“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Pry

Life is one of those things we all have to live it one day at a time. We never really know when one of those crazy “life events” will occur. For @scottfand me, it has been happening a lot since that New Year’s Eve day this year. You see, I had an Ocular Stroke and everything has completely changed for me. Granted, this was not in the main part of my brain, but it was in my eye and had caused some pretty challenging issues for me. Between all the doctor appointments, the hospital stay, and a few issues stroke victims deal with on a daily basis, my health has impacted us on a major scale. However, we have done our best to make sure that it we still do the things we love to do to help make it all livable.

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We were concerned, at first, about traveling because the strokes are not going to go away, they are something that will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. They have found that I have too many red blood cells and this causes my blood to be thick which puts me at risk for many health issues. Because of this I suffer extreme headaches, dizziness, and just don’t feel well; this situation is what caused the stroke and could cause more of them and heart events. There is plenty of testing going on to figure out why my body is producing so many red blood cells, but until we are able to figure this out there is one procedure that I will be having to have done for quite some time. I will be doing what is called phlebotomy. Basically, it is the medieval practice called “bloodletting.” This is the medical practice of removing blood for therapeutic purposes. It is not bad, as long as there are no leeches involved.

This procedure has to happen every four to six weeks until my red blood cell levels go down to where they should be. It is not a difficult procedure, I just go to the local blood institute and they take the blood as if I were donating it. Unfortunately, until they know exactly what is causing the issue, I am not able to donate the blood. It is not painful except when the first put the needle into the arm; the only issue I seem to have from it is I am exhausted for a couple of days.

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Other than the health issues, we have had some family issues as well. We were living as Texas State Park Hosts and planning to move to our second park when my father contacted with me with some very upsetting news. He had been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the tissue deep in your lungs becomes scarred over time. This tissue gets thick and stiff. That makes it hard for you to catch your breath, and your blood may not get enough oxygen.

From the Medline Plus article “Pulmonary Fibrosis.”

Because he was in the last stages, Mom needed us home to help. We had really not planned to move back to Tulsa, but here we are. My father passed away on March 26, and even though we knew about it, it still hit us all pretty hard. My father taught me many things but the one thing he said that really hit me hard was to not give up on my dreams. He said there were things he wished he would have done and he didn’t want to see me give up on mine. Like many other people, I had a wonderful father and will miss him greatly.

We had decided not travel as hard while my father was here and Mom needed help, but it is time for us start thinking about getting back to the travel life. However, now that we lived in a house, did not have the RV any longer, and have quite a bit more debt we need to make some changes. We have been given a challenge by life, yet again, so it is time to start making plans. One of those was for us to tighten the belt unrealistically and get debt free. Because of this, the dream of cross county across the country travel was looking impossible for quite a while. It was depressing and overwhelming.

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One of the things we have discussed was me finding a “real” fulltime job, but I have had a real issue getting anyone to interview me, much less look at my resume. Because I have been happy to sit at home with the amazing hammock sleeping Cordie and work on nothing but Steem and our website I have not thought twice about working outside of home, but something changed on the afternoon of my father’s memorial. The people Scott works for called him and asked if I would like to give the dispatch job a try. Without thinking about it, he and I decided this would be a good thing to help me be distracted from grief and to bring in a paycheck. I like to think that Daddy walked up to the Big Guy himself and told Him I needed a break.

THIS WAS A HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR US!

With this position, I will be making enough money that we will be debt free this time next year and hopefully getting money saved up so we can either purchase some land, RV, or school bus. This means Mom and my children will have time to decide what their next move is over the next year. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel; our dream is starting to reveal itself again.

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Yes, this will be a challenge for us. Working a fulltime job will be difficult for me because I have not worked one of those in a long time and my health issues will cause a few challenges but my employers are extremely understanding and supportive.

There are many challenges ahead for us, but Life does not stop or slow down for anyone. We have to be willing to decide to accept our destiny.”

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