After writing my post yesterday, I realized that while most of you know about the loss of my son, and many of you know about my battle with cancer, very few of you actually know my story... This blog is about my life, and somehow I have neglected to say very much about my life. So I thought, "why not share my story?" So here it is....
As I sat down to write my story, I wasn't really sure where I should begin. So, I decided to start from the beginning. My story, like many others begins with a childhood that was rough for several reasons. At age 13 I met a guy who made my life happier, he gave me an escape from my bad home life, and made me smile. We became very close and soon were spending every minute possible together. After dating for a few years, I found out at the age of 16 that I was pregnant with our first child. November 1999 our first son was born, and life as teenage parents began. With the life of teenage parenting came tremendous changes, and I eventually decided to quit High School in order to find a job. Life was far from perfect but we were happy. When our son was 5 months old, I found out I was pregnant again, and a few months later in September of 2000 I became a 17 year old wife. Our second child (a daughter) was born in February of 2001. Unfortunately due to poor health care, and mistakes made by the hospital she was delivered 10 weeks premature, and spent the first 5 weeks of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit. In April of 2001 at the ages of 18 and 20 we decided to uproot our small family and move 900 miles away from home. Once we moved things began a downward spiral for us, and 6 short months later we were home. Our move caused us to grow up a great deal, and upon returning home we both got jobs, and things were finally starting to look up for us. Then, one evening as I was at work waiting tables, my chest began to hurt. By the end of my shift the pain was so severe that I asked my mom to meet me at work, and drive me to the Emergency room. While there it was discovered that I was pregnant, but not only was I pregnant I was approximately 5 months pregnant. I was shocked, at this point I did not know whether to laugh or cry, here I was 18 years old and pregnant with my third child. The next morning I went on what I expected to be a routine prenatal visit, when the doctor decided it would be best to do an ultra sound to see exactly how far along I truly was. It was during this ultra sound my husband and I heard the technician speak words like, water, hole, and deformities. Although we were told nothing, we both knew something was wrong. When we were called back into the doctors office, she began to tell us that she suspected that our baby had a condition called Hydrocephalous and although this was a serious condition, she did not feel it would be life threatening, and wanted to send us to a neonatal specialist to confirm her suspicions.
Two weeks later we were sitting in the office of a specialist when we got the news, that our third
child (our son) had a condition called Hydranencephaly, and that his changes of surviving the pregnancy were only 50%. If he did however survive pregnancy and delivery he would likely only live a few hours at most. They told us that our son would be blind, deaf, unable to regulate his temperature, and overall a vegetable without any knowledge of his surroundings. The doctors began to suggest abortion, and tried to urge us in the direction of terminating the pregnancy telling us that we were young, and we already had two healthy children to think of. I of course denied, telling the doctors that although they were telling me my child would not live, I felt it was my duty as his mother to give him every opportunity possible at life. A few months later in March 2002 our son was born, and three days later much to the astonishment of doctors he went home under the care of a hospice. The next several years were an extreme roller coaster. On several occasions we thought we were going to loose our child, and many times the pediatric intensive care unit became our home. However, after 6 years of medical hell our sons health began to level out, and he was doing amazingly well. So well in fact we decided that the services of hospice were no longer needed. Sadly over 8 years our marriage had become anything but happy, and eventually there was far more bad times then good. In June of 2008 we decided that neither of us could do it anymore.So, there I was a 25 year old, uneducated, single mom of 3 and on my own for the first time in my life. Soon after my divorce, I began to date a close friend, and only a few months later we found out that we were expecting (SURPRISE!) Our son was born in January 2010, and we were married 4 months later in May. Things were hard, and financially we struggled, but we were happy and my life was finally starting to feel settled. Months passed, and things were amazing. We both got better paying jobs, and moved into a bigger house. All four kids were doing wonderful, and we were becoming a happy family. Then on August 9, 2011 our world came crashing down. That day had been a day like any other preparing for the older children to return to school a few days later, but that evening our lives stopped. My son Dillion had been taking a nap in his room, and I when I went to check on him that evening, I discovered that he had passed in his sleep. I still remember that night very clearly. I remember screaming for my husband to call 911. I remember every word spoke to the operator on the other end of the line. I remember doing CPR. I remember the tears pouring down my cheeks as I begged my son to breath, and I remember holding my son in my arms when the paramedics said "Time of death 11:13pm." The days, and weeks that followed my sons death were like a nightmare. Thirty hours after my son passed away, his best friend (another disabled child) passed as well. Then two weeks after my son passed, we lost our home, as the unexpected funeral expenses put us in a place where we just simply could not pay the bills. We were homeless! Fortunately we were able to move in with my little brother and although the conditions were far from ideal, we had a roof over our head, and we were thankful. Months went by, and we were beginning to get back on our feet. We found a beautiful trailer in the country and moved, hoping that this would be the place where our hearts would begin to heal. Unfortunately just two short months later we discovered that we had been scammed by our landlord, and were forced out of our house by the sheriff, when the house was posted as foreclosed. Several months of couch hopping, and we once again found a rent house, it wasn't great, but it was a place we could call home. We moved in, and prayed that life would finally settle, and that we may finally begin to heal.
Unfortunately our lives were far from being settled. I had been sick for months, but had ignored it assuming that my sickness was likely caused from the severe stress of my life over the last 10 months. Eventually though the sickness became so severe that I simply could not ignore it anymore. Upon going to the doctor, they began to run many tests, and three days later I heard the words no woman ever wants to hear. In the cold office of a doctor with absolutely no bedside manner, I was told that I had stage 3 uterine cancer. The doctor went on to say that although they would prefer to do surgery immediately my blood counts were such that it was unsafe for me to have surgery, and therefore treatment must be started that day. Two months later on August 9, 2012 (the one year anniversary of my son's passing)
I went into surgery and had a total radical hysterectomy. After surgery, treatment continued for two more months, until I was told that once again due to poor health care, and no medical insurance I would not be able to continue with treatment. The doctor went on to tell me that while I was technically cancer free the chances of recurrence were significantly increased, and how very sorry he was that the Indian health system simply would not budge on their decision. Of course after hearing this, I fell into a deep depression. Pretty soon my marriage was suffering, and after a little longer, we were all totally miserable. On Christmas eve 2012 my husband and I decided that we were going to have to go our separate ways. There I was, this time 29 and once again on my own. I immediately got a job, and proved not only to myself, but to everyone else that I could do this. I wasn't going to crawl into a hole and die (even though I felt like it at times). I was going to fight! Fortunately after 3 months of separation in February 2013 my husband and I reconciled. Life is still a struggle at times, and things are far from perfect. But, we have learned that being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect, it means you have learned to accept the imperfections. We are of course still healing, but we are fighting. Every day we fight for our lives together, and we fight for our happiness. Life has dealt us more than our fair share of bad cards, but we have learned that it's not about waiting on that winning hand, it is all about fighting to win even when you are dealt a few bad cards!
Of course this is not my entire story, there are of course personal things that were left out. However, now you all know more about me. I have opened up my life to my readers, and I must say that it feels so amazing. : )