Monday, August 4, 2003    


How has scrapbooking changed your life?

By:Kathi Z. (aka

I have been a Sheriff’s Correctional Officer for the past 12 years. I work in a Men’s Maximum Security Jail and was involved in breaking up one too many fights and blew out two discs in my lower back. Since that time I have had five unsuccessful back surgeries over the past six years. I now have 2 titanium rods and six screws holding my lower back together. Following each surgery I spent a month in a hospital bed in my living room recovering, doing little more than watching television, flat on my back.

My leisure time prior to being injured was spent either with my daughter or doing something active like mountain biking about 60 miles a week, rollerblading, scuba diving and snow skiing in the winter and taking many, many pictures of all of these activities on land and under water. My pictures always ended up in the plastic sleeve type photo album because this was all I knew and frankly as a single parent this is all I had time for. I worked 12-hour shifts, was active in my daughters life, worked out hard, and had to sleep in between.

My injury was crushing and devastating to my life in many ways. Each surgery and the lack of success was more frustrating than the last. I was married to my house, to my bed, and often still, the couch. I can no longer work, work out or do anything that used to be ME or such a large part of my life. I was kind of a shell of my former self. Although I certainly had days of self-pity I was determined to find something to do that would bring some ‘Joy’ back into my life and bring it back to some semblance of what it used to be even if that means it cannot be physical activity.

Someone gave me an old copy of Creating Keepsakes magazine while recuperating from one of my first surgeries. Something clicked with me that this might be something that I could do once I recovered enough. I was remote surfing late at night while I couldn’t sleep and saw a scrapbooking hour on QVC also while I was recuperating and this peaked my curiosity even more.

I didn’t think I would be very good at it at first. Being in law enforcement I consider myself to be left brained oriented and not very artistic. My self-esteem was pretty low due to the continued failed surgeries and I was very depressed so at first I was easily discouraged and very hard on myself and critical of my work.

My initial pages were awful and some I even threw away. I had several more surgeries and even thought perhaps this was a silly idea and gave it up for awhile. I had by then subscribed to the magazine and checked out some of the online retailers since we only have one scrapbook store in our town and decided to give it another try. I was hooked.

Although my days of pain, medication, and perhaps even surgeries are not over and may never be. For me scrapbooking has become medicine, it has become therapy, it is the best natural anti-depressant I have been able to find. I can’t sit very long at a time, usually not longer than about 20 to 30 minutes at a time, but with scrapbooking that’s OK because I can leave it and pick it up later where I left off. I have rechanneled what used to bring me joy in my sport activities and taken my love for photography and now I am scrapbooking. I am now the family photographer. I go take pictures when I can of my nephews playing baseball or if they’re in a play at school or at church. I am still at most of my daughter’s games to take pictures of her cheerleading.

The biggest thing I learned was from my daughter who has cerebral palsy. She was never able to play normal team sports. I told her to find something she could do that she loved. I will go with her next week to Collegiate Nationals Cheerleading Competition. She found something she could do in spite of her disability and has been doing it for 11 years now. Scrapbooking may never take the place of all of my sport hobbies but it has certainly filled a large void.

My first completed album went to my sister for Christmas and I duplicated it as a surprise gift for my mom who helped me so much through all my surgeries. I have 19 years of my daughter’s life to catch up on and have decided to take the advice of doing it in reverse and I’m looking forward to it…a little at a time.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Why I Love Scrapbooking, by Laurel M

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