Twenty weeks.

20weeks1

I have this notebook… I started filing EVERYTHING in it as soon as I got the paper copy of my pathology report back in September.   Lab reports, medical journal articles, information about my chemotherapy.  20 weeks ago on Tuesday I had my first infusion day with my new chemo.

So I explained back in October that I have stage four triple negative invasive lobular carcinome.  Stage four means metastatic, incurable, and triple negative means that my cancer isn’t vulnerable to anti-hormone treatment or herceptin.   If you think about a Venn diagram of breast cancer, there would be just a little spot with overlap between the stage 4 part, the triple negative part and the invasive lobular part.  So most of the statistics in all the articles don’t apply…  usually they are talking about easier to treat or easier to keep track of cancers.

20weeks2

But I am in the lucky group that responded to my chemotherapy.  Less than a quarter of patients in my group do.  However,  when you look at that lucky quarter, the next statistic is this:  how long does this chemotherapy keep working?

20weeks3

There are too few of us, the stage 4 triple negative invasive lobular people, among that group of responders (this 31 percent counts everybody, not just my group) to publish many statistics specifically for this drug.  Besides, if they did publish them, they would be really depressing, so we’ll look at these instead.   This chart means that in the group for whom the drug worked, it kept working, on average, for 21.9 weeks.  (which is way better than the best statistic for people in my group for their first new chemo, which ever one it is, which is that it tends to work for about 15 weeks)  So when it stops working they switch to a different drug or combination or whatever (which on average works half as long as the first one)…   I hope this makes sense, if it doesn’t, just  know that so far I am in the lucky group.  But the other trouble is that because my cancer is the invasive lobular kind, it is REALLY hard to track with scans and things.  Sometimes we have to look for non-cancer clues, like blood work being out of kilter, or new blood clots or things.  And I got a new blood clot in my chest a couple of weeks ago, which sort of stressed me out.

20weeks5

So here’s the dilemma.  Realistically, there will come a time, if it hasn’t already, that my new chemo isn’t going to keep things under control anymore.  So they will start something else.  They did fancy mutation tests on my tumor to know what would be smart to do when that happens.  But whatever it is, it will be harder to deal with and more toxic to the rest of my cells that my current chemo.  I will be weaker and sicker.  So I decided it was time to do some decluttering.   My plan is, within the limits of my strength and energy, to go through 25 years of fiber art materials and unfinished projects and equipment, and if it’s not worth my time to finish it now, or if it doesn’t make me happy just to look at it, it’s OUT OF HERE.  This is hard.  Very depressing.  But among the baskets and box I went through today (and my energy is REALLY limited) I threw out 1.5 bags of stuff that nobody else would want either. and found two almost finished sweaters!

20weeks4

All this one needed was to have the ends woven in!  I think I started it for Sam when he was maybe 10?  I remember dyeing the wool…  so it’s washed already, to see if it might fit danny, otherwise it can be carefully put away for George.

20weeks7

And look at this one!  All that’s left is one cuff!  Handspun singles, cashmere merino silk, dyed after spinning… and I found the rest of the yarn, too.

20weeks6

But of course none of the color for the cuffs.  So I am going to look through old notebooks and see if I wrote down anywhere what dye recipe I used.  I would think, after putting so much time into spinning such valuable fiber, that I would have jotted it down somewhere…otherwise,I obviously have enough to experiment with.  The problem is the time and the energy.  And the buttons.  It will need really special buttons.

And after tossing the trash, and rescuing the sweaters, there are still two boxes of just stuff.  UFO’s I had forgotten about, lots of beautiful yarn,too nice to toss but not quite organized enough to give away.  Or maybe I’m not ready to give it away yet.  And this is just the beginning of my decluttering…  there are many boxes, baskets and bags to go through…. which brings us back to the time and energy problem.  This has been my off week for chemo, my best week.  (hah)  and I start back on Tuesday.  Sigh.  And I really don’t want anybody else to do this for me, there’s a lifetime of memories and treasures, it’s my work.

But I guess progress is progress.  I am becoming more serious and deliberate about doing what I want to do while I can do it.  Next on my list is saving one more orphan with Down syndrome.  My plan is to take all the good stash yarn and put it on ebay for fundraising.  Last time I put socks and yarn on ebay to help a dfferent  family save the lives of three little boys, one of the pairs of socks raised 300 dollars!  But seriously, approaching the top of my bucket list (athough I hate that term….let’s call it my make-a-wish list) is to get this new family fully funded so they can rescue their child.  They will be fundraising on Reece’s Rainbow, but first they have to get their formal approval from the government of the country where the child is now… and that costs THOUSANDS of dollars.

20weeks8

It’s this family, so if you know them and you know the whole story and about their child, please keep it a secret.  Tomorrow I will tell you about my dear friends Faith and Dennis Mauro-Huse and how they are helping me with this particular make-a-wish goal.  But meanwhile, if you want to participate, even before hearing the whole story, I have this little tiny amazon.com clicky thing way up top on the right side bar.  If you are going to buy anything through amazon, and you click that link to go to amazon before you buy, and if you put the stuff in your cart and finish your transaction within 30 minutes, a percentage of your purchase goes to save this child’s life.  How cool is that?  NO money out of your pocket, but a family united and a life saved (and my wish granted…)  If you need to be more philanthropic, you can go to here

http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/boroughs-family-adoption/125998

Have you noticed I’m sort of on a roll with this blogging thing?  That’s another one of my make-a-wish goals.  I won’t go into why, exactly, or I’ll start to cry.  But I’m sure you understand.  So you can be confident that I’ll be back  tomorrow and will tell you the whole story of this wonderful family.

13 thoughts on “Twenty weeks.

  1. You must tell me the next date for me to drop-everything-and-come. We will take a bag, a box, a file cabinet, closet, whatever….. I will do the holding up, you’ll do the deciding and I will do the moving. Or whatever else needs to be done: Driving, grocery fetching, laundry. I will make my family promise to be well and/or take a room in a hotel in advance of travel. I am glad you rescued those UFOs and tuened them back into nearly complete WIPs. You must have a magic wand after all. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth, being of the procrastinators-r-us club, I recommend not dyeing yarn for that beautiful baby sweater, but just make cuffs out of the existing yarn to finish it. It already is beautiful, and while hand dyed cuffs would be icing, it will keep a baby nicely warm with the yoke yarn or the body yarn just as well.

    Wishing I could join you and help in this task. In its stead, I’ll do some decluttering on my sewing room as well.

  3. Elizabeth,
    Congratulations on your blog posts. I enjoy them so much. I feel the need to tell you that you have always been an exceptional person so I feel that in regards to your treatment you will be an exception to their numbers. You are not a number. You are a beautiful, wonderful mother, wife , sister, daughter, and friend. I think of you often and would give anything to be once more with you and Mike eating chili dogs after school. How did we not gain a ton of weight doing that I will never know. I love you dearly. Hugs to you and your family.

  4. I’m glad for you, that you have the energy to do this work, and that you continue to bless the world so richly. Love love love you.

  5. May I suggest you finish the sleeve on the sweater to intentionally not match? It will make it all the more special and the story behind the sleeve will be very special, especially as your family has so lovingly welcomed special needs children with open arms. And it carries forth your mission to help bring special needs children to loving families. We have a blanket from my grandmother made “from scraps.” She was embarrassed to even to show it to anyone. I immediately wanted it and it has become our family’s favorite blanket. Our youngest daughter is currently sleeping with it on her bed and knows the story to favorite blanket. The sweater doesn’t need to be perfectly finished to be treasured by someone else….they’ll treasure your effort as a reflection of your immense love, because you have taught of us this.

  6. Talking decluttering! We are moving into a smaller house and I have to do it…. it seems like throwing my life away. Wool too – boxes full are going on the downsizing sale….. , all the school stuff – even the job description from Meridian MG. And all my decorative painting stuff….all that unfinished wood. But you know what….I think you should hold on to your knittings – don’t give away any baby stuff. Think about it, one day your daughter will see your treasured pieces and she will remember when you made them…. and she will smile, saying “that was my Mom’s creative streak”. Your heart and your soul are in those pieces. And, you might even be a Grandma one day!!

  7. I like Kathi’s idea…it will be beautiful and treasured for sure! Love you and don’t feel guilty when you think you should be blogging, or whatever you need to be doing..you accomplish more than most of us…so rest and save that energy for decluttering and loving on those children and husband!k

  8. Elizabeth, I came to know you via Ann, Elizabeth and Ginny, three of my favorite bloggers all directing me to you. I’m so glad to have found you. Please know that you have one more person sending prayers out to you. May blessings reign over you. And, enjoy the knitting!

  9. Pingback: A Very Important Story About Socks | Club Scrap

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: