Giving Back To The Book World + $50 Giveaway

Hi guys!   I’m sitting here at my keyboard, really wondering what this post will be about.  I feel like I have so much to say, and I’m not even sure where to begin.  So, if there is a ton of rambling and ‘squirrel!’ moments, just bare with me…there will be a point and a purpose to this.  And a giveaway!

Let me start by introducing myself, I suppose.  My name is Leah and I am one of the Black Heart gals.  I live in the beautiful Pacific North West, have two kiddos, an adorable husband, squish boobs during the day and read all. the. time.  Books are my life and I squeeze in time to read whenever possible.

I created my book Facebook account about two years ago, and my life has been forever changed.  Not only was I exposed to an entire new world of stories and authors, but friends.  Some of my closest and most favorite people I have found in our little Indie book world.

And let me tell you, this community is amazing.  Yes, there’s a lot of drama, but you guys… there is so much love and support it makes my head spin.  And during one of the hardest times my family has had to battle, you guys saved me.

It all started about 3 years ago, and my daughter was around 2.

One night, Magoo woke up crying.  No big deal right?  I cuddled her, rubbed her back, and put her back in bed.  A few nights later, the same thing.  At first we thought it was just bad dreams, and decided to take away night time TV and YouTube watching.  But slowly, our nights of our daughter waking up screaming and crying became a routine.  When I took her to her doctor, he said it was probably growing pains.

Ah.  Growing pains.  Made sense.  My husband had them terribly growing up, and supposedly that runs in families.

But after months and months and fucking months of my daughter screaming at night I had finally had enough.  It wasn’t even just nights anymore, it was mornings and afternoons and anytime during the day, my beautiful little girl would scream and cry and curl up into a ball in pain.

And then she stopped walking.  At this point Magoo was three, and instead of her running around laughing and dancing, she would limp or just outright refuse to walk and just scoot around on her butt.

We hadn’t slept in almost a year, and I spent my nights awake, holding my daughter as she screamed bloody murder, screaming that her bones were on fire.  “Mommy, my bones are on fire!  Make it stop!  Make the fire stop! Mommy, please make it stop!”   We would fill the bathtub with cold water and bags of ice and I would just sit there holding my baby as her entire body shook in pain.

Nothing is harder than being a parent and not being able to take away your child’s pain.  Not only was my three year old in excruciating pain, but my 8 year old son was a fucking mess watching his sister slowly deteriorate.  He was worried, and tired, and acting out… and everything was falling apart.

I took my daughter back to her doctor and demanded answers.  This just could not be growing pains anymore.  It couldn’t.

He made a call to Seattle Children’s, and made us an appointment with a Rheumatologist, throwing around words like arthritis or inflammatory diseases.  It was scary, but we needed answers.

Weeks later we saw the doctor and he examined my daughter.  Took blood, had xrays done and told us….   “I’m sorry, but it’s growing pains.  Some kids experience growing pains at really high levels of pain, and this could go on for a few more years…but hang in there.  It’ll stop eventually.”

Growing pain.  Fucking growing pains.

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But if that’s what one of the top doctors says, you believe it.  So we buckled up and were prepared to ride this out.

Four weeks later, it’s late in the evening.  The kids are in bed and I’m putting away laundry.  My phone rings and the caller ID says, “Seattle Children’s”.   Wait… what?   My stomach drops and I answer.

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And that’s when the doctor tells me he’s sorry he waited so long to call me, but he needed time to talk with specialists about my daughter’s xrays once he got the official radiologist reading.  He needed time to set us up with a specific Orthopedic surgeon. He said he couldn’t give me any answers, since it’s not in his field, but I would be getting a call soon to set up an appointment.

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And that’s when she got her first diagnosis.  Avascular Osteonecrosis.  Plainly, my daughter’s bones were dying.  And no one could tell us why.

Usually this diagnosis isn’t a bad thing.  It usually is an easy fix.  But since it’s usually something that happens to much older boys in knees and hips, and not 2 year old girls’ feet… it just wasn’t caught in time.

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And now came a whirlwind of appointments.  And tests.  CT scans, MRIs, lab draws, x-rays.  Somehow, the bones in my daughter’s foot were…. gone.  Each time my daughter would walk, skip, jump, her bones would break and break and break until there was nothing fucking left.

She had holes in her foot where her bones used to be.  Gone.   And now growing in those places were cysts.  Angry, evil cysts that were growing large and causing a shit ton of pain.

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We spent the next year casting her legs, trying to keep her off of her feet so her body could heal.  Instead of getting to learn how to ride a bike, Magoo had to watch from the sidelines.  Instead of getting to sled in the winter and build snowmen, she had to wrap her casts in bags so they wouldn’t get wet and ruined.  She spent our vacations in Arizona and Mexico wobbling in her casts and having to watch everyone else have fun.  We had to take away dance class and gymnastics from her.  We had to keep her from doing things that kids do… like jumping and dancing and walking.

And through all of this uncertainty and overwhelming days, I had books to take my mind off everything and I had my book friends.  It’s funny, because the friends I have here in person…. they kind of sucked.  Rarely did I get a text or phone call asking how Ariah was doing or how my family was holding up.  But you know what?  I was fucking bombarded every day from people who I had never met in person, who lived all over the globe, constantly sending me encouragement and prayers and gifts for my daughter.

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In a time where I felt confused and so fucking afraid, I had so much support.  All from people I met through….books.

Last week, the day before her 5th birthday, after endless casts and nuclear med scans and blood draws and tests… my daughter got the all clear.  No more casts.  No more tests.  NO MORE.

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I sobbed for days.  It was a long freaking journey, and it was finally over.  And again, we were bombarded with so much celebration from my friends in the book world that my heart overflowed with joy.

So, the point of this?  Thank you.  Thank you SO fucking much for the text messages and PMs asking how we were doing.  Thank you so much for letting me rant and cry and feel sorry for myself, and allowing me to break down in private so I didn’t have to do it in front of my kids.  Thank you for talking books with me and letting my mind focus on something besides radiologist reports.  Thank you for giving me an outlet and a world to emerge myself in.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now I want to pay it forward.  We all have shit to shovel.  We all have bad days and scary situations we have to battle.  And we all need a little bit of encouragement and support from time to time.

So, I would like to give away a $50 Amazon gift card, because that can buy a lot of cool shit.  Books for you to lose yourself in a different reality for a while. Diapers for your baby.  New makeup for yourself.  Whatever it is that will put a smile on your face, I want you to have it.   This will post on our FB blog page, and all you have to do is comment on that post and THATS IT.
(Here’s the FB link –  https://www.facebook.com/blackheartreviews/posts/1415823975112747)

Just remember, everyone is battling something.  Don’t forget to reach out to friends and family, because you never know when they could really use it.

Spread love, bitches.

And again… thank you.

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  • Lacey LaMountain

    I HAVE to put this out there, that little girl is one of the most kind hearted, passionate about everything and will put a smile on your face no matter what. Leah and her family open their arms to me and I had the privilege of helping raise Ariah and her awesome older brother for 3 years. I was given the name Shitty by Ariah because Lacey was too hard to pronounce, to this day I can’t figure out how she got Shitty out of Lacey lol. Her older brother still calls me his babysitter even though I haven’t watched them over a year. I love this family so much!!!!!!!

  • Tiffany Johnson

    Wow! I am so glad you all made it through this ordeal and that she is okay now!! What a scary diagnosis and I can’t imagine how scared you must have been as a parent. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Micky Barnard

    What a journey, so glad she had the all clear and you can get back to being a normal mum.

  • RJOHNSON

    My gosh! Hats off to you for being such a strong person. I’d have been a dysfunctional mess. So glad Lil Miss is better and can have a happy, healthy life!

  • Cali W.

    We all go through bad times in life. I’m glad to hear your daughter is okay. My little sister has a mental disability and the struggle is real.

  • Erica Boyle

    I’m definitely sorry I wasn’t there for you more or mindful of the shit other people besides myself are going through. Love you girl and you know I’m cheering right alongside you no matter what happens in life.

  • Michelle Morrison Monroe

    Wow, Leah! I commend you for being strong even when you wanted to fall apart and do what you needed for your baby, for not giving up and demanding the doctors find out what was wrong with her! Such a sweet little girl, I am so happy to hear she is doing better!!

  • Betül

    This brought tears to my eyes. I can’t stand when children are in pain. I am so happy Magoo got the all clear! I love how supportive the book community is. Sometimes you find just as much or more support in people you have never met (in the book community) than the ones in real life. I LOVE my book buddies! Thank you so much for sharing. <3


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