Friday, July 7, 2017


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."


Anonymous said...

Oh my gracious! What a story! So glad to hear that your Peter is getting better.... And sorry about your dog. That certainly compounded the stress. Hopefully you have been able to hook.
My Peter and I are going on a Rhine River cruise in October with some friends who loved a cruise they took last year. You might put one of those on your list! We've done some ocean cruising and have wondered about the river ones.
Take care!
Debbie from adailydoseoffiber

Julia said...

Wow Sarah, what a story indeed. It really makes you appreciate the little things that we take for granted. I had 3rd stage breast cancer in 202 and was told I woulds probably die of it and I tell yo, it made me appreciate the smallest things that I took for granted and any kind support from family and friend. I got bald too and went bare head because I had nothing to be ashamed of. I went everywhere with a mask on and enjoyed every moment of life. Cancer does that to a person.

Wishing a speedy recovery to Peter. So sorry about your little dog. You'll get to go places on your bucket list soon.
Hugs and all the best.
Hugs, Julia

acorn hollow said...

My husband too had a rare form of leukemia We live 2 hours from Boston where he was treated.A month in the hospital and His brother was his donor also. He celebrated 5 years last November. we are bless beyond anything I could hope for. I hope you get to travel. we do not go out of the country as his immune will always be compromised not to bad but not like a fully healthy person. The first trip we took he got a rare form of Pneumonia and had to be transferred back to Boston (We are so lucky to have boston as he was misdiagnosed before we got there in the beginning )for them to figure out so I guess we are a little shy about travel. Many prayers and blessing to you both as I know the stress of a sick spouse.

kstehens100 said...

You are an amazingly strong, courageous and loving woman. Sending prayers and healing energy.

Hugs, Kat

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