Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm feeling like I'm going through so many changes that it's hard to know which end is up. I swear, I have to write notes on my hand to change my underwear most days.

Life is better than it was in December when I was writhing in agony most days. So don't take this post as a complaining holler. It's more along the lines of a complaining whine.

I just feel - unsettled - confused - unsettled (did I already say that?) and I'm struggling to find my emotional and mental balance right now.

(However, according to the Wii, my physical balance is sensational, I'm only .07% off. Yay!)

That's part of why I haven't blogged.

We've also had a hell of a week.
  1. Our health insurance is expiring in June, which sucks. Gerry and the kids will be okay (G's on SSI, so he'll be on Medicare and the kids are covered in the same manner with MN care) but I won't be covered, so we're looking for something in that realm.

  2. Our roof has a leak and the wall in Hannah's room looks like it has a crawling skin disease with the water damage.

  3. We've learned this week that Hannah needs some orthodontia which is not covered by our very basic dental insurance, so we've made an appointment to take her to the U of MN Orthodontia for a screening - first opening in late March.

  4. We just had a knock at the door from the gas company. Apparently there's a leak in front of our house. (YAY!)
    They're coming back later to fix it.

  5. I just haven't felt "present" at my online class chats this week. I've left a few early because of pain, and my focus is bad. It puts a cloud over many other things I'm currently doing.
I swear, if the 2 round trip airline tickets to Ireland weren't already paid for (Max & I are traveling on Frequent Flier miles, Gerry & Hannah's cost $800 each), and the entire trip planned out, I might consider canceling it. Naah.

However, in my heart of hearts I know that life is short and the opportunity to take the family to Donegal for 3 weeks for $2,000 doesn't happen every day.

See, I can rationalize anything - it's a gift.

Fibro Now, Fibro Tomorrow, Fibro Forever
The truth is, as much as I'd love to think that Vit D3, a wheat-free diet, regular exercise and the other good stuff I've been doing to/for my body is a panacea for my new friend, fibromyalgia, I'm finding that the pain continues to come by and hang out for a day or so each week.

The brain confusion lingers, too, and there are some afternoons when the best I can manage are a few games of Tetris. (I wonder if anyone's considered using Tetris as a diagnostic tool.)
This slow realization that I'm dealing with a chronic condition (dur...) and not just a brief excursion into Fibro-Land (it's about 10 miles from Lego-land), has been very difficult for my brain to process.

And very difficult emotionally, too. I feel like I'm supposed to be the strength, the constant, the rock here in the family. But many evenings it's my daughter who brings me tea and my husband-with-cancer who brings me dinner. Okay, every evening he fixes dinner - it's what he does...
Then there's always the chance that I might be using the whole thing as a bit of an excuse for not getting more work done.

Can these all be true? Probably a teeny bit of each of the above points is valid.

Online Class Mention
(avert your eyes)
I'm busy right now managing the three classes I have going on, monitoring the free class I just set up, and creating more.
WAIT - did I say FREE CLASS?

Yes, the class that I offered last week to 20 folks went quite well, so I've opened it up to an unlimited number of class members.

What the class is
  • FREE
  • 6 Videos
  • 4 Handouts
  • A chance to go from non-knitter to NEW knitter in 2 weeks (or so...)
What the class is NOT
  • An advanced Combination Class
  • A chance to ask me detailed questions about Combination Knitting*
  • A never-ending online knitting group
*If you want to learn more about Combination Knitting, check out my website and if you're inclined sign up for my Online Combination Class.

To join the class you'll have to click on the button below and go through the check out process, but that's just to keep the whole thing manageable for me.

Add to Cart
Click here to add the
FREE knitting class
to your cart

After 2 weeks I'll kick you out of the class unless you ask for more time. I'll be happy to give you as much time as you need, but you'll have to re-ask every 2 weeks (this keeps the class clear of folks who have moved on, but haven't 'left' the class)

I'm working on several new online classes not moving as quickly as I'd like, but when they're ready I'll let you guys know!

Other Knitting
I'm working on a very frustrating, yet very rewarding piece for Interweave Knits. It's worked up in Lion Brand stainles steel & wool yarn - it's the weight of heavy thread - and the knitting can be IMPOSSIBLE in bad light.

The beauty part is that the lacework puts me in mind of the hoarfrost that covered the trees this past week. I know some folks have a knee jerk reaction against cold, but I LOVE living here in Minnesota, it's so beautiful!

So I'm limited to working on this during daylight hours, which is fine with me because it keeps me from obsessing about it deep into the night. The progress is going pretty quickly, but the shape of the piece is a leap of faith so until it's finished and put together I'll be a little anxious about it.

I just finished a crocheted hat for Inside Crochet (a new UK magazine)

I'm in LOVE with this project - it's just the type of hat I adore (a 1930's cloche-esque chapeau which should be worn with a slant over one eye) It's got lots of ribbon embroidery, which I also love. I'm sad to be sending the little fellow off...

I haven't done a THING on History On Two Needles for weeks, and the guilt is wracking. I'm committing myself to getting schematics created for TWO pieces by Sunday, with skeleton patterns written so I can send them off to knitters. Yes, I will.
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posted by Annie at


Anonymous Kate said...

Too funny! Just what I needed this Friday :-)

(Have a good weekend!)

February 19, 2010 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You won't regret the trip to Ireland. I'd go again in a heartbeat-- I particularly want to spend more time in Donegal, and there are many other places I'm longing to see.
-- Gretchen

February 19, 2010 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Hester from Atlanta said...

Hi Annie Š

Oh yes, Tetris would make an excellent diagnostic tool for cognitive function. I was an Occupational Therapist before there were computer games and we had other tests for cognitive function Š but Tetris and the like would certain fit the need.

Seriously, Annie, I know your insurance is ending, but have you discussed sleep apnea with your doctors? Having a CPAP machine has taken away my fibro pain about 99%. I probably have mentioned this before, and I donÕt want to be a nag, but getting the correct kind of REM sleep and other sleep cycles has changed my life.

Also, I remember once you talked about having some sort of audio processing problem. I even booked marked the site you mentioned. I have done a little bit of research, and on WebMd there is an article about children who have ADHD often have sleep apnea or vice versa. One contributes to the other. Audio processing issues fall into the ADHD syndrome.

At the ripe old age of 62 I was finally diagnosed with ADHD and I have started taking ADHD drugs. WOW! is all I can say. I feel so much better mentally, physically and emotionally. If I had been diagnosed with this stuff as a kid my life would have been totally different. All of the men in my family have had sleep apnea and/or ADHD but because I was a girl it was over looked.

All I know from my own experience that having these two syndromes treated has changed my life. Life is beginning again at 62 for this Knitting Virgo.

Everyone is different and these things might not be what the cause of your particular situation is Š but I wanted to bring them up just to let you know about them. I wonÕt nag you anymore.

I sure hope you find some relief soon. Hang in there baby, sometimes it takes a while, but there should be some kind of relief out there for you.

Best Š Hester

February 19, 2010 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

The only suggestion I would make in addition to Hester's note is a counselor to work on the huge amount of stress in your life ... or yoga classes or a meditation guru or all of them ... Yoga classes keep me centered [believe me my chubby body isn't a yogini's body but I love it & it works] ... get out of the house on a regular basis for something that is only for yourself !

February 20, 2010 9:18 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Sorry you are having such a rough time. All I can add to the above is "one day at a time". That old adage has gotten me through my chronic pain issues many a time.
Sending good vibes your way! Hugs, Julie

February 20, 2010 8:58 PM  
Blogger knitwit4162 said...

Hi Annie! I have been silently lurking on your blog for awhile now and just felt the need to add a comment. As a sufferer of a chronic disease (diabetes) I went through many of the same phases as you describe. It took a long time for me to accept that the disease wasn't going away and at the age of 45, I needed to make some serious changes. One of the best things that I did was join a support group. Hearing that many of my issues weren't mine alone was such a relief. We encouraged and helped one another and also shared some of our own solutions and tricks.
I also have to agree about the sleep apnea/lack of REM sleep. My sleep studies didn't show apnea but did show an almost complete lack of REM sleep due to snoring. This problem had been ongoing for a few years and had gotten so bad last fall, that I know exactly the brain fog you refer to. If you are completely exhausted, you can't effectively cope with the life and pain issues around you. I finally resorted to major surgery on my nose and throat and have to say that I am actually dreaming again and feel so much more rested. By feeling so rested, I have been better able to cope with things such as my diabetes, exercising and weight issues. Sleep apnea and sleep studies might be worth talking to your doctor about.

Good luck and please know that you have many people out here saying prayers and sending cyber-hugs! Try not to be too hard on yourself. This is still all so new to you!


February 20, 2010 9:32 PM  
Blogger Village Books said...

Everyone will give you advice about miracle fibro fixes. But every one is different. The hardest part is getting used to it & forgiving yourself.

Courage! You're an artist!

February 21, 2010 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Gayle said...


Enjoy the trip to Ireland. You're totally right life is short -- enjoy each day.

You've gotten some good advice already on the fibro. There's a Ravelry group that I've found helpful Fiber Artists with Connective Tissue and Autoimmune Conditions. Many in the group have Fibro in addition to other problem and the suggests and understanding support are awesome.

Fibromyalgia in many ways is a sleep deprivation problem -- we hurt so we don't sleep deeply, and we don't sleep deeply so we hurt.

For you it's Tetris for me it's Spider. The things you do when your brain is on holiday are indeed time wasters but better than ripping out or erasing all you did while visiting fuzzy-thinking land.

Good luck finding insurance -- if letters to Congress could make them actually pass a good bill, we'd already have some new more affordable options.

February 23, 2010 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,
ok, more advice.
Have I mentioned "Eat to Live"? by Joel Furhman? And "The China Diet", and of course Michael Pollen "Food Rules".
We are what we eat, there's no denying it and most western MD"s will say people aren't strong enough, interested enough, etc to change what they eat. But, people do!!
Fruit, greens and grains. Eat plants.

And yes, sleep, rest,'ve been through so much. No more superwoman. ...for a little while?
love, Susan P. Rick Lily Ruby

February 24, 2010 6:46 AM  
Blogger miukat said...

So sorry about how you feel :( I just got diagnosed two weeks ago, but I had a suspicion for the last year, and you're right-it takes time to process that this is not temporary; I'm right there with you. Have a good time in Ireland [jealous (1,000)], and try to take it easy-rest, nap, eat well, and try to have a VACATION, not a try-to-squeeze-everything-I've-ever-wanted-to-do-into-this-one-trip-ation.
I agree 100% that finding ways to reduce and manage your stress are critical for your well-being and it starts with one word, "No." Don't be afraid to use it :D

February 24, 2010 7:21 PM  
Blogger Khalila said...

Hi Annie,

I've had a family member suffering from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic health issues. She was in the hospital recently and the doctor who was taking care of her suggested a Mindful Stress Reduction class they offered at the hospital. He said that he was currently taking it and it's changed his life. I got us the book they use to teach the class and started reading. I really feel like it's going to be a good thing for both of us and it might helpful to you also.

It's called Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He's written a couple of books that I'm looking forward to reading. I'm reading a book he co-wrote with his wife called Everyday Blessings, A Guide to Mindful Parenting and I find his thoughts line up with mine and it's been helpful to have the philosophy in print to read. Full Catastrophe Living is written to people who suffer from chronic diseases and offers them a way to deal with what's happening to them. You might also want to see if they offer the Mindful Stress Reduction class at your local hospitals. I'm all signed up for the next one in October in my area (along with my family member). I don't suffer from a chronic disease but who doesn't need to know how to handle stress and anxiety related to life? Hang in there and have fun on your trip!

Love and good thoughts to you!

February 26, 2010 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meditation yes!!
It's one of the VERY best things we can do for our nervous system, AND immune system!!!
..go out and buy the family some cushions!
Susan P.

February 27, 2010 9:18 AM  

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