On Jan. 26, 2013, I went into septic shock and was medically induced into a coma for six days at Shands Hospital in Florida, after experiencing flu-like symptoms for about a week. The doctors never quite found out the cause.
I spent 10 days in the intensive care unit and had a one percent chance of living. What happened instead, was a miracle. Now I want to share with you, the life lessons I learned from my near-death experience.
1. Don't wait for a tragedy to realize that you matter.
During difficult times, people gather and tell you that you made a difference in their lives. When I was in a coma my sister and a friend of mine created a Facebook page for me called Good Vibes For Alexa. People from all over the world went on it to pray for me. They prayed that I would survive and to tell others how I made a difference in their life.
Although I realize that we can't all have that outpouring of support and love shown to us on a daily basis, we can live with the knowledge that the love is there for us. Know that no matter how alone you may feel, you are never really alone.
2. Death is scarier for friends and family than it is for the dying.
Believe it or not, I was never scared when I was in the ICU. I didn’t fear death. When I thought I was dying, I felt at peace. For my family and friends though, this was definitely not the case. They were terrified of losing me. When someone passes away, it is actually you who is hurting more. My fight to live wasn’t for my own life, it was for my mom, dad and sister’s lives.
3. Our mind is extremely powerful.
When I was in the ICU, I had a mask on my face, a tube down my throat, and I was hooked up to 9 different bags of antibiotics. I couldn’t move, speak or breathe on my own — all I had was my mind. I pictured my mind to be a pure healthy pink color while the rest of my body was turning black and rotting away.
And since my mind was still healthy, I began using it to heal my body. I sent this pink healing color to the rest of my body, pushing with every ounce of energy I had left. Just four days later, I was discharged from the hospital. I believe with all of my heart that my mind healed my body.
4. Always listen to your body first.
After I got out of the hospital, my immune system was compromised, I had digestive issues and a full laundry list of other health problems. Every doctor I met had a different opinion of what they thought could help me, each one contradicting the other. I was letting other people tell me how to get better instead of listening to my own body. I became so overwhelmed by all the differing opinions, that I decided to take health into my own hands.
I went on a vegan and gluten-free diet, began juicing every morning and became more optimistic about my health condition. In a matter of just two months, I healed my body.
Listen to your body first, before any expert or doctor, for all the answers lie within you.
5. Life is meant for the living.
I’m going to make a generalization here — we take life for granted. Before I got sick, I was waiting to live my life. It was my senior year of college at the University of Florida and all I wanted was to graduate and move to NYC. But when I got sick, I heard a voice asking, but did I live? inside of my head. I couldn't shake this feeling that I had let the last few months of my life slip away.
If you want to do something with your life do it now and don’t wait.
6. Reliving the past will never create a healthy present.
After I got out of the hospital, I continued to relive what had happened for about a year. I couldn’t get the pictures out of my mind and I continued to ask myself, why me, why did this happen to me?
I developed post traumatic stress disorder. I couldn’t see a way out until I was able to realize that I was still living in the past. I knew I had to start living in the moment again in order to be happy.
7. Our breath is sacred.
We don’t have to even think about breathing, our body just knows how to do it. Because of this, we don’t truly appreciate what our breath does for us. My breath was taken away from me — I couldn’t breathe on my own for eight days. When I was finally able to breathe again, I was so grateful for this beautiful breath of air called life.
8. What is meant to be, will be.
If I was supposed to die, I would have. The doctors thought I was going to die and the odds of people surviving from Sepsis (1-in-3) verified it. But I survived because it wasn’t my time to go. This is why I believe that what is meant to be, will be. Don’t stress over trying to control everything in your life! If it is supposed to happen it will.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com and Courtesy of the author