Chemotherapy finished, and feeling pretty pleased with myself. Unfortunately 2 weeks post chemo I started getting quite bad peripheral neuropathy, to the point that my fine motor skills are seriously compromised and my feet feel like I'm walking on very gritty beach sand all the time. Doctors aren't sure it will improve completely, but as of this week I have slight improvement. I'm teaching Absolute Beginners Dressmaking and Intermediate Dressmaking classes at the Parramatta College 2 evenings a week in 8 week blocks and managing to demonstrate to the students, as long as they do the pinning that is LOL ! Hand sewing is slow and very frustrating although not really painful.
My regular costuming clients have had to find other seamstresses, but I have signed up to make Angel Gown garments with a great new organisation in Australia. NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown Program Australia is a fully volunteer group who receive donated wedding wear and upcycle them into memorial/burial gowns for babies who "grow their wings too soon" as we say. With over 2000 still born babies in Australia a year, neo-natal deaths (first 8 weeks) and late miscarriages happening more and more there is unfortunately an ongoing need for our services. I've been helping (slowly) to refine our patterns for the gowns in my capacity as award winning patternmaker (dating from 1996 State medal winner for Custom Clothing at TAFE) and many years practical experience with sewing wedding fabrics. We have some fabulous work coming through from all over Australia, Our remote seamstresses in country areas are "topping the list" at the moment although we don't see it as a competition of course. The families who are offered our garments when that sad time comes at the hospitals are very grateful for the beautiful garments made with love and compassion by our passionate ladies who are supported by their partners and families with logistical help too. We are getting ready to fundraise to ensure ongoing supply of our special white presentation boxes and cards which go with every gown placed in a hospital or funeral home.
If you've read this far you'll see that I'm very passionate about the cause, LOL, and see this as a way to repay my good fortune to be looking forward to many more years with my husband and family thanks to the doctors and nurses who looked after me in the past 11 months. My diagnosis anniversary is next weekend, does this call for a celebration ?