peregrine kate's Testimonial

PEREGRINE KATE QUILT #60

linkage1951: We're at NetRoots Nation 13 in San Jose, and this is my opportunity to interview one of the Community Quilt recipients. Can you introduce yourself and talk a bit about your Community Quilt.

peregrin kate: My name on Daily Kos is Peregrine Kate. The quilt was, for me, a singular blessing. I had been on Daily Kos as a diarist for only a very short period of time after lurking for many years. I'd written, maybe, two, three, four diaries at the most when I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in January of 2011. Unfortunately for me, the diagnoses kept getting worse and worse.

Early on it was suspected that it was a pretty early stage and surgery would be sufficient. In surgery the staging was much worse, and immediately following the surgery, my oncologist told my husband that I had maybe a 50-50 chance of living five years. So that was pretty devastating enough, and then I embarked on a very rigorous course of chemotherapy for six months, the spring and summer right after the surgery, and that was exhausting and debilitating in ways that anybody whose had the experience will know.

And then the worst of it was that the chemo didn't work -- it wasn't effective. We didn't know that when Sara put in the request for the quilt for me -- put out the call. I think she started in late July, and I didn't get the word about the worsening diagnosis until the end of August. In fact the day after I had had my CAT scan, previous to deciding whether I needed and would benefit from a course of  radiation therapy, and the day before I got the bad news that my cancer had spread to my lungs. The day in between was when I received the quilt. And just that gift was an enormous blessing, and incredibly, difficult, strenuous, terrifying stage of my  life.

I knew because of how the process works what the messages were when people submitted them to the diaries that Sara had posted, and they were beautiful and loving and uplifting. They really did help at the time. But this concrete manifestation of all these  loving and supportive feelings...it was phenomenal. It was one of the...one of the sustaining elements for me that Fall in  particular when I really started to fight hard for recovery rather than just get worse and worse.

So, I slept with the quilt every night. My husband and I had it as a coverlet. Every time I would take a nap with my healing cat  usually keeping me company, I had the quilt with me as well. Later on, when I had my other subsequent CAT scans, the quilt went into the machine with me. And each one of those -- I'm not giving the quilt credit for it -- but each one has been better than the one before. So who knows what kind of magic it's really capable of producing? It was a wonderful manifestation.

There are still some people who wrote messages for me that I don't know well. I would recognize their names when I see  comments and chat with them, the diaries and such. On the other hand, there are other people on the quilt I've come to know very well. Unfortunately, one of the first Kossacks I met was one of the women who provided a quilt square message, and she had the same kind of cancer that I did -- alliedoc -- and she died last year right around this time. My husband and I happened to meet  her, which was actually before my bad news came back, so the quilt was in progress when we met. And so that makes it poignant  too. There is that message from her, and there is a message from Ulookharmless on the quilt as well, who was just a really brilliant person and a wonderful role model in terms of someone who was doing his best to thrive despite the really devastating cancer.

So I am grateful for every opportunity that I have to send other messages out. I think of the other recipients and my quilt sisters and brothers. It's really been an amazing tool for community building on the site, and I'm grateful every day for the opportunity and the blessing that the quilt represents in my life that I have one.

linkage1951: Well, thank you very much.

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