Healthy Inspirational Living

A week before the stroke this is what happened:
Knock! Knock! Ma somebody is at the door, Its Traci let her in, I said to my 9-year-old son, as he walks over to the brown heavy door unlocked the dead bolt and let my sister in, our 3 bedroom wall to wall carpet 2 bathroom apartment, subsidized housing. Most people craved to have a low-income apartment that was cozy with a refrigerator, stove and a dishwasher and a laundry facility on the property, nowadays, I look at it as being bittersweet, nevertheless, my two daughters shared a room and my son had his own room. As long as I had been waiting to move out of that bondage I was in, I would have never imagined it would have been by force, the very next week would have changed everything about my life.
I didn’t see this coming. Fuck you Bitch, get the Fuck out, was the language we were accustomed to using in those days. After I put my sister out, I remember feeling bad. I cannot even remember what the conflict was about to this day. But the very next morning I called her and asked if she wanted to go to church with me, and not to worry, I would drive. That Sunday morning the grass was freshly cut, the sky was bright, I managed to wobble the swollen body to my 1999 4 door green grand Prix, the car was 8 years old, but it worked like it just came off the assembly line at Pontiac. The bright blue sky, made my eyes squint and seek rest from the beautiful sun shining on my Carmel skin, a few dark spots here and there scattered on my skin didn’t bother me, I hated to wear makeup in the summer. Traci met us in the parking lot. She lived in a one bedroom in the same complex, I lived in B and she lived in A. I use to live in the A- section, a one bedroom cozy apartment. Right after I moved out of my parent’s house, in 1999. {(I would never forget that year 2 brothers I had grown up with had passed, one was killed by a gun and the other suffered from some type of cancer. 2 brothers that truly loved each other never made it see 2000. I often reflect on them from time to time. In fact, one of the brothers introduced me to my son’s father in  June of 1997, and the other would come by the house and keep me company while I was recovering from a gunshot wound in May of 1991. We would talk about religion and life in general. He would say “if I would join any type of religion, it would be a Jehovah Witness, “Because they are loyal and you see them on the streets going door to door”. It is funny how things play out in life. When you are young and unlearned and think you know everything, then as you grow you learn that you knew nothing and life are short and really not promised. Shorty was short ant cute some use to tease him of looking like one Bart Simpson of the hit TV show the Simpsons. The girls in the neighborhood loved him but he was married. He and his wife had become parents at a very young age, not sure how the marriage thing came into play. But I’m guessing her family wasn’t going to allow her to be an unwed mother. Anyhow Shorty was well known in our neighborhood and didn’t play any games. He was apart of another organization and because he was a thorough type of young man everyone in the neighborhood respected him. He still would do whatever he wanted to do in the neighborhood even though it was governed by Formally known as GD’s (Growth & Development) and he wasn’t one.  He practically refused to join the organization of GD’s even though his brother was one. I guess that is what make these 2 brothers unique and defines Shorty passion for loyalty. Sad thing, Shorty’s son was killed in almost the like manner of him Several years later. Their story haunts the neighborhood because they both died so young and similar. So many are hunted by the things that took place in those days and we all are dealing with the consequences of the choices we made back then. I adored Shorty and respected him, neither one of us attempted to entertain the thought of fooling around us clearly never even talked about that. Even though he was married he still did what he wanted to do, when it came to fooling around with other girls in the neighborhood. Maybe, they weren’t ready I don’t know. I learned how to stay in my lane and out of the guys business. It was a lot of disloyalty back in those days.)  Ok now back to what I was saying, now it was July 2007 and I had upgraded to a 3 bedroom, some would call me blessed, I still say it was bittersweet.
 I had been invited by an evangelist friend of mine, she would later become, my spiritual Godmother, that day at church, she preached about, being dead while still living. She said something about when someone dies, and you go to the cemetery and bury them. Some of us are spiritually dead just like that, I remember that sermon well because that was the last sermon I heard and having the activity of all of my limbs. I recall her praying for me that day, to turn my life around and life a Godly life.  And I remember her laying her hands on me and something strange happened, while she was praying. It seemed like she saw something in the spirit or something because she had changed her whole demeanor Her head went back and she had to stand back up to maintain her balance, the words she began to speak was forceful and powerful like she was battling something on my behave. I didn’t give it much thought then, but after I had had that stroke, I would often wonder did she see some kind of danger or death approaching. I also recall reasoning within myself that day, telling myself I wasn’t living in sin and my life isn’t bad and I’m not doing anything wrong. But actually, I was fornicating, cursing, gossiping, lying and talking about people, who I thought was beneath me. Who was I fooling, I was living a lie, I was all messed up. The little money I was making as a new nurse had gone to my head. I was actually thinking I was better than other people. I’m almost ashamed of myself. But I know now I had falling in love with ignorance and was a well-trained narcissist. The Evangelist prayed for me and told me to turn my life around. Of course, I agreed and went on my merry way, as usual, this would be the same evangelist taking time out her life to come miles from her home to pray for me again and intercede for my life. She did as a true servant of God. I’m blessed by the grace and mercy of a power much higher than any power in the universe.
   ( I had first met Evangelist at a church, my family had gone to when I was much younger. ( The Craziest thing I remember going to that sanctified church when I was around 17 and the pastor started prophesying to me, telling me I was going to give birth to a beautiful girl and I would be rich preaching the gospel in another country. And He also said if I didn’t get my life right something bad was going to happen to me. I would wrestle with these thoughts for years, every time o got into a bad situation. That’s why I’m not fond of church people that speak gloom and doom in people lives. I wanted pretty much nothing to do with the church after that. I just couldn’t understand why the church separated themselves from the rest of the world and why it was restricted to have fun. It seemed as if we couldn’t do nothing. All I remember about the church when I was younger was “you can’t do this and you can’t do that and if you did this God was going to get you. I strayed away after that.) now back to what was saying.
My son’s Godmother and Evangelist are really good friends. She reintroduced us to evangelist the day I went to the E.R. with the worst headache I ever had in my life. It was that day, I learned I had a bleed on my brain. Evangelist had made time to pray for us when we were going through hard times. Just like routine, when things got better, I would forget about her and God. I just thank the heavens she remained faithful and was available when I needed someone that could hear from heaven. My Son’s Godmother, Erica a young school teacher. Came to the hospital. It was her who contacted the rest of my family. Her number was one of the only numbers I could remember at the time, I didn’t know anyone to call but her my mom phone just rang and went to voicemail, my sister was at work. And I didn’t have much faith in anyone else. With a matter this huge. I recall later her telling me, we were on our way to another hospital on the other side of town. A nurse in the ambulance with us was telling me I better live. Someone had said that the E.R. had pretty much given up on me because the bleed had been really bad. It was a race for time to save my life. This nurse commanded me to live and she told me I had 4 children to live for and they needed me. I was unconscious at that point. I learned this later. I also learned the type of brain bleed I had 99% usually die and the other 1 % that survive are usually severely disabled or in a vegetative state. I often look back on those days and count my blessing. I recall hearing about young women I have seen a few times and had the pleasure to talk to. She had gone to the E.R because she wasn’t feeling well. Had a heart attack and a stroke then died. She was in her mid- twenties. I was mortified, she had 2 small children. That happened a few years after I had had that stroke.  When I learned what had happened to her, I began to feel guilty as I usually did when someone perished quickly from a heart attack or stroke. I would reason with myself. How did I make it out alive and why didn’t they make it, my heart would be filled with complete sorry as I continue to look at my past and wonder. Why did I have the privilege of seeing so many years after I had that stroke and why was I still getting better. I recall a middle- aged women I worked with at my old job. When I worked as a nurse. We laughed a talked all the time. She appeared healthy and very out-going. I learned she had gone home from work one day, was doing the dishes, and just fell out, when she was found. Her family had learned she had suffered a brain aneurysm and didn’t make it. Every time I would hear a story like this I would shut down and get extremely depressed and feel guilty for living. It took me a while to learn how to balance these feelings of guilt and being blessed. I still have to catch up with my thinking sometime and give it a name. I talked myself into thinking, I made it for my children or I was too stubborn to go and the nurse in the ambulance commanded my spirit to live. Rationalizing my thoughts to make them make sense took up so much time and it gave me so much pleasure and a reason to continue to make gains in my recovery.
“Damn! Breath! Breath!” that deep heavy voice cuts my heart, just like the surgical knife that was used on my head. He was the finest male nurse I had ever seen, smooth Carmel skin, I wondered why did he want to become a nurse. A body builder is what he looked like to me, or maybe even an actor, very handsome black man. Nevertheless, he commanded me to breathe, and I did, he scared the living crap out of me. I guess he said, I wasn’t going to die on his shift. Some would say, it is a sign that a patient is getting better. When they start pulling stuff out. All I can remember was, asking the nurses to suction me, I was on a ventilator, it was down my throat, good thing it wasn’t the trach that was placed in your neck. I might not have pulled that out. It might have hurt real bad. I heard a voice say pull it out and I did, it sound like that same voice, that told me to scoot my body up, while I was hiding under a car during a shootout, nearly 2 decades earlier in the month of April 0f 1991. Seemed like I have always been on some road to recovery, this time I just couldn’t believe it would be permeant.
Dang! I woke up again, looking up into the ceiling, I asked God why didn’t he finished me.   This was a daily routine of me wanting the pain to end. I couldn’t believe that I was confined to a bed and was in so much pain. I wanted to die.  My head was swollen and looked like a football, my neck had gotten stuck on the right side as if I was looking over my shoulder, the hair I took pride in had gotten shaved off. I begged God to finish me.
 I remember when the Nintendo game first come out, there were only 2 games that came with it. Duck Hunt and Mario brothers, then Super Nintendo came out with Super Mario Brothers. I recall my younger brother and I playing the game all day until we flipped Super Mario brothers, whoever saved the princess first won the game.  It was a true task trying to save her we had to master many difficult boards to get to her. Just like the movie, Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom. One of my favorite movies of all time. We had it on VHS and watched it over and over again. I recall the scene where he was trapped in a room with a bunch of snakes.  That’s what it felt like being trapped in the hospital. With no way out. I needed Indiana jones to rescue me.
When we got tired of Super Mario Brothers, we would play Mortal Combat. A fighting game. One player would nearly beat the other player to death. That player would be so wounded and dangle in mid-air. A voice would yell out of nowhere and say “Finish Him”.  And that last blow would kill the other player. I recall feeling like the nearly destroyed player actually look. Bloody beat up weak and couldn’t stand up straight. That’s where I got the term from. Why didn’t you just “ Finish Me” Is what I looked and felt like in those days, looking up at that ceiling as if God was there and I was talking directly to him.. I am getting the chills as I write this, the nerve of me, to question the authority of the life giver. I must have been out of my mind. I wanted to die in those days. The Proverb is recorded as “ So a man think in is heart so is he.” There must have been a bigger plan to why I was allowed to beg for death it didn’t happen.
“ Can you feel this Ms. Coney”, yes I replied, the dank dim Surgical Intensive Care Unit, everything was made of glass, no heavy doors, everything is transparent, no privacy, I guess I didn’t need any since I couldn’t get up and go anywhere anyway. The left side of my body was completely paralyzed.  “ Can you wiggle your toes” “ then try to squeeze my hand?” the doctor said. He came in with his whole posse, a group of interns that follow him everywhere he went. I didn’t care about them and what I looked like to them, all I wanted him to do was fix whatever was wrong with me, so I could hurry up and go home. The condition I had was totally backward. I had feeling in my upper and lower extremities. I just couldn’t move them. The stroke had totally paralyzed the left side of my body, except for my face and lungs on that side. This was confusing to me. I didn’t understand how I can feel all the sensations of touch, but couldn’t move anything on my left side. This was extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around. I remember my mom telling me. I was the child that wanted to be independent at a very young age, a toddler, who wouldn’t allow her to put my pants or my shoes on me. I wanted to do everything myself, that sounds about right, stubborn and bull-headed. Yep, that was me in those days. I tell you the truth, life has a way of humbling us.
Traci my sister came to see me as much as her job allowed in the summer of 2007, even on her days she was off, she should have been resting, but, she spent that time sitting in the corner of the bright surgical intensive care unit. Everyone in this unit was fighting for their life, they had had a stroke or was in a bad accident or something. But this one kid right across the room from me decided that he wanted to take his own life and it didn’t work. He survived. Sometimes he crosses my mind, and I wonder did things get better for him, was he able to walk, talk and think straight again. He was a young, Hispanic teenager who had an argument with his girlfriend, told her he was going to kill himself, then shot himself in the head and survived. Back then I thought that was the weirdest thing on this earth for someone to do to themselves. But now I know life can be hard and make one feel like that. So I hope that young man was able to make the ultimate comeback. Traci’s long brown hair would smack me in the face as she leaned over to hug me. I demanded a hug from everyone who came to visit. I had many visitors that came. I’m thinking, no one could believe what had happened to me so they had to witness this scene for themselves. They had seen me 9 months pregnant, bring a baby home. Then the next week, I almost died. Nobody could believe the life of the party lay in a hospital bed all the way on the north side of Chicago. I know their thoughts was she is a fighter I know she will pull through. But my confidence wasn’t so sure.
The lights come on “Veronica, Veronica we need to draw some blood” what! I think to myself somebody just came in an hour ago and got some” I’m tired of this I would think to myself.  Almost every, morning, I would look at the ceiling like it was the sky. Looking at God, asking him “why didn’t you just finish me”. I couldn’t talk those first few days. I managed to scribble, things I wanted to say on paper, with the little strength I had left on the right side of my body. Most of my mental faculties were intact, my memory, who I was and my children names and birthdays, I just couldn’t stop crying. That would last for years after I left the hospital. 
This once vibrant, vain, Veronica. This vain person always cared how she looked on the outside. Veronica that everyone knew and loved, who was aggressive and would challenge life purpose, was on her sick bed of affliction. I wanted to give up. No way could I see myself with no hair, cant talk, cant walk and have to depend on everyone to feed me and wipe my butt. I didn’t want to live like that. All I saw was my current condition. “ Good morning I’m the new nurse on this new shift, my name is Shara if you need me here is the call button just ring it.”  I would say I know I know, I know, you can give me my pain medication. I don’t want the morphine it burns my veins. Can you ask the doctor for something else? I hate that stuff and to get an order to take this foley catheter out, it irritates, I can go on my on. I recall having to beg to get that thing out of my urethra. That’s the worst feeling in the world. It always feels like you have to go to the bathroom. When you don’t. I had to plead my case for about a week to get that thing out.
Finally, I remember the super nurse who stops passing the buck and got it done on her shift. Thank you, nurse whoever you are. I wish the best for you and yours wherever life have decided to take you. Those days were blessings and curses. All mixed in one. “Veronica why don’t you have those compression boots on.” They make my legs sweat and I don’t like them and they make me itch and I can’t scratch it, I remember being always itchy even though I had a bed bath every morning. It was nothing compared to the quick showers I took at home and the long baths I took at night before we all went to bed. It was a routine. I would bathe the girls then my son than myself. I thought will I ever be able to put them in the tub again. That thought alone would have me dealing with the reality of this new condition, cant walk, cant talk cant hardly think straight, God why didn’t you finish me. Is what I rehearsed in my mind in those down moments. I just wanted to die at times.
What another surgery, I would think to myself, another one, it was said that In those days my head looked like a football, it was so disproportionally huge. My brother said when I found out what happened to my hair that I would be angry, they said the first time the surgeon only shaved one side but the second time, my whole entire head was shaved. “What, you mean to tell me you put my bone flap in my stomach.” I cried. I had a bow in the top of my head, the fancy word was EVD  External Ventricular Drainage. The access fluid had to be drained off my brain, this was awkward for me, sitting there with something sticking out the top of my head. I remember when I was living in SICU, a nurse was giving me a bed bath and was trying to put my hospital gown over my head and accidentally jarred me in the head, right where the EVD was placed. it hurt like holy H. E. Double Hockey Sticks, I literally cried like a baby, I was scared something was going to go wrong in the next few moments, for some reason I didn’t want to die like that., and the nurse was so apologetic, she kept assuring me that everything was fine and I was going to be ok. I finally got over it and life went on.
This really messed me up for real. My dad assured me it was the best place for it. So when it was time to put it back, my body wouldn’t reject the flap. This had a huge impact on my psyche, all I could think about from that point on was to be very careful with my precious bone flap that would be put back in 4 months later. And when it did all heck broke lose.  That’s when the seizures started. I remember getting fitted for a helmet. I picked out the color pink, I was a lady and I wanted pink. I was told to keep this helmet for 24 hours a day and don’t take it off unless I was sleeping. Because I didn’t have any protection, that would protect my brain. The bone flap had been removed to reduce the swelling. And I couldn’t afford to have another injury in that particular spot. The surgeons had done an excellent job, going in and removing a blood clot. I still wonder to this day. Where in the world did that thing come from, and why did it happen to me. That was the way I would think in those days. I was the surgical and procedure queen. I recall, because I was hard headed and didn’t wear my compression boots, I had gotten a blood clot in my left leg. And had to get a dissolvable stent put in to confine the clot to one area so it would not travel to my lungs or heart. It was painful but much needed, the procedure was a success, it didn’t travel because I’m still here writing my story.  My dad would come daily to the hospital right after he got off work. I remember him working the crook out my neck, my neck had gotten stuck on one side from the lack of adequate movement. It hurt so bad for anyone to touch it. But, everyday when he came up he would gently move it from side to side until I could move my neck on my own without it hurting. I also recall crying on the way to these back to back surgeries and procedures. Traci brought a bible and her mp3 player up to the hospital one day to let me sleep with the MP3 player, as it played 2 of my favorite Gospel song, and one was I Told the Storm and the other was I Won’t Complain. I do not know who sang these songs to this day and I wasn’t the religious type of person. I always ran from the church. I felt they were a bunch of hypocrites. That wanted to punish everyone who didn’t think like them. I didn’t want anything to do with them or their doctrine.
Nevertheless, these two gospel songs encouraged me and gave me hope. I guess because I needed to find a reason to want to live again.  Traci would drive all the way north to see me in the hospital. I remember her coming in with a peachy look on her face, saying “Veronica people on the lakefront chilling, jogging, and riding their bikes on the lakefront, like the don’t have a care in the world” at that time I was well and stable enough to go to the rehabilitation unit on the 3rd floor. She said “one day that will be us”, as broken as I was that was the spark I needed to want to live and hope I could walk up right again. She took me outside and we sat by the beautiful flower garden, I remember I started to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. It was strange. That day forward, I didn’t ask God to finish me. Then things began to change.  Seem like, my mind opened up, I realized I had gotten the best therapist on the planet, one was a curly red head, freckled face, peachy glow I saw every morning for 6 weeks and her tag team buddy a short thin brunette, they both were angels that came to rescue me from the bottomless pit of despair, it was moments when I didn’t want to get out the bed, but, Suzanna, would come in a shine the light on my face and push me for my own good. She taught me how to put a sock on with one hand. She also taught me many tricks on how to bathe and get the important spots, with only one hand. She would document my progress so each day was a day of progress and not a day of apathy, her partner in crime got me after her, she taught me how to walk without my left leg swinging out. She was extremely patient with me. She told me to remember that, I have control of my leg. And when I walk, imagine that my foot goes like this, picture in my mind the heel first then toe. I still do this till this day. She would walk me around the 3rd-floor unit 3-4 times in a circle. It looks foolish, but that’s how I learned to walk again.
{ this would be the 3rd time I had the learn how to walk, the first was when I was a baby, and the second was in the month of April 1991, I had gotten shot with a 8 gage shotgun close range, out getting wasted with a few buddies and a shootout started. I didn’t have time to run, the closest place to seek refuge, was under a car. I ducked under there and started praying to the heavens for help. I don’t remember the prayer. I do remember a voice saying “ Scoot up” telling me to scoot my body under the car more. I did just in time because the next thing I knew, I felt a burning sensation and I got up and ran in my friend house. I was on her floor crying and yelling in pain for somebody to take my shoes off. it was hurting like holy crap and I had been drinking liquor. The strangest thing, my brother had told me not to go outside that day. I totally dismissed his commands. He even went as far as taking my clothes that I was going to wear, out the dryer. I didn’t heed his warning, I found something else to wear and went outside anyway and got mutilated.  The doctor had said I needed to get a skin graft, they had to take skin from a smoother part of my body, I choose my upper back thigh. It was a good thing I had some meat on my body. Because if not that close range shot would have taken my leg completely off. And if I hadn’t scooted up. It would have put a whole in my back as big as a softball and that would have caused serious damage to some very important vital organs and spine. So I ended up having to learn how to walk again it might have taken me a few years to fully recover from that. But I recovered, even with a prognosis that my walk wouldn’t be straight. But I was. Now back to what I was saying.
{She took her time and held my big body up, against her thin frame and she was short, it looked awkward, and I never fail, on her at all. Her skills for the job she had done was remarkable. You can tell she loved what she did. She taught me how to sit to stand tricks that would strengthen my left leg, so I could trust it again.
We all had jokes and made our sessions fun and rewarding at the same time.
I also remember the laughs I had with the Certified Nurse Assistance. One was a lady and other was a very handsome homosexual, funniest thing when I first met john, he said. “ I know always the cute ones right.” I couldn’t believe he went that way because he was a very handsome young white man, he made me laugh talking about his relationship with his lover. I had to respect the fact that, that was how he got down and he was unafraid to be open about his lifestyle. He said he wanted to come see me when I went home. I thought to myself, I don’t think that’s what you want because we don’t rock out like that in my neighborhood. But as I continue to live. They did rock out like that. And another certified nursing assistant who was a female, we became very good friends, she had a son and was going to school to be an occupational therapist. I thought that was the best idea ever. I would often tell her, how I needed her to come up with the cure, to teach people how to use their arms again after they had a stroke. We would laugh her whole shift. As it got close for me to get discharged, we had these jokes about me dying the day before I was to go home. Because I was notorious for not wearing my helmet, the staff would come in the room and catch me not wearing it and really act funky about it. They were always on me. Everyone knew how bad I wanted to go home. I just felt the recovery would be faster if I was at home.  Boy was I wrong. Brenda my CNA, would say. She would be filling out my accident report saying, “patient found wrapped up in her telephone cord, she was about to go home the next day, but if she would have had on her helmet she could have made it,” everything was referenced to the fact that I should have had on my helmet. She was so funny, “patient chocked on a cracker or patient chocked on a pill, but if she would have had on her helmet she could have made it.”  And this went on and on with new scenarios, I also recall a young man on the same rehabilitation unit, had a very difficult experience. He had gone into a certain hospital to get his gallbladder removed, he said he was in recovery waking up when his mom came in and touched his leg and said boy wake up. She was playing around rubbing his leg, and after a few shocking words were exchanged between them. She asked him did he feel her rubbing his leg. He told her to stop playing, and that he didn’t feel anything. To both their surprise she was indeed rubbing his legs. But he couldn’t feel it. The next thing they knew he was diagnosed as being a hemiplegic, I thought this was the strangest thing in the world. This was the same hospital I had giving birth at a week before I had that stroke. And know this hospital is closed to this very day. Reasons why I do not know. I can only imagine. I often wonder about, what happened to him, did he ever get his mobility back. Just questions I have.
No way can I close this section with my story without mentioning, where I met 2 beautiful people, while I was living in SICU, one was a young woman and the other was a middle age man. They both cared dearly for me and took turns working diligently to ensure the dignity of their patients. The young woman is named Mary, she made me cry, laugh and inspired me to want to live. She also became a Licensed Practical Nurse not long after I left, She encourages me to live and I encourage her to become a Practical Nurse. I knew it would be people that were sick like myself in those days, and they would need Mary to care for them. Where ever she is to this day. I know her patients are being well cared for. No one never knew I wanted to die in those days I covered the pain up with laughs and a fake attitude of gratitude. All the while I was slowly Dying on the inside, allowing my own thoughts to control and kill my hopes and dreams. This was my first transformation. When I did, finally go home, it was another mental battle waiting for me there.
The day had finally come. A bright sunny September day warm day. the sky was clear. I had imagined walking out of the hospital early on. Nevertheless, I was wheeled out in a black, 2006 or 2007 wheelchair, black leather I mean pleather seat, with manual breaks on each side. I did roll out in style. The latest addition to a silver and black wheelchair. It also came equipped with a four-prong silver cane to match the wheelchair one I got out. I had a helmet, leg brace, gait belt and 6 different prescription drugs. I can admit I was on drugs for a while. They were legal drugs though. I recall riding in the car, feeling extremely nauseated. I never told my dad, I don’t know if it was his driving or the mere fact of what I was about to face. I remember, Traci, joking saying, that I better put my seat belt on, because I had already had one head injury and I most likely wouldn’t survive another one. My family has always had jokes. About difficult situations. So I just knew coming home, laughing and joking about this would make me better quickly. Boy was that wrong thinking. It had happened before back in April of 1991 I believe, selective memory loss has kicked in. I had gotten shot in the leg with a 8 gaged shot gun close range, wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t know that I was in the middle of a gang war. And any female was the intended target. But anyway I just knew in my heart I was going to recover quickly. The jokes my brothers had. At that time a rap group ( Cypress Hill ) had a rap song out called “ Hand on the pump”, they joked and made their own little funny about me. They teased me saying: sawed-off shotgun hand on the pump sipping on a 40, Veronica didn’t jump” I forgot the rest of it, Selective memory loss. I had just known that the jokes would come out and I would laugh and get better. No that was not the case, this was much more serious than I had thought. The fact that I was epileptic, fragile and weak, plus I was very emotional and depressed. Now I have learned in 2015 that everything I went through then was a normal response, being treated for depression did help me get through intensive day-therapy. Nevertheless, my family did not know how to deal with the anger and frustration I went through, they saw me withdraw, I saw me doing the best I could to make it through the day. I cried most of the time. I wanted my independence back so bad until it hurt my heart to the core not being able to care for my children. I meditated day and night on all the things, that I couldn’t any longer do. Then I slipped back into an unconscious form of depression. The love and support I got from my neighbors were a blessing. My very good friend told me, one day it was going to look like nothing ever happened to me. I thought to myself yeah right. 8 years later she was right and my stinking thinking was wrong. I tell anyone that’s reading this. If you ever go through a hard thing, surround yourself with people that will uplift you. Because I was surrounded by beautiful people. They really are the reason why I didn’t give up. I thought negative thoughts 90% of the time and the other 10% was thoughts of what the future would look like for a cripple unattractive young mother of 4 small children, it even created an image of me in the grave and my children crying around the grave, my thoughts had taken advantage of my current situation, my spiritual Godmother started to teach me how to renew my mind. She told me to study Romans 12: 1-2 and replace the negative thoughts with Philippians 4: 6-8, that is when I started to see myself getting better and feeling better about myself, again.

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