Best Friends


Those of you who know me know how much I love my dog.

Atticus is the best dog I’ve ever known.  He’s so smart, kind, gentle and easy.  He’s very empathetic (he seems to sense when any of us are sad, or having a lot of pain) and – above all – he’s a member of the family.

Atticus is very ill.  He started limping 2 weeks ago, and a visit to our vet left us with the best-guess diagnosis of arthritis and a prescription for a pain drug.

A week later his limp was worse, and when I ran my hands over his shoulders one morning, the right one felt much different than the left.  We took him to the vet again, and this time, after a few xrays and a pretty thorough exam, she said she feels that the loss of muscle mass in his shoulder is an indication that he has something called a Nerve Sheath Tumor.

Here’s what she wrote (she’s so wonderful, she emails me every few days to check on him, totally understanding how difficult the telephone is for me)

The … tumor … is something called a nerve sheath tumor. It can be very difficult to diagnose without an MRI or CT scan of the shoulder and elbow. It is a soft tissue tumor so it does not usually show up on an x-ray. It is usually fairly deep in the tissue and unless it gets very large it is difficult to feel on a physical exam. As these tumors tend to wrap around nerves in the neck/shoulder/elbow they can cause a lot of pain.

So every day Atticus seems a bit more limpy, a bit more in pain.  He’s taking several different pain meds (ironically, one of them is what I was prescribed for fibromyalgia) and his spirits are very good.  We want his quality of life to be good, his pain to be low, and his happiness is the most important thing of all.

Right now he’s just so happy to see us – any of us – he loves us so much.  He also loves getting his pills because we wrap them in cheese, so he feels like he’s won the lottery!


A Couple of Irish Laddies

I joked recently that it’s dangerous to be loved by me, because that seems to equal a diagnosis of cancer.  Okay, so it’s not funny, but it sure feels true some days.

Gerry’s had a rough couple of months. He’s doing very well in many ways, but the thing about Gerry is he has so much pride that he ALWAYS gets it together when seeing other folks.  But his pain levels have been high, and many days he gets up to see the kids off to school, then goes back to bed and sleeps until they arrive home.

As the weather warms and the sun is out more, I can see him coming back to life.  Warmer is easier for him (as long as it’s not too hot) and he’s dedicated this Summer to growing some decent grass in our yard.  We’ve also decided we’ll try a vegetable garden, but that’s another story…

We went down to the Mayo Clinic yesterday for tests, and to see his doc there (who we LOVE!) and she confirmed what I’d been thinking.  Officially, Gerry’s had a relapse.

Now, there are relapses, and there are RELAPSES.  This is more a movement in the direction we don’t want than a full-out health fail, but it’s notable.  I had a sense of this because of Gerry’s pain levels and exhaustion, but even though we’ve been at this five years, every day STILL seems like a new adventure.

Five years ago we were entering the diagnosis / care strategy phase, we were on the brink of being told that Gerry had one, maybe two years ahead of him, and his stem cell transplant wasn’t even considered yet.

So MUCH has happened since then, the most important being TIME.  Five years have passed, five really wonderful years, and we’re pulling for five, ten, fifteen more.  I’m greedy, I’ll take every day we can get.

So, I apologize for taking so long since my last post, and for not posting about knitting (which I really have to write about again one of these years…)

Some days it’s just really hard to try to put this into words for a blog, but it feels false and shallow to NOT address it.

Life’s been – busy – and also very rich and full.  I continue to think that we’re the luckiest folks in the world.

History On Two Needles

In other, most EXCITING news, I now have a tech editor for History on Two Needles and she’s running through the patterns like a rock star!

Huzzah, Kate, author of Beyond Knit & Purl, I am very lucky to have her on my team!!  Thank you, Cooperative Press!

I spent 6 hours reworking one pattern today, putting her suggestions into effect and creating a better schematic & chart, and I think we really have a good chance of getting this thing finished and printed by the end of this year.


24 thoughts on “Best Friends

  1. Annie, I’m so sorry to hear about the yuckies that are in your life. I wish it were different and I can ever do anything to help – I’m a very good listener – please don’t hesitate to call or email or whatever! Sending wishes of healing to your loved ones … two-legged and four-legged!

  2. Your strength and that of your family in the face of all you’re facing is inspiring. Best wishes to you. Glad to hear the exciting news about HOTN, as well!

  3. I’ve been wondering about you. These problems are not what I wanted to hear, of course, especially since Gerry and I got our Myeloma diagnoses at about the same time. His has been much worse than mine, and I’ve been in remission for close to two years, but I don’t want to hear the word relapse for either of us. Best wishes and prayers for all of you.

  4. Annie, I’m sorry to hear about Atticus and Gerry. We all live with uncertain futures, and your family has to live with that truth more honestly than most of us.

    On the other hand – fabulous news that Kate Atherley is tech editing for you! Is Cooperative Press going to publish HOTN?

  5. Oh Annie – I am sorry to hear about this. Thank you for sharing with your readers/fans. Don’t apologize for what or when you write. You & your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. I am so sorry that the health scene is rocky. You guys have a lot of moral support out here on the interwebs. You are a special family. And that includes Atticus. He is such a dignified fella! Congratulations on the book progress. I can’t wait to be buying it!

  7. Sending you love from Amsterdam. I can sort of relate to your sorrow. I lost my dog and my dad within a month of each other last June. My dad had a very aggressive type of lung cancer and seing the people and animals you love suffer is incredibly hard.

    Writing this down was brave and I admire you for it.

  8. So sorry that you are all going through so much suffering at the moment. Adding my love, hugs and prayers to the warmth and caring coming your way xxx

  9. Oh my, tough times! I just blogged about my knitting blog not being much about knitting lately, but you know so many of my readers stopped by to say that’s okay, it’s not a knitting blog, it’s a knitter’s blog, and sometimes knitter’s need to write about other stuff! So I’m going to remember that – even though the next post probably will be a knitting one – and I’m passing the thought on to you too.

  10. Oh dear, my heart sank when I read this. I’m holding all of you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Oh, Annie. It sucks that you have to be strong enough to go through this, but I know you have the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You and the kids are so fortunate to have these years with Gerry, and you are doing a wonderful job of teaching your children to face adversity with grace.

  12. Tears and hugs- thanks for letting us in on what’s happening. Wish I could help but will say misherberach for Articus and Gerry.

  13. Don’t ever apologize for making jokes, isn’t laughing better than crying? My husband and his best friend joke that they are killing off their friends, because they have had 2 very dear friends pass away from cancer both in their 30’s. They have officially put an third friend “on notice”!

    I also had a cousin named Kitty who had one breast removed due to cancer. She called herself “One T!tty Kitty”!

  14. I agree. Humour is so important when life gets rough. I couldn’t believe the strength of my friend throughout his chemo – joking everyday and helping all his friends to laugh. Such a special person.

    hang in there.

  15. Annie….your spirit, spunk and positive attitude continue to be an inspiration to me. I so admire the way you face life and it’s challenges head-on and with such wit and grace. I will have Gerry and Atticus (along with you and your kids) in my thoughts and prayers and am looking forward to seeing the completion of your book.

  16. Annie, I’m sending you hugs and healing prayers for Gerry and Atticus. I understand how you feel about bringing cancer. I always felt that I jinxed everyone I loved because the ended up ill or with cancer. But I now realize that this is just part of life and have to roll with the punches. Take care, Cindi

  17. Sending you hugs and love and positive Reiki energy. My hubby went through throat cancer alsmot 4 years ago, and we know how very fortunate we are to have him healthy and almost back to normal. All you can do is the best you can, trust in your doctors, pray and be strong. Sounds like your doin it all!

    Have a wonderful Passover celebration and take good care of yourself.

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