Most of you who are reading this post probably know that I have had a difficult past several months due to serious health problems. Since July I have been diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, type 1 diabetes, cushings syndrome, severe osteoporosis, and neuroendocrine cancer (with known tumors on my liver, in my iliac bone, and in lymph nodes in my neck). Much of this is a result of excessive ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) production and consequently excess cortisol (stress hormone) levels. I went to the emergency room due to extreme confusion and disorientation from my high cortisol levels. During my hospital stay I had a bilateral adrenalectomy to stop the cortisol production. While I was there as a patient I fell and fractured my neck, so I also had neck surgery. It has been a long, eventful, and stressful seven months.
One of Conor’s beautiful sand dollars
I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all our friends and family who have shown their love, concern, support, encouragement, help, and generosity throughout all this. I greatly appreciate the many visits and hugs from friends, meals prepared, monetary donations, gifts, words of support and encouragement, and offers to help, especially with the girls.
One of our favorite places to hang out here in Saco is the local Starbucks. We have gotten to know most of the baristas there and made some good friends. I have recently become friends with Conor, one of the baristas. She collects sand dollars on various beaches, cleans them up, and creatively decorates them to sell. A couple months ago she gave me a sack full of them–all beautifully designed–that the girls and I could use to decorate or give to friends as gifts over the holidays. It was incredibly sweet. She texted me a few days ago to ask if I could meet her at Starbucks that afternoon.
When I walked in she treated me to my favorite drink (green tea latte). She then sat down with Brent and me to have our drinks and handed me an envelope. Inside was a card and some cash. Conor had collected, decorated, and sold as many sand dollars as she could with the help of her colleagues in order to raise money for us. Conor said that she had approached our friend Jill one day, and learned that she was distraught about my condition after visiting me in the hospital, and concerned for Brent and the immense burdens that he is carrying. When Jill expressed her desire to do something for us, Conor came up with her sand dollar idea.
The timing was opportune, as I have just lost my medical insurance after transitioning from short-term disability to long-term disability. The medical bills are continuing to pile up, and I am still not working. I was so incredibly touched by their thoughtfulness and generosity. Brent and I each gave Conor a big hug and thanks, but it seemed impossible to adequately express our feelings in words.
I appreciate the company and the hugs from the many concerned and well-meaning people who have visited me, and the many well wishes and encouraging words I’ve received through social media and phone calls. I am glad for the opportunities I’ve had to get out and meet with people, especially after feeling so isolated from the world. It it wonderful to have friends and family who reach out not only to see how I’m doing or if I need anything, but who have demonstrated their concern and support for Brent and the girls who I believe need it more than I do. Thank you, my amazing friends. :-)