opening up about the surgery.

(it took me forever to write this post.  I have to thank Shoes over at shoesonthewrongfeet for inspiring me to open up about difficult things.  I have to thank my friends and family, who listened with sympathy and without judgment to this story when I first had the courage to tell it.  An especially heart felt thank you goes to the family member who actually went to the hospital with us, who supported me, comforted me and Sufyan, and got us through the ordeal.  Here goes…).

waiting for surgery

Trauma Mama
A friend of mine commented that at the moment of a traumatic experience, something is decided about oneself.  That’s an interesting idea.  I have been mulling it over in light of something that was incredibly difficult for me to let go of.  What did I decide about myself in that moment of trauma?
In reality my “moment” stretched over hours.

And though I no longer believe about myself what I believed at the time of the traumatic incident, it was powerful and has taken work to unravel.
What I decided about myself as things fell apart around me is that I am not a good mother.  I have caused my child’s pain and suffering.   I could have stopped the forward momentum of events, but I didn’t (because I am not a good mother).   I am not as strong as I need to be to shepherd the little souls entrusted to me through their early years as humans.   My inner mama bear isn’t up to the job.  The guilt is physically painful, a cold assurance that I am not enough.

The memory

I am remembering my sweet child in his car seat, which we had to install in a friend’s car because our car didn’t have the right license to enter East Jerusalem.  I had to go alone, as my husband and co-parent was/is also not allowed into Jerusalem.

Hezmeh checkpoint on our way in

The occupation seemed especially bleak the morning of the surgery.  It’s amazing how much we rely on subliminal visual cues to orient ourselves.  I wanted something to assure me that my child would be safe, a sign that meant I could trust.  Outside the car, half-built buildings and yellow taxis flashed past us in the no-man’s land of chaos and refuse outside Qalandiya checkpoint.

near Qalandiya checkpoint

Qalandiya

I thought of how nearly every system from water to electricity that I had encountered in the West Bank was incomprehensible to me.  Kafka-esque short-cuts and jury-rigging everywhere.  Improvisations largely made necessary by the occupation.  Improvisations that often fail.  Extension cords over a street.  The lights go out when it rains.  The internet goes out when it’s windy.

This is fine when you are persisting against all odds, showing you will not be stomped out.  But this is not ok when things absolutely cannot fail.  As with surgery.  Still, I had been told that the hospital where my son would be put under full anesthesia was run by French nuns and therefore more orderly and clean that other hospitals.  Phone calls inquiring about the anesthesiologist turned up his past as head of a major anesthesiology clinic in Jerusalem that had served Palestinians as well Israelis (and this point is stressed because Israelis have access to the best care.  They have options.  The implication is that he is good at his job).  Passing beneath the ugliness of checkpoints, guns and hostility, I wanted to shield my son from the very air around us.  I learned how to say good morning in Hebrew and put on my “Nope, nothing wrong here!” face.  All to get to a doctor who I understood to be the only specialist in our area for my son.  I had done what I could to vet her.  Not only had we interviewed by phone but I had come to see her in a preliminary visit.  The doctor practiced in a way that  I approved of.  No holding a child down.  Conservative treatment.  Lots of patience with my son’s anxiety.  She was loving and kind to my son and we both liked her.  I looked into where she studied, but I have no idea how to evaluate an overseas dental school.   I looked into her creds and looked away from the the decrepit building her practice (which was contrastingly clean and welcoming) was housed in.

entrance

walking up

her sweet and clean office. We liked it there.

Looking from the building hallway into the waiting room.

When she suggested a course of treatment, I got a second opinion from our trusted doc in the states by sending my son’s X-rays to him.  We talked extensively.  He gave the treatment plan a (mostly) thumbs up.   My son wanted to listen to Fairuz and ABBA the entire way there.

ABBA cd in hand…

Oblivious and sweet.  Happy for the adventure.  I should have turned around when I saw the aging hospital.  The dismal waiting area which turned out to be the ER.  The muddy puddles and gravel visible through gaps in an unfinished wall.

on the way into the ER/waiting area

I begin to think of all the corners that could be being cut here.  All the possible, disaster-making shortcuts.  I am thinking now of the intake nurse with her red scarf tied excessively tightly on her head, making her eyebrows lift.  She is poking a tongue depressor into my child’s mouth so roughly that I grab her arm, push it away, soothe my son.

my first look into the rooms at the hospital. This is the ER. The bed was one of maybe 6 beds.

soothing him when she went away

Later, my son is getting more thirsty, more tired and more nervous.  Things are moving slowly today.  I change Sufyan into a gown that is way too big for him.  He looks very small, like a skinny little angel.

The linens on the bed are mismatched.  The comforter looks like something from someone’s house.  There is a water stain on the ceiling, a mop in the corner.

in our recovery and prep room

We wait and wait.  He’s 3 and now he’s been hours without water or food.  He is cold.  He starts to cry.  I am thinking now of the chipper nurse who told me and my now sobbing child that she had the water he was begging for.  She holds in her hand a syringe full of clear liquid.  Great, I think.  A little water.  I hug him and smile, “They brought you water, baby!”  When he opens his mouth she quickly depresses the entire syringe into it.  He screams, spits, writhes.  It is not water.  IT IS NOT WATER.  Instantly he withdraws.  He is in his lower brain of fear and survival.  I am afraid he must think that now even I cannot be trusted.  Biting back tears, I say, “WHAT WAS THAT???” to which the chipper nurse proudly answers, “Droog,” and walks out.  My mind momentarily goes blank with disbelief.  Ok, a) What drug did you just force into my child?  b) What the f*ck, lady?  c) what will the drug do to him?  Will he pass out?  What if he is allergic?  She’s gone.  No one else is coming.  (Later research shows that this was likely liquid Valium, a drug that they have generally stopped using on children in the US because it doesn’t reliably do what it’s supposed to do, and it causes nausea.  i.e. it doesn’t relax them but makes them feel woozy and powerless.  Plus it only sometimes causes an amnesia effect.  My son remembers everything.)   No time.  I have to comfort my child.  He crying and I am scared.  The machine is railroading us and we move forward.  A man that turns out to be our anesthesiologist appears outside the OR.  We are waiting on a gurney and now my son is looking drugged.

trying to smile

The anesthesiologist sees our little panda stuffed animal that is my son’s comfort toy.  Panda sports a band-aid in the same place as my son from his blood drawn this morning.  A sympathy band-aid.  The anesthesiologist takes Panda and draws a military symbol on Panda’s band-aid.  He keeps asking, “al-Jeysh, ah?”  as if 1) my son knows what the army (al-Jeysh) is at 3 years old and 2) panda needs to man up.  He doesn’t introduce himself and when I ask if he’s the anesthesiologist he barely speaks to me.  He just says “yes” and doesn’t look at me.  This is the man whose hands will hold my son’s life, I think.  The induction for surgery I can’t talk about except to say that it was terrifying.  My husband suggests I write it anyway.  Get it out.  So here is what I can write:   I was in the OR with him.  I am thinking of those eternal minutes before the surgery.  I am telling myself that this is where I have to be really strong for my son.  No tears.  He’s starting to get really scared.  So I get close to his sweet face, I get his eyes on mine.  I tell him he will be ok.  His eyes dart around, and I recognize panic.  The room is small and full of steel tables, lights, tubes, machines and people.

entering the OR

into the OR.

A thick armed man is trying to shove a mask on Sufyan and Sufyan…Sufyan swims back to the surface from his haze and begins to fight and scream.  His eyes get wide, wet, and he screams, “MAMA!!!!”  and I act on instinct.  I push this man’s hands away.  The anesthesiologist is talking to me, the thick armed man wants to force the mask immediately.  Our doctor keeps them at bay for a moment.  She is giving me a chance.  Sufyan is sort of like attached to my eyes with his eyes, his arms are around my neck, and I lay down with him this way, I talk to him.  I know he is listening.  The anesthesiologist is pushing us, saying let’s just give him the IV.  I look at Sufyan and I know the mask is the problem.  He is terrified of it.  Here is what I wrote at the time about the next few minutes:  So I think quickly and I tell Sufyan, “we have a choice baby.  You can try to take a couple breaths with the mask or we can do a little pokey.”  He chooses the mask.
At this point, the thick armed guy whose role I cannot discern except that now he is getting impatient and wants to hold Sufyan down, is getting pushy.  I tell him to back off.  Please.  I move his hands off Sufyan again.
There is more crying, I am crying.  Sufyan is crying.  I can’t see anything but Sufyan anymore.  Sufyan is fighting me, resistance turns to shear terror for Sufyan.  Sufyan is screaming.  I help him take the mask, I actually hold the mask on his face myself.  At this point I think, I know, he needs me to help him.  There are only 2 options:  strangers can hold him down and be rough with him, or I can help him accept the mask while I whisper in his ear how much I love him.  I whisper over and over “I love you so much and I will be right here.  I am right here.  I love you so much.”
In reality, it was probably about 4 or 5 breaths before he was under.  But those 4 or 5 breaths that he struggled under the mask under my own hand are an eternity of terror and agony and regret for me.  He screamed, “MAMA!!! HELP!!! KEEP ME SAFE!!!!”  He screamed into the mask.  “Keep me safe”.
And then his breathing changed and he was under. 

Breath

His breathing got weird.  It got mechanical, though no machine was attached.  I practically yelled, “IS HE ALRIGHT???  IS HE OK??? HE DOESN’T BREATHE LIKE THAT!!!” and they said, “No no.  This is right.  That is the way.  It’s perfectly normal.  It’s ok….”etc.
And they press me toward the door.  At the door the doc’s assistant, my escort out, turns to go and I fall apart completely.
“No!” I sob.  “They said I could stay! I can’t go back inside?”
“No, mama.”  She says to me, and says other things in arabic.
“But he’s my son!”  I sob.  She starts to tear up, too.  No, she shakes her head.  I beg.  She says no, it’s the rules.  So I go back to the room.

Then we wait.  We wait and wait and wait and it’s so much longer than it should be.

our view as we waited

and waited.

Eventually the assistant comes out and tells me Sufyan is fine and he is waking up.  I want to see him immediately.  She says not yet, a few more minutes.
After 10 minutes the doc comes out.  She tells me that he is fine, but that she had to do ________ and this was not in our plan.  My brain is screaming, “SERIOSLY!?!?!  you did ______ and only now you tell me?”

But I can tell she is certain this was necessary and I trust her.  Throughout this all, she has been nothing but forthcoming and kind to us.  Calmly, I ask to see him.  They consent to let me back into the initial recovery room.  Apparently this is because I am pushy enough, as no one else there that day gets to go although many people are waiting.  I quickly surmise why.  It’s ugly back there.  People are in a very vulnerable, post-operative state.  I try not to invade anyone’s privacy as I walk back.  And there he is.  Here is what I wrote at the time about these next minutes:
My baby boy, so small and so pale, is lying semi-conscious on a gurney.  He calls to me, wraps his skinny arm around my neck, and cries weakly.  He has bitten his lips and has bled at some point but it’s dry now.  He has a little dry snot and dry blood under his nose.  I don’t know why, and I don’t care because I just want to get out of here.
A brisk and slightly arrogant male nurse comes to take his vitals.  All he will say is Sufyan is fine.  “Normal,” he says to me in a thick accent.  The doc’s assistant is with us, and she is saying soothing things in Arabic.  She is kind, though I don’t know what her role is exactly.  I’m glad she’s there.  She’s very hands off.  She doesn’t touch Sufyan.  She just comments about him.
The doctor is there.  I have no idea what she is saying because I am focused on Sufyan.  She’s saying that he’s fine, probably.

second recovery room

I got him back, thank God.  He was so nauseous.   So small.  Pale and coughing, crusted and dried out around his mouth.  A little blood.  He was miserable.  Maybe this is normal after surgery, but assuring the parent of the normalcy is second only to making sure the child is actually ok.

Here is what I wrote about the next few hours:

We get a male orderly to wheel Sufyan back to his room.  I have seen this guy before, and my mental note on him said “avoid at all costs.  Weird energy.”
Which could not have been more right.  He is at Sufyan’s head, wheeling the bed.  He literally leans down into Sufyan’s blinking face so that there is no more than 2 inches between his nose and Sufyan’s eyes and says over and over in a weird low voice “HEY. BEBE.  YOU HEAR ME?”  When we get to the room, his only job is to lift Sufyan into a bed.  That’s it.  But he pauses, and my little tired, confused sufyan is laying there, and he demands, “HEY.  BEBE.  Which bed yours?  You know?  Which one?”  Sufyan can barely move, but the man keeps insisting on this question.  He asks loudly over and over.  It’s awkward.  I am trying to intervene, but I am not being allowed to get close to Sufyan, who finally realizes this man is not going away without an answer so he points to the bed on the left with one very weak finger.
“NO!”  shouts the guy.  “It’s THIS ONE! hahahahah!”
So clearly now we are in a Felini film.  Now I know this is a fever dream.  This is me freaking out.  What. The. F*ck.
The ensuing hours are Sufyan sleeping, puking, refusing to pee, no interest in water, complaining of pain in his legs and back.
Once and only once a man comes to get Sufyan’s blood O2 level and pulse (though I only found out later what it was he was measuring because no one told me at the time).  The reading on the machine was 153 and a red light flashes one word:  “HIGH”.
The guy looks at me and says, “Normal”.   And leaves us.  Forever.  I’m no expert but a red flashing word “HIGH” does not seem to mean normal to me (later research has revealed that a high pulse rate of 153 is relatively normal and expected after surgery.)  No one came to check on us for hours.  Forays into the hospital got no one’s attention.  Before she left, our doc told us no food or liquid.  The assistant, who is with us, says let him eat and drink.  I am sure she meant well, but here is what the assistant offered us in terms of help: “This is weird.  They don’t usually sleep this much,”  and “Strange.  They usually want food,” and also a shrug of the shoulders as to whether or not Sufyan’s extreme nausea was normal.  She left after an hour or so.  Maybe 2 hours.
After that, we were completely on our own.

disheveled mama takes picture in recovery room bathroom to remember the emotional impact of the moment we were about to go home. I tend to do this…not sure exactly why

Eventually Sufyan began to get better.  He used the bathroom with my help.  A male doctor came to dismiss us…he walked in like a gunslinger and pulled a hand from behind his back long enough to shine a light in Sufyan’s eyes, mouth and nose and say, “Fine.”  Then he was gone, too.
That was it.
We left.  All I cared about was getting him home.  If I could have held Sufyan on my lap all the way home I would have.  I would have let him crawl inside my skin if he had needed to.

No Wonder

No wonder I sometimes wake up in a sweat at night, reliving this.   At night I sometimes hear his breathing change from waking breath to sleeping breath and flash back to that day.

No wonder I can’t talk about it without utterly falling apart.

The surgery left Sufyan in terrible pain, by the way.  He has needed 2 subsequent surgeries to be pain-free.

The surgery, this experience, is the reason we left Palestine.  It wasn’t the occupation, it wasn’t the doctor herself, it wasn’t the adjustment or the language or the distance from “homeland” and it wasn’t the reality of daily life there (some parts of which I will probably always miss–particularly my friends).  It was this:  I no longer felt safe about having my children there.  I could no longer believe what I’d been told over and over:  that if we needed a good hospital we’d find it in Jerusalem.  To my mind, the safety net was gone however imaginary it may have been.

Tupperware
You know that place where your stomach, brain and heart overlap?  That spot in your gut that turns when you think about falling in love or the time you loved and lost something that mattered deeply?  For me, the sadness, anger, regret, and guilt are locked in a box right at that spot.  Once I look inside, I can’t easily close it up again.  I just fall into the sadness and chaos that are remnants of the trauma.  The box keeps the trauma fresh.  The box is Tupperware, apparently.  That’s a joke.
Yet clearly I want to talk about it.  It’s been absolutely begging to come out.  I don’t usually hold back, so why haven’t I, before now, written specifically about the event here on this blog?  I think it’s mainly because I want to keep the people who were involved in that day from feeling accused.  I believe the main characters had only the best intentions for us.   I believe in the midst of the chaos we also had people who showed us love and kindness.  Also, because it happened in the politically charged atmosphere of the occupation, in East Jerusalem, Palestine, I hesitated to write anything that would support anti-Palestine feelings.   Not to mention that over there, pretty much everywhere you look people have it way worse than my little story of woe.  I got my son back, after all.  I think, too, that I am sheltering myself from the judgment of the “other, better mothers” who have not made any mistakes and can therefore throw the first stone.  Never mind that they don’t really exist.  They think they do.  We moms can often be the harshest critics of other moms.  Judging each other is a way of keeping our own inner turmoil at bay.  You know how it goes:  “Well, at least I’m not doing ______ to my kid”.  Or whatever.

Lasting Effects
Another friend of mine commented that when a trauma is experienced by a mother about her children, that trauma holds a special kind of long lasting power.  Yes.  I think that might be true.

Fading Effects

However, this event is losing it’s power over me.  Finally.  I have been working very intently on letting it go.  Writing this post was a big part of it.  I no longer believe I am a terrible mom.  I see these events now as something we lived through.  Something that makes me grateful for the medical care I can access here.  I look at these events as part of our story.  The event is also losing it’s power over Sufyan.  He has been slowly getting over his fear of dental work (we are working on this together diligently) and I believe he will not be one of the many unlucky folks suffering from dental phobia.

Found Object for Today:

found in Ramallah downtown in 2011.  Looks like test prep?

Parenting Thought and Yoga Thought will return next post.  This post is long enough. 

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19 thoughts on “opening up about the surgery.

  1. Even if you had not written a word, one look at your sweet little boy’s head resting on a yellowed grimy pillow WITHOUT A PILLOW CASE in a HOSPITAL in a RECOVERY ROOM would have made clear to me that this was NOT the level of care that you had researched and expected for your child.

    You might not ever know how many mothers you are helping release their own trauma from similar experiences by writing about yours. You go, girl!

  2. I am crying right now. I am crying because I have no problem imagining the weight of fear and anxiety and loss of control you have felt with this event. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for the support and solidarity. You know, you are particularly empathetic but my experience is like a lot of experiences trying to guide the things you love most in the world through it’s pitfalls. You can’t avoid the bumps, no matter how hard you try. I guess the truth is we have very little control at any moment.

  3. Thank you for sharing. This brought back memories of when I lived in Ramallah and Jerusalem. I do have one question, if you don’t mind me asking. Did you consider sending him to an Israeli-administered hospital in Jerusalem. Most of them have plenty of Palestinian doctors. And the healthcare is better than the US. Just curious if this was an option.

    • I went through a similar experience with my son. hours waiting for him, not knowing if he comes out alive or even the same as he was before. but basicaly i was happy with the care and treatment we got. having a nursing background (maybe that helped). I looked at all the options I had here in the same place as you. i know the hospital you were. there were many other options too were your son could have done it in israel. I feel the pain you have and the anger and as a mother i do understand what you are saying, especially because i had the same situation. but what wet wrong with with your research that you ended up there? for sure not a blaming question. but it might help others in their research about available options. i saw not only the doctor, but i additionally checked out the nurses, the after care facilities, the waking up room, how many nurses are on duty ………… so why did you chose this. Please do not take it as criticism a all. it might benefit others here. ok teh operation did not go as planned, leaving it a traumatic experience. did you leave the country because of this experience?

      • Hi, B. Though we were in the same part of the world our experience and our access to Israel is worlds apart. I was in Ramallah without the correct documents to travel freely across the checkpoints into East Jerusalem. If I am correct, you are actually a bit closer to that area yourself. On top of that, there were so many other issues. See answer below. And thank you for the question. I wish you well!

    • This is a good question and I appreciate the sensitivity of your phrasing. Let me say that this is a complicated story. It was an option of sorts. But from where I was, and with the limited access to Israel (having to find a ride or bus) and being a full time SAHM who found it very difficult to get to J-town because my kids were so little and it took so long (think of the checkpoint traffic, the what-ifs of closures, the bus…) I didn’t have the option to go explore a hospital in advance. Not only this, I asked many people for a rec in Jerusalem for a good hospital or a good Israeli doc and no one that I knew had an answer. On top of that, the several people I asked who had first hand knowledge of the hospital we ended up in told me it was a fine hospital. I do remember that one person commented (after accompanying us and seeing the hospital)that the hospital had gone a bit downhill in the intervening years between his experience there and current day. Finally, this was the hospital our doc practiced in and she seemed great to me so I trusted her. Oh, and we had a time constraint. My son needed the surgery ASAP, as he was in pain. Not enough time to jump through all the required hoops to go blindly seeking an Israeli doc.

  4. Oh my goodness my dear friend. As mothers, it is our instinct to blame ourselves, to be hard on ourselves, to not forgive ourselves when something goes wrong even if it is out of our hands. It sounds to me like you did the very best you could – you researched the doctors, the facility, the options – you had Sufyan’s best interest in mind every step of the way. When you got there it was not as you expected and perhaps you could have put the breaks on but sometime once the wheels are turning that is not so easy. You stayed and was his voice. You kept it together for him. You did your best to make him feel safe, to make sure he was safe. And then when it was over you left and are doing your best to make sure neither of you are ever in such a situation again.

    I am sure this experience will take much time to process, to pass through, for how could it not? You are a fine mother, of this I am most sure and I do not even “know” you. I know that if we could, we would be good friends and get together for coffee and watch our children play. We can’t do that, but we can connect, be supportive, and assure the other that they are not alone. You have done this with me, the death of my dad comes to mind, I am want to do this for you.

    Much love to you and your beautiful family.

    ~Nancy~ (aka: Shoes)

  5. Oh my gosh Ravyn, I thought I could kind-of imagine what it might have been like to be in your position when we talked about it before and after Sufyan’s surgery but this post really brings out more of the real details and emotions. Every word and every picture of your sweet baby boy makes me cry. I want to reach through those photos and comfort/protect him right along with you! Yes, this is real TRAUMA (no matter if others have endured more than you- it doesn’t change the fact that this was a very big deal) and I’m so glad to hear that you and Sufyan are working through it and becoming stronger people for having walked this path. Lots of hugs to you and your family!

    • thanks for the love, as always, J. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I was thinking yesterday about how it would be for me to read a story like this about Lucas, and it was so hard to think about. I’m glad I had you to talk about it with.

  6. Ah, what to say. I read this and thought about it all day. All I can come up with is: yes. Yes, it is all traumatizing. Yes, it makes you feel powerless. And yes, it takes time and letting go. I haven’t had the added fear of run down surroundings or potentially sub-par medical care. But even here in the US, the shiny veneer doesn’t hide the fact that these medical procedures are scary, especially when it is your child going through them. It’s difficult to let go of that fear. I’ve had to start the process of facing it and letting it go because I’ve come to realize that I can’t keep Lily alive on my own. I’m completely dependent on these specialists, nurses, therapists, etc. to keep her alive and functional. It’s been the most humbling and vulnerable experience I’ve ever had. It’s been my greatest practice, and the most excruciating. And, yes, the panic attacks. They come and go, but mantra and small nighttime rituals have started to make them better for me. I say this, not as advice, but just to share the way that this process of healing is different for each of us. I hope that writing this has brought you some peace and support. I’m thinking of you and your little ones and I hope that your process through this will bring you resolution.

    • Hi A! You know, for once writing something out actually helped me get over it. So, yes, resolution. I am so curious if you will ever have the energy and time to write more about your own experiences in the medical system with your amazingly resilient little girl. I am grateful to have only had to go through this one time.

      • I’m not sure. I don’t feel very articulate writing these things or very comfortable with sharing exactly how weak and helpless the whole process makes me feel. I think that’s why it took me so long to comment on your post. It brought up all these thoughts and emotions that are just a little too much for me still. Lily is going on week three of having vomiting issues and I still can’t get any of her specialists to take it seriously. I feel that I live half the year (at least) in a constant battle to get someone to look at her as more than a case study. I think there is also always the underlying anxiety that this time that we take her in will be the last. With Elise, I never felt this worried. I understood the risks were much lower. But there are so many more unknowns with Lily. Anyway, I didn’t mean to make my comments all about me but I identify deeply with the emotions you describe and I think, perhaps, my deep abiding grief comes through more clearly than I can see.

  7. Oh, Ravyn! What else could you possibly have done? You were, and are, an amazing mother. Your kids know how fiercely you love them, and how could a three-year-old who’d experienced that love all his life ever have guessed there was anything that could hurt him? But no matter how hard we love our kids, we’re still tiny individuals. And that hurts. It’s too much. So we mostly pretend it isn’t true. But after this you don’t get to pretend anymore, and that’s … Well, it sucks. A lot. Forever. But you’re not to blame. You’re no worse a mom than any of the rest of us. I don’t imagine I’d’ve done as well as you did, fought as hard. Your kids are so lucky to have such a fighter for a mother.

  8. OH my goodness… I am sick and nauseous and sad and everything I cannot describe because of all you went through… I simply cannot imagine, but your story made me hurt so badly. It made me cry when you said you were not a good mom, because I’ve felt the same way lately for reasons on a far lesser scale than what you endured. I think this happened to you and your sweet little family because only you could pull through it and become a better person and mom for it. I don’t know that I would have survived, but you did. I’ve always looked up to you and loved you, yet we still have yet to meet in person. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this incredible story. I hope sharing your burden with us will help lessen it on your own heart. XOXO

  9. Oh, i forgot to tell you Alhamdulilah for your son’s recovery.
    my wife’s originally from ramallah and i’d love for my daughters (who are born here and speak arabic) to be around their ancestor’s culture but we have it too good here to sacrifice…then again, life is about sacrifice….

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