A Threatening Illness Yields a Positive Lesson

April 2000

“If you do not let us treat your daughter immediately, she could slip into a comma, or even die,” the doctor warned, staring sternly at my mother with concerned eyes.

“You do not understand!” My mother exclaimed with tears streaming from her eyes. “She can not take that medication, it nearly paralyzed her!”

“I fully understand your concern, but Stacy has maintained a fever of one hundred four for nearly two weeks straight,” the doctor replied. “A gram of Tylenol, on top of eight hundred milligrams of Ibuprofen, struggled to lower her fever. She needs to be brought to a stable condition, or else I fear you may lose her…”

For two weeks I laid bedridden at Brockton hospital. My sedimentation rate was higher than that of a cancer patient. My white blood cell count was up, my platelets were low, my spleen was enlarged, and four different types of rashes stung my body. I was paralyzed, nearly convinced that I had been run over by a Mac truck, seven or eight times. I hadn’t slept soundly in over a month. Every time I fell asleep I woke up ten minutes later sweating so feverishly that my mother had to blow-dry my hair, change my gown, and change my sheets.

Blood tests, cultures, CT scans, upper GIs, ultra sounds, biopsies of the rashes, and even a bone marrow were performed by the Oncologists, Rheumatologists, Infectious Disease doctors, and the others assigned to my case. I was even tested for Puerto Rican Dengue Fever, and I have never even visited Puerto Rico! I was a puzzle, a complete mystery to medical science. I just kept thinking, “Someday I will lay in my own bed, looking back on this, and I’ll feel completely healthy.”

“Mom, I feel like I’m not in my body anymore. I feel like I’m dying mom,” I cried, the day I hit my lowest point. “I am completely numb… my toes… my arms… I can’t see you…”

My mother, a woman of strong faith, had kept herself together during the entire dilemma. At the sound of my words she burst into tears. “Someone please help her!” She exclaimed, embracing my lifeless body in her arms. “Please God, help her!”

I sit here, writing an essay about the experience that altered my perspective on life. What caused my illness remains only known to God. A comforting thought is that He is the sender of the storm I faced. Comforting? Yes. God works all things together for good to those who love Him. Prior to my illness, I had not been very close with my father. Perhaps not only for me, but also for him, the experience was a wake-up call on life. My illness yielded an abundant crop – a close relationship with my father. I treasure the relationship we have. A couple months of pain endured, brought forth a lifetime of love. Weeping may remain for a night but joy comes with the morning.

My experience goes to show that unexpected traumas may be sprung upon us at any given time. We must keep strong faith in the Lord, and remember that everything happens for a reason. My family and I kept our faith strong during my illness and here I am today: healthy, free of medical treatment, and ready to conquer the tribulations of my future.


Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.

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