What I Learned While Getting Sick. . . . And Sicker

Have you missed me, my Sweeties? I certainly have missed you the last two months!

Nine weeks ago, I went into the hospital for a simple surgery to cure a diagnosis of early colon cancer. It was supposed to be a quick, laparoscopic, no-frills surgery.

The surgery went fine, except I developed a blockage afterwards and required a second surgery four days later.

That would have been fine too, but some intestinal contents leaked out and I became septic. Now sepsis is a big deal and a very serious condition.

I know because it affected my heart rate, which went to 220 bpm. All this required conversion with medications and a move to Coronary ICU.

In the meantime, I also developed an abscess in my abdomen, necessitating the placement of a drain for about two weeks.

The two antibiotics I was receiving IV required the placement of a PICC line in my right arm.  I was a mess!!!

By this time, I had been in the hospital for almost a month. I then was sent to Rehab for three weeks of IV antibiotics and Physical Therapy.

So what can be learned from an experience such as this? Many things, I realized. Some at the time. Some much later.

Fighting the inevitable is non-productive and exhausting. Sometimes you just have to face the issue and go with it.

Never discount the power of prayer. Allow others to pray for you and those caring for you.

Strength comes from simply surviving.

Maintaining a sense of gratitude helps. Saying “thank you” to everyone who does you a kindness keeps you in the right attitude.

Allow others to give. It is a blessing to receive from others and this is the time to let them do it.

True friends and family will step up to the challenge. I was never alone and never had to face any of my problems by myself. What a gift!!

There is always a silver lining. I had to look long and hard for this one – but I lost 20 pounds! Now that’s good news!

Perseverance pays off.  Keeping a positive attitude helped me believe that everything would turn out alright.

Things temporarily lost are twice as enjoyable when regained. Every yard more I can walk and every bit more sewing I can do is a joy to me and is worth every ounce of effort.

Don’t mourn what is lost. Praise what is gained. I am cancer free! I am alive! I will be healthy again! I can ask for nothing more!!!!!!!

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What You Can Do With A Bag Of Fabric

So a group of say about 28 women get together for four days. They each have a bag or two or three of fabric. What do you think can happen with that fabric in four days of sewing? Well it was pure magic, my Sweeties! Pure magic!

Look and see what the results are. And feel free to drool!

Is this cutest guy you ever saw? And all made out of little pieces of fabric. Can you see the squirrel and the rabbits?

This is his not so little playmate. Isn’t she a beauty? Again, all done with little bits of fabric that were fussy cut.

This one was put together, cut apart and put back together. Now how clever is that? Spectacular!

This medieval looking gem has wonderful thread work in every block. It is too beautiful for words! When it is finally all together, it will be a stunner!

Here is a really lovely Quilt of Valor. It is meant for a specific veteran and is truly personal. A lot of love is going into this quilt.

These two lovelies are coasters and couldn’t be nicer.

These pieced butterflies are going to be wonderful in the final quilt, whatever it is. Of course, I especially love the the blue one!

Here is some hand embroidery beyond compare! Just sit and enjoy!

More embroidery. Drool if you must!

Love the colors in this beauty!

How nice is this? Won’t it be great in a camper or a lodge?

Now this is a fantastic quandary. Not sure what it will be, but it is divine.

What a cutie patootie is this! I want one!

There is nothing like a good old fashioned bowtie quilt. Brings back memories, doesn’t it?

What a sight! Can you believe this? The work and the precision!

Another version of a bowtie quilt. X’s and O’s.

Doesn’t everyone want one of these? I sure do!

Oh my goodness! A baby quilt that practically brings tears to your eyes.

How lovely is this? Love the scrappy border!

More butterflies! But this time in the border. How unusual!

Oh how I love a blue and white quilt! And those fabrics, yum!

One version of a good old Log Cabin. Wonderful!

And so ended our four day quilt retreat. The quilts are the only part I can show you. I can’t show you how much we laughed or how much we talked or how much we cared about each other. I can’t show you the hugging, the touching, the sharing that went on.

The fabric is what draws us together, but the fellowship is what keeps us together. Quilting is the purpose but caring is the glue. A bag of fabric may be the reason we gather but true love is why we stay.

To Houston And Back Again

What would make 48 women get up in the middle of the night, drive to a deserted mall, then get on a bus and ride five hours to their final location? And do all that with joy and excitement in their hearts? Only one thing I can think of – The Houston Quilt Show!

And so it was. We 48 with bags, backpacks and credit cards in hand, made our annual trek to the quilters’ version of Mecca. The one place that calls to beginner and master alike, to traditionalist and modernist as well, to anyone who has ever looked longingly at fabric or wanted to make something wonderful from a scrap of woven anything – that place. We just call it “Houston.”

Houston has quilts to view of every kind, shape, color and era. One of the exhibits this year was “Dear Jane” quilts. They are near and dear to my heart. Well, Houston did not disappoint! Oh my, oh my!

dear-jane-browndear-jane-frontblack-back

Even some of the backs are absolutely exquisite!

dear-jane-multi

Here’s a Dear Jane that forms a secondary heart design on the front of the quilt.

dear-jane-red

Some are red and white, some are blue and white, some are black and white, and some are multi colored. It is a personal choice.

A person could spend days just viewing the lovely quilts hanging everywhere – the Christmas quilts, the modern quilts, the Millefiori, the dresses (yes, I said dresses!), the 20 foot crocodile and on and on.

boat-quilt

This is Best of Show which looks like a photograph. Here is the artist in front of her quilt.

pillows

This quilt looks like photo up close and the shelves look like real wood. It is a masterpiece  of quilting.

miniatures

The miniatures were especially appealing to me. And I do mean small – these cuties were about four inches long and belonged in a dollhouse. I’m pretty sure they were made by elves.

doilies

There were even quilts made out of linens and doilies and then quilted and beaded. They were exquisite beyond words.

great-wall

Entire quilts can even be done with thread alone as in this one. Beyond description really.

That night we had dinner at the Aquarium. How special is that? Yes, we had seafood for dinner and ate it in front of their cousins in the tanks, but it was so goooood!

grouper

Anyway, the 350 pound Grouper didn’t seem to mind too much. The atmosphere was wonderful and the Pomegranate Kiss Martini didn’t hurt either. We had a grand time making friends and learning about the Aquarium.

hang-fish

After a good night’s sleep, it was back to the show for more quilt Nirvana. Once we had seen all the quilts, it was off to the vendors’ section. Anything you could ever need, want or desire for quilting was there. And all the new things I didn’t know I needed!

What lovely fabrics and wools! Notions by the armload! Patterns to die for! There were shoes, clothes, jewelry, baskets, lights, irons. I got my rings polished. My friend even bought a sewing machine! An entire machine with all the extras, warranty, extra feet, carrying case, etc., etc. and had it all shipped home. What a great place is this Houston!!!

I bought a tin tray and some wool embroidery to fit on the top. I didn’t even know I needed it until I saw it! I was a very happy camper!

Finally the day was over and we tired, but very pleased 48 piled back into the bus with booty in hand. Bundles of fat quarters, quilt kits, rulers and stacks of wool were carefully placed in the overhead compartments. Patterns and books were kept to be read on the ride home.

In the dark of the night, we all looked at the pictures we had taken of the beauty we had seen. Soft conversations were held up and down the rows of seats, as we shared the sights and feelings of the day.

We talked, we laughed, we shared, we laughed some more, all in the darkness of a small bus. We tipped the driver. We gave a gift to the trip planner, coincidentally named Happy.

We knew the trip was coming to an end. Houston was now behind us and reality was again setting in. Our loved ones were waiting at the deserted mall to once again drive us home, where it all began.

But something was different. We still had all our goodies, our bags, our souvenirs, our new projects, and our pictures to take with us. We would remember. We had been to Houston!