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New Beginnings

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About my family

How circumstances changed for us

In 2001 things were going pretty well.  We had a store selling satellite systems, electronics, and general merchandise.  Frank would be out doing service work or installing systems.  I would go to the store and open it up for business.  In January we moved into a nicer house.  It has a yard, which our old house didn't have.  Our kids were happy because they finally could get a puppy, now that we had room for one.
On April 11th, my oldest daughter,  Amara,  got up and said she didn't feel well.  She felt feverish, and her joints ached.  I told her to stay home from school.  Little did I know she would never go back.  I thought she had the flu, but it turned out to be Systemic Rheumatoid Arthritis.  She was unable to do much for herself, so I had to stay home with her.  The times I did try to open the store, she would call and ask me to come home.  For the next three months, she was in and out of our local hospital.  In June she was transferred to Motts Childrens Hospital, which is a part of UofM Hospital,  where she stayed for 2 weeks.  Once back home, it was more trips back and forth to our hospital, every two or three days.  In July she was transferred again to UofM, this time for 3 1/2 weeks.  Again home, again back and forth to the hospital.  In September, she was admitted again at UofM.  I stayed with her every time she was hospitalized downstate.  UofM is about 250 miles from our home.  The rooms are set up so a parent can stay with their child, and that is what I did.  Needless to say, there was no one to run the store.  And with two other young children at home, my husband couldn't work a lot of times, because he had to watch the children.  Friends did keep the kids for a day or two here and there, but for the most part my husband played the role of single parent.  Amara was very ill.  RA is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the body systems.  It sees the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. as foreign bodies or infections and tries to destroy them.  She developed diabetes, conjestive heart failure, kidney failure, osteoporosis (which caused her to break her spine), severe anemia because her blood cells were being destroyed faster than she could make them, and she needed a feeding tube for liquid formula because she could not digest solid food.  In January of 2002, I was told she was dying and there was nothing left that could be done for her.  She passed away on January 17th.     

During the nine months Amara was ill, our business suffered.  It got to the point where we could no longer afford to have a store, so we closed it and moved everything back home.  Our income went down, but the bills multiplied.  We also had extra expenses because I needed money to live in Ann Arbor at the hospital.  Since Amara was in ICU several times, I needed to stay at the hotel attached to the hospital.  I was not allowed to stay in ICU.


Rosie, the other member of our family

Rosie looked at me with those sad little eyes and asked why she wasn't on the site.  So here she is, and now she's pretty happy.