I AM A MIRACLE
By: Cheryl Johnson
Just like anybody else, we have dreams and goals we always want to achieve. No matter how we cope up with hardships and life’s struggles, still, these difficulties will always embrace us and will make its way to make us futile in every way and in any way it can. If you ask me if it will succeed in its one objective, for sure, it will if we allow these difficulties to rule in our lives. We are the makers of our own lives. What we make out of it is the life that we will have. Nobody is accountable for what you have done and what you have become in your life because everyone is entitled to make a choice and what you have chosen will be your life eventually. Moreover, there are times that we may encounter wonders in our lives. God will do something out of the ordinary and may consider letting it cross the bridge of death and moved on with life anew. Life is never certain as we know it and no matter how many uncertainties we will have to pass through, the choice will always be ours and that will bring us to where we will be.
“I am a miracle,” said one Cheryl Johnson. She is 30 years old, born breeched but still living her life to the fullest.
A study said that a breeched birth is the delivery of a baby’s hind end first which is considered potentially dangerous because if the baby’s head gets trapped, the injury is very high and is more likely to be the cause of death of the yet unborn child. Once the baby’s body is born, and the head is still inside the uterus, the baby cannot breathe on its own yet. While in this position, the umbilical cord, just like any normal delivery will stop pulsating and the supply of oxygen from the mother will be cut. Hence, it is essential to deliver the baby right away. However, the risks lie on the neck and the head of the baby because if the lifesaving attempts are not managed with much ease and care it will either lead to permanent handicapped and in some extreme cases, the death of the baby.
Cheryl Johnson, a resident of Alabama, USA, survived all of these threats in her life. Reminiscing, just as if she knew what had happened to her when she was yet a tiny baby inside her mother’s womb retold her life changing story.
Her immense complexity started when the doctor on call at that time of her birth did the most reckless move in turning her neck to the wrong way. It literally broke her neck and caused her spinal cord injury and caused her several complications. Both of which, her lungs collapsed and so they had her on a life support. She was in the hospital for three weeks. While there, the small-town doctors wanted to take her off from the life support believing that she had suffered from brain hemorrhage but her mother refused to that decision and was strong enough in trusting that there is another way. So, they gave her stimulation shot that revived her back to the fullness of life.
“Nobody expected me to live,” she said. How she survived that terrible pain? It was indeed a miracle! I am amazed at how God did many wonders in her life at that time. The path she chose to fight for was not very easy at all but she survived all of it. Yet, the agony did not end there but has just embarked on to a new beginning of a more challenging life ahead of her.
Johnson, being the youngest in the family, has surmounted this threatening occurrence in her life. The doctors said she would only live for five years and a promising vegetable after that but has fought life and reached 30 thriving years. Her injury consumed most of her body leaving her paralyzed from her waist down to her legs but it didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams and goals in her life. At some point in her growing years, I asked her how she had coped up with it. She had to go to a place called ‘Rise,’ a therapy school and graduated from it and then went to a regular school. In school, she expressed to me that it was very hard at times. Her teachers, whom we consider the noblest people in the world, had given her tough times. They wouldn’t allow anybody to help her out when she needed it very badly. There were times when she suddenly felt sick, they wouldn’t allow her to call home so when her mom came to pick her up, she had to be rushed to the hospital because her fever was very high only to find out she was suffering from a kidney infection already. Life demanded so much of her strength but Cheryl was so eager to continue.
Since then, school was not the best place in fulfilling her life’s pursuit. For her own comfort, away from the melancholic experiences, her family decided that she took up home schooling and graduated in 1997. Surrounded by her family that loved her so much, she never got sick anymore. From this time on, dedication and determination were her wings that brought her to the height of success. Then again, she took up home college and shot her arrows to the sky and brought down with it her diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Apart from that, she tried to become a lawyer but when her grandparents got sick and passed away, “I had to stop momentarily,” she beckoned. She proved herself wrong to those who think people with disabilities cannot be a ground for encouragement and success. And as a manifestation of her endurance, she earned herself honor and respect.
Though she cannot walk just yet, her optimism keeps her going. She said smiling, “I am not giving up because I know I will be able to walk one day soon. I have a little bit of grip in my hands and I am not supposed to have any feelings in my legs but I do some not just all the way.”
I believe there were ways then to correct such birth. We could all ask why the doctors didn’t do anything so she could be delivered safely but we cannot anymore because the unenviable happened already. True, the doctors were very careless at that time and we cannot just let go of such negligence. Nevertheless, Cheryl’s eagerness made her an extraordinary person. A person who made a choice to live and make the most out of what God made her to be and despite her present condition her persona will always be a living proof of having a profound faith amidst certain circumstances.
As she waits in her wheelchair for things to unfold according to the Divine Providence, her high spirits soared up high like the wings of eagles that never grew tired. Her gentle heart captivated her desire for life and living it buoyantly and remarkably. Her soft yet prevailing words made her choices hopeful and encouraging as she kept whispering, “I wanna walk so ‘am never gonna give up.”
I would say it is not easy to tell the whole world that life is wonderful amidst the chase between life and death but as I write Cheryl Johnson’s story and knowing her great appreciation and thankfulness of the life God bestowed her and what she has become in the face of a complicated life, just like her, I am shouting it out that I am a miracle despite and in spite of.