Life happens, we react, respond, and then tell stories about it in an effort to make sense of trauma. Sometimes we are heroes and sometimes victims. This is the first and last time I will tell this story, on the 21st anniversary and what has been my reality for what is now half of my life. I cherish this journey, and yet I now let it go. How you respond to trauma determines the rest of your life, and we all experience it in one way or another. I found it young, and when you meet the health or life challenges that call for you to grow, change, or die, I hope this story inspires you to make changes that empower you.