A little note to you.

You know some of this story, but I need to share a bit more with you right now.

Last year some time, or possibly late the year prior, I did a very rare thing medically speaking and tore BOTH of my carotid arteries, because I believe in going big or going home. Why tear one, when you can tear two? If you’re going to risk a stroke, RISK A STROKE, BAYBEE.

A month after the noise started in my head, I landed in the emergency room at AGH, dizzy, the noise in my head deafening, my body heavy and foreign-feeling, my brain betraying me, my color drained … and I was terrified. I can’t recall ever having been so scared in my life.

I cried on and off, mostly on, for the 14 hours I laid in that ER bed as they asked me question after question and ran test after test and shook their heads and staff changed and new doctors asked me question after question and shook their heads. I cried because I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I didn’t know if I would ever get better. I cried because I worried this was the beginning of a long goodbye to my children and my husband. I cried in anger that it was me feeling this way and hearing this constant drumming and vibration, and I became irrationally angry at every human who had peace and quiet, even if they found it in the grave. It’s quiet there, you see. I became so far gone that at one point, I fantasized about just screaming my head off in the ER and ripping down curtains and throwing anything I could get my rage-filled hands on.

It was at about hour ten that I sat in a wheelchair in a cold hallway awaiting my turn to get a CT scan of my brain and neck to see if there was an aneurysm or some other devastating thing happening up there, that I really really felt the fear. I felt helpless. I HATED sitting there in that gown, in that chair, waiting for that machine to take my picture, and all I wanted more than ANYTHING in that one moment was to get the hell out of there, put on my jeans, go home, be a mom, and BE NORMAL AGAIN, PLEASE, GOD.

As you know, I did go home with a 65% blockage in one artery and a 50% blockage in the other. I’m still not normal, as yes, I’m nearing on a year soon of the noise, but it’s true, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Noise that would have sent me to bed drugged up on prescribed narcotics last June, is merely an ignored annoyance now.

But I tell you this so that you can understand what health scares, stress, uncertainty, and fear can do to a grown woman; imagine what they can do to sick children. That’s what motivates me to keep Make Room for Kids going and that’s why it’s so important to me now more than ever that we do this. What didn’t kill me physically, almost killed me emotionally. I want to alleviate that feeling in children.

So this is me, thanking you, for once again having my back to the tune of more than $12,100 for this phase of Make Room for Kids.

The thermometer is gone now, but I’ll give you another chance to help the effort soon, because as I said … most ambitious year ever.

We’re going to make it rain games and movies and smiles in two hospitals come April, all because of you.



  1. suzie-Q
    February 17, 2012 8:29 pm

    Group hug is wonderful, the money raised for the children is also…..and I LOVE your passion. Did NOT know about your own health problems…you are a brave and wonderful woman!!!

  2. BeckyS
    February 17, 2012 10:46 pm

    What wonderful things you do for our city’s children. You send out the word and I’ll be there to contribute. Thank you!

  3. bucdaddy
    February 18, 2012 1:14 am


  4. Butcher's Dog
    February 18, 2012 9:42 am

    Jesus, indeed. What a human being you are!

  5. Butcher's Dog
    February 18, 2012 12:02 pm

    Off topic, perhaps, but of interest especially to the old farts among us.
    Pictures and captions of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. I’d advise you not to watch unless you’re ready to get emotional.

  6. Cassie
    February 20, 2012 1:28 pm

    So glad you came out on the other side. Truly.

    Glad to be a part of the reason why Pittsburgh is so great. We give ’til it hurts. And then we give some more.

    • Cassie
      February 20, 2012 1:29 pm

      Also, next year, you guys should consider allowing us to run the Pittsburgh Marathon for Make Room for Kids, as a fundraiser. I’m running it this year through the MLF, though I doubt MRFK gets any of that money. I’d love to do that, if you make it happen.

  7. Bernard
    February 20, 2012 3:07 pm

    Wow. Thank you for sharing. Awesome. And especially awesome how you turned that experience over to Make Room for Kids. Whatever we can do, count us in.

    “… all I wanted more than ANYTHING in that one moment was to get the hell out of there, put on my jeans, go home, be a mom, and BE NORMAL AGAIN, PLEASE, GOD.”

    Anybody’s who has had a brush with death can relate. That desire to just “be normal again” is one you will always remember if and when, in fact, you are blessed and/or lucky enough to feel normal again at some point. Gratitude is powerful. Thoughts and prayers are with you. We didn’t know.

  8. Daunette
    February 20, 2012 9:19 pm

    Thank you, Ginny.