Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Recovery continues...

I'm 6 weeks post op and here is an update.

Short story:

I am doing pretty good. My brace is off and I hope to have many of my restrictions lifted in 6 weeks.


Long story:

I turned a corner about a week ago – I no longer have the excruciating pain in my left leg; now I just have pain that I can tolerate. I saw the surgeon’s PA Monday – I still can’t have any anti-inflammatory drugs. I had the option of another pain med but what I’m using seems to be working so I chose to stay with that. I am still taking one nerve pain med and one very strong pain med. I hope to begin weaning off the strong med soon. The best news of my doctor visit was that my brace is off! I still have many restrictions but the brace is optional for a few weeks. I haven’t put it back on since I was in the doctor’s office. I don’t like it but I will use it if needed. 


We got to see my new x-rays – the screws, the rods, the donor bone, and the cage. It’s quite interesting if you can forget it’s you. 


The only exercise I can do is walk. My goal this week is 2000 steps a day. We were in Madison both Sunday and Monday and those days I had over 4000 steps each. Tuesday I was well over 2000. I’m ready to get my strength back but I’d also like to get off the meds and I don’t want to irritate the nerves anymore. So I’ll stick to 2000 steps the rest of this week. In 6 weeks, I’ll know about Physical Therapy – that will be 3 months post – op. There is a chance I won’t need it. The doctor thought I was doing very well!


My restrictions include no Bending, only light Lifting, and no Twisting. (BLT is the way it is referenced.) I’d like to begin doing squats but not yet so it’s hard to do some normal things.  I just use my grabber/reacher or call my dear husband.


I still rest a lot. I’ve put together jigsaw puzzles, read many books, played many computer games, and spend way too much time watching videos and TV. Somewhere in the middle of all of this while I was a little high on lots of drugs, I decided that I had room for a long-arm quilting setup and I ordered one! Well, technically, the machine is a mid-arm. The frame is 10’ long and I actually can find room without building onto the house! All I need to do is clean out 2 large dormer closets and one of my sewing rooms. Then rearrange things and I’ll be set. The problem is that I ordered everything during a big sale and although it was supposed to arrive in January; everything arrived November 29 and is in our living room.

Ray and I spent some time today moving things around in the closets and my studio. (Ray moved; I supervised.) Hopefully we'll finish that part tomorrow. There won’t be any cleaning out right now; we are just trying to clear space for the long-arm frame. Then we need to get things upstairs. After Christmas, I think DS2 and his 3 boys will come help us put the frame and machine together and in place. Sometime in the future, I’ll get things cleaned and the way I want them. 


I am very optimistic that this leg pain is going away (it is so much better) -  my medical team is great and I do believe them. In case you didn’t know, extensive back surgery has a long recovery time. My projected time is 3 – 6 months and I’m on track. Ten years ago my timeline was 1 – 5 years. This surgery wasn't nearly as invasive at the earlier one and I like the timeline much better! 


I can’t wait until I can squat and lift things … patience. I’ve been learning patience and practicing patience for well over a year. One would think I’d be better at it by now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


Short Version:

Surgery went well with one complication. I am improving!

Long Version:

Surgery was October 21 and all went well with my back. The main problem after surgery was my left leg. Evidently the surgery was very hard on my leg. Hammers, mauls, drills,..., were used and evidently irritated the nerves and muscles in my leg. It happens. When I woke up after surgery, I could not move my left leg but was told to have patience.The pain in the leg was astronomical and the narcotics began along with a variety of other problems such as vasovagal syncopes (fainting spells). Ugh! 

October 25, late in the day, I came home with Ray, my fantastic caregiver. Ray suggested I leave the phone and the electronics alone for a while. (I think he actually told my friends and family to not call or text for a while.) He was definitely right. I really didn't need interruptions to my rest.

Yesterday, 11/9/21, I had all 32 staples removed from the 10” incision in my back and it is doing great. My leg is better but has a ways to go. My medical team is optimistic that it will recover fully given time. Many of the additional problems are gone. The rest are being addressed.

I feel good at least part of most days. In general, my back feels good. The 10-year old hardware in my back was removed, some replaced, and some new hardware added. I'll hopefully begin therapy in December and in a few months, maybe I'll be near normal again.  

I am wearing a brace and use a walker. I am working at getting more steps each day and also to "letting go of the walker" periodically. I still have restrictions and will for a few months so it limits what I can try to do. I am also slowly getting off of the meds which means I should need fewer naps.

So how do I spend my waking hours?

Well, I'm considering a free motion quilting frame. I don't have room for a longarm so I've been looking at other options. I think I'm zeroing in on the Grace Q-Zone Hoop Frame Pro. If you have recommendations, let me know. I've been watching videos and reading reviews. I won't order until I have a very clear head. 

I probably won't post much in the coming weeks since my focus needs to be on getting better, not quilting. But eventually, I plan to be back in the studio - I think touching fabric will help with this recovery!😉

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

At Last!

The wait is finally over. The blood tests, EKG, all the scans and x-rays are done. The weird saliva COVID test is done and negative. I've been giving myself daily shots to build up my bones for over 7 months. The back surgery is finally going to happen Thursday. I. AM. READY. I'm tired of the pain and the waiting. It's been over a year but the end is really in sight.

It will be a lengthy surgery and lots of precautions are being taken. Evidently in a 2nd surgery like I'm having, tears in the dura (one of membranes around the spinal cord) and infections are a higher risk. I had a tear in the dura the first time and am hoping not to have a recurrence. My surgeon has told me this surgery will not be as invasive as the one 10 years ago so I am optimistic that this will be somewhat easier.  He also is predicting my recovery time will be 3 - 6 months. Last time it was 1 - 5 years. In any event, the nerve pain will ease and I will be able to resume a more normal life. 

A normal life that includes quilting, travel, and hiking. 
Yes, I am ready!

Update on Ray: He is doing much better and will be a great support person. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Update Time

Finally, after 6 months of daily injections to build my bones, I was able to schedule surgery with my neurosurgeon last Monday. It'll be another 5 weeks before it happens but the doctor assures me that surgery will finally happen!

During the night last Monday, Ray had a coughing spell. He's not sick or anything just a tickle in the throat. He evidently irritated some nerves in his back and leg from coughing so hard. He's having great difficulty moving and walking. He saw the doctor today (Thursday) and hopefully his meds kick in soon. (Just what this house needed - another old decrepit person 😉🙃🙃)

My days have become very predictable - lots of sleep. One way I deal with pain is to sleep and some of my meds make me sleepy so I nap a lot! If we do something, it takes a day or more to recover. Needless to say, I don't accomplish much. Now that Ray is out of commission for a bit, life could get interesting but most likely, meals will be simple, clothes won't be washed, and cleaning won't be done. We'll survive!

I haven't sewn much; in fact most days, I don't get upstairs to the studio. I had a pile of donation quilts though. Since I couldn't donate quilts to the children's hospital yet, due to COVID, we took 30 quilts to the Ronald McDonald house when we were in Madison on Monday. I think there are 3 quilts left on the donation pile upstairs. 

Thirty quilts ready to go:

I donated 

1st pile of quilts

2nd pile of quilts

3rd pile of quilts

The quilts from 2019 are:                                         
I Scream You Scream
Scrappy Trip Around the World 
Jenny's Flower Garden Too 
From 2020:                                                                     
Six Degrees South North of the Equator    
Batik Bowties
Strings with Navy
Crazy Cars
Orphan Improv
Courthouse Steps
Flannel Baby Squares
Black/White with Teal
Blue with Yellow Jelly roll Race
Migration I
Migration II
Teal and White
Tiny Log Cabins
Scrappy Blue
Colored Strings
Pink Puppies
Basketweave Strings

From 2021:
Awesome Aspens
B/W with Red  
Diamonds with Squares
Easy Breezy
Pathways to Friendship
Magic Squares
Little Squares
The I Spy Tree

For the next 5 weeks I will try to help around the house, go to what seems like a zillion doctor appointments, work on staying healthy, and probably nap! And just maybe I'll find a little time to sew.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A trip to Iowa

We took a little trip to Iowa. We were gone eight days and eventually we were 4 1/2 hours from home.  We were able to spend a little time with some friends and family. I rested a lot (but evidently not enough). We ate well and had plenty of treats from some great bakeries. Ray took photos. I bought fabric.

IOWA 2021

Here's a few photos I took with my phone.

In Iowa City, there was a neat display downtown called Loop near the Graduate Hotel. One or two people can sit in the loop and push/pull the handle back and forth. Pictures go around inside the loop and lights on the outside get brighter the faster you move the handle.

Photos from Hotel Millwright which opened last October in The Amana Colonies. The hotel took over the buildings where the bales of wool arrived and where the wool was dyed.

Our huge suite in Hotel Millwright - this is part of the living room / kitchenette.

This is looking towards the door from the bedroom door. The open door is the bathroom with a closet next to it.

Lily Lake in the Amana.

Scenes in Pella, Iowa. 

We stayed on a farm in Indianola. These flowers were near the barn.

This is one of many quilt shops we found. This one is in Indianola.

Ray carried the bag of fabric that I bought at Quality Time Quilts and decided I should take a photo.

We went to the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. There were so many people. The area on the far hill was the least populated as it was the furthest from the parking. On stage were the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. 

It was fun to see the balloons inflate and lift off.

Over 100 hot air balloons were there.

Up, up, and away!

We loved traveling again although it was quite different from our usual trips. There was no hiking but in all honesty the weather was too hot and humid be outside much until the last couple of days. Our accommodations were the one hotel, 2 AirBnb rentals and 1 VRBO rental. All were great - clean and comfortable. We both enjoyed our Iowa trip.

Now I am recovering - I might have overdone a little. I got in a fair number of steps each day (far more than usual) but I only gained 1/2 pound from all those treats so I think that is a win! I've mostly slept since we got home Monday evening. I think I'm finally feeling better tonight.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Just checking in...

Well, not a lot is happening around here but I thought it was time to check-in. I no longer sew everyday - what a difference! 

I do have some finished tops that I don't think I have shown you. I'll tell you more about each when they are finished.

My pressing is now done while I'm sitting down. I have the log cabin squares finished; I just need to decide on a layout.

Health update: The pain meds are working but the pain has increased so I'm back to not doing much. Standing still is very difficult. Walking is ten times easier. A couple weeks ago we took a short overnight trip. We went to Quilting in the Valley in LaSalle, IL. On that 2-day trip, we also saw 2 grandsons play baseball. It was great fun but tiring. Upon my urging, we are about to leave on another longer trip. We'll visit family and friends and hopefully see an International Hot Air Balloon Festival. At the furthest point, we'll be 4-1/2 hours from home. We have LOTS of rest time built in and will only travel short distances on travel days. We are both looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Batik Knots is done

Note: If you subscribe to my blog via email and received notification of this post, the new system is working for you. There is nothing else you need to do! If you did not get a notification, please subscribe again. 

Batik Knots is another donation quilt. It is about 60" square and made with some 2 1/2" colored batik squares that I had. The white pieces are Moda Bella cotton. The sashing, borders, and binding are a bright navy that was in my stash.

The corners and the center squares in the blocks are a batik that DS1 chose for a mask a year ago. It's so nice to not be making masks! 

I free-motion quilted this with the following motif. I'm not sure the motif has a name - I call it 3 petals with echo. 

It's easy to fill spaces. I quilted the motif quite large on this quilt.

I used Dove gray #2600 Aurifil thread to quilt this. The backing is from my stash.

Health update: The meds are working - I am quite easily able to handle the pain now except when I overdo. Saturday I was on my feet all morning and then I was down for almost 3 days with some bad pain. I'm better today and will be more cognizant of what I am doing. Most days I am walking 14 minutes on a treadmill while hanging on. It's nice to get some exercise. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Notice to email followers

I am in the process of trying to change the way you get emails from my blog if you follow by email. A number of blog friends have switched to and I thought I'd try it. (Do remember my mind has a lot of drugs these days and my thinking could be impaired.) Anyway I hope it works - I'll be switching over in the next day or so. I'll make sure I have a new post by the weekend so if you don't get an email by Sunday night, you may have to search for my blog and re-subscribe. 

All of this is happening because this notice came out a while back:

FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner) is going away 
You are receiving this information because your blog uses the FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner). 
Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021. 
After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. If you’d like to continue sending emails, you can download your subscriber contacts. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Finishes and more!

I have both a quilting finish and a knitting finish.

This quilt is called Daises - the center of each block and the cornerstones are all daisies.

The yellow is a Moda Bella Cotton. The other colors (except for the daisies) are hand dyed. I bought two fat quarter packs a number of years ago in the Outer Banks. The pattern is called the Economy Quilt Block. I added sashing between the blocks.

This donation quilt is 58" square. I quilted it with a walking foot in diagonal straight lines using Aurifil #1135 50-weight yellow thread. The stitching is on the same diagonal as the colors.

The backing is a yellow fabric that was printed a few years ago for the Iowa Shop Hop. It has boys and girls riding bicycles.

My knitting finish is an afghan that I made following Michelle Hunter's Building in Color book. I learned  more about knitting in color and was glad I decided to make the quilt. I did change the border - I crocheted it rather than knit it. The only reason was variety. The afghan is about 40" by 54".

At the recent retreat, I worked on this quilt and got the blocks put together.

I also made some logcabin blocks.

And I put together lots of 4-patches for another quilt.

I hope to have another finish soon.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Getting back to normal

We are slowly getting back to normal. A week ago we went to a grandson's baseball game. It was so ice to take our chair and sit on the sideline without face masks. On the way home, we both commented that the evening felt normal. 

Last weekend, we attended a family graduation party. We loved seeing our extended family on my side. It's been a long time. Two of my three brothers were there along with many of nieces, nephews, great niece, great nephews and three of our grandchildren. We were outside but it just felt normal. Here I am with my oldest and youngest brothers.

And then I went on a quilting retreat with 3 friends. We along with a couple of other friends were at a quilting retreat when Illinois began shutting down in March, 2020. There was lots of visiting, eating, and some sewing. It was a wonderful, normal, time. We were at a farmhouse a few miles from my house. Here are some pictures.

The Barn which is a wedding venue.

One afternoon we sat and visited in the corncrib
which is outfitted with a table, chairs, and lights.

The House

A favorite spot to talk with husbands via cellphones.

A comfy swing

One morning I spent about an hour napping
in this hammock.

Update on my health: The doctors finally have my pain somewhat controlled. There are some side effects to some of my meds but I'm dealing with them. I use a cane because periodically one of my legs will give out. Ray is still doing most things here but I am able to do more and yesterday I began exercising again although it is minimal right now. I will see the surgeon to hopefully schedule surgery in mid-September. I was notified by letter that my bone health doctor is retiring at the end of July. I was waiting for a call to see what was happening with my case and was very pleasantly surprised to get a call saying that he was retiring from Endocrinology and would keep some bone health patients. I am one of those patients! He is nationally know in the Bone Health field and I am delighted. As of today, I am halfway thru the first 6 months of bone building. I need 6 months before the surgery can be done.


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