The catalyst

So now you know that we spent 9 years planning, hoping, and dreaming of the day we would retire. We still thought that retirement meant: working hard first; paying off all bills; saving enough money; working until that golden early retirement age of 55.

You know what they say about the best laid plans?

One month after Rick’s 54th birthday, he almost died.

13 long nights spent in ICU

Click the link below to read Rick’s entire story.

We do not advocate going to these extremes to achieve your dream! What we do want everyone reading to realize though, is that it’s how you bounce back after adversity that matters. We were fortunate that Rick’s aortic dissection did not leave enough serious and lasting damage that he could not enjoy his life. Rick is left with slight paralysis in his right arm, a huge scar, an inability to do heavy lifting, occasional brain fog, and is trying to build his endurance back daily. As of now, he can walk one mile with only 2 or 3 breaks. He will never have his normal and active life back, but he values the life he does have.

He woke up in the ICU on January 11th, 2020. The first week was very touch and go. By the end of March, we were consulting with his surgeon and cardiologist about a move to Belize. The medical team considered all his needs, we will be carefully assembling trusted medical professionals on the island, and will be traveling back to Chicago for all of his follow up appointments every year. Other than ensuring we would follow all protocol for an aortic dissection survivor, we were given the green light. The quote from the surgeon was “Go live your life.”

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