We got married August 21st, 2010.
We (myself) moved to Delaware (to Chad's place).
I started a business, Stonewash & Bloom on May 1st, 2011.
... and we lived happily ever after...
(Wait, what? Oh yeah, scratch that last part.)
Alright, already. Everyone knows the first year of marriage is hard. Ok, ok- IT SUCKS. No, just kidding really. Actually, I could say that our first year of marriage in respect to marital things was pretty good. It's all the other garbagey, yucky, mean things (that sounded real mature, didn't it?) that has made our first year of wedding bliss look more like the nightmares that scarred (yes, "SCARRED", not just "scared") us as children (you know: Chucky, IT, Bambi... what? No one's with me on that last one? Seriously people- THAT'S A DEPRESSING MOVIE).
Anyways, here is our story:
Chad was going through a really hard time medically with chronic pain and such. Bad enough that after two months of being married, Chad needed to go on medical leave. Some days he literally didn't get out of bed. Heres the thing: he was diagnosed when he was 14 with Systemic Lupus, and nearly died. Because of that, he was also diagnosed with secondary epilepsy due to damage to his brain (causing him to have grand mal, petty mal, and other types of seizures). If that wasn't enough, while we were dating, Chad was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia due to a severe amount of chronic pain and other symptoms. Ugh, right? I mean, the chances of a white male in his twenties having all of those problems is beyond rare.
Fast foward to Christmas time. Our first Christmas together! Chad was not doing too well the weeks leading up to the holidays. His doctors had still not allowed him to return to work, and he was getting a lot of testing and such done to try and ease his pain. They tried a new medication and it was working GREAT! Chad planned on returning to work after the holidays. We were visiting Chads sister in NYC and what we counted as a blessing turned into a disaster. Chad was feeling pretty good and he said he would be up for a night out so we started our mini vacation with ice skating in the city. Romantic right? BAD IDEA. It was December 21st.
I will never forget that date. Besides the fact that its my moms birthday and I would be shot if I ever forgot it (love you mom!), how could I forget the day Chad decided to break his leg and tear every ligament in his ankle?
Yeah. Not easy to forget. I even joked before going out on the ice that I would be breaking something. Chad is a great skater, it just so happens that a young girl out there that night was NOT a great skater and she bumped into Chad, dropping his 6'3" and 280lbs frame to the ice. BANG. BOOM. CRACK.
Have you ever spent a night during holiday season in an ambulence screaming through the packed streets of NYC? It's almost comical how horrifying that was.
After days of pain and casts and everything, we ended up going from his sisters in NYC to his brothers in PA. Even if we tried to get home to Delaware there was no way Chad could make it up three flights of stairs to our apartment. The worst Christmas of our lives came and passed (wasn't it supposed to be the best?). New Years Eve came quickly, and we soon found ourselves watching the clock tic past twelve... WHILE SITTING IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. Chad was in excrutiating pain and all out of meds and lets just say that some doctors weren't in the "holiday spirit". I mean, breaking your leg and tearing all the ligaments in your ankle doesn't exactly tickle, but having that pain on top of all of his other chronic pain was HORRIBLE. So, so bad.
After what seemed like years, during which Chad visited more hospitals and doctors and Walgreens in PA, Chad went through surgery on his ankle and we finally returned home to Delaware. While trying to keep our spirits up the whole time, we were both pretty depressed. Not gonna lie. We still had a lot to be thankful for, but I mean, this all happened 4 months into our first year of marriage.
Oh, but theres more.
Chad had OBVIOUSLY been out on medical leave (all covered, all legal, all understandable), but his work decided to call him in a little over a week after his surgery and let him know that "Oh, hey, gosh, guess what, im sorry to say...
... YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB ANYMORE."
Yeah, that was the icing on the cake. We were pretty happy to hear that. Not.
I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?! I nearly threw up when he told me. So now we had a RIDICULOUS amount of medical bills, ON TOP of all the incredibly expensive medical costs Chad needed before he broke his leg, and we no longer had an income.
(>jumping for joy<)
We lived in Delaware until March, both of us searching for jobs like crazy, bundled up in blankets because we couldn't afford to keep the heat on. We literally had no money. We ran out of all our savings and jumped into debt. Anybody been there before? It happens SO fast, doesn't it?. If it weren't for friends and family helping us move to NY and in with the in-laws, we would've been homeless. That would've been a great story to tell the kiddos one day. I can see it now: "And here's a picture of Daddy begging for money on the street corner... Aw. He was so charming and good with people back then..."
So, let me do a quick recap for ya here:
August 2010: Married.
October 2010: Hubby on medical leave because pain and problems.
December 2010: Hubby breaks leg, destroys ankle.
January 2011: New Years spent in ER. Hubby loses job.
January thru March 2011: Stacey and Chad freeze inside apartment, playing endless games of Yahtzee.
March 2011: Move in with in-laws in upstate NY.
May 2011: Stonewash & Bloom created to help pay for bills and hubbys medication.
October 2011: Hubby still unemployed. Leg healed. Ankle healed. Stonewash & Bloom still blooming.
It's been pretty rough. While I LOVE my in-laws, no newlyweds want to move in with them, ya know?. I mean, we haven't even had a fair chance at being newlyweds yet, and we have been married over a year now. And the majority of that was spent unpacking and getting settled. And with the unemployment situation and no medical insurance, we have had a lot of extra tension added to the already stressful and dreaded "First Year". We are lookin' for a break, but it hasn't come yet. Right now, Stonewash & Bloom is a survival tactic. While it has been a dream come true, I haven't been able to do with it what I dream to one day. Once Hubby get's employed again, that may change. But we will have a lot of catching up to do even when that happens. S&B is mainly for survival. All the money goes towards our bills and more importantly- Chad's medication. Its a daily thing right now. Looking at the positives. Looking at what we DO have, not what we DON'T have. Looking at what we've kept and nurtured, not what we've lost and neglected. This is not what we expected, but we know it' only for a season. We are Christians, and we firmly believe God has a perfect plan for all of this. One day we will look back and smile, and tell each other we would go through it again if we had to.
I believe blessings are not products of circumstances... they are products of the condition of one's heart. Of attitudes and perspective. Of the proactive search for something beautiful. If you are going through something tough, keep smiling. Keep focusing on the positive. There ALWAYS is some. Even in the darkest places, there is always light- even if it's only what you've made your responsibility to grow in your heart. : )