We hurt to depths that boggle the mind, but we know joy that others will never understand. At the beginning of our journey, we may not think we can do this, we may think we’re not good enough, not patient enough, not selfless enough, but we become the parent our child needs. Friends and family disappear, but those who choose to stay become part of our new world, and they are the most amazing, caring people we will ever know. We have realized that almost everyone has a tip, advice, or even chiche’ to share, and this never stops. Eventually we have learned how to smile, laugh (or cry) inside, or politely say “thank you”. We have learned that negativity feeds on itself and we can better take care of our child if we start thinking positive every chance we get and enjoy each day as it comes. In orderRead More →

From my book “Butterfly Child“: “For a long time I told myself that things would get easier. It was going to be easier once he sat up, or when he was out of diapers, or when he turned 10, but I had been duped. The wounds were bigger, nastier, took longer to heal; the limbs were longer, we needed more bandages, longer wound care, hands worse, more homework, and things were only going to get tougher.” I wrote this sentence in my book to illustrate how, as time went on and Nicky got older, some things got easier, while others got tougher. At 20, Nicky can tell me what hurts, where it hurts, how to make it better, when to change his bandages and is practically in charge of his well being, to which I oblige, but his inability to walk anymore or even move at times and my inability ofRead More →

I remember clearly this girl on the right. I was painfully shy. Painfully. So painfully so that in third grade, when asked a question about geography, I didn’t speak because I was afraid to be wrong. I wasn’t wrong, I had studied all day before, but when I was asked this question in front of the class, I froze. My shyness got me an F. I was mostly a quiet child not only because of my shyness, but also because I was taught by various teachers and other people in my life to be quiet. To be less sensitive. How many times my elementary teacher made fun of me for crying? I lost count. I was 11 years old in this picture, taken in the summer of 1975 in my parent’s living room. I had just finished 6th grade. Back then my shyness was at its peak. Most people would sayRead More →

There is a unique kind of grieving that special need parents live with every single day. Yes, we like to live our lives as normal as possible, but then, SLAM, something happens that reminds us how fragile our children’s lives really are. True enough, my Nicky is beating the odds, he’s very much alive and ready to fight and I am ever so grateful he is, especially since I have so many friends who have experienced the loss of their children, and since I have buried a child myself, I know exactly how that feels. I want to delay that horrible fate as much as possible, while continuing to hope for some kind of treatment to come along. That does not change the fact that my hopes and dreams I have for my child die a little more each day as I watch him struggle to just survive. When Nicky was fiveRead More →

Last night, during a bandage change, I barely touched Nicky’s feet and he yelled in pain. I wasn’t touching a wound, mind you, I was simply “gently” feeling his skin. His feet nowadays are mostly healed, and they have been healed for sometime, they really look beautiful all in all, so I was a little perturbed. In truth, for the past several months – or years – Nicky won’t let me touch his feet at all. If there is a wound or a scab to clean or anything else he insists on cleaning it himself. I don’t mind at all, yes, please do it, ha ha. I asked him what is the matter with his feet though, and he told me they are “incredibly” sensitive. Just touching them is painful. Often he gets a blister just transferring when he puts some weight on it. Another area on his body isRead More →

Every person in the world has known heartache and suffering. Sometimes I think about the children with my son’s condition that live in third world countries, or countries like Syria, ravaged by war. There are so many people on our beloved planet that do not have the basic necessities, water, food, clothing, let alone bandages and medicine. At the core we’re all the same, we all want the same things. From the Quechua woman in Peru to the famous actor in Hollywood, we all want to love, to laugh, to dream, to eat and drink and a roof over our head. We’re more the same than we are different. There are people out there though, that cannot survive on their own, that need that little extra help. Sometimes more than a little. And it’s not just the fact that they need us to help them with the most basic tasks, they also needRead More →

Can you remember a time in your life when you felt completely helpless? I do. It was the day when a Doctor escorted us into a small room in the hospital after Nicky was born and told us the grim news that not only our newborn son had a rare, extremely painful incurable disorder, but that he would most likely not see his first birthday. I was in shock. Only 19 months earlier I had a baby that was stillborn and I just sat there, numb. Nicky is going to turn 20 years old in two months, and in these two decades I had to learn to be my son’s super-hero, while dodging bullets from all sides. Let’s face it, Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa is not something you “conquer” or that improves, ever. The diagnose is deadly and scary as hell. I know this only too well. Many of my friend’sRead More →

I am so glad Nicky and I survived last week because it was exhausting. Monday and Tuesday I drove us to Stanford and back with an overnight stay. One way is 6 hours. I was trying to explain to my parents how amazing but tiring this trip is for us. I love driving, always did. We have our “stops”, our routines. I’ve come to know certain rest areas like the back of my hand, and certain truck stops are very cool and my faves. We love stopping at Casa De Fruta, or Bravo Farms, we know Harris Ranch is close when we smell the cow stench, and I always stop at the San Luis Reservoir to take a photo to compare with older ones of how “low” the water has receded. A LOT, BTW. The California drought is no joke. Once there I have to unload the car and set upRead More →