Breast Cancer Quilts

Breast Cancer Quilts : Coping with Breast Cancer Through Quilt Making

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"You have breast cancer." One in eight women in the U.S. will hear those four words at some time in their lives. In January 2012, I was one of them. I'd had a clean mammogram in June 2011, but discovered a lump as I turned over in bed one November night. A sonogram and biopsy later, I was diagnosed with Grade 2 invasive breast cancer. I had a mastectomy of my right breast in February 2012, followed by chemotherapy from March to June 2010. I went through 6 rounds of chemo, comprised of a combination of Taxotere and Cytoxan. I lost my hair and my appetite, I was exhausted all the time, and I was too ill to work. Those are the facts, but they don't begin to describe the emotional journey of my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. I coped with my diagnosis, like so many other women, through the support of family and friends, by taking the experience one day at a time. I also made quilts. Why quilts? Throughout the breast cancer experience, quilting was one of the few activities I enjoyed. There was so little I could do, but I had the energy and interest to cut up fabric, pin it to my design wall, and then sit at my sewing machine to put the pieces together. Quilt making gave me the opportunity to express how I felt about this intense and difficult experience. I wrote on my quilts as a complement to the visual image I created. I was fortunate in the support of my husband and friends, but there were times when I needed to vent or celebrate on fabric. One of my doctors pointed out that quilt making was good for me, an absorbing creative activity that distracted me from feeling unwell, as well as from my fears and worries. Making a quilt helped me focus on the present, and gave me something interesting and positive to think about. I do think working with fabric contributed to my health and healing. I hope that my breast cancer quilt story will inspire you to tell your story in the creative way that feels most comfortable to you as you make sense of the breast cancer more

Product details

  • Paperback | 84 pages
  • 216 x 279 x 6mm | 290g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • English
  • Illustrations, color
  • 1514154218
  • 9781514154212
  • 1,297,845

About Dr Judy Elsley

I was born and raised in England. After moving to the U.S. in 1979, I completed an M.A. at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas in 1985, and a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1990. Quilting has been the subject of many of my published articles. I have written about quilt related literature; quilts in contemporary culture; and the place of academics in quilt scholarship. I have also co-edited a book of academic essays on quilting: Quilt Culture: Tracing the Patterns, published by the University of Missouri Press in 1994. A rewritten version of my dissertation was published by Peter Lang Press under the title, Quilts as Text(ile)s. I also write and publish personal essays. In 1997, Jumping Cholla Press published my book of personal essays, Getting Comfortable, about living in the American West. The book is now available through Amazon. I taught in the English Department at Weber State University from 1990 to 2016 when I retired. During my tenure, I also directed a number of programs, most recently the university's Honors more