Connecticut College ~ The reason for my 50th Hub on Hubpages
The face behind the screen name.
I'm celebrating my 50th Hub today!
Today it's august 9, 2013. Approximately two months after joining HubPages, I am sitting down at 5 a.m to write my 50th Hub.
I am so excited to tell the world my story. I hardly slept a wink last night.
I want to share the work I've accomplished in my life as inspiration to others.
The real me!
I am the young woman in the picture there. But by all means, I do not look as vibrant now as I did then.
When that picture was taken, I was working in a professional career. I did not have children. I wasn't even married yet!
I also went to a hairdresser and paid way too much for that look.
If I took a picture of what I look like today, after children and surgeries, I would probably scare a few people, so let's just say I'm still as beautiful on the inside as I once was on the outside!
Who I am and Why I'm here.
If you take my life in order from birth, such as in a timeline fashion, this article wouldn't really make much sense.
I have to start backwards in order to acknowledge the reasons for writing on HubPages in the first place.
Let's rewind my life and unfold my story to better understand who I am and why I'm here.
It all started about two months ago, back in June. I was reading an online forum somewhere on the world wide web. I don't really recall what caught my eye that day, but I clicked on a link that took me to an article in HubPages.
I liked the look of the article. It was presented very nicely. I think it was about technical computer talk which goes over my head, so I clicked out. However, it did peak my interest about HubPages.
I started searching online until I ultimately came to some generic descriptions of how to make money online with HubPages. Having blogged for years and never made one dime on any other platform, I thought I would try HubPages and wrote my first article, "How to Organize your rubber stamps ~ for crafters and paper artists!".
As a crafter, I enjoy sharing my own tips and learning from others about ways to better organize or do crafty things.
Immediately, someone commented to it. I had interaction on my first HubPages! I must say it was a delightful feeling that someone took the time to acknowledge and write a comment to me. All of my years blogging, I think I had one comment elsewhere.
After writing my first Hub, I wrote a couple more. Then I took a break for a couple of weeks. Not wanting to seem like a Hub snob, I started commenting to people in Forums and Answers. Then something magical happened. People started following my Hubs!
The truth of the matter though is I'm not on HubPages for fame and glory, although making money from writing is very intriguing. My personal desire to write comes with a connection with others. I want my successes and hard times to be an inspiration. So with that said, if only one person is ever touched by something I write here on HubPages, regardless of how much money I make or not, I know I will have written well.
The prior six months before HubPages.
Six months prior to HubPages, in December 2012, I was in a hospital bed, screaming with pain. My head ached like a bomb had been exploded over it. I couldn't move my right side. I was paralyzed. No one knew why. Later I was told it was most likely a hemiplegic migraine with paralysis. Most likely not a stroke because my MRI was normal. I was also low on magnesium levels which I've since started taking supplements for.
December 2012 is a month I'd love to forget and never look back at. But, you see, it was the month that changed my life. It's hard to imagine that during that time I never thought I'd walk again, but here I am typing to the world that I lived through a frightening ordeal and survived to tell everyone the good news. I recovered.
I'm a survivor. I'm an overcomer. That's the message I want to reiterate through my writing on HubPages. My life isn't always going to be about money, success, diamonds, and pearls. I had to sell those to pay for medical bills. But when my journey brings me to a platform where I can enlighten others who have found themselves in similar struggles, who actually take the time to understand where I've been and who I am from that experience, I know I hit the jackpot!
My Thyroid Symptoms
Finding my way through dark times.
I've been through a lot. Endurance makes you stronger.
Let's go back two years ago to 2011.
After divorcing my first husband, an established scientist in his field, I started Crafty to the Core. I have always done for myself first and foremost meaning, I have never had a hard time finding a way to make money.
I needed a new beginning. Being married to a scientist and having a prior career of my own where I made a lot of money, there was no wanting anything. We had it all.
Divorce is a painful experience, yet one that couldn't have been avoided. I had to pull up my boot straps as my great-grandmother would say and carry forward with what I had to do.
I knew I wanted to have my own craft business. I've made money creating greeting cards on the side for the past 20 years ever since I took one rubber stamping class. I thought if I pursued a true hobby interest, I could really expand my horizons in something I like to do. After all, I was a single mom at this point and needed to figure out how to make money from home while the children still needed me here.
At first, after obtaining my business license and setting up a Facebook account, I quickly got my first customer. Instead of selling online as I had intended though, I ended up working from home for a nursing home. The recreation manager wanted me to create identical scrapbook pages for the residents for their memory books. I took my first Crafty to the Core paycheck to the bank and felt thrilled to finally have my own source of income again.
Then one day in early spring, while raking wet moldy leaves, I had a severe asthma attack and ended up in the hospital for a week. During my hospital stay and a routine CT Scan, doctors discovered I had an enlarged thyroid. That began the decline of my health.
Despite all obstacles, I also met a new man, fell in love, and re-married.
No good deed goes unpunished so they say. It appears that's always the way in my life as well.
In the fall of 2011, after suffering for months from illness, I had thyroid surgery.
Recovery time was expedient and I thought everything was back on track. The medical bills started pouring in. While we have insurance, it doesn't always cover everything.
Thinking I'd bounce back from surgery right away, I didn't.
In February 2012, I ended up back in the hospital. I couldn't breathe again. No one could explain why I kept getting re-occurring asthma attacks when I never had asthma before in my life! This was literally something that developed over night.
Then more devastating blows! My son was diagnosed with Autism and was hospitalized several times.
My son's bills were in excess of $200,000 for two hospitalizations (which the insurance paid most of but we had deductibles for myself and him, co-pays and co-insurance to meet out-of-pocket) and nine weeks at a partial-hospitalization program where the co-pay was $75 per week. At that point we barely had the money to get by as we were balancing regular bills, medical bills and now this co-pay that stretched out our budget too thinly.
I had to give up my nursing home job because I simply couldn't get to the orders that were being placed for my brand of embellishments and scrapbook pages.
Throughout this, I had to remain strong. It's easier said than done. When I was sick, all I wanted to do was crawl under a blanket and lay there. But I didn't have that option. I had two children to take care of. I had to get myself out of bed every day and force myself to get things done. At this point, all they had was me, so how could I deny them my very best?
Well, let me see if I can explain it in a way everyone can understand. Have you ever gone for a long walk and really had to force yourself through it? Your legs burn. You're tired. You just wish the walk was over. Once you get home though you feel better and want to do it again tomorrow.
That sums up how it felt to physically drag my sick body out of bed every day. I felt better for forcing myself to get things done. Through it all, I gained strength to do it all again the next day.
One fateful day in December 2012, I woke up one morning and couldn't move my right arm.
I had a throbbing pain in the back of my head so severe that nothing would take the edge off. A quick trip to the local emergency room and an x-ray revealed I was missing something! I remember joking with the doctor, "did you find a brain in there?" I had bones fused together in my cervical spine and a bone protruding outward. The doctor asked if I had ever been in a car accident. I never have. He referred me to a specialist.
Monday morning I called my primary care doctor who couldn't fit me in her schedule for two weeks. Still in agonizing pain, but refusing to take the addicting drugs I was prescribed at the emergency room, I tried to locate a cervical spine specialist but couldn't find one in my area.
By Monday afternoon my face went completely numb. Tuesday morning I was laying in a hospital bed unable to move my entire right side. That is where I stayed for eight days paralyzed and wondering if I would ever walk again.
My vacation in Tortola, British Virgin Islands
From riches to rags.
The truth of the matter is, I grew up on a farm. I was raised by my grandparents. I've always worked very hard. From the time I was 15 years old, I had two jobs in high school. I worked in retail and for a doctor scheduling appointments. I've always been trustworthy and dedicated.
I dreamed of a career in law which I pursued. I went to a top college in my state and was quickly hired in to a professional career before I was 20 years old. I stayed at that job for 8 years.
In the meantime, I was single and free. I worked five other jobs part-time. I also volunteered for the volunteer fire department and wore two hats. I was the treasurer and I worked the food truck. When there was a fire department call, I would meet up with the Salvation Army truck (any time when I wasn't working my other jobs ~ even at 3 a.m.) and serve Gatorade, snacks, tuna sandwiches, tea, coffee, etc. I have a lot of sad memories of watching terrible things that happen to people when fire strikes.
I also worked as a waitress at two different restaurants in town. One during the week and one during weekends. In addition, I served as treasurer of a non-profit organization.
After working the same day job for eight years, I applied for a job in the city, an hour away from home. I had five companies fighting over me to work for them. My skills and expertise in my field were incomparable. I retired when I had my first child.
Writing chose me.
When I was in school, I always stayed to myself. I was quiet, but could hold my own if I had to.
One day I was called in to the office and thought I was in trouble. I was presented with an opportunity I swore I would never take for granted.
Someone, or a few people, I don't know who, recommended me for a scholarship program at Connecticut College for one summer.
I used to love to write stories. Nancy Drew mysteries were my favorite story books as a young girl and I would try to make-up my own little books and put them together for people to read.
I never imagined my little fantasy writing would actually land me at a prestigious college with other talented young writers, all who were chosen by educators who saw potential in us.
(Maybe it's the fact I used do everyone's homework in the hallway. For $1 I would write a poem for someone in a hurry to get to class.)
Whatever it was that sparked the interest of someone to recommend me to indulge my writing passion at Connecticut College, I'll never know.
But as it was, I enjoyed that summer immensely. We studied human interest stories and wrote about homelessness. We visited homeless shelters and wrote articles about families living in their car that had nothing left after a financial crisis.
Isn't it ironic, years later, I face a situation out of my control that led us to a path of unforgiving debt.
So, I say to everyone out there, when you are struggling, remember there is always someone worse off. My children at least have me.
Connecticut College has been around since 1911. It's a liberal arts college.
My grandfather's sister received her degree at Connecticut College years ago. After moving to California, she worked at Disney where she retired.
Connecticut College is situated on a 750-acre campus overlooking Long Island Sound.
Connecticut College, New London, CT
Some of my work published at Connecticut College Journalism program.
For a hometown farm girl, I have made a lot of achievements in my life. It's funny when I stopped writing on Facebook, a yuppy financial officer from some big time New York firm called me ignorant.
Here's to ignorance. It's bliss.
- I am a member of the Alpha Beta Kappa Society awarded to me as I achieved the highest grade point average (straight A+) at a business college I attended for 6 months.
I worked in business development at the height of my career designing the marketing materials for my firm.
When times are tough, the tough get going!
What I can say is this, at one time I had it all, or thought I had.
I walked in to a designer woman's dress shop and never thought twice about buying a week's worth of new suits.
I had my hair and nails professionally done.
Dining out was a way of life.
I was privileged. Not growing up to be raised as such, but working my way up to the top.
No one can ever accuse me of being lazy or not diligently trying to better myself. That's one thing I can assure you, I have always worked very hard to support myself.
When I had my children, their father and I could buy them all of life's desires. Money was never an object. Proof was in the charities I supported including raising over $600 for the town food bank with my homemade baked treats, and working a first-time fundraiser for a school that tallied over $20,000 from six months of hard work pro-actively seeking donations.
We lived very well. I thought life couldn't get any better.
December 2012 brought me physically down. Bed ridden, unable to walk or even brush my own hair, my perspectives changed.
I used to think winning the fight was living the good life. My definition of the good life was warped.
Having been through what I've gone through, I now have seen the difference.
There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to life's pleasures, and I'm not going to be guilty of judging anyone for doing so.
When I say that I want the very best for my children, that means having a healthy mom that can teach them things and be there for them until they mature into independent young adults. I can't imagine anything worse than for my children to lose their mother.
After eight days of not walking in the hospital, the insurance company told the hospital my time was up. I had to go to a nursing home. This is my definition of success: I could still scoot on my backside if I needed to get up my front stairs in order to get back in my home and take care of my children!
I didn't need a fancy car to drive me home or bling to make me look presentable as I left the hospital. The colorful bracelets and earring galore I had hanging in my closet meant nothing at that moment. My only goal in life right then and there was to get up enough to be able to scoot around. If I could prove I could scoot, I could go home.
I never broke a sweat as hard as I did that day. The therapist walked me down the hospital corridor in a painfully slow journey to the fake stairwell in the corner by the elevators. They wanted to teach me to walk again upstairs. Taking the first step and trying to bend a knee that wouldn't move, was torturous. Somehow, it took all the strength I had to do it, but I got it done!
I knew that day, there wasn't anything I couldn't accomplish.
When you are knocked down, you must get up again to survive it. And as I always say, you must get through it to get on with it. And yes, indeed, did I ever get on with it!
How I am doing today.
It's been months since physical therapy ended, the gallbladder surgery came next in the spring. I've been taking vitamins every day to try to help replenish nutrients my body seems to be lacking. I have a constant ringing in my left ear that will not go away.
I'm writing on HubPages.
My children have never been happier and they are doing wonderfully.
I can't complain.
I often tell people how I define success.
Once upon a time, I was the woman who dressed in a business suit and heels. On the verge of paying for a brand new car in cash, I had my first child. I quit my corporate life with a high paying salary to stay home with my children. Giving children the best of everything does not mean you have to spend a fortune on the latest gadgets and technologically-advanced toys. My children do not go without because I make sure they have everything they need. When I had it to give them, I spoiled them with everything money could buy. Now, I'm so thankful they have me considering what I've been through. I explained to them about how money works. It has to be earned. My daughter wants me to plant a money tree so we can watch it grow like the green beans she picked from the garden last year.
It's difficult finding a full-time job while raising a child with Autism. My son's needs come first. He has a lot of medical specialists he sees weekly. My calendar has been booked for the last year.
The only way I can bring an income to my family is to try to find work online. Writing on HubPages is just a start.
I've read other stories with similar scenarios. A lot of people turn to online writing to make ends meet.
Can money buy happiness? Well, considering I've been on both sides of the fence, I think money provides a false sense of security. I felt more secure financially when I had plenty of money. Now that we have pressure from medical bills and services that my son needs that we have to plan for, I'm grateful for the time I have and the health that has been recovered so I can care for him the best way I know how. I give my children my 100% every day. Money didn't provide happiness to me or buy my health back. No amount of money could have helped me walk again when I was paralyzed. Watching my children grow and become successful (like today walking in to an auditorium full of happy children that greeted my son in a harmonious chorus-like hello was music to my ears) is what makes me feel I have achieved everything I possibly can in this life.
Thank you HubPages for giving me a platform for expressing my voice where others can comment and engage in meaningful conversation.
I hope this allowed you to view the person I am instead of guessing who the writer is behind the computer screen.
Everyone needs a little help sometimes. I just needed a leg to stand on.
Success comes with determination.