Chemo Knitting

It has been a long time since I have posted. In November I was diagnosed with  breast cancer. While tired from Chemo I am really doing very well. For those who don’t know, I have no hot spots and it looks to be early. I have been very fortunate.

With this of course I have done less designing as I have been tired. My thoughts have been fuzzy and my mind has not wanted to work. I have admittedly wanted nurturing. You may know someone with cancer yourself that you want to knit something for but feel at a loss as to know what to say, what to do, what to knit.

From my experience, and everyone is going to be different, I have needed both normal everyday living and understanding as to where I am at. Nurturing without being defined by it. Yes I have cancer but it does not define who I am. I am not suddenly craving pink ribbons on everything. Your loved one may, as I said everyone is different. What I appreciated was being asked if someone wasn’t sure what I would like. I also liked just getting nurturing things that focused on me as a women.

Things that didn’t scream you poor cancer patient. I decided at the beginning I am not a cancer victim, I am someone who has cancer yes. But I am not a victim.

I still knit what I love, and my step daughter has knit me some hats. I do have a beautiful wig but I am not afraid to go out bald either. I put on some makeup and some beautiful earrings and smile as I always do. There is so much beauty in the world, so much to be happy about and thankful for.

In the end I find that chemo knitting for me is little different than regular knitting. Why do we knit for others? We love them. We nurture them by giving them something that is uniquely part of ourselves and them, linked together by  the works of our hands and the bond of our hearts. We choose yummy fibers and things we love to do this. In the end, isn’t that what anyone going through something needs? A little love, a little nurturing?

While it is admittedly traumatic for a woman to loose her hair (it is hard for me too) I have to be honest. I hate most chemo hates because to  me they  scream “I am hiding no hair!” because they just don’t look like regular hats. I would much prefer a really great hat that is just fabulous, than a hat that just hides my head. Our loved ones don’t love us for our hair. And we shouldn’t love ourselves for our hair either.

Practical considerations on yarn if you are knitting a hat for someone going through chemo: chemo can through a woman into menopause. Temporary or permanent. If she is borderline on being pre-menopausal she has very good chances at permanent menopause caused by the chemo. She will have abrupt hot flashes caused by her body trying to balance it’s temperature. Use fine gauge yarns for best comfort. Like  sock yarns. Worsted weight for indoor use as a hat is in my opinion a waste. It will be way too hot.

As far as fiber, a newly bald head can be very  sensitive. Use very soft yarns. Hold yarns to your inner wrist or cheek, or back of your neck. If it is prickly the hat will come off. If it is too warm, the  hat will come off. It is great to have a nice soft lightweight hat to sleep in when you need it too, again soft soft soft. If the hat is too warm it will make hot flashes worse.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

p.s. My chemo is just over the halfway point, I have through June yet and then surgery and radiation. Reconstruction when it is all done, I am hoping for a lumpectomy.

4 Responses to “Chemo Knitting”

  1. Katherine Says:

    I’m glad I read this. I’m so out of touch. You and your well-being are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Tari Anne Kareidis Says:

    Thank you for being so open, and candid about what you are going through. It is hard to share the delicate pieces of ourselves with others. I have never seen you but to the eyes of my heart you shine like the sun. Never stop glowing JoLene!

  3. Anne Says:

    How are you doing, Jolene? Where are you in the process? I hope all is going well and you are heading toward the rest of your life. My breast cancer treatment year (well, 15 months actually) was a revelation – I found strength I didn’t know I had. I completely agree with you on the hats – type of hat, type of yarn, weight of yarn. I found I enjoyed being bald because it took so much less time to get ready for the day. Who knew?! Stay strong, be well.

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