Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This is my brain!

Do you remember that 1987 anti-drug campaign with the fried egg? You know the one: "This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs." I wondered if I could find a similar metaphor to illustrate how MS affects the body. I did; this little quilt represents me ~ me with MS.

Let’s say those dizzying squares of psychedelic fabric are nerve cells in my brain or spinal cord. Some of them have been damaged by my body’s own immune system. The resulting scars or lesions impede the messages my brain sends to other parts of my body. Sometimes these messages (the black sashing strips) get garbled; sometimes they don’t get through at all. In other words, my brain might want to quilt, or walk, or eat soup with a spoon, but if the message can’t reach the appropriate muscles to perform the task, it ain’t gonna happen!

See those wonky quilt blocks? They represent symptoms I deal with every day: numbness and tingling, poor balance, weakness in the limbs, muscle spasms, fatigue, sensitivity to heat, loss of bladder control. Just as each of these quilt blocks varies a bit from the others, my symptoms vary from day to day. Not only are they unpredictable, they also differ from those of someone else with MS.

Let’s see, how can I tie in that big purple border? I know. Those strips symbolize everyone who supports me: family, friends, doctors, therapists -- all vigilant caregivers who manage my daily needs. Their love surrounds me and frames each challenging day of my life. If you’d like to become a member of my support team, please consider making a donation to the National MS Society HERE.


  1. Wow! This is magnificent. What a beautifully written post. I'm knocked off my feet. The way you tied MS in with this quilt is amazing, Diane. Its beautiful and NO it is not too much information. Its real. Its one of the many faces of MS.

    Its real and again, Wow!

  2. Your post is perfect for this week. I think the unpredictability of MS is the hardest for our friends and support network to understand.

    I am impressed you were able to work in the purple border!


  3. Has anyone ever told you how amazing you are? Learning so much from you adn the other quilters. You are in my prayers. - Sami

  4. I'm so glad I came across this project. Thank you for it. I'll be adding you ladies to my growing list of MS Bloggers out there.
    I've got some projects going on as well and invite you to join in on the Carnival of MS Bloggers. But today, you are the feature Quilting Bloggers Spread MS Awareness

  5. Love your quilt as metaphor. Great post.

  6. Hi, I apologize for the 'form' letter but it is the easiest way to pass word most quickly.

    I am thrilled with the response to the MS Blogger project started at my blog, Brass and Ivory. I appreciate all those who took time to post about it on their blogs. I have discovered even more bloggers who have MS, whether they blog about the MS or not. A new listing is available at MS Blogger Community Project Revised.

    Secondly, I'm looking for submissions for next week's Carnival of MS Bloggers. Information can be found at the end of each issue archived at Carnival of MS Bloggers. What I'm looking for this week are posts related to creativity. I discovered so many new bloggers who quilt, or knit, or crochet, or write, or photograph, etc. Basically, what do you do to express yourself?

    Thank you so much for participating.

    Lisa Emrich

    P.S. I also apologize for any increased 'spamming' of blog comments due to my growing linklist of bloggers with MS. For that I am sincerely sorry.

  7. I love how you tied it in with your quilt! I would never have been able to tie it all together.

  8. Wow! That's gorgeous and makes me want to finally learn to quilt! However, even before I got MS, I always said that I'd have to draw the line at needles that can't draw blood because I have always been way uncoordinated (I knit instead but have actually drawn blood with those before too!).

    I'm glad I found your blog and look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work.

  9. God bless you. I am glad I came across your blog; I'll pray for you. Have a wonderful day!

  10. The quilt is fabulous! Have you ever seen any of Australian quilter Judy Hoowarth's work? She loves bright colours too. You will enjoy her stuff.
    Great blog too.