Women’s Cancer is Not Always Pink

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month – so from today through October 10 I’m contributing 20% of sales of all my patterns to The Coalition for Women’s Cancers in Southampton NY, an organization that has been a great help to me as well as many women on Long Island.

I wouldn’t have weathered this year without them, and I wouldn’t have weathered this journey without knitting and friends and Dr. Pearl and… you get my drift.

Not Plain Jane on Ravelry

Love Lane

Love Lane 1Finally! Love Lane is ready. Through a long, hectic summer that began in the hospital and ended with the sigh of relief that every East End of Long Islander sighs, it waited patiently. My idea for the shawl formed with a trip to Mattituck, on the North Fork of Long Island. There, on Love Lane, is a little yarn shop – Altman’s Needle and Fiber Arts – and in that shop I found the perfect color for the soft, textured wrap that I’d been dreaming up. It’s just right for cool fall evenings, and will keep you warm all winter.

Love Lane 3

Love Lane 4

Love Lane 7

Love Lane 6

Madelinetosh tosh merino light was just the yarn I wanted. I’ve designed with it before – the Persimmon Cowl – and I love to knit with it. And now that madelinetosh makes Unicorn Tails, what better way to add some color than with a few little skeins, and not a whole one? It’s an asymmetrical shawl that starts awith a few stitches, and edge increases and decreases create the slightly angled shape. There’s subtle texture in this one – what I call Dots and Dashes – and the fabric drapes beautifully. I’m really pleased with this one. And my head is swimming with more ideas!

Love Lane 2

Love Lane is available through Ravelry in my Ravelry Store. The pattern is written, with no need for charts or schematics. I hope you love your trip to Love Lane!

The Dark Friend


I spent the seventh anniversary of my first cancer treatment in the hospital with a big bad cellulitis infection in my leg. When the ER physicians admitted me, I sighed and put myself in their hands. Upstairs I went. I spent that day receiving three different antibiotics. The next day, it was down to two, and on the third day, before I went home, just one.

In the meantime, I had to be a patient. I’m a patient patient. I let it unfold around me. But nobody enjoys a stay in the hospital, do they? Thank goodness I was sick, and too tired to get really bored! I managed to do a fair bit of work on the shawl I’m designing, and I watched as much Law and Order as I could tolerate. Mostly, I dozed or slept and received IV antibiotics at 6:00, 12:00, 6:00, and 12:00.

All that was a week ago. I’m better, and I’ve gotten a lot of rest, even without taking time off work. These times are what, to me, it means to say that I am a cancer survivor. Survivors aren’t unscathed, ever. We might have long-term effects from our illness or treatment, and most of the time we just get on with life. Sometimes we’re sidelined. Then we get up and keep on.

In these times, though, the little kernel of fear that always lives inside me begins to pulsate. What if… What was that you said about my white blood count… Why does this keep happening… In the end, when I’m home, and I’m getting back to normal, that kernel – the remains of what I used to call my dark friend – retreats to its corner, quiets, and lets me go on.



IMG_5110There is something about this word, reassured. Reassure, reassurance, reassuring. It doesn’t just comfort, it sturdies.

It’s been almost seven years since my cancer diagnosis, and just over six years since I finished treatment. I visited Dr. Pearl and Nurse Sylvia yesterday, and came away ready to put my traveling shoes on and continue down the road. I’ve been reassured in a most … reassuring way.

I went to the Cancer Center with a long list of questions, and with a few concerns. We sat together and talked for twenty minutes, and I was reminded of those days when a long conversation was essential, when Dr. Pearl was creating the treatment plan that would keep me alive. It’s been a while, but this time I wanted the long conversation, and the reassurance.

When I left the building I knew I’d experienced his art again. We are a team, Dr. P. and Sylvia and I. I don’t have cancer, and I am reassured that I’m always in his care, that we are working together to keep me that way.



gigjuly19831Last night as I was getting ready for bed I looked down and saw my mother’s hands. My hands. They make things, as hers did. They work hard, as hers did. They are beautiful, in a craggy sort of way. Just like hers. They’re good hands.

Today is her birthday. I miss my Gig, but I look around and see her big old family moving along in the world, and I know she’s in all of us. Hands, heart, smile.

In a few days my sisters will come for a visit, and it’s a sure bet that we’ll look at each other and laugh at our own Gig-ness. Hands, hearts, and smiles,