Initially I wrote to keep our friends and family up to speed on what was happening to their beloved Scooter. After realizing writing was a very therapeutic form of stress relief for me, I decided that I would really like to be a resource for others facing their own version of upside-down life cake. As I relay my experience as a caregiver and share our journey throughout the BMT process, I feel the need to circle back and provide a little look into what brought us together and what our lives looked like; both in the beginning and most recently, “B-M” – before Myelofibrosis. In my reflection, I can find happiness in retelling our fairy tale love story and what we were before this most recent journey on the roller coaster turned tilt-a-whirl. This two-part series of posts ends back where my blogging began.
The early ‘80’s found me marrying a crop farmer at the tender age of 19. I raised two children in a small town where everyone knew my name. Managing a successful career despite never finishing my college degree. I loved my customers and my job as an agricultural loan officer. I held public office as Township Clerk for 22 years and participated in multiple non-profit groups for over 25 years. Envisioned my contributions to this small community would eventually make me make me worthy of the coveted title of Grand Marshall of the annual Farmers Picnic Parade just before dying at the ripe old age of 90ish.
Simultaneously, in a small town sixty some miles away, Scott was raised by a family that took community service equally seriously. Everyone knew his name to the extent that the village park is named after his Great-Uncle. He left his small burg to pursue a degree at MSU like his parents. Instead, he met his wife there then left to pursue the trades. After some time on the East side of the state, they returned to his hometown to raise their two children. Working on the family farm nights and weekends while working full-time as an electrician. He built his own home on the farm the same year(s) that my husband and I built on my husband’s family farm.
Fast forward to 2011 where we were each serving as delegates on Farm Bureau’s State Promotion and Education Committee or “P & E”. Both very recently divorced with over 25 years of marriage under our belts. Neither having any interest in pursuing a second time around. Thankfully, this didn’t stop our mutual friend and committee leader from playing matchmaker. Oddly enough, I decided I wanted to pursue this potential match-up after spending time in the piano bar with his daughter at a P & E afterparty. He claims he knew I was the one when I wanted to ride in the tractor with him and help with farm chores. After a few months of dating, Scott finally broke the news to his daughter that he had been seeing someone. I’m told she immediately knew it was me that he had decided to date; and gone were her fears that he would die in the barn alone.
After a very public proposal on my 50th birthday in March of 2014, we married at the farm in August that year. In 2015, I landed my second job in ag lending and started working remotely while Scott farmed with his brother and father on the family farm raising sheep and angus cattle. In 2017 we purchased a local convenience store/meat market with the goal of marketing the farm meat products there and positioning myself to pursue a catering business in my retirement. We were very much in love and living the dream; taking vacations every February to some-place warm and summer vacations in Canada at the beloved family cabin on Lake Superior.
While many businesses struggled during COVID in 2019 and 2020, both the store and the farm were booming. Traffic at the store grew as restaurants were closed and we were able to continue providing affordable take-out food. As grocery stores saw shortages in the meat department, the farm filled the gap and locals filled their freezers with great local meat products. Scott was working 10-12 hours, seven days a week and loving life as a fifth-generation livestock farmer. I was juggling both my full-time job and managing the store. Thanks to my love of cooking and feeding the masses, my weight was more than I wanted it to be but I was healthy. Despite requiring medication for a diagnosis of Essential Thrombocythemia in late 2011, Scott felt great and appeared to be in perfect health. Our kids all had found their persons and before COVID, we had enjoyed great times together as a blended family of ten. We felt like the luckiest people in the world; with our own version of the Brady Bunch, we had it all.