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When a Doctor Told Me the Truth About My Medically Fragile Daughter

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When we adopted our daughter out of foster care and brought her home, I had all sorts of plans for our first week of bonding. We would snuggle, read and play. She would make her debut on my blog. I was over the moon with joy. 

But what actually happened was this:

My daughter went from healthy to critical condition in her first 72-hours home. We went to the hospital. We almost lost her. Doctors and nurses hovered and bustled around her bed. I heard big scary phrases. I remember crying. A lot. I felt lost and alone.

For the next week we lived in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I never left Cary Lynn’s side. I learned so much, but felt overwhelmed at the same time. I just didn’t know what to do. I kept asking questions that seemed to have no answers. One of her doctors eventually found me in a giant puddle of tears. He didn’t say anything at first, just handed me a box of tissues. Finally he spoke up, his voice soft but firm.

I’ll never forget what he said:

“20 years ago, 10 years ago, hell, even five years ago, your daughter wouldn’t have made it. She is an amazing example of how far medical science has come and how far it has to go. You look at me with your eyes and notebook full of notes and questions. You want the truth? Here’s the truth: We don’t know. Your daughter and children just like her have evolved past science. They keep evolving. They are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. When you adopted her, you might not have realized the magnitude that will be required of you, but you will rise to the bar every time. You are her mother, advocate and champion. Never give up and never give in. Until she can stand on her own, that little human needs you to be strong enough for both of you. You are amazing. Your daughter is a miracle. Never forget that.”

I’ve hung on to those words when times are tough and the journey gets hard. They bring me comfort, strength and hope. My daughter is a miracle. I am strong enough for when the going gets tough. I will never forget that.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment someone changed the way you think about disability and/or illness. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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Originally published: June 9, 2015
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