Pins, needles, steroids and a grumpy crocodile

So yesterday I finished round 3 of the chemo. Mom asked if I was getting used to it, but I said I don't think I'll ever get used to it, or want to, but I'm definitely used to the routine now and that helps. I know the score at the hospital, know the nurses and they know me (mainly because I'm the one with the slowly growing star quilt on my lap at all times!).

Round 1 you sit there like a ticking time bomb fully expecting something dramatic to happen. By round 3 you realise that you won't get all the side effects on the tick-list, and certainly not all at once. It seems to be different each time. So far, a bit less insomnia courtesy of the steroids, but much worse pins and needles. One of the chemo drugs affects the nerve endings so fingers, toes, lips, tongue and throat become very sensitive to cold. Even a cool breeze, air-con in the car, a drink at anything less than body temp and certainly anything in the fridge is out of bounds for about seven days.

Sympathise with me, it's summer, I'd love an ice-lolly, a cold drink! Hopefully the pins and needles, and accompanying numbness won't last. At odd times I've not been able to move my fingers which is a bit scary. The team are on board with knowing that I need to be able to hold a pencil, paintbrush, needle of course. They are suggesting a reduced dose, but I'm in full attack mode and won't go down that route yet. For now I just have to stay out of the fridge. I'm treating it like an aversion therapy diet.

Diet I need because the steroids have turned me into a ravenous beast. The nurses are OK with this, they worry more about loss of appetite, maybe we're saving that symptom for further down the line. For now, if it's reasonably still, I'm likely to eat it. This coupled with the steroids making my face look like an over-stuffed hamster have put pay to my recently rediscovered cheekbones. Oh well, it'll pass! Vanity at a time like this, good grief.

Please don't think me suffering though. I'm getting off pretty lightly so far and all of this is very manageable. Apparently, according to the poor people I live with, I'm a tad grumpy at times. So I'm making a big effort to keep a lid on it this week. Truth is, I'm not grumpy, I'm quite cross, furious even, that I've got this, and it's not fair, and I don't know why, and maybe it's something I did at some point, so I feel guilty, and I don't want it to be happening, and on and on, and all that is a lot to keep in that box in my head. So when I'm tired, sometimes the lid on the box slips a bit and the grumpy crocodile sneaks out. You know what they say, don't take a stick and poke it. I'm best left alone till I get a grip.

And most of the time, a grip is what I've got.

The quilt is coming along nicely. Can we call it a quilt yet? No maybe not. So far I've stitched and joined 64 stars. There's still a way to go, but I sew nearly every day and I love to see it grow.

In other news, I received my copy of this book that my quilt 52 Degrees has been featured in. Thanks Cas for choosing to use the quilt, it's nice for it to have another outing of sorts. I'm still tempted to cut this one up, what will I do with such a big piece otherwise? One to ponder on.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Love Laura

If you should meet a crocodile, 

Don't take a stick and poke him; 
Ignore the welcome in his smile, 
Be careful not to stroke him. 
For as he sleeps upon the Nile, 
He thinner gets and thinner; 
And whene'er you meet a crocodile 
He's ready for his dinner.


  1. You are right that you don't ever get used to chemo. Linda said you get quite grumpy. Having had chemo and knowing how it made me feel, I think a bit grumpy is definitely allowed. It is a strange nasty experience and hopefully the cancer cells are finding it the same way. So rage away when you want to; you have every right to feel all those emotions. I think your fund raising and quilt making are both a sign of making positive things from this experience but don't let anyone stop you expressing your real feelings. They need to come out. Thinking of you all xx

  2. We have a saying here regarding a caged animal - don't put your fingers in the cage. What you are feeling is normal. It is like the 5 stages of grief. Don't think you go through all the stages as they are laid out and you will revisit some of them over and over - trust me, I've been there. The quilt is coming along beautifully. It is so striking. I hope you like it and enjoy working on it. Sending you love and wishes for more good than bad days. (I am so looking forward to some of the new books coming out of Batsford this fall, including Cas'.)

  3. Sending love your way! And don't feel bad about being angry and grumpy. Seems to me you have a right to feel that way. Happy to see you beautiful award-winning landscape in Cas' book! Can't wait to get my copy. And hey, if you need a crocheted planter, you know who to call! xoxxo

  4. I think you are extraordinary Laura. I've not ever had to face cancer but have had friends struggling their way through the dark and I salute each one of you for your courage and determination to win the battle! Grump away! You need an outlet too xxx

  5. Thanks for the update. No two people have the same experience. I do like your full bore ahead, cancer killing attitude. That's a winning attitude . With so many behind you, winning is a given. Healing,health and love to the whole family .

  6. Bore on, full-steam, give it all you are! My daughter's chemo and steroid therapies seemed to do the same - and we all loved her moon-shaped face. Just like the wonderful childrens' book: "Good night, Moon!"
    You are doing SO WELL, tackling all sorts of projects and taking them all in stride [fast and not so fast]. Keep on keepin' on - you are in our prayers, dear Laura!

  7. You are lovely. And cancer is hard. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  8. Laura---The steroids can also make you grumpy and hyper and angry as well as hungry====you may be hangry:) Your treatment is tough and I can understand you feeling all the different emotions you are feeling. Hopefully there is some psychological support available to you while you are going through all this. I will try to get some red and blacks o you in the mail. Hang in there and stay tough and determined.

  9. I do not know what to say. everybody said it already. So I just give you a big hug and give you a shoulder tapping and say well done girl keep it up you get there. Lot of love from Belgium.

  10. Laura, to make you laugh. Some years ago I bought a video of your Painted quilt. Do you remember it? Made in 2008. I am really enjoying it all over again, refreshing my techniques. Made my week. At 91, I am making small quilts, bags, and loving all your videos . A very big Thank You. Keep smiling

  11. I admire your strength and way to look at what you're going through! Keep creativity in your life, for me it was and it is the way to keep my grumpiness and frustration, physical and emotional pain and fear, a little under control. Big hug and sending prayers!

  12. I am curious to know if you are sewing the bits on in rows or chunks. I have a half hexie star piece (interminably) in process and usually use chunks. I'll sew 4-6 stars together then sew the whole piece to the larger piece. With the edge pieces, I sew them in rows. I don't know if my method is right. I know it works for me so I kind of don't think it matters. Take care!!

    1. Hi Jaye, I'm generally sewing them together in rows, or double rows, but anything will work with this design because the units are hexagonal so they go together without any fiddly infill pieces. Good luck with yours!

  13. Always praying and sending good thoughts your way. Whatever attitude you need to get you through the day. When you come out on the other side look for the sunshine.

  14. Ah steroids, I know them well! I have awful side effects from them so my medics have been told that I'll take them "only if I'm dying! Grrrrr". I had a moon face (not good when you already have a round one), ate constantly including in the early hours, and went up 2 dress sizes. All that said, they work! Look on it all as temporary - everything passes in time. You are so positive and the fact that you are going through this so publicly gives strength to others. You have lots of people cheering you on from the sidelines.

  15. Hi Laura..I so love your work in the book...and try and take yourself into that beautiful landscape. It is yours and do what you will and need with it. Much love..Cas x

  16. Big Hugs Laura, I think of you often. So sorry you have to go through the junk that chemo gives.
    About the big quilt. As Cas says, it is yours. But to be honest, I would advise you to hang onto it. From what I understand, it was the first quilt made that way. So, it is bound to be of interest to a quilt museum. Perhaps, if you are feeling like cutting it anyway, you could contact a museum and donate? Either our own, which is a bit difficult to access, or something like International Quilt Study Centre or Paducah Quilt Museum or Texas Quilt Museum.
    If you still have the digital image, you could print out sections to do interesting things with.
    Just a thought!
    Hoping your determination continues. But you are allowed to be weak, also.

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