Knitting

My guy has kids.

Three of them. Ages 7, 10 and 12. The youngest a boy, the other two are girls.

It is a sort of instant family occasion.

I enjoy it way more than I ever thought I would. And I suppose they slowly get used to me too. Of course, there are plenty of challenges, but that makes it interesting as well. Never a dull moment.

A little while ago the middle one came home from a playdate with a box. This box was a gift from an aunt. She stood before me with that box and asked me if I could knit. First I thought I misheard. Then she showed me the box. This box had a picture of a stuffed animal (a donkey in this case) on it, and it said in not so bold letters: knit your own stuffed animal. I told her that yes I can knit (at least last time I tried, about 8 years ago…). But to knit a stuffed animal is another story altogether. The only knitting experience I have is knitting scarves, albeit with different stitches, but still. I asked her if her grandmother couldn’t knit. Apparently not (later I learned this was wrong, her grandmother does know how to knit).

We opened the box and I went for the instructions. A bunch of letter combinations were staring me in the face. For those of you who don’t know. Knitting involves its own language in the shape of abbreviations. These abbreviations basically are the instructions. When you’ve not knitted in a decade, these abbreviations could be chinese. Especially when you don’t quite remember how and what to do again.

It included wool (different types, very thin thread), stuffing and needles. Not just 2, but 5. This told me the knitting involved would be quite advanced.

I told her that this project is not an easy one (I wished my grandmother was still alive). But I could teach her how to knit. That drew her attention and she agreed.

The next time I saw her, I had brought my knitting gear, but left it in the car. You never know if it’s a temporary craze. So I was quite taken aback when she flatout asked me if I was ready to teach her how to knit. And so I did.

Now she knits. I don’t think she likes it much, because she has decided her scarf would be better off being a little piece of cloth to make a pillow out of. She does know how to do it though! I suppose that is the important part.

Her sister also wanted to knit (had some experience) and is knitting away happily after a short recap. The youngest however, decided he too wanted to learn how to knit. But while explaining he was more interested in the TV. I suppose it was more about the personal attention than anything else.

So yeah, knitting. And I know the middle one has set her mind on knitting this damn donkey, since she asked me if we could practice knitting with multiple (more than 2) needles… knitting in rounds, not sure how it translates. But God help me, we are doing this.

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In Love

Yep. I really don’t know how it happened. Turns out falling in love is quite easy. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. It is such a natural feeling, I am truly amazed. It also happened quite unexpectedly.

A friend of mine decided to date a man every week of the year (I know, right?). She didn’t like to date but thought if she really wanted to get a man, dating was a necessary evil. So she dated. It took her not 52 dates but only 14 to find the man she is now married to.

Following her example, I decided not to date 52 men in a year, but to at least date every once in a while. Since I had already decided I would attempt to date in late 2018 (medication intake normalized and hormone levels more in sync), I took to the dating apps again (not Tinder). Determined not to go for the ones who only wanted one thing and to not let anybody ask me if I really was born as a woman (yep, that really happened), I gathered up all the positivity and hope I could find and swiped my way through the eligible men.

I had some criteria:

  • No bare-chested pics
  • At least one pic without sunglasses

Okay, so I had two criteria before matching… Perhaps I’m not that picky after all! πŸ˜‰ After matching I also had some criteria:

  • No talk about sex
  • No asking for my number before ever meeting
  • No endless hearts and overload of superficial chitchat

I didn’t want too many matches at the same time. So I took my time. I also initiated the chat when I felt like it. Waiting around is such a lame thing to do.

So, this guy was one of the first I matched with. I initiated digital verbal contact. After establishing we had mutual interests, and some conversation throughout almost 2 weeks I think (great spelling and use out interpunction were a big plus!), I was also the one who suggested we’d meet, you know, for coffee. Why coffee you may ask? Well, you don’t want to be there too long when you find out the date and you don’t match at all. Coffee allows for a swift ending without being too rude…

So, we went out to dinner (obviously his suggestion, I only agreed because our mutual interests were the good kind), a complete three-course meal. And since I had just gotten my injection the day before, and was nervous since dinner meant no swift escape, my appetite was almost reversed.

He was early, so I had no time to fuss about with clothes, hair (on purpose not washed since I didn’t want to make my best effort) or make-up (yes I did wear make-up). And raced my bicycle to the place where the meet up would take place. We were the only guests in the restaurant (a couple of weeks before the holidays, on a weekday, perhaps it makes sense). The waitress was worried she was being too loud…

But it was nice! I have the capability of being too polite and keep the opposite party talking, which can be mistaken for interest. So I purposefully kept quiet every once in a while to see how he would handle that.

He handled it well, probably didn’t even notice I did it. He was unfazed and not in the least bit nervous, which put me at ease as well. This allowed me to actually be able to swallow my food (thank god the portions were modest).

So I surprised myself by saying yes to having a drink after dinner. I’m not really sure what made us click, but to me, it felt really comfortable and easy-going. Those may not be the sexiest terms to use in describing a first date, but they made me feel at ease and interested enough to go on a second date.

Status update

The magic pills are awesome. I’m feeling more like myself nowadays πŸ™‚ it is super strange to reflect on the events of the past year and how I changed, internally, externally… Let’s call it intense. The change in energy levels, combined with work, moving and the calisthenics course has also taken some toll. Resulting in me falling sick a time too often for my liking. At times I’m wondering if the energy I’m using is actually mine, or if it is just the pills. In the meantime, I try not to worry about it too much.

Hard? Yes. But I suppose it is for everybody, with or without meds. Moving is just an intense activity and life event, even when not combined with a course, work and changing hormone levels πŸ˜‰ I might’ve underestimated that slightly.

In other news, my thyroid hormone dosage has been increased. The docs decided it was necessary, seeing my lab results. They also asked if I’d lost additional weight since starting on these pills. That wasn’t the case though. (It is strange how a stable weight is very very very satisfying for me.) It does mean I may lose more weight in the foreseeable future πŸ™‚ And as it may be, I recently promised my sister that I’d join her on her quest to lose 4% of body weight… So perhaps I don’t have to ration myself as much as I thought I would πŸ˜‰

 

I Own a House Now.

I have joined the homeowner category of people.

I finally found a house where I could not find any arguments not to buy the place. Of course, the thyroid medicine helped a lot.

This may sound to you like I’m not very happy with it. You would be wrong.

It has been a strange year. With a lot of bumps in the road and ups and especially downs. I am very much looking forward to a place of my own.

A place where all my surfboards get the space they deserve. Where I can fling paint around as much or as little as I like. Where I can sleep, without hearing anybody going to the toilet, except myself. My own bathroom with tub, my own kitchen, with all my own appliances. A whole refrigerator for myself. A freezer to store my precooked food in. A garden, even though mainly facing north, I also have a west facing part and even a little garden in front of the house. It provides tanning locations. I can try and grow my own vegetables, or herbs at least. I can do yoga, work out, both inside and outside.

The location to me is close to ideal. Although not walking distance from the beach (unless you want to walk half a day), it is located close to main roads, walking distance from both a supermarket and a small park. Friends live nearby. And the street is quiet. So quiet that I’m already worried everybody will hear me sing if I feel the need :X

I am already living in my own house for a week and it feels good. I really have to get used to not having roommates: everytime I cough at night I’m worried I’m waking someone up. Makes me smile though πŸ™‚

Last weekend we painted a bunch of walls (especially the bedroom walls: white, and living room wall: blue) and my chill spot now looks like this:

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Comfy chill spot

Needless to say πŸ™‚ I’m happy (even though I’m using my holiday to recover from the flu πŸ˜‰ ).

Calisthenics

With my energy levels back up, I found myself with the drive to work out again. Mainly because I have literally tried for years to lose weight and to get fit. And now I may finally get there again.

At the moment I’m mostly interested in feeling fit πŸ™‚ if I happen to lose weight in the process, I won’t be complaining though.

Since my shoulder has been bothering me ever since my initial weight loss (I still suspect muscle imbalance because of reducing muscle mass), I am more and more interested in learning about form. I want to know the balanced way to work out. I figured there should be a workout type where it is impossible (or at least less likely) to train in an unbalanced way.

I googled some, saw some human flags, decided you need to be really balanced and aware about it in order to achieve that and looked for a trainer in the neighbourhood. But alas, there were none to be found in my region though. This particular type of workout is called calisthenics and for the most part works with your own body weight.

I did find a calisthenics trainer course. So I signed up for it, because why not? I’ll never be as young as I am today!

Saturday the first of September was my first day (of 6 in total). I was a bit nervous because of my lack of skill (I mean, hanging is already a challenge, even doing nothing). But it was actually great! Awesome people (and yes, they can do all the fancy and impressive moves), great vibe and I’m really happy to be there and to participate.

Now it is at the forefront of my mind a LOT. The result is that I am now seeing furniture, nature and random objects to be found on the street in a very different light. They have become workout objects. I am ecstatic πŸ™‚ I am very curious if I’ll be able to do a pull up at the end of this πŸ˜‰

 

Magic pills

For a while now I’ve been wanting to write. But I couldn’t seem to find a suitable topic.

I may have mentioned before that I’ve been taking things day by day. This is nice and doable. I won’t even try to wrap my head around the chronic illness.

It basically means I am feeling my way through life. The basic things, like I feel tired, hungry, thirsty, sad and consequentially I provide myself with what I need at that moment. Other then that, I am not doing that much. Surfing every once in a while. I joined a gym, but I only go once a week at the most.

As some of you may know, every 3 to 4 months I have to return to the hospital for an evaluation of my blood values.Β  Which is fine, since I would like to be or at least feel healthy too.

A month before my most recent appointment, I felt really weak. And that is not something I am used to. I had some tremors in my hands, was light-headed, dizzy, and a bit nauseous. Since these things are listed as side effects, I sought contact with my doctors. They pointed me to my local GP (general practitioner) (which is huisarts in Dutch) to check my blood iron levels. The GP also added some other items to check upon. And so it came to be that we found out my thyroid isn’t working as well as it should.

Although I didn’t want to take more medication, I am now on new pills, once every day. These pills though, are magical.

Along with the physical side effects, some psychological discomfort has disappeared as well. For the last half a year my thoughts have been a tad darker, more somber, some may say downright depressing. I’ve not been enthusiastic and didn’t experience a lot of fun. I even walked around like a zombie from time to time, especially the days after an injection. Sometimes not even able of picking up on cues for jokes. Highly frustrating, if I could have felt that, that is. Since I was so numb, I didn’t feel a whole lot altogether. Everything seemed pointless. (This is not a good place to be at and I was very aware of this! Sought help and everything.)

These pills though… They make everything better! Physically I am doing good, amazing things are happening (and with this I mean that regular bodily functions are now again normal! Which is amazing and I enjoy it very much, but it is weird to say that my toilet going experiences have improved so so much πŸ˜‰ needless to say, they were unpleasant before the magic pills).

My sense of humour has returned, my enthusiasm, my upbeatness, quick witted-ness (if I may say so :D), my energy levels are back up! I get hungry again! I’m not nauseous anymore, and I don’t even walk around like a zombie after my injection!!! It is absolutely awesome.

Of course, this is great news, and for me great to experience. I enjoy every minute of it.

The downside is, that for the last half a year I have been feeling like crap, even though there was a simple way to fix that. All the posted side effects are explained by the slow working thyroid. The fact that my body isn’t working as it should (and the normal rules don’t apply anymore), combined with the knowledge that I could have been feeling so much better gets to me sometimes.

But then I remind myself that I am taking things day by day, I check how I feel, and today is a good day πŸ™‚ and I can let things go.

 

 

Side Effects: Mood swings

Most of the physical side effects I just wait out. I am used to my body changing. It is sort of funny to experience it yet again. But the timespan now is a bit shorter πŸ˜‰ I am not sure where it is going, but I am not worried too much.

The side effects that do worry me though, are the mood swings. I think it is mainly because of the reduction of steroids that I now am so hyper-aware of my mood, or hyper-aware of the effect of certain hormones on my mood. If that makes any sense at all…Β Now I can feel like shit from one moment to another, for no apparent reason. And people notice! My colleague laughed his ass off when I was telling a couple of bulbs off for not growing flowers fast enough… :/

I still have to learn how to manage this. But in the meantime, I am letting it get me down. It literally drives me crazy. I can’t (yet!) snap out of it by myself. And it feels like going insane. Or at least, that is what I suppose it could feel like because it is hard to recognize myself at those times.

I suppose that my cycle and my medical treatment together don’t really have the best effect on me mentally, or the stabilising effect of the steroids (nobody ever described steroids like this, to me, it is a calming blanket) has been rudely stripped away. Combine this with the fact that the diagnosis is finally starting to sink in a little bit, and it makes sense for me to seek out help to get me through this particular rough patch.

New Room

Yes! I moved!

I am ecstatic! After the drowning of my mattress (seriously), I just didn’t sleep well anymore. I didn’t feel safe.

Fortunately, a friend of mine had a colleague that was going to move. And the room in the house she occupied would become available.

So I went to look, I saw, slept on it, and decided to do it. Just like that. And within a week I got the key, and I haven’t slept in my old room since πŸ™‚

The room is not even half the size of my old room, so I had to get rid of nearly all my furniture. The bed that was already in there is pretty high so I can stack boxes underneath. And I have a small walk-in closet which I share with a roommate. ChallengingΒ sure, but cosy and organised (for now πŸ˜‰ ).

I now live with only 2 guys, who are both younger than I am (I must be the weirdest woman ever, but screw that πŸ˜‰ ), and both are working at a ship design company here.

There is a nice garden, my boards are all in the shed, I have already planted some seeds for growing tomatoes, had breakfast in the garden and a BBQ with my housemates and their colleagues. And! I have a roof window right above my head when I lay in bed!

It is truly awesome (I have now lived here for just over a week πŸ˜‰ ).

 

 

Side Effects: Physical Discomfort

Before the treatment, my body had a lot of steroids. You know, the stuff bodybuilders use to get more muscles. My body had a tendency to make muscles all of its own accords. It would be clear whenever I would try a new sport or work out routine. I would have muscle aches once, after that my body knew what I needed: extra muscles. This lead to me always gaining weight, even though I would eat healthily and work out.

So now that I get the medication, my natural steroids are at a lower (more normal!) level. This brings about its own set of side effects.

My muscles are melting away a bit (I haven’t been working out for about half a year). This in itself is no issue. I feel more feminine. However, it does bring some imbalance to my joints. And this gives a bit of discomfort (you know, pain and some unsteadiness). It makes me take more care with moving, doubting what I can and cannot do. Am I just as strong as before? How much should I carry? Should I wait it out? Can I go surfing?

For now, I have decided to join a gym. This week is actually my first couple of weeks back on exercise πŸ™‚ so I hope I can balance my joints out properly. For now, it feels good, since I also get to have muscle aches again after a workout πŸ™‚ this is something that I didn’t use to get a lot of before the treatment. I must say it feels good. Also, I hope it contributes to the downward trend of my weight. It has been on a plateau the last couple of weeks.

It is also the reduction of steroids that makes my hair fall out. I suppose compared to my sister on chemo, I can’t really complain much, but it is annoying to be having my hand full of hair when I would just run my fingers through it. So mostly I put it up in a pony tail to not shed everywhere πŸ˜‰ I think I now have about half of what I had. And although it sounds like a lot, I really used to have a lot of hair, so you really won’t notice. It does mean, however, that my hair isn’t as heavy and therefore it dries way more quickly and my curls get more bouncy and light. Not too bad πŸ˜‰

Side Effects: Temperature

I wanted to write a post about the side effects. But it has gotten to be a long and boring piece of text that had a bunch of lists. I would like to explain what it feels like, and what I have to deal with. But I don’t think it will come across really as I intended it would.

Nevertheless, since there are so many symptoms and side effects, I will give them to you piece by piece πŸ˜‰

Firstly, as is appropriate forΒ the current weather circumstances (it is pretty cold in The Netherlands), I am going to tell you about my sense of temperature.

With full-blown acromegaly, I was never cold. I was always feeling warm (not feverish, but the sensation of being warm enough, if not hot). I broke out in sweat really easily and for no apparent good reason like standing in line at the supermarket, or walking in the city, shopping. Trying new clothes was horrible. I was always picking clothes that wouldn’t show sweat stains. And I never wore warm and cuddly pieces of clothing. Never. It was uncomfortable.

After my first injection, I was driving to and from Delft weekly, and at some point, during one of those commutes, I noticed my feet were cold. To me that was mindboggling.

Now I’m on my fifth injection and this trend has continued. It is now pretty cold outside and it makes me dig into my closet searching for my warm sweaters and long fuzzy cardigans. But I didn’t find any. Realization hit me quite late (not a compliment to my intelligence). For the past 6 or 7 years, I really didn’t need or even want warm fuzzy sweaters.

I need to go shopping. Again. But now for warmer clothes.