Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When the UNIMAGINABLE Happens...

Well hello there my Peeps! Anybody else out there panicking because it is the middle of August and back-to-school is upon us and I am in NO WAY ready??? We have nary a back pack at the ready. Nothing...nada...not a package of socks from Target. I am in complete denial that my babes will be back in school in 16 days!!!!! HOW did this happen? I feel like time is whirring past me at lightening speed. And the older the kids get, the faster the time flies. It's so unfair!

Well, I am writing today with yet another book review! Those of you who were kind enough to read my Summer Reading list post, will remember that "A Stroke of Luck" by Juli and Jessica Dixon was on that list. Well, I just finished it and felt compelled to write about it.
Disclaimer : I read this book while my daughter was in the hospital recovering from complications from a hip surgery. So my perspective was a bit skewed. I also know Juli Dixon and thought she was amazing BEFORE I read the book. Now, well, I still think she is amazing, but in a more stalker-like, how-the-hell-does-she-do-it? kind of way. So basically, I idoloze this lady. She is like the mom version of Jon Bon Jovi for me. Except I do NOT have a framed, signed picture of her on my desk. Nor do I have her action figure on my desk. (But I would if there was one!) OK - I digressed there.

The book is an account of the worst parenting nightmare I can imagine. Her daughter Alex came home from a piano recital one day with a fever and back pain. She got sick - as all of our kids do. But, instead of bouncing back and getting better, as all of our kids do, Alex just got sicker and sicker. And no one knew what was wrong with her. Juli and her husband Marc watched as their precious girl got sicker and sicker and suffered agonizing pain first in her back and then in her leg, knee and heel. And no one could help them. They flew Alex to the best hospitals and doctors in the country, they researched her symptoms and possible treatments - they did everything humanly possible to help this child. Nothing worked. To add insult to injury, when the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with Alex, they accused Alex of faking her symptoms as an attempt to garner attention from her mother! The nightmare got worse and worse and finally, faced with no other choice, the Dixons agreed to their only option - brain surgery. When an attending surgeon makes a mistake during the surgery, the Dixon's lives are forever changed. Alex suffers a massive stroke. Her prognosis? IF she survives, she will most likely be in a vegetative state.

Now, THIS is where the book gets interesting. (Cue Incredible Hulk music) Juli becomes a momma warrior. She describes it as becoming the Incredible Hulk. This is how I see her in this moment:
(Sorry Juli - but you are waaaay to cute to have a picture of Lou Ferrigno here!)
A vegetative state was not acceptable to Juli. This child was getting all As in GT classes. She was in Oddessy of the Mind and winning statewide competitions for a project she completed on The Americans with Disabilities Act. This was one bright kid! Thus, the battle began. What happened after the stroke is nothing short of remarkable. To read about the lengths this entire family - not just mom and dad, but younger sister Jessica, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, teachers and friends - went to is nothing less than inspiring. 
This is a story of mothering. None of us are perfect, but we all do our best and we all constantly question ourselves - especially those of us with full time careers that involve travel. We ALL ask ourselves: "Am I traveling too much? IS my career hurting my family? Am I being selfish? Is this toothache/bellyache/earache real? Or is it a stay-home-Mommy ploy? " These questions are excruciating when you're dealing with a phantom belly-ache. I truly cannot imagine asking myself these questions as my child is in the ICU seemingly moments away from death. Juli's story proves that when we stop listening to the outside noise and start trusting our mommy-gut - amazing things happen. We stop feeling guilty. We stop worrying about what other people, like doctors and nurses, think of us. We start focusing on our kids - because we know them best.  And it is then that we can do our job - advocate for our kids. 
As an educator, reading about the methods Juli used to reteach Alex EVERYTHING she used to know was fascinating. Reading about the things Alex remembered and what she didn't remember, what came back easily and what they are still working on provided a peek into the brain and how it works, learns and heals. As a mother of 2 children, reading about what Jessica, Juli's other daughter, went through as Alex walked through the fire was heartbreaking and inspiring. Jessica is the co-author of this book. All I can say, and as I have said to Juli, Jessica is destined for greatness. Want to know why? Well...go read the book!!!!
So - in closing, who should read this book? Well, any and all parents should read this book. Anyone with a sibling should read this book. Anyone interested in the human brain should read this book. Anyone WITH a human brain should read this book, Anyone who knows someone with a brain injury should read this book. Anyone dealing with illness, especially chronic illness should read this book. Any parent who has a child who has been through a trauma of any kind will appreciate this book. Anyone 12 years of age and older should read this book. ALL teachers should read this book - actually ALL people who interact with kids on a daily basis should read this book. All healthcare professionals and medical students should read this book. 

Basically anyone who CAN read should read it. And if you can't read - get it on tape. Or call me and I will read it to you. This is how strongly I feel about this book. I am quite terrified that Juli will really think I am a stalker when she sees her book sales increase dramatically when I order copies for everyone I know for the holidays. I can just imagine her looking at her computer and saying something like: "Hey, Marc? Do you think it's weird that this gal in Maryland just ordered 58 copies of the book? Is that kind of creepy do you think? Who needs 58 copies?" 
Well, friends and family - spoiler alert - you are getting this baby under the tree. 

In all seriousness - if you only read one more book this summer - make it this one. I guarantee that you will laugh and cry and identify with this busy momma and her beautiful, brave family. You can get it on Amazon or you can go to Juli's website: