I went through a phase in my life in my late 20’s where I had come to the realization that I would be just fine going through life without another new female friend ever again. At that point I had been severely burned by three women, two in business and one who was supposedly a “good” friend. Because of my experiences, I had drawn the conclusion that the world was full of women who wanted to do more harm than good, and if I that was the case then I wanted nothing to do with any of them. I had a handful of friends, most I’d known for 20+ years. I was going to be just fine without making any new female friendships or relationships. Or so I thought.

Fast forward a little bit to my mid-30’s. I had just gone through year 7 of marriage with my husband and we were both barely able to breathe through the thickness of hurt and suffering we’d put each other through. I’d heard of the seven year itch, and honestly it almost killed our marriage. We were coming out of the rocky phase and because of his sheer determination that we were going to make it, we started going to church. We shopped around for a church and connected to a non-denominational church in Plano. After connecting we then decided we needed to go further in our journey so we looked around until we found a Life Group through our church (a group of people that connect weekly or bi-monthly to have a deeper connection and live life together).

I’ll never forget… we were going to try a new Life Group out, and after a long day at work (actually it was dark out and I was still at the office), I got a phone call from a woman named Tiffany (I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent). Tiffany called to let me know how childcare worked for the Life Group and welcome my husband and I to join since we were going to visit for the first time that weekend. I’m sure I was short in my response, but I quickly told Tiffany that I knew how childcare worked since we’d visited a partner group that shared childcare with their group. After I said that Tiffany said, “oh, ok” and our exchange was short and sweet. I met her that weekend and we exchanged pleasantries. I put her on my “maybe” list of friends. I wasn’t shopping for friends and it was going to take a LOT to break down the barriers of hurt that I had built up.

Around the same time in my 30’s I had a women move in next door to me. I’ll call her Laura (again, to protect the identity of the innocent ). She had recently moved to the area from San Antonio and was working at a bank, but other than that did not have any real friends. Laura and I went to lunch and realized that, although we didn’t have a lot in common per se (at that time she wasn’t married and didn’t have kids or own her own business), we had a lot to talk and laugh about. I put her on my “maybe” list.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 18, 2012 I went to wash my hair in the sink (yes, I shower at night and wash my hair in the sink in the morning… it’s strange, I’ll admit). I turned on the water in the sink and looked at the running water. I knew I needed the water on but didn’t know what I needed to do from there. I had gone through the minor surgery of gum grafting the week before and I had felt odd, but this was different. I explained to my husband (at the risk of confirming to him I am a hypochondriac) that I couldn’t remember how to wash my hair. He walked me through the first few steps of “go to the sink, turn the water on” but when he realized I didn’t know what to do next, he encouraged me to lay down.

I was supposed to meet Laura at a Bible study that Tuesday. When I didn’t show up, she called to check on me. After I told her what I had experienced that morning she was adamant that she come check on me and take me to the doctor. I assured her that I was fine, but I consented that she could come by and check on me when she had a chance, but I refused to allow her to take me to the doctor.

Laura come shortly after and my husband went to the door. After he opened the door and allowed Laura to come in they both came in the bedroom to talk to me. I was having a seizure. My husband called 911 and the ambulance came to my rescue.

Sometime during that day my husband reached out to Tiffany’s husband and let him know that I was not well. I had undergone a CT scan, an X-ray, and an MRI. The hospital staff had deduced that I had suffered a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis in 2 places (a stroke in 2 places). Two days later I had a 7 hour brain surgery to reduce the clotting that had accumulated in my brain. I remained in the hospital for 10 days and every bit of communication regarding my condition went from my husband to Tiffany and then to the outside world. Tiffany coordinated with friends and family to have meals brought to our house and to help my husband with childcare for our two daughters.

The truth is that my new friends saved my life and I am forever grateful for them. If I had stayed jaded and mad at the world because of 3 previous women in my life, I would have missed out on life and 2 amazing friendships that have completely changed my view of what true friendship looks like. I am forever grateful to them—and for second chances.