I was scrolling down my Facebook page a couple of days ago and saw a post entitled "Top 60 Rug Hooking Blogs & Websites for Rug Hookers." There I was -- number 21. I laughed so hard I nearly fell off the couch. I haven't posted since April, before that January. I have been the least active blogger I know. Part of the blame goes to Instagram, which I love, and part to Facebook, which I don't love so much, but which can be a great tool for keeping abreast of things. But most of the blame goes to T-Prolymphocytic Leukemia, a rare and aggressive cancer that my husband Peter has been fighting since late October.
Illness can be all consuming, but when it is rare, and when the only specialist who takes a patient's insurance practices 91 miles away, there is no time left for normal life. We are lucky to have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, lucky to have found the three amazing women who lead our medical team at North Shore University Hospital, lucky that Pete's brother Bill was a perfect match and donated his stem cells for a transplant -- the only option to keep Pete alive. And while we sometimes bemoan the fact that we can't travel, can't go out to dinner, can't have houseplants, can't swim or bike ride (the list of don'ts is 12 pages long!), we are so very lucky that Pete is recovering. His hair is even growing back!
We spent our 32nd anniversary last month making a list all the places we will visit when the doctors tell us Pete's immune system is strong enough for travel. First stop: Wisconsin to see my 97-year-old mother-in-law and spend time at the family cabin on Lake Superior. Second stop -- maybe the Galapagos or a cooking school in Burgundy or the Retiti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya. We're dreaming big, and as soon as we can, we'll be living big, too.
It's taken me a while, but I'm getting used to our new normal. The first two weeks after Pete's discharge from the hospital were terrifying, knowing I was now responsible for him and an hour and a half drive away from the doctor. Our little 15-year-old Jack Russell became very ill a few days after Pete returned home and had to be put to sleep. That was tough, but also a relief. I was up all night every night taking care of him, and was so exhausted I neared my breaking point. I have help with the house and the yard now, and Pete has learned to enjoy grocery shopping (wearing a mask and gloves, of course) and cooking. Since most of his work is computer based, he has been able to work the entire time -- even through two hospital stays totalling more than six weeks. We have wonderful, supportive family and friends who help us in so many ways. So, all in all, life is limited, but life is good.
I am teaching two rug hooking classes twice a month, and my talented students keep me on my toes and give me some structure, as does my fall schedule of fiber festivals and shows. Right now I am preparing for vending and teaching at the renowned Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week, August 14 through 19. I'm hoping this post is the start of more consistant blogging, since writing is something I love to do . . . and I need to earn my spot on the list of "Best Rug Hooking Blogs on the Planet."