‘In the Twinkling of an Eye’: The Moments That Change Our Lives

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by Joe MacDonald |

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I started writing for BioNews, the publisher of Hemophilia News Today, almost three years ago. However, it recently dawned on me that I never mentioned why I named my column “In the Twinkling of an Eye.”

While amazingly simple on the surface, the answer has deep layers that may resonate with the chronic illness community. I want to share several of my “aha!” moments — times when my family’s life changed forever in the twinkling of an eye. The most notable changes aren’t always bad, but they force me to rechart my family’s journey through a world of chronic illness.

Early one morning, my wife called me at the school where I taught to tell me that she was pregnant. In the twinkling of an eye, her message drastically altered the course of our lives. I inherited a new lifelong title: Daddy.

Little did I know in that moment that the world as I knew it had ceased to exist. A different frame of reference changed how I viewed the world, the children I taught, and those with whom I met after hearing the good news. Life changed, and I smiled.

On the third day of my son’s life, my wife and I discovered that our little boy had a bleeding disorder called severe factor VIII hemophilia. In the twinkling of an eye, our lives changed as we became a part of a new community: the bleeding disorders community. We did not know what to say, how to react, or how to process the news.

When the doctors entered the hospital room, the whole episode made the diagnosis seem like a great big oxymoron. We had just started to celebrate our wonderful son’s birth, and yet we stood face-to-face with what appeared to be horrific news.

Through our hemophilia treatment center, my wife and I agreed to participate in a program geared toward managing our children’s care. In the twinkling of an eye, I found a group that knew firsthand the joys and concerns of having a child with a bleeding disorder. Little did my wife and I know at the time that the incredible people we had met would become lifelong friends.

Many years have come and gone, but our love and devotion to the fantastic people that we met has never faded. With them, I found a sense of support and a feeling that we were not alone on our journey.

Years passed, and my wife and I agreed to join the board of directors for our local bleeding disorders community. In the twinkling of an eye, I discovered a way to give back to those with newly diagnosed children. Not only did I find purpose, but I found new friends, and my support system grew bigger.

Our family of bleeding brothers and sisters reached out past our local community. We found friends at both the state and national levels. I discovered advocacy in ways I never imagined. We accomplished many things — and still do — for those who manage bleeding disorders.

We go about the chores of our lives every day, never knowing that one little incident, in the twinkling of an eye, can alter the trajectory of our lives. I discovered that my willingness to receive endless possibilities sets the stage for something spontaneous, incredible, and even miraculous to occur. The most necessary part is our openness to receive the gifts of whatever moment reveals itself.

In the twinkling of an eye, our world can change. How will we embrace a new reality?

***

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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