Beautiful weather, changing temperatures, trying to keep pace

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It is nearly the end of October; the fall is a quieter season for us … the activity in the quilt shop has dropped back down to just a few customers each week. My health has been up and down as the season’s changing temperatures are fluctuating above and below seasonal normals. And I find that I don’t handle the differences as well as I would like.

Fatigue was a large issue during the heat of the past few months. As cooler weather arrived, I looked forward to returning to a better level of energy. The change in temperature isn’t really a factor when I stay indoors, but when I walk outside if only for a few moments, I feel the drop in degrees immediately, and react with a full body tremor. When I go back indoors, the shaking continues for quite a while, even though I try to warm up quickly with a quilt or afghan on the couch. It seems to take me much longer to get back to a normal temperature than I would expect.

Rick and I took a walk a week ago, just around the block to the funeral home for the wake of a former neighbor of ours. Bob was a wonderful man who lived across the street from my parents’ home, and he developed his property into a wonderful agricultural spot, growing fruits and vegetables abundantly enough to have a farm stand roadside. When I was still single and living with my parents, I would babysit for Bob and his wife Barb, and Bob would walk me home late at night, making sure I was safely across the street and all the way up the driveway to the back door. I remember shivering in the night air then, but the shivering stopped as soon as I was back into the warm house. But this fall, walking home from Bob’s wake, the cooling air again chilled my skin, and returning to the house didn’t bring that quick relief … it took a while for my body to warm up. And the same thing happens when I eat frozen yogurt.  My body temperature drops, I shake and shiver for at least half an hour afterwards.

I’ll mention this to the neurologist when I next see her, this winter. It may be related to MS, or it may just be something that comes with age.  I remember when my wonderful family doctor, many years ago, told me to wear wool socks from fall through spring, and so I know it is time to dig them out and put them on each morning.

As for the melanoma: I saw the dermatologist a month ago, and he did a small biopsy on the back of my neck. As he did not call with results, I am to assume that it was negative for skin cancer. It seems that each time I go, there is almost always something to be cut or frozen … one is no more difficult than the other at that diagnostic level. And I haven’t had to go to the skin surgeon to remove anything for quite a while now … because, I think, we are catching these recurring sites quickly. I still see the dermatologist for a skin check every four months now (an improvement over the three month schedule for the past two years.)

Rick and I are planning to take a winter vacation this year. We will probably close the shop for the worst of winter, reopening in the spring. It doesn’t make sense to keep the heat on when few customers come in for fabric and notions. I will still have lessons with my students, but they will take place here in the house, in the room with the attached greenhouse and the woodstove. It’s always cozy in that room, and the geraniums that my friend Mary brings in each fall brighten the spot throughout the winter.

I did finish a few quilts this summer, one for our grandson and one for my sister’s birthday … I have two more to work on in the family before I can work on the additional customer quilts that I had agreed to make last fall. I have had a few more customers come in since, asking if I would make or finish a quilt for them.  But I answer differently now … I offfer to connect them with one of the two women in the quilt guild that enjoy finishing quilts, and/or I offer to teach the customer how to make and finish the quilt on her own. It’s not as hard to say no to making quilts for customers as I thought it would be, and I have to say no more often now. It takes longer to finish things, as I have to sit and rest for a while after each half-hour of sewing at the machine. As long as I do this, I can stay ahead of the worsening back pain. If I try to push through it and continue sewing without these frequent rest periods, I pay dearly the next day.

In all, life is good right now … manageable, and I’m learning to pace myself and save energy … so I can continue enjoying the company of customers in the  quilt shop, and the group mind-mapping days with other artists in town, and planning fundraising events with the Friends of the Library, and meeting with the fire company’s association members, and the historical society.  The piece that is missing in my days now is my writing … Henry and Helen are still waiting patiently for me to finish their second book. Perhaps  after my niece’s quilt, and before my son’s fiance’s quiet, I’ll be able to write in the quiet of winter.

Be well, all, and thanks for keeping up with me.

Terry

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