|Hand crocheted chenille afghan for my ‘Grandma Kitty”|
I had no idea the day I made a simple requests on my social media sites asking for yarn, knitting and crochet needles that my request would be answered yet alone fulfilled. A Facebook friend of mine Amanda R. answered my request and mailed me to gigantic skeins of chenille yarn in green and off white. She was even kind enough to ship the yarn and 4 sets of knitting needles via UPS so that they arrived before Christmas.
I tried for days to make something with the knitting needles. But I had been forewarned by Amanda the chenille is very soft and difficult to use if not using a pattern. After a few failed attempts I gave up trying to knit with the soft fabric and switched to crocheting. It was shortly after Christmas and my crochet throw was starting to look like something I could be proud of. It was around that time I received a phone call from cousin in California that our Grandma Kitty was complaining of low blood sugar and not being able to eat for over a few days and that her doctor suggested she check into the hospital for some test.
My initial response was one of concern but not worry. You see, my Grandma Kitty is 75 years old and just as “spunky” and full of life as she was when she 45 years old. She’s had more than her share of health problems including diabetes and open heart surgery and has ALWAYS come through it just as feisty as ever. Being a nurse I decided to wait to hear what the test results were before I started “self diagnosing” her.
A day passed and test were taken, the initial diagnosis was that she had a tumor in her esophagus. Further test would have to be taken to know if the tumor was benign or cancerous. Knowing my Grandma Kitty has been a smoker for over 50 years I could feel the worry starting to creep into my psyche. I kept trying to squelch the nurse knowledge in me and remain optimistic. I called my grandmother sometimes three times a day while we all waited. All of my boys and my husband called her. She probably heard from us more while waiting for the diagnosis than she ever had. I just felt so guilty not having the resources to be able to fly out to her and just reassure her as much as myself that Cancer was not an option I was willing to accept.
The day of the results of the test I called my grandma’s room. She answered and sounded good. She had even started to keep her food down. Her blood sugars were within normal range so I knew once again she would be o.k. She had to be. My grandmother gave the phone to my aunt and said she would explain the test results to me. The worry, their it went again, creeping always lurking. Why couldn’t SHE tell me? I was Furious and more than a little scared I admit. O.k. my cousin got on the phone and said my aunt would call me back. Call me back? What the hell did she mean call me back? But o.k. I’ll just crochet until I get a return call.
Then the bottom fell out of my world. My aunt called me back to tell me my Grandma Kitty’s tumor was cancerous. I felt as if someone had punched me in the gut. I was mad, I was sad I was numb. What did this mean? The nurse in me had retreated and I was all alone processing this disgusting news. I couldn’t write I couldn’t review I couldn’t cook or eat; all that I could do was crochet. If only I had been there I could’ve somehow changed the diagnosis. I knew logically this was not true but I wasn’t thinking logically, this was MY Grandma. My Grandma who came all the way from California when I had my second son, Denzel. She stayed with us almost 3 months giving me all the help and support I needed. This was MY Grandma who taught me how to cook and how to make sewing patterns out of newspaper.
I continued to crochet and allow my mind to process all of the information I received. I stopped doing pretty much anything else. Before long the throw had turned into a full fledged Afghan. My grandmother has decided to opt out of surgery and go with chemo and radiation. This Thursday she starts her first course of chemo. I’m doing a little better processing and accepting her current diagnosis and course of treatment.
When a loved one receives a diagnosis of cancer it’s not the end of the world even though it may feel like it. I found crocheting and allowing my mind to process everything one day at a time worked best for me. I didn’t Google her diagnosis or treatment in fact I didn’t go online for days. Sometimes Prayer, meditation and crocheting is just what you need to get you through a difficult time.
I’ve started back blogging and I decided to write about my experience to purge my demons in hopes it will help someone else. My journey has just begun and I am very optimistic things will work out and MY Grandma Kitty will beat this cancer like she has beaten so many obstacles in the past. I ask this in Jesus name ~Amen.