My last post was July 2015. It’s now November 2017. I’m not sure at all, even in the slightest, how 27 months have gone by. I have thought many, many times about what I want to sit down and write and I never have gotten to it. But several things happening lately have convinced me that I need to sit down and write again. I need to process my thoughts and feelings and I do that best by writing. So I’m determined to make it a priority.
So the last post was about how I’d started baking and selling at the farmer’s market as a result of my daughter needing to be gluten-free for her own autoimmune disease of alopecia areata. That was in July 2015. By October 2015 I’d quit my full-time job and November 28, 2015, the retail store of Shana Cake officially opened for business! It is located in downtown Topeka, KS and in April of 2017 I opened a second location in downtown Lawrence, KS, our neighboring town. It’s been my full-time job for just over 2 years and when I opened the second shop my mom retired from her full-time job and she’s taken over running the first one. We have two shops, 10 employees and a ton of very happy customers that can come into a shop that is 100% free of gluten, dairy, corn, nuts, treenuts, artificial flavors and colors and most products can also be egg-free (making it vegan as well!). While we only have to be gluten-free in our household because of my girl, we quickly realized from the farmer’s market experience that (1) a lot of people have cross-food issues and (2) there was a desperate need in our community for this service.
When the shop opened I was feeling really well. Better than I had in many, many years. I still had flares, I still had days that were worse than others. It was a continual presence in my life, but it was manageable. Traveling to the specialists out of state was worth every minute and penny spent doing it – he listened, heard what I was saying, ordered baseline testing (he was the first doctor to take my fine motor control issues seriously and indeed they were documented through the neuropsych eval he ordered) and then begin treating me with immunosuppresents (imuran).
I wouldn’t have considered myself “healthy” but I was better. I was happier, had more energy, far less pain, enjoyed being around my family, laughed more, felt strong enough to take an insanely scary step of quitting my full-time job and starting a bakery. I worked crazy hours getting the bakery up and running, and sometimes my body pushed back and sometimes I had flares, but I’d take it easy, occasionally take a steriod pack for 5 days to knock down a more troublesome flare, and kept going.
It was marvelous.
Until it wasn’t.
I was once again the frog that found myself in boiling water without realizing it. Until it was all of the sudden there.
I had about 15 months of what I describe as feeling “good.” That’s all I got. That means the last approximately 15 months have been an increasing struggle again. Only with new challenges and diagnoses, more tests, increasing frequency of doctors visits and all the fun that goes along with all of that. Only now with the responsibilities, pressures and stresses of owning and running a bakery (and now 2!).
So I have a list of things I need to write about and I’m determined to get back at it. I need it to process and release. And goodness knows I need to process and release these days!
So I’m pressing the “resume” button after a 27 month “pause” on the blog.