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Only a few days after the world was shocked and devastated by the attacks that brought down the twin towers...

I, Christi, was lying in a hospital bed fighting for my life. At the age of 18, I was a beautiful, energetic girl who loved to smile! Especially when talking about and planning for the baby girl that I was 6 months pregnant with at the time. I had my entire life ahead of me and was ecstatic to begin my adult life as the mother to a beautiful little girl!
Then one night, in a matter of hours, every thing horribly changed.
The police responded to calls of a woman screaming. When they arrived at the scene and were finally able to get inside the apartment where the screams had been coming from, they walked into a room covered in blood. It was described as looking like a horrific murder by stabbing had occurred. As they made their way to the very back of the 1 bedroom apartment, they found a small, young, pregnant girl lying in a bathtub filled with almost as much blood as water. From the look of things they assumed that she was dead. As they came closer to examine the situation, one of the officers pulled aside the shower curtain. When he did this, much to the surprise of all around, the presumed lifeless body reacted.
Immediately an ems certified firefighter was brought in to perform life saving procedures. Once they were able to provide air to my deprived lungs, we were on our way to the hospital.
Due to my extensive injuries and being unsure of exactly how long I had been unable to breath, they had to put me into a coma and have machines perform all processes that a normal body automatically does to maintain life. Even with the help of all the modern day medical abilities, I wasn't expected to live.
As time passed, they began to see minor improvements that lead them to believe that I just might live. However they were unsure weather I would ever awaken from the coma. After over 30 hours of being in the coma, I showed signs of waking up. While a bit surprised that I was waking so quickly, they warned my family that there was a good chance that even once I had awakened I could be in a vegetative state.
Upon waking, I used sign language to call my little brother a "brat" first thing. As I continued signing it was becoming very obvious that I would not be in a vegetative state.
Still, with all my injuries and severe traumatic brain injury, they couldn't say that I would end up being alright. They expressed their concern that I may not be able to survive without the help of the machines breathing for me, feeding me and providing all the normal functions of life. As I once again surpassed their concerns, they continued to warn that I may never walk again, that I may never be able to care for myself, that I may never regain a mental level past that of a 6 year old, that I may never be able to live on my own, and that I may never be able to obtain a lifestyle similar to others my age.
At some point around this time it was also discovered that my sweet little baby did not survive. I gave birth to a perfectly formed little angel and was able to hold her for only a few minutes before they took her away forever.
For quite a long time I surpassed all of their concerns of returning to a normal level of function for my age range.
While I improved to a miraculous point considering the circumstances, I was not able to improve to the extent that I could function as if this had never happened in the first place.
Dozens of surgeries, years of all kinds of therapies, and a lot of hard work and perseverance have helped my life and abilities return to a relatively normal state. Unfortunately brain damage, PTSD, and other bodily damage can never return completely to the perfect state that they were in before the trauma. Because of this fact I have had medical issues that require some level of care consistently for the past 15 years.
Continuing surgeries, medications, therapies, monitored care, and even a few hospital stays (including ICU) have been things that are now just common place in my life. Even working a full time job is a "luxury" that I am unable to obtain.
All these factors added up amounts to compiling medical expenses that I am unable to completely pay for and still be able to afford necessities such as food, housing, clothing and other similar needs. Not to mention the cost involved for doctors visits and medication.
I am married to a wonderful man, we are happy and working to build a simple, yet amazing life, together! The medically necessary things that I require are causing us to drown in debt though. It seems that we will never be able to make enough money on our own to pay everything off.
Currently I am awaiting yet another surgery and having to look into medical bankruptcy.
I want to get pregnant and finally become a mother again with the opportunity to actually watch my baby grow up this time. I would also love to be able to live closer to my family as they have been my support system and helped me with recovery in so many ways. These things seem almost out of reach with all the many medical bills. Paying all of them is virtually impossible, but then the ones that I am unable to pay get sent to collections and it makes me look like too high of a risk to get a loan or even a credit card. I feel trapped and that this is just another part of the trauma that I have to continue to endure. Another issue that was not of my own doing, and another consequence that I am forced to suffer and have no control over. All by the hands of my attacker still.

I am so grateful to still be alive and to be doing as well as I have! I love to live life to the fullest that I am capable of. He may have broken my body, but he did not break my spirit!
While some things can never be repaired, I have fought to repair all I can. It may only take a few more surgeries to get my body back to as good as it's going to get. And I will be thrilled once they are able to fix things so that I am not in constant pain anymore! But I feel that until my credit is free from all the medical debt and I am able to lessen the amount of medical expenses that I must incur every month, that I will still be "in pain". All that I wish for is to be normal again! I pray every night for the day I will once again feel like a normal person and can feel like I am no longer a victim. I dream of being free from this cycle. And anyone who can help will have my eternal love and appreciation!
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