After trying our soap, many of our customers have asked how we got into the soap making business. It’s an interesting question and one we will try to answer.
2003 was not a good year in the Roberts home. We were married 3 years earlier and while everything started off great, things suddenly changed dramatically. Perhaps the biggest and most devastating change was my health. Overtaken by periods of extreme fatigue that curtailed my strong work ethic, I found that I had severe congestive heart failure and other heart related issues and that my heart was only pumping blood at 18-20% of normal.
In the midst of this discovery, I was told that I had a fatty tumor on my neck. Only, it turned out to not be a fatty tumor. To put it simply, the doctors had misdiagnosed my problem. The “no problem” fatty tumor turned out to be Stage 4 Squamous Cell Cancer on both sides of the neck and at the base of the tongue.
That’s when we were hit with what we had least expected. In May of 2004 the doctors gave me 6 months or less to live. By August of 2004 I was down to “1 month or less”. But our faith in God and the healing power of Jesus never waivered. After all, that was all we had left. The money was gone, the health was gone, we had moved to a remote part of Western North Carolina and jobs were difficult to find and good paying jobs were non-existent.
At the time we met, Cindy had let her anesthesia license go inactive while pursuing a masters degree in theology at a local seminary. Now, during a time of crisis, Cindy worked four part time jobs to help make ends meet. Lee had a run of the mill desk job at a local bank but there was never enough money and we began to wear down physically, emotionally, and mentally. Things were so bad that our church regularly brought us food and gave us gasoline cards so that we could get to work. Nothing was working. LIFE WAS NOT FUN!
I had finally had enough of being sick all the time from the 13 different medications I was taking in order to stay alive. So one night I simply and calmly stopped taking all of them. Now it was up to God. Everything was now in His hands.
The one thing Cindy would not let go of was her 9 acre picturesque farm in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Since she was a small child, Cindy had always wanted a farm. In her heart she knew that this was the life she was born to live. But like so many of us, life had taken her in a different direction. Growing up in the UP of Wisconsin, she moved to Chicago right out of high school to pursue a career in medicine. After graduating from Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center in Chicago she moved to New Orleans to complete her anesthesia degree to become a CRNA.
We discussed the possibility of selling the farm but the answer was always a resounding “NO”. That was not an option. Things would get better. I would get well. We would find good jobs. Somehow, we would build our dream home on the farm and even after I was gone she would find a way to spend the rest of her life there. But in reality, the chances of that happening was somewhere between slim and none. The truth is, we just didn’t want to face the facts.
Then a friend in Atlanta said, “Cindy, you have options. There are some things you can do to make things better. You could sell your farm.”
A few days later the husband of another friend told her, “Cindy, sell the farm! You aren’t getting any younger and you need to make some changes in your life.” Cindy still wasn’t convinced but at least she was thinking about selling the farm.