My Middle Name Is "Lucky"
What’s in a name?
Fact is, I don’t really have a middle name. I was born in 1963, and this was during a time when nearly everyone was given a middle name. My parents used to kid around and tell me they couldn’t afford one. One of my three siblings doesn’t have one, either.
I was born Victoria Ponte. When I got married, I decided to keep my last name because I wanted my children to be aware of who I was before I got married. I liked being known by my given name when I started working full time, too.
Of course, there was some confusion over the years related to having a different last name than my husband. I started to think about changing my last name when my children were born. It seemed like it would simplify things for all of us. I ended up changing my last name after they started school to my husband’s last name, Leone. It was a fairly complicated process, but I felt it did minimize confusion with school related matters.
In 1999 I survived an extremely large cerebral hemorrhage that brought me to the ER with fixed and dilated pupils that are usually a harbinger of imminent death. I was also six months pregnant, and had a two year old son. This was caused by a congenital defect in my brain, or simply an unlucky genetic accident.
Perhaps it was bad luck that caused this misfortune, but it was wild good luck that brought me and my unborn son through this ordeal. 70% of cerebral hemorrhage patients die. Many who survive are so severely disabled they require nursing home care for life. I am slightly disabled, but extremely fortunate considering the damage that was done to my brain. I gave birth to my son at 34 weeks while I was still hemiplegic. Some believe it was God’s good graces that brought us through. I always I believed I survived because the plan was for my children to have their mother. Doctors and all who heard of my story told me I was so lucky.
I knew intellectually that I was indeed extremely lucky to be alive, to be able to walk, talk and think. I did have many, many moments of not feeling so lucky to be in a wheelchair when my sons were two years old, and newborn, respectively. I didn’t feel lucky to spend the first six weeks of my son’s life in a rehab hospital learning how to walk for the second time in my life at age 35. I didn’t feel lucky when I had to watch another woman take care of my babies because I couldn’t get out of my wheelchair or use my left arm.
Over time, I made huge strides in my recovery and became independent as far as being able to care for myself. I continue to count the ways that I am “lucky”.
I decided that my middle name was going to be “Lucky” since
I never had one.
When I joined Medium, I hesitated to use my real name because I didn’t want to tip off people in my life that I could write about them. I played around with pen name generators on the internet, but I didn’t like any of them. I had come to be known as a “Miracle”, and it sounded as good as any, so that’s that story.
I have recently been toying with the idea of using my real name here then I think “Miracle” has served me well keeping me anonymous and generating a reasonable following. If you’ve read this story, now you know my real name. ;)