Updated: Oct 2, 2018
On Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, my life changed … I mean really changed. I got a second chance.
The weird thing is that I don’t remember the end of my 1stchance or most of the morning leading up to it. The day started with a group of six close friends heading off to do a 10-mile trail run/race in Reston. That’s where my memory is sketchy … It's amazing how the brain protects the mind/body from discomfort. I was reminded of the last conversation I had during the run with a friend who asked, “What are your future goals?” My answer – “I’m not sure.”
I was found in a clearing on the side of the trail by two runners who came up upon me. Soon after, an angel appeared, fellow runner Dr. Rahul Tevar. He started administering CPR. A couple minutes later, the race director, Jim Harmon, rushed a portable defibrillator to my side. They were able to restart my heart. I was put in an ambulance with a faint heartbeat and very labored breathing. When we later talked to Dr. Rahul on the phone, he said that he was unsure if I was going to make it after he had done his part. He had saved my life.
The statistics are staggering on the low survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest, which is what happened to me. It is a true miracle that this incident happened where, when and around people who had the knowledge to do what they did to save my life. It is still very surreal to write these words as I was running one minute and then waking up in the hospital with no memory of what happened.
I now have an internal defibrillator (ICD) implanted above my heart. The ICD will shock my heart back into rhythm if this were ever to happen again. Bottom line: I’m back and here to stay for a while. My husband calls me Kristin 2.0.
While I was under and feeling warm and safe in a place that was not ready to keep me, my family and friends experienced fear. Fear of loss ... the sight of me down and not breathing … the phone call home to my husband … the 20-minute car ride to the hospital for my husband and kids … The not knowing if I was going to be alive when they arrived … The memory of the last conversation … The Fear of all fears for those of us left behind waiting….
Life is finite and we truly cannot predict when it is our time or our loved one’s time. It was very apparent to me that I was in a place of comfort and peace when I was visiting the other side. There was no pain or sorrow. I was being held by the most comfortable, soft, clean cushioning imaginable. This is a faint memory now. It is those who are watching and waiting that experience the most pain.
So Now What?!?!?!
I have more work to do. My life is blessed by an amazing community of friends and family. My cup truly overflows. This experience has made me very aware of the importance of relationships and love. God has given me a tremendous gift of seeing and feeling love in a way that was challenging before. I am overwhelmed and grateful. I have more work to do and for that I am honored. TBC…for a long time to come.
I feel that God has a plan for all of us, and this was part of my plan. He wanted to show me all the goodness in my life. Since this happened, it’s been like a “This is Your Life” show – all the people who have touched me and I apparently have touched. It’s hard to see until something like this happens…and it’s sometimes hard to accept.
It’s my purpose to continue to help others. I’ve been given this challenge so I can help other people through their challenges.
Thinking back to the person who asked me during the race about my goals, I now have an answer: Today my goal is to live one day at a time, appreciating all the little things and living life on life’s terms.
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