Pumpkin plant in back yard with male flower...still waiting for female flowers to bloom!!
Thanks for your comments on the Burda rufflicious dress. I wore it to work on Tuesday; the ruffle was a big hit. It definitely needs bra strap holders, though. The weight of the ruffle pulls the dress to the left, exposing the right bra strap.
No sewing this weekend as I did chores yesterday and went to a 6 hour silent meditation retreat today. The program I am doing is Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, though I'm taking the class in Princeton, not Massachusetts. It's an 8 week program. I have two more classes to go. It's a great class and have found it helpful for dealing with my chronic pain, though today my back was screaming through the class. Often the meditation reduces my back pain but not today!
So last Sunday night my left cheek started feeling numb, like I gone to the dentist and had novacaine. Such a weird feeling, which lasted through early Wed morning. Plus my arm was numb on and off, and my lightheadedness continued much of the week. I called my PCP Monday morning who was able to get my appt with a neurologist moved up from Aug 16 to Wednesday afternoon. The neurologist asked me how I was doing, and I said, "I'm a little freaked out" and he replied, "awwww...". He also looks like a grandfatherly teddy bear with a white beard and white hair. He may be the most calm doctor I've ever been to, and his office was efficiently run. My appt was for 12:30 and, get this, he actually came into the room at 12:30!!!
He did some of the same tests as my PCP and some new ones (Hold your hands out, palms up, eyes closed, and drew numbers on my hands, what were they?) He ordered an MRI of my brain with contrast to rule out MS, bloodwork for things like vitamin E and lymes disease, and 3 evoked potential tests. I had the blood drawn Friday (results??? but wow I was lightheaded for that test, and the phlebotomist had trouble drawing blood and now I'm bruised there--first time that's ever happened) and will have the evoked potential tests Tuesday afternoon. I'm waiting to hear back from their office with the authorization code from my insurance company so that I can then schedule the MRI. He said depending on the test results I might have to have other MRIs or a spinal tap. Eek on the spinal tap. Let's avoid that at all costs shall we?? I don't see him again til Aug 25, his first available, to discuss results.
Yesterday I felt the best I have in two weeks! No numbness nor lightheadedness.
As for my abdominal pain, I saw my gyno for the annual exam on Monday. He says my pain is too high for it to be related to my reproductive organs but he could order a pelvic ultrasound if I wanted. I said yes, so I'm to call on the first day of my period and get the u/s scheduled for about a week later. He thinks my pain is either muscular or that I'm really sensitive to my pelvic kidney.
I never heard back from the surgeon about my CT results. Well, she had said if the CT was clean to see my gyno for a pelvic u/s or go to a gastroenterologist for a scope. I'm thinking of letting that go for awhile since my CT was clean as noted in this post (though the gyno noted that the CT scan results didn't mention the uterus or ovaries and that normally they do). Anyway, I haven't had bad ab pain since the day I wrote my frustration post.
So yesterday I slept in and took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Subsequently I was wide awake at midnight, after watching, ahem, Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids edition and some other drivel. I probably didn't fall asleep til 1am. I'm trying not to lie down til bedtime tonight otherwise I will have a gigantic nap...
Princeton Farmer's Market flowers for this week, my happy, happy black and green eyed susans (with some flowers left over from the week before).
Hello all! Let's talk about sewing today. I decided to give Burda 7379 a whirl... I'm a sucker for a great ruffle, and this one delivers.
I mean, really, check out this ruffle action (that is ruffle on gathered armhole action there).
And check out my "fake out sway back adjustment". It's called using a belt and pulling up the part that should have been tucked in a swayback adjustment up and over the belt. Here I did that poorly, but you can see the rufflage on the back of the dress as well. (These thin straps are not hiding my bra strap, I might install bra strap holders). (and I might cut across the back of the dress and do a real sway back tuck back there).
and a closeup of front rufflage.
So, there were a few things.
I used a knit fabric instead of a woven as per the pattern envelope. I recall vowing previously to never do that again, on a different pattern. I acknowledged breaking the vow and went ahead anyway. This knit is from Metro Textiles, from Antoinette and my big NYC shopping day. It is a thin knit and sort of wrinkles a little bit, which surprised me.
According to the pattern, the dress is supposed to be cut on the bias of the woven fabric. I cut it on the grain since it was a knit, size 10 grading to size 12.
I tried the neck facing but it was kind of a disaster. So I turned the edge over and twin needle stitched. Looks ok.
The left armhole actually gets gathered too! I wound up finishing off that armhole with single fold bias tape. But the armhole is TOO big, especially compared to the right armhole. Another great expression there.
So I sewed in about an inch there to take care of that problem.
Oh, and here's the ruffle in progress. It's two big long strips of fabric, cut at intervals which I'm not sure was necessary. and the directions were confusing for that. The illustration did not match the pattern directions. So I cut the bottom strip every 3.25 inches and the top strip every 2 inches which matches the illustration and made more sense to me. However, I'm not sure that cutting the strips on any interval really would have mattered.
Anyway, these pieces are based with two rows of stitching down the middle, then gathered and sewn on to the top (and then that left armhole is gathered as well).
And here's a closeup on Emma, twin needle stitching and all:
Oh, and the directions. I hated how the pattern adds SAs and then the directions say to "cut off SA at edge of neckline" and "cut off allowance at edges of armhole". What? When I gave up on binding the neckline I cut off some of that SA (while I was cutting off the binding, lol), but did not cut off allowance at edges of armhole.
So, yeah, if I hadn't spent like an hour futzing with the neckline (installing neck band, removing neck band, tightening neck band, reinstalling neck band, waving the white flag and just cutting the neckband off, turning the raw edge over and twin needle stitching) I probably could have done this dress in about 4 hours.
So, I might do a swayback adjustment on this, and I might install bra strap holders. Or one or the other. Or neither.
Oh, and here is a cicada from last week, on the outside looking in
Hello lovelies! Again, thank you for all your warm wishes. I really, really needed them. And for the doctors and nurses who read this blog (KID MD and Vanessa) I am totally interested in your opinion! Don't hesitate to let me know. :)
My brain is on overdrive. I took two, 2-hour naps this afternoon. The first one woke me up because I had a dream (nightmare) where I couldn't see anymore. Ugh. My brain really needs to take a holiday...
Ok, so here are some results! My bloodwork is normal. I don't know exactly all the things that were tested (vitamin B12 and thyroid were among them), and I asked for a copy of the results, but sometimes they don't send them. I will keep after them with these results since I will need them for the neurologist.
Anonymous asked if I take a lot of vitamins because it seems like I am mainly vegetarian, and too much of some B vitamins can lead to neuropathy, just like too little B12 can lead to it too. The answer is I take a basic one-a-day multivitamin, Fisol fish oil capsules (they are small and easy to swallow) and vitamin D. I had fallen off the wagon taking the supplements but am back on that wagon.
I never heard back from the surgeon about the CT scan results. I went to the imaging facility on Friday evening to pick up the CT images (for my burgeoning 'greatest hits' collection) and the receptionist said, "oh, they didn't include a copy of the report. Let me print one for you now." JACKPOT! So here you go. Basically it says I have a normal abdominal exam and a right pelvic kidney. NOTHING about a hernia!
So last Monday when I saw the surgeon, she said that if the CT scan is clean, she would refer me to a gastroenterologist for a scope. She also asked about the last time I saw my gyno; that will be on Monday and I will bring all reports and ask him if he has any ideas about my pain.
Here's the ultrasound report for my kidneys and bladder from 6/14/11, with the comments from the urologist (I have blurred the radiologist's name):
As for the numbness, it is back on and off, and I feel lightheaded quite frequently. My mom found a member of her family with MS; we are genetically linked through my great-grandfather. However it's also plenty hot out and I never do well in hot hot hot weather (though I am inside in a/c like 99% of the time these past few days). Here's the car thermometer yesterday at 5:30 or so pm:
Weather.com also has had "air quality alerts" for probably 2 months now and maybe that has something to do with it too. Perhaps not freaking out about my health would help as well, and going out and having some FUN would help too. Two neighbors have said I should relax and not do so much (one suggested that I stop reading pain books), and my boss has said I can take some personal days. I am really appreciative of my boss because he does not make me feel guilty for taking so much time away from work for so many doctor appointments.
My only appts for this week are the gyno (monday) and massage therapy (thursday). I need to cook. and tidy up some more. and do laundry.
Here's some flowers from my neighbor's garden, that he gave me on CT scan day (so nice!):
Princeton Farmer's mkt flowers on my desk at work Friday morning:
My poor orchids; maybe they are just going through their lifecycle. The left is my white orchid (no blooms) and the right is my purple orchid (just two blooms):
Of course the day the purple one had 14 blooms on it I didn't have my camera, and then the old blooms started falling off.
Here is my largest pumpkin plant. I learned about pumpkin plant fertilization from this web site but the plant still doesn't have female flowers (and it's been two weeks since the first male flowers appeared on the scene--male flowers are blooming almost daily):
I rediscovered this paper mousepad yesterday. My new pain tracker? Lol.
Hrm, 5:15am and I'm wide awake! So what better time to write about yesterday? Again you guys are the BEST and I appreciate all your warm comments and support.
I had the CT scan yesterday. Thank you for the comments on what the CT scan is like. First, no breakfast. I had to drink the special drink and also had the IV injection. The drink tasted fruity, and was the consistency of a milkshake so I pretended at various points like it was a chocolate milkshake. Or that I was a reality game show contestant. It did feel like the drink was regenerating itself in the cup at times, lol. I was at work drinking the drink, and I was glad to be there doing my job instead of at home worrying about my health.
Then it was time for the test itself. The tech sort of interrogated me. I felt like if the doc ordered the test, that should be enough, but she asked a lot of questions, trying to understand why I was having the test, I guess. One of her questions was "why do you have a pelvic kidney" which I felt was like asking "why do you have brown hair?" and I said it's congenital and then she explained she thought I might have been a transplant recipient as that's where transplanted kidneys are placed? Not me. Like I wrote in last night's post, if I was on my toes I would have quoted Lady Gaga and said "baby, I was born this way". She says a pelvic kidney can not be felt, so now it's 2-2 in that game, with the surgeon and chiro feeling the kidney and the CT tech and urologist saying it can't be felt. I pulled out my old analogy "maybe it's like when you make your bed and you leave your socks under the covers. there's a lump there because the socks are pushing up the covers" and she said that is possible they are feeling the displacement since the kidney would be pushing up the intestines, because my kidney is behind the intestines. Or that what the others is feeling is just abdominal fat.
She said the test would determine for sure if I have a hernia. At the end of the test she talked a lot about the orientation of my kidney being horizontal instead of vertical (interesting, since the ultrasound from 6/14 said it was "slightly malrotated".) This makes me think maybe the kidney is moving around? Is that even possible? I was in some pain in that area during the CT test whereas I was in no pain at all on 6/14 in that area.
She said she thinks maybe it's something gastrointestinal, have I been scoped? No. So then I asked if she saw a hernia and she said she doesn't read the images (I know, they're not supposed to say anything but since she was talking about the orientation of my kidney and talking gastrointestinal I thought I'd give it a shot) but she said she didn't see anything "big".
So the test itself was removing my bra (she let me keep my shirt on, and I was wearing gym pants (no metal) and socks, though she wouldn't let me keep my cardigan on) and lying on a table. then she put the IV in and left the room. Unlike an MRI where the table slides into a narrow tube and is very loud, the CT is very "out in the open" and the machine looks like a donut on its side, like Vanessa said. The first few images are taken without IV contrast. Then she comes back in and starts the dye injection. she said I would feel warm and like I peed my pants, and that I might taste a metallic taste in my mouth. Oh yes she was right about the warm feeling spreading through my body and the sensation like I peed my pants. No metallic taste though my mouth felt weird esp the tip of my tongue, but all of those feelings went away probably in a minute. Then there were more images taken.
During the image taking process, this computer generated voice said "breathe in and hold your breath" and then the table moved and then the computer voice said "breathe". At one point the tech checked in with me over the intercom. I kept my eyes closed for much of the test though there was no real reason to. it's definitely easier than a MRI, though for the MRI I had (which was 2 years ago for my lumbar back pain) there wasn't anything for me to drink beforehand and I wasn't injected with contrast dye.
The tech told me to not get too many CT scans and that the radiation accumulates over time, like sun damage.
I was out of there in half an hour and back at work afterward. I took a training course in the afternoon and thankfully did not get the runs from the special drink. If you really want to know I was gassy but that was it. I asked the tech about the runs and she said it wouldn't happen with this drink.
Then last night I had the appt with my chiro for my shoulder and of course we talked about the CT scan, my kidney, and my numbness. He said he really doesn't think I have MS or a mini-stroke; he said why would your PCP tell you those things and get you all worked up? He said anything is a possibility but there's no need to freak out at this point. I told him about my granddad's mini stroke at 42 and he said, "Let me guess: was he a smoker? and a drinker?" I don't smoke or drink. He also doesn't think I have vitamin deficiencies. He said a B12 deficiency presents itself like in all toes or all fingers, not one sided like my numb/weird feeling.. He thinks it's musculosketal, like nerve impingement (which was a possibility my PCP mentioned too) though my muscles were not too tight in many areas. and then when I told him I was outside most of Saturday at a party and didn't turn the a/c on til my weird feeling Sunday night (it was pretty hot this weekend), he said "stop. don't tell me anymore". My chiro is definitely my best doctor and knows me the best. My dad said it sounds like he is more like an "old fashioned" doctor of years ago. Before all my back pain I used to think chiros were quacks but this one is not! He does active release technique which I have found to be incredibly helpful for my knee and back pain.
Then last night I talked with my neighbors for a couple of hours, wrote a quick post, and went to sleep around 11:15. I woke up at 12:30 and then at 5am.
My back pain has been super light lately and even non-existent for several hours. The meditation is helping that.
My knee pain only happens occasionally with transitioning and is very light.
My shoulder is painful during certain movements and I'm aware of it though not focussing on it.
My ab is hurting right now but not very much. I'm not miserable like I was the Friday a few weeks back when I wrote my huge frustration post.
I walked up and down stairs several times without thinking about it. I felt lightheaded and a little weird last night but I think that's understandable.
I am grateful for all your positive comments. Be well!!!
You guys are GREAT!!! Thank you so much for all your warm wishes. I got to my car this morning and realized that I walked down the stairs without thinking about if my legs would work or not--yeah!! And the CT scan went fine and I could feel all your warm energy during my test (or maybe that was just the IV contrast dye!). I will write more about the CT scan and my visit to my chiropractor (who is my BEST doctor) tomorrow, I hope, when I have more time. Right now I need to get a shower and get to bed.
I hope to get my blood work results tmw (for the numbness) and CT results on Friday (for the ab pain). I'll keep you posted!!!
Oh, and the title from this post is the question the CT scan tech person asked me. Really, if I was on my toes I would have quoted Lady Gaga and responded, "baby, I was born this way".
Hello online family! Thank you for all your kind words about yesterday's post..
Here's what happened today. I woke up and still my arm and leg felt numb, though not as badly as yesterday. Stairs were still a little scary but not as scary as yesterday. I felt like I had more control over my leg than yesterday.
I was able to see my PCP today at 1pm (Meg, to answer your question, he is a DO). Overall he said not to worry, he thinks I'm fine. He took blood for various things like thyroid function and vitamin B12 deficiency (he asked if I'm a vegetarian. I'm not, but I haven't eaten red meat in a long time. So tonight I had a hamburger...)
He said my numbness could be MS, a sign of a mini-stroke or some other things I didn't understand. He said he doesn't think it is any of those things but is referring me to a neurologist.
He did some basic neurological tests on me (like me pushing him, pulling him, moving my fingers in certain ways, tapping me with the little rubber mallet thing, following his finger with my eyes, etc) and said that I pass the neurologic tests.
He also asked if I was having a panic attack when it happened. I said no but I have been feeling stressed out.
I also explained that I had the numb left arm last Feb/Mar, numb toe and numb right ring finger too during that time, but that I never had that weird feeling like maybe I couldn't climb stairs.
I made the appt with the neurologist, but the first available isn't until Aug 16, 4 weeks from today. My mom joked either I'll be healed by then or dead.
He said for my right shoulder that hasn't healed from PR weekend, I should see the physiatrist (pain management doc) I saw 2 years ago and get physical therapy. I'm sticking with my chiro.
I picked up the stuff I have to drink for my abdominal/pelvic CT scan tmw morning. The test is at 10:30 and I have to start drinking at 8:30 (up to line 1 in half an hour or something like that), then some more at 9:30 (up to line 2), and then some just before the test begins (the "save" section). No breakfast, and no liquids except this stuff after 6:30. I wonder how bad it's going to taste.
You can bet I will be doing some visual-imagery style tasting with this stuff.
I've never had a CT scan so if anyone would like to comment on what that's like, please do so. I've had an MRI so if you've had both tests I'd love to hear a comparison.
Last night I decided that I have three goals: a big cry, a big sleep and a big hamburger. One of the three is done!
Thanks again for your well wishes! Be well and good night!
Ok, I saw the surgeon today. On July 20 at 10:30am I will have the CT scan. I have to drink something before the test, which I will pick up tmw.
*disagrees with the urologist--she said it is my kidney, she can feel it, and that's where my pain is. She actually said "I disagree with him"
*says I'm the second patient who has shown her the New York Times article and said that the article gives false hope to some people that it is a hernia
*felt the area again and said there's no way it's a hernia near my bellybutton or groin area
*said that small hernias can occur in other places, so the ct scan will show that (I think) or whatever else is going on in that area, like a fibroid.
*the area of my pain is too high to be an ovarian cyst
*said she's more comfortable with me having a ct scan than an mri
*she thinks that b/c my kidney is slightly malrotated, that when I feel pain it might be rotating further out of position.
She said if ct scan shows nothing, possibilities of next steps of action are:
*get a ultrasound of kidneys while i'm having pain to see if the kidney is rotating out or blocking the ureter
*go to a gastroenterologist for a scoping of the intestines
*do laproscopy to see what's going on in there.
I told her about all my other pain including the 2-month-old shoulder pain, back pain (that is dissipating), and the numbness and weird feeling in my left arm/leg which started last night and I am still having off and on today. She said I should go back to the PCP to report all those things. She doesn't think my other pain/numbness issues are related to the ab/pelvic pain. Back in late Feb/early March my left arm was numb and one toe on my left foot was numb, and my right ring finger was numb. My chiro worked on the arms and the weird numb feeling went away in a few days. I see him on Wednesday and hope he can help with that weird numb feeling again. I overall feel bit lightheaded and not all quite there. I went to my favorite gym class today at 4pm (I had taken a vacay day) and got through the class, but the feeling in my leg is weird. Like when I go up and down stairs, I'm not sure if I can climb them or not? weird weird weird.
Sometimes, I just feel like I'm falling apart. Am I falling apart???
I didn't do any sewing this weekend but I "helped" my dad with the new serger he bought himself (a Brother "Lock" 1034D):
Thankfully he bought cone thread the next day and threaded it again and it works FINE now. I need to try it out with my own serger again!!
I took these pix this morning, of flowers from Thurs at the Princeton Farmer's Mkt, and a rose from my garden:
and here are some daisy flowers from my mom
I'm off to my meditation class now!!
Be well and good night!
I started over with some delicious Joann's black ponte roma knit, the super soft stuff that costs $12.99 a yard but I always buy on sale. I had it in stash. It's probably the best fashion fabric Joann's sells.
I cut a 12 grading to 14 at the hip this time.
First thing to fix was to fix the long torso. I cut along the "shorten here" line and overlapped 3/4".
I also didn't like the front drape placement, and raised it an inch. Also the v-neck has been raised as a result of the torso alterations.
I also didn't like how droopy the drape was. I thought I'd be clever and cut the front drape as a 10. Joke was on me, that pulled the dress too tight overall, so I sewed the panel in again with a smaller SA, so that it was essentially a 12. But the top part of the drape was too loose (hello 3 little bears!), so I pulled on the top corners so they would stick out into the dress, to get the fit I wanted.
Here's the dress inside out, with the corners sticking out (I've since cut them off). I like my "sci fi" costume.
Oh, I also decided to ditch the facings. I folded over the armhole and v-neck and sewed down. One less thing to worry about, and a dress with this kind of thick knit doesn't need a double layer. I HATED how my understitching looked on the facings in the muslin.
But then it was time for the BIG CHALLENGE. My swayback.
So here's what the dress looked like as 12 grading to 14...in the back.
Horrible, right? Waaay too tight, lots of horizontal lines going on...
I let out the CB seam to minimal SAs, which gained me an inch. Phew. So I thought I could tidy up my back with some darts, like I did in the Muse dress. Um, that looks even worse:
So I took out the darts. Here it's just minimal SA in the CB seam:
But still pretty ugly.
So I pondered for a bit. I thought about declaring Burda 7696 dead, but I decided to keep on beating this dead horse.
Somehow, Vogue 1250 popped into my mind. It's the "Hot hot hot" dress of this summer, all the sewing bloggers are making it, and it's a knit with a horizontal waist seam in the back which I thought was kind of weird but you know what, it would work with this dress! But I don't own that pattern...yet. So I took the plunge and CUT THE BACK WAIST to create a seam. Oh yes, daring indeed. I played around with this for a bit, but I could have just done a 1" tuck grading to nothing at the side seams.
Here I am with my binder clips, testing the waters. Looking better already, huh (and festive--love binder clips in colors).
Here's the inside with my swayback adjustment (before I cut out the 1" SA for it)
and the outside:
and here's what it looks like on me:
I honestly don't think I can get this any better.
Here's the side view; my swayback is really emphasized, plus the front of the dress drapes out a bit...
And here it is on Emma:
OH, yeah, the drape piece is supposed to use a 2" buckle for the dress, but the shirt view had this loop piece instead. Since I didn't have a buckle handy I used the loop piece and I think it works fine.
I'm tired. Counting the muslin I spent 15 hours on this dress, and it's actually pretty simple looking, especially in comparison to the Muse dress which took 20 hours and has many more details (welt pockets, collar, tabs). It is time for an easy knit shirt, me thinks.
Princeton farmer's mkt flowers this week:
And my pumpkin vines are blooming:
And here's the bumblebee action for today, with my rose of sharon:
I cooked and baked today. This picture is blurry; those cookies don't look good but they were! I baked because it's my chiro's birthday this week...but there have been other recipients as well, including my stomach!
Looked what arrived Saturday! StyleArc patterns from Australia! Here's how they come, in binder sheets. The free pattern is in the bottom right binder sheet, with a customized letter.
Here's the Emma dress pattern instructions with sample fabric. The instructions fit on one page! The pattern itself is folded up and sealed with a "stylearc" sticker. You have to order your exact size. No multisized patterns here.
Here's what it looks like unfolded. The paper is sturdy. and it appears that the pattern has been hand traced!
The Emma dress is rated "challenging". I think I need something easy right now....like redoing the Burda from yesterday???
The rose of sharon opened up this week and HUGE bumble bees are back! I waited too late to take these pix; the flowers are already starting to close up. But the bees love all that pollen!! And I love those bumble bees. I think they are pretty cool.