I know here that counselling and group support is very much encouraged.
    Thinking of you.

    • Thanks, I am not sure how to get in touch with a support group, and if I could, I am not sure if my mother-in-law would go. Whiles sitting in the waiting room of the oncology department quite a few people chat and offer their stories and advice, so that is nice.

      My mother-in-law has met someone who runs a support group for people with colostomies, but she has not been yet. I think she needs time, it is still something private.

      Maybe when she starts chemotherapy there will be more organized support from the hospital.

      Thanks again.

      • Isobel says:

        I think here people are sometimes paired with someone else who has had the same procedures but come out the other side so they can talk on the ‘phone, give practical advice and moral support.

      • Thats a good idea. I did observe some women giving their telephone numbers to a woman who was upset. This was in the waiting room, so nothing formal, just people trying to help. I think if you let them, there are people around who will offer help, its letting them in. 🙂

  3. sweffling says:

    I so identify with this; i was given a permanent ileostomy when I was 21 and it took some time to get used to. The perineal scar gave the most problems because, as you say, it has to heal from the inside out. Here in the UK we have several charities who help deal with ostomies of several kinds, with meetings, other ostomates (horrid word, we are so much more than our ostomies!) who visit before and after operations, and helps and tips of all kinds. I do hope there is something similar available for your mother in law. You sound to be providing fabulous support. She is lucky to have you:)

    • Thanks for the encouragement. There is a group here, and they have talked to my mother-in-law, but I think it will take her a little time to ask for more help. She says she is okay with everything, but I know sometimes it is overwhelming.

      I don’t mind helping her, but I would like to talk to someone in the group who has more experience. I only have the experience of the changes I have done, and it would be nice to learn some tricks. The Internet is good for that.

      Having an ileostomy at 21 must have been very hard, I hope you had people close to you to help. It is difficult to ask for help with something that is so private, and I think that is part of the reason my mother-in-law lets me help; she loves me like a daughter, but I am still the gringa and it’s not the same as letting her kids help her.

      Thanks again for your encouragement.

  4. maesprose says:

    I am so sorry this is happening to your mother-in-law.

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