Live, Love, Leave a Legacy. I Am Blessed to Be a Blessing

Another year alive thanks to LVAD!

March 20th is my 1-year LVAD anniversary. In March of last year I spent the entire month in the hospital with heart failure from a virus. I ended up having to have open heart surgery, and a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) was implanted after my heart failed trying to fight off the unknown virus. Blessings go out to a long list of people I am thankful for who kept me alive….

I am thankful for the good folks on the heart team at KU hospital who saved my life. I am grateful for God’s many blessings through this entire process keeping me strong. I am thankful for my mom, who stood beside me and nurtured me back to health. I am thankful for Kayleen, who stepped up to the plate and started running a roofing company with hardly any experience. I am thankful for my sister, Jolleen, and Jim and Katie for helping with my then 7-year-old while I was in the hospital and missing her birthday.

Looking back on this extra year of life, I realize that life has changed so much for me. I have to remind myself to breathe sometimes because so much has changed. Yes, I live and run on batteries and that can be a scary thing when your LVAD starts beeping at you because your batteries are dying. I’m constantly having my blood drawn to make sure it is thin enough for the pump. I take handfuls of pills and go to multiple doctor visits a month, but the good news is…I AM ALIVE!

I am currently waiting on a heart transplant, and that has its own set of mental challenges. When I sit back and view my days being numbered — which all of ours are — it makes me want to push harder to be the best and do the best that I can to leave a legacy. Life is fleeting, and this past year has flown by. After the surgery I was contemplating life and how I wanted to spend it. What did I want to do after taking care of the basics…providing for my kids and mother and giving them the best I can? I asked myself: Do I still want to be running a roofing company? Or should I just go sit on a beach? …and do what?? Rot? Or…I don’t know, find some Zen-like peace in my soul…  I have my peace with God but still find myself wanting, yearning to do more. I wrestled with the idea that I am only 40 years old and haven’t even made a bucket list. Sure I have lived a full life with extreme success and extreme failures and done a ton of shit along the way. But I just don’t feel like I have completed my life’s purpose yet.

Finally, I realized that my life’s purpose is to help other people. Help other people in areas of life that I have success in, help others avoid areas of life that I have failed in.

As I sit here with the heart pump, living off batteries and waiting for a new heart, I have to lean in toward all the positives because it can get morbid pretty quickly thinking about what could go wrong.

I am blessed and I want to be a blessing….  

I was in the hospital when Kim & Paul Reed, friends and true roofing professionals who are some of the most influential in the country, heard about my situation and rallied for support. Paul flew in and rallied the troops at the office. He helped out the back office and pumped up the sales team. He then called in the troops. He called the ‘Wolf’, Anthony Delmedico, who came out to the office with a team of top professionals (Derick Kline, John, Pate Smith) and rallied the sales team and really got them going. Anthony provided Sales & Business training through SVG U (Storm Ventures Group University) to implement processes to make the business run more smoothly. Derick provided HailTrace and got the team looking for the right clients.

So there I was, weeks after open heart surgery, getting used to living off batteries and still trying to shake the meds I was on, and my head was spinning because a whirlwind had just gone through my life.

Now a year later, I reflect on the past year and all that has changed. I am in amazement at what was happening a year ago. It seems like a foggy dream.

Through it all, my drive to support my family and to leave a legacy by helping others has emerged as the theme.

Shamrock is growing, and I am able to help others find success and learn to become blue collar millionaires. I am still able to give a roof away every quarter with Roofs 4 Heroes, help the Car Santa with Cars 4 Heroes, and work with Paul Chappa and Friends In Service of Heroes (F.I.S.H.). Most importantly, I am able to be here for my children.

I am excited for what year #2 has to bring!