Monday, November 30, 2015

Sidelined by illness.... A story of acute idiopathic pancreatitis.

This month brought me a whole new scary challenge!

Several weeks ago I was on a business trip to upper Connecticut and central Massachusetts when things started going awry. On a Tuesday I was a little bit like an acid stomach so I ate a couple tums. By Wednesday I had a full on stomach ache so I started taking some Pepcid. Sometimes on business trips this can happen. You know, planes, rental cars, meetings deadlines, customer dinners, hours in the car going from here to there. By Thursday things just hurt, I didn't sleep, I was feeling a bit nauseated. Nothing I took helped and nothing really made it acutely worse. It just slowly was getting more and more painful. By the time I flew home Thursday night I was a wreck. It was the worse flight of my life. And it was about my 67th or so flight this year! My middle/upper back was spasming, I was nauseous the entire way and generally wanted to just click my heels and be home!! 

By Friday the 13th dinner time I was in the emergency room with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. What the hell!!! 

The emergency room personnel went from 'oh you probably just have an ulcer, here is a special cocktail to drink to make you feel better and let's get an ultrasound' to immediate concern with shots of zophran and morphine and a cat scan followed by a MRI the next day.

I was immediately admitted and from Friday night to Wednesday had nothing by mouth. And I mean nothing, not a sip of water, not an ice chip, nothing by mouth. Which actually was strangely ok with me since I had zero appetite. For me not to have an appetite, something was seriously wrong!!! I always have an appetite! For 4 days I subsisted on IV fluids, shots of morphine every 4 hours and Zophran and IV Pepcid. I had no idea that this little gland that sits tucked under your stomach could cause so much trouble! 

After a multitude of tests it turns out that they have no idea what caused my pancreas head to suddenly become inflamed and swollen. I had no evidence of cancers or lymphomas, no anatomical deformities,no alcohol abuse  no immunodeficiency issues, no gallbladder problems and never been bitten by a scorpion. Yes, they actually asked me that! 
So the fancy term for the doctors not having a clue is 'acute idiopathic pancreatitis'. 
Have to love the fancy names for we have no freakin idea!

After going for 96 hours with no food and minimal movement outside the bed they moved me to a clear liquid diet. Think water, broth, jello and that's about it. I got to do this for a day and a half. With the added bonus of let's try to take a walk. Along with a try your best not to vomit, it's bad for your pancreas. 
Getting my hair done after 6 nights in the hospital....

Long story short 7 nights later I finally made it home. I cancelled all thanksgiving plans and my hubby and I just hung out for a quiet holiday of me trying to figure out food again. I still have no appetite, am losing weight, around 16 lbs in the past 2 weeks and eating is now a chore. Something I have to do to try and keep up some energy.

During all of this I found that I have some of the most amazing friends, loved ones and coworkers. I had some of the most beautiful flowers to brighten up my hotel room and I was glad for them. I was too nauseous to read or watch TV so I spent many hours listening to podcasts and staring at my lovely flowers! I had the best visitors to help keep my mind off things! They definitely helped me through my ordeal, I don't even want to think of trying to go through that alone. My husband was amazing. He was there early every morning and all evening. 
Grand baby hugs and snuggles make everything feel better!

Now the road to recovery after an acute bought of pancreatitis can be a long one. A super strict diet of low fat and bland with no alcohol for a while and then we shall see. Right now I still don't have much of an appetite but I'm assured that this too will improve over time. I still have some lingering nausea and some mild pain especially when I lie down. 

Despite all of this I am most THANKFUL that things were not worse! Thankful that they did not find any 'bad' stuff going on. Thankful for all my family and friends who love me, sent prayers and good thoughts my way. Thankful for my life. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

I Love a great PINK dress! Vogue 1435 and all my thoughts and ramblings.

I finally got to use my coveted hot pink wool from Britex. I bought this piece when I was out in San Francisco for work last September. I suppose in the greater picture of my lovely fabric collection this one has been a fairly recent purchase! I do love to let my good fabric 'mature' for a bit before cutting into them!

Without further ramblings, here are the details.

Pattern: Vogue 1435 a Tom and Linda Platt design. I made several changes to the design, some of these were design changes and some were fitting changes.
For Design considerations of the dress. I changed the neckline of the dress to a soft, high V neck. I think next time I make this sheath I will deepen the V about an inch. I also left out the slit at the front left leg, I'm not such a big fan of them and I don't think I've ever made a skirt so tight that I actually need one for walking comfort! Although, as a design element it may be something to play around with in the future. For the lining, I eliminated the facings and lined to the edge. I used a grey ambiance  and interfaced the lining just as if it were the  actual facing. This worked out perfect! I finished the armhole edges with bias strips. I like how this finish is very clean and also feels slightly sturdy but not stiff or bulky.

If you are wondering why I choose grey lining? I took my pink wool shopping with me and I held the lining fabric behind the pink wool and observed the color changes. Even though this is a very opaque weave the color behind changed the vibrancy of the pink color. I wish I had taken pictures! I sure the shop ladies thought I was a bit crazy! Unrolling bolts of lining and holding them up to the light and turning this way and that to assess the color! The grey won out by a very large margin! The pink just popped and was so vibrant with the grey behind it! 

On the dress I made several fitting changes to fit my figure the biggest of these included adding a fish eye darts to the front side panels and changes in length to the back upper bodice area to decrease the pool of fabric at my lower back.
The darts were added after an initial fitting in the fashion fabric. I was able to pinch out the fabric and I fiddled in the mirror with my pins to figure out the placement and size. These I then transferred to the pattern. For full disclosure, on my muslin it was also decided to use either fish eye or full darts from the top of the fish eye and continuing all the way to the hem. So I knew that I had a good idea ahead of time that I would be adding in some sort of shaping in this area! I really like how these added darts make my curves look so beautiful!! It also keeps this sheath dress form looking like a potato sack on me! 

Onto the Jacket!
Design changes to the jacket included the decision to line the entire piece. I used the facing pieces for the proper weight and for the lining I lined to the hem edge. I did this by cutting the lower edge of the lining a scant 1/4 inch shorter so that once the two were stitched and turned the fashion fabric would roll to the inside slightly. I think this worked perfectly on this little swing jacket!
I also used several different fusible stabilizers on this piece. A sponged one on the back facing and a slightly beefier one on the collar. 

The fitting changes I made to the jacket were numerous! It was just a very boxy little jacket with all its laurels resting in the swinging back. 2 sets of darts were added to the front. One armysyche bust dart and an additional dart under the bust to control the fullness of the fabric. I wanted the front to be fitted and sleek and all the drama to be in the back. I could also cut the fronts on the bias which would let the fabric under the bust hang nicer. I choose not to do this with this fabric mostly because I had to squeak out the fabric. I think I was 3/4 of a yard short in what the pattern suggested! 

Back neck darts or are the upper back darts???? Hmmmm..... I'll have to look into the proper name. Either way, these back darts were added to shape the jacket nicely. I modified the collar to reflect this change. 
Speaking of the collar... I am pondering changing it to a mandarin type band collar if I make this again. Pondering, always pondering!
The biggest change on the jacket was to the sleeve! Both for fit and design. I used a 3 piece sleeve with a bias under sleeve. I am in love with this sleeveđź’–, I just fits like a dream and added bonus it leaves plenty of area for embellishments. Embellishments such as a faux vent with 9 vintage Czechoslokakian glass pink and gold buttons! I just happened to have a card of 25 buttons in I my stash! By faux vent I mean it just does not have any buttonholes. I sewed the buttons on through both layers of the vent opening. Vintage glass buttons to the elbow added the extra pizzazz to this outfit that I was looking for!

I order to keep the sleeve vent neat and nice I hand basted it shut before sewing on my embellishments. At this point in my project I had 2 ideas for how to jazz up these sleeves. One is a beaded trim and the other is the buttons that I used. Both looked quite nice but the buttons gave me the elegance I was looking for and now I have the trim to use for another project.... Resulting in another serious case of pondering!

Since completing this garment in September I have worn it three times in 3 weeks!!
Week one: to a wedding in Milwaukee, WI

Week two: to the ASG Chicago chapter annual fashion show.

Week 3: another wedding on Halloween, a formal wedding/masquerade. Oh my so much fun! And I have never been so glad to have a garment that fit me perfect and that was so comfortable because I danced my a$$ off that night! Here are a couple of fun photos!

My husband and I with out granddaughter.

And, below, me in my mask with a great friend!

So... Do I love this outfit???? YES!
I will be making the dress again for sure. The jacket, maybe for special occasions, it is a very distinctive look.
I do want to give a big thanks to Sarah Veblen for her fitting assistance in the muslin stage of this outfit. It is so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and have a brain to pick :) 

Happy Sewing!!