Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quilting Bloggers Spread MS Awareness

In my continuing search for MORE bloggers with MS, I came across this awareness project led by Karen Dianne of Living Life at LeeHaven.

Are You Aware? Together We Did It!!

For Quilters with MS this week wasn't about raising funds but raising awareness. I've never done anything like this before and without my quilter friends I never could have. I enjoyed reading how each experiences MS. And all the fellow bloggers/visitors from all over the world - literally - Ya'll made it happen!!!

You made it come to life with your fun, participatory attitude. Wow! The questions and interest about MS - it was amazing. We even cleared up some confusion about MS with factoids. We wanted to raise awareness and we did. Plus there was fun with the yummy quilts "On Display."

It was all good. It was more than we planned, too! When embarking upon this first-time-ever adventure I decided "Why Not?" and set up a donation page. Lets put ourselves in the position to donate to the MS Society just in case. Turns out we received donations to the MS Society on behalf of Quilters with MS. That was a huge surprise. Thank you for carrying us over the moon with your kindness.
Some great MS stories were shared such as this one from Yankee Quilter of Scraps and Threadtales.

Wind Damage!

Back in the states several of my coworkers at the college had only recently immigrated to the United and States and they had widely differing commands of the English language and American Culture. Since I had lived overseas for many years I empathized with them and often found myself explaining some of the strangest things.

One hot summer afternoon I was met one of these new arrivals on my way to the parking lot about 4 blocks away. He was in the process of buying a car and wanted to know the difference between lease and buy and why did some of the dealers want to make you take out a loan if you only want to pay cash? OK, so this conversation took a lot longer than the walk. After about 30 minutes of standing in the sun I realized my leg was getting heavy. I started to walk to my car and instead lurched forward. My coworker grabbed my arm and helped me to the car. He was very worried about my driving. "I'll be fine," I told him. "I have MS. Once I'm in the air conditioning I'll be fine." He dropped my arm (really quickly) and without saying anything walked to car and left. To be honest at the time I didn't really make note of this...I just wanted to sit in the A/C!

The next morning his wife, who also worked with me, came to my office. She brought me a little bag with some loose teas in it. "In my country," she said quietly " women drink this when they don't feel well." I thanked her for it and put on the tea kettle. She still looked a bit concerned. "American women are so different." she said, " we would never talk to another woman's husband about her woman problems."

I was a bit taken back. "It is a bit more thank a women problem." I said. "I almost fainted in parking lot," I said a bit indignant. "In our country," she replied sitting up a bit straighter, "we handle our monthlies better."

Oh no! I said I have MS...not PMS!!! I forget sometimes there are parts of the world that there is no or almost no cases of MS. Since this couple was from the Middle East they had never even heard of it! I brought up a website and showed her. "Men," she said as we finished our tea," they can be very stupid in any country. He should have helped you!" I have a feeling he was in big trouble in any language!
And an absolutely fabulous visual metaphor was presented by Diane of Persnickety Quilts.

This is My Brain!!

Do you remember that anti-drug advertisement with the fried egg? You know the one: "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs."

This little quilt makes me think of my brain ~ my brain with MS!

Let’s say those dizzying squares of psychedelic fabric are nerve cells in my brain or spinal cord. Some of them have been damaged by my body’s own immune system. The resulting scars or lesions impede the messages from my brain to other parts of my body. Sometimes these messages (indicated by black sashing strips) get garbled; sometimes they don’t get through at all. In other words, my brain might want to quilt, or walk, or eat soup with a spoon, but if the message can’t reach the appropriate muscles in my body, it ain’t gonna happen!

See those wonky quilt blocks? They represent symptoms I deal with every day: numbness and tingling, poor balance, weakness in the limbs, muscle spasms, fatigue, sensitivity to heat, loss of bladder or bowel control (too much information? Sorry.) Just as each of these quilt blocks varies a bit from the others, my symptoms may vary from day to day. Not only are they unpredictable, they might be totally different from those of someone else with MS.

Let’s see, how can I tie in that big uneven purple border? I know--those strips symbolize my support team: my family, friends, and medical staff. Their vigilant assistance with my personal care and daily needs as well as their unfailing love frame my life.

Boy, I never thought I’d be using one of my quilts as a medical metaphor. I’m just glad it wasn’t Human Reproduction Awareness Week!

So do go visit these ladies while I go introduce myself.

I love it - our world is expanding.

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