So have you seen Amy Purdy on Dancing With The Stars…or perhaps you saw her earn a Bronze Medal at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in Snowboarding. That girl just takes my breath away. You might think it’s because of her amazing skill as a paralympic snowboarder or being a finalist on Dancing With The Stars…and yes, you would be right because I do appreciate obvious skill and talent. But what really catches my breath every time, literally every time I watched her dance across the ballroom with Derek Hough during this season of Dancing With The Stars was our own fight with bacterial meningitis with our own dancer just five years ago.
Really, it has been five years!!!
Purdy lost both her legs and kidney function to bacterial meningitis and, not unlike Jodie, complained of not feeling well with a headache and flu-like symptoms only to be literally fighting for her life just hours later. I watch what this athlete, this dancer, this warrior, does on the dance floor under the direction of Hough and I am in awe. Then I cry just a little because I find myself back in that ambulance, in that ER pod, in that pediatric ICU looking at my little girl, my tiny dancer literally fighting for her life when just hours before we were together skipping through Guadalupe Park in San Jose.
We got lucky.
We were so very lucky.
It would be weeks later that we truly realized just how lucky we were as she was able to take to the stage again doing what her body seems to be made to do…to dance.
Five years later, she and I both still can not believe how lucky we both were as we both fell ill to meningococcal meningitis and spent some time in the hospital miles from home.
Five years ago, holding my baby girl’s hand as I watched her life slowly slip away, I could never imagine that I would watch her defy gravity now as she often does on stage.
Nor pirouette and spin the way that she does with such effortless beauty and grace.
Yes, perhaps you could say that I am just a tiny bit overwrought with emotion and melodrama…unless you too stood helplessly by your child, your baby as you watched them begin to slip away.
We’re so lucky. So damn lucky. For that, every day with every leap, every turn, every time she takes the stage I give thanks.