After being diagnosed with cancer in 2000
I was, of course, scared to death. My brain couldn't slow down; it was in a total panic, I HAD to distract myself somehow or I felt I would simply explode from fear and anxiety.
I've always loved to knit ("knit: = all handwork). To distract myself, I decided to knit myself a hat. It worked, so from that point on, whenever my brain started to overload, I would pick up my needles and knit myself into a safe, peaceful, relaxing place. I knit through nausea, through "bad news" phone calls from my doctor's office, through family crisis, and during the long trips Seattle. I knit and knit. I knit items to auction off for cancer research. I knit ridiculous things like dog dress-up collars, and sentimental heirlooms like baby blankets. Every member of my family received "mother-made" items. You see, I wanted to leave a little piece of myself behind for them to cuddle.
Amidst the ups and downs of treatment, as long as my hands were busy, my mind and spirit were peaceful.
I told my meditation coach how much the knitting was helping with pain management and that as long as I was knitting, I wasn't freaking out about the whole cancer thing: that the only true peace I experienced during those terrifying days occurred whenever my needles were keeping my hands and mind busy.
My therapist explained that knitting, and other repetitive hand motions, have the same physiological benefits as meditation--a well researched treatment for pain management and stress.
As beneficial as mediation can be, it isn't always very easy practice or conducive to the environment one finds oneself in. (Note: I highly recommend that cancer patients find a meditation coach as well--after all, one can't knit in an MRI machine!).
Knitting, however, IS very easy and convenient. And absolutely anyone can learn--even the guys!
Besides being easy to learn, knitting is portable! It's also a creative and productive activity. And while I love making things for my friends and family, there are also loads of charities needing volunteer knitters.
The Knit To Live community is not about "how to knit." My goal in starting this community is to create a safe and supportive place where fellow "Knit to live " folks can share their accomplishments, triumphs and woes, crazy funny cancer treatment stories, or anything else that might uplift this community.
PLEASE remember that this community is NOT for discussing individual treatment plans, doctors, research, etc.
So WELCOME Knit-to-Livers! I look forward to your posts and responses. Thank you for joining!