Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Never Say Never Again

Three years ago I made three eyelash scarves for Miss B's school auction. I wasn't enamored of the yarn, nor of that much garter stitch, but they were quick to make and sold reasonably well, so two years ago I did it again. Last year I swore off eyelash, vowing nevermore to touch the stuff, and made a shawl instead.

You know, of course, what happens when I say never again: fate, or in this case Kate, conspires to make a fool of me by coming up with an irresistible counterargument.

While I do a fair amount of charity knitting, ordinarily at any given time I can say no, that is a good cause, but I'm overcommitted already, go hit up someone else. Not in this case. It seems there's a cancer unit at Children's Hospital in Boston, where the kids have decided that they want not just chemo caps, but shaggy funky chemo caps made out of Fun Fur. Children's just happens to be where my son, the Tasmanian Boy, has spent way too much time. Taz was diagnosed with a very nasty brain tumor when he was four years old and given first no chance, and then only a long chance, of five-year survival. He spent nearly a month at Children's, followed by several months at a Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Have you ever been on the verge of a nervous breakdown and bored out of your gourd at the same time? I don't recommend it. To keep myself sane, I started to take an interest in the kids on his unit, and I started to knit for them. I had had flirtations with knitting before, but now it became my constant companion. I discovered lace, I learned about paired decreases, I found out that there were ways to cast on undreamt of in my philosophy. I knit during Taz's radiation treatments and physical therapy sessions. I made a baby blanket here, a hat or a pair of mittens there.

By the time Taz came home from Spaulding, bald as a billiard ball and still fighting the odds, I knew better than to leave the house without my knitting bag. We once spent 7 hours in the ER at Children's (if you go to the ER of a major teaching hospital when you're not actually deathly ill, expect a long wait: you're behind everyone who is); we left without a diagnosis but with a hat.

Taz has been cancer-free for eight years now. He suffered serious brain damage, but he's the world's happiest kid. Having seen what kids with cancer and their families go through, I'd do a lot to make more of them just a little happier.

Even if it involves Fun Fur.


  • Yep -- even if it involves fun fur.

    That's one handsome guy you've got there, and he has a lovely smile. Thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Ann, at 2:22 PM  

  • Your little boy has a very happy face for very good reasons. Knitting has a way of helping us cope with the worst of time and enjoying the best of times, too.

    By Blogger Margene, at 2:43 PM  

  • I knew some of this but not all of it. Thanks for telling us about Taz.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 2:51 PM  

  • What a great story. It sounds like I may have been at the med school there during a few of the years when you were visiting Children's frequently. It seems sort of Twilight Zoneish that we may have passed each other on the street or maybe eaten at the same food court, stood in line at the same Star Bucks. Small world.

    By Blogger Julie, at 3:15 PM  

  • Oh, look at the grin! Someone's a troublemaker, huh?? Hee hee. I (and the kids) thank you oh-so-very much for suffering the fun fur so they can giggle. :)


    By Blogger Mini, at 3:21 PM  

  • I am so glad for you and Taz. Now I'll have to get some fun fur. Is there a deadline on this project? Did you see the "loopy knit" caps I posted today? Too old fashioned for these kids, ...but also pretty silly.

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 3:31 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing Taz Lucia. It is so hard to see/experience sick children - it just doesn't seem right for them to live with such pain. I am so glad that Taz has been cancer free for so long and far beyond the Dr's predictions - clearly he is a fighter and delightful looking gift....

    By Blogger Cynthia, at 4:10 PM  

  • thank you for sharing taz with us. yay taz!

    By Blogger maryse, at 5:35 PM  

  • It's amazing what we have within us.
    I'm glad to hear that Taz has made such progress.

    By Anonymous Dave Daniels, at 9:46 PM  

  • OK. I'll turn in our returnable bottles and use the money to buy fun fur. How long do we have and where do we send 'em?

    (I do believe you could sell ice to the eskimos or shoes to snakes if you truely believed in it. MAN are you persuasive!)

    By Blogger Roxie, at 11:33 PM  

  • Taz is a great kid. Love the grin in that picture.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 1:02 AM  

  • What a great smile. :-) I'm so glad you shared it with us all! What a hard time that must have been for you all.

    And yes. Fun fur. Fabulous!!

    By Blogger Will Pillage For Yarn, at 2:27 AM  

  • Knitting is a godsend. I understand.

    If they want fun fur, they get fun fur.

    By Anonymous Laurie, at 8:40 AM  

  • Taz looks like a boy who has truly earned his nickname. I was a bit startled when you had mentioned using fun fur to me in an earlier email, but if there's a cause worthy of it...this one is it. Where does one find this pattern?

    By Anonymous Erica, at 11:41 AM  

  • That's quite the story. I can't even begin to imagine what your family went through.

    What a champ your son is, to have beaten cancer at such a tender age!

    By Blogger Beth S., at 10:44 AM  

  • Thanks for sharing (and for making everyone cry). :-)

    I'm knitting the fur hats, too. I currently have 5 or 6 finished. Everytime I think about how I dislike the fur, I remind myself that my discomfort working with eyelash yarn is NOTHING compared to what those kids & their families are going through. :-)

    Oh nuts! I forgot I should be signed into Blogger before I leave a comment - I'll just post it as anonymous.

    Angelia - Angelia's Knitting

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 AM  

  • Crap. Now I gotta knit another fun fur hat. ;-)

    That Taz has spunk - I can just tell. Love the name too!

    By Anonymous Cara, at 5:49 PM  

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