What Are You Grateful For Today?
Three years ago, I came very close to losing my life. This day is always a reminder to me and my family of how incredibly precious our lives are. All we can do is to choose to wake up with gratitude every morning, and pray that we are given the gift of another day here on earth. Many of you already know this story; others will be reading this for the first time. My hope is that through my own experience, I inspire someone else to decide to wake up with gratitude tomorrow morning. What are you grateful for today?
No matter what, there is a place for gratitude
On November 28, 2014, I suffered a second miscarriage. After having my daughter in 2010, I had my first miscarriage at 15 weeks in January of 2013. This traumatic experience was the catalyst for my book, 30 Days of Gratitude. When I got pregnant again in September of 2014, we were surprised and excited. However, things did not turn out as we had expected. As with the first miscarriage, I ended up at the hospital for a D&C. For those women who have had this procedure, you may recall that you’re not necessarily in the right state of mind to really listen to what the possible complications might be. I certainly didn’t pay any attention and signed the consent form. I was sent home a few hours after the procedure. That night, as I had with my first miscarriage, I found a way to write in my gratitude journal. No matter how difficult the day had been, there were things that I could be grateful for.
Things got a lot worse before they got better
After my first night at home, I ended up back in the hospital the next day with cramping and a fever. All normal, I was told. And I was sent home again. When I returned the third day, I knew something was really wrong and that I wouldn’t be coming home that night. I remember packing a bag, including my gratitude journal. They finally took a swab to see if I had an infection. Two days later, I was the sickest I have been in my life and we found out I had a case of invasive group A strep. This bacteria causes either flesh-eating disease or sepsis (blood poisoning). I had the sepsis type and things got very serious, very quickly.
In order for me to heal, I needed to be put into a medically induced coma. I don’t remember much of the next week. What I do remember is asking my friends and family to pray for me, and a visit from my priest. He happened to be in the ICU visiting another parishioner, and my husband ran into him. He came to pray over me and I remember his prayers and his touch. There’s nothing else I remember about that time, which is probably for the best.
Our family came together
At the time, my parents were living in Mexico and my sister in BC. It was the worst case scenario to bring everyone together. There were a lot of trips to the airport and temporary beds set up in our home. My husband was amazing during this time. He would make sure our daughter got on the bus to school, then he would come to the hospital for the day; head home for dinner and come back in the evening. I will never know how hard it was for my husband and my family to see me like that.
Things take a turn for the better
After a few days, my numbers started to move in the positive direction and we knew I would survive. I was awakened after almost a week of being ‘asleep’. It was not easy. My muscles had atrophied and I have trouble doing very simple things such as holding a pen or typing on a phone. I remember how hard it was to drink water, as I could not reach the styrofoam cup with the straw that was on the table right in front of me. One thing I do remember is that I really and truly woke up with gratitude. I didn’t really know what had happened but I knew that I was grateful for my life.
Taping into my Ironman spirit
One of our close friends, Paul, is an emergency room physician, and he kept an eye on me the whole time. When I asked him what I had to do to go home, he told me to find out what the doctors needed me to show them, and then tap into my Ironman spirit to get it done.
As a former triathlete and three time Ironman finisher, I know what it’s like to dig deep. I set my mind to going home by Thursday, which was crazy since I had only been awoken on the Monday evening. With incredible determination, I was able to walk with a walker by Wednesday and they sent me down to the ward rooms for one last night. That evening was the first time I got to see my daughter in 9 days. It was all of the determination I needed to get out of there asap! Every time I saw a doctor I would say, ‘I’m going home on Thursday.’
Time to go home
Even though I was still on antibiotics, they switched me to tablets so that I could go home. I was still very weak, but thankfully had a lot of help at home over the next few weeks. What I do remember most about those few weeks was the feeling of gratitude for so many simple things. For example, I couldn’t stand up in the shower for about a week. Nor could I drive my car – this was a big deal for me since we had just purchased a brand new car, and I wasn’t able to try it. My first walk around the block was such a source of joy for me! Whenever I start to take simple tasks for granted, I remind myself of how difficult those first few weeks were.
What are you grateful for today?
It doesn’t take a life-threatening illness or other tragedy to choose to wake up with gratitude. We can all decide tomorrow that we will wake up and give thanks for the gift of another day. Knowing what it feels like to wake up after being in a coma, I truly and deeply understand what a gift every day is. And my dream is that I can inspire others to feel the same way about every day – no matter what their life circumstances are.
Will you join me tomorrow and we’ll wake up with gratitude together?
Save the Date! With our upcoming move to British Columbia, I’m excited to announce that I will be doing my first local event on Saturday January 20th, 2018. My topic will be how to build a successful social media lifestyle brand. The good news is that we will be live streaming the event as well!!