Thursday, June 7, 2012

Projects By Jane - The Beginning

Yesterday I had a nice chat with a friend and drunk on sugar I talked a little about how Projects By Jane (the shop) started. When I went home I realised that I had over time forgotten a lot of my past. Little details of what I did, the motivations and how it led me to where I am today. Is remembering my beginnings that important? Well, as much as this blog is for my readers, it's also for me. I am my blog's biggest fan. I often read my old posts especially those which mention my kids or special moments. It allows me to relive the sweetness.

I thought it would be a good idea to record what I can remember of how this little hobby turned into a full-time obsession. The history of Projects By Jane had a lot to do with my medical history. Yes, it's a long story.

Between 2006 and 2007, I was crocheting bags and making clothes for Barbie. One day I crocheted a bag for Barbie and it got me thinking about making bags out of fabric. In September 2007, I was starting to make bags. I found many useful resources in the net and would write down in a note book the hyperlink http://.... Hubs saw me doing it and simply couldn't bear it. He showed me the beautiful thing about blogs. The links. Immediately I decided I would start a blog. Maybe hubs talked me into it. Hubs had experience with blogging and he showed me the ropes. It seemed so easy. The first thing we did was to come up with a name for my blog. I wanted my name to be in it and at that time (still am) I was crazy about Project Runway. So I naturally picked the word "Projects". Hubs was thinking of bags but I did not want to restrict what I blog about to bags. Hahahahahaha. Fortunately Projects By Jane was available on blogger and that was how it started. In the beginning, I did not blog about every single bag I made. I wrote each post for my own reference and amusement. To my surprise, I had readers other than my own family members. I had a statistics counter on my blog and I could see readers from different parts of the world coming to read what I had written. It was quite flattering.

About 2 months later I started to feel wrong. I became unusually tired and often felt exhausted. Prior to this, I had been experiencing numbness in my arm on and off for a year. I had seen a doctor and was on a waiting list to see a orthopedic doctor. In November 2007, the exhaustion became unbearable. Not only that, my muscles hurt so much. I remember this occasion when my family was shopping at Gap and I was standing outside the fitting room waiting for my kids to try on an outfit. Suddenly I felt so overwhelmed with fatigue I just sat on the floor and wouldn't get up. From that moment, my life changed completely.

The fatigue wore on and on and the muscle pain never went away. If I sat, I hurt. If I lay down I hurt. How do I describe the pain? It's no ordinary pain. It goes very deep so you can't soothe it. It never stops. The pain is always there. It's a killing pain. I did not want to live. I remember one day telling hubs that if the pain never goes away, I did not want to be alive. I could not live like that.

The whole of November 2007, I saw the GP many times. She would prescribe me this and that. But she had no idea what was wrong with me. I went to see the Chinese physician as well and had acupuncture. It didn't work. I was so desperate I went to another Chinese physician who prescribed really horrible medication. I became ill after taking it. I remember hubs was very angry with me because I refused to take the rest of the medication. Finally I was able to see a orthopedic doctor. He sent me for a few tests to rule out this and that. Some of the tests were extremely painful. How do I describe having needles inserted in your arm and having to use your muscles? I screamed throughout. The awful thing was I was not given any diagnosis so I had no medication. Just vitamin B. My orthopedic doctor was very busy. I had to wait a very long time to see him about the results of my tests.

Meanwhile, my symptoms had started to get wacky. My hands sometimes turned blue. I would shiver uncontrollably. The shivering made my pain worse. I became terrified of getting the shivers. When it came, it was very frightening. And it lasted a long time. I still remember this incident. We were out one day having dinner and I had the shivers. I asked the waiter to give me 2 cups of warm water. Then I plunged both my hands into the water to keep myself warm. Later hubs asked me to stay outdoors to warm up.

I also remember Christmas eve 2007. All the clinics were closed. I felt horrible, horrible. It wasn't just pain anymore. I had difficulty breathing. My hands shook. I was barely eating and had lost a lot of weight. I remember my weight was 46kg. For my height 1.66cm, it was way too little. I begged hubs to take me to a 24hour clinic. I remember he was quite angry with me. I don't remember why. The doctor said I was suffering from anxiety and gave me medication to relax. It helped but it put me to sleep all the time. Eventually, I overcame my anxiety but the main problems - muscle pain and fatigue remained.

I was still waiting to see the orthopedic doctor. I lived each day, minute by minute, hour by hour. I was still functioning as a mother taking my kids to school, making sure they had food and did their homework. But I could only do the bare minimum. As soon as I reached home I would lie down. I remember on a few occasions my kids were squabbling and needed a referee. They went to look for me and I simply said, "I can't talk." This became quite frequent. I would tune out if I was in bad pain and refused to settle their petty quarrels. I often wondered if my kids would have turned out differently if this hadn't happened to me.

In March 2008, hubs brought home an article from the newspaper he works for. It was a feature on a local pain specialist. He left the article on the dining table. The next morning when I woke up I read the article and I had the first ray of hope. I prayed this doctor would save me. I contacted the doctor and the day he examined me and gave me his diagnosis was the day my life begins.

I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me
leave the past behind me, today my life begins,
a whole new world is waiting It's mine for the taking,
I know I can make it, today my life begins

                                                                                                               Bruno Mars

to be continued.


Just Carol said...

I have journaled my whole life, so blogging became an extension of that. My quilty blog just records my craft-making stuff, but I have a private blog to record events with grandkids and family. It is a wonderful way to record your life and be able to go back and reflect on it. I'll be watching for your continuation on this story. :O)

Kandi said...

Oh Jane that must have been such a scary time for you it sounds dreadful. I'm looking forward to the next part and hoping for all good things x

Suzee said...

first of all, I love Bruno Mars!
I'm sorry to read all the pain you went through! I too went through tons of pain after blowing a disk out in my neck. I kept working for long time ,trying to tell myself it was just work. after taking xrays my doctor said ok you are not to work til this is worked on. I had to have my 6th and 7th vertebra fused together with a small plate it was so bad. I can't tell its there but I had damage to my arm, and lost some nerve endings in my finger. then having rotary cuff taking all the weight of trying to keep my neck right, I had to have surgery on that next. blah.
I started my blog for my sewing crafts but its more about me and my kids and family now. = ) love them just as much as sewing!!! will be waiting on the continued part!

Chris H said...

Wow, so now I'm left wondering... did the new doctor find what was wrong with you!

Amy Lim said...

So sorry to hear that you had gone thru' so much pain, Jane. You are a very strong woman! Glad that you are now better and looking at you now, I cannot tell that you were once so sick.
Jane, you left us in suspense about the diagnosis...just like watching those tv drama serials, they will end the episode at the most exciting part! Will wait for part two :)

Dee said...

you have mentioned your illness in your posts a number of times and mentioned how hard it was for you. I am very keen to hear (read) the full story with how it all goes together.
I sure know how debilitating pain can be and can't imagine how hard that stage must have been for you.

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