Category Archives: musings

Coping With Depression

Depression is a common condition that can develop either gradually or overnight. Many people who have depression feel low most of the time. But this condition has many symptoms, which can make it difficult to recognise.

Depression is not a sign of personal failure or an inability to cope. Try not to blame yourself or feel guilty. It may not seem like it, but help is available. It is important to remember that depression is common, and that it can usually be treated successfully. The first step to feeling better is finding appropriate help. There are both medical and non-medical approaches to managing depression.

When you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may feel very low at times. This may be at the time of diagnosis, or during or after treatment. For some people, their low mood may continue or get worse, and they may need professional help or treatment.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know whether you’re depressed or not. It may be other people who notice symptoms and suggest that you might need help.

Depression is a common condition that affects around 1 in 10 people (10%). It can be triggered by a variety of difficult events, including a cancer diagnosis or having treatment for cancer. However, it can also happen by chance or be related to other events that have nothing to do with cancer.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • having a very low mood most of the time
  • feeling fatigued or lacking in energy
  • getting no pleasure out of life or activities you usually enjoy
  • crying a lot, or feeling unable to cry
  • having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • being unusually irritable or impatient
  • waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
  • feeling less affectionate or having a loss of sexual desire
  • hallucinations or hearing voices (although this is rare).

These are just some of the symptoms of depression, but they will be different for each person. If you have other symptoms but think you may be depressed, talk to your doctor or nurse.

to be honest i don’t find the McMillian website particularly helpful, we had the welcome to your ‘tumour pack’ which was a lot of reading not much information.

lets address the symptoms of depression

  • having a very low mood most of the time, if you’ve been told 15-18 months that will give you a low mood if you feel rubbish as well feeling
  • fatigued or lacking in energy – brain tumour and swelling=
  • tired getting no pleasure out of life or activities you usually enjoy, I’m not capable of doing activities i usually enjoy reading- no concentration, 3 out of 4 hems have to be unpicked. more cross stitch has to be unpicked than left in
  • which is why I’ve taken up crochet, no expectations, all new. i like shopping, ebay and amazon have seen a lot of my money 🙂
  • Crying a lot, or feeling unable to cry – loads of crying
  • having difficulty concentrating or making decisions – hello brain tumour/swelling
  • being unusually irritable or impatient-usual state of affairs for me also, side affects of medications waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual – hello brain tumour/swelling feeling less affectionate or having a loss of sexual desire – lets face it when none of your clothes fit and you have chipmunk face you don’t feel very sexy.
  • hallucinations or hearing voices (although this is rare). no hallucinations.i’m pretty  sure I’m not depressed but of course i could be in denial.if you are at the knitting and stitching show 2nd March Olympia, say hello, i’ll be the the one in the wheel chair with the bored looking husband and badly hemmed jeans.

Great British sewing bee

In a bid to get some sewing mojo back, I’ve just binge watched the great British sewing bee on youtube, I’ve come to the conclusion that Patrick and May were better judges, Esme Young is a poor judge because she goes into it with a lot of preconceived ideas, if she doesn’t agree with the style ideas she’ll mark them down, how many times did she say on the first alteration challenge if my students were doing this what would come out is what they are where they come from and all they are apparently they are all skirts. In my opinion, Esme looks like a dogs dinner for most of the season.

If you want to see hideous clothes just check out what Esme is wearing.

I would quite like to try the asymmetrical skirt I don’t have the dexterity at the moment for cutting out or sewing it. Or the figure to wear it.

Stash busting failure :-(

Because I am having a problem with bottom halves I have bought itch to stitch sequoia cargo trousers and liana jeans, then of course I had to go to eBay and buy some cheap fabric to make them up in, I have also bought some beautiful purple jersey fabric for a love notions candence dress, I am starting to feel better, every night I think tomorrow, I’ll finish those two tops cut out on my table, I’ll take the photos of my sewing room – I’m planning to go to the knitting and stitching show this year the same as normal.

For some reason we thought, oh radiotherapy has finished we won’t have hospital appointments all week, wrong. Because the last week of radiotherapy/chemo my bone marrow stopped making Platelets (clotting) I have some beautiful purple bruises, this meant blood tests Monday /Thursday (check platelets) platelet transfusions Tuesday/Friday, finally my platelet count has started coming up, tomorrow’s blood test should confirm whether or not my marrow is now working, as long as the platelets come up from last week (no transfusion) hopefully the blood tests will no longer be needed.

I’m also having a MRI tomorrow, this is to confirm whether the left side weakness I am experiencing is being caused by swelling, which we are sure that is. The oncologist has upped my dexamethasone (steroid) for a week, left side weakness is resolving its self, we managed to take Charlie for a walk on the seafront today.

I wrote the first part of this post a week ago. My left side weakness is getting worse,the results of the mri is inconclusive, today is the first day in about 2 weeks that I’ve woken up with my brain thinking about working, the dexamethazone has been taken back down to 4 mg, my ankles and knees are swollen, still having regular blood tests no transfusions, this way we know if they are my platelets and not transfused platelets.

I have plans, next week Simon and I are going to blue water for shopping, gbk and Krispy cream donuts then the following week the knitting and stitching show at Olympia. I can’t wait.

Musings update

Hello, we are still hoping to get back to Disney this year, but finding travel insurance is proving troublesome, mostly because the tumour is so unpredictable, what they don’t tell you is that with 6 weeks Radiotherapy everything is shifted over 3 weeks, you don’t start getting the side effects until week 3, hair loss, side effects continue another 3 weeks after treatment has finished, brain swelling, loss of use of left side again, not sure if we get to critical mass at 1 1/2 weeks or if I have to wait the full 3 weeks then back up other side. What they also don’t tell you is life isn’t like tv, i’m still waiting to do the fun stuff. You write a bucket list, which you can’t complete due to spending too much time at the hospital, which will only prolong your life maybe a couple of extra months if you are unlucky, you get shafted by scottish provident, because they can’t input dob correctly from proof of id. So called specialist travel insurance companies, won’t touch you if you want to go to USA, no we don’t want to go to Disney Land Paris, we want to go to our Disney World Florida, our happy place, so don’t even suggest it.

Chemo has messed with my bone marrow, so having regular blood tests 😦 and platelet transfusions 😦 😦 not sure how long bone marrow takes to recover, everyone is different. Waiting for Arnold marrow to kick in 🙂 My Dad’s family has a history of making too many platelets but not until into their 60s-70s so I have a little while to wait yet.

Hoping to get back to dressmaking soon, I have two tops cut out one of them is started, a forte top and another larger Plantain cut out but not started. When I got my overlocker, I thought, ‘why does it come with a pair of tweezers, who is going to want to use them to thread, just makes it more difficult’, turns out if you have a brain tumour and Shakey hands they help a lot. Though I wish I had spent a bit more money and got a self threading one, it seems every time at the moment when I want to use it I have to change the thread colour. Though I have made it slightly easier, the same as the sewing machine it has handy dandy diagrams inside, what it doesn’t tell you is which order to thread it in, so to get round that I have numbered up the thread spools.

I’m going to be 50 at the end of next month, so hoping side effects will be finished by then, including looking about 6 months pregnant. Steroids/chocolate. If I was going to have to grow ‘a life sucking parasite’, a baby would be preferable to a brain tumour, even at 50.

Sorry if some of my ramblings are repeated from other posts, fuzzy brain syndrome (side effect). Sorry for calling a baby a parasite, hope not to offend anyone.

More soon…

Let’s talk about jeans pockets…..

Hi, since starting steroids in July I have increased 2 dress sizes and added 2 stone to my weight, it is very easy to blame the steroids and say the weight gain is the fault of the steroid side effects, increased hunger, reduced self control the fact that only chocolate tastes right, it is the steroids fault 🙂

I have been on eBay buying new larger jeans, refusing to believe that my weight will not get back to normal after coming off the treatment and not wanting to spend £40-£50 on new jeans that I’ll only wear for a couple of months.

In more ways than one I am a Fat Face girl, my sister likes All Saints, which I didn’t realise was more than the 1990s Girl Band. If you like grey go to All Saints, if you want more colour in your wardrobe Fat Face is the place to go.

I now have several pairs of Fat Face Jeans and Shirts for a lot less than I would have paid for new, there is a problem with is as in depending on how old the jeans are depends on waist sizing, the older they are the bigger a size 12 is. The advantage is that I like flares/ boot cut legs which don’t appear to be in fashion at the moment, I like to be comfortable, slim boot cut doesn’t do it for me. The fact that the main things that go are the hems, at 5ft 2in I always have to shorten the legs any way.

If you shorten Jeans don’t do it by hand. Check to see how it was done originally and try to copy it using a sewing machine. What I usually do is cut off the original hem then restitch with a similar colour top stitching thread. I always hem long so as I can wear with trainers, boots or shoes. While hemming the last lot of jeans, I noticed Fat Face had some interesting pocket details.

Apparently both back pockets don’t have to be the same

You can come up with new and interesting shapes to cut the front pockets.

Use some nice fabric for the pocket bags and inside waist band.

The Denim that they use isn’t as good quality that the price might suggest. In this sewing world where making your own jeans has become very popular, you could do worse than go to Fat Face for inspiration, although the Denim isn’t the best, the Jumpers and cardigans are top notch.

cross stitch Christmas

I received a couple of cross stitch kits for Christmas and a cross stitch book, all Michael Powell.

I am coming along quite nicely with my existing cross stitch, the Scarlet Wizard is finally progressing, I have gridded most of the remaining fabric to make it easier to work out where to stitch.

The Secret Garden 1 has come along quite nicely. The bottom two inches are complete apart from the back stitching which will make the picture pop.

I also have a small picture that I spotted in The World of Cross Stitching started that I am stitching on a hoop, which means I can take it to the Hospital with me.

The colours aren’t as purple in real life as they are in in the magazine, which as you can see on the stitching are more of a pinky colour.

I’ve been listening to audio books while I’m stitching as at the moment I can either stitch or watch TV not both. While I was in hospital I started listening to the psi/changeling series written by Nalini Singh, performed by Angela Dawe, which are brilliant, I am now up to book 10, I have already read the books. I prefer Angela Dawe to Justine Eyre who narrates the Archangel series, I find her a bit harsh.

I recommend Audible especially if you buy kindle books, if you are smart you can get the most for your money. Also the audible app for the iPhone is great, it has a sleep function on it, so if you fall asleep while listening to know there is only a certain amount of time you need to go back.

Update post November 24th

Hi, I’m back out of hospital and apparently we have a plan, well I have a plan at the moment, I have ideas for around four posts, the first of which is a medical post, feel free not to read it, which is what I would probably do in your position.

2. Is a review on the sewoverit Doris Dress

3. Will be a quilting post

4. Cross stitching post

You might also get a bonus iPad review depending on how it goes. I’ll probably post these over the next couple of days.

UFOs

well, I don’t know what happened to September, but it is now a month since my last post, oops…..

Hi I don’t know how everybody sorts out their off cuts, but I have a bad tendency to ball up what ever scraps of fabric I have left, whether it is big enough to to make something else with or not. This last weekend I decided to go through the off cuts and just throw them away, yes there is the ‘dream’ of creating a beautiful quilt with them, but who am I kidding, I’ve made two double bed sized quilts, both of which took me a year to make and a four foot by four foot that is still waiting for me to finish quilting it four or five years after I put it together.

I had about two bin bags full of fabric I’d been keeping, even the stuff I didn’t like and the woolen skirt material that you couldn’t even use for a quilt even if you wanted to make a quilt which at the moment I don’t.

Anyway to get back to the actual point of this post, have you ever come across projects you have started and then completely forgotten about them and can’t remember why you didn’t finish them in the first place

I have a rather nice little blouse, I’d forgotten all it needed was the facings stitched down and the buttons put on it, of course when I started stitch the facing on one of the sleeves I found out the reason it wasn’t finished is that I had cut through the facing and really need ed to take it off and replace it. (Let’s hope I haven’t just thrown all the leftover fabric away)

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I have also found a dress that also just needs all its hand stitching done, facings, hem and buttons, I think at the time I made it I wasn’t happy about how the shoulder was sitting but now it doesn’t look as bad as I thought.

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I think there is a pattern forming because there are another two dresses that need hemming and their facing stitched in, I really need to go straight for the hand stitching as soon as possible.

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There is another dress but that isn’t just hand stitching and looking at it, it will need taking apart and redoing, it is one of the first Haslam patterns I tried, the fabric is too drapey for it and I think the underarm measurement is too long, as when I attached it to my dummy there must have been two inches extra fabric and I am sure this is wrong.

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I’m not sure how to finish this post so I’ll leave you with au revoir……

Princess dresses, never too old?

As I was travelling to work this morning I saw a family walking into town, the two girls were wearing princess dresses, I’m assuming Frozen as that was the colour, the older (8ish) one had leggings on the younger (5ish) one had a longer coat on.

It lead me to thinking, at what age do we decide that it is too impractical to wear princess dresses all day long and is it this wish to look pretty and wear swishy skirts what lead most of us to the 1950s with the Dior New Look patterns?
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Out of the dresses that I have made, I love the ones with the big skirts and the little details on the bodices but they are the ones that are worn less and when I do wear them it isn’t with net underskirts partly because I don’t own one, and every time I try to make one the cats appear to like eating and clawing at them, but mainly because although I spend most of my time sitting at a desk it isn’t the done thing to wear pretty, swishy dresses to work.

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Of course growing up in the 70s Disney hadn’t worked out a way of marketing princess dresses en mass to the UK, if they had my sister and I would have had them, not real ones of course but my Mum and Aunts were all experienced dress makers (I had a fake EMU to prove it)and my Mother made a lot of our clothes. So maybe I’m making up for a lack of princess dresses in my formative years, I do know that I’m drawn to the patterns with the bigger skirts, but still feel slightly uncomfortable wearing for everyday.

Musings

Hi, I’m not sure where march has gone, like a lot of other people I know, I have spent part of it ill, not flat on your back can’t move ill but generally sore throat, blocked nose can’t get up the enthusiasm to do any thing ill.

We, that is Simon and I have spent the last week at home on leave, we began our ‘holiday’ by visiting my Sister in Derbyshire, I think it was Simons excuse to drive his new car or an excuse to see my niece who turned two the beginning of the month.

It was a lovely weekend, we arrived late Friday night, and sat up talking for a couple of hours, then up early Saturday morning, my niece was a bit snuffly and cuddly, but apparently that is best for cuddles. we took her present with us, as soon as she saw The Gruffalo’s Child DVD she lost total interest in anything else and toddled off to the living room to put it on.

We went to Calke House for lunch, if you like stuffed animals it is a must see, there are lots of other things to see but I thought it particularly sad at the state the upper floors had been allowed to get into with peeling wallpaper and blown plaster, the weekend we went they had a lambing day, Simon was over the moon, apparently he loves lambing.

The rest of the week we have spent throwing things away and tiding up, Monday I threw out six bags of rubbish and Wednesday we took about 15 bags of stuff to the local charity shop. The upshot of this week is that we are both happier with the state of the house and I nearly have a new cutting table.

I’ve discovered that the older I get the less inclined keep stuff I am, a lot of the things that have been removed from the house this week a couple of years ago I was adamant that I couldn’t do with out them, now I can’t wait for them to go.

I can show you a pictures of my new cutting table which Simon hasn’t completed yet…all the component parts are here they just aren’t screwed together. While surfing the internet, I came across Horn Furniture, while it looks good it is hideously expensive. I also came across pictures of three Ikea Kallax units put together with a top and sometimes wheels on the bottom, after showing Simon he said “I can do that.”

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The upshot is that I lost one chest of drawers and a computer desk and gained a cutting/ sewing table.

I’ve moved a single book shelf unit to sit with the others, it just clears the light switch,
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and moved my existing sewing table into the corner vacated by the computer desk and book case,
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taken apart my expedit units, the 4 hole unit sitting next to the table and the 8 hole unit sitting on its side were the sewing table used to be, my new cutting table is taking up the space emptied by the chest of drawers.
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Although it has just as much furniture in it, the room now has more storage space and because it is all lower the room seems bigger.

Fluffy is making use of the extra carpet to put fur over a lot bigger area..image

As you can see by the black and pink bags, I’m still tidying up.

I’m hoping to actually get some sewing done soon, it might just be a another Gerties Shirtwaist dress but it would be good to get something done.

What about you, are you less attached to things the older you get?