Updated: Jan 5
January is a strange month for me. While mostly everyone in the world is planning their year, making resolutions, quitting things to start new things, I’m over here just remembering how I almost died and seeing how long I can leave my Christmas Tree up.
Every year since 2005, January kind of kicks my ass and reminds me that I was given a gift and how I almost never saw another January. I get flooded with feelings of gratitude and astonishment all at the same time.
Grateful I am here to see another year start and astonished that what happened to me even happened and I can’t help but reflect on all that I could have missed.
I went to sleep on January 14, 2005, a 36 year old, healthy, vibrant, happily married mother of 3 little kids ages, 10, 7 and 4. I woke up or I should say, I came back to consciousness around 2 am on January 15, 2005, covered in blood, in the bottom of my shower ( I had fallen through the shower doors), weak, disoriented and dying. When I came to on the floor of my shower I slowly realized that I passed out, I was hemorrhaging and I needed help. I also started to think how the hell did no one in the house hear me crash through the shower doors and how was I going to clean up the blood that was all over the entire bathroom. It looked like a mob hit took place in that tiny room. The amount of blood covering it was shocking and distressing, it was movie quality disaster! Oh, oh, oh, let me add that the bathroom had been completely renovated just a few weeks prior. The contractor actually finished the job the day before Christmas Eve so I immediately thought “this couldn’t have happened before they ripped out the old bathroom?”
You know what was worse than seeing almost every ounce of blood in my body splattered all over the brand new walls and fixtures of my bathroom? It was seeing the looks of confusion and terror on the faces of my 3 babies as the EMTs took me out to the ambulance on a stretcher. The memory of their faces, and I remember it well because I was trying to burn their images into my brain since I truly thought I was never going to see them again, makes me cry instantly!
My handsome, honest, always cool as a cucumber, husband looked like a deer in the headlights as he lied through his teeth to the kids that “mommy’s ok and we will be home really soon”. Seeing him scared, terrified me and proved I was even worse off than I imagined.
It was determined that I had suffered a massive G.I. hemorrhage. I spent 6 days in the Intensive Care Unit and a day and a half on the Med Surg Floor. I had 4 blood transfusions in less than 24 hours. I had tons of testing done including a colonoscopy and the prep had to be performed all while I was NOT allowed out of bed! Don’t you ever, ever complain about doing the prep for a colonoscopy. Doing it from your home is a luxury compared to what I went through. If you are reading this and have been putting off getting one done, stop reading, go schedule it and come back here and finish reading!
While I was in the hospital I saw things and had experiences that some would say were hallucinations but I know the truth. There is a white light, there are angels, your passed on loved ones are there and sometimes it is not your time so they send you back and stay with you, in the ICU, until you are out of danger. They flock around your husband and hold him up, and give him strength. They send the right doctor in who stood her ground and refused to let the cut happy surgeons just go in and take a look/see. They send these earth angels in called nurses who hold your hand, cry with you, take care of you and do extraordinarily kind things that are not even in their job descriptions. They flood you with love and courage and push you to do whatever it takes to get better.
That hemorrhage ended up saving me from cancer years later. I had to have a repeat colonoscopy at the 5 year mark at age 41. They found a polyp that formed within those 5 years that was not cancerous at the time but would have definitely turned to cancer had it stayed in my body. The average person doesn’t have their first colonoscopy until age 50. From age 41 to 50 is a long time to grow. So while I used to think that hemorrhage was horrible, after that 5 year mark I knew it was gift. A precious gift that keeps on giving and teaching me lessons. I look for the gifts everywhere in everything and sometimes it takes years for them to be revealed but I always find them. There are gifts out there for you too. Stop and reevaluate things, especially your biggest challenges, I bet you find the hidden gifts!