Saturday, January 27, 2018

It's Time

"In the End, 
we will remember not the word of our enemies, 
but the silence of our friends."

-Martin Luther King Jr. 

Important Disclaimer!!

This post has nothing to do with my husband... if you saw this an panicked thinking I'm talking about a relapse, no worries. Currently he is as "fine" as he can be all things considered.

My last post I wrote about my frustration with LuLaRoe, it was about a silly launch of black products, that were hyped up and then only a few people got. Top retailers who already have mansions and fancy cars and hang out with the owners posted themselves in front of LITERALLY 100s of boxes bragging about all the Noir they had scored. Then to add insult to injury these same sellers managed to sell those black items in MYSTERY BAGS consisting of three OTHER leggings, or Carlys, or whatever. People paid for three extra items just to get a black item in these big groups, all while I was trying to provide personalized customer service to my tiny but loyal group. I felt like I let them down, and almost threw in the leggings. 

I was hurt, and angry, and felt betrayed. Our "apology" from one of the owners basically consisted of a story about a concrete job, a few crocodile tears, and this...(This is an actual quote... I'm not kidding. I couldn't make this up if I tried!)

"Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you just have to suck it up."
-Mark Stidham

I should have submitted my resignation right then, but I was scared, we were broke, and it was right before the holidays. In addition, I didn't want my husband to find out that even though I had been telling him I could return any unsold merchandise and get 90% of what I paid back, there was new LuLaMath that made a refund near impossible, in fact I saw others who resigned and were told that they were not eligible for ANY refund at all... (think negative amounts here) and I didn't resign.

I'm ashamed to admit that I did just "suck it up" but the koolaid I had been drinking no longer had any appeal to me. I couldn't bring myself to watch home office trainings, I became disenchanted with what was once something I was so passionate about, I ordered more stuff hoping that I'd get something someone would buy, but ended up with more Dorito prints, and even the infamous "worma" to add to my "larvma" and the rest of the items sitting in my already overflowing LuLa Garage. 

I worried about things like adverting sale prices, or discounting Disney items, because that is against the rules! Maybe it's being raised Catholic, but I'm a rule follower. I try to do what is right, and that's why today I submitted my resignation to LuLaRoe.  I'm still scared, and we're still broke, but it's time for me to bless and release things I CAN control feeling guilty about. 

Things like supporting a company that claims to bless the lives of families, but thanks to some math that nobody understands, your 90% refund of unsold merchandise can actually be a negative number.

Supporting a company that chooses instead to cut ties with NDSS rather than terminate the contract of a consultant who mocked people with special needs. 

Things like giving preferential treatment to the "top sellers' while telling the rest of us that these highly sought after items won't "make or break" our business. 

Things like leaders who do nothing about consultants who refuse to accommodate people with special needs. 

I just can't anymore.  

I've FINALLY realized that I'm no more than a dollar sign to the people higher up the food chain, and while they claim to "love us" they only love our money, and they have enough of mine. 

I am very appreciative to those of you who have earnestly supported my efforts. I was able to keep our family afloat (if you don't count all my credit card debt) while my husband was in the hospital, and while he needed those first months and months of 24 hour care. I'm thankful for that, and I've met some amazing people along the way.

I'm probably going to wind up losing a lot more money because of my decision, but some things are worth more than money, like my integrity. I can't represent myself as a LuLaRoe consultant anymore... it's just not me.

So if you are interested I've got a bunch of stuff in my garage you might want to buy. It is cozy stuff.. and I'm sure to have a deal for you, especially if you want a worma... 

See light, be light. 

Be kind always.

God is good. All the time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Life's Not Fair... I Already Know This, but Thanks for Reminding me LuLaRoe

"The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places." 
Bryant H. McGill

I always try to start my posts with a quote. It helps to guide me, keep me on the right track, and often times I know there are others who can more eloquently express what I am feeling. Usually I blog about my life, but I haven't blogged much over the last year because honestly the last year has been a whirlwind of emotion, mostly worry and angst, as well as an overwhelming sense of life isn't fair, and nobody wants to read that. 

For those new to my blog, or my life, here's the Cliff's notes of my story:

Once upon a time, when I had given up on dating ever again I ran into a guy I knew from school at the local Meijer. As I followed him around the store, I admired how much he had grown up and changed over the years. He wound up being my best friend, and after hanging around three years we finally shared a kiss, and were married just a little over a year later. We each brought a child to our marriage, and we quickly had one together. Then when that little one was just five months old we found out we had ANOTHER child on the way. She was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and passed away when she was only three months old. Her whole life was lived in a hospital bed. 

Life isn't fair.

I thought we had been given and survived our life "doozie" and we went on to have three more children together including a set of twins. (If you have twins feel free to insert Life isn't fair here if you wish!) We had many other struggles throughout the life we were building together, but we persevered and made it through. We were never rich by any stretch of the imagination, in fact on a good day we were middle class. But we were happy.

In April of 2016, my husband was diagnosed with AML leukemia. 

Life isn't fair.

When we got the results back from the bone marrow biopsy we found out that not only does he have AML leukemia, but he has FLT3-ITD and a complex karotype. (I know that probably means nothing to you as I had no idea what it meant at the time!) He was told he MUST have a bone marrow transplant, or he would die. Even with the transplant he is still considered high risk poor prognosis.

Life isn't fair.

We held a "Be the Match" drive as they weren't able to find a perfect match for my husband, and even after that they couldn't find him a perfect match, but he needed the transplant, or would face certain death. Thankfully a young man from England who was a 7/8 match instead of a 10/10 donated his stem cells, so my husband could live.

There are still good people in the world!

When my husband had his transplant I had to leave my job because he required 100 plus days of 24 hour care. He had been a pipefitter and I was a school teacher. He couldn't work, and social security disability doesn't pay for six months, and I couldn't provide 24 hour care and teach school, but we also couldn't be without income so a friend suggested I sell LuLaRoe as a way to make ends meet.

It sounded like a great idea. 

At this point you are probably wondering WHAT does this have to do with ANYTHING right? Well that is my LuLaRoe WHY. They stress that to us all the time... WHY are you doing what you are doing? My WHY was to take care of my husband and family while being able to be home. I bought into LuLaRoe's business model because I believed they truly wanted us all to succeed, even if we were just the little guys. I watched training videos, and conference calls, I drank the LuLa juice, and it was good.

While watching all these home office updates we are told you have to buy more to sell more! So I did. You have to get out of your zip code, and I did, wear your LuLa everywhere you go, and I do. Give it away to people you meet, leave business cards, do random acts of kindness because of LuLaRoe... and I do. I like to think that I was kind before too, but I tried to do as much as I could to practice what I was being preached, because that is the way our owners, Mark and Deanne would want it.

We've had our fair share of problems too...

There were the leggings with holes... a whole lot of them. In fact for awhile I felt nervous to sell any leggings because I swear every time I did someone had pin holes in them, and I was embarrassed, but believed in my company so I replaced the leggings with a smile and would file a return form with my fingers crossed hoping that I would eventually get the credit for the items. 

Then there was the era of backorders, where pretty much everything you ordered was on backorder, and you may or may not get it eventually. They tried to clear that up by making us prove that we didn't get items that we had paid for, and I eventually wound up giving up on even trying to make sense of that whole fiasco. I'm certain I paid for items I never actually received but the time I spent trying to convince them that what I ordered and what I received didn't match was beginning to wear me out, and taking care of my husband and his multiple daily medications, as well as my children was my top priority, so I let it go.

Next there were the holiday releases, my first year you could order what sizes you wanted, there were limits on the quantity you could order, and we consultants often times crashed the server, but we all got a chance to get the things we wanted, and while it may have taken a lot of time, it was fair for the most part. I kept drinking the LuLa juice.

This year holiday releases changed, we had to buy a "capsule" made up of a variety of sizes, even if we didn't want all the sizes. I looked at it as a way to keep people from "hogging up" all the sizes that we all wanted. I kept drinking the Lula juice.

Then the magical collection came along, and we were told buy as much as you can! This will be a money maker! Get all the magical items! With the exception of a few prints, I can't give my magical items away, for some odd reason, people don't want to wear dresses with rodents, frogs, or farm animals all over them... but I kept drinking the LuLa juice. 

It's so random I told myself, it's not anybody's fault that some people  get ALL the great prints, and I get rodents and farm animals... it's automated, they want me to succeed! I knew this because the home office people told me, and they are good people who care about my success! They want my business to succeed, and so do I.

There were many consultants going out of business and selling at deep discounts to their customers. This made it difficult to sell the inventory I had at retail because why buy it from me at full price when the consultant across town is selling it for 30-50% off? To help us, LuLaRoe started taking back inventory and paying for the retailers who were going out of business to ship it back. I knew it was going to be ok, because I believed them in the home office webinars I watched, and I drank more LuLa juice.

We then received notice that they would no longer be honoring the buy back system they had implemented, and that it had just been temporary and now consultants who went out of business would have to pay to send back their inventory and would get 90% of the wholesale cost of things they had bought IN THE LAST YEAR that was in "resalable" condition. I wasn't sure what that meant exactly but I wasn't going out of business so I didn't worry too much. If I could just stop getting boxes full of prints that look like Doritos I know I can make this work!

Please pass the LuLa juice. 

Fast forward to Halloween, and for some reason, there was NO limit on the capsule releases, even though there were new items being launched in the collection. While some people were able to order 250 kits, other consultants got none. I was in the later group, but was assured this would not "make or break" my business. It was still distressing however to see other consultants on social media posting pictures of themselves in front of literal TOWERS built out of their Halloween capsule boxes, but I believed it would be ok. 

Life's not fair.

I have bigger things to worry about then stupid Halloween leggings.
This will not make or break my business.
LuLaRoe cares about me and my success. 

Next came the class action lawsuit business that no less than 37 people decided to forward to me, or tag me in. I defended my company. LuLaRoe wants me to succeed. Nobody told me to sell my breast milk to buy more stuff. I don't even HAVE breast milk TO sell. Those ladies must have been PUT UP TO IT by somebody who is jealous. LuLaRoe wants me to succeed. Mark and Deanne tell me that every week. I believe them. They care about me. They care about all of us, even the smaller retailers. They want all of us to succeed. 

The holiday item release was better, they put us in a queue and we could order after being "randomized" at the launch time. It was still in capsules of various sizes (let me know if you need any TC2 leggings) but I did manage to get a few, and provide them to my VIPS, and besides LuLaRoe wants me to succeed, they keep telling me this, however I am starting to question if this is the case.

Does anybody want to buy THIS? 

No that's not Justin Timberlake, or Bruce Willis, or Hawaiian Jesus, that is Patrick's face! You don't know who Patrick is? Well he's one the head designer for LuLaRoe!! Who wouldn't want to purchase this? Want a Lula suit? His face also appears on several pair of leggings! I'm thinking of sending this to Jimmy Fallon and telling him it IS Justin Timberlake, except I'm not sure what size he wears, and this is a woman's shirt. (Which can be yours for the low price of $35!)

If Patrick face isn't your style, perhaps you would like these adorable leggings! They are in size TC2 and feature Deanne's face on them with all the other cute holiday stuff, because nothing screams Merry Christmas like Deanne's face on your legs! These too can be purchased from me for only $25! 
Her face is rather subtle I didn't notice it at first, but it does appear multiple times on these butter soft leggings! I drew the blue arrow myself, sadly that is not part of the design! (Arrows are a unicorn you know!!)

I know full well that life isn't fair, and with a husband with leukemia, a son in college, and four kids still at home, crying over silly prints is a major waste of time. I don't have time to waste! I have an almost full time job, a part time job, and I sell LuLaRoe! I participate in online sales, and go to people's homes on the weekends! LuLaRoe wants me to succeed in my business! I believe them! Mark said in the home office webinar that if I just sell what I have and stop wasting time crying over Dorito prints I can do this! I may be paraphrasing a bit, but that is what I hear in my LuLa juice soaked brain. 

Last week they told us that the Noir collection was coming!! It was ALL over social media! I was SO excited, my VIPS were excited!  I hoarded money, I sold things, I *might* have put off paying a couple bills until later this week. (Don't tell my husband that part please) Almost all of our most coveted items... in BLACK. The ultimate unicorn was ON IT'S WAY! I could entice people into getting things they may not have otherwise tried by having solid black items to pair with them! I couldn't wait to order! I came home early from my "real" job so I could watch the home office webinar live so I'd have the details! I watched, I listened, I was told to sell what I have and reinvest in my business. To turn cycles and sell more so I could be ready for launches. I drank some LuLa juice. We didn't even have to buy in a capsule. We could just buy stuff, at regular price, whatever size we wanted. I couldn't wait! 

I was stoked.
I was excited.
I was ready!

I logged on dreaming of making my VIPS happy. 

I was patient.
I was giddy.
I was number 32,874.

I was undaunted.
LuLaRoe wants me to succeed. 
They just told me so two hours ago.
I believe them.

I waited my turn to make my purchases. I was hoping to buy about 30-40 items, I have to order at least 30 items at a time anyway. I had carefully calculated my pieces and sizes. I waited my turn and while the time was much shorter than I was originally quoted in the queue, ALMOST everything was sold out. Over 5 million pieces were sold out in 22 minutes. 

I refreshed.
I hoped.
I said some bad words. 
I refreshed.
I said more bad words.
I gave up.

Then I saw this...

It's kind of upsetting, don't you think?

So now I'm starting to think that this LuLa juice is pickling my brain. They tell us that they want us to succeed, but it seems the same people are able to purchase outrageous amounts of inventory repeatedly, while we "little guys" are forced to send our VIPS to other retailers for the "hot" items, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a VIP group. 

There are some things that just randomly happen and make life unfair, like standardized testing kids in public schools (sorry still a soapbox of mine) hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and leukemia. I know it doesn't affect JUST me, and I'm fully aware that I'm not the only one faced with random life shit. 

But there are things that can be done fairly, in life, and in business, so I think it's fair to feel disappointed today. I've trusted that the people who make decisions at the top were looking out for me, and all the other little guys, but after today I'm not so sure. Maybe it's time for me to thrown in the leggings and give up. I'm not sure what to do right now. I need some time to think and process and lick my non-Noir collection having wounds. 

I'm allowed to have a pity party once in awhile. 

If you've read this far, thank you for reading my rambling rant. I
f you are one of my VIPS I am sorry that I failed in getting NOIR items for you. I went to extraordinary lengths to try to make it happen.

Life's not fair. 
I'll get over it.

If you want to get to know me better, feel free to go back and read my older posts. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't updated my blog in forever, but I think I need to do that, because I'm having a hard time typing my closing line (and it's not because of leggings)

God is good. All the time.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Normal Wishes

“I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” 
― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar

We're 74 days into our 100 day wait and see game. So far Brian has been doing well, surpassing the expectations of his medical team. His blood work for the most part looks good. He's not facing any major GvHD, and he's here with us. 

I know I should be celebrating...but I can't.

There aren't really any words that adequately describe this experience. You'd have to experience it yourself to understand, and I would NEVER wish that on you. Ever.

As mundane as our days are, you would think I would be at peace...

I'm not.

There is always a little voice in my head whispering "what if" "when" "what's next" and as many times as people have told me to stop worrying, you would think that I would, and I assure you I would like nothing better than to just STOP.

I can't. 

I'd give anything to just be worried about "regular" stuff. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful that Brian is doing well, that he still is still here, and that a 29 year old stranger donated stem cells to help my husband fight AML. I'd really like to hug that guy. I guess I kind of am, every time I hug Brian because they now share DNA.

I think part of my problem is I want Brian here with us forever and for always, and with this horrible disease there aren't any guarantees. Each day is like a cruel game of Russian roulette. I know there are no promises on the number of  our days, but most of us walk through life only vaguely aware of this reality. I'm keenly in tune with it,  obsessed with it. 

I wish I were not. 

I must be getting pretty good at disguising my continual state of unrest... at least on the outside. When I was questioning the doctor the other day and told him I was panicked he said... "That's what you look like when you are panicked?" Which made me laugh... and then cry.

When I see people they often tell me (after asking "How's Brian doing?") "Well you look good." 

I'm not sure if that's a compliment. I think it's supposed to be... but how am I supposed to look? Should I stop showering and brushing my teeth? Stop brushing my hair, and getting dressed? 

I'm certainly not going out of my way to "look good" and if people think I "look good" and are surprised, what the hell do I usually look like? You know.. pre-cancer? 

Nobody told me that before Brian got sick, and if you think about it that's kind of weird. I'm living on Halloween candy and Diet coke, I get about six hours of sleep a night on a good night, and I'm perpetually exhausted. 

I'm pretty sure I do NOT look "good"  I'm just trying not to look the way I feel, as I'm certain if that ever came to fruition I would send small kids screaming and adults would run away as if the zombie apocolype  had just begun. Some days I just have to remind myself what Miranda Lamber would say, "It don't matter how you feel it only matters how you look."

I think I might be losing it.

I'm so thankful for those who have stuck by us or stepped up during all of this. It feels so strange to know you are surrounded by loving good people but still feel so alone. I think part of my problem is not being able to talk about my worries and fears without being told to stop worrying and being afraid. If only it were that easy... just stop it... 

I know I'm not much fun to be around right now. I'm scattered (Even more than usual if that is even possible...scary I know) 

I wish I could be fun. 

I wish I could stop worrying. 

I wish I could enjoy fleeting moments of normal without my heart trying desperately to memorize every single detail, just in case.

I wish I could fix this.

I wish I could end this on a more positive note.

I know that everything will be as it is intended. I know that we will be carried through by the Grace of God, and I know that despite all I am dealing with right now, 

God is good. All the time. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Little Things

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
-Helen Keller

I'm not even sure where to begin this post, and it's long overdue. There are so many people who have helped us out without fail, without expectation, without being asked, without proper thank you notes, and without judgement. 

I don't know how I can ever repay the kindness, generosity, and compassion displayed by so many, but I hope if you are reading this you know how much of a difference you have made in our lives. From financial support, to graduation parties, school clothes, fundraising, phone calls, friendship, meals, cards, texts, and prayers...the list is never ending and I am SO thankful it's overwhelming. I know that leukemia and all we are so truly blessed even when the world around us is chaotic and uncertain. 

Thank you for loving us, for supporting us, for your prayers, kind words, actions and deeds. I can only hope that one day I can repay you all through my own acts of kindness. Without all of you I don't know where we would be. From the bottom of my humble heart and on behalf of my family I thank you. Words are simply not enough, but right now they are all I have to give.

Brian is home now. Today is day +24. To most this will mean nothing, and if I'm honest I'll tell you that pre-cancer day +24 would mean nothing to me either. I wouldn't get it, and I hope that nobody reading this ever has to "get it" like we do right now.  He is doing very well but with his type of leukemia each day is a gift. His transplant has been successful so far but he still has a very long way to go even before we reach what will be our "new normal". 

Our days are filled with watching and waiting, for fevers, new aches or pains for things to appear or disappear, blood tests, IV transfusions, medications, and for me...running the kids to their activities. I've learned to appreciate the little things like my daughter wanting me to brush her hair, watching a baseball game without looking at my phone, the laugher of my children, snuggling, holding hands, and looking through picture albums. 

I took my husband to Home Depot the other day at his request and had to fight back tears (not because I hate going to Home Depot and I do hate going to Home Depot... Menards is way better) as I watched him walking up and down the aisles. It was so "normal" and I realized that I had to savor every moment of this normal because we now know all to well how quickly things can change. I wanted to race back in time and make the most of all the moments I so carelessly lived without truly appreciating the miracles that happen every day. 

Have you ever realized that you love somebody so much that it hurts? If cancer has done anything positive in my life it is that it's made me slow down and savor life... aside from that it can bite me, because I still hate it.

So as inadequate as this feels this is my rambling way of trying to express my gratitude, my hope is that you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you. 

God is good. All the time. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I Hate Running.

"Courage is grace under pressure"
-Ernest Hemingway 

Sometimes I see people jogging on the side of the road, and they either look serene and blissful, or they cause snarky comments to run wildly through my head.

It's not very nice of me, I know but I feel like it's ok because I did try Couch to 5K once and anyone who was unfortunate enough to witness that event certainly had those same thoughts about me. 

I did not look graceful, or serene. I "shlogged". I often felt like I was running in slow motion or the way you do in a nightmare.  I'm certain I could hear people thinking "Oh bless her heart, look at her trying to run... wait... is she running... or did she just get hit with a tranquilizer dart? Harold, maybe we should call 9-1-1" 

I'm not here to apologize to those I secretly make fun of in my head, nor am I here to apologize to those who just can't get the picture of me trying to run out of their heads. (But to you I should seriously apologize) 

I'm here because people keep telling me this about leukemia: 

Here's the problem:  I never really liked running. In fact I HATE RUNNING.  

I hate leukemia too, so equating it to running is not doing it any favors. We need to think of a better metaphor. Quickly.

We had an unexpected trip to the hospital last week. My poor husband said his bones felt as if they were going to "snap in half and burst out of his skin"and he couldn't walk without crying out in pain. It was terrifying to watch and to add insult to injury he initially didn't want to go to the hospital. In fact he threw a major tantrum about having to go... in front of my neighbor.  My angels were watching over me though and sent him JUST ENOUGH of a fever (and maybe a case of pink eye to hedge my bet) that forced him to go to the hospital. He wound up staying for six days.

When they discharged him yesterday there was a note in his chart that said the BMT had located a 7/8 match for him (I'd feel a lot better with a 10/10 and am still praying for that) and were trying to get insurance approval to proceed with the transplant by no later than mid August. This is both amazing and TERRIFYING all at the same time. Much like my attempt at running, I often feel like I'm a total failure at this whole dealing with leukemia thing. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and sometimes I just get overwhelmed with emotions. 

I'm pissed.

This is not fair, and before you say it, I know .....
Life's not Fair.

I know it better than a lot of people, if you don't know me and have just stumbled upon this rant feel free to go back through my posts and you will understand. I'm also sure I don't know how unfair it as nearly as well as many others do. I just don't get it some days. Scratch that.  I just don't get it period. 

I've had many friends tell me "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." I know they are trying to help, but I'm not worthy of all this trust God seems to have in me. I've failed in my words actions, and deeds many times.

I guess maybe I'm being asked this time to just let go and let God handle it, but my heart is perpetually on the verge of breaking and I really hate running. 

I'm scared.

I'm scared I'm going to mess this up. 
I'm scared I could lose my husband.
I'm scared my kids will become depressed, angry, or disappointed in me. 
I'm scared of watching my husband suffer.
I'm scared of feeling resentful that my life has been changed so much that sometimes I don't recognize myself.
I'm scared my husband will have complications that he doesn't even understand right now and will be upset with me for "letting" things happen.
I'm scared of all the uncertainty that makes up my daily life.
I'm scared people are judging the way I'm doing things. There's not a manual or a Leukemia for Dummy's guide for me to follow. Just some Facebook support groups and honestly those can either be a source of inspiration or a whole new way to worry about things I never even knew could happen.
I'm scared of dropping out of this marathon half way through because I just can't do it.
I hate running. 

I'm sad.

That my husband has cancer.
That my kids have a dad who has cancer.
That I can't do the things I used to do with my friends.
That I have to run. I hate running.

I'm Overwhelmed

With emotions.
With thanks.
With gratitude to my friends, family, and complete strangers who have stepped up, helped out, prayed, comforted, and supported us.
With hope for a future when we can look back and remember this and pay forward all the kindness and support that has been shown to our family.
With love.
With Faith that God will support us through our journey.

With the thought of putting on running shoes for a race I never wanted to sign up for. 
I hate running. I would never sign up for a marathon, but here I am somewhere near the starting line, with the finish line nowhere in sight, and I'm not sure how I even got here. 

I will run, or shlogg, and I'll likely cry out in pain many times along the way, but I'll get there. 

Thank you for cheering me on along the way.

God is good. All the time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This Post is NOT about Cancer... But it's totally true!!!

"The truth is you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed. "


Just when you think life can't get any crazier, it does. I know we all know this, but every once in awhile it jumps up and smacks you right between the eyes. Sometimes I think it even flips us the bird, or maybe that's just me.

This story is totally true, and actually kind of embarrassing, but I guess it also gives you an idea of how things are going in our house. I may appear to be keeping it all together, but sometimes things slip through the cracks!

Meet Ginny....

Ginny is our cat. She doesn't really like us all that much, but she lets us live with her. She doesn't ask for much either, aside from a warm place to sleep and cool water to drink from a running faucet, so never mind I take that back... she's actually a rather demanding cat. Her favorite hang out is our basement. I have told many people that she rules the house from our laundry room where she enjoys lounging on freshly laundered clothes still warm from the dryer. She spends about 90% of her time in the basement.

Meet Hazel

Hazel is one of our dogs. She also enjoys hanging out in our basement. There are three bedrooms down there, and a laundry room complete with a "catbox crunchy" buffet. Her favorite activities are being wherever people are, and chasing the cat.  She is  FREQUENTLY in the basement with Ginny. (Remember this part of the story, we have a CAT and a DOG in the basement daily!)  We also have another dog Delilah, but she is too scared to go down the stairs to the basement so she is usually hanging out in the kitchen hoping we drop stuff for her to eat.

So right before Brian went into the hospital we kept finding cat poo NOT in the litter box. Ginny has always been pretty good about using her litter box and we keep it scooped, but she is also very finicky so I told the kids to scoop more and put more litter in the box.  We kept finding "presents" around the laundry room and in the laundry sink. We wondered WHAT was wrong with Ginny. It didn't appear that she was sick based on her "gifts" so I didn't worry TOO much but instead wondered what my diva cat was irritated with us for. I know you are wondering where I am going with this, but trust me, I 'll get back to it....

Yesterday I brought Brian home from the hospital. Life is way better when he is home with us. I woke up early to give him his medicine and went upstairs to fill out more paperwork and take care of last minute details for Noah's trip to Europe.

Brian came upstairs about an hour later and said, "There is an opossum in our basement."  Chemo does weird things to a person and his eyesight is not the best lately so I calmly asked him to repeat what he said. He looked at me and said, "THERE IS A OPOSSUM SITTING ON OUR WASHER!" I honestly thought he was kidding, but I went downstairs and sure enough there was a FLIPPING opossum sitting on our washer as if he (she?) were wondering what WE were doing in the laundry room. It didn't appear scared or angry... it was just SITTING THERE!  

Needless to say I lost my mind and ran upstairs. I may or may not have ran in circles like a ninny for a brief moment. I'm taking the fifth on that one. 

All I knew was that Brian my immune suppressed husband should probably NOT be messing with the opossum. I tried to call my father in law for some live traps (that was my great plan) but he wasn't answering his phone so I called his wife, and she didn't answer her phone either so I called like 84 more times and they still didn't answer. So I just called my friend Michelle. She can usually fix everything. Everybody should have a Michelle in their lives. 

While I was making phone calls my husband went outside and got fishing nets and welding gloves and was arranging rubbermaid tubs in the basement. In a momentary flash of clarity I woke up Ricky and told him to go help his dad catch the opossum in the basement... I'm not real sure what I thought he would do, but he woke up and went downstairs to help out.  Ruby, Clara, and Noah had all armed themselves with baseball bats and were ready for battle if needed.

Within minutes Noah ran upstairs and opened the back door and my husband came upstairs (moving pretty quickly for a guy with cancer I might add) with a net inside a tub and a opossum in the net! He set his "trap" in the backyard and sat down to catch his breath. I stopped hyperventilating and went to find my camera to take a picture of our intruder but by the time I found my phone our friend had disappeared.

So after we all calmed down we started thinking about things and realized that IT WAS NOT CAT POOP we were finding in our laundry room! It was opossum poop! 

Ginny's food bowl is in the laundry room and we had both wondered WHY after ten years she had started moving it all over the laundry room, but we just attributed it to the fact that she is a diva cat and was probably mad at us for not filling it enough, or filling it too much...she's just like that. We are constantly disappointing the poor cat.  

Which brings me to my question of the day...


I have been living in my house
and doing laundry
while my husband is in the hospital
and there was a opossum living in my laundry room.

Think on that for a minute.
This could ONLY happen to me.

Hazel isn't off the hook either. Don't dogs have a super keen sense of smell? Shouldn't she be trying to protect me from the opossum that was living in our laundry room? Why didn't she GET the opossum? She should be ASHAMED of herself for failing to protect me from the laundry room opossum.  Feel the bad shame Hazel Grace. Feel the BAD SHAME!

I had a opossum living in my laundry room for quite possibly over a week.

I will not be getting over this any time soon. What if the opossum moved his (her?) whole family in there? I'm terrified to go downstairs now which is problematic because that is where my bedroom is. I may never sleep again.

Thank God Brian was home to handle it. He's always been my knight in dirty Carharts.

God is good. All the time. 
(Even if he lets opossums live in my laundry room) 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hello from the Other Side...Or , YAY! We're not in the hospital!

"Home is the nicest word there is."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder 

We are home, for now, but most of you know that already. If feels so great to have my husband at HOME with us! It's nice not to have to rush to the hospital every morning (although we frequently go for blood tests and other appointments.) It's nice to be able to at least pretend that things are back to "normal" and it's nice to be able to see my husband happier. 

Being home however doesn't mean that he is cured.  Unfortunately AML is a marathon, not a sprint. How I wish that he were just "cured" and we were DONE with this chapter of our lives, but alas that is NOT the case even a little bit. We have a long ways to go still, and I frequently remind myself that I need to take things one day at a time.

We went for ANOTHER bone marrow biopsy today. My poor husband has now endured FIVE of these in the last month and a half! The doctors told us that when we come on the 29th to meet with the doctor we should have a bag packed. If the bone marrow biopsy is GOOD he will be admitted to start his consolidation chemo which would be about a week in the hospital (to keep the cancer from coming back) if it's not good, he will have to be in for another long bout of chemo, so another month or so. I'm praying for good results!

The bone marrow transplant team said they are having "difficulty" finding a match for Brian. They didn't exactly say why, but one doctor said something to the effect of "you never know who hooked up with who a ways back" so I'm guessing that to mean that my strawberry blonde, blue eyed, freckled husband has some non-european lineage in his DNA somewhere. One nurse said he was "unique" I of course knew this already, and am not surprised he can't do things the "normal" way. Every step of this journey has thrown us a curve ball, but I refuse to lose hope!

The transplant team discussed other possible ways to get the transplant done in the event they couldn't find a match, either cord blood which would be an advantage in that the stem cells in cord blood are young and need less "matches" since they aren't fully developed or using a half match as in one of the kids. Brian doesn't want one of the kids to be his donor, but when he discussed it briefly with them they were arguing over who would "GET" to be the donor! They love their daddy, and would be honored to be the one to help save his life!

Speaking of donors, and searching, we will be hosting a Be the Match drive at Ypsilanti Community Schools high school on July 15th from 3-7.  I need volunteers to come an hour early and learn how to help with swabbing and registering people. 

If you read this and you are able, please shoot me an email or message to let me know, even better if you are famous or something and happen to read this (Hint Hint Ellen, Blake Shelton, Bachelor Franchise folks...) and want to show up to make MORE people come out and try to be the match for somebody PLEASE DO!!  You might not be the "unique" match for my husband, but we are not alone in this battle and there are many people also searching for their perfect life saving match. 

I am so thankful to all the family and friends who have helped us out through the Meal Train, and the Go Fund Me page, and helping to get our Be the Match drive going. 

If it were not for your kindness and generosity I don't know what we would be doing right now. Brian will get social security disability but they won't even send a check until November! (This by the way makes ZERO sense to me, but that is a whole OTHER topic for another post some day...) 

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for all of your help, may your kindness be repaid to you tenfold and then some.

Now that my update is complete I need to get a Diet Coke and get ready for The Bachelorette.  

God is good. All the time.