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Life is never easy – this is my story

No one ever told me life was going to be easy. It’s something I’ve learned first-hand throughout the years. My life has been everything but that. On August 31 1988 in New York City I was born to the best Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother God could bless me with. I’m the youngest of three children. My older sister was a child my father had prior to marrying my mother. And there is my brother, the firstborn of both my parents. I was only a couple months old when my family and I moved to Puerto Rico. We all stayed with my Grandfather in his home. Although it was great to meet him I didn’t really get to enjoy him for long. He passed away a little bit before my very first birthday. Right after the “big 1” my father decided to look for a job in New York and soon enough we returned to New York and settled down in the Bronx. The time that I spent there was the best years of my childhood. We were friends with most of our neighbors (my Dad was the superintendent), we went out on family trips every weekend, went to different restaurants, beaches etc. My Dad did everything in his power to make his family happy. Life was great. However, In 1995 my Dad decided to look for a job in Miami after having issues with his job in the Bronx. Soon after we moved into an apartment with a relative in Coral Gables. At this point with so many moves and so many changes I was pretty traumatized.
I had to start a brand new school far away from home and without my siblings. While in that school I refused to associate myself with my classmates. I used to urinate on myself every day and lie to my mother claiming my teacher didn’t allow me use the restroom. We finally were able to move into our own apartment in North Miami. This was great for me because now I could be enrolled into a different school with my siblings. In 1997 we moved back to New York to the Parkchester area of the Bronx. While there we frequently visited our relatives. During one of those visits my brother got hit by a car in Brooklyn. No one heard the crash. I remember walking by to get back into the apartment and I saw him laying down on the pavement. I didn’t approach him at the time. I was a child and I didn’t understand why he was there. I walked in and told my family that he was on the road and they all ran out. My father threw himself on the ground. Shortly after I heard someone call an ambulance saying my brother got hit by a car. Both his arms were broken, a bruised leg and rupture vein in his cranium. He was immediately rushed into surgery. The doctors were amazed at how well he turned out after his surgery. They said that had the vein on the other side of his his head it would’ve been fatal. While my brother was recovering my father was having trouble at his job so we had to move but this time to Brooklyn.
In 1998 my father started having problems with one of his coworkers and we needed help so we moved back to Puerto Rico. It was the same year Hurricane George hit our new home and it hit us hard. We lost a lot of our possessions and stayed without electricity for a very long time. I remember going with my family to purchase a bag of ice at the local factory and having to stand in line for hours. I had never experienced anything like it. It was a difficult time for my family and I. Additionally to top it off my Father was having a difficult time finding any employment in Puerto Rico so in the following year we moved back to Brooklyn. My Dad found a superintendent job very quickly and we stayed in Brooklyn for the time being. In 2000 my Father decided to move back to Miami but this time to the little Havana area in North Miami. Shortly after in 2002 we moved back to the Bronx. Throughout all constant shifts every time my brother and I made a friend we decided not to keep in contact with them. It was pretty pointless in our opinion. We were always moving. It was pretty much our family routine. In our opinion all we needed was our parents and each other. Even though I didn’t want to make any friends people still tried to talk to me and to get to know me. In 2002 I started high school and I was in shock at the fact that I stayed and graduated from there. You can’t blame me for reacting this way with my relocation record. At this point we had moved 21 times and been to over 16 schools. Now I haven’t mentioned much about God and the relationship I have with him. I always knew God existed. My parents used to take us to catholic church when we were younger. I just didn’t know a lot about him. Until I was 16 and I visited my best friends’ church several times. I wanted to know more about God and who he is. I ended up accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior in 2004 and started attending a church in the Bronx. After a while I started to feel discouraged and not welcome there anymore. I stopped going to church and pursuing God all together. At the time, I also started rebelling against my parents. They were pretty strict. I had to be home by sun down and I wasn’t allowed to visit or sleepover at anyone else’s house. Everywhere I went my father had to take me. So while still in high school I would cut classes to do all the things my parents didn’t allow me to do. I created social media profiles like local hookups, migente etc. to chat with strangers. I lied about my age and appearance to these strangers for attention. As time went by I arranged to meet up with random guys I chatted with online with my friends since we didn’t want to be in school. I remember we used to get drunk during school hours with some guys we met online. There was a time we got so drunk that I didn’t remember how I got home. Till’ this day I tell people it had to be God that guided me home. I could’ve easily been raped, killed or even kidnapped. Its not exactly safe or family friendly in the neighborhood where I lived. In 2007 I signed up for Myspace and quickly got hooked. I would take provocative pictures with skimpy clothes and post them online for attention. While online I gained 16,000 friends, had my pictures stolen and my account hacked. I met a lot of guys on there too and dated them just to be taken out on dates. I never slept with them much less kissed them. Until 2008 I met a guy that lived close by in my neighborhood. I met with him at the train station and we went to his apartment that he shared with his mother and little brother to watch movies. Despite his living situation and the fact that both family members were home did not stop him from forcing himself on me and raping me. I remember screaming for help and trying to push him off of me. I called out to God that day and I was able to escape when he went to use the restroom. I grabbed all my stuff and ran down the stairs with my shoes in hand. I took out my phone saw that I had a lot of missed calls from my mom. I just ran home in the rain and went straight into the shower. I sat in the bathtub for more than an hour. I felt dirty, used and hurt. I called my best friend and told her what happened. She came over the following day for moral support. I couldn’t bare to tell my parents or my brother. I was afraid my brother or father would have ended up committing a crime and incarcerated. I wouldn’t have been able to live with that on my conscience. During this time I did have some good things happen. I did go to college at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I wanted to be in the FBI but after I heard some of the requirements I opted on not continuing that career route. A little afterwards in 2009 I got really discouraged with college. I stopped attending classes and didn’t really take my courses seriously anymore. I was placed on academic probation and owed the school a lot of money. Not long afterwards I ended up reconciling with the Lord. I came to him broken and lost trying to fill a God shaped void that only he could fill. He spoke to me and told me that I had to go through all of my hardships to be where I am now. He healed me and helped me to get over my rape. I was traumatized and instead of seeking for help I bottled it up inside and kept it to myself. Till this day a lot of people don’t know that it happened to me. In 2010 I got baptized and in the same year a woman used by the Lord was ministering to me. While she was praying for me she hugged me and couldn’t stop crying. All I heard was her asking God to remind me that he will never forsake me and to give me strength. Just hearing that I got scared. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. All I took from her prayer was that something bad was going to happen to me. A year later in 2011 I was diagnosed with a chronic skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. After having heard the diagnosis I immediately blamed myself. That the skin disease was just a punishment for all the bad things I have done in the past. I kept asking God “Why Me? What did I do to deserve this?” I forgot you can’t question God and his purpose for life. I had been working but I had to stop. The disease was too painful to continue employed.
Due to the illness I used to get large abscesses under my arms. I was in constant pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The wounds caused by the abscesses on my arms left the nerves in that area severely damaged. I couldn’t feel much of anything in that area and could barely lift my arms. Many times I had to stay in the hospital for 3 days or more receiving antibiotics because nothing was working for me. My mom would stay with me and sleep in a chair. My life had become severely limited. I couldn’t do the things that I enjoyed doing anymore. So I stopped going out. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I didn’t think anyone could relate or understand. I quickly fell into deep depression that I kept to myself. I didn’t tell others how down and defeated I felt. I faked joy and suffered in silence. Having this disease has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It attacked probably one of things I felt semi-confident about, my appearance. I enjoyed dressing beautifully, having my hair done, wearing expensive perfumes etc. Normal things that women do but things I felt I couldn’t do anymore. My illness got to the point that I couldn’t walk much and every part of my body hurt. I decided to reach out to others and tell them what was going on. I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer because it was too visible. My body posture changed and I began to walk hunched over like an old woman. I didn’t even have the strength to get up from bed. The only thing I would wear was sweat pants, a t-shirt and my hair up in a bun. I felt ugly, useless, helpless, unworthy and angry. I had gone to so many doctors and none of them had a clue of what to do with me. They ran a lot of test on me and used me as their guinea pig. My arms continued to get worse to the point they were rotting and the drainage from the wounds smelled like rotten meat. I was given no choice but to get surgery. I feared that I would lose both my arms if things continued on at the rate. I’ve had three surgeries done on both arms. My first surgery which was on my left arm was pretty disappointing. The first time I looked at the surgery wound I got depressed. The wound was so deep my fist could fit inside. I just didn’t understand how it was going to heal. When I got my second surgery the nurses gave me the wrong instructions and I took off the bandage before time. I was quickly bleeding out and had to be rushed to the emergency room. My blood wasn’t clotting and it slowly began to spill all over the stretcher. The doctors had to call in the assistant surgeon and it took him a while to stop all the blood. I was so terrified that night that I didn’t even want to go to sleep. I thought that I wasn’t going to wake up in the morning. My brother slept in a chair next to my bed to keep me company until I was able to fall asleep. One of the many lessons that I learned from all of this is that it shows you who really is looking out for you. A lot of people that told me that they would be there for me disappeared. During this time my father decided to separate from my mother and along with that our relationship deteriorated as well. He wasn’t there for me like before. He didn’t check up on me much less help me and that hurt me immensely. I was used to our family always being together and he tore it apart. I quickly grew to resent and hate my father. The hatred, anger and hurt slowly began to consume me making me even more ill. In 2013 a tornado hit the area of Yonkers and it destroyed out apartment building. The police came in and condemned our home. We were immediately placed in a motel for 16 days with some of our possessions and living off a little bit money my uncle gave us for food. It was horrible. My brother was depressed, I got sick at the motel and my mom was bit by a tick. She went to the hospital to get treated to make sure that she wouldn’t develop Lyme disease in the future. Amidst all of this I lost all the so called friends who said they would be there for me.
I truly felt alone despite my family being there for me. In that same year my mother and I decided to eat at a diner in Yonkers. We had ordered two philly cheese steak wraps. When I first got the wrap I noticed that the meat wasn’t cut properly but I still bit into the wrap. The bite I just swallowed got stuck in my esophagus and wouldn’t go down. My breath became labor and I struggled to breathe. My mother tried to help me by giving me some water to drink. Instead of helping the food go down it gushed right out my nose. When the water came out my nose I thought for sure I was going to die. I said to myself “That’s it I’m dying ! because I choked on food ..not even from anything else that has happened .. this can’t be it ! I can’t believe it”. My mom saw me turn from a healthy tan to a disgusting purple. She took action and banged on my back a couple of times until I was able to spit out what I had swallowed. It was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life. I was so thankful to be alive. It took me almost two years to recover from both surgeries on my arms. I started to develop H.S. in other areas of my body primarily my thighs and groin. It made other everyday activities that much more difficult to do. I was unable to sit or even lay down for long periods of time. My mother had to help me shower, dress, do my hair, and basically do everything for me dress. I had my own first “H.S.” kit with bandages, tape, ointment, diapers, and other things that I had to use daily. Not only was having H.S. horrible it was also very expensive. I had to constantly purchase medical supplies. Going out became extremely uncomfortable. It’s not fun to be outside while having a wound that is constantly draining, staining your clothes and giving off a horrible odor. To avoid embarrassment, I barely went out all-together. I decided to stay home. Days turned into months and months turned into three years. I would only leave my home if it was absolutely necessary. At one point I completely gave up. I was just tired of it all. All of the physical pain and depression consumed me. I wanted to end it. One night I started to choke myself. I told my Mother I was tired of living this way. She Stopped me that night. Without God and her I probably wouldn’t be here. She was always positive despite how difficult it was for her to see her child in that state. She would always encourage me to look beyond my circumstances. To hang onto hope and to have faith that God will see me through. I didn’t want to listen. I couldn’t see past the hurt until God confronted me. I was easily convicted. That night I had to apologize to God and to her for giving up so easily on life. After that night I leaned on The Lord. He kept me going and gave me strength (2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness). I know that on my own I couldn’t have dealt with this illness. Not long afterward I was informed that an H.S. clinic was opening at my local hospital. It was God sent. It was the Lord that led me to these wonderful doctors that have helped me and still do. I can say that now because of his grace and mercy I can walk pain free! For four long years I had forgotten what it was like to not feel pain. I am truly grateful for what the Lord has done in my life. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I feel immensely blessed and humbled that out of all the people out there I am still on his mind. He goes out of his way to care for me, to look out for me. I Praise Him and Worship Him. If I had not surrendered my life to him I would be wasting away my life prostrate. I can say that I am happy and a lot healthier than what I was. Yes, I still go through trials. Yes, I still have to take Medication. But my hope and faith is rooted in the Lord. I have let go and let him work in my life. My mother now serves the Lord with Me. God has restored my relationship with my father. Things just get better and better.  I Know that this is not the end of my problems and more things will happen in the future. The only difference is that now I Trust God and have more Faith in Him. That No matter What Adversities I’m Faced With I’ll Be Able to Overcome Them. God Has Always Been there For Me and still is. I Just wanted to share this not to boast on how strong I Am. because I’m Not But to Boast On Gods Goodness, Grace and Mercy and unconditional love. Have Faith despite the adversities in your life. Better Days will Come. Just Keep Pushing and truly believe that things will change and with Gods Help it will. He loves you all. And if He’s done these things in me. Imagine all that He can do With you. Be Blessed I Love you All.

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