I can barely breathe.

Mom, help, mom please, mom I NEED YOU I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS!

I woke up surrounded by walls painted light pink, alphabet comforter covering my little body, on my back in my waterbed, clutching my pink bunny.

I thought I was dying. I thought I’d never walk again.

My mom told me to get up.

I can’t get up, I told her, not understanding why she didn’t believe me.

When I woke it was daylight, it must have been late spring or summer. I remember how bright my room seemed, sun beaming in.

And I remember feeling nothing but panic.

I don’t remember anything before that or after.

My legs weren’t working. I’d disconnected myself from the pelvis down.

I remember laying in bed fearing I’d soon get in trouble for not getting up and at the same time feeling utterly distraught.

I had no one. No one could understand. No one believed me. No one was coming to help. No one thought to ask why a small child couldn’t move or feel her legs. No one was giving that sweet petrified child a hug.

So innocent and terrified — bright blue eyes filled with tears as long brown strands of hair lay soaked on my pillow. I’m going to die today. I can’t feel my legs and that is scary and it must mean I’m dying.

I needed my mom to be with me. To stay. To believe me. To wrap me up in her arms as if she’d never let go.

Of course I can’t remember before or after. I had to survive somehow.

I can barely breathe.

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