At the beginning of the new year, I like to reflect back on the previous one. 2015 got off to a VERY rocky start… By the time March came along I was already DONE with it; ready to write it off as the worst year of my life (second only to 2012)!
Miraculously though, it got better. So many positive things happened as a result of bad situations, but so many wonderful things in and of themselves happened too. If I had to sum the year up in 3 words it would be, you guessed it, “Accidents, blessings, and haters.” And they would go in that order, I feel, because the blessings and the haters came as a direct result from the accidents… So, if you have the want and the time to read my lengthy explanation behind this, I’ll just get right to it:
In February, Hubs and I were shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond, enjoying each other’s company, getting a set of bed sheets, and minding our own business… We walked back to our car and noticed something amiss:
Yeah… Someone backed into Tim’s car, damaging it quite a bit, and decided to drive off instead of do the right thing.
This accident cost us $869 out-of-pocket since the culprit was unknown. What goes around, comes around and I’m hoping that Karma will avenge us (…is that wrong??).
Later in February, I went to St. Louis to receive training on Baby Lock Sewing Machines. As a dealer who only had experience with Janome, I was actually really looking forward to it. On the 3rd day of training; however, I came down with a HORRIBLE case of the stomach flu… (When I wasn’t vomiting) I was in bed for 2 days.
Finally, the worst accident of all, happened on February 26. I donated plasma, got some oatmeal at McDonald’s, and headed to work. An hour into my shift, I felt sicker than I’ve ever felt in my life… I couldn’t catch my breath, my vision went black, my heart was racing, I was sweating… did I mention I was with a customer when all this was happening? That made the ordeal even more awkward. I actually fainted shortly thereafter. All joking aside, it was a true damsel in distress moment… When I collapsed, I smacked my face on a wall, and slid to the floor. That’s what I was told… All I remember was waking up on the floor, in a small pool of my blood… the customer’s wife was rubbing my back (I’m not super touchy-feely with complete strangers, but I remember thinking it was nice. I’m sure it was her maternal instinct to comfort me). He was on his cell calling an ambulance. When the EMTs arrived, my blood pressure was so low, they couldn’t even find a reading. When I did stabilize, it was 80/50. That’s when they decided, with or without my approval, I was going to the hospital.
I was at the hospital for 3 hours: I received X-rays, 2 EKGs, an IV drip, and a tetanus shot, ya know, for good measure. All the tests came back negative for anything serious. I’m completely healthy, Thank God. It was just a freak accident…
My nose; however, broke on impact. It broke bad.
That bump on my already gynormous nose is my septum; it was completely dislodged on impact… Basically, your septum separates your nostrils and should lay in the middle of your nose, right? Mine broke at an angle; the top of it poking underneath the skin at the top of my nose; the bottom half of it situated in my right nostril. I could not breathe at all out of my right side as it was 100% blocked.
I was actually more MAD than anything by this particular accident. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to be taken away in an ambulance. I didn’t want all those tests. I just wanted to lay down and be left alone 🙂 If I had just excused myself from my customers and taken a break, I think I could’ve just “rested” it off and the accident wouldn’t have happened at all… that’s my logic.
But it did happen. And I was stuck with thousands of dollars in hospital bills… In addition to the hit and run that happened shortly before…
Emotionally, I was actually pretty depressed after this accident. I went through a major “funk.” We had just managed to get in a place where we felt comfortable and like we were getting ahead of everything, financially. All our hard work of saving, sticking to a budget, and the discipline in all that went completely down the drain in an instant. My life was turned upside down in an instant. I’m not trying to be melodramatic but it was. I had even planned to quit my second job because we were doing so well.
Also, I had planned to have an arm lift surgery. 5 years after my 100lbs weight loss, I STILL have a lot of loose skin. My arms have bothered me for a long time and I had been saving money to have this procedure done for 2 years. In fact, my consultation with my surgeon was on February 27th. I scheduled that appointment weeks in advance… and then I broke my nose on the 26th…
With the medical bills piling up, I had to cancel my arm lift surgery… And the money I saved up for that procedure had to go elsewhere… I had to continue with my second job…
Suffice it to say, February sucked.
I was in panic mode when the bills kept coming in: There was the ambulance ride, the hospital stay, the attending physician’s fee, the X-rays, the X-ray technician’s fee to read the X-Rays, the room “rental” for the time to get the X-rays, the EKG and the EKG technician’s fee to read the results of the EKG… and it kept going and going and going!
Not only was the cash I stashed away for my arm lift surgery gone but we were completely in the red… As a desperate attempt to not file for bankruptcy… I did something that I’m really embarrassed about. Like, I still cringe thinking about it, but I was desperate!
We set up a “Go Fund Me” account hoping and praying that the kindness of friends and strangers would get us through this rough patch. On the website we set up, we mentioned my accident and what happened with my plasma donation… Again, we weren’t pointing fingers or trying to get anyone in trouble, we were just explaining what happened and why we were asking for money… Some of the employees at the Plasma Donation Center saw my website through a friend of a friend of a friend. One of the nurse’s actually contacted me personally and asked me about my accident. I told her what happened and that the accident was really, really, really hurting us financially.
The very next day at work I received a call from a corporate liabilities firm. SHE asked me about my accident and told me to send her ALL the bills incurred from my accident. She said she would “take care of it.” I thought it was a joke or a scam at first, but I sent her all my hospital bills anyway.
Long story short (too late, I know), all our medical bills were paid for by this third party liabilities group! If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is! 🙂 I broke into tears right there at Job #1 and I told my coworkers to excuse me for a while so I could get on my hands and knees and Thank God for this blessing! I was completely elated! It took a few months to go through all the red tape, if you will. But all our medical bills were paid for. The surgery that I had to have done to my nose was not paid for… In fact, my health insurance plan didn’t throw me a bone on it (that’s another blog post, entirely)… but I was so relieved that all our other bills were paid for that I was almost happy to pay out-of-pocket for nose surgery.
We proceeded with the surgery and on May 4th I went under the knife.
I’ve always hated my nose. Always! I’ve actually toyed with idea of getting a nose job before but I was too scared to think seriously of it: It’s notorious for being a very painful operation/recovery. Plus, it’s not typically covered by health insurance… so, it was never super high on my priority list. And, honestly, who does have a pretty nose? I mean, we’re all kind of in the same boat where that’s concerned, right? 🙂 This accident forced me to have surgery. So, even though I didn’t plan it, it still turned out to be a blessing because I can breathe out of my noes again, AND, I actually like the look of my nose! 🙂
The very next day, my weight loss story was published on Yahoo! Health. I had been corresponding with the author for a few weeks and I didn’t know when the story would be published. I was high on Percocet, chilling on the couch when my phone blew up with messages and texts from people who saw the article. This article prompted a plethora of other online publications, and I officially went viral. I’m still getting requests for my story even today. In fact, I’m being considered for an inclusion in a motivational book series, which will come to fruition later in the year. Not a bad gig at all 🙂
In July, I was chosen to participate in Refashion Runway. I auditioned on a whim but it ended up being a great experience. I got to challenge myself as a seamstress, my blog got a LOT of exposure, but most importantly, I got to make some great new friends! It was just a truly awesome experience. A blessing, for sure.
We experienced a lot of blessings in our family as well. Tim’s business as a realtor really picked up; it picked up enough that I actually felt comfortable putting in my notice at my second job! For the first time in 4 years…I have a normal 9 to 5 career once more. Also, I kept it pretty hush-hush… I did get my arm lift surgery after all, too.
Not a bad end to the year at all 🙂
I was SO ecstatic about my medical bills that I shared this blessing on my facebook page. I wasn’t bragging or boasting…I was merely sharing this incredible experience that started off as a tragedy and turned into something awesome. And as a believer, I thought it would be almost rude of me NOT to share my gratitude for this blessing. Ya know? God gave me this wonderful gift and I was thankful… I wanted to give Him glory for it. Plain and simple.
Well, that’s when it started… friends, coworkers, they started giving me grief: “How dare you ask for money? You go around bragging how you’ve got cash saved up for your arms but yet you start a fund me page?” “You don’t even NEED to have your arms done.” “Your nose isn’t even that bad, you’re just being a baby. Boo hoo, you have a bump on your nose…you’re still alive. You should be a little grateful.” “When you sign up to donate plasma you KNOW the risks; you sign a waiver. It’s not THEIR fault you’re a pansy and can’t handle the donation process. I can’t believe you’d have to audacity to sue them for your medical bills.”
That was just the half of it. Never mind the fact I explained to them I didn’t have the cash for my arm surgery anymore, and that I cancelled it completely (Good! You don’t need it! If anything you’re getting too skinny!) or that I didn’t sue the plasma center–they contacted ME (They wouldn’t have contacted you if you hadn’t have whined about it on facebook!) or that I removed the fund me page a day later out of embarrassment (you still put it up in the first place. You just want people to feel sorry for you. It’s not like you have cancer or something really wrong with you)…
Even now, people approach me and say, “Ya know Laura I’ve always thought you were real cute. Your new nose is pretty, but I didn’t think your old nose was that bad… You’re just too hard on yourself.” To which I reply, “Thank you. That’s very sweet …but you do realize that I fell and broke my nose. I had to have surgery.” And they usually respond to that with, “I know… but I just didn’t think you needed it…”
What can ya do? People are going to think what they want to think, regardless of what the truth is… No use in dwelling on it. I guess what hurt the most is that people who I considered to be friends automatically assumed the worst of me, even when I tried my best to explain the facts to them.
Haters gonna hate… And you live and learn as a result. It was a lesson in trust. I learned who my real friends are, who I can trust, and that at work I just keep my mouth shut about ANYthing personal (which is why when I DID finally have my arm surgery in September, I went through great pains to hide it!).
I also got to experience my first hate mail with my blog. I got a few emails about how I was disrespectful & culturally ignorant by refashioning certain garments.
When my weight loss story went viral, most of the comments on the articles were positive… a LOT of them were negative. I’m amazed how hateful and downright cruel people can be. Just because an interaction is not face-to-face, doesn’t make it any less hurtful to the subject… I was genuinely hurt by the comments. People made fun of my nose (the articles were published right after my surgery, and pics of my “old” nose were used), my “thunder thighs” and every other part of my anatomy. A lot said I was still fat and that my article was a waste of time (even though they took the time to read it and comment on it…). There’s really only one way for me to get over that kind of negativity… don’t read the comments 🙂
After evaluating my 2015 in terms of Accidents, Blessings, and Haters I’m going on record by saying 2015 was wicked awesome! I am a blessed woman. To say I had some life lessons would be an understatement. Yes, I learned a little bit more about others (positively and negatively speaking)… but I actually think I learned more about myself. I learned I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a bad situation; that maybe, even in the seeming trials of life, God is using that experience for my good. I need to have a little more faith and trust. It’s actually quite humbling and I’m a little ashamed of myself for not doing that to begin with…
On that note, I’m going to wish you all a Happy New Year!
2016 will be awesome.