Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Cancer Research
 Today has been 4 months since Brian died. Needless to say it has been a difficult day.
This morning, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Dale Greiner of The University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Greiner took the time to explain his research to me. While his background is primarily in Diabetes research, his work offers promise to patients with Cancer, Diabetes, HIV, and other auto-immune diseases. 
                                                            Dr. Greiner
"Our laboratory is focusing on the development of “humanized” mice to study human T1D in collaboration with Dr. Leonard Shultz at The Jackson Laboratory. We have developed unique strains of mice that can be engrafted with functional human cells and tissues, including human islets and human immune systems. We are now using these mice to understand how human beta cells resist killing by a human autoimmune system in vivo, how human beta cells replicate and regenerate in vivo, how human autoreactive cells develop in a human diabetes-susceptible immune system, and how a human immune system targets and kills beta cells in vivo. These approaches are allowing us to understand and dissect mechanisms important in human T1D that cannot be studied directly in humans. Moreover, because these mice readily accept human cells and tissues, we are now using them to study human regenerative medicine, immunity, human-specific infectious agents and cancer."

Those of you who know me well know that my vegetarian soft-heart struggles with animal research. You also know that I would have done almost anything to save Brian, and that if risking the lives of 50 mice could have saved him, I would have done so in a second.

Next month Dr. Greiner will be honored as the first recipient of the Dr. Eileen L. Berman and Stanley I. Berman Foundation Chair Grant to research early detection and treatment of abdominal cancers including appendicial and peritonial cancer. He is one of only a few researchers world-wide focusing on these insidious forms of cancer.

Sadly, it is too late to help Brian. The cancer struck him so cruelly and left us with no viable treatments. Dr. Greiner's work, however, can save others from the same fate. This research can help with early detection, and offer the promise of new and patient-specific treatment options.

Dr. Greiner's work has become my hope. His research has become my charity of choice. Brian's death was senseless and cruel. If I can help spread the word about this promising research, and if by spreading the word, I can help raise funding for this research, then maybe I can be instrumental in finding a cure. Then maybe Brian's death will not have been for nothing.

Donations to Dr. Greiner's research can be made to:

The Diabetes Center of Excellence
attn: Lisa Hubacz, Administrator
55 Lake Avenue North, AC2-208
Worcester, MA 01605

Donations marked for cancer research will be earmarked specifically for this project.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I don't know anything about Bruges Lace, but I would love to win this contest!   Not looking for competition (I want this book!), but you can enter the contest too.  Just use this link

Sunday, July 07, 2013
I know that grieving is a process.  I know that with time, I will start to feel human again and develop a routine that feels normal.  I know that I am blessed with a family that loves and supports me, and the very best friends that anyone could ask for.  I am showered with love and care.

I know that with time, the pain I feel will lessen, and that life will be easier. 

Brian was amazing.  He was my best friend, my husband, my lover, my biggest fan, and my most reliable and honest critic.  He made me laugh, he made me smile, he brought so much joy into my love.  He taught me the meaning of unconditional love. 

I know that things will get better, but it is hard to feel hopeful about the future, when I know that my best years are in the past. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013
Please, help to save a life

I recently lost my husband to cancer of the appendix. If you google "appendix cancer" you'll find lots of amber ribbon products: t-shirts, jewelry, buttons, etc. They even market amber ribbon products for Appendix Cancer Month.

But if you google "when is appendix cancer month?" you won't find an answer. There is no month designated for appendicial cancer. It is such a rare form of cancer, that not only can't you find it's "month", you'll be hard pressed to find places to donate money specifically for research of appendicial cancer.
The PMP Pals Network provides a short list of doctors doing research in appendicial and peritonial cancers to whom you can donate directly, but there is no one organization with a voice loud enough to raise awareness and raise money for research.

Lots of organizations are selling Amber Ribbon products to "raise awareness", but what they are mostly raising are corporate profits. These products might make us feel better, but they do nothing to bring more attention to the disease, educate people about early warning signs, or find more effective treatments and cures.

Brian died because Appendicial Cancer is a bitch. It grows silently without warning signs, and by the time it is detected it is often spread throughout the peritoneal cavity. By the time Brian exhibited any symptoms, the cancer was everywhere. He first showed symptoms on December 28th. By the time he had a diagnosis, on January 8th, it was stage IV terminal cancer.

I don't know how I, as an individual, can make a difference. I desperately want people to be aware of this rare cancer. I desperately want funds designated for research and for education and awareness.

"Appendix cancer usually does not cause symptoms until it is in an advanced stage and has spread to other parts of the body. When symptoms are present, they vary from person to person and may include:

*Acute appendicitis: Most cases of appendix cancer are discovered during surgery for appendicitis
* Increase in abdomen size/girth, bloating
* Vague abdominal discomfort in the lower right abdomen
* Pelvic discomfort
* New hernias
* Bowel obstruction
* Ovarian masses
* Acute or chronic abdominal pain "

Patients may also notice a darkening of the skin under the arms, on the lower abdomen, and in the groin area.

I have been accused of having a big mouth, but even my big mouth is too small for the task at hand. So I'm asking for your help to raise awareness. If we all post the amber ribbon and the warning signs on our blogs and facebook timelines, maybe we can spread information and help to save a life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013
My husband died in my arms on April 20th.

My life has been turned upside down, and this has been a horrible time, but I thank you all so much for all your kind words and messages.

Sunday, February 03, 2013
I don't usually post personal things on my blog, but my life has been turned upside down.  On January 8th my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  Chemo might buy him some time, but the cancer is terminal and he is not expected to go into remission.

I have been with him at the hospital thanks to so many dear friends who are surrounding us with love, praying, bringing me meals, staying with me during surgeries, and taking care of our dog and cat.

My husband is the love of my life.  He is kind and good, compassionate, smart, funny, strong, and courageous.  He is in pain, but is handling this with strength.  I, on the other hand, am falling apart.  I can not relieve his pain, and I don't know how to help him.

This is torture.  He is right here in the room with me, but I miss him so much.  I don't know how much time we will have together, I just pray that he can have quality time.

I am so sad and so lonely.  He has been the one to help me through so many difficult times, but he can't help me with this one.  I am in so much pain, but I know that my pain is just a fraction of his.

He just turned 48 in December.  Our 7th wedding anniversary will be the 26th of this month.  This is so unfair and cruel.  My heart is broken.

Sunday, December 09, 2012
What I've been up to
Well, the eye has not been great and is slowing me down a bit, but I've still be knitting, crocheting and weaving. 

Still working on my nephew's prayer shawl, but haven't made a tremendous amount of progress on the loom.

I'm still knitting the shawl, but with my eye issue, it is really very hard to see the stitches, so I've made almost no progress.

I did remake the little crochet post stitch vest, and this time I completed the hood.  It's ok, but I'm not thrilled with how it came out, so I haven't gotten around to sewing on the buttons yet.  I need to do that because it needs to be finished while it is still close enough to wear!!!

I did finally finish my ruffle scarf.  Last year I made a ton of novelty scarves for holiday gifts.  I started one for myself, but the weather got warm and I never finished it.  I decided I needed to, and I got it done this week.  I LOVE it and have been wearing it every chance I get!


I have no idea why suddenly blogger insists on showing my photos sideways.  It's very annoying - but with this scarf it doesn't really matter.

Today I crocheted a hat for my niece, Cheyenne.  She has been posting all sorts of cute crocheted hats on pinterest, so I decided to make her one for the holidays.  This is similar to something that she posted.  I hope she likes it.  

Sideways again!

Anyway, Chey is a beautiful young girl, and I think this will be really cute on her.

And, I'm still working on another knit beaded scarf - a project I really enjoy!



Sunday, November 04, 2012
Still here!
I haven't posted recently, but not because I'm not involved in projects.  I'm probably involved in too many projects, and not getting any done!!!

I'm still working on weaving my nephews prayer shawl.  I love the fabric I'm creating, but my back has been hurting so my weaving time is limited

I'm still working on the lovely shawl, but my eye has been bothering me and it isn't easy to see my stitches, so I'm making mistakes.  :(

I found an amazing post stitch crochet sweater to make, and I love the pattern.  I followed the instructions for the 6 month size, but despite my gauge appearing to be correct, the sweater turned out tiny!  It's more like a take me home from the hospital and then hand this down to another newborn because I'll outgrow it in a week size.  I hate frogging though, so I omitted the hood and the sleeves, and just completed it as a vest.  Then I immediately started a larger version using the 9 month size and a larger hook.  Hopefully this one will be better.

I haven't yet blocked it or sewn on the buttons, but this gives you an idea of what it will look like.  The larger version will be hooded and have sleeves.

I plan to donate this to Marine Corps Kids and thinking of sending it to Germany where they will need really warm items for the babies.

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Grandbaby Gift
The other day my husband casually mentioned that someone he worked with had just become a grandfather, and asked if I had something made that I could send as a gift.  Um...no, but crochet is fast!  So I quickly made this little dress.  It took only a few hours to make, and I think it turned out cute!

I know that some people think that crocheted garments pale in comparison to knitted ones, but I could NEVER have created a knit dress in so short a time.

I love to weave, crochet and knit; and there is definitely a time for each.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The tallis is coming along nicely.  The fabric is a bit more green that I anticipated, but I love the beautiful ocean hues.

I did have one problem when I found a knot in one of my warp threads.  It was small enough that I got the loom warped without noticing it, but when I started to weave, the reed would not pass easily over the know and the thread became loose.  I wasn't sure how to fix it as I'm not very good with warp repair.  In a moment of extreme luck, I was able to cut the thread and repair it using the invisible join loop method that I used for crochet.  The repair area will be slightly thicker, but I've already worked past it, and it is not visible in the final fabric. 

I really like the way the fabric is turning out, and hope that I will be able to create a beautiful and useable tallit!