Sunday, February 1, 2015

Getting a Handle on my Foot Surgery

On December 12, I had foot surgery to correct an issue that it seems I'd had my entire life but was aggravated by a simple side-step hop at the beach (trying to keep my tennis shoe dry).  Dr. Pedro Cosculluela with Houston Methodist Sports Orthopedics preformed my surgery after working with us to give every other option a try.  Although I have great confidence in my doctor, I wasn't keen on the 7-8 weeks of absolutely no weight on this foot that is required as part of the recovery.  

My husband purchased this wonderful knee scooter for me to be able to traverse the parts of the house that were accessible and allow me to get outside for appointments and a new perspective every now and then. 

About my surgery - I had an extra bone in my foot.  This isn't uncommon but it is uncommon to dislodge it and have the pain I was experiencing.  The little (just under an inch) bone had to come out. This meant that I needed some tendon work which led to having the tendons in my heal realigned.  This last could have been put off a short while but why would I want to have another surgery in a year? So basically, we undertook to rebuild my foot.  I have lots of new hardware to ensure that the tendon work lasts, including a wedge to keep the cut opening in my heel open, a plate screwed in with 4 screws to ensure the wedge stays in place, and a bolt to hold the realigned tendons where they are supposed to be.  

I left the hospital a few hours after the nearly 1-hour surgery, coming home with a temporary, disposable nerve block pain pump in my leg.  This was such a blessing! I felt nothing, not even my toes, for the three days it was in place. I came home in a semi-rigid cast to allow for the expected swelling.  After a few weeks, when the stitches were removed, I got to sport a cherry red traditional cast. I saw the doctor this week and instead of the expected walking cast - I got a boot!  I can now put weight on my foot, do daily activity walking and begin some physical therapy.  

I had dreams of just taking off and walking across the room, getting into my closet (something I haven't been able to do with the scooter due to space limitations), doing errands and being able to handle my own showers.  Well, I'll get there but it takes time to rebuild muscle that has been totally unused for 7 weeks and to get the foot to accept the motion that walking requires after being cast in set positions. 

None of my recovery would have been possible without the care and attention of my family.  My husband and daughter have had to do just about everything for me for 7 weeks, all while working their own jobs and having the added responsibilities of the holidays.  I spent lots of time sitting with my foot up, knitting and doing quiet activities.  

I am so very appreciative of the care I have received, the prayers for myself and my family throughout these months and for the ability to now be able to walk, even a little, as I see my life returning to a more normal routine.  

On a side note, I'm still doing Weight Watchers and have even been able to lose weight while being inactive.  I have a 5k scheduled for May and my doctor feels that this is going to be very do-able!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'll strive to do better...

Just wanted to post and let you know that I've not given up on blogging. Since returning from a cruise with my husband in November, I've had some genetic testing, a bone marrow biopsy, a few MRI's and major foot surgery.  This foot surgery has left me unable to bear weight on my right foot and totally dependent on my family for my physical care.  Currently I am sporting a bright red hard (traditional) cast. Hopefully I will get a walking cast at the end of this month and will be able to be more mobile and independent. I've ended up with some serious metal in my foot - a wedge, a plate, 4 screws and a bolt!  Yep, I now have a personal weather detector. 

There is so much to share with you - photos from our ports of call in Cozumel, Grand Caymans and Jamaica as well as around the ship Navigator of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line).  
I've also been doing lots of knitting - some I can share with you eventually, once the designer releases the test knit for publication but also I've been asked to do some ghost knitting for a designer.  These items I won't be able to share since a ghost knitter is to knitting what a ghost writer is to writing.  I'm just finishing up a sweater for myself.  It got put on hold while I worked on some of the other projects which had deadlines.  Next up are another ghost project and a sample knit for a wonderful yarn line!  

Anyway, just know that I'm doing well with my recovery even if 2 months is a long time to go without putting weight on my dominate foot and I'm a little stir crazy.  It's nearly done and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel which will offer me a bit more options and mobility.  I might even be able to get upstairs to my craft room.  

When I have total clearance from my orthopedic surgeon (probably sometime in March), I have plans to take my Christmas gift from my sweet husband - a GoPro Camera - to the beach and take you with me during a nice long walk along the Texas Gulf. 

Until then - Jill

Friday, November 28, 2014

Leftovers - combining small bits into a treat!

First - sorry for the delay in posting.  I've been a very busy lady. I've had some adventures and medical testing. In the future, I'll be posting about my husband and I's cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. 

Recently I was thrilled to be able to share in a knitting exchange with my knit 'sistahs'.  With this exchange we were to make a scarf for another while a secret friend made one for me.  I selected the pattern Leftie by Martina Behm because I love the look of it and it makes use of leftover scraps of yarn. 

It's no secret that I have a great fondness for luxury fibers! Because of the expense, I've saved the small amounts left over - and with this project, discovered the perfect use for them.  

The base yarn is Manos del Uruguay Fino in the colorway Silhouette. This color was selected because it seemed to me to be perfect for dressing up or wearing with a favorite pair of blue jeans.  It seems to be a great neutral complimenting the fun colors of the various luxury yarns.  

My daughter, Melissa, agreed to model the scarf once I completed it - while we were vacationing at the beach.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Haven Poncho!

I'm in heaven over this latest test knit! As our weather has finally added a little nip of cool air to our days, this is my new go-to wrap for running errands.  It is the Haven Poncho by designer Holli Yeoh.  She has designed a wonderful group of patterns for Felicia Lo's Sweet Georgia Yarns and created a book entitled Tempest.  

While this collection is selected to have optimal beauty when using my favorite line of luxury yarns, it works well in yarns from my stash collection as well.  For my test knit I used Madtosh Merino Light yarns in a variety of colorways - all were already in my craft room just waiting for me to combine them into a unique, one-of-a-kind, stylish statement piece!  

In Haven, you carry double strands of fiber, first the same colorway then blending by carrying two independent colors.  The blending is colorful and subtle at the same time. I also placed the simple wooden buttons I found on both sides, making this a truly reversible poncho.  While the design calls the reverse garter section the "front", it works and looks great with the stockinette side forward also.  This is a slightly deceptive pattern in that the reverse garter stitch has a tendency to row out (group two rows together in an unintended striped look) if you don't pay close attention.  I used a smaller needle on the purl stitches to help offset this issue.  I also knit slower and with more attention than normally given a simple pattern. It will take even the fastest knitter a bit of time to get through the yardage of this fabulous piece.  Take time and persevere because I'm confident that this will become your favorite wrap to grab when rushing out the door!
The cost of the fiber is another issue for this piece.  If knit in the yummy fiber suggested, the cost is very near $400!  Even using the lovely Merino Light, the cost of fiber can run near $200.  I recommend that you knit this piece but as a heirloom item that you intend to wear now and pass down later.  This means that you will also have to be a bit more reserved in your colorway choices - keeping to colors that work with a multitude of other colors in your wardrobe - base colors that go with whatever you use in your new favorite poncho. 

PS These photos were taken after I finished the poncho and before the pattern was released.  This means that my husband (acting photographer) took these photos in August on one of the hottest days of the year - hence the cropped pants and sandals and a couple blurry ones taken in a rush!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quick and Versatile Tex-Mex Meat

This recipe is for a family favorite.  It is so quickly put together and that alone makes it a great go-to for hectic night meals.  Add to that the versatile nature of this recipe and you have something you will find yourself making each week!  Your family will have something different because you will be changing the final meal you serve from the base recipe. You can use canned goods, frozen or fresh as long as you pay attention to the amount of liquid accumulating in the pan.  Too much liquid might make your chosen dish soggy.  

What you need:
Ground Beef (or turkey)

Diced Tomatoes
Spanish Rice
Black Beans (optional)

Putting it all together:

Brown and drain the meat.  Prepare rice according to directions. Drain the corn and add it to the meat.  Add the salsa, diced tomatoes, and beans (drain and rinse these well).  

Put the meat mixture over chips, salad greens, in a tortilla, over chicken or cube steak, or eat it as its own meal. I have even made soup using this as a base - it's so easy, just add chicken stock and heat through! This freezes well and reheats for another great meal when you find yourself short of time and in need of a good meal or snack. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Boy Oh Boy!

My more recent knitting projects have been baby sweaters for little boys.  I always love the opportunity to get to use my creative juices for little ones but seldom get to knit for the boys.  This was a special treat as the first sweater was combined with a blanket to become a gift for the newest member of our family!  Noah is the son of my husband's cousin and his wife.  He is an answer to prayers as he took a loving couple into the awesome adventure of family life. 

Noah lives in a colder climate than Texas, so I was able to use a wool blend fiber in his sweater and blanket. I knit the 12-18 month size since Noah is no longer a newborn. The sweater pattern was designed by Nancy Lutz and is called Lutzling Sweater.  It was knit in this perfect color of green in Berroco Vintage DK.

The second sweater was knit for my sister-in-law to give to her 'just-like-my-own' son in preparation for the birth of his first child, a son.  It is a brighter, more updated, version of little boy blue and was knit in Berroco Comfort DK Solid yarn.  I love the little star buttons in the mixed colors.  These are a nod to the stars and stripes in our flag and to the baby's father for his military service. The pattern is one I've worked before and tend to return to because I love it so much - Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater by Carole Barenys.  It knits up beautifully into what I think may be the perfect infant sweater.