September 30, 2014

Happy Humira Tuesday!

This morning FedEx delivered my first dose of Humira.  A large box arrived with a styrofoam cooler, dry ice, and an surprisingly small box of 2 Humira injector pens.  And so much paperwork to send back to the specialty pharmacy, ugh.  Don't breathe in the dry ice, kids, it can kill you (fun fact: the body regulates breathing based on CO2, not O2).

I'll use one injection every other week, and won't expect to feel any change for at least a couple weeks.  I'm an old hand with injector pens, after years of Imitrex, so that part's easy.

And next month, just in time for Halloween, I'll get another delivery.  Maybe I'll be feeling well enough to carve a cool Jack O' Lantern, or find some other fun use for the dry ice.

September 24, 2014

Knitting in my DNA

Or rather, my DNA in my knitting!  My hair is now long enough that stray strands are knit into my work, especially the blanket.  I wonder what a future owner might conclude about me by my hair or DNA.  I did a little mental auto-anthropology when this came to mind ;)

The blanket so far

I've almost finished the blanket's fourth column of six squares, which leaves the fifth and last column plus the border.  It may get a simple dark grey edging, or something fancier like a color blocked rainbow border.  We shall see.  I'm also waiting on more light grey yarn, which is backordered, and hoping the dye lots match well enough.  With autumn weather having arrived, I was snuggled under it today while knitting.  Nice and warm.

With a cat for scale
The color placement should look more even and random once the last column is on.  I hope...

September 23, 2014

Winter is Coming

*I started this a week and a half ago, but computer issues and fatigue delayed posting.  

Cold winter weather is on its way but so is a heated mattress pad. I had one as a kid and it was wonderful.  My body has become poor at temperature control, especially when I'm asleep, so this should help.  Last winter I tucked sweatpants into wool socks and slept in 3 top layers under a down comforter and quilt.  Even using the electric baseboards judiciously, I could barely move without generating scary amounts of static electricity.  Seeing arcs off your fingers is pretty bizarre.

Aside from autumn weather, I've been dealing with increased fatigue.  Daily naps are no longer optional, my body just stops and sleeps.  Insurance denied Humira coverage, which I'm appealing with the doctor's office's help.  Maybe in a couple more weeks I'll get it?  Can't come soon enough!

Update: Humira was approved!!!  Hopefully I'll be able to start in by the end of the week.  There's a pharmacy issue to sort out first.

August 23, 2014

Thoughts before an important appointment

On Tuesday I see my rheumatologist again and it's a pretty big deal.  I've failed the first four medications we've tried, though I prefer to say they failed me, and thus have exhausted the category of medications which suppress the immune system.  The next option is a biologic pharmaceutical, which are grown rather than chemically produced.  These are proteins or antibodies which the body normally produces, and will hopefully kick my immune system's ass.

Last week I had a vivid dream that the appointment did not go well.  Dream logic stole in and took my voice, then abruptly transitioned to out in the hall with the appointment over.  The conclusion: two more months of the current unsuccessful med, which sounds like more purgatory than I can take.  It was scary enough to wake me up.

I'm also worried about how long it will take for insurance approval.  Biologics are expensive, around $20,000 per year.  While I meet the criteria on paper, getting actual approval is always more difficult and time consuming.  After that, weekly injections sound easy!

The weekend I've had fatigue so thick that standing feels more like climbing Everest.  Here's hoping that the appointment goes well, I get a new helpful med soon, and can start getting my life back.

August 19, 2014

The Lace Deep End

I have fallen down the Niebling rabbit hole.  You may have never heard of Herbert Niebling, a 20th century designer of intricate lace knitting patterns, but lace knitters know.  For years I had resisted the siren call, which honestly wasn't difficult as getting your hands on his patterns is tricky.  Thanks to a former-East German printing house, and Amazon (.com, .de, .uk), I bought a pattern booklet online.

The pattern I'm using is Tulpenkranz, or Tulip Wreath.  It's going to be massive: my conservative estimate is 2.5m in diameter.  The original pattern calls for #200 crochet cotton, which is half as fine as sewing thread and no longer produced.  I'm using laceweight wool/silk yarn.

c Buch Verlag für die Frau, from Kunstrick-Decken
So far I'm almost 10% done.  A photo from the weekend shows the tablecloth-to-be fetchingly worn as a hat.  I'm enjoying the project so far!

Neat fact: the German term for lace knitting translates as "art knitting."
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