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Quality custom dice you can afford and an easy design process - even if you're not a graphic designer. Now available in 11 colors!
Quality custom dice you can afford and an easy design process - even if you're not a graphic designer. Now available in 11 colors!
2,048 backers pledged $76,901 to help bring this project to life.

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Refund surveys coming your way.

28 likes

It’s January - a new year. The therapy I’ve been doing has made a huge impact on my health so far. The therapy continues, and I’m hoping that there will be progress continually made through the coming months. My stamina is way higher than it was. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but things are going in the right direction again now.

The laser has not been sold yet, but I have still been working on getting things set up so that I can start refunding some of you. And I think we’re at a point where that can begin.

I want to make a full refund available to any of you who would like it, but I also know some of you have asked not to be refunded, others for only partial refunds, and of course some of you would like a full refund. 

So my plan is to use a survey to allow you to provide information to let me know what percentage refund you would like. 

You can also specify how you would like to receive the refund. As far as I can tell, there’s no easy way for me to refund the money directly to your credit card (since this product was launched before Kickstarter began using Stripe to process payments).

So, I can send the refund via Paypal or check. Be sure to specify either your Paypal address or preferred mailing address depending on the type of payment you prefer.

I cannot at this point make promises as to how quickly you will receive your refund. I plan to do the refunds on a first-come-first-served basis as funds allow (essentially as I am either able to sell off assets or replenish the funds personally).

So how quickly you get your refund will depend on how soon you submit your survey response as well as how quickly I am able to either recover or replace the necessary funds.

Once again, thank you for your patience with all of this. And thanks again for believing in the dream even though my frailty and inexperience caused it not to come to fruition.  

-- 

 I’m finishing up the surveys right now, and plan to send them all out this afternoon. It’s January - a new year.

Admitting Defeat

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I don't know what else to say other than that I have failed myself, this project, and you. 

I see three ways primarily that I failed: 

1) Inexperience in doing something at this scale left me underprepared for some of the obstacles I ran into. Were it not for the other two failure points, I am confident this one could have been overcome, but it did contribute nonetheless.

 2) My failure to recognize the problems with my health before they cascaded out of control was by far the biggest contribution to my failure to complete this project. In retrospect, I can see some of the warning signs, but at the time I just thought I was tired and stressed right up until my body began to fail catastrophically.

3) When failures 1 & 2 crippled me and therefore this project, the issue was exacerbated by poor communication. This took place in part simply because I'm not good at communicating, partly because I wasn't sure how to explain what was going on, and partly because even at this late point in the game I am torn by the decision of whether I should keep pressing on or wave the white flag. 

With each update I gave toward the end, there was an increasing number of people finding ways to contact me by digging up phone numbers, personal email addresses, etc simply to curse and make accusations.

With everything else going on, I could not handle the stress and was forced to set it aside as much as I could until I got back on my feet. Even now, it's hard to bring myself to post this not knowing what other areas of my life it will bleed into. 

I say none of this as an excuse... it is more accurately an admission of several of my weaknesses which brought me to the point of writing this update. 

It's been about 3 months since I moved my family to Idaho for less humid climate so my lungs could recover. The vast majority of my energy during that time has been spent in therapy to correct the issues with my body. 

 I'm doing a lot better now, but I still have a long way to go. A few months ago I was bedridden and unsure if I would make it to the end of the year let alone see my daughter's 2nd birthday next year. I've come a long way from there and my stamina is getting better- but I still can't predict what level of work I'll be able to take on at any time. I still have plenty of days when I'm just utterly exhausted and/or incapable of focusing. 

Some of you had offered to help with the website, and I genuinely appreciate that, but I haven't even been at a point where I could manage something like that right now. 

So here's my plan: As much as I would still really like to see this project out to the end, I cannot predict with any level of certainty when I will be capable of doing that. And plenty of backers have made it quite clear that they are not interested in waiting for me to recover. 

 So the only way I can see to proceed with this is to work towards sending out refunds. 

For that to work, I will need to liquidate as much of the supplies and equipment that were purchased as part of this program as possible. 

Based on the level of improvement I've seen over the past month, my expectation is that I will be strong enough by the end of the year to begin focusing a significant amount of energy on selling the laser (that being the most significant piece of equipment needing to be sold) and to begin working on refunds. 

That's the best that I feel I can realistically say. 

 On a mostly unrelated note, there is something else I feel should be addressed. 

There have been accusations floating around that I took the money to run off and start a different business. The catalyst for this idea was a website someone found discussing one of my other businesses - but that business has operated completely independent of any funds from this project. 

I've mentioned several times in other updates that I had other businesses operating aside from this one. I didn't see it as any different than someone running a project while working another job. Before launching this project, my primary source of income was from selling things on Amazon via something known as "online arbitrage". It made money for me, but the system I had in place for it was incredibly tedious, it was scaling very slowly, and I didn't enjoy it. So I launched this project as a way of eventually replacing my other income streams with something I would enjoy. With the launch of this project, I also shut down my online arbitrage because it was too time consuming and I needed to focus on this. 

This past Spring, when my health was beginning to fail but before I was bedridden, I realized that this project was not going to get to a point where it could pay me a salary before our personal funds ran out. So I invested money from our personal tax return, applied some of the knowledge I gained from importing things for this project, and imported some products to be sold on Amazon. This was something that took WAY less time and scaled a lot faster than the arbitrage I had done in the past. 

Meanwhile I'd been getting emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages telling me to keep my personal life out of the Kickstarter updates. But I also knew there were some people who wanted to hear what I was up to (I actually got far more positive feedback than negative on the personal content in most of the updates, but I still let the negative feedback rattle me to an unhealthy degree). So I attempted to set up a website documenting where I was at with everything. 

 My intention was to eventually post a link so those that were interested could read it and those that weren't didn't have to - but I wanted to see if I could sustain it before I posted anything on here. I didn't want to set an expectation and then have to abandon it. Around the time that I moved to Idaho and started therapy, I realized that I didn't have the strength to keep it going, so I stopped updated it and didn't say anything about it on here. A while later it was "discovered" as evidence that I had stolen the money. I'm truly sorry if it came across as me hiding something, it was not my intent.

 For the sake of hopefully clearing the air, if you'd like to see the website it can be found at brandingblitz.com - I have not altered or updated anything on there since well before it was uncovered (just a heads up though, I don't plan to continue to pay the hosting fees once the plan runs out). I structured it in a way so it could hopefully eventually be a resource to help someone else wanting to start a similar business. So not all of the posts will be relevant or interesting to you - but I clearly explained in early posts (and I believe mentioned it in later ones as well) that the primary goal for the new business was to get to a point where I could make sure this Kickstarter project got finished even if I couldn't do it myself (that goal has since changed to helping me refund more money than I'd otherwise be able to). 

 I'm sure many of you are wondering how I was able to run this new business if I couldn't keep up with what I already had going on. I did most of the legwork in short bursts before my health completely fell apart. Over the past couple of months I've spent an average of 1-2 hours per week working on things related to the business but for the most part it operates itself (I was very intentional in choosing my main product to make sure it would require little intervention on my part) since the inventory is produced and packaged in a factory in China and then storage, shipping, and customer service is handled by Amazon. 

Since the laser and other equipment/supplies will likely have to be sold at a lower price than they were purchased for (being lightly used rather than new) my hope is that I will be able to use some of the profits from this other business to help supplement the amount I can refund to you.

 In case anyone skimmed to the bottom and missed it, here's the summary: The plan now is to offer refunds, but it will still be a little while before I'm capable of executing that plan. I haven't disappeared, but it is going to take quite a while to put the pieces of my life back together.

Pulmonology update and moving to a better climate

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Earlier this week, I finally got to see the pulmonologist (this was the fastest they could get me in... seemed like forever).

Essentially, it ended up confirming what we already suspected but with more accurate results and some finer details.

My lungs are capable of holding a normal volume of air though it is intensely painful to make that happen.

My lungs are weaker than they should be and this is what makes it so difficult for me to breath in hot/humid air and hard to catch my breath after simple things like blowing my nose.

He did sugest some other potential tests that would continue to rule out other contributing factors. It is possible I have asthsma and that could contribute and the left side of my heart is enlarged which could be related. But the primary issue is the pressure that my back is putting a lot of pressure on my lungs.

That explains what happened when I went to Idaho last month. Almost immediately, I was able to notice a difference in the ease of breathing and that would have been because the decreased humidity made the air less dense and substantially easier for my lungs even in their weekened state.

I have some extensive physical therapy options available to begin working on strengthening my back/shouleders as well as the lungs themselves. I was too week to do these exercises here, but should be strong enough to begin making progress in a better environment.

To that mind, we are in the process of moving to Idaho. We've got family on the other end helping us work out the details and have had family, friends, and our church helping us out with the moving process.

In the extreme, the doctor mentioned that it might be worth looking into whether or not I am a candidate for back surgery. I'd really prefer to avoid that if possible, but it's an option that is at least on the table.

I know some of you have expressed very clearly that you couldn't care less about my health and only want to know about the status of the project. But I don't know how to tell you about the status of the project without explaining what is happening to my health because I have to get back on top of this before we can move forward.

All of the equipment, inventory, shelving, and other misc supplies will be going to Idaho with us. We were able to get it all in the same truck with our personal stuff which family and friends are helping us with the costs of - so the move is not taking any additional funds away from the project.

I am moving forward, and will try to talk more about potential options for that in the future - but I think that would be best done when my brain isn't partially shut down due to lack of oxygen.

It is pretty crazy to think that a year ago I was probably the healthiest I have been in my entire life.  But the best laid plans of mice and of men often go awry... Thank you once again for your patience as I work through all of this.

Health update

28 likes

Hey All,

It's me again – I am still alive.

First off, thanks for all the positive feedback and support in response to my last update. I can't express how much that meant/means in this hard time.

About a month has passed since then, so I wanted to update you on my health status.

I'm waiting right now to see a specialist. Apparently the only one that takes my insurance is at the University of Oklahoma medical center – and apparently they're in pretty high demand, because it takes quite a while to get in (at least for the pulmonology department). I spoke to them on the phone a couple days ago and they still couldn't give me a specific date, but I'm hopeful I will have an appointment set by the end of the month (not that the appointment would necessarily be this month but at least to have it scheduled)

They're going to do some tests which will hopefully shed more light on what's going on with my body. Until then, I still don't have a full picture of what's wrong. I'll share with you the bit I do know, as I understand it so far. I know some of you will have more medical understanding than me, I learned most of my medical knowledge from watching TV, so it's possible I don't have some of the details right, but this is how I understand the information I've been given so far by the doctors:

Short version for anyone wanting to skip the long version below: Tests show that the chest pains don't seem to be heart related – so that's good. My lungs aren't fully expanding or contracting so I'm getting very little oxygen – so that's not good. Among other issues, the lower flow of oxygen is causing weakness, dizziness, anxiety, sleeplessness, inability to focus and/or think clearly, headaches, etc. The already stressed lungs are more easily inflamed by various irritants (pollen, smoke, etc) and especially struggle with warm humid air – unfortunately we've had a crazy amount of thunderstorms and flooding this year and I live in the woods with all the blooming plants. Hopefully as things dry up it will get better, but it's hard to say how much since that isn't the root of the problem, just an irritant.

Longer version: When I was 14, I was in a car wreck that screwed up my knee (and plenty of other things, but that's the one relevant to this story). When they stitched me back up, the bones weren't aligned properly. It took years and multiple surgeries before the doctors were able to figure out what was causing the continuous pain. Finally the fourth doctor figured out the problem during an “exploratory” surgery, cut through some of the muscles (or tendons?) that had grown back and were now holding the knee misaligned.

The issue of knee pain had been mostly resolved at that point, but further damage had been done. Because I'd been trained to favor one leg over the other for several years, the muscles in my knee weren't the only ones that had begun to compensate. The rest of my body had begun to shift as well – most notably, my back.

I had developed scoliosis (spine curved from side to side) and kyphosis (upper spine rounded forward abnormally). Both of which I've been told by multiple doctors and chiropractors over the years are un-fixable.

Since I was sick of seeing so many doctors at this point, and there didn't seem to be much else they could do for me, I hadn't seen a doctor in nearly a decade before this year. I'd simply done what I could to maintain my back, and gotten periodic chiropractic care along the way.

Things seemed to be going relatively well health-wise, at least for what I'd been trained to expect. But now I'm being told that the kyphosis is likely at least playing a part in keeping my lungs from expanding fully (not sure why they're not contracting – I don't think that's related to the kyphosis...).

When I first showed up at the doctor's office, I had a really bad sinus infection. After listening to me try to breath, the doctor said at the time that I sounded like a someone who'd been smoking packs a day for decades – and I've never smoked in my life. That was able to be cleared up with a a few weeks on antibiotics.

Clearing up the infection helped with some symptoms. My lungs and sinuses don't feel clogged up anymore. But the chest pain and difficulty breathing didn't stop, and has actually gotten gradually worse in the weeks since then.

My assumption is that my back had probably already been compressing my lungs for some time now, it had happened so gradually that I wasn't aware it was taking place. When the severe infection took hold, it put extra strain on both the chest muscles and the corresponding back muscles and things began to shift around – by the time the antibiotics finished their job the stress on my lungs had already increased to a point that it wouldn't allow me to function normally.

At the moment, most of my day is spent in survival mode. We got an air purifier and have cranked up the A/C to cool the air and get rid of the humidity, and I spend most of my time shut in one of the smaller rooms in the house so that it can be as much of a controlled climate as possible. Some days are better than others, some aren't.

Next week, we are going to attempt to make a trip to see some family in Idaho. It's something that had been planned long before my health took a dive, but it's more than a bit nerve-wracking to think about since I hardly leave the house anymore. At the same time, I'm hopeful. Southern Idaho has a much drier climate than we do here (it is a desert after all). I'm hoping that will help my breathing come easier.

While the humidity here isn't the cause of my problems, it is an irritant. And I'm hopeful that this will give me a little reprieve and some time to think more easily/clearly.

I went back to the doctor yesterday. They gave me another steroid shot, because of all the meds we've tried in the past that seems to have helped the most. I'm hoping that will make the traveling go more smoothly.

They also switched my breathing treatment because the other stuff was giving me weird tremors. And they gave me yet another round of antibiotics because the infection seemed to be flaring up a bit again. And gave me some meds to help me get more sleep.

I still don't know what the full prognosis is, and probably won't until I get that appointment with the pulmonologist – but wanted to give an update so you're all aware of what's going on.

A appreciate that so many of you have been supportive and encouraging through this.  For those that are disappointed that the progress has come to a halt for now, I am truly sorry. There have been aspects of this project I definitely could have planned better - but this is one thing I could not have planned for.

I am still determined to fulfill my commitments, and I wish I could tell you what that's going to look like.  For those of you requesting refunds, the money has already been spent on supplies and equipment.   This project was designed to start a business by pouring in a ton of my time, it was not designed to be a big money-maker for me.  As such, the funds that are left are reserved for shipping out pledges, so I really can't give out refunds without causing problems with other people's orders.

Yes, you may be able to do a chargeback or something - I'm really not sure. But that will eat into the funds that have been reserved for shipping everyone's orders when that time comes.

Once things are up and running, and there are new orders coming in, I will be happy to refund anyone who would like me to.  But at this point offering refunds would only make things worse for the rest of the backers who still want their dice, and I would only be able to refund a small fraction of you.

I will try to keep you all updated as I know more about my health and what is going to be done to treat the issues.  I am hoping by the next update I will have had my appointment with the pulmonologist.

Breaking the silence

53 likes

Hey everyone.

I know it's been a long time since I've posted an update and especially since I mentioned being close to taking orders last time it has been unsettling for many of you to see that much time pass.

So I want to start this out by saying I have not forgotten about this, I have not moved on from it, and I am still completely committed to fulfilling this Kickstarter.

Not long after my last update, my health began to rapidly deteriorate. In retrospect, I believe I began getting sick in November, but at the time I just thought it was lack of sleep and stress from trying to push through with the project. It gradually got worse through December and January, but it wasn't until February that my body began to fall apart – and even then it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I hadn't had to make a trip to the doctor for nearly a decade, so I guess this level of health problem just caught me off guard. I get sick periodically, but I've always bounced back... that didn't happen this time.

The doctors have tried several different types of medication, and so far none of them seem to have really addressed the problem fully. Some have helped certain symptoms, but some symptoms have continued to get worse. I got some different scans done a few days ago which they're hoping will give them a clearer picture of what's going on.

Hoping to find out more from the doctor this week, but at this point I honestly don't even know the full extent of what's wrong with me yet. All I know is that I find myself dizzy and gasping for air after doing something as simple as blowing my nose (just one example) or climbing a single set of stairs (when normally I could go up and down a dozen flights of stairs with no problem) – sometimes even just sitting or laying down it hits me or I'll get chest pains... or both. That's certainly not the full list of symptoms, but gives a bit of an idea of where I'm at right now.

I don't yet know enough to say what exactly that means for the future of this project. As I said, I am still fully committed – but I'm not sure exactly what everything will look like moving forward. Best case scenario, the doctor will look at the scans, immediately see what's wrong, and inject me with a cure. Probably the worst case scenario would be that it's something not curable, and I have to figure out a way to get someone else to do the labor of producing the dice.

The project was not designed to get this business far enough to hire someone right away – though that was an eventual goal. There wasn't much net profit in it at all, most of it went into the equipment and inventory with the idea that I would provide free labor to get it up and running at which point the business would have nice equipment and inventory to run with and make profits with which to pay myself and potential employees.

Which means IF that worst case happens to come true it's not something that would be able to take place immediately, but I believe it is something we could work towards if that is what is necessary to fulfill my commitments.

I am expecting things to fall somewhere between that best and worst case scenario, but I want you to know that either way I don't take the commitments I've made lightly.

There is more I want to say, but I need to stop and get this posted. It's already taken me several days to write this because it keeps getting interrupted with waves of dizziness when I try to work on it.

Just know that my silence has not meant that I abandoned this project or my commitments to it. I will try to update you as I know more about my health and what that means for things moving forward.

If you believe in prayer, I could use your prayers now – it's somewhat of a scary place to be not knowing what's wrong with your body.