A Thank You

My name is Pamela Del Vecchio – I am the mother of Lauren Del Vecchio-Zaleski. On July 19, 2013, I held Lauren in my arms as she took her last breath. When she left this world she looked at peace. For her family, it was a tragic loss.

As I look back on Lauren’s illness, which manifested itself at age 17, there were many people who cared for Lauren and followed her journey, other than family. It was always evident that she had a huge support system from others too numerous to name.  This blog, which meant a great deal to her, was her emotional lifeline. Not only was she able to express her feelings through words,  but the immense feedback was an overwhelming gift. This blog boosted her will to thrive even through the most difficult and scary times.

The “Color me a healthy heart” idea proved to be huge outpouring of love. Colored hearts would arrive from all over the world in droves. Lauren would spread these beautiful labors of love all over the floor and sit amongst them as if they held the power to heal; and I believe they did heal her psyche which allowed her to move forward even through the darkest days. It was an amazing act of kindness by her readers/followers.

Lauren LIVED every day of her life. She fought a battle each day always looking ahead. She had plans and dreams. She was happy and NEVER felt sorry for herself. Even while dealing with her own issues, she inspired others. Countless friends & acquaintances spoke or wrote me about how much she inspired them. Some actually stated, “she saved my life”.

I am honored and proud to have Lauren as a daughter. Her unconquerable strength still amazes me. I knew she was special from the day she was born – just the thought of her would bring joy to my heart and still does, but with an unbearable sadness.

The one person who brought joy to Lauren’s heart was her husband. Lauren loved him dearly. His LOVE and support was nothing short of amazing. She meant the world to him and for this I am forever grateful.

Thank you SLH followers for all that you brought to Lauren’s life in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

Gratefully yours,

Pamela Del Vecchio

In loving memory of Lauren Zaleski

My name is Thomas, I am Lauren’s (the author of this blog) husband. It saddens me to say that Lauren passed away on July 19th.

I am honored to have stood by Lauren’s side for the last seven years of her life. The night I first met her I knew she was one of a kind. We never got the chance to exchange phone number that night, instead we randomly ran in to each other on the street on a rainy New York night just a few days later. Apparently other forces also thought we were destined together. Within a month Lauren moved in with me and for the next seven years we were inseparable.

Our journey together faced the most difficult challenges a couple can face. Just a few months after we met, Lauren got her heart diagnosis and her life changed dramatically. In the beginning she was often worried that her complications would tear us apart to which I always replied to that nothing will ever tear us apart, ever. Shortly after that she started this blog to keep family and friends updated on her life.

Lauren often asked me what it is specifically that I love about her. There are so many qualities that I love and admire about Lauren but there is one in particular that stands out. No matter how hard life was for her she always handled it gracefully, on her own terms and with the most beautiful smile on her face. She never let anything stop her from living life to the fullest. Never! She had this amazing ability of embracing the hardship she was facing and disarming it using kindness. It came so effortlessly for her. We often met people in public that first later found out about her struggles and were baffled. Her strength was simply mesmerizing.

A year ago Lauren applied to School of Visual Arts to attend a one year masters program in branding. She got accepted and was ecstatic about studying with passionate and like minded people. The sheer fact that she would be contributing to a greater good was very exciting to her. As a husband, seeing my wife so happy was truly something precious. Her studies is also the reason why her posts were not as frequent over this last year. One of Lauren’s project that she was working on was the 100 heartbeat project. The essence of the assignment was to do something consistent every day for a hundred days. She reached day 93 before she left us.

In memory of Lauren, I have taken it upon myself to finish her project. The last seven days will be posted in the weeks to come and with the help of the remarkable people that stood by her the last post will be something really spectacular.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported Lauren throughout her fight. From people all over the world that colored her healthy hearts and mailed them to us, to people who purchased her bracelets and supported her through her fundragers. I am always deeply moved by the emails I receive from people that have never met Lauren face to face or people that just have met her for a brief moment telling me what an impact she had on their lives or what a positive beacon of light she was to them. Every time I read one of these emails it reminds me how privileged I am to have spent seven years of my life with her. Not only seven years but the best seven years of my life.

I would like to conclude this post with a quote from Lauren:

“I leave you with one thought. Take it from someone who had the rug pulled out from beneath them… the record could stop at your party at any time my friend. Celebrate your life each and every day. Do things that scare you, live life all the way, love with every cell in your body, eat that piece of chocolate cake! Wear your favorite dress, or your “good clothes” to the market, go places, see things, and don’t look back.”

- Lauren Zaleski

Thank you for the best seven years of my life. Thank you for being amazing. Thank you for being you. Words cannot describe how much I miss you. I love you always and forever.

Please feel free to share Lauren’s blog and her story. Stay tuned for the remaining posts.

Link to the slideshow played at Lauren’s memorial
Link to a project for MLS that Lauren was a part of at SVA

Mind Over Medicine

I love when I discover a member of the heal yourself tribe!  And of course, who else would lead me to this glowing goddess but Kris Carr in her latest newsletter.  I saw the subject line and immediately clicked on the email to go on and read about Lissa Rankin(M.D.) and her new book, Mind over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself.  Kris Carr puts it best:

“Lissa is part of a new generation of doctors embracing the mind-body-spirit connection in order to harness the body’s natural ability to heal. In Mind Over Medicine, you’ll learn exactly how your thoughts, feelings and beliefs can change the way your cells function.”

Yes Yes Yes!  Keep spreading that good word.  I can feel the empowerment and I am passionate about spreading this mindset.  I just ordered my copy. Cannot wait to tear into this book

*P.S. That “new generation of doctors” she mentioned?  Well, I’ve been kind of obsessed with a few, and doing my own research.  I’m in the process of contacting one in particular and I cannot wait to share once I do!

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Recovery Mode

It’s been a couple weeks since my surgery and I’m finally feeling like myself again.  The swelling is down, I am allowed to shower, and I am no longer in pain 24/7.

The procedure itself was interesting.  Things got a little hairy while I was on the operating table.  I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me through IV and I woke up during the procedure.  I was agitated and burning up.  Luckily my doctor and his team got things under control right away.  However, I must say, a scary situation.

Things are looking good. I cannot tell yet whether this kicker is slightly smaller than the last –but not by much. Looks like I’m ready to go for another 5 -7 years!

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New Pacemaker Defibrillator

So today is the day.  Anyone who knows me or has read along since the first one was implanted FIVE years ago (wow) knows that I am not thrilled about going in to the hospital.   I am positive this will go smoothly.  It will because it has to.

There’s no way around it… I need a new pacemaker defibrillator (or what I call my Kicker). Seeing that I am so very rich in friends and family I am asking everyone in my life, if you wish, at around 1:30 pm today, to take a minute to pause and send some love vibes, healing intentions, magic fairy dust, prayers, good thoughts, positive energy, hugs, or whatever may be your style to my beautiful strong heart.

I believe that the collective love, light, and good energy has a lot of power!

I will check in here later or tomorrow to give an update.  Thank you for being in my life and thank you for how incredibly thoughtful / supportive a lot of you have been.

Printing Organs

3-D Printing for Organs!

It’s articles like this one that inspire me and give me hope. I’ve been reading more and more like this one every day –growing organs, printing organs, quantified self, etc.  My plan has always been to keep my heart, preserve it with love and grow her strong so she can be ready for the amazing medical wonders that are just around the corner.  3-d printing is only one, think about stem cells, think about the joining of human dna with technology/ or machines?

I have been researching many doctors and futurists on the matter and the truth is, I know that soon I may have more options that just a heart transplant.  It’s exciting .  I have a list of doctors, people doing amazing things right now , that I would love to speak with.  This is one of my new projects, to find them and therefore find the new possibilities for my heart.

This of course, comes one week before my pacemaker surgery, something that I am obviously anxious about.