Lisa here! For those that may be new to the blog, I am the director of operations here at LBB and Ashley’s right hand gal. I’m not much of a writer. I enjoy writing our sponsor and giveaway posts, but a personal post is a little out of my comfort zone. I thought it would be kinda fun for our readers to get a little behind the scenes account of the last several months, so I got on board with the post. When I was hired on, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I certainly didn’t expect to become the poster girl for “Girls Who Poop at Work,” either. I think it was meant to be though and I love my job so much.
From time to time I see emails come in from readers that have a hard time believing that Ashley is so positive and able to find joy in the hand she has been dealt. They want her to be more honest about her anger and fear. I have to laugh a little when I read these emails. Don’t get me wrong, after the death of her father, the miscarriage, then finding out the 2nd pregnancy wasn’t actually a baby but a tumor, like many of you I thought to myself, “How much more can this girl take!?”
Little did I know how much more she would end up facing, but I can say without a doubt, Ashley is not afraid. She has not and will not let fear rule. We all can learn something from her. I admit, up until Ashley’s emergency surgery, I let fear rule my life. It had taken over. If it was me that had been diagnosed with cancer I would have probably crawled in bed and never gotten out. That was until I watched how Ashley handled life’s curve-balls. I think we can all relate to her story in some way. Whether you have cancer, anxiety, depression, money problems, whatever! You can Choose Joy. From her example I have learned to let go of the reigns a little and just live. I try and take all of that time I used to designate towards worrying about the WHAT IF’s, and have made a conscience effort to replace it with happy thoughts, like how lucky I am to be healthy, have a roof over my head, food on the table, a caring and supportive husband and a daughter who lights up my life.
Ashley and I have a unique relationship. She is my friend and she is my boss (we were friends first). I work out of her home so I have been a passenger on Ashley’s crazy ride from the beginning. Working with a friend can be tricky. Although, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing when Ashley needs her friend Lisa and when she needs her assistant Lisa. Well, I haven’t been fired yet, so I must be doing something right. I think it’s important to know a little bit about me so that you can truly understand the dynamic that is Ashley and Lisa. I don’t think we could be more opposite. Maybe that’s why we work so well together.
I love hospital food.
I worry about anything and everything.
I have zero problem calling the doctor. In fact, I call them all the time. If they don’t call me back within 2 hours, I call again…and again.
I loved co-sleeping and breast feeding!
I love leggings but I look nothing like Ashley does in them.
I’m horrible at math and still use my fingers.
I’m not a crafter! It would take me weeks to make something Ashley can create in minutes.
I HATE to fly. In fact Elle doesn’t even want to sit next to me on a plane because I’m so obnoxious.
If I’m sick I want to be waited on hand and foot.
I don’t like to drive anywhere by myself.
Oh, and here’s the kicker! If I hesitantly say something looks “interesting,” Ashley will put it in our next line and it’s always a bestseller. She says “interesting” is my way of saying nicely that I don’t like something. I guess this is why I take care of all the administrative work and not the designing, lol! I laugh so much when I’m with Ashley. We joke that Lil Blue Boo would make for a great reality TV show. Although it would be WAY too embarrassing. We think we are so much funnier then we actually are I’m sure! We laugh through the happy times and we laugh through the hard times. We have had far too many hard times…one of those times was her miscarriage.
So what was it like when Ashley found out she was miscarrying? Here’s what I remember:
Ashley ran to the office where I was, she was wearing white shorts, there was blood everywhere. She didn’t have to say anything. I knew what was happening. She was having some spotting the prior week.
Ashley: Does this LOOK like spotting to you!!?
Me: No, that’s definitely not spotting.
I followed her to the bathroom.
Me: Let me take you to the hospital.
Ashley: I don’t think I need to go to the hospital, what can they do about it now?
Me: Ummm…I’m pretty sure you need to go to the hospital. I’m dialing the Dr. right now.
(The Dr.’s office confirms that she needs to go to the hospital.)
Me: I’m taking you to the hospital.
Ashley: I can just drive myself. I’ll take a towel.
Me: Are you F ing kidding me!? You are not driving! Please call Brett right now.
Her husband did come home and take her, but she would have gone to the hospital all by herself if I had not insisted someone else take her. That’s Ashley though! She would much rather take care of herself and not trouble anyone. I find this to be one of the most frustrating things about Ashley! All I want to do is take care of her sometimes and she always turns me away…grrrr!
(Sometimes I feel like I have Ebola. She follows me around with Lysol spray if I have a sniffle. )
And then there was the day she found out about the molar pregnancy…..
I remember when the Dr. called and said he wanted her to come in to his office so he could speak to her. It was almost 5pm and he said he would wait for her. He explained over the phone that he had consulted with another doctor any they determined that the 2nd pregnancy was a molar pregnancy. She would need to have some scans to make sure there were not any cancerous cells. My stomach sank when she told me that. When she left I immediately ran to the computer and Googled molar pregnancy and cancer. Yes, I Google everything! I read as much as I could in about 3 minutes. From what I understood in those few minutes was that this type of cancer is rare but very curable!
Me: Hey. I just Googled molar pregnancy cancer. Even if you have it, don’t worry! It’s very curable, so everything is going to be just fine.
Ashley: So, I’m not going to die?
Me: No, you aren’t going to die. Promise.
I was working late that night because of Fall shipping so I was there when she got home. Brett was there too. We were asking her all kinds of questions about her meeting with the doctor. Ashley was very nonchalant about the whole thing. Typical Ashley. I have to read the blog to get all of the facts sometimes…..she shares much more in her writing than she ever does verbally.
And then there was the day that she found out about the cancer…..
The day after her scans she met with the doctor. I was leaving the dentist and I gave Ashley a call. I knew she would have news for me.
Me: Well, I have periodontal disease, hahaha (fancy name for hasn’t gone to the dentist in ages)!
Ashley: Well…. I have CANCER….so I win.
Me: Ok, you win.
How do you respond when your friend tells you they have cancer? I’m probably not the one to ask. I try and find the humor in everything. I’m sure I said something really stupid. I know there are lists out there of what NOT to say, and I’m certain I’m guilty of a few. Although, Ashley would never have the heart to tell me. I know I told her somewhere in between the bad jokes that I would be there for her. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Soon after Ashley found out about the cancer, my daughter was rushed to the hospital on the night of her 4th birthday because she was having trouble breathing (really bad croup). She was admitted to the hospital the next morning for just one overnight stay to monitor her. Right around midnight I got a a text from Brett. They were downstairs in the ER. Ashley was having severe abdominal pain. We find out later that her tumor had broken through her uterus.
My two favorite girls – both sick and in the hospital at the same exact time.
Seriously, what are the odds!? They admitted Ashley to the hospital and I snuck down to see her around 1am while a sweet nurse kept an eye on Elle. It took me about 30 minutes to find her room. I was on the phone with her while walking through empty halls trying to find her. I was totally lost and kept going to video cameras hoping someone would come and rescue me. Apparently no one was watching the security cameras that night. Finally, Ashley had her nurse come out to find me. When I arrived in her room, I didn’t even say hi to her. I was too overwhelmed by her amazing suite (a gift from her sweet in-laws)!! Hello, she had a stocked fridge in her room!! I took a ton of pictures. I considered calling the nurse upstairs to tell her I wouldn’t be back for several hours. It was like a spa in there.
I took a few drinks for the road since Ashley wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything.
I sat with Ashley for a little while. All she wanted to talk about was Lil Blue Boo, and not her health. Here she was lying in a hospital bed, in horrible pain, not knowing what the hell was going on with her body, and all she wanted to discuss was business. I actually think the only thing she has ever really worried about during the past several months was business. She has an amazing husband and so many supportive friends and family that she never had to worry about the needs of her daughter being met, so I don’t think that was ever a concern. We talked fabric, we talked shipping, and we talked about keeping the girls in the studio busy cutting and sewing. Lil Blue Boo employs 5 people. I know she felt pressure at that time to keep all of us working. She has such a huge heart and always puts everyone else first. She kept saying, “Lisa, you are in charge.” The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint her. She gave me the greatest gift a little over a year ago: a job that allowed a lot of flexibility. When you are a working mom, flexibility is such a blessing. I will never be able to thank her enough for that.
So, it was business as usual at Lil Blue Boo, but with two little munchkins in my lap a little more often. These little faces sure did help us appreciate life a little more though The office was not the same without Ashley. She had to spend a lot of time in bed, not as much as I would have liked though. After her emergency hysterectomy she was always trying to push the envelope. It was like trying to keep a toddler in their bed! We eventually got her all hooked up in her bedroom. She was able to craft and write. We communicated via walkie talkies.
Oh how I missed the back of her head.
I don’t like to talk much about the night we almost lost Ashley. It was a nightmare come true. When Ashley was in the ICU she was hooked up to a breathing machine. You could tell her body had been through so much during that surgery. I took a picture of her. Yes, I really did. The funny part was no one in her family thought I was strange for doing it. They all know how much Ashley loves to document everything. I knew she would want to see it. Ashley’s good friend Todd drove me home that night from the hospital. I had to have him pull over so I could throw up. I was so embarrassed but he was so kind and understanding. It had been a long night for everyone. I thank God every day that she is here with us today.
So, here we are today. Ashley will start a new, more aggressive chemotherapy next week. I know we are all ready for this to be over, but unfortunately these things take time and we have to be patient. I know she will be healed. In the meantime, I will keep trying to mother her, and ask her if she needs anything. Can you believe she refuses my foot and scalp massages!? In fact, I get shot down all of the time. Although, she did let me help her to the bathroom once at the hospital. She was really drugged up though 😉 Seriously, she can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, but I still love her. We all love her.