awareness

‘The monitor went crazy. Suddenly, there was a half dozen doctors in the room, bagging my son. ‘I’m going to watch him die, aren’t I?’: Boy diagnosed with rare Sturge-Weber Syndrome, ‘A birthmark changed our life’

“He was hitting his milestones. He was happy. He was supposed to beat the odds. One evening, we noticed he wasn’t himself. He wasn’t making eye contact and was whimpering non-stop. We thought it was the heat, so we gave him a cool bath and went to sleep. The next morning, his face turned blue before my eyes. He went limp. The ambulance came and took Noah away. I couldn’t believe it. My baby wasn’t my baby anymore. Watching him fight made me so strong. For him. For us.”

‘You’re lucky he didn’t die in his sleep. He is 1 in 6 billion and will be bedridden for life.’ I clenched my husband’s hand in disbelief, tears welling in my eyes.’: Mom praises medically complex son, ‘He is our little heart warrior’

“He was lifeless and pale. The clock was ticking. All we could do was pray and hold his little hand. Sitting beside his hospital bed, 3 genetic doctors in white coats rushed in. ‘Can we go to a private room to talk?’ I walked down the hallway in a fog. ‘We were wrong. It’s severe. He will never live independently on his own.’ Soon after, he had a stroke and began seizing up. This was the worst-case scenario. It was really happening.”

‘My manager interrupted. ‘Wait, what? You need to get that checked out.’ I’d lie and say I was ‘gay.’ It was easier to explain.’: Woman shares candid reality of being asexual, ‘I’m not broken’

“It all hit me in high school. ‘Why is everyone obsessed with sex?’ It had never occurred to me sex was a huge part of life. Couples would make out in the stairways. Sexually active friends would re-tell their experiences in detail. I was disgusted. My therapist would ask if I was ‘this way’ because of my parents, who didn’t have a good relationship when I was growing up. People think a person, especially a woman, need to have a partner to be happy.”

‘Smoking when you have cancer? Are you insane? You might as well jump in front of a train!’ My first time going outside as a baldie was horrible.’: Woman with alopecia advocates for hair loss, ‘I am beautiful, with or without hair’

“I was known for my beautiful hair. It was one of my biggest ‘selling points.’ One day, I woke up and my hair started to fall out. ‘When you are almost bald, please come back and we will look at it again.’ Five days later, I was back. I went from having really beautiful hair to being a baldie with a wig.”

‘I’m 14, alone with a boy. ‘What if you had sex with me?’ He leers. ‘No thanks.’ ‘What if I held you down and made you?’: Survivor advocates for fellow survivors of the Me Too Movement, ‘Culture tells us not to complain. To keep quiet.’

“I’m 17, and I have a long-distance boyfriend. He begs me for phone sex and I say no. ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not comfortable.’ I hang up on him, feeling guilty. He’s lonely in the Marine barracks. I’m all he has. He needs me. He suffers from depression, self-harm. A few nights later, I pause on the phone. I hear his heavy breathing, muffled moans. ‘Are you…?’ I ask. ‘Don’t stop. Keep talking,’ he pants. Feeling sick, I hang up the phone. I feel dirty and embarrassed. ‘Men will only go as far as you let them,’ I’ve been told. Boys will be boys.”

‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ She thinks if she just tries harder, if she’s a better wife and mom, he wouldn’t get so angry.’: Domestic abuse survivor pens PSA, ‘we need your love, not judgement’

“He has threatened to tell the judge she is a bad mom and will take away her kids. He has taken away her money and convinced her she cannot make it on her own. He has told her if she tries, he will kill her or her family. He has brainwashed her to think it’s all her fault.”

‘I’ve never seen him do that.’ I watched as he scratched his face in his sleep. It was a Hail Mary.’: Mom shocked by Celiac disease diagnosis after noticing ‘moody, volatile’ behavior in son

“I started seeing a shift. He was moody, had bouts of rage. He was volatile. Every moment felt like walking on eggshells. I felt constantly on edge, waiting on the next blow up. He was always tired. I mentioned all this to the pediatrician. Nothing fit. I was losing my sweetheart of a boy. Finally, I said, ‘What about Celiac?’”

‘We nearly lost him today. I pulled off wrappers, started dishing them out. I gave it to him.’: Mom feels guilt for giving son Popsicle that ignited peanut allergy, ‘We’re just trying to keep our kid alive’

“I stuck them in the freezer. ‘They’re all the same size, don’t argue,’ I told them. I had just kicked off my boots and laid back when I heard a tiny, faint cough. Just one. I was instantly on my feet assessing him. There it was. The tiniest hive. Right in the corner of his precious cheek.”

‘He was sleeping late. I became suspicious, pulled the blanket back. My son had been dead for at least 8 hours.’: Mom begs parents to spend time with children now after 8-year-old son dies in his sleep, ‘we wish we had more time’

“I started to call 911, but hung up. There was a more important call I needed to make. My husband at work. ‘Wiley’s dead.’ I couldn’t sugar coat this and didn’t have time to explain. I had approximately 4 minutes to explain to his twin brother that his best friend had died before 15 people swarmed our home. I asked him to pick a location where he would feel safe. Then, sirens.”

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