Touching

Touching

‘I had a great 4th of July. Except for the part where I almost died. I ate macaroni salad. I didn’t realize it was different, until I was SURE I tasted fish. Not just fish, but CRAB. I was convinced of it.’: Woman has food allergy attack on 4th of July

My ears started to burn. My lips tingled. My thoughts consumed me. My brain went into overdrive. The voice inside my head started panicking and screaming into my itchy ear, That’s it, youre gonna die. I had to act quickly before my throat closed and my hands seized. Then, I saw it. It took my breath away.

I held this dark secret. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? Are people weird like me, too?Cruel kids would ask, ‘What are you doing? Why are you pulling out your hair?’ I’mdone hiding.’

When I was 8 years old, I vividly remember pulling out an eyelash as I sat in my moms car in the drive-thru. And you know what? I LIKED the feeling from it. It was oddly satisfying. I kept pulling them out until my eyelashes were bald. Then, my parents began to notice. They couldn’t accept I was doing this to myself.

‘As I lay on the operating table, I heard the ONE word I dreaded. They wrapped him up, brought him over. I began to sob. ‘How can my heart be rejoicing and breaking at the same time?!’

“The room began spinning. I was thrilled to have my baby but terrified by the words used to describe him. Unlike his older brother’s birth, not one person came to see him. No flowers were delivered. No one knew what to say, so they said nothing. On that day, my life became defined by two words. Before and after.”

‘Are you on drugs? Pregnant? What are you not telling us?!’ My managers pulled me aside. A football-sized disc floated in my chest.’: 17-year-old diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, gives birth despite ‘infertility’ after chemo

“My high-school sweetheart cheated on me, then dumped me. My friends couldn’t cope with my ‘new normal’ and turned away. I didn’t want to be different. My body was thin, my face swollen. I looked like an alien. Minutes later, he pointed to a black hole of goo where my lungs should’ve been. I frantically tried to make it to the break room but blacked out.”

‘We were forced into an abortion. ‘Don’t hold her too close. Your warmth and heartbeat will confuse her into staying alive.’ We were left alone with our baby as the staff waited for her die.’

“I was given 2 tablets. At 3:43 p.m., I delivered a baby girl. The image seared in my mind is of her little arm stretching into the air. She was alive. ALIVE. Surely, the nurse wasnt going to let her die, right? But as our girl fought to stay alive, nobody on staff seemed to care.”

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