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‘What do I need to do to make it?’ I walked through those doors, standing at 315 pounds with a disability I hid. ‘Let’s give this a shot.’: Woman with Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome finds peace in chronic illness

“I was spending every day off work as a first responder on a recliner or in bed, surrounded by pain and fatigue. My disease was here to stay, after it had been silent for 12 years. I’ve always been hard-headed. ‘I will do it on my own.’ But when my health became something I could not hide anymore, I knew it was time to share it, despite the fear of what they may judge.”

‘I was shackled to this infant while my fiancé escaped to his 9 to 5 job. Her arrival spun me into a fear I’d never known.’: New mom copes with the reality of motherhood, ‘Most days I could barely get past my mailbox’

“As an only child raised by a single father, I was raised to be an independent woman. I was limitless. My fiancé barely tamed me, knowing if I set my mind to it, it would happen. The mundane cycle of robotic caring for my newborn was chipping away at my Gypsy soul. I felt trapped and terrified. I could no longer come and go as I please. My nipples bled, my breasts were engorged and I wanted to give up. I thought I could give birth and return to school only 10 days later.”

‘I was going to kill myself, but I smiled. I laughed. All of it an act. I was just biding time.’: Young man urges others struggling to ‘talk to someone’ because you are not a ‘burden, weak’

“I came home early on a Sunday morning. Still drunk from the night before. I had a plan. I executed my plan. I say this next part with absolutely no dramatization; if my wife had stayed in bed for another 10-15 seconds, I would absolutely be dead. I would’ve been dead that morning. I owe my life to her. And I wouldn’t be here to tell you that things get better.”

‘I heard two words: ‘fugitive felon.’ I caught my son’s eye. His shackles made my stomach flutter uncontrollably. His public defender smoothed her beige suit, and approached him.’

“The severely criminal charge was, in fact, a reference to my 24-year-old. I never imagined that term would apply to him. An unexpected call helped me through his transfer to prison. It had been weeks without contact when I answered the unfamiliar number. I fought back tears. He told me how much my son loved me.”

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