“What is possible is not always apparent, but with faith, is made tangible.’
As a young girl, I always felt I could move mountains. It’s as if I were born with an innate motivation to thrive. I always seemed to view all aspects of life with a ‘CAN’ attitude. This never changed, even while embarking on an experience that threatened to take my life, mobility, and the very essence of resilience.
What is Meningitis? Meningitis is a disease that progressively attacks the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and can cause a serious infection in the blood. Approximately 10% to 15% of people infected with meningococcal disease will die, sometimes as quickly as 24 hours after symptoms appear… one in five will experience a variety of long-term disabilities including hearing loss, brain damage, paralysis, kidney damage loss of limbs and /or nervous system damage.
At the age of 8, I embarked on the fight of my life. I had gone to school that week and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It started with flu-like symptoms. Loss of appetite, fatigue, and the onset of body soreness all happened at what seemed like a simultaneous moment. I went from feeling fine to almost immediately shut down.
The next day, following the initial onset of symptoms, I decided to rest because of an intense headache. I laid down and never got back up that evening. I didn’t get up for dinner or go to the restroom. A few days came and went, even my birthday, and I did not wake. Everything started to slow down until it was a complete black-out. After progressively not responding, my mom called 911. Due to bad weather, I was told, it seemed to take longer than expected, so she laid me into the car and rushed to the hospital herself.
She sped past the waiting room, full of tears, screaming, ‘Help!’ as I lay lifelessly. I was immediately admitted, with my family unsure of the outcome, nor the cause. For days, I lay. I was told so many came to see me, pray for me, and encourage my family.
The doctors assessed the state of my being after monitoring me around the clock. Doctors told my mother, ‘IF she awakens, she will need surgery on her spine and will likely never walk as deterioration of the brain is strongly possible, and paralysis seems imminent.’ So many tubes created my lifeline. A few more days came and went. Already, I was beating the odds. I began to hear subtle sounds that were muffled. It felt as if I had just snapped back into life.
Slowly, I began to see blurred images. Unable to respond, I continued to experience what was my gradual awakening. I saw my mom’s tears, fear, and devastation. I also could hear her prayers while pacing my hospital room, heard her sing to me, and affirmed anticipation of my full recovery. I witnessed her stages of emotions and strength to continue to fight while receiving hopeless reports. We fought through this for 20 days.
One beautiful morning, I was able to tap my mom’s hand with one finger. I was being restored. She had been sleeping near the foot of my bed. She jumped in shock and asked, ‘Touch me again!’ At the sound of her voice, I DID… and I DID IT AGAIN! Overjoyed, she yelled for the doctors, and they came rushing in disbelief. I was coming back! The bubble of hope was shattered when they expressed to her the need for surgery, and how she would have to sign off immediately to protect what was left for my quality of life. She was told, ‘Your daughter will not walk and will experience extensive paralysis.’
Even though there were very few options outside of what she was told, she decided to hold out in faith I would have total recovery without the need for surgery on my spinal cord. What seemed like a tall order felt possible with faith… and it was!
I managed to recover with very little rehabilitation and was still sharp as a whip. I was able to return home 2 days after Christmas. My family and I spent a couple of months building me back up to 100%, and life was renewed once more. There were many frustrating days but ultimately, gratitude continued to be our attitude. I have been fortunate to be able to experience more birthdays beyond the one I missed and truly feel grateful. Even the holidays have added importance.
My journey through this unsure moment in my childhood, which appeared grim, has made positivity and abundance of hope a concrete part of my DNA. It showed me the impossible can be possible and hope is a necessary attribute for a successful life. Every situation is a vehicle to make us stronger and renew our resilience once more. The desire to leave out each day on purpose, full of hope and desire to win is a direct effect of surviving what doctors said would be impossible after witnessing the state of my body. Yes, I laid there for many days, and yes, I am also a walking testament of grace, hope, and determination.
Today, any moment of frustration, temporary feelings of disappointment, and even how I relate to my three children, are always refocused due to this life-changing event. Many may not know my story but the sentiment, ‘Not looking like what I’ve been through’ rings true and reminds me daily to smile, encourage others, and to keep going further. My children know me as a mom, but more importantly, as a fighter. Resilience seeps into every aspect of life; whether personal or professional.
I do hope if find yourself dealing with an illness or a situation that seems beyond your control, take it one day at a time. Acknowledge your symptoms and communicate them. Advocate for your health and the health of your loved ones. Above all else, choose to be optimistic until there’s nothing left. Love and live fiercely. Always strive to expect a favorable outcome. Fear is watching your operation of faith.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Alexas German from Atlanta, GA. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her blog. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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