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Archive for August 2011

I’m shameless to say, I need your vote!

Linda at Paperpanache.com has all the Fairy Quilt Godmothers posted, and the vote is now on until September 10.

There are 5 categories to choose your favourite Fairy Quilt Godmother:

  • Most Beauteous
  • Means Business
  • Makes Me Smile
  • My Favourite
  • Best  Name

There are some very fun FQG there.

When you goto the voting page, give it a few minutes, as all teh FQG’s will be shown down the right side of the screen/page.

Click on the category, then click on the FQG you would like to vote for.  The image of the FQG you have selected will show in the category you just selected.   Below the Best Name category, is all the names, click on the name you would like to vote for.

Once all four selections are made, the VOTE button will appear.  You can only vote once, but you can return at any time, and see the results.  Also, you can still get in on making your own FQG, Linda has details on her website.

Thank you!

-Alice

 

PS – Needlella is my FQG, and Bindbara is Sandy’s.

I was visiting Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog,  checking her posts, and someone had sent her a request on a particular block.  I decided I would thumb through my book of 5500 Quilt Blocks from Maggie Mahone, (if you visit the link, scroll down the page, you will see some of the actual pages from the book) when I discovered a few gems.  I should note, that every once in awhile, I look for something in the book, and see something that intrigues me.  If only I had really gotten into quilting 40 years ago, maybe I could make all the quilts I want to.  Um… wait a moment, it was about 38 years ago, I started my first patchwork quilt… which still remains unfinished!  Ohh… back on subject.

Well the block that really caught my eye today, is called 3D nine patch.   Now the thing with the book, is it gives you the name of the block, and shows you an image, but that is all you get.  The block has three 9-patch units with sashing, on point.

I decided I would draft out this block on 1/4″ graph paper.  It was going well, until I brought the wrong ruler (metric), which makes using accurate measurements a bit difficult.  It looked okay, but I knew that if I was to use the measurements from what I had drawn out, the block would not be very accurate.  DS#2, suggested I draw the 9patch units “square” to the paper, and then draw the setting triangles after.

Seemed like a reasonable plan.  I had an idea that the 9patch pieces would finish at 1″.  So I drew them at 1/2 scale into a 4″ block….   or so I thought.  Yes, the 9-patch units are 3″ finished… but… the block is now 4¼” instead of 4″.  Hmmm.

Next, I took two pieces of graph paper, laid them side by side, to make a larger piece.  If I was going to draw out an 8″ block, and draw the 9-patches first, I was going to need a much bigger piece of paper.

Off I started drawing again.  And it is looking pretty good.  Measured the block… 8½”… hmmm.  Apparently going to the size I want, is still not going to work.  One of things I forgot was that when things are on-point, their “dimensions” change, they are not the same size you expect.   A 1″ square is not 1″ across when you put it on its point. n (LOL I just checked… and it is 1 3/8″).   I looked at the block I had drawn out… how am I going to get it to be a finished 8″.  I wonder if EQ6 might be able to handle the job.  I draft out a  number of my quilts, primarily for yardage estimates, but occasionally, I will alter blocks, or create one if I can’t find what I’m looking for.

It took me a bit, to figure out how I was going to divide a 2″ space into 3 equal parts.  Drawing it wasn’t working, how do you measure 0.6667″.  I could guestimate, but it still wouldn’t be accurate enough.  I found I could change the “snap points” in EQ6, which means I could divide a 2″ space into 6 parts.  Woohoo!

I thought this block would be a good one to do scrappy, although the background and sashings would have to be purchased.

              

I then used EQ6 to play with layouts

then colours

as I was altering the quilt to be a bit more scrappy for the dark units, I discovered that the block if rotated a bit more, looks like a heart!

I am considering using Bonnie’s Leader and Ender method to create the 9patches, sewing them in strips, then cross-cutting to get the patches.  This would be a project that would fill in while working in other projects, that are less scrappy.  I think I just convinced myself this quilt is going to be started sooner than I anticipated.  What better way to get it going than using the Leader and Ender method.  And my scraps could always use a good clearing out!  I think they multiply when I’m not in the quilt-n room.  I guess I will need to start going through, and then cutting strips of 1½”!  These quilts are “small”, if the blocks are 8″, but I’m sure with the Leader and Ender method, I could have lots of 9patch units to create a much larger quilt, and use up more of the scraps!

-Alice

You may have seen Sandy’s Bindbara, a few weeks back.  It was so neat to see someone I “knew” also making this.

My friend MsLibra had me out for coffee and a visit, and she told me about this website called PaperPanache, and she proceeded to tell me about the Fairy Quilt Godmother mystery block that Linda was doing.  After we were back at MsLibra’s, she sat down in front of her computer and asked me for my email address.  (She does have it, but much faster to ask me directly).  The next I knew, I was being signed up for my very own Fairy Quilt Godmother.  After answering, or rather choosing one word each from ten categories, my Fairy Quilt Godmother mystery block was on its way to me, via email.  Not only do you get the block, but you get a special name for your FQG too!  This is the story of how Needlella came to be my Fairy Quilt Godmother.

It was the perfect project to bring me back into quilting, without it being over strenuous or time-consuming.  The toughest part I found with it, is selecting the fabrics.  It was great that Linda had included some tips for creating your very own Fairy Quilt Godmother.

After my fabric choices, it was time to cut out the sections for each part.  There were six parts, and each part had anywhere from twelve to thirty-two pieces, for a total of 121 pieces.  I started from Part A, and worked my way “down” to Part F.  As it was, Part A, is the top of my FQG’s head.

And this is what she looked like before quilting, and embellishing.

One of the suggestions was the wilder the hair the better!  I used one of my pieces of sewing/quilting themed prints for the background.  Doesn’t she look pretty good. I wanted eyes that had a bit of sparkle, and something a little different.  I had some purple with actual sparkles in it.  I think it worked out great.  And of course, what would a bit of purple be without some lime green, which became her eyeshadow.

Now for the quilting.  For the background and parts of her skin, I did a micro-stippling.  I used two layers of high loft poly batting, so I could create some definition to her face.  A somewhat 3-D effect.  I called it Sculpting.  I found I kept touching my own face, to see how I could make a 2-D image into more of a 3-D image.  It was fun.

Then of course, I started thinking of embellishment.  What if I was to do “this”, and add “that”.  I had been thinking of some way of adding a magic wand, but didn’t have the energy to proceed with it.  Who knows, down the road she may graduate from training, and get a full-sized wand!

And here is Needlella completed and waiting to be hung in my Quilt’n Room.

Doesn’t she look all dolled up.  I wanted to add some lace trim around the bodice of her dress, and had this beaded piece.  I realized as I was hand-stitching it, that it may have been better, if I had thought of it prior to stitching the sections together, but I didn’t know I was going to be doing any embellishment.  For her necklace, I had another piece I could use.  I snipped it where it meets the Q, and hand stitched it down.  It has crystals in the centre,  to give Needlella a bit of bling.  I had considered to give the Q pendant some dimension, but I didn’t have anything that would work, so it is just a pieced pendant.  I added some star beads into her hair, and gave her a pair of Needle earrings.  The needles I was given some time ago, and they are rather poor quality, in fact, although being brand new, one had a defective eye.  A few creative stitches, and I was able to place them where I thought her ear lobes would be.

This little project still requires a sleeve and a label, but it won’t be long before she finds a spot to hang in my quilting room.  And if I can find the can of silver spray paint, I’ll be considering making her a wand.

-Alice

This blog post is probably the hardest one I have had to write.  My blog is all about my quilting experiences, but this post is about a different experience, more of a journey.  Some of you already know, and others are about to find out.  This is my first “personal” experience blog post.

WARNING:  As I wrote this, I realized it may cause an emotional response in my readers, I want to give you warning that if you are not prepared, this post could be very difficult to read through.

I guess there is nothing left but to jump in.  This journey started 5 months ago.  It began March 13 at approximately 1:30 in the morning.  I was awoken to what I thought was just a bad case of indigestion or heartburn, although it was nothing I had experienced before.  After two hours, of trying everything I could think of to aid, I decided it was a trip to the hospital.  Lying curled up in a ball on top of my bed decided me.  So off to Emergency I went.  After being examined, they set up an IV, and gave me Gravol and Morphine.  The first time I have ever had a narcotic.  They gave me 2ml, and I can tell you exactly when it took effect in my body.  Both the nurse and the doctor were concerned, when I went “oooooooh!”.  I told them I felt the medication taking effect.  They both relaxed, and said I was a light weight.  Once the pain was under control, and 7am rolled around (when the Lab and X-ray departments opened up), it was time for the diagnostic regime to begin.  About 9am the surgeon came to speak to me.  I was told that they suspect it is my gall bladder, and that I would need an Ultrasound the next day.  I suppose it was about 1130 Sunday morning, they sent me home, with instructions to eat a low fat diet.

Monday rolls around, and I go in for the Ultrasound appointment.  I head home, and carry on with my day.  A couple hours later I get a call from the Surgeon.  Yes, I have gallstones, but there is a problem with my kidney.  Can I come in on Tuesday for a CT-Scan.  I asked if I could do it Wednesday (March 16), as I was already scheduled to take a friend down to Vancouver for a follow-up appointment with her surgeon.  Wednesday the CT-Scan was scheduled.  I informed my husband and children, and my DS#1 pipes up… Mom I’ll donate a kidney for you.  We laughed, and then I recalled and told him this, it is a nice gesture, but we are not compatible blood types.

Going back to the trip to Vancouver, the funny thing was, I mentioned to my friend, that it was probably just the power of suggestion, but I was getting a small ache in my back.  We both laughed, and carried on with our day.  I didn’t know much about what the gall bladder does, and had made an appointment to see my family doctor later Wednesday afternoon, to talk to him, and discuss the surgery (I was told that it would have to be removed).  After my CT-Scan, I stopped in the Surgeon’s office to give them my cell phone number, as I was going to be out shopping with DD#2.  They asked me to wait a moment, left, and came back, and asked me to come in at 2pm the following day (Thursday, March 17).  So off we went for our afternoon of shopping and spending time together.  Then I went in to see my doctor.  I was probably the last one in the office.  He comes into the examination room, and calls me into his office.  His demeanour is a little different, but I didn’t realize it at the time.  Without any preamble he looks at me, and says “We think you have Cancer”.  I think I gulped.  My mind starts turning… from gallstones to cancer?  How can this be?  He says we are not going to talk about much, as I won’t remember anything.  The cancer was on my right kidney.  We didn’t discuss the gall bladder at all.  He gave me a note to be off work for a month.  He says I will need it, as I will be very emotional, and it will be hard to work.  He also gave me a prescription for a sleep aid.  I was gobsmacked!  (I really like that word).  I left the office, and walked out of the building.  I remember wanting to shout some very choice profanity (I don’t usually resort to profanity unless I am really worked up), but as I looked across the street, there were people all over the place, and I chose to keep my mouth shout.  I got into my car… and the tears were released, and the profanity escaped my lips.  I called work to find out which manager was on duty, as I had to give them my note.  I went to the store and delivered the note.  I called my DD#1 and asked her to come to the house.  I called my friend (the one I took to Vancouver the day before), and asked her to come to the house.  When I got home, my DS#1 was not home, so I called him and asked him to come home immediately.  I waited until they all were gathered.  My DH knew something was up.  I think they all knew something was up; I started to crumble just a bit, and didn’t want anyone to talk or touch me.  Once we were all together I told them what I knew.  I told them, that I was not going to do the “What if” thing we all have a tendency to do.  My plan was to work with what I know, if I was able to do something in my power, I would do that, if it was out of my power, then I was not going to worry about it.  I knew I was not going to have the strength to worry about the “what-ifs”.  There was some discussion amongst all of us, which I will not repeat here.  I am happy to say that my family, although in a state of shock, are very supportive.  Then it was our parents and siblings we notified, and then extended family and friends from there.  My slogan, mantra, motto became “It is, what it is”.  There was no thinking of the “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve”.

I don’t know why I didn’t share this with my online quilting friends.  I was telling everyone I knew; I was and still am very open about it.  More on this later, back to my story.

It is now March 17, St. Patrick’s Day! And my visit to the surgeon.  He confirmed the tumour, and that my kidney would have to be removed, but not in our local hospital.  My DH was with me at this appointment, and we were told the tumour was about 6-7 cm.  There was nothing more for us to do, but wait and here from my family doctor.  This is not as bad as it may sound, as my family doctor was already in contact with the BC Cancer Agency and from there an Urologist who specializes in Kidney Cancer Research.  In the meantime, I had another gall bladder attack the early hours of March 19.  I didn’t wait, and immediately went into the hospital.  They pumped me up with morphine, this time 5ml… I think they were going to give me 10ml, and I asked the nurse, that 2ml sent me for a loop.  Could we try a half dosage (5ml) first?  I was released from Emergency about noon, I think.  It was not a great way to celebrate my birthday, but we were able to do so, even on a restricted diet!

March 19 and 20 was our local Quilt Guild’s Quilt Show.  Set-up is March 18.  I went down to visit my friends, and to tell them what was going on.  Right away, they wanted to give me one of the Community Quilts.  I was ushered to the stage, where the display was, and I selected a bright scrappy quilt.  It wasn’t until after I had selected it, that I discovered the quilter had included the words “Faith, Courage, Family, Hope, Love, Perseverance” I think the quilt picked me.

My appointment with the Urologist was March 31.  Two weeks after my initial diagnosis.  We were told that more than likely all I would need is surgery.  No chemotherapy.  No radiation.

In the meantime, I notified my Manager.  The next morning, I received a call from one of my co-workers, as my Manager had spoke to her about doing some fund raising for us.  (My DH was injured on the job January 2008, and has been off work since then.  This is a long story in itself, but he stopped receiving Workers’ Compensation in January 2011).  I am and always have been a giver than a taker.  It was so touching and heart warming, that they (my workplace, and co-workers) wanted to help us out.  One of my co-workers, started making green ribbons and selling them.  Our store colours are green.  As I was soon to discover there were a lot of coincidences for the month of March.

 March is Kidney Awareness Month.

A Kelly green ribbon represents Kidney Cancer

I received my confirmed diagnosis on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

 The fundraising efforts of my co-workers (team members) became known as the Green Ribbon Fund.

When someone receives a Cancer diagnosis, is it not natural to expect that it would be moved on quickly?  I sure thought it would be.  Two weeks after my consultation with the Urologist, I still had not heard anything about a surgery date.  One of the interesting bits of information from the Urologist was that they were going to plan to have my gall bladder removed at the same time!  What a boon!  They were going to have to coordinate with a General Surgeon.  Back to the two week time period.  I called the Urologist’s office, and asked about a surgery date.  I was told “Yes, I am working on your file, it is right here in front of me”.

“Okay”, I replied, “so what does that mean?  When is my expected surgery date”?

“Well, he’s all booked for the month of May.”

I am starting to feel a little panicked.  “You’re telling me I could be waiting until June?”

“Yes, you could be.”

I was more upset over this conversation, then I had been about my diagnosis.  I have cancer, and you are telling me I have to wait another 8 weeks or so!  Don’t you know I have CANCER!!!  I want it out of me now!  I was so shaken, I called my doctors office, it was just after 10am on April 13.  I knew I probably wouldn’t get in to see him that day, but I was feeling desperate.  The clerk could hear it in my voice, and I explained why I was upset.  She made an appointment for me the next day.  In the meantime, I contacted an online friend who is a Cancer survivor, and she helped calm me down.  CP I will never be able to express how you have helped me.  (I don’t know if she reads my blog, but she will know who she is.)  She stated matter of factly, that it is probably a slow growing tumour, and because there is no “urgency”, this would mean a good thing.  By the time I saw my doctor the next day, I had calmed down somewhat.  And he told me the same thing.  He also explained, that the tumour probably first started growing about 5 years ago (or so).  So now I was playing the waiting game.

Ironically, it was the week after this, which the Urologist’s office called to let me know, they had a cancellation for May 11, and would I like it.  I was advised it would only be the kidney, as they could not get a GP to do the gallbladder at the same time.  I took it.  This is 10 days before DD#1 is to get married.  Less than a week after, April 21, I had another gall bladder attack.  Back into the hospital I went.  And a few hours later back home again.

My coworkers are amazing people!  They planned and executed a Burger and Beer for May 2, with a silent auction.  It was so much fun, watching a couple of people “fight” over a $50 gift card for a local clothing store.   The final price was $200 for the card.  Amazing people!  Their support, as well as from family and friends helped so much through this journey.  I am in awe over it.

On Friday, May 6th, I was invited to tea at MsLibras.  Another quilting friend was also there and MsLibras DH was also at the table.  Now, this is a little of reflection thrown in here.  MsLibra and I have become good friends.  I had tried a few times to visit with her, but she kept putting me off, or would insist on coming over.  She even had had a couple of quilting friends from the community she lived in before she came here, up for a visit.  Now many of you, probably, know where this is going.  MsLibra had been on a mission, and she garnered assistance from many quarters:  Quilters – online, and local.  Co-Workers.  Friends.  Members I served with in the Cadet Instructors Cadre for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, and many many more.  Apparently MsLibra got to work, after I had stopped by at the Quilt Show set-up on March 18.  She had been working on a hug quilt for me.  I was presented with the quilt, as well as many other blocks to complete in something.  I was so stunned.  I hadn’t expected anything like this, and was amazed with how she was able to accomplish it, as well as all those who participated.  Many of you received an email from MsLibra with photos.  I thought I had downloaded them, but I cannot find them.  So here is a photo of the quilt I have taken.

I aksed MsLibra to send me the photos.  Here is one of me just 6 days before surgery.

When I saw the Urologist he explained about the surgery.  They were planning on a laparoscopic procedure, but they prepared me that I could end up with a full-open surgery but they wouldn’t know until the surgery.  Everyone was hoping it would be laparoscopic.  This began to be known as button holes.  The full-open surgery as a zipper.  As it was, I ended up with button holes.  My surgery went very well, under time in fact.  The only other surgery I have ever had was my tonsils removed, and that was about 40 years ago.  A lot has changed since then!  Due to our financial situation, my DH was not able to accompany me to my surgery.  I was down in the city for 2 days prior to the surgery, as my pre-op appointment was May 9th.  I was taken care of by my online friend.  I can hear the gasps!  We know some of the same people in real life.  I had gotten to know CP online, and, when we finally met, when she picked me up after my pre-op, it was like we had known each other for years.  On the Tuesday when she was taking me into the Cancer Lodge, we met for coffee with our real life friend, and a few others.  One of them Miss D, runs her own private nursing company.  This really didn’t mean anything to me, until after my surgery.  It was good to see Miss D, PA, and LJ.  I spent the night prior to my surgery in the Cancer Lodge.  I won’t give you the details, but I am glad I was there, instead of staying with someone.  Doing pre-surgery preps are not fun!  The big day arrives!  I pack up, and walk from the Lodge to the hospital.  It is less than a 10 minute walk, and it was good to walk.  It helped with some of the anxiety.

I arrived, and did my check-in.  Then went up to the surgical floor.  Went through all the pre-op stuff, and waited.  I had a resident doctor, blow a vein in my left hand.  The poor thing, he needed the practice, and his first jab didn’t work out for me.  IT seemed that my entire team, every one of them, had a resident with them.  Imagine me, with all these people there to look after me.  *giggle*

I think I did very well post-op.  As they were getting me settled in my room, oh, I requested a private room, and I am so glad I did.  So much more restful.  I am a light sleeper, and even in a private room, I still had to wear ear plugs.  And I knew each time the nurse came in to check on me.  While the nurse was settling me, there was another woman in the room, and I heard her say something about being a friend.  It didn’t quite register with me, as I didn’t know who she was.  After I came out of the anaesthetic more, I asked her who she was.  She said she is a private nurse, and was hired by Miss D, to stay with me, as I had no one.  Although I was still pretty much out of it, it was comforting to have someone there.  I arrived in my room about 6pm, and she stayed with me until midnight.

The next day, PA and LJ came and visited me.  I could tell PA had been really worried about me.  OH… PA is the recipient of the HMCS Quadra art quilt I did.  On my legs were the cuffs to ensure I wouldn’t get blood clots.  All through the night, I knew just before they would inflate, as the machine “clicks”.  When they came in, it was just about to inflate, so I told PA to lift up the blanket at my feet and to check out my legs.  She didn’t get past my ankles, and asked in astonishment, if I had leg restraints on.  I chuckled, and told her to look up a little higher.  What she had seen was the cable for the cuffs.  I then explained what was on my legs.  After they had left, about an hour or so, my catheter was removed, and Physio came to tell me, that I was going to get up and walk!  I looked at them in what must have been horror!  I can barely move my legs, and you want me to walk!  The experience must have been similar to what the old gangster movies referred to as cement shoes.  That is what my feet and legs felt like.  My pain was manageable, but getting up and standing, was a very interesting experience.  After moving slowly, I was able to take a few steps and actually sit down in the chair.  It is amazing, how the brain and body remembers how to do some of the simplest tasks, when they seem insurmountable.  I received two more visitors later in the afternoon, and although I was groggy from the pain meds, I was glad for all the company.  I also have to admit, I had the most awesome view of the mountains from my room.  I’m not sure if it was Grouse, Cypress or Seymour Mountain, but I enjoyed the sight of them.

On Friday I was released!  I know… 2 days after having a kidney removed, and I was out.  I expected this, and fortunately, my in-laws were also down in the city.  They extended their stay, with my mother in-laws cousins, and picked me up from Hospital.  We stayed with N&M for 2 nights.  I had to stay in the city in case of complications.  I was thankful, because I don’t think I could have handled the 5 hour trip home (which includes two ferries).  It was a lovely visit, although I could only watch and listen to their enjoyment of their meals.  I think I forgot to mention, I was on a clear fluid diet for the first few days.  Then I upgraded to a full fluid.  Clear fluids means, Jell-O, juice, and broth.  No milk.  Full fluids milk is introduced.  It is nice to have variety.  Sunday May 15, we headed home.  I don’t recall much of the trip, must have been the medications.

The next week was final preparations for the wedding.  For the most part, all that was required of me was to be present.  I was also my daughter’s matron of honour.  Everyone was so good, and understood my limitations.  My daughter was married on May 21, it was a beautiful wedding.  The joke was that she had planned this big huge party for DS #1, as his birthday is May 21.  You may be surprised that she chose her brother’s birthday, but it was the only day available, when she could get the Hall she wanted.  She surprised her brother by having the live band play Happy Birthday, as she brought out a cheesecake sampler for him.  I truly have wonderful children.

On May 23rd, the Urologist called to tell me the pathology results.  He told me the name of the cancer, and I can not remember what he said (my family doctor does not have the pathology results yet, so I can’t even get it from him).  The tumour was 8cm in size, and that of all the kidney cancers it acts the most benign without being benign.  For all intents and purposes I was cured, and would not require any further treatments.  I am going to be monitored with tests and scans for the next few years.

My goals at this point were to heal, and hopefully get back to work the end of June, beginning of July.  Little did I know that my body had other plans!  June 5th, I was experiencing a different pain in my abdomen.  It wasn’t pain from the kidney surgery, and it felt so much different from the gall stones.  The strange thing was, before going to bed, I was feeling very nauseous, and was trying to figure out if I could take something for the “indigestion”, and wait to take my bedtime meds.  I opted not to take either, as now the pain was increasing and I headed to emergency.  They took blood samples, and told me that everything looked fine, to go home, take my meds and get some sleep.  I tried.  Sleep was not forthcoming.  I couldn’t focus on reading, so I went into the family room, and turned on the TV.  I was feeling much worse.  The nausea resulted in vomiting.  After the third time in less than an hour, I woke my husband up, and said I wanted to go back to the hospital.  He was under new treatments, and wasn’t able to drive, so I started calling friends.  MsLibra came to my rescue.  After a tough few hours, and in pain much different than before, the medications started to take effect and the pain was starting to get under control.  The doctors were not able to determine if I was having complications from surgery, or if it was my gall bladder.  I was admitted to hospital, for observation and pain management.  A CT-Scan was performed, and it was determined that indeed it was the gall bladder inflamed.  Much different then a gall stone causing a blockage.  I was advised by the surgeon that it would be coming out in 4 or 5 weeks.

WHAT!!!!  NOOOOOOOO!  Don’t you understand, I have to get back to work.  I cannot afford to take any additional time off.  My family has no money.  You see, my “plan”, so naïve, was that I would go back to work, after recovery from the kidney surgery, get the prime summer time hours, and have my gall bladder removed in the fall, when the hours were less.  Was not to happen.  In fact, my gall bladder was removed July 5.  Seven weeks and six days after my kidney.  I was also warned that they were planning on laparoscopic, but it could end up full open.  Hmm… more button holes, or possibly a zipper.  It is, what it is.  It took me a few days maybe even a week, to get my head wrapped around, and to accept, that my health is more important.  Take care of my health now, and I will be able to do more later.  The surgery went well, although my pain was not controlled, and they kept me overnight.  I went home July 6.  On July 13, I had a follow-up with the surgeon, and his advice to me, was to stay away from Doctors.  I agreed whole heartedly.

My scars do not look much like button holes.  The Kidney surgery scars, look like minus signs, and the gall bladder scars look like plus signs.  I am positively and negatively charged on my abdomen.  I have a scar that is a little larger where the kidney was removed from my body, and it is about where someone would have an appendectomy scar.

August 1 I returned to work.  It was so good to be back at work, even if it was only 4 hour shifts.  As it was, even the 4 hour shifts were exhausting.  The second week of August I was scheduled to go up to 6 hour shifts, the second day, I left after 4 hours.  A quick visit back to a doctor, and I am now working 4 hour shifts for the next few weeks.  Which brings us to this week.

August 8, saw me again, visiting the Emergency Room.  Again with a different pain, and extreme nausea.  This visit lasted for 14 hours.  It resulted in additional blood work the next morning, and while there, a call from another hospital to confirm an Ultrasound appointment, being made for that afternoon.  A quick ferry trip to Vancouver Island to have that done, and a return trip home that night.  During my visit to the ER, I did not eat anything until about 3pm, and that was just a few crackers.  I didn’t feel much like eating when I got home, but about 8pm, I had some soup.  After 10pm I was not to eat because of the blood work the next morning.  It gets even better!  I am not allowed to eat now until after the ultrasound.  I could have water and apple juice (I stuck with the water).  What they suspect now, is that I have a wayward gallstone, apparently they can be “left” in the bile duct after the gall bladder is removed, or there is something else in the ducts.  I am now going to have an ERCP Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography to go and clear up whatever it is in the bile ducts.  I don’t have the details of when or where it will be done, but I do know I have to leave to head to Vancouver to have it done.

My family and I are so thankful for all the support we have received from so many people from all walks of life, and all over the world.  Thank you!

And now the end of this blog post draws near.  I know it is lengthy, but I think retelling this, has helped me through the most recent issues.  And I think it now allows me to move on and start blogging about my quilting.  I have been wanting to write this for some time.  Today was the day.  Be assured that my outlook has remained positive throughout, and I am doing very well.  I didn’t know that support of your family, friends, and peers could help so much.

It is, what it is!

-Alice


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