Sunday, 4 July 2021

I'm taking some time out (from social media)

Just a few days ago I was once again forced to confront my recent heath "detour" with an early start, all rugged up in the chilly darkness. I had to be at the hospital before 7am so I'd had little sleep, but I knew the anaesthetic would soon fix that as I was about to embark on another lot of surgery. Going through those hospital doors always brings some anxiety and I counted in my diary that this was visit number 41 since my diagnosis last year and only 6 of them were with Larry.....Covid put a stop to that and I can tell you enduring life saving procedures (especially the weekly chemo), was really tough without him beside me.......

According to my consent form this recent procedure was "excision of redundant tissue post bilateral mastectomies". When the surgeon's nurse rang me the next day she asked if I was feeling "trussed up" which made me immediately think of the Christmas turkey! Not sure how it feels but I do know sleep is not so comfortable as now my original wounds extend around to my back......almost feels like I was partially decapitated and stitched back up again! I have another anaesthetic in 2 weeks, this time to remove the BRCA2 threat of ovarian cancer. Sometimes I feel that this is overkill and maybe 'ignorance is bliss' but one has to go with the medical advice from my specialists. Knowing I have this gene defect also carries the risk of pancreatic cancer, melanoma and colon and stomach cancer, but who knows what tomorrow will bring for any of us?. So days by the seaside even in the winter chill are so nice but I felt for the young ones still doing their life saving training.......

During this vulnerable time I have found issues from my past have resurfaced and I am reminded of many of them every day. One of them is that I have never truly got over how difficult publishing my William Morris books really was. I have little financial reward to show for it but I certainly have incredible memories that would not have happened without the books...especially the William Morris Tours both in the UK and at home. I still feel sad when I see the books are still selling and any royalty payment (that only comes once a year), hardly covers a new outfit! Merchandise are still produced and for me there is no royalty at all.......I am certainly not a business person! More recently Instagram has been flooded with images of my designs in Russia. Another regretful decision that I did signing over the rights for the books to be printed in Russian all for a pittance so that I receive no royalty at all....but I am glad the books bring others joy and I hope William Morris would be pleased.......
When you become an author you are encouraged to have social media exposure including Facebook, Instagram (which I only did more recently), and of course to be a blogger which was the common thing back then. This is something I have struggled with all along when I started my blog back in 2008. I am not good at any sort of sales pitch or with being the centre of attention, but I have so loved meeting so many of you through this platform. So one of the reasons for this post is to say I am going to be taking some time out from social media for a few weeks. Being vulnerable has meant my normal positivity has taken a back seat. Having been the one who almost always instigates family and friend catch ups has tested me and is one of the things I have more recently struggled with.  A couple of health professionals have noticed a change in my demeanour and had suggested I seek some counselling. So the day before this most recent surgery I had my first session with the most delightful psychologist who patiently listened to me for one and half hours......what a lovely smile Nicole has and her empathy and understanding shows.....
Inevitably the tears welled up but I know this is going to be a very positive thing for me to do. While I am grateful my hair is growing back it is truly challenging trying to manage it knowing it will possibly be two years before I look like I used to! I am grateful for life saving surgery and treatment but the disfigurement and discomfort is there to remind me each day. The pins and needles in the feet and the dropping of items from my numb hands, along with the other chemo side effects continue to linger and test my patience.....just for now as I know this too will pass. And I know I am not alone and so many others are in much worse situations than me....especially with all that the pandemic has brought to the world. I have followed two other breast cancer women who both have a high profile in media. They have both been incredibly positive and such fun to follow cheering me up each day with their cheeky sense of humour as they face treatment......but more recently they too have suffered mentally and I have to say that was incredibly reassuring to me as they are both such very positive people. So for now I will immerse myself in helping others through charity group projects even using some help on some days.......

She doesn't know it yet but when she turns 7 in a couple of weeks she is getting her first sewing machine from us! But she does know this was being made as she wanted dolls like her Kindikids but she hasn't seen the final quilt........

William Morris will always be a big part of my life and just recently I saw that Next Fashion had teamed up with Morris & Co to produce some Morris inspired fashion. I am not one to buy online but these shirts arrived from the UK in just one week!......

I'm not sure Morris would be pleased with the quality and price but my two treasures have already been washed and tucked away for when the warmer season returns. I wish I could talk Larry into a piece or two but for now I will just admire.......the model and all!!.......
I did talk Larry into a radical change in our open plan kitchen/family room though......much to his angst!! Some time back we bought a new refrigerator using power saving "Inverter" technology. Whilst we welcomed a much quieter fridge we weren't told that they run for 45 minutes and are quiet for only 15 minutes every hour! I sit in the family room for most of my TV viewing while Larry is in his snug. The noise does my head in so I talked him into moving it out to our laundry/utility room! What bliss it now is.......we might not be able to get out the back laundry door but we hardly used that door anyway .....happy wife happy life they say! My left ear was the target and you can see how close it used to be.....
With a quick measure I worked out that a corner unit that used to be near the dining table fitted perfectly where the fridge used to be and while the laundry seems smaller it has certainly been a welcome change........

I will conclude with some more happiness that warms my heart. Brenda messaged me a day or so ago with a photo of her "William and May" quilt and what a beauty it is. It sure makes me happy that others enjoy turning my drawings into lasting treasures so thankyou for all of that Brenda (and Julie).......

Thankyou for reading this far......and thankyou for your understanding while I have some much needed time out. With the way time flies I am sure I will be back soon but if not you know the reason why. Do take good care and be safe and well xx


  1. Dear Michele, Best wishes for your treatment and recovery. It was great to be part of one of your Morris Tours in 2013! Special memories. Hope you're soon back to your enthusiastic, positive self. Thanks for all you have shared with us. Love & prayers, Anne xx 😊 πŸ’• πŸ’ πŸ’š

  2. Take all the time you need to heal, Michele, and don't ever feel you have to apologize for struggling to accept the changes you're experiencing with your hair regrowth etc. It's all part of adapting to the major health changes you've had to experience and now doubt Covid hasn't helped. I hope counseling and some time away from social media will help you to heal and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Xx

  3. You too be safe and well, Michele!
    Digna, The Netherlands (one of your fans ;))

  4. Hugs hugs hugs from your Rotorua friends. You are so brave and positive, love yourself, and your family. Sending all the aroha your way.

  5. Michele, my thoughts and continued prayers are with you. Having had Stage 3+ ovarian cancer, I can relate to many of the things you are going through. Just take one day at a time and when family/friends want to help and assist you, let them do. For encouragement, my hair grew in all wavy and curly from being straight as a stick all my life. Eventually it came back in as it had always been. Take care and sending hugs across the seas.

  6. I've loved your blog since I first discovered it through Judy S. Following your creative, personal & travel adventures has been a real privilege. I like your writing style & your creativity is a joy. Your current journey with BRCA2 is harrowing but necessary treatment to protect yourself as best can be. Of course you know that!
    This 'adventure' of yours is a challenge for this reader. But be sure that sharing is good for you & reminds me that so many people carry burdens that I'm ignorant of. Kindness matters
    Noone should go through all this as well as keeping feelings inside & I'm heartened to know you're comfortable with your choice of a ccounsellor.
    My thoughts are with you, Michelle.
    Take care, rest & recover.
    Kind regards, Flossy 🌻

  7. I love your blog. You are so positive. My prayers and love are with you. Take your time. Lots of hugs.
    Cis (netherlands)

  8. Dear Michele, as I have been quilting your beautiful Dear William quilt today I decided to reconnect with your blog. I am so sorry to read that you are not well. It does sound as though you are receiving lots of excellent medical attention to aid in your recovery. Please be aware that you and your William are much loved and your books are greatly treasured and used. I remember you telling me at one of your fabulous workshops that your royalties were very low ….however, I am so pleased you wrote them, my house is full of your quilts, cushions and wall hangings and many of my non sewing family and friends can also lay claim to a Michele Hill design.
    Lots of love and hugs for your recovery
    Judy from Tamworth

  9. Such a lovely blog! Although I have not followed for long I shall miss your warm enthusiasm and the beautiful photos. Sending heartfelt good wishes to you.

  10. You have so brightened my life, you introduced me to William Morris and then added my favorite thing quilting with your amazing designs. It has been a challenge for you with the business, so much to learn. I so enjoyed you and Larry on our UK William Morris Tour. I will miss your posts but am so glad you are taking care of YOU. Look forward to our next visit.

  11. Know that I am with you on this journey. Keeping you in prayer with lots of gentle hugs.

  12. Dear Michele. I want to thank you for your blog. I have followed you for a long time and love your beautiful way of celebrating your skills with us all. You more than anyone developed my love of all things William Morris and I have your books and some of your patterns to now indulge in. Please take the time you need to nurture yourself over this time. I will miss your posts but understand that this is important for you. Lots of hugs and best wishes to you, Helen in Adelaide.

  13. Thank you for your designs and books that have carried me through troubled times. I personally know too much about triple negative breast cancer. Take time to heal. You have spent your life helping others. May you receive all the help you need. Just a suggestion. Acupuncture has helped many suffering from nerve issues in the extremities from chemo. I will miss your blog and look for its return. Bless you, Michele.

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  15. I am so sorry you are going through this traumatic time Michele, you know there are so many of us who love you and wish you well. Take the time to concentrate on your own well being and getting over this serious health issue.
    Love and hugs. πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’πŸ’πŸŒΊπŸŒΊ

  16. Thinking of you Michele as you face more operations. You have had such a tough time. Hope you recover well and that you will feel more like the old you soon.

  17. Dear Michele - you are in my own personal daily prayers, as well as, in several of my quilting friends' prayer chains. My "Glorious May Morning" quilt recently received a red ribbon at the 2021 Vermont Quilt Festival (virtual). I am in the process of creating my next show quilt using several of your designs along w/ Jason Yenter's "Diaphanous" fabric line. Stay well so you will see the finished quilt! BTW - Gary & I have sold our home in Florida along the Atlantic Ocean & relocating to a more rural area in central Florida. Many hugs to you Lynne Sofie

  18. All at Port Elliot Patchworkers send love and heaps of best wishes. Your days at Port Elliot were all great, especially the book launch. Thinking of you and Larry and all yoyr family xxx

  19. Dear Michele, I am sorry you are having a challenging time again. Thank you for sharing your stunning work, beautiful designs, knowledge and skills at your workshops I attended. I am so glad I got to enjoy your enthusiasm and knowledge on the William Morris and Beatrix Potter tours. I will still be thinking of you and especially during this next stage. Best wishes for your ongoing recovery. Sending you virtual hugs. Take care, Pat Canberra x


Thankyou for dropping by and sharing in my journey. And thanks especially for your lovely comments….I may not always respond (especially if there is no email address) but please know you are appreciated x