Well thank you, good people of the internet, for your kind response to the Four Seasons Cowl. There seem to have been some techie glitches with the blog that may have prevented access at times, so I did what any right-minded IT-whizz* would do, and swore with creative abandon, drank too much wine, then hit the internet quite hard with a hammer.** It appears to have worked. So hopefully you can read this post. If you can’t, let me know. Oh… um… wait… [Sound of mental cogs grinding very, very, slowly.] Here’s the cowl, just in case you missed it:-
In the comments on the last post, Victoria requested a crochet version of the pattern, so I’m working on that, because I’m a sucker for a suggestion. Please nobody suggest a quarter-scale replica of the Giza pyramids knitted in laceweight mohair because I’ll be powerless to resist.
Anyway. This is going to be one of those posts that’s mostly illustrated with pictures unrelated to its content because the subject of the text is some way short of photogenic.
Truth be told, there’s been something else occupying my attention for the past six weeks or so. The following story has a happy ending, so DON’T PANIC, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED WHATSOEVER TO BE NICE TO ME. Phew, thank goodness for that. I wouldn’t want to be nice to me, either.
Medium-term readers will know that I had breast cancer in 2020. Cue surgery, radiotherapy, Tamoxifen, and reduction-of-the-other-boob surgery so that I wouldn’t lopsidedly trace circles every time I went for a run. Apologies to those of you who’ve read that joke a dozen times before, but my humour-generator has got stuck on repeat like an ageing CD-player.
Thanks to the skill of the oncologists, surgeons, admin folk, nurses, radiographers, and healthcare assistants at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, I am still here to OMG RUIN MY SONS’ LIVES LOL BY ASKING WHETHER THEY COULD MAYBE SOMETIMES TAKE THEIR USED PLATES DOWN TO THE KITCHEN WITHOUT BEING TOLD FIFTEEN TIMES, YEAH?
But I was called back after my latest annual mammogram because there was a problem. Cue another mammogram (honestly they’re no big deal, just in case you’re wary of having one – just do it), and an ultrasound (easy-peasy) and then a vacuum-assisted biopsy under mammogram (not gonna lie, that one was ouchy, but of course very much worth it, and the four staff who conducted it were compassion personified), and finally a tiny metallic marker was placed inside my boob to guide surgeons to the exact location of the problem. A consultant radiographer confirmed that there was something problematic brewing, which was either more cancer or a phenomenon called radial scarring that would also need surgical attention.
Whilst I waited for the results, I got my head round the idea that I was likely going to step back on to the cancer rollercoaster. I could do this. I would do this. I’ve done this before. I decided that this time, I’d request a double mastectomy because quite frankly my boobs have had their chance and a two-strikes-and-you’re-out policy feels appropriate at this point. To be blunt, the twinnage (aged twelve) need a mother more than I need boobs. The process might be complex but the decision felt simple.
But when the test results came, they were better than I’d dared hope. No cancer: wa-hey! But also, no suggestion that any radial scarring needed scooping out under general anaesthetic. Strange and unexpected, but good.
Of course I’m pleased. But it also felt… like a jolting shift of gear that needed several days’-worth of adjustment. In 2020, the cancer ‘thing’ became a sizeable chunk of my identity for a while. Then – thankfully – the situation reversed and I watched the cancer thing recede into the distance in my rear-view mirror whilst other aspects of identity (psychologist, knit-designer, runner, food-grower, weirdo) resurged. B-bye, you life-disrupting mutant cellular freak! I didn’t expect the cancer to return, if only because my mother – who had the same cancer at a similar age with similar treatment and is thus my cancer role model – remains cancer-free in her late seventies. But when it seemed as though I might be facing relapse, I hid away for a few days to get used to the idea, then started frequenting cancer discussion forums that I hadn’t browsed for years. I was preparing to adopt the cancer identity again. And when the good news came through, I needed a moment to adjust. And adjust, I gladly did. This time I got lucky. Thank you, universe.
- <- That’s supposed to be a single asterisk. Thus further proving that I’m so not an IT-whizz. So so SO not. To the extent that I feel smug pride just for using ctrl-c ctrl-v.
** Actually I consulted my wise friend A, who kindly helped. But I did swear copiously in the meantime, which is probably what solved the problem, really.