Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sharing : :

First, thank you so much for all the comments and emails the last two days, you're all so very sweet! I hated to be so vague on Monday, but I wasn't sure how I should go about explaining the behind-the-scenes situation with me. It would have been easy if I shared more personal stories from the beginning of this blogging adventure. But since I decided this would just be a positive, Creative Journal for myself, I never knew quite how to segue into any of the struggles/negative things I have been going through, throughout these last two years of blogging. I am still not sure? I am, however, certain that we ALL have our own struggles. Be it financial problems, relationship difficulties, health and personal struggles, loss... We all share that fact. Just as we share our love of beautiful fabrics and yarns, and our creative plans and projects. We all make a choice to share these things we see as beautiful, along with our passion to inspire and enjoy that which we love and have in common with one another. After spending almost two years sharing all of those things, today I need to share the other.

Are you still reading? o.k. here it goes...


-- Throughout these last two years, I found out that I will be living with a few different Auto Immune Diseases. I am on a thyroid replacement medication and a gluten free diet because of them. Now that enough time has gone by since I started my diet, I feel so much better. It's not an easy diet. If you are gluten free, you know this. But if you are gluten free due to allergy or intolerance of gluten, you know how much better it feels to be living gluten free. It's SO worth it!
 -- I found out more recently that I have type 2 diabetes. It's not bad to the point where I need insulin, but I currently do need medication and have chosen to restrict my daily carb and sugar intake to almost nothing as a way to try to improve my status. I truly believe this will help!
-- And finally, I found out even more recently that my Immune System is attacking my own skin. "It" has a name, but to avoid any of you googling "it" and becoming horrified, I'll keep the name of "it" to myself. Why is this happening to me? We have no idea. We know it's not from the above. That's all. Which means lots of more tests for me. I have been on medication since Dec. 1st and the appointment I wrote of Monday was to see if it was working, or if I would have to begin strong Immunosuppressant drugs, as well. Which could/would be awful! My doctor said, in strange Dr. analogy talk, "It's chipping away at it now. If you go on the Cellcept or Cyclosporine, it will hammer at it, if you go on the Methotrexate, it will be like taking a sledge hammer to it. With stronger meds, comes much worse side effects. It's up to you." Me, "Chipping away is fine." :)
-- The good news, chipping away at it is working, maybe not as fast as the other options, but it's working and I am tolerating the medication just fine with few side effects. That might not always be the case, I'll revisit my need to change that every 30 days at a new appointment. Today, I take comfort in knowing that none of the things I have are contagious. I can continue hugging on my loves a little more than they like. I can continue to make my handmades and can continue to share them with others.

me and my niece

-- The bad news -- None of these things are curable. Do I get upset and angry that I am 30 and have these things - yes! I want so badly to feel good and be healthy. Am I struggling with my vanity - Yes!! Most of my body is covered with marks, which are healing as scars and it stinks! Am I scared that I might get them on my face - YES, terrified!! Could it be SO much worse -- yes, yes, yes!!!
-- I have a husband and three children and family and friends and a cat that love me. Who see me looking at my hands with worry and know just how to help me. I know that my attitude, whether good or bad will have a major impact on ALL of them. So I know I need to stay positive. I believe that despite everything, I love my life! I believe that prayer is powerful! I believe that continuing to share this creative journal for myself will help me stay positive, focus on what's beautiful, will keep me learning and growing as a creative person, will help me heal, and might inspire others like me! I believe that I needed to share these things today and I believe that everything will be o.k.



-- If any of you can relate and/or are dealing with Auto Immune disease please feel free to comment if you feel comfortable or email me at maureencracknell@hotmail.com I'd love to chat, learn from your own situation, offer support, or exchange yummy gluten free recipes!
-- My blog is not taking a big personal turn. I promise! Please keep following!! :) Your support, encouragement, and positive energy keeps me creating and blogging! I've got big plans for 2012!!

time to sew

If you made it through all that. Thank you!! I feel a weight lifting and am so excited to get sewing today! I promise to have something new to share tomorrow!

Much love,  Maureen

126 comments:

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

Maureen I'm so proud of you. You're bravery and positive attitude are a true inspiration. I will carry on sending positivity and healing your way though I think you're doing a fab job anyway!! :)
Adorable picture with the baby, hugs make people happy - my children tell me this all the time!! (they're a bit hippy sometimes!!)
What a gorgeous and well organised sewing area too. Keep on making beautiful things and I'm thinking of you xx

Jessica said...

I am so glad you shared this Maureen. I know there must be so many others out there with health problems that are SO encouraged by your attitude. I know your positivity has moved me to tears

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Hugs and prayers and thanks for sharing. You can create, be yourself and write more freely now. Of course I'll keep following your great blog.

Happy in red said...

Thank you for sharing, that took a lot of courage! It's nice to know a bit more 'behind' the blogger, so don't worry. And you're right, we all have issues that we are terrified of telling on the blog. I've just been dignosed with a burnout (yes, fabulous at 29) caused by 4 reorganisations in 3 years, but I cannot afford to stop working which would help me beat this. Talk about catch 22 eh! I find that sewing, crocheting and reading all these lovely blogs is what is keeping me sane at the moment. So that's another thank you for you! I have nothing to add on your illnesses, but I wish you well. Take good care of yourself, okay!
Esther.

SewLindaAnn said...

Thank you for sharing, and I think it's fine to do so on your blog. It's a beautiful picture, and for all your creativity and talent I expected you to look older:) I have a friend with Lupus, and now diagnosed with MS, so I am aware of the difficulties and I really, really admire your positive attitude going forward. Prayers from here too and I look forward to your sharing whenever you feel the need, whether it be a whole post or a sentence.

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

Maureen, you are an inspiration - I admired your creations firstly, but they are even more amazing in light of what you are struggling with now. Like Lucy, I think your attitude is great and will play a huge part in you being healthy again (and being happy in the meantime). Take care and I look forward to seeing more of your work in 2012!

Jen@thecraftingfiend said...

That really sucks! I hope you start to feel better. I can only imagine how hard gluten free is I developed a sever dairy allergy when pregnant (that has stuck around) and it is EVERYWHERE - the hidden stuff is what gets you! My friend who is gluten free can only buy certain teas since gluten is used to seal a lot of tea bags apparently. crazy. Good luck with everything.

Cori said...

Maureen I'm glad you could share this with all of your readers! The crafting world has such a great group of people and I believe they will only be another source if support for you! Can't wait to see all of the beautiful things you make this new year!

randi said...

thanks for being so honest! i think it's a great way to show who you are and also be an inspiration to others. so many people suffer with this type of thing all alone.

my hub is gluten free, sugar restricted, soy free and dairy free. sheesh! it's really strict! he does fall of the wagon occasionally, but he is really good about sticking to the diet basically.

i have found it hard to find good gluten free baking products. there is always a sweet taste in the finished goods that my hubs doesn't like. so far we like PAMELA'S the best. best texture and it works for all kinds of things.

you will be on my prayer list, friend. i am so glad that i have gotten to know you a little better these days. looking forward to chatting with you more too!

Maureen said...

I do believe Standard American Diet do affect our health problem. Try to change to "Plant-based" diet is a big difference to our health. I love plant-based and I never want to go back to Standard American Diet again! Stay away any diary products. Drink warm water with lemon every morning before mealtimes. Believe me it gives you more clean and energy. Number one problem is SUGAR every foods and processed foods. SUGAR, DIARY and FLOURS give you disease!

Handmade in Israel said...

Well done for sharing that with us, Maureen. I wish you all the very best and hope that the best solutions can be worked out to help you.

Needled Mom said...

We all know that blog life can be perfect when, in fact, real life is not always that way. You have an inspiration to all of us for your creativity and now will also be one for overcoming your adversities. I will keep you in my prayers.

brenna said...

Maureen, I hope you're feeling better, soon. I have Crohn's Disease, another oh-so-fun auto immune disorder. I went on a chemo immunosuppresant several years ago, although not methotroxate. It's been a god-send for me, but I was scared to death of it before I started. Wishing you healing thoughts.

beaquilter said...

I'm so sorry about this, but glad you shared...
I will pray for you, being a young mom with all this is hard.... God won't give you anymore than you can handle. You are strong... Just keep taking care of yourself and your family and do what you love- quilting etc.... don't worry if the house is not perfectly clean all the time, or you should have done one more load of laundry. it'll be okay. and feel free to post about it here more and rant or complain, that's part of blogging too :-) I'd give you a BIG hug if I was near you, even though I don't even know you, but you need a HUG.

Crafty Newbie said...

I'm terrible at words to convey my heart goes out to you and your family. However, I'm so glad you felt comfortable enough to share this with the world. *hug* That shows an immense strength within you.

Gratefully and sadly, Life seems to dish out only what we can handle... *hugs* With your strength and perseverance... You can be sick, yet well and happy.

On another note, your creative mind and heart give me so much inspiration. Thank you.

ihartworship said...

I pray for healing over your body...By His stripes you are healed! Be blessed and have faith and believe that Jesus Loves you no matter what......

Cyndylou said...

We love you Maureen, you'll get through this, just try to do as much NATURAL as you can. Almost anything the Drs.prescribe will give you more side affects that your health issues. Try to find a homeopathic practicing office in your city. Praying for you!!!! Cyndy

Cindy said...

Best of luck to you and your family. Thanks for sharing I am sure it was hard. I will continue following and enjoying your wonderful talents. I willbe praying for you and your family. Cindy

Linda V said...

So sorry to hear about your struggles with this disease. My daughter was disabled for 7 years. During those years she was said to have an autoimmune disorder, then it was Lupus and then it was MS. Turns out, after many, many tests she received a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease. By then the disease had invaded her brain and she was like an Alzheimer's patient. She was in her 20's! She also had daily migraines that sent us to the ER every night for months, until they allowed me to treat her at home with pain injections. She had very odd and bizarre skin rashes, joint pains, panic attacks, the list of symptoms was huge! She was a broken young woman. Eventually we found a Lyme-literate doctor who put her on IV antibiotics for two years to attack the bacteria. Then a detox to get off the myriad of medications she was on at this point, and THEN she had her miracle! Slowly her mind was healed as well as most of her physical symptoms. After 7 years of living in her personal 'hell', she was able to return to school! She received her Registered Nurse degree graduating at the top of her class! Today, at 37, she is able to work 12 hour shifts as an operating room nurse. It was a long, painful and difficult haul, but GOD IS ABLE! Keep your positive attitude and continue to pray for your miracle. I will add you to my prayers as well!!

Paskiaq said...

You are very brave to share what you are going through! Take care of yourself!!

Jodi said...

Prayers for you, Maureen, for peace and comfort and encouragement and healing! Love your blog, and thanks for sharing.

In Black and White said...

I'm so glad you shared. If there's one thing I've learned in the past year of blogging it's how supportive the community is. I can't even imagine a tenth of what you're going through, although from having grappled with skin issues since childhood I understand how self-conscious it can make you feel. I'll dig through my gluten free recipes to see if I've got any good ones that fit with your other restrictions!

My Sister Made Me Do It said...

Maureen, I can only add that you are right, this is not coming from "above" and, in fact, that is where you will receive healing. I join the rest of your followers in prayer that you will get your miracle.

sandyb said...

Maureen, we are so thankful that you have shared! We are all your friends and it is better to get it out, believe me.

My immediate family has or has had several diseases and I will email you as it will take up your whole post, but positive outlook and the care and love of others and faith will lift you up and carry you through anything. Sharing with others, something complete strangers like us will also help.

Take care. Love your blog and your little one is absolutely adorable:)

Alayne said...

Oh, Maureen! I had no idea you were going through all of this. You have such a great outlook. Please take comfort in knowing that the thoughts and prayers of others will follow you on this journey to inner peace and physical well being. Take solice in your craft. You are so talented! I look forward to your many new creations. ((hugs))

cati said...

Your work is beautiful and so is your outlook on life amid your struggles. Thank you so much for sharing this tough aspect of you it makes your blog even more special.
Here is a link: http://chriskresser.com/rhr-can-autoimmune-disease-be-prevented-and-reversed

I wish you much hope. Catherine

Cynthia Taylor said...

So proud of you...wonderful job!! :)

melsdaisypatch said...

Thank you for sharing all that you have been through with all of us. The truth will set you free. I know it was hard and you were afraid you would lose some of us because of it. But you know what it made me love you that much more. Sometimes people need to know that we are human too. If you poke us with a sewing needle we bleed, if you tickle us with the end of a crochet hook or knitting needle we giggle. I will pray for you. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Even if it is to say that the DR. said things are still looking great. Always remember God loves you and when he brings you to something he will also bring you through it and he promised to NEVER put on us more than we could carry. Thank you for allowing us to help you carry some of that load. May God bless you with a miracle!!
Melissa

Jo Culver said...

Maureen, I am so sorry. But you are not alone. I have been living gluten-free for 3+ years due to intolerance and have rheumatoid arthritis. I am familiar with some of the drugs/treatments/tests you are having. It is a long road, but you can do this. Email me if you want to talk. jom476@aol.com

sheila said...

I am praying for peace and healing for you! I am new to you blog and I just love your work, you are so creative and do such beautiful work. Thank you for sharing, we all have our "stories" of life and when we share them with others we able to help encourage and support each other

Love to Stitch said...

Oh my, you are truly amazing to be going through all of that and still be positive! I am inspired by you, and i hope that you will be ok for a long as possible. If I am ever ill, I will think of you, and be positive! I am also SO inspired by all your sewing, and way too jealous of your style....(:

Christine Phelps said...

Maureen - thank you for being honest and keeping it real. I tmoo struggled with a post on my blog like this - I am not a whinner but a very strong person and I wondered what good would come of airing my health issues and after flip flopping back and forth on it I decided to leave a post. I am only 40 and was diagnosed with Pro T-cell ALL Leukemia on 7/29/11 and have been undergoing monthly rounds of chemo (Methotrexate is one of my drugs) My prognosis is very incourging but it has been a very long road and there are still uncertainties. If I can offer some advice and I think you already know...as hard as it maybe sometimes staying positive is the ONLY way to be. It is more than half the battle. I have lost all my hair/eyelashes/eyebrows and often people stare. I hold my head up high and say tell myself how proud I am of the fight I am waging and how well I am doing and those stairs fall away. I giggle to myself and say, I'm winning the battle against cancer, what significant thing have YOU accomplished.
Even though sometime it's hard to find but there is always a bright side - I lost my job working for a publishing company as a graphic designer but on the bright side I have been able to work again in my studio and create art which makes me happier than I have been in years. I wish you the very very best of luck and look forward to following your blog and your progress. Be strong, be positive and know you are loved. Christine

Paula J said...

What an inspiration you are Maureen! {{HUGS}}

Paula

Meeling said...

Big hugs!! It's not easy "putting" oneself out there for all to see....but we're with you and will continue to be. I personally look forward to what exciting things you'll be sharing with us in 2012 and wish you all the best with your health journey. xo

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story. I am amazed at all the beautiful work you put out despite your struggles. I can't image how it must feel to be a pretty young girl and have to deal with a scarring skin disease. I can tell you are such a beautiful person on the inside. Thank you for sharing with us today! God Bless!!!

xx
Claire

Laura @ Needles, Pins and Baking Tins said...

Oh Maureen, you brave girl :-) Thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm so very sorry you are struggling at the moment, and hope you find joy in the small and comforting things that surround you at home. Give Lily a cuddle from me xxx

Angela {fussycut} said...

Thinking about and praying for you and your family! Enjoyed reading the encouraging words above, you must feel loved. :)

Rebecca said...

That's a lot to deal with ~ wishing you the best as you continue on this journey. And I'm looking forward to your creations for 2012!

Danny said...

I am so glad you decided to share this! My grandma has Addison's, so we've lived with the whole Auto Immune Disease thing here. I'm amazed at all the beautiful creations you are still able to put together for us to see andbuy despite your struggles. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. We all love you here, Maureen!

Kristy said...

Beautiful! Beautifully written and beautiful baby/mama picture!!! Big hugs to you....you are NOT alone! :)

Heather D. said...

Maureen, you are so brave and honest for sharing this all. And just looking at the comments, isn't it amazing how many people share the experience from one perspective or another. I am another one. Not me personally, but my husband. He was diagnosed with an auto immune disease (Wegener's Granulomatosis) after being at death's door when our youngest was 1yr old and I was newly pregnant with our second. He did go the chemotherapy route, really at the stage he was at he had no choice but to use the "sledgehammer", also a variety of other drugs including prednisone long term as well. That was 10yrs ago, he recovered and we are so thankful but according to his specialist it is one of those things that can lie dormant for a time and come back so we are always rather watchful of the signs - me, moreso than himself even.

Anyways, all that to say that I can understand to some degree what you are going through. Take care of yourself and of course cherish those you love and who clearly love you!!

Laura said...

Gosh that's a lot to handle at once. I don't think you bogged us down in it at all - there's so much support to be had out here on the internet, that I'm sure people want to know what's going on with you. Your creations are fabulous, and so is knowing a little about the person behind them :)

I absolutely adore that bottom picture. So much lovely! I really hope things settle for you soon so you can get on with all that lovely sewing!

Jamie @Terrabyte Farm said...

As many have said already, thank you for sharing. You are brave and honest. We are all real people with real struggles and as much as our blogs are our "happy place" it is important to reach out when you need to. I am a huge lurker and your post prompted me to actually write you a comment, so there you go! I have a number of friends and family members also suffering with auto-immune illnesses. The only advice I have is to access your support systems regularly, take everything one day at a time, and allow yourself to cry and feel upset when needed. Trying to hold it in just makes it worse. Much love coming at you from CT!!! xoxoxox

Kristie said...

I've been thinking of you a lot. I'm glad the "chipping away" is working. As you know, I do understand what it is like to be young and have an auto immune disease that changes the way you have to live your life forever. I hope that you feel better soon and that you can start living your life as you envision it again.

piece peace said...

Keep up the positive attitude and thoughts. Sometimes it helps to vent, so do not be afraid to let that out as well. Hopefully your beautiful crafts and your blog followers will provide some support and diversion. All of my very best to you and your family.

Sarah said...

I been admiring your creations for quite some time now, but have only left comments on your giveaways. I want to let you know today that I admire your strength as well! You are an inspiration to so many. I hope you know that!

Jan | Daisy Janie said...

Since I've known you briefly this past year and from following your blog, it's apparent you carry yourself with grace & dignity. Your post here is very much in-line with that. It's who you are, and it will allow you to continue fighting when you have to and to keep your head above it all. My heart goes out to you, Maureen, as you trudge forward into the unknown and muster courage from deep within. Much love!

Svetlana said...

Maureen, I'm so sorry you have to go through so much. I'm so inspired by your attitude and resolve to stay positive. I'll keep you in my prayers and hope that the medication you currently take will be enough to take care of your condition. Hugs!

Jan said...

A positive attitude will go along way. I've been on thyroid replacement for decades, the docs are always having to adjust the doses, as my body changes and as I age. My hubs is diabetic. Stay strong.

Tonia said...

I am glad to see the positive remarks and know that your husband and little ones are so in love with you. You can get through it all with their love. Good luck and God bless you.

Teje said...

Dear Maureen, I think you are very brave, strong and talented! I know that your crafts and working with those beautiful fabrics helps you to forget even for a while your illness and difficulties. I know about diabetic 2 (my hb) and glutein free diet (I had to follow it few years) but not about the auto immune disease. You are in my thoughts and I really hope that you will be fine soon and that you don't have to go throught too hard treatments.
Because most of us like to have blogging happy and positive, we think that all the others are having wonderful, easy and great life, but as you see when someone begins the conversation there are so many of us going through some kind of difficulties and perhaps we can get from our friends some advice, help and courage!
I am so happy for you to find the energy and time for your sewing and crafts and even sharing them with us!
All the best to you and your family! x Teje

Rachel Hauser said...

With God all things are possible. And also, life is so unfair. Both are totally true and there is a tension there.

I'm glad you got through the transition of putting this out here and hope it will help your blog continue to be the nurturing place (for you!) that it has been. Hugs!

bluesquarequilting said...

Hi Maureen, it takes a lot of courage to share issues like this. I wish you the best of luck in dealing with all this and will keep you in my thoughts.xxx Catherine

Live a Colorful Life said...

I know it doesn't come easy to share such personal things but I'm glad you did. I have two close friends who are gluten intolerant and so I have become an expert at reading ingredient labels on every.single.thing. My thoughts and prayers (and hugs) are with you as you continue on your journey. Thanks for all the beautiful things you create and share with us as well.

shelitha2 said...

Please email me personally I can help you. :)

Carrie P. said...

Dear Maureen,
you are very brave to share such personal things going on in your life.
I have a different autoimmune disease and highly recommend quoting God's scripture verses on healing out loud. Daily!
It helped me get through some dark times. At this point I am doing very well and I will say a prayer for you. Hugs!

Anna said...

hey maureen, just want to say that I'm so impressed with the strength you're handling things, you'll be amazing.

Jenelle said...

I truly hope that with time and care you begin to feel better. I understand how hard it can be to choose what to share and what to keep back, but thank you for being so brave and sharing what you have been going through.

P.S. Bob's Red Mill has an excellent gluten-free peanut butter cookie mix in case you hadn't heard. ;) It is me tested and approved!

barbara woods said...

i am 70 so i know but 30 seams young for all of this but hold on to gods hand and we will pray for u . love your blog and love u

Penny said...

Oh Maureen I am so sorry you have to go thru this. You are such a beautiful person & I just love your little family & all the crafty things you do. I'll keep you in my prayers ~hang in there! (I saw your husband running last night when it was like 9 degrees ~~Is he ok???)lol

Melissa @ Sew BitterSweet Designs said...

I feel you, I have been undergoing testing for the past year for auto-immune diseases. Part of what has been hard for me is not knowing what is wrong (not being able to put a name on it) but feeling terrible all the time. I will pray for you and your family. One of the only things that has given me comfort has been my wonderful husband and daughter. On my worst days they help me get through it!

Linz said...

Maureen, you are such a beautiful person. Thank you for your inspiration! You'll be in my prayers!

Jodi said...

Maureen, thank you for your vulnerability. It's beautiful, if painful, to see the heart and life that go on behind the creativity. I don't believe anyone would stop following because you opened your life to us. I've been walking a similar path with a close friend this year, just diagnosed with liver disease. I will remember you when I pray for her. xxx

Wendz said...

Oh dear, I'm so sorry to hear your news. I too have an auto immune disease and after a lengthy period of trial and error am now having weekly methotrexate injections, two weekly humira injections, twice the rda of pain killers and when it flairs, steroid injections. My weight has increased but the medication allows me to live a life as close as possible to the one I lived before the disease struck. These are commonly referred to as silent diseases. You can't usually see any sign of them as they are an internal 'war' of the immune system against the rest of the body. I do worry about the progression of the disease as I'm right handed, a quilter and my right hand is affected. I do struggle with it and then I withdraw, so my blog is 'in hibernation'. This is the first time I've met anyone with similar problems. I will remember you in prayers and hope that your journey to finding the medication regime that is right for you is not a bumpy ride.

Little rays of sunshine said...

Maureen, I understand how you are feeling. I had my thyroid removed after struggling with a thyroid disease for many years when my boys were 4 months and 2years old. It was such a difficult time but I got through it and I feel I am a better person for it with so much more gratitude.
I wish you much love and support and I love your blogs and tutorials!! You are very talented and very lucky!

Sarah said...

Your honesty and bravery is much appreciated, Maureen. I am sending you positive thoughts and my best wishes!

My sister in law has had autoimmune alopecia for years. She went through losing her hair, having it grow back, and then losing it again. She wears a hot pink wig and looks fabulous! Here's hoping you find you own 'hot pink wig'!

pasqueflower said...

You are so brave and positive in the face of this challenge! I know you will have the support and prayers of many of your followers, who have been so inspired by your incredible output of beautiful handmade items, and who, even though we've never met you in person, feel that we know you as a friend. My two friends fighting breast cancer are in remission, so you are now at the top of my prayer list. (Yup. I really have one.)
LeAnn

Rosa said...

I send you positive thoughts and warm hugs.

Take care

Rachelle said...

There is nothing wrong with sharing your worries with us; my blog is a mix of craft, health and family. Although no autoimmune disease here there is IBS which is also not fun. Luckily though life is still well worth living due to husband, 2 boys and 2 cats who love me like your family loves you.
Craft is one of the things that keep me going as well, love my knitting, sewing and occasional quilting.

Heather A said...

Oh, Maureen! I'm so sorry your quality of life has become so challenged and at such a young age. You appear to be handling it with mindfulness and grace which is very admirable.

I don't have any knowledge to share in terms of your particular medical issues but I do very much understand your fears and the things that weigh heavily on your mind. I had breast cancer and the whole gamut of treatments ... surgery, chemo, radiation, drug therapy (still) and now endure what appears to be a life-long "new reality", which is disheartening and sometimes frustrating and sad but ... as I remind myself ... at least I'm still here so far to enjoy all the gifts I am blessed with.

I wish you strength and even more I wish you a medical breakthrough.

Thanks for "sharing" by the way. I continue to follow the blogs that best give me a sense of the real person who is blogging. Don't be afraid to share though I understand your sensitivity.

Annette said...

You are truly inspiring and I will continue to pray for you and your family. I am a type 2 diabetic on insulin and I know what frustration is. Email me if you need to just vent! XO

Anonymous said...

Keep your chin up, keep creating, keep praying!!

Much love to you!
Cory

rachael said...

maureen, i have long found you a sewing inspiration... your attitude and willingness to share is an inspiration as well. i can't wait to see what 2012 brings on both fronts :) xoxo

Jenny said...

i have no personal experience with this, just a big hug and kiss. thank you for a reality check on my own life. God's blessings to yoU!

Heather said...

Wow, what a hard journey you are on! Thank you for sharing - it is very encouraging to me to hear your honest yet positive approach to all this. I have been dealing with a severe Candida infection for almost a year now which is not as terrible as what you have, but has changed so much about my life. I am on a gluten free, sugar free, yeast free diet and it is hard, especially with a husband and kids!!! Having people around me who understand via experience has been invaluable. My friend has Lyme Disease and her blog might be a big help to you: http://www.LymeisCrazy.blogspot.com
I agree that God can get us through anything, even when the going is rough. Thanks again for your honesty! (Oh, and my son ADORES the fox pillow you made him that he got for Christmas. Thanks again and again!)

Heather said...

Wow, what a hard journey you are on! Thank you for sharing - it is very encouraging to me to hear your honest yet positive approach to all this. I have been dealing with a severe Candida infection for almost a year now which is not as terrible as what you have, but has changed so much about my life. I am on a gluten free, sugar free, yeast free diet and it is hard, especially with a husband and kids!!! Having people around me who understand via experience has been invaluable. My friend has Lyme Disease and her blog might be a big help to you: http://www.LymeisCrazy.blogspot.com
I agree that God can get us through anything, even when the going is rough. Thanks again for your honesty! (Oh, and my son ADORES the fox pillow you made him that he got for Christmas. Thanks again and again!)

Gingercake said...

HI Maureen, I am sorry to hear about your struggles but you are inspiring in your positive attitude. I know we all fear about our health and it's impact on our family an ourselves. I know you will make it through with flying colors! You work is beautiful and don't apologize for sharing a real and difficult part of your life. I'll send prayers your way :) xxoo Virginia

emedoodle said...

It stinks to read about your troubles. I hope that the change in diet helps a lot, as well as the meds. In the past year I've been fighting my immune system skin allergies that are ridiculous, and newly diagnosed with asthma. Not real fun, but I guess it's pretty normal that we each have our own struggles... but I do hope that yours don't cause you too much suffering!

Amy said...

Personal turns are always welcome!!! Please don't worry about losing followers as a result of following your heart.

Shirley said...

You were right to post this, cause I did need to hear what you had to say. I did need to hear that it's ok if things are not perfect, and that I can move on thru life anyway. Heartfelt thanks for sharing. Blessings~

felicity said...

Thanks for sharing, Maureen. I am so glad it felt good to be "you" in this space!

Evelene S said...

Thanks for sharing your personal struggles with us. I want to send you big hugs and much love to you and will pray for your recovery. Keep doing the things you love and stay positive. We all wish you the best!

Montseta said...

Dear Maureen, I hope you get better or at least feel better. Have a happy new year and regards from Barcelona.

Happybee said...

Hi Maurine!!!!
Thanks so much for sharing this part so personal of your life with us!!!
I really wish you all the best, try to stay positive and think to all the beautiful things and person you have in your life!!!
I'll surely will not stop to follow you for this, that's for sure!!!
I love your blog, your creativity, your happyness and today...I love you more!!!!!
hugs, Dany

The Art of Homemaking said...

Love and hugs from Lexington~

Megan @ The Art of Homemaking

Jennifer said...

I love your openness! I'm also struggling with Auto Immune issues and IBD issues. Its not easy, and some times it feels lonely. But I am also making an effort to be more open about the things I am facing on my blog and I am planning on getting involved in some fundraising efforst for research. Lets chat and help each other out :)

My Life Under the Bus said...

I know how hard this was to share! Please know you are never alone - bloggers are an amazing group! I wish you continued success and improving health - do what you love and the rest will come XOXO (((HUGS))) and Love Maureen!

Allison C said...

Auto-immune diseases suck. I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 19 and have been struggling with it for 13 years now. I was also just diagnosed with a crappy skin disease too that they told me will never go away (yay!) and they don't know hardly anything (besides the never ending part) about it. Good times. I read through a lot of the other posts and it is true that you have to stay positive...even when its REALLY difficult. You should definitely pamper yourself OFTEN may that be shoes, fabric, or whatever your non-gluten sugar free vice is. Most importantly do what makes you happy and feel good. It doesn't help to dwell even though it is hard not to. I need to constantly remind myself of this.
I have found that my dogs help me a lot. I love my husband, but there is just something about a dogs innocence and constant need to please/love you has gotten me through a lot of tough times.
Hang in there!

Janelle said...

You are in my prayers today. My whole family, except me so far it seems, struggles with some or another autoimmune disorder. I'm blessed, as I'm sure are so many others, by your openness. Great struggles can produce great joy in the long run - although, I'm still waiting for that after our last two VERY difficult year.
Praying that you are able to stay in gratitude - a huge step toward acceptance and freedom. Praying also, that you are greatly comforted and filled with peace through all those surrounding you and all that you are able to create. I know seeing your creations brings me joy. Blessings.

Catskill Quilter said...

Maureen, hang in there! I have dealt with fibromyalgia since my teens, and lately the autoimmune disease seems to be psoriatic arthritis -- which, before diagnosis, was affectionately referred to by several doctors as "it's just arthritis" and "get over it!" It is comforting to have a name for the symptoms, and ways to make it more bearable. Always for me to biggest comfort was going into my workroom and sewing. Working at quilting has soothed me and makes all of the bad stuff recede into the background. I love your basket of scraps, which is probably the same size as mine! Keep sewing, and keep sharing so that we can encourage each other.

Meg said...

I am about your age, and I have dealt with health issues and different struggles that it seems no one else my age understands. However, the older I get the more convinced I am that we *all* have struggles just of different varieties. I read somewhere that if we could see everyone's crosses we would always choose the ones we were given. I know it doesn't the pain and frustration go away, so many prayers for your health!

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts said...

Maureen I am so sorry that you are going through this and I think you are very brave and strong to put this out there. Although I do not have any experience with what you are going through, as a breast cancer survivor I do understand about scary health issues and things that change your perspective on life. I will say prayers for you and hope that the meds keep working and God will help you handle what life brings to you.
xo

Additionsstyle said...

You are very brave to share Maureen! Take care of yourself, keep creating and being inspired, and stay strong for your family. My prayers are with you.
Valerie
Everyday Inspired

Beacee said...

Love and prayers for you and your family. Barbara x

Anonymous said...

Praying for you! Just keep on being your beautiful, creative self and everything will be fine!!!

ElfRenee said...

I hope you are doing ok!

Quilter in The Gap aka Rhonda said...

I have been a bit behind in my blog reading but am so glad I didn't miss this all together. I will add you to my prayer list. You are a beautiful young lady and I appreciate you sharing because you encouraged me today!!!

lrstitched.com said...

Maureen, I will be praying for you! Thank you for being brave enough to share. I have Systemic Lupus and have never shared with anyone on my blog for the same reasons you listed. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to be vulnerable. Auto-immune diseases totally suck, but the good news is that God will give you the strength you need. Daily Grace. If you ever need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me. Support is key!
Hugs, Lindsey

Kristen (by the book paper) said...

Catching up on blogs today...

SO sorry for all of your health struggles! Wishing you thoughts and prayers, strength and patience, lots of happy sewing and playtime, and support if you need it.

Oh, and I am totally envious of that last photo!! :)

Katherine said...

Sending you prayers, Maureen and lots of hugs.

miamihoney said...

Thank you for feeling free enough to share your story, your courage is inspirational. I am wishing you peace as you are going on your journey. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

nest full of eggs said...

I have been gf for a couple of years, although it might be tricky to find the gf recipes on my blog... maybe it would be easiest to find them through my flickr photos :)
have you already seen this cookbook? http://simplysugarandglutenfree.com/
it's for gf & diabetic... just thought you might like to know...

Lindsay said...

So sorry you are going through all of this. It sounds like you have an amazing attitude though and I truly believe that plays a big part in healing. Having a creative outlet is also good for your spirit. Hang in there!

Jerry Beavers said...

I have found that when I am really stressed & at my limit, after entering my sewing room (which is not very organized) all seems well. Love to sew & quilt.

JO SOWERBY said...

Hi Maureen,
I found ur blog by chance due to your giveaway but what a blog I have been missing. So much motivation and interest.
I too have shared some very personal medical problems on my blog and have found it to be a cathartic if scarey process especially as it was primarily about a mental health condition. It is wonderful to have positive feedback from fellow bloggers who can support us here in blogland and also personally through our new found friendships. I have been lucky enough to meet some of my friends here in the UK.
I pray you stay healthy despite ur health problems as I do myself. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading ur blog more regularly now,
Jo xxx

poppyinpink said...

Thank-you Maureen for deciding to share your reality with us. I have been wanting to do the same but have lacked the courage...so thank-you for this personal post and please don't feel that it is damaging...quite the opposite. I feel closer to you in fact! It has helped me in many ways to appreciate you in more depth.. hearing of your struggles which unfortunately are common to us all in some shape or other it seems and I hear your wrestling with this. Just prior to Christmas I have spent much time visiting in hospital with my husband who also has an auto-immmune disease, we both have been through a time of trial with a flare-up that has caused all kinds of havoc with his health. While in the ER waiting room I saw a picture of a beautiful piece of jewellery and realised this: we, you and I and all the lovely quilters and creative people make things with our hands and we treasure them because we pour our hearts into them. The things made with our hands are indeed precious because for that reason. When you look at a human..made by God, in the womb Psalm 139 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. This makes us precious immediately to God..and He pours years and tears into each one of us. That means to me that the whole world is full of treasure 6 or 7 billion treasures in fact! Then what seals our value is the fact that God thought us so precious that he sent His Son Jesus to come and redeem us from the sin and death that Adam and Eve brought upon us in the garden of Eden. It just blows my mind to think of how much God loves and treasures each one of us. In the natural a beautiful jewel is born in the earth under great heat and pressure. Once removed from the earth it must undergo refinement and lots of cutting and polishing and then set in gold that is smelted and eventually poured into a mold. If we were jewels we would suffer much pain in the process of being made. I have heard that things like jewellery and precious metals are the only things that have survived house fires. I guess what I want to say is..in order to make something that will have real beauty and strength..there must be suffering, of some kind..it can be where the character of a person is tried and tested and made pure. It also bends our will toward God because we find out just how dependant we truly are upon him for everything and that is a good thing.

The Wisconsin Wheatleys said...

I love you and I don't even know you. I was diagnosed with Lupus a few weeks ago. I'm 28 with two little kids. Reading your story has helped me realize that I'm not alone. Hopefully you realize the same. Sewing has been very therapeutic for me as well. If you ever need someone to talk to I'm here for you.

Annika said...

My thoughts are with you, Maureen. I am glad you shared this, as sharing is so much easier than trying to keep something a secret, and better for the soul, for sure! I do hope that the medication will continue to help you through this and am glad to hear that you have such a loving support network!

Galatina said...

Hi Maureen, keep on going and bringing such lovely things and positive thoughts to us all. It's really clear from the amazing number of people responding here that you've touched so many of us - and I imagine there's so many more back at home thinking and willing you on. x

embracingitall said...

Maureen, sending you much love and support. Seems like you have lots of lovely people keeping you in their thoughts. Jacinta xx

Lou and Kitty said...

I'm glad I found your blog. The world and its people are amazingly compassionate. I'm always telling my girls 'the world is a wonderful place go out and find people' and look what you found when you 'went out there'. Such kindness and understanding from so many people. I'm another.. sending you positive thoughts and lots of love. Lynda x

Karen McAlpine said...

Will keep you in my prayers.

deserae said...

I can totally sympathize with you! Four years ago, I came down with autoimmune hives. They covered my entire body 24 hours a day. My face was swollen up, it was terrible! None of the regular medications like Benadryl even worked. I went to a million doctors. Finally, one of the doctors realized that it wasn't normal hives, it was autoimmune. I tried several medications including Cellcept, cyclosporine, and methotrexate. The methotrexate worked best for me, but now I am taking an injectable medicine (Enbrel) which works even better. The methotrexate didn't have any noticable side effects for me (other than all immunosuppresant medications lower your ability to fight infection) except it is scary that it causes birth defects and I am 31 with no kids, so I didn't want to be on that forever.
My condition is pretty well managed now, with only the few breakouts here and there. I also have type 2 diabetes and vitiligo (another autoimmune disorder). My doctor says if you have one autoimmune disorder then you probably have another.
I hope you can find the right mix of medications to manage your conditions. You probably feel like a freak right now (I know the feeling), but there is hope and I am sure it will all work out. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to email me! :)

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I'm so glad that you decided to share, Maureen. It was worth it, wasn't it :) I'm also thrilled to hear that you are "chipping away" at it and that you are feeling a bit better and that you don't have to go through any drastic therapies at medications at this point. Still keeping you in my thoughts :)

Laura said...

Please do a search on Kefir (much like yogurt) and autoimmune disease. Such a simple thing that has worked absolute wonders for me and my sister, both of us have realized such significant improvements. In her case, she considers it a cure. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Laura said...

Please do a search on Kefir (much like yogurt) and autoimmune disease. Such a simple thing that has worked absolute wonders for me and my sister, both of us have realized such significant improvements. In her case, she considers it a cure. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

**nicke... said...

i can't remember if i commented on this post maureen because i am sooo behind in my blog reading because i know i read it. you are in my thoughts and i have been praying for you and your family. i am so glad you get so much comfort from sewing, you deserve some peace. xoxoxo

mamafrog said...

I, too, am behind on reading and just got to this post. I am truly sorry for you and understand much of what you are going through. Have faith, the good days will make up for the bad and the love of family and friends, and pets, will smooth out the bad! I hope you find what works for you--we all have similar problems. I've had Lupus for a good portion of my life and had to work around it. My husband has had diabetes since he was 45 and it has taken us 20 years to work with it--many years of research on diet has helped there. All I can say is, don't assume your doctor knows best, do your own checking. Knowledge is power!!

Jacey said...

You have the support of our community, Maureen. You will get through this. And I can see that you have a strong fire burning! I'm proud of you for sharing what you've been going through. Keep crafting; 2012 is going to be a great year for you, despite this setback. Thinking of you, my friend!!

pendlestitches said...

Hi Maureen, I'm new to your blog and was very moved by this post. I can't imagine what you're going through but your grace shines through in this post.
My mother has type 2 diabetes and is on medication (not insulin). She has recently changed her diet to reduce sugar and carbs and as a result has been advised that if she maintains this, she will be able to reduce, or possible stop taking, her meds within the next 6 months. I hope this gives you some hope that, whilst this isn't a cure, at least one part of this can be managed.

I wish you good luck and good health this year.

And rest assured, I shall be following your blog to see more of your inspired and inspirational crafts.

Quiltsmiles said...

Hugs and prayers are sent your way. I and my family are also dealing with major health issues. Like you, I don't want to wear them on my sleeve and have the woe is me attitude, but some days are certainly better than others. It's with gratitude for all that we do have and prayers for blessings that help keep my sanity. God Bless. Jane

Jen said...

I just wanted to leave a comment to tell you that I'm really happy you shared a bit of your personal 'self' with us here on the blog. I am always awestruck and inspired by your work! And for some reason I expected you to be a 60 something year old little lady and now I feel like I actually have some insight into who you are!

Keep your chin up and know that you're making so many people happy and inspired w/ the work you do here! Thank you so much!

I'll be thinking good thoughts for you and your health. I am 31 years old all signs to point to fibromylgia for me which is really hard to deal with. I am constantly tired and my body just hurts. A lot. And a lot of time. But having things that inspire me to keep on trucking gets me through the day and I hope it does for you too!

Wishing you well in 2012!

TwoLovebugs said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis about a year and a half ago and now one of my doctors thinks maybe Fibromyalgia too. Some days are great and others not so good, especially with 2 young children. I do my best to stay as positive as I can and just hope that my children never have to deal with this.

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~mo sews with re*purpose said...

Maureen, I'm not sure there is anything I can say that has not already been said... but I echo all the admiration for your bravery and your attitude in facing these medical challenges. You exude love. And love is returned to you. You have an adoring husband, and beautiful children, and you are blessed in many ways. I am sure you are researching every aspect of treating "it", and I hope you find relief. I'm happy that your creativity is an outlet and an escape from the bad stuff, because you contribute so much to everyone around you in sharing it. Many blessings to you from another Maureen.

Anonymous said...

Maureen,
I will be thinking positive thoughts for you at this trying time. You will get thru this and be a stronger person. I believe all the events of our everyday lives all have meaning, and are meant to happen to us, sometimes those events are good and sometimes not so good. May you take comfort in knowing that your readers care about you.
Hugs,
Dee
Sew Be It, dabear@tampabay.rr.com