Sunday, March 09, 2008

MS Awareness Week and pincushions!

In the U.S. this is National MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Awareness Week. To do my bit I am going to try and post everyday combining a bit about MS with my quilts and other "stuff." (like pincushions!)

This isn't the easiest thing to do. It isn't that I don't want people to know I have MS or anything like that. It is just how do you write about it and not come off as whiny, self serving, or (gasp!) boring! "Just write a few funny things about MS," my husband told me this morning as he ran off to golf with his buddies. What great advice! Never would have thought of that? I'll have them rolling out of their computer chairs in no time! (Just so you know - mother nature heard him. When he left it was sunny but about the 7th hole it hailed and by the 9th it poured rain. Should I ask him to just write a few funny things about that!) Anyways, I digress....

Check out Karen's blog over at who is also a quilter with MS. She asked me what quilting means to MS. First, I have quilting a lot longer than I have had MS. When I got sick (had my first episode) it was my quilting that gave me focus. It gave me something to do on days I couldn't get around much. I could quilt even if my eyesight was so bad that I could read or watch TV. I could quilt if my legs were to weak to walk the dog. I could quilt when my speech was so stammered and nonsensical that I wouldn't even pick up the phone. And when it got to the point I couldn't quilt a quilting friend would come to the house and drive me to a quilting bee so I could at least "absorb" quilts.

I definitely approach quilting differently now. I was a bit of a quilt snob. I liked fancy appliqué, tiny hand stitches, and ity-bity pieces of fabric in intricate blocks. Things like optic neuritis and wicked muscle spasms have changed my perspective...a born-again maverick perhaps?! I learned to appreciate machine piecing, machine quilting, and hey, if the points don't match who really cares? In the big scheme of things did I have fun doing it and will the person who gets the quilt enjoy it? Besides I've found myself working more with beginning quilters and really enjoy it. I am defiantly less up tight.

Some things about MS and quilting that I am still frustrated about...there are days I cannot use a rotary cutter (OK, I could use one but would most likely end up in the emergency room!) I have wanted to get certified as a quilt appraiser but have let MS hold me back. First, MS is so unpredictable that to commit to being at the show the one time a year they give the test is iffy. Also there are days I cannot lift an antique quilt...I get really angry at myself. Finally, I get angry at myself an ask why do I want to do it anyway? It isn't like I'm going to do it as a business or anything. Anyway, now that my MS is under control I may try it when I go back to the states.....just to show I can!

So funny thing about MS #1....I went to a Christmas party a few years ago and since I wasn't feeling very well I only drank coffee. On the way home I "rushed" a red light (I am from Boston after all...) and was pulled over by the police. My speech was slurred and I was a bit spacey so he had me get out of the car and made me take a breath-i-lizer! This was only two months after I was diagnosed and I was more willing to be taken for a drunk than to admit to having MS!

Ok so what are all these pincushions about and how are they related to MS? Well, there is a site with a drawing for blogs that post photos of pincushions that Carole E. pointed me to after I posted a pincushion earlier this week. (I spent a couple hours looking through some very fun sites this week - who knows I may even try to make the suitcase pincushion!) The little brown hat I bought at a quilt show years had a couple of buttons and feathers when new and obviously I use it a lot! Because of the MS I use lots and lots of quilts and so have lots and lots of pincushions...knew I could make a connection there somehow!!!

Well blogger is acting up and not letting me post any more photos...more tomorrow.


Karol-Ann said...

I think it's very brave of you to be so open. Thank you! I am so glad you have quilting, I truly believe it keeps us sane.

Quilt Memories said...

Anytime you have an illness that is at times overwhelming it is good to have something that keeps us planted.That is the way I have to overcome some of my problems, no, I do not have MS, but fibromyalgia has a very nasty hold on me. Many days, I can't even brush my own hair, but thank Goodness those are few and far between. good luck and I do so enjoy your blog, very interesting. J

Elaine Adair said...

Thank you so much for your explanation of MS, and talking about how you manage, etc. I had no idea what happens with this illness. And no, you did NOT come across whiney, or boring, or pitiful. You come across STRONG and accepting. You have taught me more than just what MS is. Stay tough and lovely!

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

And here I thought the connection between MS and pincushions was going to be that you are now a human pincushion with all the shots you've had to endure. Although the needles don't stay in, do they. Very glad the MS is under control and it better stay that way!

I laugh at DH getting his with the rain. that'll show 'im.

Karen Dianne Lee said...

I can't say this enough - you completly inspire me!

What a neat person you are.

Admiration of Love, *karendianne.

Marilyn R said...

I recommend going to KY and taking the quilt appraisal course through AQS. I did a few years ago. I was playing with the idea of becoming an appraiser but after the class decided I would rather make quilts then do all of the study required (years of study). Even though I have tabled my thoughts of becoming an appraiser, I loved every second of the class and have used quite a bit of the knowledge that I picked up there.

Dawn said...

Yeah, we want to hear DH make fun of being rained out!!!! :)