Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Past lives with a wooden spoon.

It's easy to forget other lives.  Even my own.  I can rationally recall life in Auckland when I had no kids.  But I can't really understand how I was so busy.  I only had myself to look after, for goodness sake!

It's not that long ago that I did less paid work and spent far more time at home.  I can't really remember it properly, though I remember I was busy and tired a lot.  But this week some of it is coming back to me.  Fionn has asthma and I found myself making a steam bath at 4.15am on Monday morning, just so he could breath well enough to sleep.  I rang work at 7.30, drove in to make arrangements for the work someone else would have to take over and then came home and was more tired and had less energy than Mr Asthma Man.  Out.  Of.  Practice.  Today he was actually worse, but I was better.  He came to work with me for a chunk of this morning, and then went to our lovely childminder after school so I could do a work meeting.  In between, I hung out in the kitchen.

Ah.  That's what I used to spend a lot of time doing.  Making chicken stock, hummous and pumpkin soup. Preparing the vegetables so dinner would be ready very soon after the work meeting.  Making steam baths with essential oils for Mr Asthma Man at regular intervals.  Pulling out the Malcolm Harker's lung tonic and checking breathing symptoms regularly.  And today was easy peasy because my daughter was at school, no longer the two year old emptying the cupboards while I hung the washing out.

Fionn has what I would describe as episodic asthma, where he is fine most of the year but will get 2-3 significant bouts per year which will lay him quite low.  I have learnt (I thought) to tell the warning signs, though this time I hadn't seen it coming.  I thought he was off strength for much of summer, but couldn't track what it was or how to help beyond good food and good sleep.

Tomorrow he will be off school again.  I've brought some work home to do with me for the morning and then he will come with me for the latter part of the day.  We are maintaining a hopeful silence around the Superheroes Night at Cubs on Thursday.  He and his buddy spent much of the weekend making their costumes a la Lord of the Rings and he will be devastated if he misses the special night.  This afternoon he unpicked his overly large camo fleece scarf which I made him last year in order to make some kind of cape to go with the axes and armour and belts...  now he has a new skill - using the quikunpick!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Behind the Sun

 Gimli and the water girl.

There were to be more pictures of this weekend, but there seems to be an upload problem at my end.

I did make chocolate brownie and added whizzed up almonds and some frozen blueberries. I did make basil and rocket pesto.  I used the first red onion from the garden in tonight's pasta sauce.  It's not going to win any prizes for size, but after several years of attempting to grow red onions, these ones have gotten to edible size.

I did some more sewing and wondered at my choice of the brightest fabric in the land.

I fitted in paid work on Saturday and Sunday.  I always wanted to contain work within the children's school hours, but this year is looking different already.  Saturday I took Brighid with me and she played on her scooter, read for a while and then helped me with data entry.  Sunday I commandeered the dining room table and everyone else played or worked out in the sun, leaving me to concentrate and make some good progress.

I'm reading the latest Deborah Challinor, Behind the Sun.  I've come to really love her writing.  Her stories are well researched, gripping historical yarns with strong female protagonists.  I'm off to bed to read some more very soon.  I finished Between the Oceans by M L Stedman last week.  Well written, but oh the tears.  I wept buckets.  If you are stressed and need a good-sized cathartic cry, it's the perfect book.  Between the Oceans is Stedman's first novel and I'll be watching for a second one with interest.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Look 6735

New Look 6735 with elbow length sleeves.  I finished it in the weekend.  I bought the fabric at Morelands Fabric in Nelson and I really like it.  Actually, I wish I'd bought enough to make a tiramisu dress with it.  Today I wore it for the first time and I'm pleased with it.  Obviously, if I'd been to the hairdresser at all this year, I wouldn't look exactly like this.  But this look is pretty typical and I'm not about to wait until I have the perfect look and location and photographer (I took tonight's photos by holding the camera in front of me) just to put a record of my sewing on my blog.

I wore it with a long black skirt and a belt today.  Without the belt, the length focused the eye on my hips, which I didn't find visually pleasing.
It's paying off, this sewing lark.  This is the third version of the New Look 6735 top which I've made, and it's the first one which I've made with fabric I really like and to a standard which means I will regularly wear it to work.  Work is five days out of seven and so work clothes are definitely the most useful kind to sew.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tiramisu # 2

Tiramisu number 2! I cut and sewed it all in one day - I love how much easier/faster it is the second time round with a pattern.  The fabric is a cotton knit of wider black and yellow stripes, with a narrow white stripe in between each black and yellow stripe.  I was unsure whether to make a full dress as I thought the knit may cling.  This picture is with a slip underneath, which will be a constant, I think.  I made it as a wearable muslin before I cut into my Nelson holiday special fabric, but I think it is good enough for work (despite the fact that the centre seam of the skirt is not quite on the centre of my body which is absolutely my error not the pattern's).  The only thing I will change is that next time I will narrow the sleeves a little.  I made this one longer than version one.  Although I won't hem it for a few wears, I like the swish of the longer length.  It may even be a candidate for a no-hem hem.

I also finished the top which I started last weekend.  Pictures of that another day.

I've now done four weeks without any booze, plus I went to yoga this week.  I'm feeling about a grillion times better than a month ago, and I think the copper (plus the calcium and magnesium) is the crucial ingredient in my progress.  I'm not risking going backwards.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

long drive, short pictures

So I drive almost 250 kilometres and I have some blood tests and get injected with some iodine-like substance and they take some nuclear scan pictures of my thyroid and I have a multi-nodular goiter which is what they suspected already and I ask about when I see the endocrinologist.

I see the endocrinologist in July.

Then I drive almost 250 kilometres home again.

So just as well I'm not entirely dependent on the state health system for strategies to deal with heart problems, anxiety, wild irritability, shortness of breath and insomnia.  The calcium and magnesium (I switched to both rather than just magnesium last week) is helping a lot on the sleep quality front.  I've been taking a copper supplement for five days now.  This is in response to a very recent discovery, where it turns out that high iron supresses copper and that persons with haemochromatosis need more copper.  I also learnt that vitamin C and copper are antagonists, so I've stopped all vitamin C supplementation while I'm lifting my copper levels. 

Copper is also toxic in high quantities, and it is difficult to detect whether appropriate levels are available nutritionally from blood samples, even if I could persuade the medical people to test my copper levels.  On the basis of the reading I've done, and the case studies have been mostly anecdotal (whereas the information on copper's relationship with iron and with vitamin C and the impact of haemochromatosis comes from scientific studies), I plan to supplement daily with copper for a week, and then every second day, watching my symptoms, for another week, and then once, maybe twice weekly.  I have been noticeably more stable in terms of irritability and anxiety since about day three of taking the copper supplement.  The doctor wants six weekly thyroid blood tests, so I will get some specific feedback from those in the medium term as well.

In other news, caterpillar season continues, and I must have missed the nightly kill for two nights running, because last night I found shredded leaves and squillions of caterpillars.  More tonight of course.  All in the cause of winter meals of kale.

I'm adjusting (we all are) to the new season of what I've taken to calling the middle class tightrope.  If we live on only one income, we will not be able to finance the ballet, kung fu, swimming lessons and cubs that we currently support Fionn and Brighid doing at the moment.  If we lived on two full time incomes, then there would be no one available to take the children to ballet and swimming lessons (mercifully, cubs and kung fu are in the evening rather than afternoon).  So I juggle work and extra-curricular taxi arrangements and generally it works, but only after various frazzlements before everything turns out okay.  Tomorrow night I am going to incorporate my own activity and go to yoga.  I do need to get fitter to help support my health, and yoga seems a good choice for someone with a racy heart.  On current plans, I will drop FH at kung Fu, Fionn at cubs, both a little early, then Brighid can come with me to yoga, then afterwards we shall bus round collecting the boys up again.  And go to sleep.

I'm currently reading The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman.  Good so far.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


It's definitely tricky to be back at work while experiencing hyperthyroid symptoms.  Racing heart, anxiousness, irritability and a difficulty dealing with many things happening at once are all things I would like to farewell at the first available opportunity.

Cue more googling, thinking, and monitoring how I react to different supplements and situations.  What is the relationship between haemochromatosis and thyroid health?  Welll.

Well well well.

I thought this story of a nutritional approach to hyperthyroidism was interesting.

What supresses copper?  High levels of iron.

Well well well.  I've ordered some copper supplements as so much of what I've read tonight (I've not linked to all of it as it is bedtime) resonates with my own symptom profile.  I cannot perceive of any harm in trying out some copper supplementation.

On Monday I go over the hill for a nuclear imaging scan, and I hope (it's not explicit in the letter) that I get to see an endocrinologist after the scan.  The person in the link above also wrote about magnesium and calcium and what he wrote squares with what I've been observing of myself recently.  I'm off to take some more mag and calcium in an effort to prevent more insomnia.  If I can get the insomnia under control enough to drive safely to Christchurch without having to ask FH to take time off work to drive me, that would be significant progress all by itself.