Wednesday, June 3, 2015

On Being a Kindred Spirit

Shantelle with her twins Sophia and Zachariah and her husband, John-Mark.
If I've learned anything from being entrenched in a "move every three years" lifestyle, it's that I need people.  Well, people need people.  We need people to walk through life together.  We need people through the good and the bad.  To love and support us.  To laugh with and to cry with.  To really DO life together.

I'm a big Anne of Green Gables fan and if you aren't, you should be and if you are, let's be friends.  The books are full of quirky but wise truths.  Throughout, Anne searches out what she calls "kindred spirits".  When you are fortunate enough to find one of those you hold on tight.  Across the miles and times zones and difficulties of moving.  Because they are special.

One of my kindredest of spirits, Mica, is partnering with me this month so we can bless our mutual friend Shantelle.  Shantelle's story is below and I think you will find yourself inspired by her but also inspired to help her.  She is a fighter.  And now we fight with her the only way we know serving her family through this difficult and uncertain time.

Shantelle's story, written by her husband, follows.

Shantelle has been a fighter for her whole life. When she was 12 years old she entered the foster care system with her siblings, where she stayed at a few homes, was separated from her siblings, and eventually found a home with the Graham family. While attending college she worked at Washington Mutual where she eventually worked her way up to assistant manager. In 2006 Shantelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer, and after doing a strong regiment of chemotherapy, was considered in “remission.” Soon after her first battle with cancer she ran into an old friend from youth group, John-Mark Carlson, who needed a money order at the bank, and walked out with her phone number (good for him). Shantelle and John-Mark were married in September of 2007 and were excited for the future.

Unfortunately, the future took a wrong turn when Shantelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma a second time in 2008. Her best treatment option was a stem cell / bone marrow transplant. This was difficult news to take, especially since the transplant was going to leave Shantelle infertile. Knowing this, John-Mark and Shantelle, decided to harvest and freeze embryos to give some hope to what seemed like a hopeless situation. They were given the OK by doctors to try for one month before treatment to harvest embryos. God’s hand was in the process every step of the way, and they were overjoyed to see the nurse amazed at how successful the extraction of embryos went.

After the embryo process, came the stem cell transplant. Shantelle was to undergo a week long regiment of radiation everyday, along with chemo for several days in a row. She made it 6 days before being checked into the hospital for 17 days, where her stem cells were reintroduced and she could begin a long healing process. This was by far the hardest treatment she had ever had, and she was once again considered in remission.

Sadly her remission only lasted for 9 months, and Shantelle and John-Mark knew she was running out of treatment options. They had been previously told her only option was a bone marrow transplant from a donor, which had a 25 percent chance of survival. God had other plans. Shantelle was directed towards a trial study for a new drug, that not only could kill the cancer but not have as many side effects as chemo. The study was at Stanford University, where Shantelle and John-Mark flew down every three weeks for treatment for almost six months. Shantelle was told that very rarely do people loose their hair from the treatment. Well, Shantelle must be a rare breed, because she did lose her hair for a third time. With hair loss also came health, because the treatment was a wonderful blessing, and she’s been in remission from Hodgkin’s since September of 2010.

Because of all her battles Shantelle does a CT scan every 6 months, and in 2011 the doctors said they saw some “irregularities” with her appendix and wanted to have it removed. After the surgery, Shantelle and John-Mark were informed that when the doctors removed her appendix, there was a tumor in her appendix that had ruptured the wall of her appendix and released a “mucus” into her body cavity. They removed as much mucus as they could during the procedure but there was a possibility that it would continue to grow but they would continue to monitor it by CT scan.

After Shantelle’s appendix removal she was given the green light by her doctors to have kids! After being told by some fertility doctors that she wouldn’t be able to carry a baby, Shantelle and John-Mark were blessed to find a fertility doctor who had worked with many cancer patients, and was confident that she could carry a baby herself. And in 2011 Shantelle became pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl! The whole time they could see God’s hand in the process, it was amazing to see. On January 23rd, 2012 Shantelle gave birth to Sophia Celeste Carlson and Zachariah John Carlson.

A little over three years past, with good health and growing kids. In April of this year, Shantelle had some health concerns, which led to a CT scan, where the doctors found that the mucus from her appendix was growing again. She was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP), a rare condition characterized by the presence of mucin-producing tumors (and the mucin) in the abdominal cavity. The only treatment is an extensive surgery, referred to by some as the mother of all surgeries, it can take 8-12 hours, and sometimes longer. Average time in the hospital is 10 days with a recovery time of 4 to 6 months.

On June 16th Shantelle and John-Mark are planning to go to San Diego for this specialized surgery, they could use all your prayers. 

You can follow their story here at their CaringBridge site where they will try to keep us all updated.

Here are ways you can help the Carlson family....

1) Pray - Please continue to lift them up in prayer.  Pray for their children, the doctors and that ultimately God will be glorified through their situation.

2) Simply donate to their Go Fund Me account.

3) As usual I will be donating 50% of my profits this month to the Carlson family.  If you would like to order you can email me or visit my website

I will be making a bulk order for those who live near Mica so she can help distribute.  So if you are interested in smaller items like sunscreen, eye cream, self tanner etc you can purchase this way.

4) Mica is a distributer for Young Living Oils.  She is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about oils and their every day usefulness!  I encourage you to contact her if you have questions.  We have been using oils at our house since September and I have been thrilled with how helpful they have been!

Here is how you can support Shantelle and her family through Mica.

If you are already on my team, anything you order, the proceeds I get will go to supporting her.
 If you are not already using Young Living Essential Oils, you can sign up to get a premium starter kit.

Or you could get the Ningxia Red kit which is an incredible antioxidant drink or the thieves kit which has everything you need to replace the toxins in your home! From thieves cleaner, to thieves toothpaste and mouthwash! Thieves is an incredible antibacterial oil that they have used to create an awesome line of all things you need to keep you healthy!

 So if you want to join the team in starting a healthier life style and supporting Shantelle, let’s get started!

Here is how to sign up with 
Step 1: Click here to be taken to the sign up page. (This should open up in a new window so you can refer back to this page to continue the instructions)
Step 2: Make sure “Member” (which is wholesale customer) is checked. This is the ONLY way to get the 24%, purchase the Starter Kits, and have the opportunity to earn free product and points through Essential Rewards. My number is already in the boxes, so you get to join my awesome team!
Step 3: Input all your personal information. This will include your social security number for tax purposes. Talk to me about this if you have concerns! Be sure to remember your username, password and pin number for future reference. I don’t suggest using your bank pin as this is your password when calling Customer Service.
Step 4: Select the “Premium Starter Kit” that you want for $150. This is the best deal (you get the 11 oils and the diffuser shown above) and the kit I would recommend and purchased myself. I wish I could get another! Or the ningxia red or thieves kit.
Step 5: I always say to explore your Starter Kit before signing up for Essential Rewards. But us addicts, we love our rewards! This is how you can earn free product, cheaper shipping rates and points to buy free oils later on. For now, you can just click “No, thank you.”
Step 6: Confirm your enrollment by clicking “I Agree.”
Step 7: Almost done! Now that you’ve created your account this is where you can checkout and purchase your Starter Kit or add more products (you will get the 24% off in this order and any future order if you stayed with Member not Retail Customer on the first page). Make sure to complete this process until you see confirmation.
Step 8: Wait impatiently by the door until your box of fun arrives!
We can’t wait for you to join our oily party!
 Step 9: I contact you and do a little dance! And I am available for any and all questions!

Or Sign up here!
Thank you!!!

Donations for John Mark and Shantelle will help pay for hotel bills, flights and lost work.  I love that working these small part-time jobs give Mica and I the chance to bless others in ways that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise!

Thank you in advance for supporting this amazing family!  Please continue to keep them in your prayers!


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