I’ve been asked by a few folks in recent weeks
about what’s happening with Sara R & winglion (Ann) the two ladies who have been weaving love into quilting cloth and sending it out into the world for coming up on twelve years now.
As most of you will remember that back in early March our Sara found out that she had oral cancer and would be facing a serious surgery in just weeks.
When I found out it was just heartbreaking, because for me, Sara R & winglion are my sisters from another mother.
What happened earlier this year
Plans were quickly made to do something to make the future not as bleak for Sara and Ann, and I wrote a story about their situation. Ann is also facing some surgery on her arms, and she had to delay it earlier this year to allow her to provide post-surgical care for Sara, but it’s likely now going to happen in Sept/Oct so long as the Portland, Oregon hospitals don’t get overwhelmed with COVID patients (Oregon is seeing some scary rising numbers recently).
Sara had her surgery (very successful) and has been recuperating ever since. She is facing some new surgery now as part of her recovery. I’ll let her tell you about that later in the story. But since her surgery in April, she’s had to eat only liquid or smoothie food. A couple weeks ago, she found out that the frozen salmon fillets I got her from Costco (wild caught Alaskan, flash frozen) after cooking she could break them into tiny pieces small enough to swallow successfully! So it’s been tough, not to mention dealing with the crazy Delta Surge in COVID in Oregon recently which might force Ann to push back her surgery again.
All of this, including Ann’s increasing trouble from carpal tunnel, for which her surgeon has advised an open surgical field and not arthroscopy (making it tougher to heal from and more painful), has affected their ability to produce and sell their masks, cat toys, pootie pads and quilts.
Up until these healthcare related issues, Sara and Ann have been able to make a small living, although most in the PWPeeps world are well aware that it’s been too small for years, and they’ve had to accept help now and again. But the past year or so, it’s all just become too tough of a struggle, and painfully clear to them that it’s time to turn to Social Security for some long-term assistance.
Sara has already started the process for Social Security Disability, and Ann will be filing an application for Disability soon, depending upon her results and post-surgical outlook on her ability to continue to work or not.
The first is part two of my cancer surgery, the putting-me-back-together part. As I understand it, it is necessary to wait for the jawbone to heal where it was cut before doing this. What needs to happen is the “flap” (the grafted tissue in my mouth) will be de-bulked. Right now, it is very fat and distends my cheek. Then something that will be 3D printed will be inserted to build back the profile of my jawbone. And screw holes will be put in to receive implanted teeth. Then, very durable “temporary” teeth will be inserted. I say temporary because they won’t be the super-special, fancy teeth that a prosthodontist would make — those would be crazy expensive, something like $20,000 to replace the teeth I lost in my cancer surgery. But they will do me and will last a very long time. These won’t be covered by medical insurance, however, and my surgeon will do them for $6000. I will have to pay that money up front before they will schedule this surgery. Obviously, I’d like to get it done ASAP.
There is a caveat. If, for whatever reason the surgeon finds these teeth can’t be placed at the time of this surgery, he’ll let me heal and I’ll be sent to a prosthodontist later for the $20,000 solution. I won’t be charged the $6000 at the time — that can be put toward the fancy teeth later. I am not worried about this however — I have full confidence in my surgeon and I believe the $6000 teeth are going to work and serve me very well.
As you know, Ann is expecting to have surgery on her right wrist and elbow in September or October for carpal tunnel repair. It won’t be arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon is going to open her up so he can clearly see the situation. There is some worry about permanent nerve damage. Healing from this will take two to three months, perhaps as long as six. Once she’s healed, she’ll need to have the same procedure on her left wrist and elbow. She won’t be able to drive for awhile.
So even though it SHOULD be covered as reconstructive surgery, it’s dental work, so Sara needs to raise $6,000 for her portion of the dental work her head & neck surgeon wants to perform to make it possible for her to eat normal food again.
From Sara on the reason she needs the dental reconstruction done as soon as possible:The immediate problem for me is my mouth. My god, it was hurting yesterday — the mass of this flap feels like it’s pulling on the area where it’s stitched in. I am so anxious to have this taken care of. It’s not just the teeth — the surgeon will be thinning the flap and building back the profile of the bone structure that was “scooped” and I think this is going to matter a lot for my comfort.I already have $2465 in my teeth fund, with $3535 remaining to make the $6000 I need.
For Ann, if her surgery does get scheduled quite soon and if she has a successful surgery and a great outcome, it’s still going to take months for her to recover.
A week or so ago, I got a surprise DKosmail message
from a Kossack who asked that they remain anonymous:
I know Sara is going to need knee replacement surgery and that Ann needs surgery on her hand/arm. As you started the fundraiser for Catnip Manor back in the spring for Sara and Ann, I thought I would reach out to you about continuing/posting another fundraiser for them.
Brian Scott noted in the PWBPeeps diary today that he estimates they will need $1,100+ to meet expenses. Although he is a math genius, I think he's falling short on that estimate, as I'm certain Sara and Ann are minimizing the amount they truly need. I suspect to get them both comfortably through the next few months, they will need about $5,000, but they would not ask for the assistance.
I would like to offer an anonymous $1,000 match for them to kick off a fundraiser. Is this something you would be willing to do, or do I ask too much?
Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.
After thinking about two seconds, of course I decided that it wasn’t nearly too much to ask that I write a story and let the Community know what has been happening and what’s in the near future for these two women who I dearly love.
You can send any amount to Sara’s Paypal
Please be sure to choose “family and friends” to avoid fees!
So if any of you are so inclined, please either post a comment and the amount you’ve donated OR if you would rather others not know you’ve done so?
Send ME a short DKmail message CLICK HERE TO SEND
OR if you use Twitter I have open Direct Messaging so anyone can send me a message @AngieinWAState which is a private message no one but me will ever see. Include your DK “name” and the amount you sent.
I’ll post each donation and the amount of the match it covers.
I’m also adding a $150 Match of my own.
Also, because it must be said…
I have some bad news to tell you all, and some hopeful news, too.
Our friend Sara R has had a recent diagnosis of squamous cell oral carcinoma related to a small growth under her tongue. She and Ann called and told me about a week ago.
Sara and Ann have spent over a decade creating what they decided from the first would be called Community Quilts for Daily Kos members who had a medical problem or a life problem or just needed some love and support. Upon those quilts, which they hand-crafted in their own home, Sara would transcribe messages from other members of Daily Kos onto the white/cream muslin squares in the quilt.
I’ve sent them messages for a number of the 165 Community Quilts they have sewn, stuffed, added messages to and delivered to the recipients since the first one, which went to Othniel in September of 2009.
This was the driving force for Sara and Ann, to make these quilts:
I propose to make something for him – as quickly as I can – to remind him of our esteem and love for him while he heals. I am envisioning a simple, tied, lap quilt made from cheerful novelty fabrics interspersed with messages from us. Think of it as a giant get well card that will blanket him with good feeling.
A giant get-well card from all of us to 165 people here or one of their family members (my little sister got one and she’s a kossack of long-standing but only reads, never posts) and one went to Keith Olbermann and one to his father. One went to someone massive numbers of kossacks mourned and still do, even though most of us never had the privilege of meeting exmearden (Kris Froland) in person.
Our beloved Elder, Meteor Blades, once wrote a story about Sara R and these Community Quilts, in an early version of what his Night Owls formatted stories look like. He knew clear back in 2010 just how important Sara and her (and Ann’s) work has been to the wider Daily Kos Community.
A week from now, Sara R will pass a milestone: five years at Daily Kos. In that time, she's proved to be a powerful community builder in a way that is almost shaman-like. Her quilts – both the signature-quilt fund-raisers she has stitched together for Netroots Nation and the spectacular "love catchers" she's made for 30 members of the DK family in need of healing – are tangible expressions of community connection that transcend our workaday political world.
So I thought it only mete that we respond in kind, and I called ericlewis0 up to cry on his shoulder over the phone and discuss the possibility of getting a Community Quilt FOR SARA put together. He was all for the idea. I broached the idea with a member of the DK Quilt Guild members, she wasn’t able to help on this project but she referred to me to another kossack quilter who was — Beadlady.
I’ve never had such a gracious and kind conversation with anyone whom I’d never talked to before, and in just minutes Beadlady and I had the bare bones of a plan.
Eric soon agreed that he, based on his day job work as an industrial designer and cartoonist, could do the transcribing of the messages onto the blank squares of white/cream.
Eric wrote the first Community Quilt story for Sara R, and if you missed it, it’s right here.
Beadlady wrote a second quilt story, you can read it here.
While many (MANY) lovely kossacks left messages for Sara R in those two stories, there are STILL spaces to fill on that Community Quilt which Beadlady, ericlewis0 and maggiejean (who will be binding the quilt) have all helped to create.
So if you haven’t yet heard about this news, haven’t yet sent Sara a message of love and hope, NOW IS THE TIME!
Like all Community Quilts If you leave a comforting message for Sara R in the comments below, we suggest a donation of $20, if you can afford it. (Larger donations and Matching fund offers are also gratefully accepted). However donations are NOT required to send a message! What is most important is that we collect as many messages as we can for this quilt. So if in the past you have never sent a message because you couldn’t contribute funds to help defray the costs of creating it? Don’t let that stop you today!
Please, keep Sara R in your thoughts while she undergoes this medical care, until she is ready to return to creating more “love catchers” for other kossacks in need.
You can send the Message funds to Sara R’s personal paypal here:
Click Send and on the next page click Friend (they won’t take any fees).
Sara R will be in the hospital a week at least, and her surgery is scheduled for April 19th, just 8 short days from on. Please be sure to leave a link to this story in the Daily Kos stories you read today, to ensure that everyone who would like to be a part of this work is able to contribute their own message to Sara R for her quilt.
As of 12:30 pm PST Monday April 12 —
If you would like to send a message PLEASE make your comment (and Sara R can back thru them at her leisure) but ALSO send the message directly to Beadlady (the story is huge now and it’s taking too much time to hunt thru and double check if she has missed anything new).
CLICK THIS LINK and a message to Beadlady page will open right up to fill out!
Thank you so very much for all of this outpouring of love and hope for Sara R
SaraR needs words of love and support.
Sara was diagnosed with squamous cell oral carcinoma. The good news, it’s in the early stages. Betsy Ross of Daily Kos is about to undergo MAJOR surgeries to remove the tumor, several teeth, as well as part of her lower jaw will be removed. Skin grafts from elsewhere on her body will be used to reconstruct part of the inside of her mouth. She is staring down at least several months of recovery. Surgery is scheduled for April 19th, 5:30 a.m. PST. Where ever you are, what ever you’re doing, please send positive energy to SaraR!
In case you weren’t aware of Sara R’s profound impact on the overall vibe of this unusual website, here is a diary that Meteor Blades wrote about her in 2010: www.dailykos.com/…
Sara R and her sister, winglion, have sewn, added messages to, and delivered 165 Community Quilts since the first one, which went to Othniel in September of 2009. Lastly, a virtual tour of the Daily Kos Quilt Community, penned by Sara R herself:www.dailykos.com/…
To speed up SaraR getting a Community Quilt, she chose one I had made. ericlwise0 has already added comments from the first diary. I’ll add new comments, quilt it, and send it off to another DKos member, maggiejean for binding. A true DKos collaborative effort!
Because the surgery will be putting SaraR out of commission for a spell, we are also raising money for her (while she waits for her Disability application to process — if it does.) If you leave a comforting message for her in the comments below, we suggest a donation of $20, if you can swing it. (Matching fund offers will also gladly be accepted.)
The official quilt enterprise PayPal donation link is:
Or if you prefer, the link to Sara R’s personal PayPal is:
Sara R’s actual PayPal email address is:
If you’re not a Paypal person, kosmail me, and I’ll DM you an address to send checks.
Let’s support SaraR and her sister, winglion, by helping provide a financially stress-free recovery and words of support and comfort, as they have done for so many others! Post your comment below and I will copy it onto the quilt.
Thank you Dkos members. We always step up to help each other.