25 years ago on Sept. 18, 1991, I came home from Akron Children’s Hospital. I had defied all odds, but the battle was far from over. I was born on July 18, 1991, via emergency c-section and was whisked away to Akron Children’s as soon as I was stable.
In the days leading up my delivery, my mom had become very swollen. What was a picture perfect pregnancy soon became a nightmare. I was diagnosed that hot day in July with Hydrops, and the doctors in the NICU gave me a 10% chance of survival.
In fact, they told my parents they needed to name me because I wasn’t going to make it through the night. So, on July 19th they named me Shelby Elyse, meaning little rock, because they knew I needed to have a STRONG name.
The days, weeks and months following were rough, but my parents believed that God had something spectacular in store for my future, so they never lost hope. The doctors told them to expect a call that I had passed away, and every morning they were thankful that a call never came.
I was a fighter. Every time an obstacle was put in my way, I leapt right over it. My dad has always said that what the doctors gave us was the worst-case scenario, and what came to be was the absolute best-case scenario.
I fought hard, but the Lord fought harder. HE heard the millions of prayers and He decided that my time on earth was far from ending; in fact, it was just the beginning.
It has been quite the journey since that day in September when I got to come home. I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder known as Noonan Syndrome when I was 10 years old, and because of that, I endured years of growth hormones, medications and more.
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with an Oligodendroglioma brain tumor and had a 21.5 hour brain surgery, and I still get yearly MRI’s to check on the remaining tumor.
I have often said that my childhood was far from ordinary. I went to doctors appointments instead of soccer practice.
Somehow though, I am thankful. Thankful that Jesus has held my hand through the impossible. Thankful for a life that has far exceeded what my parents were told I would be capable of, and thankful for a hospital that has come alongside us in tremendous ways.
There were days when crossing the blue bridge on Route 8 to get to the hospital was like a breath of fresh air, because I knew that I was headed to a place that brought healing, health and hope. The care I received, and continue to receive, from Akron Children’s has changed my life for the better.
My dream is to be a child life specialist one day, because of the grand love I received from them while at the hospital.
I could name a million reasons why I love you, Akron Children’s Hospital. But, I guess that the simplest reason is this: thank you for saving my life.
This life I have gotten to live has been truly incredible. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well.
“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139: 13-14
Thank you Akron Children’s Hospital – I LOVE YOU!
Shelby Elyse Taylor