Desperately Seeking Groove

I’m certain it’s no secret to anyone who reads my blog or knows me that I’ve been battling with some pretty strong stuff for a while.


Gerry & Jasper, BFFs

It’s not just Gerry – overall he’s doing well, his cancer return is being handled by Revlimid & Dex and we putter along as if we’re retired folks. He’s great on his own for short periods, but I do feel that I need to be here with him most of the time.

And it’s not just my Fibro – I deal with it, I suffer through it when the flare ups come (more often in Winter) and I hesitate to write about it much because, well, who needs the nasty comments about me ‘moaning about my health’

Keep those cards and letters coming folks!

I’m not certain exactly what’s been up, but I’ve felt like a hermit, a pariah, adrift and alone in the midsts of friends.

I know I’m not, I know exactly how fortunate I am, but handling the demons of self-doubt has been very difficult this past year. I question everything I do, I fear that I’m past any usefulness.

Yes, I realize what I’ve just written is a little dumb, and self pitying to boot.
Let’s just say it’s Wintertime, and the wallowing’s been easy.

After my radical hysterectomy (return with me now…) I was put on a blend of estrogen and testosterone. Although generally considered a male hormone, women’s ovaries produce trace amounts of testosterone, which is necessary for many things. Evidently self confidence and weight loss – at least in my case – are connected with Mr. T.

As I am no longer the bearer of a set of O’s (the procedure to remove them is called an ooectomy, which always makes me laugh) I produce neither estrogen nor testosterone.

But, insurance companies being what they are and our coverage being spotty for the past years, at some point my company stopped covering my estratest, then they wouldn’t cover the generic version of it, and then I had to go to a non-testosterone hormone replacement therapy (hrt)

Before anyone writes to tell me I shouldn’t be taking hrt, don’t bother –
Since I had a radical hystero, I will take hrt.

Had I my lovely ovaries, I probably would just deal with more holistic remedies.

After another marathon session of, “50 reasons why I hate myself” I realized that there was something going on that just wasn’t explicable. I battle depression, that’s not a secret, but this felt entirely different.

So I spoke with my doctor and she agreed to try to get me back on an estrogen / testosterone supplement, just to see how that would go.

No, the drug isn’t covered by my insurance, but I felt I really needed it.

The mechanics involved were insane – the drug is killer expensive – and I am grateful to WalGreens which has a pretty great drug club type thing that brings the cost to $30 for a 3-month supply.

After a few weeks I’m noticing a difference. I feel a bit less hopeless, more able to see clearly. I feel stronger mentally, more agile and less a constant ‘victim.’

I have NO idea if this is all in my head, if I’m experiencing some kind of testosterone placebo effect, or if it’s real. But I’ll take it.

I’ve been on radio silence for so long – hesitant to blog, to send emails, to communicate with many folks because I felt so weak (mentally and emotionally), so unable to cope.

IMG_0004The Winter That Will Not End wasn’t helping, but at least it’s pretty.

So this weekend I see a bunch of students at Yarn Over (the Minnesota Knitting Guild’s yearly AMAZING knit class / marketplace extravaganza) and I see a bunch of peers.

Seriously, Yarn Over is an event that is spectacular.

Outside of the knitting convention type of events like IK Knit Lab, Stitches or Vogue Knitting Live, this event brings in the most exciting teachers.

Yarn Over is the event at which I taught in 2006 when I ‘met’ Minnesota for the first time and determined to move my family here.  Ironically, it was then held at Arlington High in St. Paul – which is now called Washington High – and which is where my son Max is a student!

IMG_2140One more ‘moving to MN sidebar’

At the Yarn Over Teacher Dinner back in 2006 there was a prom group at the restaurant. They were SO happy, everyone all together as a group, not terribly “datey” or money centered (limos, etc.)

I remember thinking, “This is what I want for Hannah, a prom that is FUN, not an explosion of $$ and broken hearts…”

And this past weekend at her Perpich Gala, that is what my dear daughter got – a lovely dance with great friends – a dance that ANY kid would love.

Seeing my peers at an event like Yarn Over is always wonderful, sometimes scary, and I’m interested to see how my pathway out of confusion and darkness helps me interact better with folks that – true or not – I feel judge me.  Peer review, it’s the name of the game in any industry.

I’ve been pondering the concept of passion. For whatever reason, I feel I’ve misplaced mine, so I am trying to line up a series of interviews with other knit folks about PASSION.

If I happen to see you at Yarn Over and drag you into a corner and ask you to give me 15 words on what excites you, please play along – I’d appreciate it!

And if you’re not a member of the MN Knitting Guild, you SHOULD be! You can only take Yarn Over classes if you are, but you can register at the event and I know that I still have places in my knitting with wire class.  Bonus – you’ll leave class with a lovely bracelet, and the ability to create many more for Springtime graduation/Mother’s Day/May Day gifts!

20 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Groove

  1. Just sending you a big virtual hug. I suspect most of us feel judged by our peers, and it is a really lonely feeling. For me, these big events always bring on mixed emotions – happiness from being with the tribe, worry about whether my students will feel they got their money’s worth, fear of being on the outside looking in at the group of “cool kids”, who seem to be having more fun and more success than me. And then there are those precious moments when a former student seeks me out to tell me about how they’ve used something learned in my class, or I have a few moments to really connect with a fellow teacher. I try to hang on to those moments, and let the fear and doubt wash away.
    I hope the new drugs, and your familiarity with the path of your struggle, help you continue to find sparks of light along your path.

  2. This sounds so familiar! I am rooting for you!

    I just had an oopherectomy on Monday. Wonder what my path forward will be like?

    Enjoy Yarn Over.


    • My thoughts are with you, Susan! Take it easy on the recovery, and don’t be afraid to explore different drug therapies if what they’ve prescribed for you doesn’t seem to be doing the trick!

  3. I can so understand. With Gerry being ill for so long it is no wonder you also have health difficulties. I had a very ill husband for a number of years and it can seriously affect your confidence and health both physically and mentally. So it is understandable if you, like me have some depression and confidence issues. I also had an “op” altho they left me with my ovaries so not as bad but it still seemed to have side effects as in dryness everwhere inculdign my eyes!! So just saying hang in there, there are knitters all around the world who care and are sending you hugs and warm thoughts and prayers. So wish we could meet and have a coffee and knit together for a while!!



  4. I hope winter with all it’s gloom – outside and in your body – is on its way out! I’m glad to hear the HRT(?) is having a good effect on you. I also deal with a little bit of sadness (the shower is my go-to cry place!) but it seems to come and go. I hope Gerry’s feeling better, I’m glad to hear Hannah had a good time at her dance and I hope Max is well too!

  5. Lovely and heartbreaking post. I’m glad that you have found something that is helping! Your hormones being out of wack can definitely cause changes to your metal state – as all women who have given birth can attest. When something isn’t working in your body you find a health care provider and seek a solution.

    Sometimes that is setting a broken leg, sometimes it is antibiotics, sometimes it’s a hysterectomy, and sometimes it is the miracle of a much needed pharmaceutical. Mental and emotional problems are just as much a physical ailment as any other – it is just the biochemistry that is not working instead of the large body parts. I’m so glad that you found treatment that is helping, and that you chose to share your story. It will help others.

    • Thank you – I’ve often thought that my dad, who suffered from both diabetes and depression, wasn’t looked at askance by anyone when he took insulin. However, he would NEVER have sought help for the mental condition (also a chemical imbalance) because of the attached baggage. Sad. He self medicated with alcohol, which obviously only made things worse.

  6. I’m going to be nosy and ask, how well and how deeply are you sleeping? I cannot process information well, much less have passion for anything except a deep need for coffee unless I’ve had eight or nine hours. When I am unrested, coupled with pain from fibro and RA, I feel I should shout to my family to run for their lives.:-D

    • I sleep BEAUTIFULLY! My doctor didn’t believe me and I had to do a sleep study, where they told me I’m an amazingly good sleeper. It’s never been a problem for me (except for odd bouts of sleeplessness that every human has when life gets too overwhelming.)

  7. Hang in there for sure. Give my best to Gerry, I’m sorry the cancer has returned. I’m glad he has his dog as a buddy.

    My Maggie was my constant companion while I went thru treatment. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. It will get better, I promise.

  8. Wish I could make it all better for you. Unfortunately, I can’t so I recommend a good cry once in a while (I have more resolve after a pity party) and don’t do everything yourself. Accept help when offered and ask for it when it’s not. You know how stupidly stoic we women can be.

    I’ll be thinking of you and yours. Take care.

  9. Hang in there. It sounds like getting a change in meds or at least trying is a good move. What about vitamin D? Getting enough? I think taking vitamin D has helped my spirits, but it did take some time. I apologize if I have forgotten a previous post on the subject of vitamin D.

    take care of yourself

  10. You are the least whiney person I know. You are, to name a few, smart, brave, honest, funny, strong, resilient, creative and beautiful. Never mind those nattering nabobs of negativity. Carry on doing what you do best – being you!

  11. I’m glad you are sleeping well and it does seem you have diagnosed yourself correctly. The Walmart drug prices are a blessing,unfortunately we don’t one in NY city.

    • NOT WALMART! I haven’t set foot in a Walmart in years!

      WalGREENS is the drug store that has the very good drug program ($30/year for membership, then the drug costs are much lower than anyplace else!)

  12. I know about 4 people who need to take the brand name prescriptions, rather than the generic or cheaper subsitutes of one kind or another. I’m glad you were able to get some help from Walgreens. People who do not have chronic diseases have no idea what it is like. I admire you for posting your feelings on your website. Sometimes all we can do is keep keeping on. Best – Hester

  13. Hi Annie,
    I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a while now. I’m sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I read this post and the one that proceeds it. You mention that your hearing is not so great. As someone who has lost (and regained) their hearing three times so far now, I can tell you that it is far more isolating that most people realize and for me that can tend to mess with my self esteem a bit.

    Hang in there.

  14. I think it’s great that you are prepared to share your personal struggles & health issues. I suffer from chronic pain myself & I’m on a bucket load of meds each day. Every time I read about American health insurance I’m so relieved I live in England. Because I am on thyroxine, I get ALL my meds for free. It saves me a lot of money. But there is normally a set charge here.

    After living in Colorado in the late 80s, ipso was keen to move back to the US but with the whole health insurance thing I’m glad I moved to England instead.

    Lots of love to you & your family xxx

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