Monday, May 30, 2011

Chemo and Quilts

Last week I sort of took a turn for the worst. I mean, my chemo caught up with me.

I was hoping I could run fast enough to stay out of its blasted reach!

I've had this awful, awful cough, all due to the fact that my body somehow has become this super-charged mucus-producing machine. Seriously, people. Come on, come all! See the cancer girl and her NOSE! The nurse said it is mucositis. Look it up your own self.

I overmedicated on Sudafed, Benadryl, Mucinex, cough medicine with codeine, cough drops. So I slept and slept and slept.

Then my absolute neutrophil count went into the toilet. Meaning I'm neutropenic--very few white blood cells. No more fresh fruits & veggies. And... daily neupogin shots.

And then... horror of horrors!

I got thrush. In my mouth.

My throat was raw and my mouth burned. I couldn't swallow very well. And my whole body ached from coughing. My stomach. Even my butt.

And then. My hair started falling out again. On my pillow in the morning. In the shower. Blast.

So, pumped up on antibiotics, I started feeling sorry for myself. Chemo is ripping my body apart. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and wait out the next four weeks.

But I didn't. I mean, I took naps and I slowed down considerably. And I pulled out some old quilt blocks from a quilt block exchange four years ago (I think. I can't do math with chemo brain). I had used many of the blocks I had originally received in two other quilts, but I had saved all the pink and brown ones. And it was time to put them together.

I had purchased extra fabrics to match some of the blocks (and boy, am I glad I did--this line has become obsolete!). So with the help of Katie, who figured out dimensions and made practice blocks, and Amy, who had this brilliant idea for my adjusted pattern, I got to work.

I ironed.

I measured.

I cut.

I sewed

Repeat. Several times. In the cool of my basement, while all the world was at the pool for Memorial Day weekend. (I love the pool. I cannot go to the pool because of chemo and antibiotics. Don't be bitter; be better.)

I figured quilting is like my body on chemo. Cut apart. Put back together. Cut apart. Put back together. I can't wait to see my finished product(s).


Julie said...

Awesome work my friend! Sorry you have been feeling lousy as of late. A dance might be in order!

Meggen said...

Oh, sweet Jenny! I am so sorry to hear that things have taken a nose-dive (quite literally!). Please know how much I love you and how much you are in my prayers and thoughts. Your quilt is beautiful, as are YOU!

Vicki said...

I'm so sorry you're feeling so crummy. I love the quilt layout; I am making a quilt with some of those same fabrics right now :) Hope you feel so much better, really soon!

Lesli said...

Jenny, I love the pinwheel quilt you and your friends came up with! What a great way to channel your frustration and what energy you have - tackling a UFO! Your quilt will have its own story to tell. (Needs to be part of that book....) Love you and praying for you always.

M said...

Love the quilt... and the analogy. Way to go, Jenny(though we missed you at the pool!

Annie H. said...

Oh Jen-naye. I'm so sorry you've had a rough time lately. I am excited to see you this weekend so we can go get massages and pedicures if you want, and we will laugh and laugh and laugh and watch HGTV (House Hunters International) and drink Coke Slurpees. I can't wait! Love a seesta.

amy smart said...

Good for you girl! I think it looks awesome. And hooray for Katie for helping. (I got to meet Katie in real life this month!)

Hang in there my friend. I think about you hoping for the very best and I'm always sad to hear how rough it really is. Sending you lots of love and blessings.

M said...

Oh Jenny, I'm sorry you've been feeling so rotten lately. That chemo is for the birds! The quilt looks beautiful already. I am amazed that you had the energy to put it together. Even when you're feeling low and coughing and neutropenic, you still manage to rock the world and make the world brighter. xoxoxo

Laurel said...

i really really really don't like the drugs that kill the cancer except that I'm really really really grateful for them too.

remember that one time we went shoe shopping and got ice cream and laughed all day? (we will...just. you. wait.)


Kate @SwimBikeQuilt said...

I am so behind on my blog reading. But, your quilt looks awesome!