Sunday, 16 March 2014

Living With Fear And Blue Skies

Dear readers,
It's hard to live with fear when the skies are blue but neither the headpounding dread nor the limpid skies showed signs of abating for the entire week.  I had to learn, therefore, the almost unbearable lesson of living with a birdsong filled world when my greatest wish was to sink into dark, undisturbed sleep for several days and nights.
 Last saturday night I discovered a lump in my left breast.  The impact on my stress levels was immediate.  Images of my youngest daughter, barely four and motherless, flitted through my mind and I moaned to myself whilst lying in bed 'Oh my God'.  Ironically, like many of you, I had recently read Kate's post which had left its mark on me.  If I am honest I would say that my (more or less) regular breast check was more thorough than usual this time thanks to Kate's well-written words.  Sunday was hard.  My usual swim with Tristan did little to raise my troubled thoughts and on Monday morning once all the children were at school I picked up the 'phone with trembling hands and dialed my local doctor's number.  Two hours later I sat in her surgery and watched her smile turn to a troubled frown as soon as I uttered the word 'breast lump'.  After examining me she urged her secretary to make an urgent appointment for a mammogram and scan.  Thursday afternoon at 3.15pm was fixed and as I said my goodbyes and smiled weakly at the secretary I descended the stairs out into the brilliant sunshine and wondered how on earth I would survive four days of waiting.
 And much as though I would like to share with you, dear readers, my advice on how to endure heightened stress levels I must confess that little helped soothe my stiff back and excuriating headaches.  Neither spring flowers nor sunshine lifted my spirits.  Knitting Tristan's springtime pullover kept me focused at times. Caring for my children with a serene face and gentle words kept me more or less together.  As often as I could I would allow myself to drift into light sleep; anxiety is exhausting as many of you must know.  Certainly I felt loved and grateful when friends called and texted me with kind offers and gestures.  But the stress levels rose as the week wore on.
 Thursday afternoon after an hour of thorough tests carried out by caring medical professionals I was given the all clear diagnosis I had hardly dared hope for.  And had I, for one second, whilst lying there under the dimmed lights in that clinic entertained the thoughts that all this anguish might have been for nothing the specialist's sad words cut through my fuzzy head: "You did well to come.  I see too many women in their forties with breast cancer."
 So, to echo Kate's simple message please, dear ladies, check you breasts some time soon.  This blog of mine is only small but if my heartfelt words may be heard by one person at least then I will be content.
This sweet musician of mine and his siblings are reason enough to be mindful of such health issues, don't you think?

Tristan wears his second High Water ready for spring.

The yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in the beautiful colourways Bloomsbury Blue and Grasshopper.

My Ravelry notes are here.

My dear husband took the pictures on this beautiful spring sunday!  Do you see the wild periwinkle flowers in the last picture?
Finally I am joining in wth Laura's The Year In Books with my choice for the March.  Having enjoyed Kate Forsyth's enthralling novel, Bitter Greens  I could not wait to read this version of the Grimm brothers' lives and their neighbour in Kassel, Dortchen Wild.  I must confess I am more than halfway through it already! 

I am also joining in with Karen's Sunlit Sunday for the second time!

I wish you all a wonderful start to the week and I will return wth a much cheerier post soon.

A bientôt,



  1. Just... (((hugs)))
    So glad this was just a scare. I hope this new week will be wonderful to make up for the previous one.

  2. How brave you've been ... so glad to hear all is well with your health ... now can enjoy the joys of spring unfettered by worry ... Bee xx

  3. Anxiety of a wait, a wonder, a whisper. So glad of your good news, rest now and build back the strength you drained from all the stress

  4. How horrid for you. I've had several breast cancer scares but I have been lucky and they always been cysts. I'm so pleased that everything turned out well in the end.
    Love Tristan's sweater. Beautiful colours for spring.
    Look after yourself really carefully and the past week will fade away to just a bad dream. X

  5. I am so glad that you are 'out of the woods' Stephanie and wish you a wonderful spring. The photos are lovely. x

  6. Darling, your spirit is never daunted, i love your bravery and I am SO glad you're on the other side of this. Love and hugs xxx

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your heart today my friend. I am so grateful for this moment in both our lives that we can say, "ALL IS CLEAR." Today and tomorrow, we can carry on knowing that there is time to see with new eyes and tell about it. You are just a wonderful friend to me, and I instantly thought of you for days, offering up my faith in hopes there would be a turn, and there was. AMEN.

    Your children are so beautiful, and no matter what, you will always be in them. From your artistry to your guidance, they carry your mark of excellence as a human being that cares, that shines. These periwinkle colors are just seizing my senses and heart this season, and I delight in every photo here. THANK YOU so much for gracing my comments page. I am sooooooooo happy for YOU! Anita

  8. I'm glad to hear you're ok. I understand totally. I went through the same scenario a few years ago. Take care. Xx

  9. Oh honey, the waiting and the fear is just the worst.
    I'm so relived your news was good.
    Sending lots of love.
    I hope you have a gorgeous week. xxxx

  10. so so true.......and a reminder to check often and appreciate every day we have. Tristan's sweater is stunning, as is Tristan! I hope you have a calmer week this week. Fiona

  11. I am so glad all is well with you Stephanie, you must have been beside yourself, you poor thing but what a relief ! Very wise words too, we all must be vigilant .
    That was last week, it's past, this week it's time to enjoy spring with your lovely family with a few hares thrown in for good measure!
    V xxx
    P.S. Tristan is looking very handsome in his new sweater, I'm off to give him a heart, I know how he loves them! :)

  12. Oh sweet Stephanie, such fear can be crippling and the wait for the results must have been excruciating for you. Praise God for the "all clear" I am so relieved for you and your family. I too have been following Kate and all th anxiety she went through, we can never be over cautious with checking for lumps. Sending lots of love and hugs your way xxx you have had to be truly courageous xxx

  13. Hello, Stephanie

    It's a terrible thing to have to wait when one is concerned about potential bad news. It's so easy for the mind and heart to move to a place of worry; you are so fortunate that your story ended well.

    In the spirit of appreciation for this body of mine, you've prompted me to head outdoors for an evening walk. Too often I put off the things than I know are good for my overall health. I'll look for signs of melting snow and imminent spring. As well, I'll give a little thought to you and your beautiful family. Your husband's photos of Tristan is his new sweater are beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your story.


  14. So glad to hear everything is fine and so sorry you had to spend so many days with such worry. I hope you never have to go through it again. Your boy looks very handsome in his new sweater knitted with so much love by his wonderful Mum. Take care and have a wonderful week.

  15. You news made me shudder I have been through this twice now and I know the fear! Everyone faces this in their own particular way but I believe the fear is the same. Really nothing anyone can say or do can disperse that fear. The good news is like a release and a second chance!
    I'll adamantly echo what you have so wisely advised about having a breast scan and frequently. After the all clear I now go every two years for a scan and never miss it.
    So very happy for you that you received such good news.

    Lovely sweater and the colour does indeed suit Tristan .

    Amanda x

  16. OMGosh. What a time for you. HUG. You have every right to feel what you did. I'm sorry it was stressful beyond normal. I'm glad you caught this and took care of business immediately. The joy of Good news. Hooray. I hope this post has been cathartic for you. May nothing but sunshine pour upon you.
    And look at that handsome and talented boy in his gansey plucking along. He's gonna break lots of hearts.

  17. Dear Stephanie, your story is so close to mine that I can just relive everything single thing again. The fear was unbearable. But I am so glad for you that it was only a scare and nothing more. My mammogram came back negative as well and I breathed much more easily after that. Tristan is a charming young boy and looks so handsome in blue! Have a wonderful week :)

  18. sweetheart. i almost choked when i read your first information about the lump. I can't even begin to tell my relief! oh you must have had the worst week ever, i'm so sorry you had to go through that. Your son looks so handsome and amazing in his sweater, all three of their children are so gloriously beautiful, but in addition to that, I get such a sense of beauty in spirit from all three of them!

    I hope that after this, spring is nothing but fabulous smooth sailing for you.....you deserve it. So much care and happy and healthy thoughts coming from me to you right now!

  19. thank you for writing this stephanie. i'm so happy for you, your results, HUGE RELIEF. i do understand, i had a similar scare, i was clear, but my sister was not. that was almost more difficult to bear, i wished it were me. she is in reconstructive phase now, and is a survivor!! bless your heart.

  20. Oh my goodness! How absolutely frightening. I'm so relieved everything is OK. There is nothing worse than waiting for test results, the anxiety is almost too much to bear. Thank goodness everything is OK. I hope you can enjoy the coming Spring even more now. Tristan's jumper is beautiful. Mel x

  21. So glad all was OK! What a handsome young man you have there. The sweater is the perfect shade of sky blue.

  22. I am so glad that you are ok - but oh what a horrible few days you have endured. Enjoy the blue skies, spring flowers and time with your children, perhaps knit yourself something nice too. Yes I will check mine tonight.

  23. So happy for you!!!!!!
    xxxxxx and hugs, Ale

  24. Stephanie I know your fear because it happened to me too and it was the scariest experience ever. Like you my cysts are just that and harmless but it doesn't stop it from being a traumatic time. Thank goodness you found it and it was swiftly dealt with and you can now get back to being yourself. My sister and my daughters have them too.

    Young Tristan looks mighty handsome in his new sweater. The colours suit him well.

    Much love to you. Xxx

  25. Dearest Stephanie ..... I am so very very glad that you got the all clear but goodness what an utterly terrifying time for you x I had a similar experience a few years ago so absolutely understand your fear.
    Tristan looks mighty handsome in his beautiful new sweater, such fabulous colours.
    love Jooles x x x

  26. Oh my goodness, you poor thing! I can only imagine the stress of waiting, but I am SO glad it has all come out right for you Stephanie. Thank you for sharing and reminding us to check xx

  27. So pleased that all is well. I have been in the same position, with a very young baby and I know only too well how hard it is.......and the level of relief afterwards is excruciating. Some wonderful photos of Tristan and is beautiful jumper. I do love those colours. Juliex

  28. Dear Stephanie, I was feeling your anguish and I was so happy for you that you were given the all clear. This is another book I shall look out for having loved "Bitter Greens" after your recommendation.

  29. Dear Stephanie - I am so glad to hear that the result of all the worry was that much needed 'all clear'. You capture the angst and feat that we all would feel at moments like these and I think you did a great job in sharing it. I recently had a mammogram and after two weeks, was glad not to be recalled....and then another week later, I was recalled. Fortunately, it was because the scan wasn't clear enough - and when I went back and had another one, I was thoughtfully told there and then that there was no problem, thank goodness.
    And at the end of all the stress, you had created a beautiful jumper for a beautiful boy - in a most beautiful setting. Enjoy those bird songs and blue skies with a very light heart!

  30. So very pleased to read that your news is good news. When my eldest was just six months old I was told that quite probably I had just six months left to live. I was 22. In fact I had been misdiagnosed - unbelievably he is 30 now! - but it was some while before that became clear. What I learnt then was to take each milestone - the next scan, the next round of tests - like a corner in the road, and only concern myself with what was around that corner when I got to it. If we can do that I think we can cope with most things, as you so clearly have. But don't worry, I hear you, breast check pending here.

    Now get yourself out into that sunshine while it lasts m'dear, and dance and sing x

  31. stephanie-so glad that all turned out well.i am actually awaiting to take someone very close to me for a second recheck.i can understand how this must have been terribly stressful!

  32. Oh dear stephanie, I know what you went through-how scary and how grateful I am that you have the all clear.

  33. Oh Dear -- I'm so happy that you've been given the all clear! Breast cancer is such a scary thing -- just last week we lost a young (30's) woman in our little community -- it's just the saddest thing -- she leaves behind two very young boys (4 and 6).

    You must tell Tristan how dapper he looks in his beautiful new sweater!

    And The Wild Thing looks like a must read for me. We lived in Hanau (you probably know as the birthplace of the brothers Grimm) for three years so I think I would really enjoy the book!

  34. Oh dear girl, what a dark and terrifying week you must have had. I'm so relieved you've had the all clear. (I actually held my breath all the way through your post.)

    Wishing you a week of the sun on your face and a well-deserved spring in your step.

    Heather xx

  35. I am so glad that the outcome was good for you. What relief you must have felt. Waiting is so difficult, but now you can enjoy the spring flowers and sunshine x

  36. Chere Stephanie,
    quel cauchemar! Oh, je t'assure que j'ai suivi ton parcours pas a pas, j'ai maintes fois vecu une situation pareille avec des personnes de ma famille, dont mon pere que j'ai finalement perdu...J'ai senti ta peur mais je suis vraiment heureuse et soulagee que tout aille bien! Tristan sera la a te sourire ainsi que le printemps et tant de choses belles...

  37. SO so happy to hear all is well! I recently lost a friend to cancer, so to hear your story and its happy ending does my heart good. Im so glad that you got the all-clear! Yay!

  38. Hello Stephanie, I always read your posts they are so beautiful and so true to who you are. I've had three mammograms and several scares and I know the feeling where you can't think of anything else other than 'lump' and what if...I am glad to hear you are okay. Like you my fears were laid to rest by reassuring doctors who assured me that 'all is well'...have a lovely week. Sharon x

  39. Stephanie! I am so glad you are well! Blessings on you and yours as you recover from the stress. Tristan's sweater does suit him...we are unanimous on that point, too :) At 63 I am on schedule to have a mammogram every year, and in fact had mine on Friday. Glad you have found another good book to read. I just finished rereading Plain and Simple by Sue Bender. She felt compelled to find an Amish family who would allow her to live with them for a few weeks and wrote a lovely peaceful little book about her experiences with charming illustrations of quilts,dolls, horses and buggies and the like. xx

  40. I am so sorry that you had to endure this, but so glad that in the end you received good news. I hope that you stay well and healthy for many many years. xx

  41. I'm so sorry you went through this, what a huge relief to be given the all clear. And no doubt a renewed appreciation for this beautiful life. Thank you for sharing this, it is a very good reminder to check regularly. Your words here will reach many that posters in the doctor's office will not. Sending you a big cyber hug. CJ xx

  42. Dear lovely Stephanie...You have had such a dark and worrying time waiting for your results and my heart truly sings to read that all is now well...x
    Spring is on it's way (along with some beautiful hares ...I'm guessing? :-) )....Have fun with your lovely family and enjoy the moment!...Tristan looks fab in his new sweater...I love the last pic of him playing his guitar (and the shade of blue is just beautiful...I'm sure he will have chosen it himself!)
    Wishing you a wonderful week,
    Susan x

  43. Dear Stephainie...
    Oh my....
    My heart was in my hand reading this post....
    My goodness, I am so happy and pleased that all was indeed well for you, my friend....
    ~ Life gets brought into perspective at these terrible worrying times....It most certainly does...
    I had a little worry my self at this very time last year..So my heart and prayers goes out to you!!
    Stay living in the moment lovely Stephanie and enjoy each day as you do...But most of all take care of YOU!...
    Beautiful, beautiful pictures of your hansom young man....And a musician, too!
    With kindest hugs
    Maria X

  44. O ma Stephanie! My heart in my mouth, and fear too close for comfort... please take joy in the springtime, and in your beautiful creations (knitted and born :) Take care of you, and give our love to all yours xx R

    1. Thank you dear Ruth,

      Tears of gratitude are welling up in my eyes on reading your kind message! A year ago we were together and our family keeps happy memories of our time together.

      Love to you both,


  45. Your post was one that brought back some difficult memories for me. Four years ago I discovered a lump after only just recovering from a life threatening condition. I was physically very weak and thin and knew I had no more fight left in me. I had my biopsy only to be told that the results were inconclusive and I had to have a second biopsy. After a total of 4 weeks of waiting I finally got the all clear but found it such a difficult time, especially with having two young children, contemplating what there life would be like without me. I look on the experience as if a reset button was pressed on my life, and I had another chance. It is very tiring emotionally and physically what you have gone through but believe me you will feel better, I'm just so relieved for you and your family. Lots of love. pj x

  46. Dear Stephanie, So sorry to read about your scare, I know how you feel as I too have had a similar experience too. I'm so glad you were given the all clear and wanted to share the message of regular checking. Sarah x

  47. Dear Stepahnie, What a stressful couple of days you must have had. I know exactly how you must have felt I am so happy to read that all is well!

    Tristan looks sweetly handsome in his new sweater :-)

    Have a lovely week Stephanie!

    Madelief x

  48. What good news for you and your family. And us, you virtual buddies. thanks for sharing.

  49. Dear Stephanie, I couldn't breath as I read your ordeal. The sad news was even sadder when read alongside beautiful photos of a beautiful child. I couldn't wait until the end hoping that good news was waiting for me at the end. And THANK GOD, you are healthy. BIG HUG, Stephanie.

  50. Dear Stephanie,
    I could hardly breathe when reading your post. Seing beautiful Tristan in the bright spring light made it even more terrible. And what a relief and joy as I went trough my second reading. Amazing to discover your images with a completely new eye!
    You've had tough and dark days to begin with springtime. The same happened to me some years ago, and I so have an idea of what you went through. Cheers!
    I love Tristan's High Waters. This one is gorgeous with its spring colours. Bright green and blue sky!
    Enjoy your spring, dear Stephanie!
    Much love.

  51. Glad you are ok xx And a fascinating choice of book.

  52. I must apologise for being so late in reading your post dear Stephanie. What a thing to have to contend with, having children makes us much more caring for our own health and safety than I ever think we were before. I read with relief that all was ok for you. Yes you have prompted me to check more often. Thank you for a wise reminder. X

  53. A big thank you for this very clear section !! Beautiful day.


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