Wanna know a secret?

Here it is… I envy the quilt makers that I quilt for.  They may go on and on about my quilting, but I swear, each time I open up the next quilt to put it on the frame, I am in awe of the quilt maker’s ability.  I think I’ve told you before that I can’t get my points and corners to match when piecing a quilt top.  I’ve begun making more applique quilts for that reason.  I have one customer in particular that has a gift for putting colors and fabrics together.  It’s a gift, I am sure, because so few of us have it and we have to work at it and think about it.  I have another customer who appliques the tiniest and most detailed quilt pieces.  I’m sure she has the patience of a saint.  I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so many talented friends and customers.

So, it is with sadness that I have to cut back on my quilting.  I went to see the doctor for my annual exam a couple of weeks ago, and she said I need to break up my routine and do other things.  I’ve been in so much pain that it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to move the quilting machine around on the frame.  I have Degenerative Disc Disease (the dreaded triple D), which I thought was just a fancy word for arthritis.  Turns out, I’ve got both arthritis and DDD.  I don’t remember how many years ago it was first diagnosed, but my doctor at the time, took an X-ray of my spine and showed me what he found; bone spurs.  He said, “You’ve got a little bit of arthritis, don’t you?”  I wondered how he knew, and he showed me the bone spurs.  Oh!  So, I just thought the DDD was a fancy name for arthritis of the spine, but it really means your spineis wearing down (degenerating – duh!).

I was put on Naproxen back then, but in time we found out my stomach could not handle the NSaids.  I also get migraines, sometimes due to allergies or weather changes or hormones.  And, sometimes it seems I get them because, like fishing,  I did or didn’t hold my mouth right.   But, a lot of times I get migraines from my back tensing up.  The NSaids kept me from getting a lot of migraines.  Since November, I’ve been getting 2 and 3-day migraines about every 2 weeks.  The past 6 weeks, I was getting them every week.  That’s a LOT of time off work, because I can’t function at all and end up sleeping all day to try to rid myself of the pain.  Well, lately, the pain has been in my back, neck and shoulders and radiating down into my arms, meaning I can’t do my work (moving a quilting machine around) without a lot of pain.  I’ve been falling further and further behind on my work, and I was at a loss of what to do for it.

Doc said to stop.  I’ve already been to physical therapy and do my stretches daily.  She said I need to switch activities so that I’m not stressing the same muscles repeatedly for hours on end.  I guess the worse part of it all is realizing that my head thinks I am a lot younger than my body feels and that I should be able to quilt all day long “like everyone else.”  Aw, Mom, everyone else gets to do it!  That’s been the hardest pill to swallow.  Anyhow, my doctor is having me try Enteric Coated Naproxen only when I really need it.  I’ve also got muscle relaxers to help my muscles not put so much strain on my bones.  I’m only supposed to take that when I really need it, too.

In the meantime, I will be quilting for no more than 2 hours at a shot and then take a break and do something else for the next few hours and then come back for another 2 hours if I am able.  It IS helping.  I’m not fearing getting on that machine anymore (fearing how much pain I will be in) and I haven’t had a migraine in 2 weeks.  🙂  Happy Days!  My body does not hesitate to let me know that I’ve worked too long.  I’ve tried to go 3 hours and my arms will not cooperate with me for the rest of the day.  One day, I worked 5 and a half hours (in increments), but I was in so much pain by the time I went to bed that night… the next day I couldn’t do anything.  pfhh…

So, the moral of the story is that I will not be quilting as much as I have in the past.  I have customer quilts that I will finish, and I will still be taking in customer quilts; just not so many at a time… the waiting list might get longer. I was hoping to be able to get a computer for the machine, so it could do the work for me, but they just want waaaaaay too much money for it (the quilting machine already cost $20,000 and a special computer for the quilting machine would cost another $10,000).  But, it is what it is.

As for what I’m going to do otherwise, I guess this will give me more time to work on other quilting type things.  I’ve got a couple of quilt patterns running around in my head, and I guess I’ll have more time to work on digitizing some of the quilting I’ve done.  I’m not sure where I’m headed, and I’m not yet happy about it.  I’m trying to be, and I’m hoping everything will work out in the end.  Wish me luck!  Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to get my points and corners to match!  :\

Author: cowtownquilts

Professional longarm quilter and thread artist in the Kansas City area.