Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's Not Just Me

I have not used this blog as I had initially intended to do. I guess I see it as another stress. I think about parts of my journey that I really want to share because it's therapeutic for me to write about it and there have been a few instances where I have helped others and that always feels good.

SO, as I learn on my own journey; I really want to share, possibly helping others and I want the feedback from fellow "Lupies" because we can only encourage each other and comfort each other. Well... I haven't done a great job. However, in the last few months I have become much closer friends with a girlfriend I met in college. Ironically, I'm fairly certain we took "Criminal Law" together at FSU (the irony should be clear later) and we were put into a study group with 2 Florida highway patrol officers. That was our only connection in college. Then thru the magic of FaceBook, we reconnected many years ago and we've become very close virtual friends. One strong bond we have is that Kelly also struggles with Lupus.

I don't think I can articulate her story and hit all the points, but her story is an incredible story of a beautiful young lady that I am honored to call my friend. Kelly graduated from FSU in 2000 like me. Then we both went about life on our separate paths. She met the man of her dreams in 2008, and had a fairy tail wedding in 2009. Kelly went on to support her husband's career as a physician and she was very involved with running the office and helping him to build a very successful practice. In 2010 Kelly was blessed to learn she was pregnant with her first child. In her second trimester, she received some news about the health of her baby girl. Kelly knew that her baby was going to have a challenging life and she would not be giving birth to a healthy thriving baby that all parents hope for. They (as married parents) were presented with some options, one of which was to terminate the pregnancy (she was 6 months along). Needless to say, there were many tough discussions as a family and Kelly did not agree with her husband's thoughts regarding the matter and she was steadfast in her decision to carry her child to birth. 

Sophia was born in September of 2010. She had expected complications and health issues and she spent time in NICU before finally going home. Sophia has many regular doctor appointments and therapies and she's had many surgeries in her short 5 years of life. Sophia continues, to make improvements everyday with her Mom taking her to countless therapies and every possible therapist that offers hope. Unfortunately, Sophia's Dad was not as supportive and truly not as involved. Kelly and Sophia's Father divorced. Sadly, the divorce was very tumultuous and her ex-husband fought on every minute detail. It seemed he was intent on inflicting as much emotional pain on Kelly as he could.

One of the most difficult struggles and triggers with Lupus is "Stress." Even controlled stress can send our bodies into a frenzy. It is extremely frustrating. I recently hosted a bunco night at my house with 25 ladies and I meticulously did a little bit each day to prepare so that I would not become overwhelmed and let the stress win. Well, predictably the day after a very-successful and very-fun bunco night at my home...  a ginormous fever blister greeted me the very next morning. So, what I'm about to share with you about my friend Kelly literally blows my mind and I cannot fathom how she is still standing with this enormous constant stress caused by her ex-husband.

Back in November, I was hospitalized for a Lupus related event. There are daily little struggles I deal with, and I really try not to whine... but THIS is my outlet and you can choose to read or not, just keep your negativity to yourself. In December Kelly was hospitalized with a Lupus related event. In the course of a very contemptuous divorce that was dragged thru appeal after appeal and Kelly was left with very few assets and child support. She cannot hold a job because Sophia is her LIFE and she has a LOT of therapies to get to. Her ex-husband has a medical practice which continues to thrive and he has endless amounts of money to throw at attorneys and continually harass Kelly thru the legal system. He used her December hospitalization against her and filed for an emergency hearing to have her parental rights terminated, stating that she is unfit to care for their child.

OMGOSH!!!! As a woman with Lupus... as a mother with Lupus, myself hospitalized for a Lupus event; by these standards I guess I am an unfit Mother too. So, while the ex has plenty of money to continue to file motions and inflict more stress and unnecessary drama, Kelly has given more strength and determination than ever to fight back. He has restricted her cash-flow (intently) and he himself has been thru 3 attorneys while appealing the terms of the divorce. The terms of their divorce favor the Father in an absurd way. He currently has 28% custody which includes ALL holidays and birthdays. Fortunately, with the help of a GoFundMe page established by a friend of Kelly's she was able to retain a new attorney who has (for now) prevented the ex-husband from taking her Sophia permanently, but the fight is not over.

Kelly shared her story with the Dr. Phil show and it looks like they are interested in making it a 2 part story. Hopefully if this story gets more national attention , we can shine a light on a crooked court system and get Kelly the most basic support so that she can continue to support Sophia and her very special needs. Kelly is a strong and beautiful woman. She is doing an incredible job of raising a happy loving girl with some very special needs. She has been there for every milestone and accomplishment that Sophia has achieved in her therapies. Sophia has an incredible bond with her mother. No rational judge has a justifiable reason to terminate let alone reduce her time with her daughter. Unfortunately, this is an example of how someone with money can abuse the legal system with no regard for the real issue of the needs of the child. I am sharing the link to Kelly's GoFundMe page which was created by a friend of Kelly's. The money raised is for her legal needs and the continued care of Sophia. For instance, she used the first $5000 for the retainer for a new and better attorney.

Kelly and Sophia's GoFundMe

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