Here’s to a 2014 where Love prevails

I just started listening to an audio-book today by Rhonda Byrne called ‘The Power’ and it’s truly helping me start the New Year in a more loving note. Truly, the more I live the more I realize the power of Love is life changing, but I never realized how much. Thinking positive, believing in the impossible has changed my life in ways I cannot even start to explain. It all started in the most unlikely of ways, in late 2001. At the time, I was upset, negative, argumentative, depressed, not in the best of places. You would not have liked me at all, and many people didn’t and were not afraid to tell me so. I was divorced, livingRead More

My Kindle eBook ‘Losing Alex’ FREE until Christmas Day :-)

Merry Christmas everyone! As my way of paying it forward and my gift to all of you, I am offering my book ‘Losing Alex’ for the kindle for FREE until Christmas day! Click here to go to Amazon… (a new window will open) or click on the cover of the book on the left. This is the book I wrote in an effort to share some light of what is like to lose a baby at birth, which, even in this day and age is still considered an invisible loss. Parents struggle with anger, guilt, and despair, often alone. I wrote Alex’s story (quite lengthy in its own right) as the beginning of the book I am writing aboutRead More

No, I am not Latina ;-) & misc. EB stuff

Good Morning to all my friends. I feel a little chatty this morning, so please indulge me! One of the most interesting assumptions people have about me because I live in the Southwest part of the United States with my name spelled with a ‘i’ instead of the English-ized version of Silvia with a y (Sylvia) is how I must be either Latina or at the very least I must be able to speak Spanish. When I tell them I am Italian I am invariably told that Silvia is a Spanish name. Actually… that is not true. Not only I am Italian, my name is also. Wikipedia lists my name originally as Italian, and it’s also a veryRead More

Opening Eyes & Hearts

One of the most frustrating parts of having a child with EB is that I often felt as if I was abandoned. Not only abandoned because I had nobody to help me with his extreme needs, but abandoned by society in general. So much is available for families that have children with more common conditions, but I always felt EB felt through the cracks due to the rarity of the disorder. This excerpt from my upcoming book ‘Butterfly Child‘, due out in late 2014, speaks to this sentiment…      One of the other EB moms I knew called me one day to ask me a question I never once thought of: “Did your Insurance, Social Services orRead More

It’s All About The “Vibe” & Italian Musings

One particularly amusing thing about being able to call two countries my ‘home’ (Italy & the US) is that at times I don’t feel neither is, that I am this weird mutant, where I don’t belong in either, yet I feel both are my homes. How can that be? I was in a grocery store in Italy with my sister and her 3 month old little girl a couple of years ago, I had my camera with me and while chatting with her, when I saw these cakes in the bakery department, I took a picture of these delicacies without thinking I was doing anything ‘wrong’. A few minutes later this girl came out of the bakery andRead More

The Good & The Bad

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that left very sweet comments on my Caringbridge post (dated November 2013). The guestbook does not give me an option to reply, so, to all that did leave me sweet messages, thank you. In time of need I know I have friends that really care and that means a lot to me, so, THANK YOU! OK, since yesterday afternoon there are GOOD news and BAD news. I will start with the bad. 🙁 This is a photo I took of Nicky last night. He was *very* upset. We ran out of his ‘itchy medicine’ a few days ago and the Doctor is taking their sweet time to fax theRead More

You Will Not Be Forgotten

Yesterday, being Veteran’s Day, I reflected. I thanked my husband for his service, thought of my sweet ex-FIL, who suffered greatly in Vietnam, thought of my grandfather who fought in both World Wars (that’s him on the right in this photo in 1918, at the end of WW1) and everyone else in my family that served in the various wars at one time or another, my cousins, my uncle, and grandfather’s brothers and their children. I am not sure if it’s my passion for genealogy, my sweet memories of meeting my grandparent’s siblings and their families when I was young, or simply the realization, being far away from my own family, how important ‘family’ really is, but IRead More

Nicky’s Left Leg & The Deal With Walking

As per Nicky’s wishes, I am posting a few pictures I took a week ago of his left leg/foot. He’s been trying so hard to start walking again. Doctors and others have treated him as if it’s something so easy to walk, his EB team wants him to go to rehab, something he sooooo does not want to do (you can read about that at his CaringBridge Journal October entry). He wanted me to post these pictures to show what he’s dealing with. Let me give everyone a brief summary of what’s been going on with his legs and walking since he was born. I will try to keep it short, promise! Nicky didn’t start walking well onRead More

Beautiful You!

In my quest to collect quotes for my Facebook Page where I share them (I’ve always been a quote freak!), I’ve come through a lot of wisdoms over the years that make me stop and think for a second. None come closer to my heart than those that urge you to be you, you, beautiful you, and to never, ever compare yourself to others. That is a fine and an inspiring statement, but what happens when it’s people in your life that compare you to others? That happened a lot to me growing up and that’s why I find these statements compelling. A few examples are in order. My older sister and I have always been extremely close, butRead More

What Do I Do All Day?

I have to be honest. I am tired. I read an article this morning from Matt Walsh defending Stay-at-home-moms and it hit home so hard it really made me think. We do get the short end of the stick. We do the most important work, we take care of the future generation, and somehow we’re envisioned as lazy. I don’t get it. What do I do all day? Let me count the ways. 1. I am a Taxi-Driver. I drop off and pick up BOTH of my children to and from school. For Connor, this is every single day. For Nicky twice a week, and this include assembling and disassembling his power-chair. We do not have a van,Read More

Courage Under Wraps Gallery Opening

September 20th was the magical day that the book ‘Courage Under Wraps’ by Jodi Champagne was displayed at a Gallery in Hollywood along with many other photographers’ works. This is the Photographic Documentary Book about the life of my son with Epidermolysis Bullosa. Here are some photos from the event. The book is available from Blurb as a print and also as a PDF and as an ebook for the iPad. The book is 142 pages and it has hundreds of photos of Nicky suffering and living with EB, from bandage changes to trips to the Doctors, hydrotherapy and iron infusions. Part of the proceedings from the book go to the EBMRF (Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation) http://www.ebkids.org/Read More

My Radio Interview & Other Musings

As some of you may know, I’ve been a rather active advocate for EB, or, rather, Epidermolysis Bullosa, my son’s skin disorder, since he was born. I am in the process of writing my book, Butterfly Child, which is the story of my son’s life with EB and I am also using my writing as self therapy. In an essence, I am writing to put his life and his care into prospective, what have I learned? What is the purpose of all of this? What was the toughest lesson and the biggest ha-ha moment? The book will be out in late 2014, but in the meantime, I was interviewed by It Matters Radio to raise EB Awareness, myRead More

Nicky’s Left Hand – Before and After Surgery

Hello friends, family and everyone interested in seeing how Nicky’s left hand surgery went! I finally have time to do this blog post… Here Goes! This photo below is a photo of his hand BEFORE surgery. It shows quite clearly his four fingers and the ‘pinky’ is all, as we say, “webbed in”. Here’s the hand POST surgery, he has a pinky now! Yey!!! The reason why Nicky wanted his pinky ‘fished out’ was not because he needed it for anything, but the problem with it being webbed inside the hand was that it made it impossible for him to move his wrist much without a considerable amount of pain. OK, now, on to his thumb: Below is a pictureRead More

Courage Under Wraps

Well, it’s official!! “Courage Under Wraps” is now a reality. This is the photographic documentary that depicts my son Nicky’s life with Epidermolysis Bullosa, aimed at raising EB Awareness. It’s available in print and as an ebook. Part of the proceedings are donated to the EBMRF for a cure. While the book is already available online, there will be a “Book Release Event” on September 20th, 2013 in Los Angeles to which anyone is welcome to come. It will take place at the Julia Dean Gallery at 7555 Seward Street at 7pm. My son and I will be there. This particular book is a Photo Documentary by my friend photographer Jodi Champagne of what Nicky’s life is like, from the moment he wakesRead More

A Tale of Two Books

There seem to be a little confusion on what books are being made right now about Nicky, so I am here to clear things up a bit. Nicky is, of course, my son. He was diagnosed at birth with Epidermolysis Bullosa, the Recessive Dystrophic form. As devastating as this diagnose was at the time, it’s hard to explain in a few words what it means to raise a child in constant pain, whose condition is considered terminal, a condition whose the medical community is oblivious about and whose insurance companies discriminated against from the very beginning. When Nicky was born 16 years ago, I felt helpless and hopeless. I was told Nicky would never see his first birthday.Read More

Nicky’s left hand

I just wanted to make a quick post about Nicky’s left hand and show a couple of pictures.             This is Nicky’s left hand. This particular photo shows quite clearly his four fingers and the ‘pinky’ is all, as we say, “webbed in”. The index, middle and ring finger are a bit curled, but they function well and he wants nothing done to them, they’ve been holding pretty much this position since the last surgery in 2002 thanks to the wrapping.   This second photo to the left shows his thumb, which is very ‘in’ the palm, preventing him to use his hand to pick up things or play videogames well, which isRead More

Nicky’s Wish

OK, so this blog is a lot longer than I intended to… but how do you sum  up the time of your life? This is a trip we’ll never forget. Thanks to everyone that made it possible! As many may imagine, Nicky’s life is full of pain. Medications to alleviate pain, to soothe the skin, to help bowel movements and to relieve itching are only a part of the puzzle. There are the nightly bandage changes, the difficulties of walking due to his wounded feet, and the nightly g-tube feedings. Everything is difficult. Everything is a challenge. Then, of course, there is school, Doctor’s appointments, Iron infusions, trips to CHLA… and the list goes on. How do youRead More

Just Smile!

I had a great friend yesterday ask me if I could write a blog about how people should handle things when they see a child that is disabled. Different. What do they say to the parent? Anything? Should they avoid the child or engage? What’s the appropriate thing to do? I must say, I had to think about this one. Truth be told, being a special need mom can be isolating, lonely.  No one knows what to say to me.  I feel a distance, a disconnect from just about everyone because I know that they don’t know what this feels like and they just can’t relate. I have family members who have not spoken to me in yearsRead More

Live, Learn and Move On…

A few years ago I was presented with a situation that was hard to digest. As I describe in detail in my book Losing Alex, a group of what I can only describe as ‘evil people’ had targeted me big time. Since my website showed me the referring links (basically how they found me… was it google, yahoo, or a link from another website) I was able to find this horrific bulletin board, a group of truly disgusting individuals from all over the world who had great fun sending horrific messages to grieving mothers. I tried to fight back and call them out at first but in turn they only got uglier and nastier (and nasty does notRead More

Nobody Knows Your Child Like You Do!

I was deep into reading a wonderful book wrote by a local mother whose daughter had brain cancer and something she said hit me like a ton of bricks. And not in a good way. Without admittedly doing any research on her own, or talking with other parents in similar situations or consulting with any other Doctor, she put her daughter’s life in the hands of just one Doctor. When he turned out to be wrong, the unthinkable happened, and only a few months later her daughter died in her arms. Perhaps is the rarity of EB, or the fact that I am yet to find another patient who is like Nicky (similar.. yes, like him, no) orRead More

To Accept Or Not To Accept, This Is The Question.

Last night I came across an old blog of mine circa 2001, and the words I spoke on that blog are as true today as they were back then. I am not sure if I am sad that my attitude has not changed, or happy to know I was right in feeling the way I did so long ago. I wrote this a little over a month after Nicky had a throat dilatation that, for a couple of days, the doctors thought it went terribly wrong. They feared they had perforated his esophagus. In the end they didn’t, but I was in *hell* for a couple of days. Here is what I posted: “monday, august 6. 2001 IRead More

Who Is Going To Take Care Of Us?

My 9 year old kind of shocked me today, but in a good way. Last Friday he attended my College Graduation and he waited until today, when I went to help out at his ‘Unity Games’ to ask me this: “Now that you don’t have to go to school anymore, when are you going to get a job?”. “Funny you should ask” I mused back. I was laying out my plans to do just that either this fall when you go back to school, or after Nicky graduates High School next spring.” “What are you going to do?” he asked. To that I replied I hoped to be teaching Web Design either at the College or elsewhere (amongRead More

Still?

In 9 days one of my biggest dreams will come true… I will graduate from College with a Double Degree in two areas I adore, Graphic Design and Digital Imaging. I will be official in being what makes me, ME. It’s a huge accomplishment.  I will relish that moment and that joy, knowing, deep inside, something is missing. While I am very proud of what I was able to do, which was very hard at times to even have the luxury to attend classes, I can’t help but remember that this year, 2013, should not have been about me or my graduation at all, it should have been Alex’s. I will always have that feeling of ‘something isRead More

There Is Always A Bright Side

When working at Target several years ago as a cashier, a couple came in to buy a large pack of diapers and as they were checking out they told me, in a sarcastic and bothered kind of way, how they could not believe they were still buying diapers for their 7 year old daughter. I asked about their daughter and they told me she had some issues with some sort of disability, and I told them not to feel too bad because I was still buying diapers for my 11 year old son and that I would be buying them forever. “Oh”, they said, all of a sudden being grateful that their daughter’s issues were just temporary. I’veRead More