Brenda DeStephano


During that time, I felt like I couldn't even get in contact with God. My spirituality felt like it was out the door. Like I was nobody, I didn't exist. I felt I was just existing and that was it. And I felt that way for a long long time until finally my doctor said, "You know what. We need to give you some anti-depressants to make you feel better, because you're having post-traumatic-stress. "

And I've never experienced this before. Usually, with anything that I've gone through (and I had eleven operations), I would bounce right back. This here, I couldn't bounce back at all, and I still can't bounce back from it. I'm still feeling the effects of 9/11. Every time I feel this pain in my back, every time the pain shoots down my arms and my fingers go numb, I'm feeling the effects of 9/11. It just brings it back to my memory and it's totally impossible to feel better.

Then they did the operation on my shoulder in January and my knee in April and six weeks after that, I decided that I had to go back to work, I needed to start getting back my life.

But you know what? Still, I have not got back my life because my life is never going to be the same, because I can't do the things I used to do. I can't run, I can't throw the ball with my sons. Before then, I was lifting my son on my back and taking him to a piggy back ride. He was just a small little toddler. This was his way of waking up and us connecting in the morning, and I couldn't do that, I felt so separated from my family. My husband, he said, "You're not the same person as you were before 9/11."

What I did now is I busy myself with different things. I got more involved with the school, and even though with all the pain I was in, I still stayed involved with my sons' schools trying to make a difference. I got involved with the church, just recently. It took me about three years to go back to church.

And I guess there is some healing process going on, but I need it to speed up a little bit more because I feel like this has really been traumatic for me. Its been a big change in my life. I don't feel like I'm capable of doing a whole lot of things and I just want my life totally back again, as it was before.

Back to: The Long Recovery from 9/11

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