Monday, May 9, 2022

It's My Birthday!

I can't believe it's May already! I hope, if you're reading this that you had a Happy Mother's Day yesterday. (I mocked up the Monthly Marker / Door Quilt image above using the cake, year, and MOM blocks from these *block tutorials* that are on the National Days page *here*.)

Today is my birthday! And as this year's birthday rolls around, I'm flashing back to my birthday last year in 2021, the year I dubbed #hotmess2021. I had been dealing with what I thought was a pinched nerve in my elbow or shoulder, going to phys. therapy, not improving, but getting worse. I was starting to be fearful that something more serious was going on. I wasn't able to sleep due to what felt like the constant tazing of my left arm. My left hand was weaker than my right, and my left foot was starting to feel weak. That night a year ago, two of my best friends popped up at my door with flowers and a cupcake, and burst into the Happy Birthday song right in my entryway. They burst into song and I burst into (happy) tears, feeling so emotional with everything already going on. 

Things would gradually go downhill from there.  Eventually, after Drs. and scans etc. and missing my son's 8th grade promotion ceremony, and more (not happy) tears for that...

I've watched these boys grow up since Kindergarten.

.. I got a referral to a large teaching hospital in our region. While waiting for the red tape and referral appts., more scans were ordered and I received a call from my primary to go to the ER and get admitted, in the event that I might need emergency surgery if anything else happened. By then, I could barely walk, had fallen on more than one occasion, and was getting weaker by the day. There was, what they suspected to be, a benign tumor around my spinal cord at C7. It grew out into my shoulder area and was about the size of an egg, sitting on a bundle of nerves.

So, on what was July 9th by then, we piled in the car on a Friday evening and drove an hour to the medical center, where I would spend the next 11 days waiting for surgery because I kept getting turfed off of the surgery schedule. I was considered urgent but not emergent, and this was a busy trauma center, so I kept getting bumped by emergencies. My surgeons there were GREAT, though, and finally made it happen by gathering a team on the weekend (their usual weekend off). The care I received before and after I finally had the surgery was GREAT. But by then, I couldn't walk and I couldn't bend the fingers of my left hand. Zero strength in it. 

I spent a total of 32 days in that medical center, 11 of them in their inpatient intensive rehab. My parents flew out for the first two weeks. And my family stayed nearby in a hotel for the first few days to be close in case I needed emergency surgery. I was constantly on standby. From about day 15 on, I would occasionally receive texts like this from my then 14 yr. old, with captions like "The white buffalo misses you." And "The eagle misses you." (These are souvenirs from our favorite National Parks.) Which simultaneously warmed and broke my heart. He needed his mom to be home but didn't want to admit it.. and I was going to get home, come hell or high water. 

He was so strong, though, the first to volunteer to push my wheelchair on the long jaunt to the gym for therapy sessions. He would bring my phone to PT/OT sessions and take pictures or video. It makes me tear up still, thinking of what he went through, at his age, when so many things were already changing. This picture is awful, just awful, and so hard to look at, but I'm posting it here because my son took it, proud that I was standing up. And as a reminder to myself of how far I've come. God is good! I mean, I was A MESS. Just seeing this makes my eyes mist.

I also ended up missing my son's high school orientation and his first day of high school. More tears.. Thankfully, my hub texted me these pics after the first day.. I felt such relief to see this smile. I hated being in the hospital and missing it. I cried myself to sleep the night before. I was just so so glad to see these and to hear he had a good first day. Dropoff and pickup..

The last year has been such an emotional roller coaster. I shared a few updates on IG and FB from the hospital and I can't thank you enough if you sent me a kind message or prayer! I'm so grateful, for this community and my friends and family, for how far we've come, and to see another birthday! 💝 

If you've sent me messages that have gone unanswered, please know I read and appreciated them. And apologize for not answering them all. 

I shared this on my Instagram the other day on Cinco de Mayo.. for the first time in over a YEAR, I was able to grip an avocado with my left hand to make guacamole. That's such a huge improvement! I can now walk all the way around our block, no walkers are necessary anymore and I'm so glad! I still get sore because when you don't use your muscles and they aren't being innervated properly, wow do they disappear. And nerve damage is such a slow recovery. It's mentally and physically exhausting at times. I still type mostly with one hand but I can use a finger or two on my left hand now at least. 

I haven't sewn anything in over a year... but I'm excited and so thankful, that Leslie from Accuquilt reached out and I've joined the Accuquilt Go Getters!

I'm excited to figure out how to use it and start sewing again soon. It's taking longer than I'd like, though, to find my mojo because I still have emotionally down days where I feel like what happened to my life!? Where I want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. But I will get there!

**This is also a good time to say that I think most, if not all, of my patterns could be Accuquilt friendly, as I primarily use squares and rectangles.**

Accuquilt has actually featured me as the guest designer in their virtual gallery *here*. I'm so honored by this!

And a few weeks ago I did a zoom interview for it. They are all so kind and fun. I was pretty nervous but they made me feel really comfortable! Here's a link to the interview *here*.

And they did a blog article *here*.. I've been such a loser for not sharing it before now.. I appreciate them so much!

I also have to give a huge shoutout to my hub for basically keeping all my pattern purchase orders filled during all of this time. He's a keeper and has taken such good care of us and almost single handedly kept my little business up and running, packaging patterns and pins almost constantly, since I couldn't pack them or do much else with one hand. 

A few months ago, I did go through a creative design phase and designed a bunch of new patterns but haven't been able to get them all written and tested yet. I'm hoping to find the writing mojo again. Typing with one hand mostly just gets old after a while.. but it will get better.. I really should not complain. There are so many out there dealing with larger and more traumatic things. 

Maybe getting all of this out of my brain into a blog post will help. I've started to post about it several times but just couldn't. I would start and get stuck. I just wasn't ready to face and revisit it.

Today was the day I guess. I finally got it all out! Now I just need to add some photos and links etc. and then I'll hit publish and hopefully get back to pattern writing and sewing soon.

And such huge thanks again to everyone at Accuquilt! I'll be back, hopefully soon, with another National Day quilt block tutorial and a new pattern. OH! I'm in the process of moving my pattern shop from Etsy over to my website here. I'll still have my shop there, though, more on that next time.

If you read to the end, you deserve a trophy. lol This was a long post, wherein I word vomited all the things that went down in the last year. I'm so glad to be through the darkest part of that tunnel!! 

Onward! Thanks for being here!

Happy Stitching!



dear Kellie,
I read your post with great admiration. You are such a strong woman, fought your way back. Now you will be able to recover too. It all takes time, but you have the courage and the will to do it. I love your instructions and your creativity. We also had an insanely bad year, my husband got Krabs and had surgery. I really understand your fears and concerns. During this time I was not able to sew for a long time, had Covid and am suffering from long-term effects. I also had a shoulder surgery that wasn't right. But as bad as you were, that's terrible. I wish you a speedy recovery and I'm happy when things get better for you. hugs from denmark, Ulrike :0)

Happy birthday! *sends an enormous hug*

dianne said...

happy birthday!!!

you and yours have made it through to the other side of Bad Stuff and we all celebrate with you - keep healing, feel better and know that you are Loved...

and thank you - i just finished piecing One Giant Stitch for the second time (this one is for me) ... i lurve it and i couldn't have done it without you ... you are an absolutely awesome quilt designer!!!

Happy Birthday (a day late)!!!! I knew you were having problems, but I never imagined the difficulties you were going thru. Glad you are on the mend now. Just keep working those muscles and they will (hopefully) come back fully. Just don't rush anything so that you don't have any setbacks. Are you still moving??? I'll watch the interview and read the blog post they did on you after I get home from work today. If you need a pattern tester, let me know.

sam said...

Happy belated birthday Kelli. Great to hear your progress. You are an inspiration and I thank you for that. Sending big hugs and blessings.

Kathleen said...

Happy birthday a little late, but I'm sure you must be celebrating all month, after all you went through. Wow, that's an awful lot!! God bless you for your strength and stamina.
Kathleen - kakingsbury at verizon dot net

Happy birthday! Here’s to celebrating your strength and endurance for all you have been through and prayers that the year ahead brings you physical strength, renewed creativity, and especially lots of joy! God bless you!!!

kvanatta said...

Wow! Just WOW! You are amazing! What a nasty journey! I know you must hear it a lot - but geez I am so freaking proud of you! Your grit and determination is phenomenal…. Keep on trucking.. you got this :-P. ~~~~Kay V

Belated Happy Birthday and prayers for a GREAT year.

MissPat said...

Happy Birthday Kelli! Your determination and the support of your family and docs will see you through this. I've finished the Minecraft quilt and will post on IG after I gift it to my grandson in early June when he comes for a visit.

my dear sweet lady, I am sending prayers for continued health in body and mind. I cant even imagine what you have gone through. praise for doctors that know what to do. dont feel bad about not getting sewing done and out into the world. you must take care of yourself and allow yourself to heal properly. I love it when our husbands help us in our fields. I am sorry you missed so much with your son, but he is there for you and loves you. It is obvious. Let God guide your steps and mind. Hugs

Barb C. said...

God bless you and your family for all you have gone through! Happy belated Birthday and continue on the road to recovery!

Happy Birthday, Kelli.
Great to hear from you again.
Take care and rest as much as a you can.

Karen said...

Oh my goodness! What a year you have had! Prayers for your continued healing and so glad you have been blessed with an amazing family and caregivers.

CA Bobbie said...

I'm amazed to hear of your journey- what a fighter!!! Thank you for sharing. Do you ever wonder why we ourselves are embarrassed to let others know of our struggles? It's always amazing how long it takes to have these things traced down to the core. Thank goodness you kept on it. All that aside I'm so proud to call you
an internet friend. My prayers for continued improvement and strength. The courage and tenacity you have is in full measure. You are blessed with an amazing family but I fully believe you deserve it. Welcome back, I've missed you.

Lalitha said...

So sorry to hear that you were not well but so happy to hear that you are getting better. Thank you once again for the Minecraft quilt pattern blocks. You are an awesome designer. Happy birthday and God bless.

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