December 2002

I was in great shape: a non-smoker, eating healthy, spending weekends in my kayak paddling around Alameda Island in the San Francisco Bay.  Every doctor who leaned over my bed said, “You’re way too young and healthy for this!”  I was in complete agreement.

Still, my heart was refusing to go on.  Connected to cardiac monitors with wires of every color, the alarms sounded several times a day when my heart stopped and we all counted the torturous seconds waiting for the beat to resume.

My son decorated my hospital room with a miniature Christmas tree and brought my favorite rosary – his gift to me from his recent trip to France.  Mom plastered a smile across her face and adopted the perkiest tone of voice she could muster.  My partner made a million deals with God.

And the doctors ran every conceivable test without any conclusive diagnosis.  It was a very long, scary four days in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit.

Finally, everyone agreed open heart surgery was necessary.  I was loaded into an ambulance headed for a specialty hospital in San Francisco.  It would have been an ordinary woman-with-a-heart-emergency story, except for what happened next.

Stalled in traffic on the Bay Bridge, the EKG alarm screeched.  Unlike the other times that week, I didn’t resume a normal heartbeat.

My EMTs – God bless these 2 amazing men – explained what needed to happen:  “We’ll give you an injection to stop your heart. Let it rest for a minute.  Then we’ll give you another injection to jump-start it.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll use the paddles.”




The drug entered my vein like molten lava.  Within seconds my bones were on fire.  An immense weight flattened my chest.  My entire body felt thick; dense.  Paralyzed, I watched the machine lights overhead fade from vibrant colors to shades of gray.  The Light left my world.

We all know what happened: it worked.  I didn’t even need surgery!  A pre-op angiogram revealed the pesky problem and … well … sometimes meds are a wonderful thing.


Did you catch the miracle?  I almost missed it.  Maybe because it spanned nearly forty years.  Remember Joey Konoza’s line drive?  The Light?

What if the Light I floated in after Joey’s line drive is the very same Light that left my body – left my world – in the ambulance?  What if we follow our own Light when we die?

What if we have that much Light in us?  What if we are the Light?  What if we live from a place of knowing our own Light?

I’m just saying.  Since I’m NOT DONE YET, this how I’ve decided to live: trusting that I have Light and that it makes a difference.  I hope you’ll do the same.

I don’t have any photos of my time in the hospital, my ambulance ride, or any of my doctors.  These photos are just special moments I’ve had since I recaptured my Light.