A Chance At Life

                                                            By Karen Kerrigan 
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Karen and Husband Tim
"But soon I begin to realize, that I want to win this fight. 
I was given this CHANCE AT LIFE and I want to do it right."
Excerpt from a poem Chance of Life by Karen Kerrigan

Karen Kerrigan has a very unusual story.  She was born with medical problems and has had over 50 medical procedures during her 35 years on this earth.  She gives us just a few brief words but they ring out loud and clear the theme of this web site - we are "Living With COPD"


I  really don't know where to start because my story is a long and complicated one. I was born in 1963 with many other complications.  One of the complications is my having a Trachea-eshophageal fistulal-in short my esophagus was connected to my lung.  After the surgeries and everything was put back together, I still had many years of aspirating into my lungs.  Because of this aspirations, when I was 22 I was diagnosed with COPD.  When I diagnosed I was shocked and confused because I always assumed that COPD-emphysema was a "smokers disease" and I never smoked.  I've always lived my life trying to take things as they come and not to dwell on them.  I've always tried to be strong, but when I was diagnosed I became very angry.

I was angry for awhile but eventually I accepted another thing that I was dealt. After I ended up in I.C.U. in 1993, I realized that there were dreams that I hadn't made come true yet and one of them was to write a book about my medical history, since it was so complicated and unbelievable to my doctors. I made my dream come true by writing, publishing and copy writing my own book.  It was more out of self -satisfaction and resources were very limited.  I was unable to get it into bookstores because to have it published by a "publisher" would have cost $1,500. So,  I printed it as it was ordered and sold them that way.  It was then  the local newspapers printed articles on me.  The title is: A CHANCE AT LIFE: A True Inspiration, named after the poem I had written.

Through the years I've learned that no matter how bad I get, there is always someone worse than I am.  I don't give up easily and I have dreams that I've made over the years that I need to make come true.  Having  those goals gives me something to fight for along with my family, friends and just life in general. The poem I wrote:  A CHANCE AT LIFE is how I feel.  I was given this chance at life and no matter what I want to live it the best I can, so I can make my doctors, my parents, my friends, my husband, myself and God proud by not giving up. I am very blessed and try everyday to show people around me that I know I'm blessed.  I have my family, my husband, my friends, my doctors, nurses and all the hospital staff who care  so how could I not be happy.


I'd look at my body of scars,
and wished they'd go away.
I'd ask God to help me look healthy,
if only for just one day.
I'd ask him to send me a doctor,
who'd take special care of me.
One who'd treat me as a person,
give me  a hug when I'm in need.
I'd ask him for someone caring,
who's able to help me stay strong.
Someone who wouldn't give up on me,
when everything is going wrong.
So when my illness worsened,
and your qualities came shinning through.
I realized my prayers were answered,
on the day God sent me you.

Karen and Dr. Molesky

July 1999

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