Saturday, December 26, 2009



It’s a great word. Put it next to anything and it’s even better.

Positive attitude...

Positive Charge...

Think Positive...

Positive Impact...

All good things, right?

Yeah, that’s what I used to think too.

Then there came a time when positive wasn’t a good thing and putting it next to something made it worse.

(excerpt from Beyond Breathing)
It’s positive.

My whole life I had always thought positive was a good word. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “favorable.” And when seven doctors at Westchester Medical Center walked into my newborn son’s neonatal ICU room and told me that Eric had tested positive, my first reaction was, “Great! Now let me take him home.”

Slow down, not so fast.

Eric was born with meconium ileus, a blockage in the intestines that usually comes out during childbirth. His didn’t. I was still recovering from having him at Vassar Brothers Hospital when I was asked by the doctor on call to pick either Albany Medical Center or Westchester Medical Center because Eric needed to be flown to one of them immediately. I looked at Marc, who looked back at me and then at the anxious, waiting physician and blurted out “Westchester.” 

Two people in red flight suits walked in and put Eric in a small, clear box called an isolette and had wires hooked up to him. They whisked Eric off to a waiting helicopter.

I discharged myself, and Marc and I drove by car to meet Eric at Westchester Medical Center which was over an hour away. He was already in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) by the time we arrived. They ran tests for two days, trying to figure out what was wrong with my baby boy. Finally they had one more test to give him: a sweat test.

Marc and I were in our sterile yellow garments in the NICU unit. I was rocking Eric in the rocking chair, staring at him. His tiny hand grasped my pinky. He was swaddled in the hospital blanket, which did a poor job of hiding all the wires that were attached to him.

Dr. Doom, the only woman of the seven doctors who had trooped in, reached for my hand when she said that Eric had tested positive. Still, it didn’t compute. “The tests are positive. Your child has cystic fibrosis.”

Marc looked at me and then at the solemn faces of the rest of doctors. That is when I realized that positive is not always a good thing. Eric had tested positive for cystic fibrosis, and that was not a good thing.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) was unknown to me—a new mom who had just given birth three days ago. What was CF? How did Eric get CF? How can we get rid of CF? Is CF bad? One sentence from Dr. Doom would sum it all up for me.

“CF is a fatal genetic disease.”
(end of excerpt)

That’s not positive.

But I was.

I had no idea where I was going from there.

In time I learned to turn positive back into something good. In time, I learned that if I searched hard enough, even when I was at the point of a breakdown, there is something positive to hang on to. There has to be.

Having both children test “positive” to cystic fibrosis was the worst thing that happen to my life-bar none.

But choosing to make their life positive, full of optimism, love, and adventure ended up being the best experiences that happened in my life-bar none.

Life comes at you and it hits you hardest when you’re not looking. The choice of what you do with that it totally up to you.

Positive and negative are directions. Which direction do you choose?


  1. You lead the way for so many to go in a 'positive' direction.. May you and your family be blessed during this holiday season and always ! MUCH LOVE, mARGIE

  2. Thanks Margie for those wonderful words of encouragement!

    Love to you-

  3. Somtimes we are faced with very positively dreadful times. But if we are positively optimistic, we would be okay.
    You are a winner Margarete but who knows that more than you?Bless you dear and do take care.

  4. No doubt which direction should be the ONLY choice. However, following that road takes strength, courage and above all: faith.

    The fact that you've taken this road more than once is testament to not only the never-ending power of a mother's love, but your ability to stand up straight and say, "No....this will NOT break me. I will fight this battle with every ounce of my strength and I WILL NOT STOP fighting."

    I've never known ANYONE as strong as you...and you will forever be my hero. No matter what challenges I face, I know that if YOU can do it, I can too.