My Storm

Posted: September 9, 2013 in A Little Less Profound
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Ginny

This is a blog dedicated to The Airborne Toxic Event and how their music impacts people, but let’s face it, music is art and there are many classifications of art. So while I’ve become a full on Airborne fan, music has always been my first chosen art form for comfort.

I feel honored to have been asked to contribute a post and I’ve entitled it “My Storm” because that’s what this is about, but in the end we’ll pull it together, I promise.

I’m a bona fide member of the walking wounded, and I know I’m not alone. We’ve all faced our own challenges, demons, battles and wounds that we felt like we could never overcome. But we do. We go on with our daily lives for whatever reasons motivate us to do so.

My reasons are my two boys: Owen (8) and Teddy (4). The thing is, when you become a parent, your heart no longer beats in your chest. Mine has been equally divided in half and beats in their miraculous little bodies. Having those two boys helped me to conquer my past which included every form of child abuse that you could imagine. That’s partly why I’m a member of the walking wounded club. Somehow, I’ve broken the cycle of abuse. My boys are safe, well cared for and know they are deeply loved. Simply, they have the childhood I wish for myself. There’s beauty and all sorts of significance in that.

Part of keeping kids safe is baby gates. Most parents put them in place and never remove them. Instead, we hop over them every time we need to leave the room. It was a Sunday morning, and like so many mornings I had dishes in both hands and hopped right over that baby gate. This time, however, my foot caught the top of it. I fell extremely hard and hit the side of my head on a ceramic tiled step. This left me with a concussion and severe herniated disc in my neck. Over time, despite every form of therapy that exists, the disc just became worse and was impinging on my spine, and had pretty much decimated a nerve on my left side. After three years of pain that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, I came to realize that spinal surgery was the only option left. Mind you, I was a single mother through two of those three years, so I didn’t have the luxury of “taking it easy.”

I had spinal surgery last December and felt like, ah, life can finally get back to a new normal. Like a musician (I so wish that were true!) I travel a LOT for work. My first trip was in March of this year. I woke up and knew something was terribly wrong but couldn’t figure it out. I could barely walk, barely breathe and was intensely dizzy. I have no idea how I pulled this off, but I somehow made it through security on to a flight to Phoenix, made it to the hotel and ultimately crashed in my room.

I gave myself lots of extra time the next morning to get ready; I put on my make-up, did my hair and put on a nice dress. All of that, only to faint about 15 feet away from my room. The ENT’s arrived and my heart rate was extremely high and my oxygen low, so they tried to rush me, but I stopped them, saying, “Wait, what can possibly be wrong with me? I just had horrific spinal surgery. I cannot be sick again!” They finally just ignored me and brought me in. I was seen immediately and the ER doc looked at me and said, “You look like a ghost. Aware of any anemia issues?” I said no, I just had surgery and was still tired and not myself, but I thought I was on the mend. At that moment a nurse handed him a sheet of paper, and the doc said, “Your hematocrit is 13%. Good thing you made it here or you’d be dead within a day.”

I couldn’t really comprehend what he was saying because the lack of oxygen made my thoughts all fuzzy, but I simply could not deal with another issue. I had fought so hard and battled such indescribable pain for the past three years, and now I was being rushed to ICU for blood transfusions.

I was in the ICU for three days, and had four transfusions and iron via IV. I was placed on 975mg of iron upon leaving the hospital. For those that don’t know, iron is incredibly hard on the body, but we needed to try to generate red blood cells to combat the blood I was losing in huge degrees due to esophageal disease.

My biopsies came back abnormal, but the tissue is so damaged they can’t confirm if it’s cancer yet. I had a Nissen Fundoplication in June, with complications. I was told that I’m a medical miracle because my esophagus had perforated, which causes “instant death,” but in my case it somehow fused to one of my lungs. The best of the best in the medical community in Chicago have yet to give me any real answers.

To be dealt such a blow after I finally thought all the pain and suffering was over was just devastating. I honestly didn’t know if I could put on my big girl panties and live to fight another day. So I turned to the most beautiful art forms; first and foremost my amazing boys who make it clear that quitting is never an option. I need to pay my mortgage and support my family, so I have to press on. I don’t know if I have cancer, but I do know I’m still bleeding internally and the surgery was not a success. Redo’s for this particular procedure have a high fail rate. Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest forms. All of this can weigh on me like a ton of bricks, or I can try to shift the focus.

And that’s where the song The Storm comes in. I started listening to it a lot in June prior to and post-surgery.

Your face in these pictures looks like a poem
Your eyes lit up like a river stone
Your body so much like a blanket thrown on a warm bed at night
Like a house in the storm

This verse reminds of me the sparkle in my eyes that my husband fell in love with and assures me I never lost, even when I was “ghost girl” because I had roughly 20% of the normal amount of blood that a human being needs to live. It reminds me that this body, this body ravaged with scars across my neck and six scars on my abdomen, tells a story, yet this body provides comfort to my amazing boys like a warm blanket. They supported me in ways they will never understand.

When shit like this goes down, when you don’t know if your body is growing cancer cells and you can’t get straight answers from top surgeons, it’s enough to drive you truly mad. I had some pretty dark days that forced me into defense mechanisms such as pushing people away, trying to carry it all on my shoulders and pretending things are normal (I hate that word, by the way).

The Light…

Then I realized that I must accept that I don’t have all the answers. I have to watch and wait. There could be more surgeries coming soon. I might receive a cancer diagnosis in September.

For now, I listen to The Storm and I allow myself to relax, to let those in that truly want to stand by my side during this complete shit storm. They truly do love me, and they help me to believe that I’m not alone.

The deep strings, the power of the guitars and bass create such a power-packed emotional experience, and then the song ends gently with the keys of the piano. For me, the highs and lows of the song mirror my own storm. Feeling alone on this island in the middle of the worst storm you can imagine, then somehow being transported while still deeply wounded, and yet having to continue with life as if none of the horror is occurring…then you take a moment to admire all the beauty around you, and you realize, you are not alone in this storm.

This song is here like a good friend waiting to remind you: you’re not alone. It also speaks to kicking ass and walking away like a boss because you are STRONG. There are legions of us in the walking wounded club. We see each other every day, and we take care of one another. With trust in my faith, and music to make me feel less alone, the storm will be temporary and then there will be peace. I just know it.

Click here to purchase The Storm.


Ginny: Fan of The Airborne Toxic EventGinny lives in Chicago and is the Mother of two amazing boys. She is a self-professed media maven by day and top chef by night. Music is Ginny’s number one passion outside of being a Wife and Mother, as well as a full time career woman. Ginny is also driven to drive awareness of suicide prevention and has proudly participated in The Overnight which is a 20 mile walk to drive funds for the AFSP (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention).

  1. Mathew M (SoCal) says:


    My wife, my love, my strength you are all of these things and more to me. You inspire not only me but those around you every day. As I tell you I love you more today than I did yesterday and I mean it. You are hands down the most wonderful person I have every met. I will always be here for you ALWAYS!

    It is true you can push away and drive me crazy but I understand that you are just trying to protect not just yourself but others as well. There is a time to hug, to hold to share. Just as there is time to reflect and, cleanse the soul and be a peace.

    I love you always.



    • Susan says:

      Thank you so much for laying yourself bare and sharing your poignant story. If we live long enough, we all weather storms and we all need something to hold on to when they hit. It sounds like you have wonderful support and I wish you lots of luck as you continue to fight for good health. I hope Mikel & the band understand — really understand — how deeply we connect with their music.


  2. jenlargent says:

    Ginny – Your story is so similar to mine. I am part of the walling around club. I have also had major back surgeries with an artificial disc in my lower spine.I understand the physical pain you feel. It sounds like you have an amazing husband and 2 brilliant little boys to help you get through the rough times. I tip my hat to you and thank you for sharing your story 🙂


  3. Juanita says:

    Great article! This only confirms that you are the strong woman I have always known. I know this situation was very difficult but you plowed through it. Your boys are your inner strength and they don’t even know it. Love those guys. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Thank you Ginny for sharing your powerful story. The whole TATE community wished you and your family nothing but the best as you continue to battle. If there’s anything we can do to help, please let us know!


  5. Ginny says:

    Wow, I am so thrilled that people are actually interested in what I had to say! I am honored – thanks for all of the support!


  6. Sue Beall says:

    Ginny’s story is like a storm because of the intensity, the harsh waves of bad news and then the calm at the end. It is well written and easy to picture each event.


  7. Stacey says:

    Ginny, I am so proud of you for sharing your personal story. I have always been and will continue to be impressed by how you live your life and share yourself with those around you. I know that you will continue to make a mark on this world. To this day, I will hear a song and instantly be reminded of a fun adventure with you! I am blessed to call you my friend.


  8. […] pieces have left me speechless. Again, there are too many to name, but I will risk doing so anyway: Ginny and Angela’s battles with cancer, Colleen’s tale of heartbreak, Debbie’s […]


  9. […] for me. Many others have shared how the band has helped them through similar battles (see here and here and here and here); now I’ll have a story of my own to add to the […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s