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Jasmin June 11th, 2018 05:32 AM

My sincerest apologies
 
I am the choke point here.

If you need someone to blame, please blame me. Ultimately it's me who's responsible for Direct, and will be for Androtics Lab when it finally comes to fruition.

I feel like a complete and utter miserable failure right now, but now that I have a small amount of energy, I am working to rebuild and make things right.

Since Michael left the company almost a decade ago, I became the primary licensee for his technologies. I license both the Androtics name and formulas in exchange for a small royalty (although with the amount of money he's pumped back into the project, he's never been in profit yet). I'm also the primary person responsible for making and distributing those technologies, both through our own online properties and now through the sales channels of the new retail licensees which he finally allowed onboard late last year.

We used to have a small but helpful team to make this all happen.

After losing our Los Angeles office due to a sudden notice last year (everyone on the block received a 30 day notice, see https://urbanize.la/post/west-hollyw...g-construction), as well as our beloved and long time customer assistant Mickaelia due to the 2 severe tropical storms last year, I was left alone to complete many tasks. I still worry about Mickaelia every day, as the rebuilding of her area has been going unreasonably slow.

The only people remaining were Dee and myself. We lost 7 beloved and very much valued long term staff members total. I needed to perform many of their jobs, except for the ones Dee could could help out with remotely.

I was up for these almost superhuman challenges. Chaos itself isn't too fun. But if you think about life and work challenges with the right mindset, working on solutions to tough problems can be fun and exciting in a very real way. This work can make you feel alive. You get to stretch your mind, and sometime test your physical limits. The unwanted, unavoidable "opportunities" inherent in the Melrose Triangle property redevelopment and the tropical storms provided both.

Reframing these issues as challenges to overcome provided a way to stay sane and hopeful.

However, I hit a ceiling I didn't know was there. I ran into some serious health issues after tackling more than I could chew.

I was diagnosed with brain tumor related epilepsy in February. I'm told the mass may have been there for years growing slowly, and that it may have suddenly grown an irritating millimeter or 2 in response to my body being weakened from excessive stress. This is likely what allowed it to show the more obvious symptoms, in the form of seizures, that the doctors finally took seriously. That they issued an MRI to investigate.

I now know what happened to me is typical. Many people don't ever realize issues they've been experiencing are from a brain tumor. Not until they have an obvious type of seizure that then gets thoroughly investigated with more than mere blood tests.

Before I had extensive imaging done, many symptoms tend to get written off as being due to stress or being "all in your head". Of course, the "all in your head" thing is actually, literally true in some cases.

At best, they'd attribute symptoms to old head traumas I experienced as a teen -- especially a particular gruesome car accident where the seats detached from the vehicle. I was too young to experience what I'd describe, they'd say. Too seemingly healthy. I have a more ebullient, sometimes people-pleasing personality type -- especially when nervously holed up in a doctor's office -- which worked against me receiving the type of care I needed for quite awhile.

Because I have a mass constantly pushing against things in my brain that it shouldn't, my epilepsy doesn't just present itself as obvious seizures. My brain expresses electrical activity -- "discharges", as they call them -- anytime, 24 hours a day. When untreated, as mine were for a long time, epileptic discharges interfere with normal, healthy brain functioning. This expresses itself as memory issues. Aphasia, also known as a loss of words. I would struggle to piece together sentences, directions, *any* kind of communication. It frustrated me at first, when I didn't think it was serious and that I would eventually get over it. But when I became inexplicably mute, when I could see pictures of what I needed but could not, despite anything I did, express it to someone else who could help me, I became utterly listless. I had always been a vibrant communicator, writing lyrics, poetry, prose as a tool of dynamic self-expression -- to lose it was an inexplicable, priceless loss. An enormous chunk of my identity was scraped away.

The epilepsy also suddenly stole my ability to process simple math and chemistry. Complex mental math calculations had always been fluid and easy to me. Now I struggle with calculating tips. It's like my loss of words. I can SEE the mathematical process in my head, but I cannot, for the life of me, see the answer. Only the formulas, if that. Losing my math sense caused a deeply penetrating loss of personal security. I felt internal anxiety and terror. Fear and a sense of doom is one of the more unpleasant sensations.

Side effects from anti-epileptics are extreme, exchanging one problem for other things (leaving me with mostly fatigue, nausea and wooziness), but I'm still glad I have them. They may make me ungodly tired, but at least they allow me to be mostly rational and effective during my few waking hours.

If the tumor diagnosis is correct (I've been reading that it's hard to fully know 100% without biopsy or resectioning), then my type of cancer gives 3-4 years to live on average.

Some people live much longer (and some much shorter). I hope to work to be in the long camp, myself.

Although I can't afford it right now, I hope to switch over to a medical ketogenic diet, which is the only known cure for epilepsy, as well as a treatment for cancer. Although ketosis is not a known cure for cancer, it has been shown to be able to stop the growth of many cancers. In other words, although it may not always be able to induce remission (cancer reversal), at least it may put it on hold. That's often good enough, especially when other treatments are added.

https://charliefoundation.org/keto-for-cancer/

All together, I'm placed on 3 extremely powerful pharmaceuticals within a very short amount of time, in addition to one I take for a different issue. 2 anti-epileptics to reduce excess brain energy, and 1 chemotherapeutic agent to stop brain tumor growth.

All of these new pills have serious side effects.

For me, these side effects are primarily endless fatigue, nausea, and very new -- sometimes crippling -- writhing pains all over my body. It feels like I am wasting away into a calcified fossil fetal position. These prescriptions are something like being placed in a medically induced coma with brief and painful periods of waking. Periods whereupon I felt like I was in early stage pregnancy after a bad traffic accident. The worst morning sickness ever, but no benefits of a pregnancy.

Even without Pharma assistance, the epilepsy and tumor are alone, fatiguing. Besides other symptoms I wish the doctors took more seriously years ago, I've had overwhelming fatigue for several years now. I (mostly successfully) combatted this with mostly vitamin drinks and caffeine.

I've needed to stop those drinks and avoid other vitamins I was taking. Their high antioxidant levels interfere with destructive functions of chemotherapy. The neurologist made me discontinue caffeine to to reduce the epilepsy, and in the particular form of epilepsy I've been experiencing, it's constant 24/7 discharges. In sum total, this left me as 1/20th of a functioning person for awhile. Mostly bedridden and useless. I felt both trapped and horribly ashamed.

The epilepsy alone has meant I am legally unable to drive, which, while I understand that it's literally for everyone's safety, has introduced all sorts of new challenges. When I can't muster more than an hour an half of contiguous, quality waking time, bus rides that often are often 40 to 90 minutes long can be quite an issue. Sometimes, one of the kind local Mormon kids help out and give me a ride, and I'm infinitely grateful to them. (I'm not Mormon myself, but they often take on the sick and people not doing so well as a type of "project") It helps probably more than they know.

More recently, and very embarrassingly, I'm told my breath has started to smell of cat urine. As much as I wish I did, I don't have a cat. My doctor has scheduled me to come by this week for a kidney screening, as the pills I'm on may have reduced my kidney functioning. Presumably this will lead to more pills. I fear that I'll end up on 15 pharmaceuticals like older people I've known. Ultimately, I believe it may be the pharmaceuticals that kill them more than the original diseases and disorders do.

My HMO-assigned neurologist doesn't have epilepsy herself, so she doesn't seem to understand the impact of drugs that make it impossible to both work and function as a person, especially as a business person and a mother. But people with epilepsy know just how serious these drugs are firsthand.

https://www.epilepsy.com/connect/for...uining-my-life

https://www.epilepsy.com/connect/for...aving-epilepsy

I have a hacker's heart, though, and know quite a few people who like figuring out unique solutions to unique problems. I find a lot of peace in both figuring out how to beat a problem, then sharing my work.

Now I'm using better sleep & nap strategies (I move an air mattress into the office and take a 20-90 minute nap before each work session). I've started to use herbs and extracts known to both increase energy whilst fighting cancer, such as high eCGC based, decaffeinated green tea extract. I used to think green moringa powder was a scam, but given that I have so few options on supplements to take for energy, I can see that it does actually help!

I now have my energy up to about 1/4th that of a normal person. Sometimes a little more or less, given the day. On the worst days, I'm completely out, frustratingly beyond my control.

Working even partially through the fog of illness and the side effects of pharma is a major victory. Yes, I am still slow, so very slow... I remind myself of my beautiful 78 year old aunt with who's life is at a standstill with Parkinson's disease.

There's more modern drugs that may be able to control them with less side effects, they say, but they're either too new or out of my reach at this time. The insurance will pay for the expensive operations that will likely be needed, including the gruesome "brain resectioning", but insurance won't provide state of the art drug therapies.

As complicating as all this is, at least I am ready to tackle rebuilding again. Impossible just weeks ago after the neurologist threw everything insurance would cover at me to get the epileptic discharges under control.

With the first inkling of energy, I first went to negotiate with our suppliers and partners to make things more stable. To apologise, and make a future possible. Some were easier to work with than others. It was quite a journey into itself.

Now I'm trying to make things right with all of you.

Many of these elements are out of my control. Despite this, I am still very sorry to each of you.

This isn't how I wanted things to play out. I want to be more than this. Illness is actually very embarrassing. It certainly doesn't work with how I see myself. I wish I didn't have to mention illness at all, but at this point, I really feel I have to. This illness is more powerful than me and my will, so I think it's important to put on the table so you know where I'm coming from.

I want you to know that I'm working hard to make things good again, to generate goodwill and right any of my missteps with each of you -- even though there are challenges I cannot control. I want you to know I'm doing my best to work around them.

My sincerest apologies for not having new projects up. This is something I'm trying my best to work on.

I'm especially apologetic to anybody still left in the queue. I've had Dee look for orders that I can fulfill with standard off the shelf product. Most of those have sailed. What remains is mostly ones with customizations or simply difficult-to-create products which are basically custom made, even though they weren't when we had a full staff. Everything from here out takes a desperately long time to create and fulfill.

I have been getting these packages out again, though slowly. Slowwwwly. Some orders take 6 hours to put together.

Fulfilling old Direct style orders with their endless customizations is slow and complex. Even though I'm extra slow right now, these would be slow even for our veteran staff. I'm guessing a full team could likely completely them in about an hour and a half each. As things are now, I hope to get 1 of the remaining packages out per functioning day. This may be as few as 3 or 4 week. Hopefully 6 or 7 during good weeks.

I feel embarrassed that I can't do better. This certainly makes me feel like a failure.

I appreciate all of you, and as I learn to manage my illness, I'm dedicated to doing better in the future. To architecting systems that work well even when team members are taken out.

Many of you have dutifully stuck by us, and me, and I cannot express my infinite gratitude at your kindness. I will be forever in your duty in return, as long as I can be.

I also apologize to the new licensee of Androtics.com that was to handle Androtics.com retail site & marketing, as well as their own private label store.

I apologize to the new Ammo licensee, which was to do the same with the Ammo brand. I have the agreement to drop ship for both of you, and I am still working on it. I'm working hard to build up a little more "off the shelf" type inventory.

As I work on the Direct queue, and I've been making extra new product that my part time shipping helper can ship for you. Hiring people to help with shipping has been no problem at our new location. There are plenty of major ecommerce projects here that are leaving all of the time. We do more international shipping than most local ecommerce companies do, but at least these people are good at the basics and tend to excellent at what they do.

On the other hand, hiring people to help finish assembling the products has been an issue. I still need to do most of that myself, and I'm not up my old speedy standards. I apologize. I am working as fast as I can to find people up to the task of doing this. It's a challenge to find, let alone train, a new April, Amy or Jacob. It took years to acquire competent people to build product to our standards. It took years to train them. With me in my current state, what am I to do? I don't have the energy to find and train. I barely have the energy to create. I barely have the energy to feed myself some days. I do what I can.

I may not be able to make the quantities needed for the marketing plans the new licensees have, but I think something may be better than nothing right now to help heal those relationships and start something amazing. Again, my apologies both to them and to the clients they should've been serving by now.

I apologize to my creditors. While illness and it's treatments have laid me flat for far too long, just keeping the lights on at our two locations, as well as my own, has drained every cent we've both borrowed and made. While I haven't been extended new credit to help, some of the creditors have been very kind and understanding with extensions. Some not so much. Nonetheless, I appreciate you and hope to make things right. It was never my intention to get sick or be a drain.

I apologize to our founder MIchael Harris himself, who once upon a time gave me so much opportunity and an excellent fresh start at working life.

As the economy changed, he's been there to make up for our losses here, paid from his other jobs. He did that until he had nothing left to give.

He paid far more the past few years than he's ever received in royalties, and I appreciate his never ending assistance and support. For awhile, he very kindly made sure my employees could get by with what was considered a living wage. I never wanted things to work out like this. I'm sorry for that it did. I'm still dedicated to turning that around, Michael. Just like anyone does, you too deserve to benefit from your work. I will work to make sure you do. I'm amazed at that man.

Even more so, Michael has always been more driven by curiosity than money. He's been looking forward to having platforms to show his newest and most interesting mixes. This is why he supported Direct even when it made no financial sense at all. I especially look forward to supporting venues that will support his curious and adventurous mind.

Lastly, and again, I'm so sorry to each of you. I've seen first hand how our tech can help some of the kindest and most interesting planet get the social benefits they deserve.

Both a good degree of our clients, and many people who've brought this technology into reality, are some of the smartest, most interesting people I've ever met. I'm proud to see how our tech has literally saved and enriched the lives of some of the people who deserve it the most.

This life can be all too painful. I'm proud to be part of a project that reduces the pains of loneliness and disconnection. The pains of boredom. The pain of having little to do and no one to do it with. The pain of not being acknowledged for who you really are, or the things you do.

I am so very happy at what we've been able to deliver to some remarkable people, and certainly look forward to delivering these values again.

So much has been laid to waste due to massive storms, changing economic environments, and illness. All this after years of being haunted by denial of service (DDOS) attacks, runway draining click fraud, and other underhanded attacks from so-called "competitors" that believed more in modern forms of violence than they did intellect. None of of these things are fun or productive. Nobody wants for any of this.

I never expected 13+ years on to have to start with nearly zero, unwell and with massive personal and business debt.

Nonetheless, I'm grateful as it's good to be alive instead of the alternative.

It's good to have even some opportunity instead of none.

Now with a little energy available, I look forward to rebuilding and making things better. As a friend suggested, it's time to be the phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Thanks kindly for reading this and for your support and interest over the years. It's awesome to be part of something that has helped make a genuine difference in very wonderful people's lives.

I look forward to working through these challenges, and doing better to do my small part in making this world a place worth living.

With love and gratitude,
Jasmin

mobocaster June 11th, 2018 12:27 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
All strength and best wishes to you for these trials Jasmin - its good to see you posting again.

DevilJin June 12th, 2018 01:01 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
I can vouch for how much your products have helped change my life for the better. They really have allowed me to grow as a person ever since I came across them as a 20 year old over 6 years ago. Your health is the biggest priority, you?ll have a ton of loyal customers waiting to order once your products are online again. Much love Jasmin.

lukewalker June 17th, 2018 12:22 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
I have been using Androtics for half a decade now, I can't wait to see what your team has on your future journey!

stevencairns88 June 18th, 2018 01:54 AM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
Hi Jasmin

We had no idea - thanks so much for the update and terribly sorry to hear about your situation.

Would be good to catch up once things are back to normal.

Best wishes

marsbar June 29th, 2018 09:20 AM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
I'm so sorry to hear about your illness Jasmin and can only hope you get better very soon.

I've always look forward to your posts and found them entertaining and educational.

In the approximate 10 years I've been coming to the site and using Androtics products my life has changed no end.

As with everybody else I look forward to the new version of Androtics.

Get well very soon.

tonyman June 29th, 2018 04:08 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
Yeah I had no idea either. So sorry to hear about all the health problems you've been having. Keep going with the health hacking!

Conjurator July 1st, 2018 04:51 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
Thanks for the heartfelt testimony, Jasmin. The inconvenience we have been going through is minor compared to the ordeal you are going through. There is definitely no blame to be addressed. I enjoy that saying: "Everyone fights a struggle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.". When the products return, I'll be the first in line. A thought for Mickaelia also, she's been such a sweetheart to us all. Take care.

jamiejean1021 July 2nd, 2018 11:00 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
It is my understanding that you have relocated to Seattle. I too recently moved from WeHo to Seattle and am more than willing to learn and help on my two days off a week. Please contact me if you are able to! :)

mrseeker July 4th, 2018 09:39 PM

Re: My sincerest apologies
 
Hi Jasmin,

Despite never actually hearing what is behind it, its thanks to your products that made me the happy man that I am today. I came back because of the help and really great customer support that you have. I could not wish for a better brand.

I hope that you guys can get over the DDoS attacks, I know that cloudflare is a good company in those cases, but if you need some extra hands, always willing to ask around on how to mitigate these annoying pests...


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