If you met Angela at a party, you would have no idea what she’s endured in her short life. Her beauty, witty sense of humor and big smile would lead you to believe she was completely happy with no challenges. Think again. Sit down with her for coffee and be prepared to be floored by her story and her redemption. Five brushes with death and she’s not even 40.

It all started with a life threatening and rare brain aneurism. She was 18. She had just started college and was a major player on her college’s volleyball team, hoping to go pro. “I began vomiting in the mornings right after lifting my head from the pillow.” She had a family history of severe migraines so doctors chalked it up to that. Thank goodness her mom felt differently. Pushing for an MRI, her mom’s intuition saved her life, this time at least.

Doctors were shocked to find a 7.5 inch brain aneurism a ½ inch from her brain stem. They were shocked she was walking, let alone alive. She underwent emergency surgery right away. The doctors decided to try a new kind of treatment for this type of aneurism. There were only 55 known cases like hers and only five that shared the severity. Of those five, two patients had died, two where paralyzed and one patient’s health was still in question. The odds were grim.

Coming out of surgery like a champ, Angela was beyond lucky. Unfortunately the challenges were just beginning. Four days after surgery she was re-admitted for a staph infection, which led to spinal meningitis and a month long stay in the hospital, again. This was her second brush with death.

Five years later when Angela was 21 she had a ruptured cyst near her ovaries and was back in the hospital for emergency surgery. Doctors told her that it was good that she arrived to the ER when she did because she was about 30 minutes from bleeding out and dying. Brush with death, number three.
Later that same year, Angela was back in the hospital having emergency exploratory surgery for scar tissue from the last surgery that had wrapped around her intestines. Doctors informed her again, how very close she was to losing her life. Maybe Angela is really a cat.

And it’s not over. A few years later, Angela tripped over a small fence and struck her abdomen. Later finding out that she lacerated her liver. This time, doctors told her she’d never play volleyball or any sport again. It would be too dangerous for her to fall or have her abdomen hit in any way. This could cause a quick and easy bleed out. Angela didn’t listen. “I didn’t want to live in fear. I consulted with several other doctors and decided I’d continue my career in volleyball anyway. I wasn’t going to stop doing what I loved.”

Ang went on to have a successful career in volleyball and has remained out of the hospital for a good 8+ years. “I’m no a huge fan of talking about my personal struggles,” she says, “but if I can inspire someone to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward, then it’s worth it.” I was shocked at what she’d been through, seemingly unscathed. Is she a super hero, I thought to myself, yielding the power to be reborn? She needed a fancy outfit to top off my vision of her, perhaps a big W on her chest? Yes, perfect..

A few more …

About the currency project

The Currency Project challenges us all to see the beauty through the pain, the positive that can come from a negative and the heartbreak that can turn into a new beginning. Life is uncertain but our faith, hope and love can never be taken from us. Our true currency in life is what we make it.