Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Escape from the Hotel California

Hi, stitching friends!

I hope 2020 begins better than 2019 ended. I had surgery Friday to have a rod put in my femur, and the surgeon broke my femur during surgery. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather not have details of why or how this happened, so I will spare you.

After three nights in the hospital, the physical therapist said I was not ready to go home. But the surgeon thought I should go home, so we compromised. Insurance said they’d pay for physical therapy rehab, so they loaded me into a van and hauled me to a place we now affectionately refer to as “The Hotel California.”

Back at the hospital, I had been told I would be in this place for a day or two, and my expectation was that I would learn skills like how to get up the step into my house, how to shower and dress myself, how to move easier with the walker. The Hotel California had other plans for me, though.

Remember these lyrics?

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'

When the intake nurse finished asking me if I still had my own teeth, who the president is, what year it is, and so on, they told me about the in-house hair salon and the weekly activities I could participate in. I said, “I’m just here for a day or two to learn some basic skills. I’m not staying long.” 

She chuckled. “You’ll be here at least a week or two, maybe longer.”

By the time she left the room, that inner voice we all have was screaming, “RUN!!!”

I looked at Shawn, said, “I do NOT want to be here. This is NOT what I signed up for.” So he went and found somebody and told them we were leaving. It was after 9:00 p.m. We hauled my disabled hiney into the car and drove straight home. It was a comedy of errors trying to figure out how to get up the step into the house with my walker, but we managed.

My bladder is my personal trainer. The need to “go” is a strong motivator. In the hospital, the distance between the bed and bathroom was very short. At home, the distance between the living room and my bathroom is a marathon in comparison. Walking with a walker while putting less than 25% of my weight on one leg is a workout! I’m feeling stronger every day, and my husband has been absolutely amazing. My mom has been burning up the miles traveling to be with me, and she has cooked for us, cleaned up and shared her knowledge of post-surgical physical therapy with me. (She has had both hips and knees replaced, so she is a pro.) My son has been a great gofer for us since he has his driver’s license now. And I have been so blessed with lots of emails, calls, texts and visits from dear family and friends.

My Favorite Christmas Gifts

With my current mobility status, I am not able to get photos right now to show you, but I have to brag on my friends Carol and RJ. They sent me the most beautiful, perfect stitched ornaments. I showed my son, and his reaction was, “Holy sh**, Mom. Wow.” For a 17-year-old, that’s pretty high praise. I’ll show you as soon as I am able.

And my favorite gift I gave was to my sweet husband. He loves hoodies and he loved this one. I asked him to make a “grumpy old man” face for the photo. Love it!

Until next time, friends, I hope 2020 brings you lots of love, plenty of reasons to smile and laugh, and peace and good health. And, as always, lots of time to stitch!

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Blue Christmas

Hi, stitching friends!

Here we are, Christmas Eve Eve, and I am writing this with a heavy heart. We came home from our awesome, amazing, wonderful-beyond-belief vacation on the Oregon Coast, and I had routine scans Monday morning once we were back home.

Good news and bad news. The good news is that my cancer is still in the bone. That's REALLY good news. The bad news is that it has progressed. The last few days have been a flurry of doctor appointments and planning. I'm having surgery Friday to have a titanium rod inserted in my femur to stabilize it and keep it from breaking. After that, we'll be looking at several weeks of radiation to various parts of my body to kill the cancer and reduce pain.

After that, I don't know. Lots of fighting with insurance, probably. Maybe more chemo. One day at a time.

So. Much. Fun.

We've decided it's wise to stay close to home this next year, so we cancelled our 2020 Ireland/Scotland trip. But we are not sad. Shawn and I can have fun anywhere, doing just about anything together. Grocery shopping can be an adventure.

And, I'm so thankful that I have cross stitch as a hobby. I can't count the number of life challenges that stitching has helped me through. It keeps me centered. And I will have plenty of excuses to stay off my feet in the near future.

I would appreciate your prayers, though. Pray for strength, pray for healing, pray for wisdom and skill in my doctors.

In the meantime, we will have a wonderful Christmas. My mom is here with us, and with any luck, a family friend will be able to join us as well.

"Blue Christmas House," freebie from Live to Stitch

Blue Christmas House Freebie

My Christmas gift to you is a little ornament I designed called "Blue Christmas House." The design is based on a painting by Charles Wysocki called "Cape Cod Christmas." Click here for a PDF of "Blue Christmas House."

I owe the New England charm to Mr. Wysocki, though. I just adore his work. Here is the original painting:

I made some changes to make the ornament my own, but the spirit of the house is there. I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Seventeen

My son turned 17 last week! I can hardly believe it. He is growing up to be such a kind, thoughtful young man, and I couldn't be prouder.

I asked him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, and he said red velvet cheesecake. I made a red velvet cheesecake cake, and wow.... let me tell you, it was amaaaaaazing. See that picture above? That's MY cake! It turned out better than I expected, and my son was so thrilled. I have not been eating sugar since August, but I made an exception and had a piece of this. It was worth the calories. Click here for the recipe.

With that, I'll sign off for now. It may be a while before I post again, as life is about to get a lot more complicated for me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2020!

Friday, December 13, 2019


Hi, stitching friends!

We enjoyed our last full day here by going to the waterfront in Newport. We saw the sea lions sunning themselves on the dock, browsed the gift shops and stopped at Beverly Beach again on the way back. It was pretty windy today and the tide was high, so we are saving our beach walk for tomorrow (fingers crossed). I finally pulled out my hat, scarf and coat today!

This evening we checked out the clubhouse at the condo and made a mental note to bring our swimsuits next year. Heated pool...check! We shot a few games of pool, and while I am not good, I am happy to report that I won two out of five games, so it wasn’t a total embarrassment.

After we check out tomorrow but before hitting the road, we hope to squeeze in one last walk on the beach. And, stitching friends, Shawn insists that I go to Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis one more time. What should I get? They have so many things I’ve never seen.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday hustle and bustle, and I hope you are taking some time to pamper yourselves. Thanks for all your sweet comments!