Local mother and wife, Aran Hissam encountered a life-changing experience last year. Wanting to share it with others, she wrote her first book My Journey with an Angel now available through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1477525548 . The following interview should shed some light on why Hissam wrote the book and why should pick up a copy.
ENGLE: Your book “My Journey with an Angel” centers around a very difficult period in your life. Can you tell me more about that?
HISSAM: Last November, my husband and I were given devastating news at a doctor’s appointment that no parent can ever prepare to hear, “Your daughter has a fatal fetal illness and her chance of survival is zero!” Not willing to believe the diagnosis and knowing that we were in for the fight of our lives, we traveled the country meeting with specialist after specialist trying to find someone who could give our daughter a chance at life.
We consulted with and I became a patient of one of the most brilliant minds in fetal surgery who gave us if not anything else, HOPE. Brianna, our daughter, had three surgeries while I was still pregnant with her. One of the surgeries had never been done on a baby diagnosed with her condition, which was known as Fetal Hydrops (an accumulation of fluid around her lungs that prevented their growth). Brianna was with us for the most precious 15 hours of our lives before God took her back as his angel. So much was learned by ourselves and our doctors about fetal lung growth, unconditional love, faith in God, and the meaning of hope.
I would not change a thing that I did to give Brianna a chance at life. Over the past year, I have asked myself many times why God choose us to go on this journey with Brianna, but I now believe it is to educate others on her condition and on fetal therapy options available, which many doctors still don’t know about. I will ALWAYS hold a very special spot in my heart for Brianna and I will forever long for her by my side; however, through her spirit, I am now working to help to give hope to other families in the same situation as ours.
ENGLE: What an amazing story. Is this your first book?
HISSAM: Yes, this is my first book.
ENGLE: What challenges, if any, did you face writing it that you didn’t expect to encounter?
HISSAM: One of the biggest challenges I faced internally was making the decision to open up and share EVERYTHING about the experience. I was concerned about some of the people that I wrote about and their feelings on the subject matter, but I made the decision that I had to be open and honest about everything so that others that experienced the same situation that I did, would know exactly what my thoughts, emotions, and concerns were throughout the journey.
Another challenge that I faced was proofing the book. I wrote real-time, so as it happened, I wrote it. The emotions were raw and honest and when I would go back to proof and edit my work, it was as if I was reliving the experience time and time again. It was painful and emotional; yet, a constant reminder of why I was doing this. By reading the book, my hope was that it would give other individuals going through a similar situation, some advice and letting them see that it is okay to feel what they are feeling. We are all human and we all experience many emotions when we go through a tragedy.
ENGLE: After this experience in your life, how has your outlook changed? How has your family changed?
HISSAM: Writing this book started as a means of therapy for myself and it ended up turning into a story of hope and faith during unimaginable times. Life was put into perspective very quickly for me. I used to get stressed out at the little things in life, like an unmade bed, or looking back now how I thought a cough or sniffle was tragic. I have now come to appreciate the things in life that are most important: My family and friends. They stood by my husband and I in ways that I can’t even describe. I never gave up hope during my journey with Brianna and I prayed each and every day for our miracle baby and even though her life ended after only hours, I still have hope and belief in God that there is a deeper meaning for why this all happened. We are donating 100% of all royalties of this book into our foundation, which we created for our daughter which will hopefully one day aid in the development of new fetal therapy options for babies like Brianna.
ENGLE: Wow, that is really amazing. Will you be writing any more books?
HISSAM: I don’t know. If you asked me a year ago if I would write a book, I would have laughed and said “Maybe a children’s book.” I never in a million years would have thought that our lives would have changed so much in a 10 month period, so I’ll keep this answer as, “Maybe…”
ENGLE: If you could be a Muppet, which would you be and why?
HISSAM: Wow! This is a tough one. I would say Kermit the Frog. Like Kermit, I tend to want to please everyone; yet, take control of situations. The one problem during this time of my life was that I felt I had no control. Remember Muppets take Manhattan when Kermit got hit by the car and had amnesia? That was kind of like me. There were times on this journey where I didn’t know who I was or what was happening to this “perfect little life” my husband and I built for ourselves. Once I came to and I realized what reality was, like Kermit I took back control, but with a different perspective on life. My new “control” is educating others on fetal therapies and offering hope.
To reach Aran, you can visit her website at http://www.briannamariefoundation.com/ or find her on facebook under Aran Cote Hissam and also Brianna Marie Foundation.