Wednesday, 30 November 2011

In my garden

Since moving into our home in March this year I had been eagerly awaiting Spring and Summer to see just what our garden produced in the way of pretty blooms.  Unfortunately, stuck in hospital, I missed a good chunk of Spring and some of the bulbs and annuals I planted but there's still plenty of colour on display.

Our garden has a lot of Agapanthus... good thing they are pretty!

I have no idea what this tree is but it is amass with blooms at the moment.

Pretty coloured berries outside my bedroom window.

I'm undecided about my hibiscus... keep or remove?

The last of the snapdragons

One slightly sunburnt rose.
And a Meow decidedly peeved over having her photo taken, this was the photo with the least grumpy expression...

Farewell Spring, hello Summer!


Friday, 25 November 2011

This week I'm grateful for...


- Time to spend with family.  Seeing as I can't drive at the moment I have been relying quite strongly on my family to take me to appointments.  MR was doing it while he was home but he is back at work now so we can actually have some money coming in.  So my Dad and sister have been taking turns ferrying me about and staying overnight just in case.  Dad and I have been spending some father daughter Lego time, something we haven't done since I was about 12 perhaps? (My Dad is a HUGE Lego fan so we grew up with loads of it) We've begun working on his birthday present from 2 years ago, the Taj Mahal.

We're unfortunately stuck at this point because even though we've both searched through all the pieces twice, we can't find the piece we need.  The box says there is only one of that piece as well.  Sigh, I remember Lego building now... back to hunting.  Either way, it's been nice to spend a bit more time with family.
- Time to myself.  I'm slowly getting past the feelings of laziness at being home and off work for the past two and next two months.  So long as I am semi productive most days of each week I hope to escape the guilt of being home earning no money while MR busily works 13hr+ days.  Time to myself is lovely though.  Lots of reading, relaxing, napping and lots of creative crafting plans in the works...

- Time to heal.  I'm very grateful that I don't have to go back to work in a hurry and am able to give my body time to heal.  It's a slow process this scar healing but my doctor's are pleased with my progress and recover so far.  My weekly blood test and doctor's appointment have now been moved to fortnightly and my liver function tests are almost normal, hooray!

Happy 200 + 1-th gratefuls Maxabella!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Taking shape

The mojo is beginning to trickle back in...

The pink granny blanket has progressed a bit more.  I'm joining it using this method found on Carina's Craftblog but I've changed it just a little bit in an attempt to have less ends to sew in afterwards.  I have to join the two rows next, that will be the test to see if my altered method has worked or not....

 I made some of these Christmas stars to hang on the tree last year and my sister has put in a request for some for Christmas this year - in pink and white of course.  And I'm making some more red ones for me. 

I'm off to Spotlight this arvo with my voucher to stock up on Christmas supplies.  I've got my list almost ready and hopefully I'll come back with a big bag of mojo as well!

More inspiration and creativity here.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Hunting for my mojo

Usually at this time of the year I am flat out with reports and end of year school stuff.  Christmas is looming and I want to do so much Christmas crafting but I just don't have the time.  This year is a bit different however.  I am home, I have all day, every day free (bar a few doc appointments per week), I have no children to look after, my time is my own.  But I'm struggling to find the crafty mojo.  Or any mojo at all really!  It's been ages since I've blogged and yet I haven't been busy.  My days are currently spent couching with tv or a book or napping seeing as I'm still not sleeping properly at night. 

My recovery is going well, I can move around easily and do pretty much everything for myself, so long as I don't have to do it for a long period of time.  This week I have been trying to get into a bit of a routine, which hasn't really worked so far!  My aim is to do three half hour blocks of 'work' each day and at least one hour of crafting.  'Work' will be things like household jobs, unpacking the last few boxes in the study/spare/junk room, filing, tidying and arranging the craft room, gardening etc etc.  Today I did two loads of washing and watered the garden in the evening.  Two blocks of 'work' is better than the none I did yesterday right?

In the crafting department however it is even more dismal.  I haven't done anything since Sunday's Brown Owls meeting.  The pink granny blanket has begun to take shape, the first row is joined! I should be inspired by nearing the end of that, but I'm not really.  So today I went hunting for some Christmas inspiration to get my mojo back.  I got that ever so hard to resist $40 off when you spend $100 voucher in the mail from Spotlight and so I've been making a list of things to buy tomorrow when I tell Dad he is taking me to Spotlight after my hospital appointment.  Lucky Dad spending father daughter time in a craft shop! (I'm not allowed to drive yet)

This year at the top of my list is a wreath to hang on the front door.  I really want a wreath.  And I'm not paying $60 for one.  I'm sure I can make one for much less.

1 - 2 - 3 
4 - 5 - 6

Of course, then there is the decision of what type to make.  I like all of these, particularly the button one (middle left) which I've had saved in my inspiration folder since last November.  I also like the idea of a natural one similar to the top left but with ribbons, trim and bells.  And I'd probably need to buy a base for that because I have no idea how to make one.  The cookie cutter star wreath is just adorable but it would get lost hanging on the fly wire door.  Don't wreaths look so much nicer on a nice wooden door than on fly wire?  And the gingerbread one is great but very impractical in summer, unless I made it just for the day?  Decisions can be so hard!

What Christmassy thing is at the top of your list to make this year?

Saturday, 12 November 2011


via weheartit

Since being in hospital I haven't been able to sleep for longer than 3.5 hours at a time.  And that was only once. Most of the time I am waking up every hour or two.  To begin with it was because I was drinking so much water and I kept needing to go to the toilet, then it was because I was in pain.  Now, even though I am drinking less in the evenings and am on stronger pain meds I still wake up very regularly.  Sometimes I can pin point the reason - need to pee, uncomfortable, in pain, MR snoring too loudly, need to cough (and therefore need to sit up, I've ended up with a very chesty cough from my hospital stay and coughing is not a fun thing with a new scar, new liver and sliced open rehealing muscles).  Sometimes I am woken up by MR, on purpose, because I am having a nightmare and making loud noises.  I don't know if this is from the pain killers, from my recent experiences or left over toxins in my brain.  It's not fun though.  Sometimes I just wake up.  For no apparent reason.  I am only sleeping really really lightly, half of the time it feels like I am just dozing and still fully aware of movements and noise around me.

It sux.

I am SO tired.

I have tried napping, not napping, lavendar oil on the pillow, extra pain killers, staying up until tired and only going to bed then, going for a long walk (2km in 30 minutes, I'm still recovering after all).  Nothing is helping.  Poor MR is exhausted as well because more often than not he wakes up if I do, especially if I'm coughing or having a nightmare.

Today I spent the entire day in bed, reading a book and resting.  I had a nap from 12 - 1.20 but still woke up 40 minutes into the nap.

Of course, now it is 11pm and I am wide awake.  Tired, but nowhere near sleep.  I sent MR to bed a few hours ago so he could get in a small block of sleep without being woken up by me.

I really am over it, I've been home almost 3 weeks and apart from the one night with a 3.5 hour block (I was so excited) there has been no relief.

I know I spent just over a month in hospital being woken up for obs fairly regularly but surely my body hasn't developed such a strong habit from that.  I'm over it.  I really really am.

I don't want to take more medication but I'm at the point where I think I'm going to ask about sleeping tablets at my check up on Monday if nothing improves over the next two nights.

Any suggestions are very very welcome!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Two more days

image via weheartit

Just two more days and it would have been too late.

Yesterday my Mum told me that she was talking to one of my doctors with MR after my operation and he told her that my liver was so badly damaged that if we had to wait another two days for a donor liver it would have been too late.  He likened it to a skeleton leaf, apart from one very small section that was still semi-functioning, all that was left of my liver were the veins.


I had no idea it was that bad.

The days leading up to the operation are missing, lost in the fog as my body and brain attempted to cope with rising levels of toxicity that my liver could no longer handle.  I couldn't tell you what day or year it was, when my birthday was, I could barely remember any details about anything.

I have a fragmented memory of the one of the nurses coming in to tell me that they had a liver for me and then of us trying to call family and MR to let them know.  I couldn't remember any phone numbers and it was very early in the morning.  No one was picking up their phones.  I remember being really stressed that I wouldn't see MR before surgery.  The doctors were worried because I wasn't allowed to sign the forms for the surgery (due to state of brain confusion) and no one had arrived yet to sign them and they wanted to take me to theatre.  I remember asking every person I saw if I could have a drink of water (no) just a small sip? (no) can I just wet my mouth? (no).  I remember being so relieved when my Dad and MR arrived.  And then I wanted my sister.  No one had phoned her.  Oops.  I only have vague snippets of going into the operating theatre and hardly anything of being in intensive care recovery afterwards.

I think I am quite grateful for not really having these memories.

I am definitely grateful for my family and MR and his family who do have the memories and had to deal with all the stress of me being very sick, juggling work, life and managing to fit in practically daily hospital visits for over a month.  I am so very lucky to have them.

There is also immense gratefulness to MR who has taken carer's leave and has been looking after me since I got out of hospital.  The first few nights I woke him up practically every hour for assistance in getting up and out of bed so I could go to the toilet.  He has been cooking me dinner, washing dishes (his pet hate), washing clothes, inspecting wounds and scars, changing dressings, going for very slow walks up and down the street with me and many many many other things, all without a single complaint. 

And I am tremendously neverendingly grateful for my donor and their family for giving me the gift of life.  Words cannot express quite how honoured and lucky I feel.

Finally, I am grateful for the excellent team of surgeons, doctors and nurses who looked after me.   I am quite sure I was a fairly dreadful patient at times, although I would like to blame the toxicity in my brain and resulting confusion for most of it.  I took in five dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (bought through a fundraiser my Dad did, we don't have Krispy Kremes here in WA) to the ward last week when I had a check up to say thank you to everyone.  You don't realise quite how much nurses have to deal with until you are stuck in a hospital bed, unable to do anything at all for yourself. 

More gratefulness over here.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Decisions, decisions

One of the things I packed when getting ready for hospital was my crochet.  I thought, excellent... a few days of rest and recovery and lots of time to crochet, I'll get heaps done! Unfortunately this was not the case and apart from on the first day in I did no crochet at all.  Oh well.  

When I got home I went to grab my hook and wool and just sat there staring at it, unable to remember what I was supposed to do.  I couldn't even remember how to hold the hook.  Thankfully, it has all come back to me and I have spent a few hours in front of the TV with my hook.  

I'm so close to being finished with all the squares of the pink granny blanket, I decided to lay them out and work out a pattern.  I would love to do a higgeldy piggeldy one but my mind craves patterns and would just not cope!

I also had to make a decision on a final colour, I had started off with a coral pink but my sister wasn't a huge fan and it looked a bit too orangey next to the pinks so I found another pale pink ball I hadn't used and began a square in that to help me decide.

The coral colour option (bottom right corner)

The pale pink colour option
I love how taking a photo makes it so much easier to see colours and patterns.  Easy decision, the pale pink.

Then, I was looking through my craft room for some pins and came across one more square I'd missed.  This was even better because from the pattern above I had a few left over squares that I somehow ended up with odd numbers of.  Goodness knows how but there you have it.  And so now I had two more matching.  And ended up with this pattern, which I like even better.

And it also means I only have just over one more square to go! 
I'm hoping the joining up process goes a lot quicker than I'm imagining it will take in my head...

Check out more creativity over here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Reality = lots of drugs

When I was told I was going to have to have a liver transplant my first thoughts were about how I was going to have an organ from a dead person put inside me.  Charming way to put it I know, but that's where my head went.  I have a bit of an issue with dead things, they freak me out quite a lot.  So the thought of someone else's liver becoming mine took a fair amount of processing to get used to.  (I have complete and total respect to the person who I received it from and their family, thank you wherever you are - without your amazing generosity I would not be here right now) I still haven't 100% come to terms with it, it all happened incredibly fast and there was not a lot of time for processing of any information.  Even less so because I was also suffering from hepatic encephalopathy which basically means the toxins in my body that my liver would normally process were floating around everywhere including in my brain, making me very confused and quite a bit crazy. (A whole other post worth of craziness, believe me)

So when my sister came in to visit and I told her I was going to have to have a dead person's liver (I have since been banned from referring to it in that way, not helpful for me to adjust and disrespectful to my liver donor), her first comment was 'You're going to have a big scar!'  Now weirdly enough, or perhaps not given my state of confusion, I had not even thought about this part of the process.  But she was right.  I have got a scar. A really, really, really big one. And I really do not like it at all.

MR has been amazing.  Like, truly unbelievably wonderously amazing.  Through it all.  There is no way I can express how lucky I am to have him in my life.  I have had a bit of a cry to him about it and feeling unattractive and being worried that he will find it gross and unattractive also.  He assures me this is not the case and most of the time it is as if he doesn't even notice it.  The only times he does is to comment on how well it is healing (really well, all healed over now apart from one small bit).  To be entirely honest, when I have my top off to put the Bio Oil on he is much more interested in what else is on display (as you can imagine, it's been a while!) 

I know I should be proud of it.  It is a badge of honour of what I have been through.  But since getting the last of the staples out on Monday (Yay!) and being able to see it properly without any metal things hiding it, I have become a bit obsessed with it.  I religiously Bio Oil it twice a day, very gently massaging it each time.  I look at it in the mirror and try to associate it with being a part of me.  It doesn't seem like it belongs there. I had a normal looking tummy one day and the next a giant upside down T in its place.  I want my old tummy back.  It was a bit on the pudgey side and I wasn't really keen on it but in hindsight, oh it seems so perfect!  (This new me has also lost 8kg.  I haven't been this weight since I was about 19.  Small silver linings are shining through.)

So, I've decided to be brave, and perhaps a little bit out there (in more ways than one) and show you a photo of it.  Not because I want you to say 'Wow it looks great, you can barely notice it' or anything like that because that would just be a big fat lie.  More because I need to come to terms with it being a part of me.

(Apologies if you're squeamish, perhaps just close the screen now without scrolling further!)

Some background information...

Apparently the liver is the largest organ in the body, something I certainly wasn't aware of before now.  It lives up under the ribs on the right hand side which explains why they had to make such a big cut.

The two half healed holes below the scar are where the drains were after the surgery.  The one on my right was stitched up but the one on my left wasn't so once it heals I'll have quite a thick scar.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask...