Life Behind the Highlight Real

Ep 38: How a Near Death Experience Inspired Foster Mom Randi Brandt

July 18, 2022 Sarah Huffman & William Huffman
Ep 38: How a Near Death Experience Inspired Foster Mom Randi Brandt
Life Behind the Highlight Real
More Info
Life Behind the Highlight Real
Ep 38: How a Near Death Experience Inspired Foster Mom Randi Brandt
Jul 18, 2022
Sarah Huffman & William Huffman

At 32, after experiencing a number of health failures that almost took her life, Randi Brandt was told she would be permantly wheel chair bound.

She won the fight for her life, but now her second fight began. The fight to take back control of her body. 

Randi shares the details to this incredible journey that goes back four years. A journey that eventually paved the way for children who needed a safe, temporary home. 

She shares the challenges and rewards of becoming a caretaker, and what it's like for children being transitioned to foster care.

And, like anybody who's life has almost been cut short, Randi has big plans to give back to help make future generations confident and independent. 

Enjoy the incredible story of our friend, Randi Brandt. 

Reach out to Randi:




"Crap happens. Been there done that. You can get through it. I was told I'd never walk again. Well, hold my beer, watch this."

"We don't know why we don't know how, by me being able to look at my legs in that mirror, all of a sudden, my left foot moved, my right foot moved."

"Yes it costs money, but it's the cost of being a parent. It's what you do."

Show Notes Transcript

At 32, after experiencing a number of health failures that almost took her life, Randi Brandt was told she would be permantly wheel chair bound.

She won the fight for her life, but now her second fight began. The fight to take back control of her body. 

Randi shares the details to this incredible journey that goes back four years. A journey that eventually paved the way for children who needed a safe, temporary home. 

She shares the challenges and rewards of becoming a caretaker, and what it's like for children being transitioned to foster care.

And, like anybody who's life has almost been cut short, Randi has big plans to give back to help make future generations confident and independent. 

Enjoy the incredible story of our friend, Randi Brandt. 

Reach out to Randi:




"Crap happens. Been there done that. You can get through it. I was told I'd never walk again. Well, hold my beer, watch this."

"We don't know why we don't know how, by me being able to look at my legs in that mirror, all of a sudden, my left foot moved, my right foot moved."

"Yes it costs money, but it's the cost of being a parent. It's what you do."

William Huffman  0:00  
Hey everybody, William here and Sarah. And we just need to let you know that we are licensed real estate agents in the state of Minnesota with the REMAX results of Good Life Group. And that's our legal disclaimer. Everybody, William here and today we're speaking with a friend named Randy and she's in Michigan, you know, the people that put their hand like a mitt. Yep, we're gonna be talking to her about some amazing stuff. Stay tuned, crap

Randi Brandt  0:23  
happen. Trust me, been there done that. You can get through it. You know, I was told I would never walk again. Well, maybe your watch list? Yeah, like

William Huffman  0:35  
20 burpees.

Accouncer  0:36  
You're welcome to Life behind the highlight reel. The podcast that takes things beyond the curated life we all see online. Join hosts Sarah and William Huffman, as they dive in with their friends to talk about the good and the hard things that come with a real not perfect life behind the highlight reel.

William Huffman  0:59  
Everybody, William here and Sarah, and really? Yay. Everybody, for the first time ever we are doing a zoom podcast because Randy's in like, I don't know. Another country or something. Another country? Yeah. I mean, it feels like Ohio, right? No, sir.

Randi Brandt  1:19  
No, no mitten state. We're in good ol Southeast Michigan.

William Huffman  1:25  
Oh, da.

Sarah Huffman  1:26  
I'm like, this will even pay attention. No.

Randi Brandt  1:29  
It's probably because I travel so much. So I'm all over.

William Huffman  1:32  
You're just at the airport like four days ago?

Randi Brandt  1:34  
I was.

William Huffman  1:36  
Yeah, I've never I never know what's going on.

Sarah Huffman  1:39  
Okay. Well, Randy, I'm so excited to talk more with you will has told me a touch of your story. Like just enough to be like, what? And so I'm really excited to have you on but first before we start, kind of and like, we'll How did you meet Randy?

William Huffman  1:56  
Glover? You? Okay? Yeah. And I think we met in person in Orlando two years ago.

Randi Brandt  2:03  
This past year. Last year.

William Huffman  2:05  
Okay. Just one year. Okay. And then, now he's like, kick it. We're homies. Yo. Oh, my gosh, yeah, that's the official term.

Sarah Huffman  2:13  
That's one of the coolest things though. About Glover. U is it has introduced us to so many amazing people throughout the country. Yeah. So I'm super excited that we've been able to get to know you and meet you,

William Huffman  2:24  
Jeff. Go ahead and send us a check. Yeah, totally. Yeah, so

Sarah Huffman  2:29  
let's get rolling. So Randy, how about um, you just start like, tell us about yourself. Like not like from now forward? Like,

William Huffman  2:35  
where were you born? Where did you grow up any siblings? Where'd you go to school? You know, all that good stuff.

Randi Brandt  2:41  
This is a dating app. I feel like I'm on a first date. Yes. So I walked

Unknown Speaker  2:47  
on the beach. Now they're terrible. Like warm cookies. Yeah.

Randi Brandt  2:52  
So I am born and raised here in southeast Michigan. My I'm a third generation actually. So my great grandparents came here and owned a number of motels in Detroit. Back in the early 20s. and such, I actually have a lot of stories from my father who spent his childhood at the motels helping out and things really cool. One of the motels is still standing. It's not exactly the same condition that used to be in but still there, people. Yeah, so I went to Michigan State University. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. So that's fun. Although I had no idea what I really wanted to do. Would you go to high school? I went to pink the high school so I was I was raised in Redford, which is just outside of Detroit, literally three blocks from Detroit. So inner city school, inner city kid, freshman year, my parents approached me and take me to the sticks. I'm talking. I had a tractor parking lot in this school. I had no idea where my parents took me,

William Huffman  3:56  
but what was your mascot for the school?

Randi Brandt  4:01  
Pick Me pirates. Ah, the fighting pirates. Were the pirates. Yeah.

William Huffman  4:07  
I r a t e s. Pirate. Okay, never. That again goes horrible. Ridiculous.

Randi Brandt  4:17  
Yeah, I was on dance team. Now the cheerleader can't do anything.

Sarah Huffman  4:21  
So when you said that you're the first one to go to college or graduate from college. Is that like, that's incredible. Yeah,

Randi Brandt  4:29  
it was. So my father never went. He went straight into working blue collar. My mother did start at a community. And then surprise, got pregnant with me. Did Not Finish. Same thing when my sister my sister started I have an older sister from my dad's first marriage, and she started college and then got married and never finished. So I am the first one to go and graduate. Awesome and what was your degree in. So I started in elementary education actually. I've always enjoyed working with kids. I was teaching dance classes at the time, like do have a theater background. And I was working at a Magnet Elementary School in Lansing. It was 20 years old. The kids were five years old and our parents were my age. So if you kind of do the math, and they would come to school with no lunch, no winter jackets, which if you know Michigan were in the Midwest, it's cold as crap here. Sometimes. My heart just couldn't do it. So I walked into my counselor's office and I said, Nope, figured out I gotta go somewhere else. And I ended up getting a hospitality business degree. So I have a business background.

William Huffman  5:42  
What is a hospitality business degree?

Randi Brandt  5:45  
Great question. It is focusing more on like hotels and convention centers. So I did my internship at Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming. I just got the opportunity to spend the summer out there. It was great. And then when I graduated, I actually got a job offer in Colorado working for the same company. Vail Resorts. So I was a keystone conference center manager for a number of years.

William Huffman  6:14  
That's big sky country, right. That's what they say. That's Montana,

Sarah Huffman  6:17  
Montana, Montana. But it's all Yeah, for Vail. You worked for Vail Resorts and how was that living in Vail?

Randi Brandt  6:25  
Amazing. I became one I had I'd only skied and snowboarded a handful of times on our lovely little trash heaps that we have in Michigan. And I remember the very first time somebody I was working with at the conference center, he and two other friends took me out, and I got maybe a third of the way down the mountain and my legs were gassed, and I just sat on my button. I'm like, I'm done. I can't do it. It took me a while to get down the mountain took like, 25 minutes to get down

William Huffman  6:53  
to another snowboard and just slide down. Yep, pretty much is what I ended up doing. Yep.

Sarah Huffman  7:00  
Oh, that's awesome. I think that's just sounds like I still have a friend that lives in, like works in, in and around Vail. So once she went there, she never left. Oh, Ali from high school.

William Huffman  7:11  
I don't know her because she's in Vail, and she came to our wedding. Hi, Allie, good to see you.

Randi Brandt  7:17  
You never actually remember your wedding. Realistically, bride and groom never do. So I absolutely loved it. I stayed out there for about seven years and realized after I went to my manager and said, I'd like to take on more responsibilities, so I can make more money. And they said, No. And at that point, I realized that corporate America was probably not for me. And so we were also in like, 2012 2013. So we had gotten through the crash. However, they did end up getting rid of line level management. So I got a really nice severance package and said, Good luck. So I hung out in Colorado for about another year and a half, I was working for a nonprofit actually, which I loved. And then my sister started having babies. My grandfather got sick, it was time to come home. So I came back to Michigan.

Sarah Huffman  8:10  
Awesome. And so when you went back to Michigan, like is that when you got into real estate? Or what did you do when you came back?

Randi Brandt  8:17  
So I actually opened up my own event planning business. When I first came back, it's just what I knew. And so I opened it up did quite well actually did majority of my business with the Indian culture, which was amazing, because their events are like nothing else you've ever seen. So I did that for about two years, I knew that I wanted to get into real estate as a retirement plan. I needed to get investment properties and things like that. So in 2015, I took the class and got my real estate license and put it into escrow. I didn't want to start it. In the middle of 16 somebody approached me about purchasing my business what the event is coordinating. I wasn't planning on it, but it made sense. I sold it activated my license a couple weeks later.

William Huffman  9:06  
Wow. Cool. Wow. Yeah, that was like the universe thing. And you're done with that time to start this?

Randi Brandt  9:12  
Yep. So never worked. I was bartending part time just to keep some things going. But

Sarah Huffman  9:18  
so Randy, are you married? You have kids like what's your what's your situation right now?

Randi Brandt  9:23  
I am not married. I am in a long term relationship. We do not have any biological children but I am a foster care. So I had two little ones back in 2020. We did try to adopt one of them was not meant to be did not happen. But that little girl was very happy with her new home with actually a sibling that they found. So that was that was the reason why they tried to reunify siblings as best as they can.

William Huffman  9:49  
That's that's going to be incredibly difficult. Like I get attached to like a puppy that I babysit for a weekend. Let alone like another human that you bring into your house and you just like oh, and then I know, it's obviously like you said for the better, right, like, good for them. But that's a, that takes a special type of person who's got

Randi Brandt  10:12  
it was I wanted to give back in some way. And I had always wanted to kind of look into fostering. And I finally, I did it, I finally got my state license, literally a month before the pandemic hit. And then within two weeks of me getting my license, I got a phone call for placement. That's how much need there is, at least here in Michigan. So I ended up with siblings. The little girl was it was 10 days before her second birthday. And the little boy with her brother was four, they had been in the system since she was nine months old. So I was their second home.

Sarah Huffman  10:52  
So with fostering like, You got did you get much notice? Or like, what are the things that you have to consider when you do like fostering.

Randi Brandt  11:02  
But you do go through a whole training process background checks, you know, they do give you avenues and outlets and things. And there's so many different groups, especially with social media now that you can always reach out for support. But realistically it was I mean, they interviewed my dad, my significant other anybody that was at the home or close that would be around the children, you had to make sure you were mentally stable. And when I went in, I actually signed up as a foster only home. So I'm had the mental capacity that I was only going to be a temporary home for these children. And I am licensed for ages zero to 18. I didn't have a preference on the child, it was whomever needed it. The only restriction I do have is because I do have a two story home. I'm unable to take those who are handicapped, and because my bedrooms are upstairs.

Sarah Huffman  11:53  
Okay, so I just have some random. Can I ask questions just about foster care, of course, though, like how like so a child shows up a child is placed with you for fostering? Like, is there support in place for like daycare childcare, or is that up for the foster care provider, but

Randi Brandt  12:09  
I got the phone call Friday on a Friday said and they don't tell you much. They just say very generic. You know, we've got the sibling pair here, the ages. This is kind of the location where you would have to do you know, parenting time and visits and things like that, because you have to join them for everything. And you say your name. If you sign it agreeing to it, then they give you the whole background. So it kind of sets you up for failure. You don't really always know exactly what you're getting into like. The sad thing is, this little boy had so much trauma from what he had gone through. I didn't know until I had already gotten him. And so we kind of had to backtrack on that. But so Monday afternoon, I picked them up from the facility. And it was literally about a garbage bag of PJs. That's all they gave me. That's all they had. There was no diapers. Both kids were still like he the four year old was in Philips for nighttime. She was barely two so she was in full diapers, no bottles, no sippy cups, no nothing. You just work with what you got?

Sarah Huffman  13:19  
Like, is there any like compensation? Is there? Like? Or is the foster parent responsible for like going to purchase all of those things.

Randi Brandt  13:28  
So you do get a monthly stipend, if you will, based on the child. So like the little girl, because she was deemed fully healthy and not needing of any extra support. She the money I got barely covered a week and a half of divers with the little boy because he did have. I mean at four, he was in therapy and he had a lot of trauma. It's heartbreaking and infuriating. And honestly, sometimes what have you hear these things? So he did get we got a little bit more for him monthly. But it was you know, I was running a business. I'm a solo agent. I was not with like I wasn't with a coach yet. I didn't have the support there within my office that I was at at the time. And so I reached out to my local church who actually has an accredited preschool program, because it has to be accredited through the state. And I said, I have these two children, I need help. One because we need a little bit of structure to because I just became a parent overnight with two kids and running a business. Holy cow. And they were amazing. But that cost me $4,000 a month. And that came out of my pocket. But that was the best thing for those children. You know, it was preschool for the four year olds and he was a little bit behind with things so they really did help him. So yes, it costs money, but it's cost of being a parent. That's what you do.

Sarah Huffman  14:56  
Right? Well, yeah, That's really, I'm assuming and sharing that. Yeah.

William Huffman  15:02  
Thank you very much. I'm assuming the stipend you talked about was not even close to $4,000? No, no, no.

Randi Brandt  15:10  
Put it this way with the current gas prices. Today, I would have been able to fill my car one. Okay.

Sarah Huffman  15:21  
Well, it's just like, when you don't know, like this system, when you don't know like that, that life of being a foster parent, or even a foster child, it's like, there's just so much to unpack there, that it's yeah, it's just really, you have a special place in your heart. You know, if you choose to go down that path of fostering.

Randi Brandt  15:45  
It was something I kept this very near and dear to me. I didn't tell people about it. I didn't even tell my father until I was almost licensed. And then I had to get him a background check, because he's in my world. And he told me, he's like, kid, I don't know if you can do this. I don't like I understand. But I don't know if mentally you can handle this. And I won't say he was wrong. It is very hard. It took me a long time. When I was unable to adopt the little girl. That was a very hard process. So it's taken me some time to mend. So I haven't taken another child yet. But I have been called and I'm in the process now of possibly taking on another one here in the future.

Sarah Huffman  16:25  
Well, awesome. What was the reason why you said you wanted to do fostering,

Randi Brandt  16:31  
just wanted to make a positive impact to help help my community. So even though I don't have a foster kids right now, I am still working with the foster system. There is a training program within my company that we do to help young people become entrepreneurs and give them that that leg up, maybe they didn't think they were able to. And when I became an instructor for this program, I knew I wanted to help the high school age tenants, I didn't really want to do the young adults. And so I kind of went back and forth of okay, how am I going to end up schools? What am I going to do, and then it was literally like a light bulb. So I reached out to the state of Michigan, and we just signed a contract about a week and a half ago, that big portion of their annual budget for the foster kids will go to supporting me traveling the state to teach this class to these kids. And we offer scholarships and things. So 14 to 18 year olds.

William Huffman  17:30  
That's incredible.

Sarah Huffman  17:33  
Awesome, because I love it. Because now you're like you're giving them like a path, you're giving these kids a path of like possibility.

Randi Brandt  17:41  
And it's you know, when you when you actually spend time with people, oh, children like this. They weren't, they didn't ask to get born into this, they didn't ask to be put into this. And sadly, their self esteem is so destroyed, that they feel like they are not worth anything. Now. Nobody is love, you know, no support, no guidance, anything. So this program is really helping, the starting point is going to help build that. And then hopefully get them to go a little farther. And you know, we've we've helped kids who there was a girl, not here in Michigan, but another state. She wanted to get on a singing, singing show more about my dog, remember. So she went through the class, she put her application in for a scholarship, she got a $2,000 scholarship, she took singing lessons, and then she made it onto the one of the shows. So you know, it doesn't have to be real estate or anything like that. There's a little boy here in Michigan that the state was telling me about and he is going to be kind of my top priority. He's 13 years old, and he's writing a book, literally, of his total child is writing a book. You know, he's living in a facility, he's not in a home. He's in one of the facilities. And that's all he does, he writes. And so we're gonna get into the program, we're going to help them get a scholarship and we're gonna put him with a publisher. We're gonna get them published.

William Huffman  19:02  
That's, that is so cool. That is amazing. Like, I didn't know you had two great stories. Everybody has great stories. And this is new to me. And I'm so thankful you're sharing this. I don't want to take away from from this. But I but you know, I don't wanna say, and I, I don't. So you have you had a health thing happened to you. And before we talk about that, has that because I want you to tell us as much as you want about that. I know you've shared on Facebook and it was incredible. Did when that happened to you? Did like things change in your mindsets that you know, maybe brought you to the foster meeting before you weren't thinking about maybe as much but now you're just like, No, I'm still here. So I'm doing this or like, you know, talk to me a little bit about your mind shift set after what happened to you and then let's Talk about what happened to you.

Randi Brandt  20:01  
Yep. So 100% It was a wake up call, after the medical situation that I had. It made me truly appreciate what I do have, and realize that I have the ability to help others and stop being so conceited. I truly feel like I was kind of selfish and conceited at some point. And it was a full mind shift. Now, I will say that I had some very angry discussions with the man upstairs during all this time, because I did not understand why I was going through it at 32 years old. But it really truly has been a blessing in disguise. So that is been a huge motivator, I have been given an opportunity to survive and thrive. I want to help as many people as I can. And the beauty with real estate is yes, we own our own businesses, but we get in front of so many people, how can I help those that are? They're impacting my life? Because they're building my business? How can I give back to them? So it's kind of been a driving force.

Sarah Huffman  21:06  
Yeah. So Randy, I don't know, this mysterious health thing that we'll just was talking about, like, I actually don't know. Like your story or any of that. And so just kind of take us through, like, what you would like to share about that?

Randi Brandt  21:23  
Sure. So I've always been athletic person. I come from an athletic family. dancing and stuff. Yeah. Yeah. So played collegiate sports. You know, my dad still plays softball and hockey and use the 60s. That's just what we do. So, back in 2018, I turned 32. I'm 36. And I turned 32. On a Thursday, worked. I was new into the real estate business. I worked I went to the gym, I went home, same old, same old. Saturday afternoon, I started feeling off. I knew something was wrong with my body. I didn't know what, but I just didn't feel good. So the following Tuesday, I went to my primary care physician. I said I can't put my like finger on it. But I just don't feel right. Something is wrong with my body. He goes, No, you're probably fine. We'll run some blood tests, but just go home and relax. So Wednesday, I went to my office worked for a few hours, had to come home by noon, I had to go home and take a nap. zonked out for three hours, woke up to two voicemails from my doctor saying you need to come back tonight at my office. Like call them at that time, it was like four o'clock, I wouldn't I wasn't going to make their own time. So I went there the next morning. So this is Thursday. Now a week after my birthday. Took me about two hours to get ready. Just because I was so exhausted. I have to I had to keep like laying down and things. Made it there safely. The nurse came from the waiting room and to take me back into an exam room and I passed out on the floor. So they called EMS. And the reason they had called me the day before was because they thought that they had tainted my blood panel. Because it showed that my liver and kidneys were shutting down like just completely kaput, as if I had nothing much. So they rushed me to the emergency room, they redid the blood panel. And it's almost like the show er from back in the day where all of a sudden, every big name that is a character is in one room. That's how I felt. I was on a stretcher. And they I mean they were moving patients putting me in the closest next to the nurse's station, I had 52 people on me and 74 IVs and I was I was in liver and kidney failure. 32 years old. So fast forward, seven, eight hours. They called my dad he came down. My dad lives about an hour away from where I am. And they admitted me into the hospital. And I don't remember the first three days much from other than what my dad tells me and things like that. But they they did dialysis to try and get my my kidneys to function. And every day when they did the blood panel. We were just waiting for a number. But they had told my dad that your daughter may not make it. Which he never He did not tell me until about two years ago. Wow. Really? Yeah. So it was it was a scary time. I ended up spending 60 days in the hospital. So it's stick with me on this on his iPhone. I had so it was in liver and kidney failure. About day 12 Kidney started functioning we did we did around a dialysis which was not fun. And then so then they started doing testing to figure out what in the world caused this like how does a 32 year old healthy female end up on her deathbed. Yeah, so

William Huffman  25:03  
quick question. So yeah, I was just trying to find a photo of what have you sent it to me later. So liver and kidneys Okay. Kind of important

Randi Brandt  25:18  
when I can, yeah,

William Huffman  25:19  
don't don't we have we have two kidneys only. And they both just said to how have you there is a

Randi Brandt  25:27  
dark skin over? Yeah.

William Huffman  25:29  
And then your liver because we have a friend going through this right now that's very important because the liver is for the dialysis Correct? No kidneys,

Unknown Speaker  25:35  

Randi Brandt  25:36  
Yeah, your your liver actually filled filters your body filters everything out. And the liver is a regenerator regenerative organ. So when they do transplants, they only take part of someone's liver and put it into somebody else because it's

William Huffman  25:52  
perfect, but kidneys like wanting died like your Okay, cool. Bye. You have two of them. Okay. Yeah. Well, I mean, and then they both have said screw you at the same time. Okay, so but I'm assuming we'll get to that. So I'm sorry. I just want to thank you.

Randi Brandt  26:07  
Yep, absolutely. So we are now in the figuring out what caused this phase, still trying to, you know, get back in action. Now, mind you, again, I was working. I started my real estate career. You know, I was a year and a half in as a solo agent. I'm still working. So we ended up doing a lot of testing. One of the things I they had done was a spinal tap. So for anyone who doesn't know what a spinal tap is, they go in they will literally put a tube into your spinal cord and take find a cerebral fluid.

William Huffman  26:44  
Did you just do like a needle like this big? They stick a needle into your spine. Sarah knows this stuff because she likes this. Oh, no, I'd have one. Oh, Jesus, learn something new every now. And then, and then they pull out fluid. So I

Randi Brandt  27:03  
literally have they take spinal fluid out of your spine. So when they did that, which isn't a normal procedure, you know, my minor my nurses have walked me through it. They said it's going to take about 30 to 45 minutes. I was scared but okay, fine. Let's let's do it. From the time I went into the procedure room to the time the radiologist was done was seven minutes. So I did end up with a subdural hematoma. I ended up with a brain bleed because he took so much fluids so quickly. It actually caused my brain to shift and hit my skull. Yeah, so I ended up in the ICU. Because the next morning, my neurologist came in because I had nephrology, neurology, ob my primary I had a heart doctor, they're never MD, we're two weeks into this. We're two weeks in two weeks and liver and kidneys are starting to function better. We're doing okay, I'm super weak, but I'm, I'm good. And at this point I had gone through, like 18 roommates at

William Huffman  28:07  
the time, and it's fine in a brain bleed.

Randi Brandt  28:10  
And now I have a spinal tap Done. And now we've got a brain bleed. So Spinal Tap was the day before the next morning, my neurologist comes in and I you know, she's doing her neuro check just to make sure that everything's good. It was just preventative. And I looked at her and my cousin happened to be there with me that morning. And I go, I can't read my board, you know, because they've got the whiteboards at the end of their bed with your name and all of your stuff. And I go, it's really fuzzy. I'm just like, Okay, well, yeah, let's get a CT or an MRI. I don't know which one. And then we'll just make sure everything's good. So I went down, had it done. No sooner they wheeled me up into my room, like lead nurse and my primary was in my room going. You have a subdural hematoma. We've called your Dad, you're going to ICU, back in action, everybody everywhere. So I spent

William Huffman  28:56  
bravely number two,

Randi Brandt  28:58  
not just one. What happened? Okay, yep. So I get wheeled into ICU, all sorts of craziness everywhere. And my dad at the time had been because he does live an hour away each way. He had been driving every other day now that I was a little more stable. He was he had taken time off of work. And he was coming every other day. So this was kind of his day off. And my cousin was here there with me supporting you know, just be with me.

William Huffman  29:26  
years this 2018 2018 Okay, because 32nd birthday, okay. Yep,

Randi Brandt  29:31  
yep. So, again, get into the icy room, ICU rooms. Everything. It's calm, good to go. Dad walks in. And so this was like I said, two weeks into my stay. My biological mother walked in for the first time. Now my parents were still married. We I thought we had a good relationship. She would not come to the hospital and see me. She works in the medical field. She wouldn't do it. So she finally comes in, walks in. My dad pulled up a chair I'll never forget, he pulled up a chair right at the head of my bed and watched the monitor because they told him if something spied throughout the night I was going in for emergency brain surgery. And I just remember every time I woke up, he was just sitting there looking just looking at my mother. On the other hand, grabbed didn't say a word to me or anybody else. Grabbed a blanket plate on the spare bed that they had, because you do you've got spare beds and those ice rooms for family and can she curled up when sleep? Okay. Next morning, they do a repeat MRI, they say the the brain blade hasn't stopped, but it's not gotten worse. We're just gonna watch it. No surgery. Great, cool. Within 20 minutes, my brother, my biological mom was like, Okay, time to go, we need to leave and my dad's like, nope. So that was pretty much the beginning of the end of my relationship with my biological mom. I don't know why. All she's ever told me is that I need to get over it. She didn't feel like she was modeled there. So few days past, I get out of ICU. But now my legs stopped working. All of a sudden, there's no movement in my legs.

William Huffman  31:20  
So stopped working as in like, you literally can't.

Randi Brandt  31:25  
I couldn't I couldn't wiggle my toes. I couldn't lift my leg. Nothing. I couldn't do anything. Okay. So more testing and all this fun stuff. And it comes to find out that somehow during all of this things that happen, I ended up having a stroke of the spine.

Unknown Speaker  31:48  
I just can't even.

Randi Brandt  31:50  
Yeah, so I was for about 3030 days. And now it's official, you've had a stroke?

William Huffman  31:57  
Well, you gotta explain that a little bit like, what the hell? I'm about to Google it. Stroke spine.

Randi Brandt  32:05  
So all they could tell me was that something had happened in that there was significant nerve damage in my spinal cord. And that the neurons basically stopped firing to one another.

Sarah Huffman  32:19  
Was this related to the spinal tap? They don't know. They don't know. Because I know, apps come with like, a whole slew of this could happen in that move after it's done? Like there's a whole product? Yeah,

Randi Brandt  32:34  
I had to lay completely flat for 24 hours. Yeah, it just sounds. So they did, we ended up doing a biopsy of my sural nerve, which is right under your ankle bone, as well as my quadricep because they wanted to see how much damage there was. And what they found was that So from my understanding, and I am not a medical professional science was not my jam in school. But your nerves are basically like an m&m. There's a hard candy coating and then the soft, gooey stuff inside. So for some reason, something had happened and the hard candy coating was destroyed in my my legs and my spine. But the gooey stuff was good. So they were hopeful that it would regenerate eventually, but they couldn't guarantee it. So we're going through all of this. Obviously, I'm trying to figure out why my mother won't come to the hospital to see me. I literally the night before my my biopsy surgeries. I called her crying just saying I need you here. She won't come. So I'm focusing on that we have this surgery. And that's when they tell me you know, we're going to send you up to the rehab floor and we're going to teach you how to live in a wheelchair because you're going to be wheelchair bound the rest of your life 32 Wow. still active. I ran ice hockey, I played volleyball. I was coaching volleyball, like how is this happening?

William Huffman  34:15  
Spoiler alert here, I just want everybody to know that you're not in a wheelchair. Standing you do your workout video more. Like I'm the type of guy if I'm watching a movie and I think it's gonna have a bad ending. I'm not saying that you're still here right? I'm I don't want to try to say but like if I'm watching a movie and I don't like how I think it's going I'll Google it. Because I wonder what eggs so spoiler you do a shit ton of work, but let's get back to Okay, so like, by the way, you're never gonna walk in.

Randi Brandt  34:50  
Yep. So full disclosure. The hospital put me on suicide watch. Not that I could actually move out of my bed. But they did put me on suicide. Watch me Because I had gone so quickly into such a depression, because I didn't understand everything that was happening in my world. So, few days passed. I'm like, Okay, well, this is life, I'm gonna make the best of it, and I'm going to rock the wheelchair, I'm gonna figure it out. Now, I was living in an apartment at the time. Um, it was a single storey apartment, which is great. But there's two steps to get up into the apartment. And it was not wheelchair accessible for me. So, I go up onto the rehab floor. And there I, occupational therapist, a physical therapist, you know, all these, this team. And I'm up on this floor, and majority of the people on the floor are in their 70s or 80s. You know, they're overcoming pneumonia and things like that. I'm 32 rocket sign. And two PT people. That said, we're going to do everything in our power to see if we can even get those legs moving again. They put me through everything, we did everything in the world. And at day 47 I took my first step, if you will. Now you remember. So we're all 80s babies, you remember the Johnny jumpers that you would put the little baby in between the door the doorway, and they would jump. So they have an adult version of that at this rehab floor. And so they put me in it in this harness, and they would put me on a treadmill and it was really just trying to get my legs to move and it just didn't work wouldn't work. So they finally put me in at one day, I'm hanging from the ceiling, I'm like, Fine, whatever. And they put a mirror in front of me like a full length rolling here. And they're like, You know what, let's just see. And that's the the video that I post every year on it is we don't know why we don't know how. But somehow by me being able to look at my legs in that mirror. All of a sudden, my left foot moved. And then my right foot started moving. So it was day 47 By day 52. I looked like Elvis mixed with Forrest Gump. But I was walking with a walker. Like I had the rocking hips I was going

William Huffman  37:24  
that's only five days later from nothing to a walker.

Randi Brandt  37:27  
But now you have to remember I was in the I was in the gym, the PT gym hours, like they would only do two hours a day with me. But I would actually go in there and I would do everything in my power, they would have to take me back to my room be like, go sit down, just lay down. And I just I wanted to keep going and keep going. So then we finally got we started looking at discharge days. Because you know, they always tell you this is what we're thinking. That was always blank on my board. They were like, We don't know when you're gonna get out of here because you're just an anomaly. Like we don't know what's happening with you. So, day 53 where, you know, I'm doing okay with a walker. It's not easy. I'm winded all the time, but I'm getting there. All of a sudden, I'm sitting in the gym, just sitting there. And my heart spikes. They grab all the medical equipment because they can see that like something was wrong. We don't know why but my heart rate went up into like I have a resting heart rate of about 45 Just because I am athletic. It jumped up and stayed at like one 2004 minutes. One of course correct. Here we go. So did did emojis and all that fun stuff. I did get put on heart medication for a while. I was on it for about six months. But all of a sudden, day 60 Calm. They came in my room. It was Saturday, Saturday or Sunday or the Sunday nights as you're going home to about a year. That was the only other day that my mother showed up. Today I left Wow 60 days so I wanted to do was walk out. My dad actually had gotten sick and so he was unavailable to be there which was super sad and hard. But I said I just want to walk out these discharged doors that was like my goal. And so they're like long, you got a wheelchair down but you have your walker you can do it. Unfortunately my mother did not want to deal with that. So I never got to walk out those doors and roll down but I made it home. So did really hard PT three times a week for six months. was back in the office that next day that Monday it with my walker. I had to Uber two showings because I had no license they have taken my license away, obviously. And one of my first contracts I got I was Finally on a cane about two and a half months later, and the family that I showed up still in wedges, because I always feel alone doesn't make sense. It is what it is. But thanks. So I show up to this house show this lady she's sweetest pie, you know, I've got this tan, I'm trying to just be professional and hoping that they're not gonna say anything. And she did that. And we ended up buying that house. I sold their their current home, and they are one of my best clients. And they're literally family to this day, their family with me.

Sarah Huffman  40:35  
How did you make it like fine, like, financially because it's like, you it's not like this was like a planned surgery. It wasn't like, planned procedure and like to take yourself out for what, quite honestly over 60 days, because that was just the hospital time. Yep. How does one sustain? Like their their career? How do you how'd you keep working?

Randi Brandt  41:00  
So about 30 days into my hospital stay is when my clients finally found out that I was in the hospital because I had been fortunate enough that I had met an investor really soon after getting into the real estate career. And so I'm not gonna lie, I've faked it till I made it. We ended up closing over 100 deals together and two years, which was great. So we had a pretty good system. So I had some things in play of what was going on. And I had some stuff in the pipeline to sustain me. And thankfully, I had a little, you know, I saved a little bit of money, not not a great amount, but I had some leeway. But about 30 days, and he was like I'm here in town. Meet me at our coffee shop, you know, we got to talk over some things and next steps. And I was like, I'm really sorry, I can't he's like, You don't tell me? No. What? And that's when I had to tell him I'm like, I'm so sorry. I'm in the hospital. And he actually showed up. He showed up at my hospital room. And so it was it got me through. It was hard afterwards. I also have so my I requested to have my chart printed out and sent to me. I have it at home. It's actually larger than a ream of paper.

William Huffman  42:19  
Wow. Yeah. So are they ever they were equipped with a diagnosis that is like, just luck of the draw or what

Randi Brandt  42:30  
they so they have requested that I go to Mayo Clinic for additional testing. I had been poked, prodded. There's so much that have happened to me and I you know, it's funny when when you hear women speak about their child like childbirth experience, they say modesty goes out the window. Being in the hospital, modesty goes out the window, like I was like, don't touch don't look nothing. Everyone's seen that. Yeah, it's literally like, whatever. So I was just done. And I will say the only so I was monitored for quite a while I still get annual tests just to make sure everything is still in working order. Thankfully, I've not had any residual issues. I was taken off of the heart medication about six months later, the only thing I still have, which you would never know to see me is when they took my sural nerve biopsy on my left foot. It was a complication and something that could happen, I just didn't know it would I have no feeling on my left foot at all.

William Huffman  43:36  
From a from a the ankle down or from like where

Randi Brandt  43:39  
you're from the ankle down. So you can step on me I will trip a little bit. I just put it to go blonde. So but that's really the only effect I still have from all of that.

Sarah Huffman  43:53  
It's fascinating because like if you didn't know your story, never No, never that this happened. Quite honestly, it four years is like a blink of an eye. So to know that this was just happening four years ago is insane. So with this crash, it's almost like we started in reverse, like we talked about, like class strain. And then we talked about this class. And that was really cool. Like, so it's like, we learn about people. So you literally went through this life event. Obviously, there's trauma with your mom right now, like that's a huge emotional thing. Like during this health scare. Then you become a foster mom. And maybe that's part of the reason why too, right? Like you're there for those kids when they need it. It could be like what's ahead like, what are your goals? Like when you think what's next? When you think like five to 10 years out, like where do you see yourself going or what do you want your legacy to be?

Randi Brandt  44:53  
So here's the funniest thing, because everything that had happened to me so four years ago, I never looked at the future and More I didn't, I was here. And now like just getting through the day, it hasn't been until, honestly, I started going to the Glover U conferences, I got a coach, I actually have that, that comfort and security of saying I can plan for the future. And that's only happened in the last year. So I, I still struggle with it, to be honest. But we do have a plan of action, you know, I want to continue to build my business here. I also am working on the foster system, obviously, what would be the the instructor for the kids and realistically, I would love to partner with somebody who has similar aspirations and do nonprofits start a nonprofit of some sort, giving back to our local communities. So anyway, enable positive impact.

Sarah Huffman  46:01  
Like in nonprofit, like way back out there.

Randi Brandt  46:06  
And that's why you know, people, people can always be vicious when it comes to social media, or they can be really supportive, you never know what you're gonna get. And I get a ton of people that whether they know my story or not, they do see my posts every day, I post a workout video nearly every day, it's accountability for me, but it's also realistically it's, I do it, because I get those messages that say, I really just didn't have it in me or I'm having a bad day. But I saw your your video and I'm out for a walk now. It's that motivation to show people that crap happens. Trust me, been there done that. You can get through it. You know, I was told I would never walk again. Well, hold my beer watch list. Yeah, like,

William Huffman  46:51  
yeah, he was 20 burpees. Your

Sarah Huffman  46:56  
What's your mindset always strong? Like even from a young kid? Were you always like, Did you always have a strong mindset are determined,

Randi Brandt  47:03  
stubborn, very competitive, which I will say my coach uses to his advantage. I am a very competitive person always have been. So you know, tell me I can't. And I'm going to show you I can. You know, I like I said I went from education in college to then going into the event world and on real estate. So my family and even like, my close group have never, never been super seriously like, Oh, she's a professional, that that's just what she's doing right now. I'm finally at that stage of this is me. And this, you know, you will take me seriously. And this is my this is my passion. This is my path. This is where I'm going.

Sarah Huffman  47:45  
I love it. That's awesome. Randy, thank you so much for doing this with us. And like coming on our podcast. It really is just a testament of like, using your superpowers of being determined competitive. Like don't tell me no, because I like you like that, honestly. Like, that's your gasoline. Like that's your rocket fuel. And thank goodness, you have that?

Randi Brandt  48:11  
Oh, yeah, there's still I mean, you're always gonna have a hard day, right? Like me, you know, there is full transparency. We are going through fertility treatments right now, because my body is got some problems. And that's fine. We're working through it. So there's hard days, but you know, going back to kind of being in the corporate world, while somebody told me no, I didn't really have an outlet. I couldn't say Okay, I'm gonna go do this. With real estate, I can always do more. I can always create more, I can always be more. And so I live my life that way. And yeah, there's hard days and there's days where I'm in tears, or there's days that I'm stomping around the office and people are like, what happened to her? You get through it, you move forward, and you know, I make it happen. Yep. That's awesome.

William Huffman  49:03  
Awesome. Well, we wrap up with the same question every single time. And if you did tell us your five favorite restaurants and they don't have to be because they have the best food they don't have to be in Michigan they can be anywhere on the planet. And we have one guy he said Olive Garden because he always went there with his mother and he just loved going there with his mom. So what do you got?

Randi Brandt  49:26  
Okay, so for the nostalgia one would be good boy. My great grandmother who I had a very strong relationship with. She would always go there after church and she always got the Belgian waffle with strawberries and then my recently late grandmother as well. She was a fish and chips lady like I would think she pram Where do you want to go? Let's go to dinner. Well, let's go to a big boy should eat one piece of fish and take the rest home. And so that would be one. There is this little hole in the wall tie plate. In downtown Howell, and Livingston County here in Michigan, it's got I mean, they, they, they do the heat one through 10. And, you know, I grew up with spicy food. My parents always cooked spicy foods. So we my dad and I went the first time we're like, yeah, we'll do a seven it'd be fine.

Unknown Speaker  50:18  
The fire hose Yeah.

Randi Brandt  50:22  
Yeah, we do like a three or four now, so we can actually eat the food. But it's fun that way. And then it's not around any longer but because I where we live, we used to back in the 90s. and stuff, you could go over the bridge and go to Canada for dinner. And there was an Italian place out there that my parents and I used to go to all the time. And when I was a kid, my dad used to let me find the check. You know, his credit card slip. And I would do like road runner or 175. But I got three.

William Huffman  50:57  
That's awesome. Well, thank you so much. We appreciate you coming on. We appreciate sharing. And we'll see we'll still either was I mean, we'll probably see up in Traverse City. But we'll definitely maybe have to bring the podcast equipment there. How fun would that be and Miko, that'd be super high. All right. All right, everybody. Thank you so much for coming. Love you all very much. Be safe up there. Yo deuces.

Accouncer  51:20  
tune in each week. For more in depth conversations about life behind the highlight reel. Follow us on your favorite podcast platform to make sure you never miss an episode. For today's show notes head over to lb