Crochet Cancer Challenge 2020

This year is the 7th annual Crochet Cancer Challenge hosted by Christine of Sweet Potato 3. I’m honored to be a part of this wonderful event again this year. As October is almost to an end, I hope that you all have enjoyed participating in this challenge, found some new-to-you designers along with the hat patterns you have downloaded, and have started a nice stack of hats to donate to a local cancer center, patient, or survivor. 

This year has been especially difficult, insane, and unpredictable, but I’m glad that we, the crochet community, are able to come together for things like this despite everything else going on in our lives. I haven’t designed anything in almost an entire year–between having a baby (she’s 9 months now!), dealing with covid and online schooling, and just a lack of time and motivation, crocheting hasn’t been my top priority *gasp*. But this challenge hit me a bit harder this year than any of the other years I have participated in designing hats for you lovely folks. 

My best online crochet lady friend and soul sister, Krista, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February–stage three invasive ductal carcinoma if you want to put an exact name to it. You guys, this woman is the strongest person I know. We’ve been friends for about 7 years now, met online through our love for crochet, and she has been through so many difficulties over the years. I don’t know how she does it, but she somehow she perseveres through any problem that comes her way. She may be a little beaten or bruised, but those little things heal with time and she comes back even stronger than before. I just know that I’m glad that I am her friend and have been able to be there for her in the little ways that I can with her being miles away. She is someone to be admired and she is the reason that I chose pink for my hat this year representing breast cancer. (And, Krista, this shows how much I love you because you know how much of a fan of the color pink I am haha.)

If you’ve gotten this far in reading, today is also Krista’s birthday (October 29th)! She used to design crochet patterns as well, but since she has since stopped designing, her husband has taken over their business page with gorgeous photos that he captures of their hometown. If you have a quick minute, maybe stop by their page, Evergreen Shore, be amazed by the beauty of Michigan, and give her a little happy birthday wish. I’m sure it would really brighten her day.

The Boxed In Beanie is my contribution to the Crochet Cancer Challenge this year. I hope that you enjoy making it and have fun with the color possibilities. It is an amazing stash buster! The pattern is sized from toddler all the way through large adult–with an additional baby size in the works to be added in the near future if I can get my youngest to cooperate.

Click the button to be taken to Ravelry to the pattern:

Enter code: CancerChallenge (BEGINS 10/29/2020 and ENDS 10/31/2020)

Please make sure you are signed in and the pattern says FREE before completing the transaction.

For more information on this year’s Crochet Cancer Challenge, click here and head on over to Christine’s website where she gives you all the details!

**If you were interested in reading about Krista’s journey please continue on reading.**

Krista and her husband Dave

“My faith, support group on Facebook, and my amazing friends & family have made this journey an opportunity to grow and learn new things. God had been telling me to slow down for years. Thanks to cancer, life has definitely slowed down. I have used this opportunity to reconnect with friends, family, and my faith. I have spent time learning how to take better care of myself. Part of that is creating for the joy of creating and nothing else. I have been practicing this through art and taking new creative adventures.”

-Krista

Pink watercolor painting by Krista with an additional quote

Krista’s treatments

Early February 2020: exam, mammogram, biopsy.

February 14th: Diagnosis received

February 18th: Echo cardiogram

February 19th: Lymph node biospy

February 20th: Port placement

February 21st-May 29th: 4 rounds of Dose dense AC over 8 weeks

Personal side effects: extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss

4 rounds of Dose dense Taxol over 8 weeks

Personal side effects: extreme fatigue, bone pain, muscle pain, difficulty walking, developed neuropathy in hands and feet, nearly lost finger nails

July: Bone scan; MRI to look for spreading; scans clean

August 7th: Surgery-Single mastectomy with 7 cm tumor and 9 lymph nodes removed; Tissue expander placement

Personal side effects: loss of mobility in right arm; numbness in shoulder, arm pit, upper arm, and breast; right arm has to always remain protected from needles, blood pressure cuffs, etc

Every 2 weeks after tissue expander placed: Expander fills

Personal side effects: pain from the inside out, sore rib cage, rubbing of the muscle, vertigo symptoms

UP NEXT: Radiation 5 days/week for 5 weeks. Recovery for 6 months.

2021: Exchange tissue expander for implant

Medication prescribed: Tammoxiflan, a hormone blocker, for 10 years because Krista’s cancer feeds off of hormones.

Possible sides effects from Tammoxiflan: menopausal symptoms, glaucoma, bone pain, among many other things.

Every 6 months once breast is removed: oncologist appointment

Krista’s self portrait and reflection after finishing chemo

A Couple of Useful Links/Sources:

The Blessing Box Project -This is a cancer survivor who provides drain shirts and mastectomy pillows for free.

Michigan Faith in the Fight -If you live in Michigan, this group provides several types of assistance and support for your diagnosis. They are able to provide kits to help manage side effects afterwards as well as providing financial and emotional support.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation- the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. They are also currently matching any donation made during October.

Krista rocking an awesome crochet hat provided by her local chemo center

A Couple of Songs to Boost Morale:

‘Pink’ Song by Dolly Parton, Monica, Jordin Sparks, Rita Wilson, & Sarah Evans

Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne

Don’t Give Up On Me by Andy Grammar

Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

Words of Advice/Extra information 

-Check for lumps monthly, about a week to 10 days after your period. 

-8/10 lumps are usually benign, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t be scared. Get them checked.

-Don’t mess with your hormones without consulting your doctor beforehand. Not that it pertains to all breast cancers, but Krista was using natural products to help balance her hormones (menopause, amiright?) The product she used was rubbed on her chest per product instructions and may have contributed to her cancer.

-Last but not least, if you know someone going through cancer treatment, take a minute out of your day to send them a message or give them a quick phone call to check on them and see how they are doing. They might not want to give any details, but just knowing that someone cares about them can go a long way in how they approach their day.

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