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9 Lives

Today was a tumultuous day, to say the least. My babes were still sleeping when I left the house this morning. I showed up at the hospital at 8am. Starbucks refresher and Kinder Bueno chocolate in hand.


Mahmoud (Shyras husband), was nowhere to be seen when I got there. But, mom and dad were there. The three of them have been like the British changing of the guard, taking turns so that Shyra is never alone.

Shyra had a rough night with 103 fever and heart arrhythmia symptoms. The nurses have been phenomenal and brought her fever down and got her stable.

When I showed up this morning, she was sleeping peacefully. The doctors came in and discussed her options for care as well and performing routine tests (EKG, bloodwork, etc). Shyra woke up every time she heard the doctors voice. How do they do it? She sleeps right through my rattling off about vacations, universal studios, and childhood memories. Geez. My parents left to give me time alone with my sister, as I requested, but Mahmoud continues to make this a very difficult time by either not giving Shyra and I the privacy to share 33 years of sisterhood memories, or by recording private family conversations when he’s not in the room. This is truly disturbing to me. I know this is a heartbreaking time and everyone grieves in a different way, but there should be an expectation and respect of privacy in these unprecedented times. This is not the time to create drama or threaten my family. All Shyra wants is peace, and I truly hope he honors her wishes and starts being kind to my parents.


On top of all the family drama at the hospital today, and most importantly, our Shyra has been fighting for her life. Literally, fighting. The pneumonia and the cancer want to take over, but she won’t let them! We keep losing her and she keeps coming back, entirely on her own!

At noon today, while she was sleeping, she flatlined. No oxygen to the brain, she was gone. 2 minutes she had no heart rate and no breath. We called all the family in to say goodbye. My dad reached for her hand and suddenly, she took a breath!! We thought we were seeing things. The nurses had already turned off the monitor and the staff was waiting around to call time of death. But our Shyra had other plans! Then she took another breath. And then another! Then she opened her eyes and said “I’m not done fighting!”. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

The entire hospital staff were stunned as we welcomed Shyra back and cheered her on for bringing herself back to us, without any medical intervention!

There were so many smiles in that room it was beautiful.

She continued to have “episodes” of heart arrhythmia throughout the afternoon. We played her favorite worship songs and Mahmoud called her pastor to pray over her and comfort her. It was beautiful, and there was forgiveness and peace in Shyra’s hospital room at last.

Each time we thought we lost her, she came back to us, spicier than before, demanding the royal treatment. She asked for bites from my mom’s tuna sandwich. She drank juice and water and a smoothie. She ate some chicken and rice from the cafeteria. And then it was nap time.

My sister Havi and I decided today that Shyras spirit animal is a cat, because she clearly has 9 lives.


Once Shyra was stable, I said my goodbyes and got on the road home. When I told her I would be back in the morning, she flashed one of her charming smiles, and I held on to that the whole ride home.


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