Saturday, 8 April 2017

Dark days - an update

On 8 December 2016 I wrote a post which I called " dark days", as my husband had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer with liver metastases. At the time of diagnosis we were told that it was inoperable, as the cancer had spread to his liver and that he probably had six months to a year left to live.

He was put onto light duties at work, but in January, once he started chemotherapy, he was not able to go work much at all, as the treatment had such a debilitating effect on him. DH's pain was also becoming harder to manage and during the month of January he had a couple of hospital admissions, but it was at the beginning of February that we were given some really devastating news. As DH had been suffering from severe constipation, he had been given laxatives and enemas, but once these had taken effect, he was still in so much pain that the gastroenterologist who was looking after him on the ward, sent him down to Radiology for a CT scan.

The results of this scan showed that the cancer cells in the liver had grown and spread, but there was even further cause for concern, as there were blood clots in the liver, as well. As DH was suffering from portal vein thrombosis, he had to start taking blood thinning medication. We were told that due to the deterioration in his condition, he would have only a couple of months of life left.

I notified family members in South Africa and DH's eldest and youngest brother then flew over at the end of February and stayed with us for two weeks, so that they could spend time with him. It was good to have them with us, as they were very kind and  supportive, not only to DH, but to me, as well.

While my brothers-in-law were staying with us, they told us that they were very concerned about their elderly father, as he had been growing quite frail and was not very well. DH and I were both upset to hear about his dad's illness and sadly, not even a week after my brothers-in-law had returned home to South Africa, they called to say that he had passed away.

About ten days ago DH was feeling very unwell and started vomiting up large amounts of black blood, which was really scary. I called the inpatient unit at our local hospice and they advised me to call an ambulance right away, which I did. DH was taken to the Emergency Department first and was then later admitted to a ward, where the doctor on duty said that it would be advisable for him to have a gastroscopy to  help to identify the cause of the bleeding. After the procedure we were told that the tumour in the pancreas was larger and very aggressive and was wrapped around the stent which had been put in a couple of months ago to drain the bile duct. We were also told that there is a slight chance that the bleeding could recur and that if there was a haemorrhage, it could be fatal.

After spending a couple of nights in hospital DH was discharged, but prior to his discharge, we met with a doctor from the palliative team and a social worker, to discuss end of life care. Prior to DH's admission to hospital, our hospice nurse and a needs assessor visited us at home to discuss some end of life care options, as they felt that DH was reaching the stage where he would need professional care.

Last week DH spent two nights at a local care facility where he had some respite care, which also gave me a break, as I had been caring for him on my own at home. The care facility is a rest home and private hospital which offers  end of life care to terminally ill patients. It's a pleasant place and the staff are all very helpful and friendly, so when we were told that a permanent room would soon be available for DH, we were both happy to accept the offer. He is at home at the moment, as the room will only be vacated by 18 April, which means that DH will get to spend the coming week and Easter weekend at home with me.

The past months have been incredibly stressful, but we are very grateful for all the support and help we have received, and are continuing to receive, from family members, friends and work colleagues.
I am planning to downsize and move from the three bedroom house we are currently renting, to a one bedroom unit or apartment. As I have been kept very busy, caring for DH as well as seeing to daily chores, I have not had much time to do much in the way of packing, but once he is in permanent care, I should have more time to de-clutter and do some packing. I am hoping to find a little place quite soon; I have been looking on the real estate website, just to get an idea of what is available, but have not actually spoken to any estate agents.

DH is weak and frail and spends most of his time resting, as his energy levels are very low and he is unable to do very much. He has lost a great deal of weight and eats very little, as he has no appetite. His pain is controlled by morphine, but he does feel  very uncomfortable at times and it's so hard to see him suffering. Our son and I are both devastated at the prospect of losing him, but I believe that when the time comes, we need to let him go quietly and peacefully.

WIP - New Zealand Cowl



I am working on a really easy cowl at the moment; the pattern is called New Zealand Cowl and was designed by one of the ladies who works at the LYS where I bought the pattern and yarn which were sold as a kit. I have several cowls already, but I just couldn't resist buying the kit, as the yarn is really lovely.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Striped Irish Hiking Scarf



The yarn I used for this scarf is Ashford Tekapo DK; although it is marketed as a double knit (8ply) yarn, it is thicker than most DK yarns and is more a worsted weight (10ply) yarn. The grey yarn was left over from the Mr Greenjeans cardigan I knitted last winter and as I had a couple of skeins of the pink and blue in my stash, as well, I thought that it would be a good idea to combine the three colours. The yarn is very soft and warm, so is ideal for a scarf which can be worn on cold winter days.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Quick and easy



Before I made these dishcloths, I did a search on Ravelry for some new patterns, but ended up using two of my old favourites instead. I am now working on a striped Irish Hiking Scarf, using up some yarn from my stash. I am using three colours, grey, pink and blue and they look really pretty together.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Another Botanical Cowl



I have knitted yet another Botanical Cowl, as I was looking for an easy pattern and they don't come much easier than this! The yarn I used is an Opal sock yarn and the main colour is a pretty shade of red, which unfortunately doesn't show up as well in the photo as in reality. The yarn has little sparkly silver threads in it and I decided that it was too pretty to use for socks and would look good with either a black or grey top in the cooler weather.

I am currently working on some dishcloths and once I have finished them, am planning  to make a scarf from some leftover yarn in my dwindling stash.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

FO: Green-yellow socks



I cast on these socks at the end of November and only finished them today, as I have not been knitting very much or very fast lately.