One could say I have had the worst two years, EVER. In the course of a little more than two years (Late April 2008 – Early July 2010), the following things happened to me:
Blood Clot…Then a Stroke
Medically Necessary Pregnancy Termination
The Love of My Life Passed Away
Lost My Job
My Mother Passed Away
Any one of these things happening to someone in a lifetime might be traumatic, but the first 5 things happened within one year (give or take a week). In addition to everything else, I had owed $50,000 in Credit Card Debt. UPDATE: I filed bankruptcy in October 2009 and am now DEBT-FREE! After that horrible year, things started to turn around for me. However, on July 5th, I got the devastating news that my Mom had suddenly passed away in California, at the age of 58.
I did not blog during the events leading up to my boyfriend, Harry’s death, but started back up after he passed away as a way to keep my mind busy. It was during this time that I started a website, http://www.savebecky.com (the original site is no longer up and you will be redirected here), and started Tweeting (http://twitter.com/missbeckala) on a regular basis. I have heard from so many people telling me that my story inspired them, when I was looking for my own inspiration to just get through the day. These things have led to my strong understanding and love of social media.
Here’s my story:
Monday, April 28, 2008 : Car Accident
It was a rainy night and Harry, my boyfriend of almost 3 years, and I went to get dinner at Subway. We were sitting at a stoplight for at least 5 seconds and BAM! Someone slid into the back of my car, didn’t even try to stop. There was about $5,000 damage to my car and I ended up with 3 herniated discs in my neck. Besides that, I felt fine.
Monday, May 5, 2008 : A Blood Clot, Then a Stroke
A week to the day later, I was sitting at my desk at work around 11am and strange things started happening. All of a sudden, I had a shooting pain in the back of my head, ringing in my ears and the whole left side of my body went numb. I started having double vision. I couldn’t stand up or use my hands. I was able to put the phone on speaker and call a co-worker in. I then started to vomit uncontrollably. My co-workers immediately called an ambulance and tried to get me to lay down next to my desk until help arrived. I was transported to the ER and was there for almost 12 hours. Not once was I seen by a neurologist. I was seen by an ER doctor who sent me for a CAT scan and told me I was fine, it was just vertigo. I literally couldn’t stand up, yet they discharged me. Harry had left to get a cup of coffee, thinking I would be admitted. I told them my boyfriend wasn’t back yet. They said they could roll me out in the wheelchair and I could wait for him outside. Nice, right?
I took a few days off from work but still had double-vision and trouble walking and numbness in my left side. Over the next few weeks, I went to see a neurologist who sent me for more extensive tests. I went for an MR-A and it was determined that I had a blood clot in my neck that led to a major stroke. My neurologist informed me to stop taking my birth control pill, Yaz, immediately. You know those commercials, “May cause stroke”? Apparently they can.
I then went to a hematologist in August (the first available appointment) who tested my blood to see why I had gotten a clot. The tests found that I had a genetic blood clotting disorder that was never detected that caused my blood to clot easier than others. In August, I was put on the blood thinner Coumadin and had to go back to the doctor weekly for tests on the levels in my blood.
Saturday, September 13, 2008 : Medically Necessary Pregnancy Termination
Harry had an 8 year old daughter, Emily that he had full custody of and lived with us full time. I had never been a mother figure before but learned (well tried to) with Emily. We had always spoken of having kids and couldn’t wait to move to a bigger place to start a new life.
In September, my period was a few days late and I didn’t know if it had to do with the new medication I had been taking. I bought a home pregnancy test. It was positive. I couldn’t believe it and did the second one in the box. Positive again. By gosh, I was pregnant. The first thing that I did was tell Harry, who didn’t believe me and went out and got a 3rd test just to be sure! The second thing I did was look up Coumadin online. I had remembered that the hematologist told me to make sure “not to get pregnant” while taking it, but I was already a week and a half pregnant when he prescribed it. I called the doctor that night and was able to get a nurse on the phone who told me to cease taking the Coumadin immediately and come in first thing on Monday morning to see the doctor. When I got there, I was informed that I would need to start injections of a blood thinner called Lovinox into my stomach throughout the rest of my pregnancy since I couldn’t take the Coumadin. Harry learned how to do the injections and he injected me every morning after my shower. Harry went with me to see my gynecologist who confirmed the pregnancy and gave us the sonogram picture.
A few days later I went back to my hematologist to speak about the complications of my blood clotting disorder on myself and the baby. He informed me that due to taking Coumadin for the first 5 weeks of my pregnancy, my baby would most likely have major birth defects and it was absolutely necessary to terminate the pregnancy. Harry and I were absolutely devastated. Although it was unplanned, both of us had gotten really excited about the pregnancy. The day I went for the procedure was, at the time, the worst day of my life. I am pro-choice, but to have to do that when I didn’t want to killed me. I still wonder if I made the right decision. I especially do now that Harry is gone…
Thursday, January 22, 2009 : Harry Passed Away
I was at work when I got the call. It was Harry’s brother, telling me to come home. He wouldn’t tell me why. I was so confused. I called back. Harry’s mom answered, she said I needed to come home, she couldn’t tell me on the phone. I made her tell me. “He’s gone, Becky”. “What?”, I said. “He’s dead.” My heart literally stopped in my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Two co-workers drove me home. We pulled onto the street and saw 3 cop cars, 2 detective vehicles and crime scene unit truck. They wouldn’t let me in the apartment. He died at the edge of our bed. I watched the body bag get rolled out. I felt like I was in my worst nightmare. The autopsy came back the next day and showed that Harry had moderate coronary artery disease, and enlarged heart and high blood pressure at the time of his death. We are still waiting for the toxicology results to come back. UPDATE: Click here to view my FAQ where I speak about Harry’s determined cause of death.
The next few days were a blur. We went to the funeral home to make the arrangements. Harry wanted to be cremated, so we picked out an urn and the prayer cards. They said we should bring items that Harry loved, and I was his best friend, so I picked them out. I brought a coffee cup from 7-11 and a pack of Newport 100’s. I brought his XBOX 360 controller, A LOST figure (the hatch), his comic books, and Spiderman figures. I also made a DVD of all the pictures I had of him from over the 3 years we were together and that were on his computer from before he met me. This played at his memorial. I was the only one who spoke. Here were my words from that night:
A few days before Harry passed away, he asked me to write “pre-vows” for Valentine’s Day and he would do the same. I pinky swore to him I would write them and I want to share them with everyone tonight. I’m hoping that Harry is watching down over us and can hear them too. Harry always said I didn’t tell him why I loved him. These are the reasons that I did: I loved the way he would look at me with those crystal blue eyes and I would turn to butter. I loved laying on him watching reality shows. I loved his funny faces. I loved that he rapped “Fox in Socks” to me on our first date. I loved that he went to Dave Matthews concerts just to be with me, when I knew he didn’t really like their music. I loved his Mrs. Doubtfire impression….”Oh Deary”…I loved it when he told me he needed a haircut almost everyday. I loved that he would make me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt. I loved what an incredible father he was to Emily. I loved that he was obsessed with Spiderman. I loved that he got so excited about the smallest things, like the 8-in-one screwdriver gift he got from his Mom, or when the new Sopranos and Curb your Enthusiasm episodes came on HBO On Demand on Mondays. I loved how every outing with Harry, even just to 7-11, was an adventure. There were so many reasons I loved him, I could go on forever. In the most basic terms, I loved everything about him. I just loved him unconditionally. His favorite Eminem song said, “When I’m gone, just carry on, don’t mourn, Rejoice every time you hear the sound of my voice, Just know that I’m looking down on you smiling”. I hope he is looking down smiling right now. As Harry’s voicemail said, ‘Take Care. Comb your hair.’
I have since moved out of our apartment. I cannot live there anymore. I get the chills just walking in there. Emily went back to live with her Mom. She had to switch schools in the middle of the year. I still try to see her every other weekend. I was like a Mom to her for 3 years. I not only lost the love of my life that day, I also lost Emily. We were a family.
Monday, May 18, 2009 : I Lost My Job
I got laid off. A month and 3 days after I moved into my new apartment (see blog for details). What else can happen?? No. Scratch that. I don’t want to know. So that’s my story. Only can go up from here?
Monday, July 31, 2009 : Being Transparent in an Opaque World
I just came from seeing my parents and my Uncle and Cousin who were visiting for the weekend. I showed them my blog and we started discussing Social Media and why I would want to “tell the whole world all my business”. My father doesn’t understand why I want to “wear my heart on my sleeve”. “What am I getting out of this?” he asked. I tried to explain it to them, but they just did not get it.
I wasn’t even trying, but in the 8 months that I have been on Twitter, I have built a personal brand. I am known for the horrible year I’ve had, my #stinkytweets, my love for Dave Matthews and my humor among other things. Basically, I am known for being me. And me, I’m a pretty open person, always have been. Why close to 10,000 people care about what I had for breakfast, or how I am doing after my oral surgery, I don’t know. But they do. And I love them for it. I care about them too.
People ask me, are you worried about identity theft? You put a lot of personal information up on the internet. To be honest, no. I really don’t have anything to lose. I’m flat broke. No one would even be able to get a credit card in my name! Good luck to them! If I wasn’t so open about my life, Save Becky would never have been. I would have kept my troubles in and this probably would have slowly killed me. I have gotten so much from the friendships I have made online. I would never change a thing. My online presence is what “Saved Becky”. It made me into who I am today. Am I being transparent? Maybe so. Should I be? Absolutely.
Monday, July 5, 2010 : My Mother Passed Away
On the morning of July 5th, 2010, my Mother, Kathi Kopprasch, passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack. She was 58. I put this slideshow together with some of her favorite songs and it played at her memorial service. A friend of my Mom’s sent me an e-mail after she heard about what happened. It said, “She loved life and lived well.” Those words describe her perfectly. I miss you Mom.
To read my full blog post about this, click here.