All this and a funny hat

I have been thinking a lot about cancer lately.

Probably doesn’t help that I am slowly reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, (very good book), and I quickly read The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, (my daughter wants me to see the movie but I wanted to read the book first).

Or that yesterday I went with my mother-in-law for her check up with her oncologist before she starts her 6th chemo tomorrow. She is doing well, happy that the chemotherapy has not been too difficult.

And, (the main reason), is because we have made appointments for my next scan and visit with my ocular oncologist. I know I was calm and not too worried about my iris nevus, but I seem to have gotten back into the mental “is it/isn’t” it loop.

The uncertainty of not knowing.

However, with all this reading I realized that even if the doctor does tell me it is ocular melanoma, (which can only be confirmed by removing it and performing a biopsy) I will still be living with uncertainty, just different questions; will it come back or has it spread? I talked to my husband about my fears, and he pointed out that many people live with uncertainty. My situation my be rare, but my feelings are not.

I found this comforting. We are social creatures, and feeling alone makes everything worse, but I am not alone. So, I will take a deep breath and focus on the other things in my life…

and there are many!

After taking her entrance exams and applying to several universities, my oldest daughter got into Universidad Católica del Norte to study Law. Some of her friends are going to the same university, which might make the early morning commute on the bus a bit easier. (And I know I am being completely selfish, but I am happy that she is staying close. So is her little sister, who still has 8 years before she goes to university).

I have been very busy at Casa Creatif. Not so much teaching, but administrating and organizing. We have different classes for kids from 10am till 1pm most days of the week.

Drawing class

 

Sewing class

My youngest goes with me every day, taking as many classes as she can, and even my Dad and my oldest are taking pottery classes. (He actually taught when I was a baby, but this is my oldest’s first time!)

Pottery class

Pottery class

I have been spinning and knitting, testing projects that use small amounts of hand spun.

Me

A little large for me, but fun, and who doesn’t need a funny woolly hat in the middle of summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Finally…classes

I have finally started offering hand spinning classes. Now that I have a space that I share with other artists, I feel comfortable inviting people to come and learn the beautiful skill of creating yarn from wool!

So if you are visiting or live in La Serena, and you would like to learn how to hand spin, click on the classes link on the right, or visit our page Creatif.cl

Classes can be in English or Spanish, and there are a lot of other classes too, like ceramics, weaving, painting, paper mâché, and yoga…so many!

Christmas gifts made at home

Summer is starting slowly this year. Yesterday the sun was up early and bright, but this morning it is cool and grey.

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But that won’t stop the Christmas cheer! Tonight is the big night, dinner with family and opening gifts at midnight. I bought some gifts, but some we made.

I have been weaving.

Scarf

My youngest daughter has been sewing.

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And my oldest daughter baking!

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Wishing everyone a Christmas full of love and happiness!

Opening night

Last night we officially opened Casa Escuela! With friends and family, food and drink, music and fire.

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The day started early, preparing food and decorating the house with our art.

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As our kids got out of school they joined us, adding to the festive feel of the house. Well, I am not sure festive is the right word to describe their running and jumping!

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The evening was great, and we all had lots of fun. We may have ate and drank too much, and definitely laughed till our sides hurt, but it is not every day that you start a new adventure!

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Casa Escuela is close to my mother-in-law’s house, so yesterday I was also able to walk over and visit her. This week she had her third session of chemotherapy. She is feeling a little tired, and experiencing a little hair loss, (and her fingertips feel like she is touching electricity), but overall she is doing well and maintaining a positive attitude. This makes me so happy.

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And in case I needed something else to celebrate, WordPress informed me that yesterday was my four year blog anniversary! What a lot of changes from my first little craft studio to where I am now!

Casa Escuela

Creatif has opened a house!

Well actually, a few of us have rented a house.

Our idea is to capture all the great energy that is generated in the Observatorios and put it into a space that we can call Creatif’s home. A place where we can teach, sell our arts and crafts, and share ideas.

This Friday, the 28th, we will open the house officially, and everyone is invited!

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Taking control

With my mother-in-law’s cancer we have been spending a lot of time at the hospital, mostly in waiting rooms. Usually these long waits are because of the hospital or doctor, and there isn’t much we can do. However, sometimes it is because we forgot an exam result, or misunderstood a telephone call. There are so many things to remember and understand, on top of all the stress and fear, that sometimes we make mistakes.

Luckily there are some things that can help, like a healthcare binder. Here is a link with great advice on how to make a binder for a patient.

http://lisabadams.com/2014/10/06/healthcare-binder-tips-organized-patient-caregiver/

And here is one I made earlier for my mother-in-law.

BinderInside the binder there are different sections with small pockets,

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calendars,
Binder3and clear plastic pockets.

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I had to improvise because I couldn’t find all the type of “pockets” I wanted, but I think it will do the job just fine.

 

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.

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