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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