My trip to Italy

There is always hope, even after an injury.
Today, I am going to share my story about my accident when I traveled to Italy back in 1997. I apologize now for the quality of the pictures, since they are from A LONG time ago!!

1997 was the year I graduated high school and as a gift, my parents bought my twin sister (Josie) and I tickets to go to Trento, Italy, to visit my “brother”, Andrea.
I call him my brother because back when my real brother Gaetano (Gae) was in highschool, he participated in an Exchange Student Program. Andrea came to live with us here in Canada for three months, and Gae was supposed to go there for three months.

However, he never did get the chance to go there because of the Gulf War; so instead, he backpacked Europe with Andrea later on in the years. Throughout all these years, we have remained in close contact with Andrea. My parents have seen him several times, and my mom and Josie even went to his wedding! I wasn’t able to go since I had just had my first born.

Back track back to 1997, Josie and I boarded the plane and off we went to visit Andrea and his family for two weeks! We were even going to celebrate our 18th birthday there, before coming back to start College in September!
Andrea had everything planned for us – from spending time with his family, showing us around his area, taking us hiking in the mountains, and jumping off cliffs!

We spent a day out on a motorcycle ride to see this absolutely gorgeous waterfall!

We were in heaven, and it was definitely a memorable time!!
We went to Verona, to see my Aunt the nun, and enjoyed lunch with her in the Convent.

On our last night there before having to fly back home, we were with Andrea and four of his friends. We had planned to camp out at Lake Garda, which is described as the largest lake in Italy situated in the north, about halfway between Brescia and Verona.
We had a beautiful dinner and afterwards, we decided to go for a walk to a club for dancing. I remember Josie and I walking side by side with the group in front of us, and we looked behind us. That’s all I remember…the next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital bed.

You see, what had happened was, while we were looking behind us, a man on a motorcycle with a woman, whom was driving impaired, drove onto the sidewalk wiping us out. I later found out that I was in a coma for a couple of days, and that my sister and I were both badly bruised from this accident.

Andrea had called my parents right away, and they were on the first flight over. I had to spend an extra week in the hospital because of my injuries. Our flight home, I remember listening to the song, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly:

At the time of hearing that song, let me tell you – it was perfect timing! It motivated me, and kept my spirits alive!!
When I got home, my mom took me to the hospitals here in Canada to get checked again. I was experiencing bladder problems. Because I was urinating so much, I had to keep up with drinking water. I was dehydrating and we concluded that my pituitary gland was damaged. “The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and is situated at the base of the brain. It is a part of the endocrine system and its main function is to secrete hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones can affect other organs and glands, especially the thyroid.” (healthline). The pituitary gland is called the master gland.

The doctor said I had Diabetes Insipidus, and because I was going through a lot of changes at the time, I became somewhat depressed. Brain injury and knee surgery, I decided to opt out of College. I was to start Computer Programming, but I could not bring myself to go. I wanted to study hard and I just was not prepared. I became depressed, having to take medication through my mouth and nose every day to control the Diabetes Insipidus. It was a tough road ahead…

This happened for about four months. In the midst of all this, I decided to do some babysitting instead of sitting around at home, sulking. The little girl I babysat kept me busy and happy! In January of 1998, what happened is a miracle according to the doctors. My diabetes insipidus went away! I did not have to take the medication anymore!!!

I continued to babysit, reapplied to school for a different course, and started in April. I was on my way to accomplishing the goals I had set out for myself. Not exactly the same course; BUT, I had a plan!
Since the accident happened, I have had three episodes of where my diabetes insipidus came back. HOWEVER, I went to the hospital, they hooked me up with IV to get hydrated again, and weird as it sounds, it disappeared.
Will it happen again? Perhaps. But I now know what to do.

I share this story because what happened, happened.At the time, I suffered a lot, my parents were worried sick about me, and believe it or not, I still have a letter from my best friend from when the accident happened, offering her support!
That trip to Italy was one of the most best times of my life! I remember sitting on the bridge with a glass of wine singing, “Time of My Life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing”. I remember laughing and singing and swimming and traveling. I remember all the good times, and it brings smiles to my face!

Sure, it’s horrible what happened. It is nobody’s fault, except the man who was driving impaired, who – by the way – did not get charged for anything and walked away with a sling for his arm.

But, that’s OKAY. At the time it wasn’t, but now it is.And I don’t dwell on that! My sister is fine. I am fine.We are alive, breathing, and we both have families.We have survived, and are happy. That’s what counts!

And as far as Andrea goes, we talk a few times a month! We send pictures to each other, and we even video chat when we can!!

I say life is too short – we need to cherish our moments we have. Try to enjoy as much as we can while we can…because you just never know what can happen…

I did not include every detail about my accident, but hopefully enough for those reading this to realize that there is hope, even after an injury…

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