I am so delighted with this exquisite beaded "amulet" bag, which I purchased a few days ago from DEBSPARKLES on Etsy. I just loved the look of all her exquisite bead work in her shop, but when I received this in the mail just the other day....I was totally amazed!! Photos definitely do NOT do justice to Debbie's incredible workmanship and design. My sister had also just recently purchased Debbie's "ROMANCE" amulet bag as a gift, and we were both on the phone exclaiming to each other how fantastic they were!!
While I fell in love with her work when I first saw her creations in her shop, DEBSPARKLES, I have learned just how much determination and effort it is for Debbie to continue creating. I always love to learn more about every artist I come in contact with, and so with Debbie's permission, I have added her story below. I think it is a testament to how one can accomplish whatever they set out to do in life, as long as they "believe" in themselves and what they are doing.
Debbie would like to share her story in the hopes that it will make others more aware of this condition, so that others may hopefullly diagnosed more quickly.
I love making things that glitter and sparkle. As a single parent, I worked very hard my whole life. In my free time I was a passionate crafter, I owned my own small business selling my own beadwork jewelry. I did very intricate beadwork with very small beads, fine needles and threads, and a lot of coordination and dexterity.
A few years ago, my assorted health problems all of sudden started getting out of control and I ended up going from my chiropracter to my MD to a gastroenterologist back to my chiropracter (who is my hero), who said my problems were neurological. I had to demand a referral to a neurologist. I did, and after the usual battery of tests found myself sitting in his office telling me I had several problems to deal with.
First, I had a small tumor at the top of my skull, this was not serious, no big deal, just needed watching. I had a rare condition called “Chiari Malformation” in the back of my head - laymen's terms, "my brain was in the wrong spot, running down the back of my head into my spine” and in my back, as a direct result of The Chiari , I had Syringomelia. (laymens terms: a fluid filled tumor in my spine.)
NOTE: I want to do my share to raise awareness on these problems. Please go look at this site: ASAP
Anyway I had choices, possibly paralysis (which was already happening at that point) possibly dying, or I could have major surgery. Well, strangely enough I chose surgery. During recovery I started a new problem. I had a severe cero-spinal leak. This required a second of the same type of surgery, plus a lumbar drain.. That was three years ago. Now I still have syringomelia and the small tumor at the top of my head. A family joke, we call it Henry, and everytime I do something stupid we blame Henry for it.
I am unable to work, I live with chronic pain, I have problems walking, cannot do the most basic things like vacuuming my floors. The worst part was that my hands did not work any more. This was the absolute worst thing. Take anything else, but don’t take my hands. I could no longer handle my beads and needles. This just did not work for me!
Remembering back from when I was a teenager and did sequin embroidery, I found some felt, larger needles and thicker thread. Sequins are bigger than beads, I started pushing myself. Just being able to hold the needle and thread, then being able to hold the felt and catch a sequin on the needle, then maybe I could get some bigger beads to catch on the bigger needle.
Well this definitely took some time, but I kept pushing myself. One step at a time, just a little more detail. What started as therapy to get my hands working again has turned into a major passion. The nerve damage that I have suffered and the simple deterioration of my spinal column and nervous system is irreversable. I will never work a normal job again and have decided to turn my love of working with beads into a full time visit.
When I look at my lovely, lovely amulet bag, it is truly hard to believe that Debbie has gone through the challenge's which she has. THANKS, Debbie for your creativity and for sharing your story with everyone. I wish you much success in 2009!