What have I been up to

Well it looks like I was just about to go to Summer School in 2009 when I was last active so here’s a very brief update on the last few years.

2009 – Summer School was great and we had a lot of fun with the dying. Went up to Scotland over the New Year but all the rivers were frozen and the only paddling the group did was on the Wii in the lounge of the cottage we were staying in.

2010 – Had a great trip to Canada in June as I became an Aunt again – to a beautiful little girl. One of each flavour now. Had a brilliant time as part of the Crew at KnitNation. Had a great time in August at my Grandma’s five yearly reunion in North Bay.

2011 – Trip back to North Bay in February for Grandma’s funeral, it was nice to see everyone again but I wonder if we’ll have the reunion again without her. Didn’t go to the Association Summer School but went to the Heritage Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers conference in Calgary. Volunteered again on the KnitNation crew and managed to win a lovely prize at the Bingo while there. Celebrated ten years of marriage by DH going to a paddling symposium in the US – Not sure we’ve managed to be in the same place (or even the same country) for very many of the anniversaries so it’s now a tradition. Went to Top Gear Live and really enjoyed the show.

2012 – Spent far too much time at the Hendricks venue at the Brighton Fringe (well they had some great shows, and lots of gin). Had a holiday in June with my family in Tofino, BC for my Parent’s fortieth anniversary. I was a Gamesmaker for the Paralympics and had a great time in Event Services for the Archery and Shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks. I also got to go to the technical rehearsal for the opening ceremony for the Olympics – although my knitting was confiscated by security so I had to sacrifice my needles for both my projects. We managed to get tickets to the Women’s Quarterfinals for the Beach Volleyball – great day out and a fun time. Had a fun time at Lee Valley when DH got his new boat in November – a custom paintjob of a Union Jack on a 2013 Jackson Star. Lots of interested looks and it was fun taking photos of him on the Olympic Slalom course. Another trip to Tog Gear Live in October then a Spinning weekend in the New Forest in November. Became an Auntie again (another nephew) and spend the New Year in Wales – where this time there was lots of water for the paddlers.

2013 – Kind of a mixed year…

On the negative side, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March so had six sessions of Chemo from April to July followed by a mastectomy at the beginning of September and Radiation throughout November. The oncologists said it looks to have been successful so it’s Tamoxifen for five years and reconstruction surgery (including a free tummy tuck) sometime in late 2014. DH and I both lost our jobs – finding out on the same day which was a bit annoying. Mine wasn’t a surprise – we’d been advised they were proposing this in February and in May we found out that our department was being outsourced so my last date of work was Dec 27th although I’d been off on sick leave since June. DH finished at the end of May but started a new job in High Wycombe in the middle of July. I’ll be starting to look for work in High Wycombe as we’re renting a flat up here but we’ll be keeping the Brighton flat for the time being.

Treatment wasn’t too bad – Chemo was the worst but apart from one stint in the hospital with low blood counts it was OK. Occasional nausea and tiredness as well as the hair loss were the main side effects. I didn’t bother getting a wig – just used head scarves – and it was actually really comfortable since it was right in the middle of a huge heatwave in July. It’s grown back and is looking good now. I had a port-a-cath put in so that I could have blood tests and treatment more easily. It makes everything so much easier as they don’t need to look for veins – just put the special needle through the port – I’d recommend anyone going through any kind of long term treatment to ask their doctors about them. I was surprised at how little pain there was after the surgery and I was back on my feet (although taking it easy) really quickly. Make sure you do the exercises they gave you – I did for the first week or two then slipped into the habit of just using it as normal and making sure I stretched it when I had a chance. It worked for me – it might not work for others though. Radiation was the easiest treatment – it’s a lot of sitting around waiting for your turn on the machine – then they pose you on the table, read out a series of numbers to each other while they position you, then leave the room while the machine buzzes. I can’t thank the nurses enough – they do an amazing job and I’ve been really impressed with the treatment I’ve had from them and the NHS throughout this.

On the positive side for 2013 – I became an Auntie again in July – a little girl this time so my brother and sister have one of each now. I had a great visit back to Calgary in January and again for Christmas. My parents both came for a visit in May and Mom came again for three weeks around the surgery – although luckily I didn’t really need too much help getting around. I went to Summer School again – dying with Madder for the week and we made Turkey Red.

Hopefully 2014 will be better.


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