Friday, 25 January 2013

Hurrah for piccies!

That's better. I hadn't realised just how monochrome these photos were - but thinking back they are probably accurate, the sky was laden with snow.

I am very delighted because I have DONE SOMETHING this week!
Over on Ravelry, the delightfully bonkers lot in The Chocolate Teapot group are braving a knitalong, making a throw a month at a time (a square at a time? I think you know what I mean).

Not only did I manage to knock a pattern together BUT also, eventually (after rather a lot of muttering, chocolate, muttering and chocolate) managed to write, chart and publish the pattern.

Go me!
It is for this:

Made from aran weight, 5mm needles, but of course can be made using any weight wool although then the size of the squares will vary. It is much easier than it looks (unless it looks easy, in which case it's pretty much as it looks!), and has a moss stitch border. It is charted and written, and hopefully makes sense.
Available here:
(hopefully). Will also try to link it to this blog.

I have a cardi pattern almost ready to launch too, just a couple of bits to tweak, and a pair of fingerless mitts lined up.
It feels damned good to be doing something, getting this dullard brain to start working again. I can only do it in fits and starts, but am getting better at making the most of the on hour here and there when my hands work.

I hardly dare say it out loud, but they don't feel quite as painful today. Still very swollen, but I can bear to rub cream into them which I certainly can't when they are really bad. I would cross my fingers but that might be pushing my luck!

Why yes they ARE pirate pants. I keep meaning to try making underwear (I refuse to call them PANTIES), and suspect that these will remain on the table for weeks before making their way, unmade, back into the bag. But I started. So I might continue.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


It exists! Yesterday I was stir crazy, I needed some air and to stretch my (stumpy) legs. I managed the short walk to the corner shop as a test run (well, pootle rather than run) with my fab Yaktrax on (HIGHLY recommend these, what a difference!). That was do-able, so I kept going and headed to the park over the road and oop the hill. Slooooooow - I sat on every bench on the way, made a couple of family phone calls, texted friends and my sis. Slow slow slow. But the snow was beautiful - crisp, dry, fresh. With my stick and my boots, and my snug as a bug coat and hat, it was all do-able.
The park is lovely, considering it is in a pretty deprived area. Down the steep right hand side lie the railway line, the canal and then the River Aire, with views right across the west of the city (I think, I really must try and work out what the views are of).This is the west side of Leeds so the view must be what, East? Anyway, there is a view. Of things. I particularly like the views (across Kirkstall and Burley areas) with all the rows of neat little back to back terraces with the church spires standing tall. There are also many chimney stacks from the old mills, mixed with the rather grotty tower blocks. I like it, despite not being a city girl at all. I used to wander along the canal walkways a lot in that former life when this little bod worked properly, but blimey it was good to get out!
I have no idea whatorder these photos will come out in, so bear with me - I am posting this in HTML so cannot see them until I press 'publish'. Part way into my wander I came across a fab half-igloo, made with two sweet tubs. Ingenios! Perfect blocks - I really hope that 1) nobody knicked the tubs and 2) nobody kicked down the igloo. It's lovely that even in a fairly rough area children still play in the snow and make things.
I was EXHAUSTED when I got home - a walk that would take me what, ten minutes if I was well, took me ages with plenty of rests. I slept like a log when I went up for a kip, didn't sleep last night and by hell my calves ache today! (I am pleased that they do, I haven't had aching muscles since I used to go to the gym, so at least I know that my legs have had a bit of a workout). Worth every ache and yawn to have had a walk in the fresh air. Loved it. Stay warm and stay upright!

Monday, 21 January 2013

This might just work ...

Minimal words as this is the third time I have tried this!

Dodgy typing, I haz no control over this way of posting!

Feathered friends waiting impatiently for their brekkie.

Things started ....... 

SUPERB book finished.

Knitty things finished.....

..... including sewing the backing.

(see, I told you I had no control over this thing, I cannot move piccies or anything! Just bear with it).
More knitty finished - this is for a throw I started last year.

And that's it for now because Rude Words are being muttered about this bloomin' bloggy carry on.

Keep warm all!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Still photo-less.

Grrrrrr to it.

Words will have to do.

I have done some sewing. Only two poxy rows of ziggyzaggy, ready to pop a zip in. But to anyone who has been in this godforsaken land of inertia, you might just understand the importance of this.

There is a world of difference between wanting to sew, and actually getting the machine out, rigging it up, sorting the bits you plan to sew. A whole world that can seem (and in fact BE) insurmountable when you are utterly drained. The mind is willing but the body is broken, or vice versa. It is bloody frustrating!

I learned to sew before I was taught knitting and crochet; I have photos of me with my 6th birthday gift, a lovely sewing box with drawers and wotnot filled with threads, needles, scissors. I absolutely LOVED that box! I also had one of those toy sewing machines that were forever breaking / knotting the threads / breaking. My mum did a lot of sewing; one year my sis and I received lovely large dolls for Christmas, each with an amazing set of hand sewn clothes. Red velvet capes edged in lace, silvery ball gowns. I remember mum sewing when we went to bed, set up in the little bedroom which later became my own room.

As I got older mum taught me to make pencil skirts (what can I say, EVERYONE had pencil skirts!), blouses etc. My beloved nan used to cut down my gag's old coats to make new coats for my mum and my aunty when they were little girls, so crafty things run in the blood.

I used to sew for a living when my daughter was little - I sewed for several shops, did alterations from home, then branched out into ballgowns (huge demand for these as I lived in hunt ball territory)(yes, personal politics take second place to ethics when one is skint), the occasional wedding dress and curtains galore. My dining room became a permanent sewing room with rails and rolls of fabric, absolute bliss. I trained as a pattern cutter many (many) moons ago at art college, and loved speading out huge sheets of pattern paper and making it all up as I went.

So going from that to not even having the energy to cut out a pattern (or not having the physical ability, I can't cut out on the floor anymore or my knees will have me up before a tribunal for unfair suffering) has been hard.

I rang mum the other day to tell her I had sewn two lines - and she completely understood what this meant to me.

I am hoping to make it across the living room to the table today (I spent yesterday asleep until 4pm!) and actually SEW that damned zip in, rather than thinking about it. I have two cushion cover front all knitted up, ready to be backed - wish me luck!

Friday, 18 January 2013


Oh for feks sake. The one time I actually have photos to add, of things other than methotrexate - and blogger is being an arse.

Having Googled, it seems many other bloggers are having the same problem, and it is a sneaky mission to get everyone to change to Chrome. Not that I am completely sure what the difference is, but I am not good with change when it isn't essential. I happen to like how it worked up until now! (This is my excuse for being an interwebz dunce).

I tried to upload via Picassa but it only lets me load old photos which is no use at all.

Grrrr. Someone said they are using Chrome just for loading the photos and IE for everything else, but again I am duncelike in my ignorance of how / what this is.

I can give you a photo from 2010?
but that's bog all use.
I can show you what Keef gets up to when he has access to the laptop.

But anything from today? Nope.

I could sing you a little song?

It's starting to look like I have a choice between Chrome, or paying to use a (better?) blog host such as Word Press. Not confident I am geekytalented enough to get anything half decent up and running with the latter though ....

So that's as good as it gets today, sorry. Healthwise (and thank you for the comments and messages) I have perked up, it seems I lose a week to the RoActemra and then start to pick up. My knee isn't broken thank goodness, the Xrays showed more osteoarthritis damage as well as the RA, so it is probably the same as my left knee, with bits of cartilage coming loose and hitting the damaged bits. It makes me swear sometimes,  nothing wrong with that!

I have also discovered the utter joy of the Inbetweeners, how the hell have I been oblivious to it this long??! It has made me laugh outloud, especially the fashion show in series 3. Highly recommend, very rude, very crude but brilliantly written and acted. Best anti-depressant!

I will leave you with that pearl of wisdom. And no photos, sorry!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

RozzzzactemrazzzZZZZzzzz ...

This must be the damned infusion - I am so tired. Tired doesn't begin to describe it really; utterly wiped out, want to cry, drained beyond belief, too tired to go upstairs to bed sort of tired. Then get into bed and have nightmares. Yippee.

Tired and spotty. How nice. My skin broke out last time and it's not great at the mo. Buggerit. And an upset tum yet again.

The annoying part (well, annoying apart from having the shites and zits and being wiped out), is not quite knowing what is causing what. The methotrexate always upsets my tum, by rights I should be a skinnyminny. The RA flare ups make me exhausted as well as in pain. ME obviously clobbers me. Have never had spots though so I am truly blessed.

What next? Piles? Guinea worm? The clap?? Tis a good job I don't have a social life I think, with this lot I would be a social pariah anyway ... get thee away from the spotty farty short-arse in the corner, kids!

Today has gone something like this:

  • slept okish thanks to double sleeping tabs last night, bonkers dreams as usual
  • lay in bed working out what hurt and how tricky it would be to get down stairs
  • looked at the clock, sighed, wished it was later
  • got up, inspected spot situation, fed PSidney, fed the birdies, had painkillers, rang mum, had piece of bread, went back to bed
  • repeated all except feeding birdies a couple of hours later
  • sat on settee
  • sat on settee
  • etc
Throw in a very temperamental internet, phone that's working as effectively as my body, not being able to warm up, hands too sore to knit and yippeedooooo, it's a wonderful day!
It's what, 6.36pm - and all I want is to go to bed. But as my tum is doing ominous crampygurgly things I can't risk it yet (upstairs = bed, downstairs - bathroom), hence this post.

Grrrrr. Plus I suspect I smell.

Right, mutter over. I will try to summon the energy for a bath (unlikely), a piece of toast (possible), ringing mum yet again (inevitable) and watching tripe. Toodles and keep warm.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

RoActemra. Part two.

Relax, this will be brief.

I had the second infusion on Turesday morning, yesterday was spent asleep, ditto today. I have been shivery, upset tum and utterly wiped out - none of which are serious or severe, but all combine to make it a day on the settee asleep under a duvet.

Plus today is Methotrexate day, yippee. So throw in (or up) meths nausea too.

I also had my knee x-rayed to rule out any breaks (yes, it's THAT painful).

More another day, I am going back to the land of snoooooozing.

Monday, 7 January 2013

A month? No way! Part the first.

Absolutely cannot believe a month has gone by and tomorrow is RoActemra day again.

I did say I would write more about it - so you have been warned, skip past if you are not interested. I couldn't find much information before my first session, so maybe this will help someone out there as the drug becomes more availabubble.

This is a trial, although the drug is also available on the NHS (the little ward I am on each month is next door to the ward where other patients have infusions for RA). Plenty of information here:

RoActemra / tocilizumab

In laymans terms, it works in a different way to older biologics by blocking a different cause of inflammation (IL-6). Biologics such as Enbrel are anti-TNFs - they all block the effects of inflammation but in different ways, and different types of inflammation.

Confused? Rheumatoid Arthritis is a complex disease and affects people in different ways. To complicate it further, it's pretty much impossible to predict what each day will bring - one of the most frustrating things is not knowing which parts of my body will work day to day, whether anything will flare up, or whether the utter exhaustion will kick in. It makes planning even the most basic things such as having a bath or washing my hair ridiculous and I know I tend to let friends down regarding meeting up etc. Bugger.

To be given biologics on the NHS, you have to have tried and 'failed' - ie not able to tolerate - at least two DMARDs (disease modifying drugs such as Methotrexate and Sulphasalazine), have active inflammation and swelling, and a high  DAS - disease activity score (measured by joint counts - not the reefer types - blood tests, pain and swelling).

To date, I have tried:

  1. methotrexate tablets
  2. methotrexate injections
  3. steroid injections
  4. plaquenil
  5. leflunomide
  6. sulphasalazine
  7. methotrexate injections again
  8. methotrexate tablets again
  9. steroid injections into both wrists
over the last year and a bit. As EVERYTHING on that list has side effects (as have the pain killers and anti-inflammatories I am on), it has been a bit of a battle for this poor little body. As so little food stays inside me (and often I just cannot eat anything other than dry toast), by rights I should be skinny! Hey ho.

I was absolutely delighted when the Prof, Mr TopMan Consultant, said I would be 'perfect' for this new trial. Hurrah! Cue several hours of hospital tests, scans, x-rays, blood tests, etc etc etc and several weeks worrying about  the results. I never thought I would see the day that I actively WANTED to have needles stuck into me. And here I am, with my second infusion tomorrow morning, and already feeling like an old hand at this malarky.

I think that's enough medical waffle for one post, so will describe the actual monthly session next time ( i won't tempt fate by saying 'tomorrow' as it knocked me for six last time).

My appointment has been changed from 1pm to - gulp - 8am. Yuk. Mum will get there as soon as she can, bless her. She gets the train through for as many of my hospital appointments as possible, and was lovely company last time. Bonkers, utterly bonkers, but lovely.

Knitting has happened.
Tidying is ongoing.
Sewing might happen one day.
Photos might just be taken.