‘My youngest son had a stroke while in the check-out line at the grocery store.’: Mom to son with heart disease says ‘it kills more than corona, but I won’t let either stop our lives’

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“Corona virus. COVID-19. Is there anyone NOT talking about this national and international pandemic? Every time I open ANY social media app, corona floods every status, news update, you name it. Side note, I have thoroughly been enjoying the MEMEs. I mean, you have to have some silver lining to everything, right?

Not oddly, every Tom, Dick and Harry in my circle is coming to me in sheer panic asking me my thoughts on the corona virus, how I am coping and what adjustments I am making in mine and my family’s life to keep us safe and protected.

So why do I say not oddly? Well, I am a Mom of two boys ages 5 and 6. The 5-year-old has heart disease. 16 procedures including two open heart surgeries and a stroke this past November. In addition to that, in February, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease. Individuals in our circle have the misconception that my son and I are immune suppressed and that’s not true. Both of our immune systems are the same as anyone else’s. We have just the same chances of getting a cold, flu or anything additional as everyone else; no more, no less. Yes, when we do get sick, our bodies can’t fight it as well as others, but we are not immune suppressed. Yet even after knowing this information, people think I should be scared. I get it. We’re already ‘sick.’ Corona is VERY scary. But let me tell you something that I am even more scared of; missing out on life.

As mentioned above, a few months ago, in November, my youngest son who has heart disease, had a stroke while we were in the check-out line at the grocery store. At the time, I thought he was having a heart attack and there would be no coming back. In the just over 60 seconds that he was ‘gone from me’ I had no regrets. I’ve never kept him from living his life. I’m a mom of a very medically complex child with months of hospital time under her belt, so I beyond respond those fellow medical mommas who keep their kids in bubbles, but I never could. Essentially the first year of his life, we lived in the hospital, several times were critical. During that time, I just kept wishing so much he was home, healthy and I was yelling at him to eat all his vegetables at dinner. But I wasn’t. When we finally were able to come home, I took every single opportunity to get him out into the world, make up for lost time and experience every single moment in life.

Courtesy Kelly Blumenthal

I’ve never regretted that and, in that moment, when I thought he was gone in November, I knew I had made the right decision remembering how many beautiful and magical moments he has had in just five short years.

Heart disease kills more people than corona and if I’m not going to let heart disease stop our life, why would I let corona or anything for that matter. Does this mean that we are going to Chuck-e-cheese and licking the play area or going to a trampoline park and shaking every strangers hand, absolutely NOT! But what it does mean is that even though we have been told to ‘quarantine’ that doesn’t mean I’m going to live in fear or allow anxiety or society to steal our daily joy that we have fought so hard for or previous moments with our family. We wash our hands, we get outside as much as possible, we play games, we build forts and we let our medical professionals guide us on what is safe.

For me, this isn’t even about the corona virus, this is about anything in life. We didn’t come this far just to come this far. Worrying doesn’t solve tomorrow if it’s problems, it strips today of its strengths. Stay informed, do what’s best for you and your family but don’t ever let anything in life steal precious moments from you. Because one day, a normal day will just be a normal day until it’s not. Until you’re kneeling on the floor of a grocery store next to your five-year-old begging God for him to bring him back; to give you more time.

We’ve been given more time, and we’re not going to take it for granted.”

Courtesy Kelly Blumenthal

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kelly Blumenthal of Prayers for Finn. Follow their journey on Facebook here and Instagram here.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Kelly here: 

‘Are you sure he isn’t cold?’ His swim instructor constantly asks, concerned over his very blue lips.’: Mom emotionally recalls son’s severe heart disease operation, ‘I know every angel was watching over him’

‘Michael got news something had gone wrong. I was being put under anesthesia immediately. He wasn’t thinking he would have to worry about me too.’

‘I heard one of them whisper ‘Oh no, look at his chest.’ So, I walked over.’: Mom confronts strangers who were staring at young son’s scars

‘That’s my brother,’ he stood next to me crying. He never left him. His skin was white as a sheet.’: Mom ‘so shaken’ after son’s stroke scare, ‘No moment is promised’

‘I signed up for this. Messes, timeouts and blow outs. You know what I didn’t sign up for? Multiple hospital stays.’: Mom says it’s not about the ‘mess’ it’s about the ‘lesson’

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