I am Leah and I have Bipolar Disorder. To make life even more interesting, my husband, Dan, has Stage IV Cancer. He was diagnosed at 37 and has  been in ongoing treatment for 4.5 years! We also have a healthy and rambunctious 7 year old. So follow along as we try to manage our life together and strive for love, gratitude, and joy.

Back to Work for Me...!

Happy at his work desk.

Dan isn't officially back to work just yet, but that doesn't keep him away! While he waits for chemo to start and continues to have nearly no side effects from radiation, he returns to his happy place when he. can--his desk in his WLS affectionately known as the "LSO."

We are just beginning to see the outpouring of support from his industry associates. Back at his desk, he had hundreds of emails to click through, just replying to offers of support and well wishes. Dan is a solid 100% genuinely nice guy. He has integrity, intelligence, and a sense of humor, and those qualities set him apart in his field of work. When he shares emails with me from industry associates (even competitors) who have nothing but super awesome things to say-- and that they are rooting for him--I am not surprised. I am grateful that those people take the time to sit down and type a letter to Dan sharing their positive thoughts. That stuff is giving him a boost. He needs as much boosting as possible right now.

This week we also found out that the crew guys at WLS pooled together and raised funds to donate to us. We were so touched at their generosity --and again, it goes to show how amazing Dan is. Everyone who knows Dan or has worked with him cares. Deeply cares. (I told him to do something special for himself with that money--no medical bills. :) )

I actually went back to my normally scheduled work week in McMinnville last week. I worked four shifts at the store, had a couple of meetings with my boss, and took a little bit of work home with me. I had set into motion my step down as Store Manager the day Dan went to the ER. I chose to do it to focus more time and energy on my own business, so I had no idea it would be necessary for a whole new reason.
I have a lot of breakfast meetings at Community Plate in Mac. Rockin' a Monroe kimono & Fleet Foxes concert tee.

This week will be some training and tying up some loose ends as I officially step down. My presence at the store will just be two shifts a week until we know more. It all depends on what I am able to schedule for my business and what Dan's chemo treatments will be like. There are still a lot of unknowns (timing, frequency, side effects, overall prognosis) that make it difficult to plan very far ahead. I'm operating week to week with maybe the next month in mind.

It felt good to go back to work. Despite a panic attack the first time I walked in the store, I did fine and spent the week getting back into the swing of things. (In retrospect, I think the panic attack is because that is where I found out he was in the hospital, which started it all.) It was good to talk to customers and have normal interactions without them knowing my situation. It felt good to focus on something other than cancer, finances, or medications. At the same time, there were also moments where people (both at work and out in public) act greedy, rude, or petty, and I wanted to scream BE GRATEFUL! I knew this would happen, though. It was similar after the tornado last year. I felt I was a part of two realities and the people who were not aware of the tornado reality sometimes seemed to need more awareness. Everyday we are walking around blessed infinitely. I must resist the urge to shake people who don't acknowledge it more.
Work on my phone getting back into the swing of LuLaRoe communications and store stuff. Lots of social media, texts, emails. And some blogging for you kind readers. :) And that's a super comfy Irma tunic.

While at moments it feels all too incredibly overwhelming, I have also been formulating a plan to get back to work for my business. It is exceptional what a small step away from my home office has done for me. Combined with our new cancer reality, and stopping all communications and events, I have a fresh perspective on my business and my vision for it moving forward. I am both excited and anxious. How can I run a business and take care of my husband and son? How can I give the best customer service and shopping experience when I am dealing with such raw emotional and physically challenging circumstances? How do I ask for help and not try to do it all too much and too quickly?

Family photo by Christie Glynn Photography. I felt like a million bucks in my Amelia dress.
But here is the amazing part...I sort of randomly fell into starting my own business and selling LuLaRoe, without a crystal clear reason why or a solid business plan. And when Dan and I decided together to have me start this venture, we had no idea what lay ahead. The owners of LuLaRoe have been supporting me since the day I started and they have reached out and supported us ever since we got Dan's diagnosis. They envisioned a company that would provide a lifestyle for small business owners to work with them and create schedules of flexibility, joy, and togetherness with their loved ones in addition to some good ol' fashioned hard work. So I really couldn't be in better hands with a better business opportunity. 
And my customers? And my fellow LuLaRoe business owners across the country? Wow. You have all blown me away with your love and support. I can't wait to give it all back tenfold. Stay tuned: Beautiful things on the horizon rising out of this struggle and sadness.

One Week In Photos 10/7 - 10/14

One Week In Photos 9/30 - 10/7