My name is Justine and I am 26 years old and live in the city of Hamilton with my fiancé. When asked to share my story of Kawasaki disease, I feel I have little to share, yet such a powerful message to send.
Shortly after my fifth birthday in the spring of 1997, I came down with what my family thought was a bad “bug”. I imagine their initial thought was that I contracted a virus from a fellow peer in my preschool.
I have only five memories of Kawasaki’s, many of which are textbook symptoms of the disease.
I remember lying in my bed, hot, sweating for days on end; a high fever. My zest for life diminished overnight. I would lie on the couch, my bed, even the floor with no interest in eating, drinking, or especially playing. My most vivid memory is the peeling of my palms and bottoms of my feet. I’ll never forget the fear I felt when I pulled the dead skin away from my body.
Memories skip now to my admission at McMaster Children’s Hospital, located in the west end of Hamilton. My mother, the strongest woman I’ll ever know stood by my side till the end. I cried during many of my tests, the lethargy continued and I begged to be home. My final memory is my mother holding me in her arms, a place of security like no other. These are my only memories, though I know my mother holds many more. Her story of the fight for my life is one that makes me feel like the luckiest daughter on earth. I know her fight for my diagnosis was a challenging one, yet it was her fight that very well saved my life. If I can share any message to a parent it is this: There is nothing like the intuition of a parent; the voice that shouts, “This isn’t right!” You know your child the best.
**Opinions expressed are that of the person who submitted this story.***