We don’t choose life; life chooses us. We don’t get to select our father and mother or the color of our hair and eyes, and when we are born, we aren’t even aware of genes and chromosomes that might one day change our lives by drastically turning our bodies from strong and healthy to ravaged victims.
When I was born, my parents had their first baby girl. They looked at me with all the hope and promise life held and saw my future in boundless measures of health and prosperity. As I grew, they began thinking of ways to better my ability to gain knowledge and purpose for my life ahead. At the age of seven, I began piano lessons, as a lot of children do around this age. My eyes were opened to a new world: the world of lines and spaces, black notes and white notes, harmony and the beauty of music.
All through my life, music has led me. I studied music in college, married a musician and bore two beautiful children with talents and abilities of their own. It all seemed perfect for a while, and I looked to a bright and promising future.
In walks reality and brings with it adversity and trial. My marriage ended in divorce, and the music stops for a season, but I charged on through my life as I was taught to do by my parents whose strengths and guidance prepared me to face such oppositions. I was determined to once again find the joy of music in my life.
During the separation period of my divorce, I lived with my two daughters who were in elementary and middle school. I worked at an optometrist’s practice as a bookkeeper/receptionist and saw to it that my girls got to school and back home. I attempted to maintain as normal a life as possible.
After experiencing something as life changing and devastating as divorce, I felt life couldn’t get worse, and the only way to go was up. Having settled into my job after six weeks of training and practice, I looked forward to a better future for my girls and me. It seemed life had different plans for me, though, and I had one more lesson to learn about perseverance.
One morning, while driving the girls to school, I noticed that my feet were tingling and “buzzing” as if they had gone to sleep and the feeling was slowly coming back, but the feeling never left. I dropped the girls off at school and went on to work trying not to think too much about it. Throughout the morning, the feeling remained and spread to my knees. Being a student of medical documentaries on television, I knew not to ignore symptoms such as these. During my lunch hour and with the hospital being nearby, I went over to the emergency room to seek advice. When I explained my symptoms to the triage nurse, she excused herself briefly and came back with a doctor, and I repeated my symptoms to him.
I was taken back to a bed, and the examination began with multiple questions, pin pricks on my feet and legs, and a neurological consultation. Being told I would not be leaving the hospital any time soon, I called my office and explained my situation to my supervisor and was told to keep them advised. I also called a good friend of mine and asked her to pick my kids up from school and keep them with her. It was Halloween Eve, and she told me she would keep the girls busy planning their costumes and makeup for the following evening’s trick-or-treat plans and not to worry.
Being told not to worry was a relief as far as my girls were concerned, but I was a complete wreck with what I was experiencing in the ER. I felt so alone! I longed for the comfort of a husband holding my hand and comforting me with words of hope. I was six hours from my parents and even further from my siblings. I had moved away with my husband when his job changed, and now, he was gone, and I was isolated from family and friends.
After several hours, the doctors informed me they weren’t certain of my diagnosis and would be admitting me for further tests. Again, I called work and my friend who was keeping the girls. Arrangements were made for them to stay overnight and taken to school the next day. Relieved again, I tried not to worry even though the feelings of numbness had spread to my hands and scalp. I was scheduled for an MRI that evening.