We are leaving August and moving into September. At this time about seven years ago, I went into Rush Hospital Oak Park feeling ill. That visit changed my life forever.

August, I went in and by September I was dying, almost dead, and did leave my body. A doctor made a mistake with a medicine (which he admitted) that sent my body into a “shock” response. My histamines took over on overdrive due to lack of administration of the histamine blockers I was supposed to be given.

Subsequently, as my monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genes, also known as “warrior genes” kicked in, that blessing from birth ensured that I stayed in my happy place as my body sent out every available storm trooper to fight for my life. My genes, obviously suffering from Napoleon complex (aka “short person’s complex”, known to induce aggressive behavior), heightened my aggression against any and every invader to my body to kick butt, even as my family was asked to let me die when doctors felt they had exhausted efforts to save me.

As I am writing this, you see the spoiler alert right before you. When I finally relearned to walk, talk, and write, August/September became my nemesis. It became the time of year I stood on guard with my dukes in the air thinking, “Universe, I’m ready for you!” in my Napoleonesque manner.

July folded into August like a wave over my body each year, making me wonder if I would be consumed by it. Both my daughter and I, and probably other family members, had a PTSD response. I used to panic and internally hide like a tortoise going into its shell through these months waiting for the day I would not wake up in August or September. Yet on my exterior, all you could see was calm, though internally “on guard.”

The first year, my daughter was the same. The second year she would just stare at me a lot, wondering if I would notice I was alive on the day I was supposed to die on life support.

By the third year, she would mention, “Mommy, do you realize what day it is?” We would recount events of the day I was supposed to die, like two Vietnam Veterans having trouble “talking about ’Nam,” needing to get it all out.

Over the years, I tried to turn these two months into a celebration of survival. It was my “fantasy Island” moment. “Smiles, everyone, smiles!” This is a reference to a famed TV show and catch phrase, for all of you non-GenXers. That did not work at first and then little by little it did.

I believe in God but also understand science. So I know that the body has memory. My concern was that it would remember and think it was “time to sleep” around these months. I feared that my body would be in some type of life fight these months every year.

This year, I didn’t think about it much until I did some self-care in the morning one day. The night before, I read that a boy, Julian Urbina-Medina was hit and killed on LaGrange Road riding his bike. I read this news from the perspective of neighbors on the Neighborhood App, not in an article or TV news. I read thoughts of a man who was at the scene and was with the boy as he drifted off and out of his body to his place of rest. I read comments from others who were near the scene. I heard the emotions it evoked, and then from the mother who had just lost Julian. She was grateful for the love and support. I could not imagine the pain she felt, and yet I could.

This boy was taken too soon. I teared up. I didn’t even think about my situation this time. I was almost taken too soon. It hit me in the morning while doing my health routine. I imagined myself as a ghost, reading the comments and being out of body at the scene of my bedside while dying and while friends and family were saying goodbye. But my warrior genes keep me fighting while remaining in a “happy place.”

Another Godly blessing from science is that it’s a fact that one’s body regenerates every seven years. Stems cells regenerate, so it’s like having a new body. So Happy Anniversary to me. I pray one day August and September will come and go and the most I will think about is that it was hot.

EL Serumaga is a resident of River Forest and Founder of ecovici.com.

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