Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I’m Back to Quilting!!


Because that’s what I am—a quilter.

Not per se a quilter with heart disease.  That’s not how I will define myself.  My optimism is rising, along with my determination to beat this thing with the help of doctors, medication, diet, weight loss, of course, TIME.  Lots of all of these.

I was back in the hospital last week but only for a day.  I had an angiogram that came back perfectly normal.  They said I have good unclogged arteries.  Hurray!  Some good news for a change.  I also talked to the cardiologist who performed it.  He gave me some real hope.  He said that my heart can heal, can shrink back to normal size, and pump blood with more OOMPH.

Not everybody heals.  But I am determined to be with the majority who do. 

So with my new-found optimism, I am trying to go back to my normal activities.  So I’ve been thinking about what to do with my time that is a little bit limited now because of the need to rest.

Things I have to do for running my household: washing dishes, cleaning up kitchen, laundry, putting things away in their proper places.  Things I need to do for my mental health: at least a little quilting every day, doing my SWAGBUCKS, seasonal gardening chores, things like that.

Yesterday I went back to my mini-group after being gone for a month.  It was so enjoyable to sew and talk to my friends!  We are all working on the same pattern, Fun with Bricks, one of Bonnie Hunter’s free designs on her website.

I have been working on mine at home to keep up, even before I was well enough to go back to the group.  I finished my top yesterday and here it is.



I’m thinking about giving this baby size quilt to Miles when it’s finished.  You know, this is not your typical, so-cutesy baby quilt.  I like to think that this quilt related back to when quilters truly used every scrap, the same ones for baby quilts and grown-up ones. The torquoise pops nicely and I think I’ll use a bright binding as well, maybe bright yellow or red.

Today I drove to the PO with some mail and I stopped at the Strawberry Lady’s truck.  The strawberries are picked fresh in Oxnard and sold the same day.  They are huge, sweet and luscious.  Can’t wait to have some of these sweeties!





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I’ve Had the “Change of Life”….That was a Picnic Compared to This Life Change


I just received a diagnosis from my doctors that has left me reeling.  It will take a L-O-N-G time to really come to grips with this.

But let me fill in some background here….A year ago I moved a huge truckload of chipped wood and leaves that our tree trimmers gave us for free.  I spent about a month but I loaded it into my wheelbarrow and spread it between all over our planters between the trees and plants.  It was very hard work but I was capable of doing it.  This is just by way of telling you that I was pretty strong and reasonably fit even though I was never a gym rat. 

Last summer I did the hard physical work that it took to have a large garden.  So far, so good, but I did have to rest more in between gardening sessions.  I attributed this to the hot weather. Sounded reasonable.

The fall and winter came, and I never felt well, like a mild flu that never quite went away. I was taking more naps, and believe it or not, making the bed left me out of breath.

We went to Quartzsite, Arizona for our annual campout with friends who all have RV’s. I became more out of breath from the slightest exertion.

Finally I told  my DH that I needed to see a doctor.  He said, fine, but it’s going to be the one at the Emergency Room.  I would usually argue with him about something like that, but this time I didn’t.

They told me I had congestive heart failure (CHF).  The day after I was admitted, my kidney function crashed.  I don’t know how close I came to dying, but I don’t want to repeat it.  I don’t remember any of this 24 hour period because I was full of pain-killers.

After 6 days I came home, wearing a defibrillator vest, which is so far working out fine with no incidents so far.

My new diet is restrictive in the extreme.  Low salt, low fat, low carb, and no more than 2 quarts of water.  On the good side, DH is helping me with the cooking and marketing and we are working together to figure out what I can eat.  Without him to come home to, I don’t know what I would do.

They say that God will not give you more than you can bear.  I have believed and relied on that all through breast cancer, chemo, and radiation 10 years ago.   I hope it’s still true.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Don’t Know How to Start this Post

I guess I’ll just jump in, maybe not in a straight timeline, but just whatever to break this writer’s block that is hanging over me like that little boy in the Peanuts cartoon with his own cloud that went everywhere he went.

I was having a great time with my tomato garden, sharing with neighbors, relatives and putting up some for winter.  I was very happy, but pretty soon I had NO.TIME.AT.ALL for quilting. 
But I thought, how long can this last?  You know, make hay while the sun shines!  Summer isn’t forever.
Things weren’t perfect, but darn near.

There was one very dark cloud on the horizon getting closer, closer.  That was the declining health of my (younger) brother Lee.  He had incurable liver cancer, cirrhosis and Hepatitis C. The cause, of course, was the terribly wrong directions that he chose for his life.

                                            Lee and Carol on their wedding day

  You may remember that I posted about him when he had a really bad motorcycle accident.

This is hard to write about, but that accident was his way of trying to hurry up and get going into the next life because he had little to look forward to here but suffering.  Instead he broke every bone in his face (which the doctors fixed) and suffered severe frontal lobe brain damage (which they could not fix).

The last time I saw him, we were trying to get him into care facility because it was obvious he could no longer make it on his own.  He resisted, sometimes violently, and became estranged from us for a time.  He went from care home to psych ward to next care home for a while.  He refused our visits for a few months.

He finally made the decision to stay in one of the care homes and stayed out of trouble.  I think he just got tired and weak and accepted his fate. After this, he would take calls from us and talk to us a little bit unless his meds made him too groggy.

In October we got the call that we were expecting, that he had passed away.  We were planning to make a trip to see him later that month, but we just missed him.

My 88 year old Mother is grieving for him and it has been especially hard for me to be her caretaker. I won’t burden you with those details, but she has been very unpredictable.  My Mother is not easy even in the best of times.  Oh, well.

Lee made peace with his God during the last months so we know that he is forgiven.

I’m getting on with my life.  I haven’t cried a lot but have grieved inside.  Time is healing me.  I have been praying for all of you who might be reading this and are going through any kind grief or loss.  It can come in many forms but always hurts the same.