If you have a miracle you wish to share, please email it to me at Kay@KayPfaltz.com. Let me know if you wish me to include your real name or not. List your city and state. I have received beautiful stories from different corners of the U.S. speaking to me of varied emotions from vulnerability to courage, but always including a similar theme: the miracles of life. I welcome your miracles here! At the end, you'll find one about my own mother.
Carina Imbrogno, Buenos Aires and New York City:
My name is a Carina Imbrogno and I would like to share my miracle story to inspire others and give people hope.
I was born in 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Italian immigrants. I was born with a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome kyphoscoliosis type, but it was not diagnosed until 2015. This illness caused me to have severe scoliosis kyphosis since the age of two. I am the youngest of eight children. We were four girls and four boys. My oldest sister died from Leukemia as a toddler. I grew up with a very difficult father. I realized years later that my father was always ashamed of me because of the way I looked. Growing up I was also bullied and teased by other kids due to my very prominent rib hump. Having many surgeries and wearing orthopedic braces wasn't easy!
I began wearing orthopedic braces and body casts from the age 2 to the age of 11 and then again as an adult. I had my first open back surgery at 10 years old. My spine was collapsing so fast I was having trouble breathing. The doctors explained to us that I needed emergency open back surgery because my ribs were collapsing on my lungs making it difficult to breathe. I had a curve of 89 degrees and another curve of 56 degrees. Doctors explained to us that I have a deadly type of kyphoscoliosis and without surgery I would die. I had surgery and had a rod put in to stop my spine from curving any further.
Unfortunately I had complications. A few days after being sent home from the hospital I developed a very high fever. I went to see the doctor and he discovered I had a massive infection from the surgery. I almost died from this infection which left me hospitalized for three months. Fortunately the infection finally healed but over time the rod that was put in as a child began giving me problems. By the time I was 18 the rod had somehow moved out of place and doctors think it was causing my migraine headaches. I finally had to go for another surgery to remove part of the rod. My migraine headaches finally went away. However I struggled with my severe and painful rib hump and was always fearful that I would never find anyone because of the way I looked.
In 1996 I was accepted to go to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City to study textile design. I graduated in 2000 with a grade point average of 3.8. My art teacher Susan Rietman who I am very close to always supported me in my work and motivated me to believe in myself. Shortly after I graduated I met someone and got married but, sadly found myself in an abusive relationship. After I separated from my abusive husband I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I had five abdominal surgeries for this illness which resulted in more complications. It was a very painful illness to endure. During this time I had a dream of God telling me that I would go through many difficulties but I wouldn't die and He would always be with me. In late 2004 I had a surgery to correct my prominent rib hump but it was unsuccessful and caused my spine to collapse at a fast rate. I have a very rare and aggressive type of kyphoscoliosis. The doctors told me they couldn't help and that I would end up in a wheelchair and then die. I remained bedridden and highly medicated to stay alive. By 2006 I had a side curve of 115 degrees and a concave curve of 120 degrees. I felt hopeless and very scared. No doctor would touch me because my condition was so severe and complex and I only had State insurance which doesn't cover a $500,000 plus surgery.
One night I had a dream of a white light-filled Being who put His hand through me and straighten my spine. Afterwards in my dream I stood up and walked away. Two weeks later I found the doctor who saved my life. My oldest sister Ana took me to Texas where this doctor was able to correct my collapsed spine and rib hump. I have two rods and 26 screws holding my spine and had nine ribs cut and reduced in size to minimize the rib hump. I grew five inches from the surgery. This was a miracle for me. The success of my operation was called a miracle by Dr. Shelekov and his entire team who preformed the operation. I am forever grateful for what he did for me. Unfortunately he passed away two years later.
After the spinal surgery I was doing so well that I was able to take a trip to Argentina to see my parents. I especially wanted to see my mother who hadn't believed I was well. Unfortunately a couple of years after my surgery I started to suffer from severe depression and anxiety. I had never felt this way before. The doctors eventually discovered I had ovarian failure and was going into early menopause. There were no medications I could tolerate due to the many side effects and sensitivities I have. At this point I was 33 years old. I was living in my brother's basement at this time and my unmedicated depression and anxiety got so bad that I spent four years feeling hopeless and bed ridden. The one person who gave me hope was Father Frank who visited me. In 2013 I went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where they discovered I had pelvic floor muscle dysfunction which added to my IBS making it hard to go to the bathroom.
Amidst of all this suffering one day in 2013 I got a letter in the mail saying I was next on the list to rent a small apartment for people with disabilities in Stamford, CT. The news made me so happy because I had waited for eight years for this opportunity, but at the same time I was scared due to my many health issues. By October of 2014 I was so ill that I wasn't able to drink or eat and weighed only 92 pounds. I remember calling my college professor Susan Rietman who advised me to come to Mount Sinai where they were able to find a treatment that I could tolerate. Another miracle. I spent my 40th birthday in Mount Sinai hospital. At this time I was praying to God and I promised Him if He saved my life once again I would start drawing and painting since art was always something I wanted to do. After a few weeks I began feeling better but just a few days after being discharged from the hospital I came down with a pulmonary embolism and once again landed in the hospital. Doctors warned me if the blood thinners didn't work I could die. I was petrified but I kept thinking about my dream with God and somehow I knew I was going to be okay.
A year before when I watched a movie called Heaven is For Real I was introduced to the artist Akiane Kramarik's life and work. This child prodigy inspired me to do art, especially to paint. Her story about meeting God helped me to see and believe that my dreams where for real.
As soon as I was better a close friend of mine David Anderson helped financially to buy art supplies to start my art. He always believed in me even when I doubted. I began to teach myself how to draw and paint. I am mostly self taught in fine arts. I should mention that for me learning is a true challenge because I have Attention Deficit Disorder and Retention Deficit Disorder, two challenging learning disabilities. I've discovered that I am able to learn best hands on. So for the past four years I've been drawing and painting in different mediums such as gouache, dyes, watercolors, color pencil, graphite, acrylics, oils and pastels. Because of my disabilities and limitations I work a lot from photographs.
I started doing portraits after I began volunteering in a daycare doing arts and crafts with children once a week. They inspire me to draw and paint them. I also draw and paint animals. I also love to paint animals, including people's pets. I work with a lot of details so my work looks highly realistic. I have a true passion for what I do. I have entered over 10 juried exhibits where my work was accepted in all the shows. In January of 2017 I won third place at the Stamford Art Association. I entered the very first portrait I ever did which was of my mother, who sadly I'm losing to Alzheimer's disease. Winning with the portrait of my mother meant so much to me. I went on to win first place with the portrait of Jaden in graphite at the Rowayton Art center. And I won third place with a graphite portrait of Melissa. My accomplishments have made me work ever harder. My story was published in a Spanish newspaper called La Voz and most recently it was published in English and Spanish in a magazine called Latin Colors.. You can go to the following link,Carina Imbrogno, Artist and Champion of Life – Liber-Art.
I'm very grateful for the connections I've made through Instagram. I got very inspired by a friend on Instagram by the name of Richard Macwee who is based in Scotland and is an amazing wildlife artist. His work inspired me to continue drawing animals. I also feel very grateful and blessed to have migrated with my famliy to the USA where my life has been saved so many times. My goal is to eventually teach what I know and to keep getting better and better at what I do. I am open to trying different techniques. I have my studio is my small living room but I hope to one day have a studio away from my apartment. My goal in to reach as many people as I can to inspire them with my story and give the hope.
Sylviane, Cameroon and the UK:
I am Sylviane and originally from Cameroon and currently living in the UK.
Hello. My name is Sybil and it is okay if you use my real name. I live now in Klamath Falls, Oregon but I am originally from New Jersey.
Anyway, I believe there have been many times in my life that I experienced divine intervention, so therefore, I have had a lot of miracles happen. This is just one of them.
I am a stutterer, and my father was before me. My oldest child has even had a slight case of it early on in his life. I was teased constantly during my grade school and some of my high school years because of it, so I barely spoke. I thought my life was over before it had really even started. I would cry day after day, because it was so bad, and I did not see any hope.
Then, when I was sixteen, I was home because it was a weekend, and I was looking in my mirror. I heard a voice inside of me say "All you need to start doing is to replace words that you cannot say with words that you can, that have the same meaning."
I started practicing that very day, and it was a very gradual process, but it did start working over time.
The second part of this miracle happened years later. My son was about seven years old, and he was in speech therapy in school. His teacher and I were talking and I told her that I was also a stutterer. Her eyes got big and she asked me how I healed from it. I told her my story and that I never had any therapy, and she got very quiet for a moment. She then told me that there is a therapy still in use today, just like the one I had experienced and practiced, and yet, I had no way of knowing about it back then.
“I picked up your book at a very vulnerable time. I don’t have quite the courage to go into details like you did in Flash’s Song but suffice it to say I was in a bad way. One thing that was happening was that my job was falling through. You ask if someone badly wanted something or needed something to happen. Well, I did. That is when I began reading your book, by chance, every night at bed. As you spoke about the changes going through you and Flash, I felt I was being changed too. Every night I looked forward to reading Flash’s Song and didn’t want it to end. It is hard to put into words but it brought me such comfort and at the same time I felt like I could do anything. I felt powerful. It was as if magic was happening. It truly was a miracle.
I got the dream job and things started going my way. I know it was all because of your book, Flash’s Song. Here is what I think happened: Maybe the book itself does not possess magical properties, but it was so pure and so heartfelt, that I felt those qualities seep into me while reading it. It was the magic I needed. It’s like when somebody tells you how strong and powerful you are and you feel uplifted. Or when you read a good horoscope and feel everything will go you way, and then it does. Well, this is what happened to me after reading yours and Flash’s beautiful book. It was the magic and impetus I needed and I changed and things started going my way. I started reading it for a reason at that desperate time and it soothed me. It changed me (or helped me to change.) Because I believed it made me stronger and better, I actually became stronger and better. So for me, from now on I carry a copy of Flash’s Song with me like an amulet if I’m going somewhere where I need something to happen in my favor. I take it with me if I need a little extra protection. Thank you for writing and sharing your very heartfelt story of Flash. He was indeed a miracle and you have truly, truly helped me on my path in this life. Someday, some way, I hope I can repay you.”
-Shirley, Amherst VA:
“My miracle was a relationship that was on the rocks. I am also a dog lover and had a dachshund long ago, growing up. I’ll be brief but wanted to share the fact that I think your book really did turn my life around. My boyfriend was breaking up with me for some valid reasons, but some not so valid reasons too. I was a wreck. I couldn’t think about anything but him and us, or soon to be ‘not us.’ Anyhow, a friend, also a dog lover and someone who works with rescue, had given me your book. When I got to your struggles with your relationship, I didn’t think I could keep reading, but I did. And what you wrote helped me greatly. It helped me to see that maybe I could change some things about me, then maybe he wouldn’t leave. If he still left anyway, then I’d still have those things changed about me. Your words and insight into relationship were beautiful and helped me see there are always two sides to every story. Your words about living with an open heart at the end acted like a miracle to me. I am doing that now, and I’m a different and better person. Yes, he is with me too! Yay! I’m sorry your relationship didn’t work, but you seem stronger than I am. You seem okay without it. I would have emailed you to say thank you, even if you had not had this special space for people’s miracles. I know it was your words and wisdom (or Flash’s wisdom!) that helped me in more ways than I can say.”
-Kay Pfaltz, Nelson County, V:
“My mother is eighty years old and still hikes and camps in the national forest on her own. This fall she set off, tent camping, in the George National Forest. I went out with Chance, Sasha and Olive to visit her. She was the only one—there was no one else around for miles. We set up her tent then pulled two chairs over to the river’s bank. And there we sat together, sharing wine and cheese, as the sun set, casting its light, like “apricot diamonds” (my mother’s words) through the last of the Hemlocks and the dogs sniffed around and the river sparkled in the light. But I had to return home, and I left her there alone in her chair before the golden river… all eighty years of her, looking small and vulnerable. There are bears in these woods; worse than bears are the people who do harm, why I don’t know, to other innocents. But I drove off, a small lump in my throat. Over and over I said to myself, “She’s doing what she loves. She didn’t stop her children from playing outdoors when we were little. She didn’t stop me from traveling around the world solo when I was 26 and 27, even though she worried. And so I cannot stop her from doing that which she loves.”
"Only later did she tell me the story of what happened. She did not get attacked by bears or bad boys in the woods. But she did pull her car over to the side of the road on the way home. And she did wander into the woods in search of a special kind of mushroom she’d seen the year before. And she did get completely turned around, after walking farther than she’d expected and yes, she did get lost. She never had a good sense of direction, but she does have good woods-smart. She told me later that she’d been prepared to sleep in the hollow of a tree like John Muir did, or drink from the puddles. But it was quite cold at night—in the thirties—and there were wild animals about who might have found her a tasty bite to eat. At eighty, with a bad back and hip, I don’t think she would have fared so well. What she had going for her was that, when younger, she had hiked all over that mountain side. She kept her calm and she kept her wits about her, and after hiking for more than four hours, pretty much straight, she made it out of the forest and back to her car. She was shaken and exhausted but, she’s tough and, she was fine. The reason I add this here is because she had neither water nor compass in her daypack when she went into the woods in search of the mushrooms. She had only one thing, she told me. A copy of Flash’s Song. She said it was a miracle she got out safely. And I like to think my little Flash, who loved my mother above all except perhaps for me, helped guide her out safely. Anyhow, I’m grateful.
If you have a miracle you wish to share, please email it to me at Kay@KayPfaltz.com.