2011 NQA Quilt Show Pictures and more

I was able to get the photos from the 2011 National Quilt Association show that was held this past June uploaded to my Picassa album.  
Here is a link to my album for you to view each of the beauties I  photographed.
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On a personal note, I have been doing a lot of thinking on what this blog means to me.  This blog to me is a place where I can come and write and share things going on in my world.  I enjoy being able to go through past posts and look at where I have been or what I was doing “back then”. I enjoy reading peoples comments – good or bad.  I enjoy feeling like I have a community of friends in the blog world whom I’ve never even met.
Over the next few weeks and months, I will be posting things on a very personal level, not only for myself but to share with others what I am going through.  I have been diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel in both of my arms.  I’m devastated and stressed to the max over this.  I’m normally a very healthy, strong person, never had a surgery or broken bone in my 38 years of life.  The most major thing to have ever happened to me is cutting my finger and getting 9 stitches – and that was horrible.  Child birth is the only other time I’ve been near a hospital and I was begging to leave the minute I had my wee ones in my arms – literally begging.
Now, because of my chosen career and something that I love.  I have damaged my body, which is causing me to think more seriously about my future.  All of the cutting and folding and flipping of bolts has damaged me.  All of the loading and unloading of my trailer for quilt shows, has damaged me.  My love of hand piecing and quilting has probably played a part in this also, but I’m having a harder time admitting that.
Tomorrow September 20th at 9:45 am, I will have surgery on my left arm.  October 4th I will have surgery on my right arm.  I’m already signed up to max out my physically therapy coverage through my insurance company.  I’m armed with a notebook full of recommended exercises so that I can regain all the strength in my arms and hands after the physical therapy coverage runs out.  I refuse to give in or give up.  I’m just not made that way.
With that said – I’m terrified to say the least.  This “minor” surgery in the world’s eye’s is a “major” life event for me.
I’ve decided to document each step I take along the way to recovery.  While doing research on carpal tunnel, I was quite shocked and upset to find so little “good” information for us quilters.  I’ve also found along the way who a lot of my true friends are – as they have sat and listened to me cry and complain.  Answered my emails or just simply sat with me.  (with this said, please remember that anything that I may write in the future is my own personal experience and might and probably will differ from anyone else.  I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nurse, I’m not even in a health care profession.  I’m a quilter plane and simple.)  I just want anyone that may come upon my own experience here on my blog to know that your pain is real, it does hurt and it’s not imagined at all.  And though someone looking at you cannot tell that you are in serious pain just by glance – I understand – you are in pain and it is very real and it hurts.
One piece of advice I can give thus far – if you ever try to calm someone else or reassure someone else that is getting ready to go through something that is traumatic to them but might not be so traumatic sounding to you – never ever make them feel “little” or feel like they are getting worked up over nothing.  No surgery is minor.  And a person’s feelings and fears are very, very real and worth listening to.  And that is the key – listen to them and only make suggestions and personal opinions on their behalf if you are asked to do so – never discount what they are feeling or saying.  Sure to some carpal tunnel surgery may be a minor thing and in the scope of the bigger picture compared to cancer and heart surgery etc., it is minor – but when it’s happening to YOU it is a major life ordeal.  
I think what hurt the most recently is having someone say “what are you so worked up about, it’s minor outpatient surgery – you’ll be fine and back home.  It’s no big deal”  Well – they are wrong, this is a big deal to me. This comment was made to me by a fellow quilter who I didn’t know – it was just in passing at a quilt show – but I consider all quilters friends.  She had asked me why I was wearing the arm braces on both my arms so I told her.  I started to tear up a little in my eyes, my voice got a little quivery – over admitting that I had a “physical problem” and that I was nervous about the surgery – and now thinking about this – I was searching for comfort from a stranger and I was honestly embarrassed at the same time at how blatant and “rough” she was in asking me why I was wearing my braces. Which brings me to another point.
I have had days where I could not drive my own vehicle because my arms are in so much pain or twitching so badly.  I just didn’t trust myself.  I’ve had days in the grocery store wearing both arm braces, trudging through grabbing the “light” things that I could manage to pick up on my own without dropping.  I’ve had days where I do not even go to the store when we need things here at home because I just do not want to deal with people staring.  I’ve had days where I go out and about because I refuse to sit home another minute and go without my arm braces just because I want to be normal and not be stared at. My arm braces are not huge, they really are just a pain in my behind if you ask me, but they do help to keep my arms more straight and from bending at the wrist and hurting myself worse.  Why do people have to stare?  Were they never taught to be kind and compassionate to others that might have a disability or a life changing situation?  I’m not asking for pity, certainly not.  But the stares or rude comments or blunt questions can be hurtful.  I now have more compassion toward others that struggle with physical ailments or that might be permanently disfigured in appearance.  They did not ask to be different it just happens.  Don’t stare – a warm smile and hello sometimes might just help give someone a little better day than you could even imagine.  Maybe the good Lord is trying to teach me a lesson of my own – I’ve always thought that I have been compassionate and kind to others that struggle, but maybe I have not and this is my wake up call.
If you see someone in a cast, wheelchair or even braces on their arm, legs, etc., or just someone struggling trying to get in a building or their vehicle – try and offer some help.  It’s not wrong to be nice to others.  It may just be the area I live in or maybe this rude human nature really is throughout the world, but with my “minor” ordeal, it’s really opened my eyes even more to how many, many people in this world struggle with health issues and so few “healthy” people lend a hand anymore.  
Better yet – if you see someone while you are out and about that looks upset or just appears to be having a really bad day – is it so wrong to say hello or just give them a smile?  It just seems like anymore in this world we live, people only care about themselves.
I’m terrified right now and feeling very helpless.  I only know what to expect from what some of my friends, customers and nurses and doctors have told me.  Stop and think for a minute – how would you feel if your arms were constantly burning, numb, tingling.  How would you feel if you could not sleep through the night without waking up in pain? How would you feel if your arms twitched or jerked around and you could not control them?  How would you feel if you did not know for certain if a surgery you were about ready to have could heal you and help you to get back to what you love to do.  How would you feel if your own children were to also cry with you because they hurt for you while you are in pain and they just want you to feel better?
I may not blog everyday, but I plan on trying to “peck” out a post here and there and even share some pictures of my progress.  I’ll warn everyone if a “graphic” picture might come about in a post.  Trust me – I’ll warn you before I do it because I made myself sick trying to watch a YouTube video of this surgery – my stomach just could not take watching that. I’ve never thought of myself as having a weak stomach, but trying to force myself to watch something that was about ready to be done to me – well I just could not handle it.
My kids and husband will be taking good care of me.  Please say a little prayer for me and make a few extra special stitches in your project for me and send good thoughts my way.
Please do not take offense in any way to anything that I have said here or may write in the future.  This is my personal blog, my own diary that I have chosen to share online with you.  I love to write.  I write stories, I am working on a book, I write patterns and in general just enjoy “quilting” or “piecing” with words.  If you take offense to anything I say, it is not meant to be hurtful to you.  If you wish to leave a comment – I truly welcome you to.  It has helped for me to admit I have a problem and to have so many email me with kind thoughts.  The people that I’ve emailed with that have gone through this – thank you for being so honest and open with me.  If you do comment and I do not respond directly to you – please do not take offense – just know that I truly thank you and appreciate you.
As for my future and the future of my business.  I don’t know.
I just don’t know where all this will lead me.  My family comes first.  My quilt designing comes second (which has been on the back burner for way to long) and my future hopes of fabric designing come third.  Everything else is questionable at this point.

20 thoughts on “2011 NQA Quilt Show Pictures and more”

  1. Tara, I couldn't help but tear up myself as I can certainly hear and feel what you must be going through right now .Your post is so open and honest and that is refreshing. You touched on so many important issues about how we should treat others.Please know that I believe strongly in the power of prayer and I don't take it lightly. I will most certainly be praying for you and for a quick recovery…unlike anything the doctors expect. I wish for you Godspeed and look forward to reading as you progress.Hugs to you,Sue

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  2. I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this. I agree that any surgery is terrible to have to face! Especially when you have to face not being able to do what you love, at least for awhile. Sorry you have been in pain and have had to deal with people who are thoughtless or unkind. Good luck with your surgery, my prayers will be with you. 🙂

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  3. Tara, I know how you feel. I had a back injury last year after a fall, and it was so traumatic for me to try to have an MRI. I tried but just could not stand the noise. So many people kept telling me it's nothing, but in my heart I knew it WAS something. I hope that you will do well with the surgery and that it will return mobility to your hands. I will be thinking of you.Jocelyn

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  4. Oh Tara – a quilter should understand more than anyone how important to you your hands and arms are. I'll be praying for you – for the best outcome possible!!!

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  5. Tara, I am so sorry to hear about your carpal tunnel. I have always enjoyed chatting with you at Quilt Festival in Houston. You are the first shop I go to. Thanks to your story, I will always look for someone in the grocery store who might need help with heavy items. The sharing of your story must have been difficult but I think everyone will have a better understanding of what people suffer when they have carpal tunnel. I will be sending warm wishes your way for a speedy recovery.

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  6. Best of luck to you in the coming days and weeks. Have faith in your medical team. Their goal is for a successful outcome for you. – If your hospital offers Rikki prior to your surgery take advantage of it. It's a good thing. Picture yourself (post healing) doing what you love to do – I will picture you doing that too.

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  7. Best of luck to you in the coming days and weeks. Have faith in your medical team. Their goal is for a successful outcome for you. – If your hospital offers Rikki prior to your surgery take advantage of it. It's a good thing. Picture yourself (post healing) doing what you love to do – I will picture you doing that too.

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  8. good luck and best wishes with your surgery and recovery. I fully understand your anxieties having suffered a work injury to my hand's. Keep up the pain relief and do your exercises post op.

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  9. Tara, Please know you will be in prayers. I have always been a very healthy person and have had to deal with some serious health issues this past year, so I know exactly how you feel. I pray the surgery will be successful and you will have a quick recovery. God Bless!

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  10. Tara, During one of my pregnancies I had carpul tunnel issues. I am sure it was not nearly as severe as what you are experiencing. But, I totally understand the pain that wakes you at night and doesn't allow you to sleep, the numbness and tingling. I will never forget playing with my two year old, swinging him in my arms, ready to toss him gently on the bed…..my hands and arms went numb in the middle of that toss and he just fell out of my arms. I had lost all control of my grip. He wasn't hurt, I don't think he even cried, but I was sick with guilt and so frustrated with that numbness that caused me lose control over what I wanted my hands to do. But, by far the nights were the worse. I feel for you. I pray all goes well. I totally get your fear and anxiety.

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  11. Tara, I send you my best wishes for the time in front of you. I know, what you are going through right now – have had the same surgery on both hands too. It takes time before you are back to normal. But very shorting after the surgery I was able to stitch, knit etc like before. Will be thinking of you today.Anne-MettePS: I had your lovely book last month, when I went to the annual Quiltshow here in Denmark … just LOVE taht book :-).

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  12. Good luck with your surgery Tara. It is somewhat shocking to know that all your hard work has come back to bite you in this way. I hope you can relax and heal. Do you have an i-pad or kindle? you can read without even turning the pages! This is going to be the hard part for you–the relaxing and resting. Sending love and prayers.

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  13. Thank you for saying what so many people need to hear. During my breast cancer treatment I developed Lymphodema in my right arm/hand. Six weeks of wrapping, from my armpit to my fingertips. I will deal with this for the rest of my life. My Oncologist stresses to me about any pokes or pressure on this arm and I reminded him that my right arm is my most valuable part of my body as I am a quilter! I completely understand where you are coming from. Keeping you in my thoughts, take care of yourself. Sounds like you have a good plan and lots of support.

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