When I was 27 years old I was rushed to the emergency department at McMaster hospital having massive bleeding complications. They told my mom I may not make it. My hemoglobin was below 50 (when normal is over 120), my blood pressure was so low it was basically non existent. My dad cried when he saw me because I was so white I blended into my pillow. I was given 3 blood transfusions. They did an endoscopy & a colonoscopy. I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease. Over the next 7 years I was in & out of the hospital so often I felt like I lived there. Until finally they just did surgery to remove 7 inches of my small intestine. Despite the ugly scar on my belly ruining my cute innie belly button, I was in remission for the 1st time in 7 years I was well!
In March 2007 I became pregnant with my 2nd son. On October 29 2007 I was rushed to an emergency delivery of my son Kinley. My pregnancy had been filled with complications, so when they saw Kinley had an enlarged spleen & liver they said it was safer to do an emergency c-section to see why. He was rushed away from me & when I got to see him the next morning I was confronted with the news. They believed my son had a blood disorder. At 2 days old it was confirmed that my beautiful brand new baby had been born with Leukemia… The odds were one in 5 million. Despite their recommendations to enjoy what time we would be given, I asked them to proceed with treatment. Screw the odds! I mean the year before Kinley was born, my brother survived a gunshot to the throat in Afghanistan that should have killed him. He not only survived but was thriving despite his horrible prognosis.
Our family doesn't quit! So I prepared with my new son for the battle of our lives! He survived 6 rounds of chemotherapy, achieved remission against all odds, relapsed on his 6 month birthday & took his angel wings July 2, 2008. I watched as they removed the oxygen mask & NG tube from my 8 month old son’s body. His fight with Leukemia was ending. They sedated him to keep him comfortable. They lay his tiny body in my arms for the last time. For 3 minutes he continued to breathe. Slower & slower… He shuddered twice… Gone… I felt the life leave his body. I had always envisioned death as a grand horrific thing. Instead it is eerily calm. No more than a hiccup. More clear than my grief however, I sensed immediately that he had been released. That his beautiful spirit was all around me. Free… Healthy… Finally knowing complete comfort. In my arms was merely a vessel. One too weak to contain the incredible spirit that for a brief period it held captive. In my son’s death I felt his spirit soar… I know he goes on.
Experiencing death so intimately changed me. In an instant I was a completely different person. Since his passing I have become acutely aware of my surroundings. He surrounds me with moments of beauty. A glimpse of a dragonfly, a feather on the breeze. His death opened up a gentler side of me. One that had long been forgotten. The side of me that now walks through the rain & appreciates the smell in the air & the feel of it on my skin rather than running for cover… Kisses from heaven. He has given me a gift. His childlike soaring spirit lives in my heart & has opened my eyes to a world I had long taken for granted. He now lives in every beautiful thing I see.
I think that is what drove me to head to Lady Luck. To capture that beauty that I sometimes lose sight of in myself. My Crohns relapsed with Kinley's illness & I now have to have infusion therapy every 5 weeks to live with my disease. More times than not it is a struggle to feel beautiful. I wanted a reminder that I am vibrant & beautiful! A reminder that life is short & promised to no one! A reminder to look life ferociously in the eye & dare it to give you all its got! I promise you're so much stronger than you realize! You WILL survive! I know I did...
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