What is normally a joyous and unforgettable experience turned into a nightmare for Bizette Love when her son was born three months prematurely.
“Baby Jake only weighed 900g at birth and doctors placed him in the NICU, while I ended up in the ICU after going into heart and kidney failure.”
On life support
Bizette was intubated, placed in an induced coma and was given a 10% chance of survival.
“The doctors were going to perform a procedure to keep my heart pumping until a donor heart became available, but then my heartbeat came back.”
Doctors told Bizette that she would never fully recover and would require strong medications for the rest of her life, but she had different plans for her life.
“I was put on high-dose corticosteroids, chemo for my kidneys and much more, including seven blood transfusions and three plasmapheresis treatments.”
These medical interventions led to hair loss and a lot of weight gain. It was a difficult situation for someone who grew up modelling and had always been committed to her health and wellness.
“I had no control over the way my body looked at that stage. But I remember that, even though I was travelling such a difficult journey, I felt grateful every day to be alive and be Jake’s mommy!”
Mind over matter
That gratitude fuelled Bizette’s ultimate goal. “I wanted to get back to full health for myself and my son. The hardest part was that my new baby and I couldn’t be together because we were both fighting for our lives.”
Despite the challenges, Bizette remained positive. “I always had a smile on my face in the hope that I could convince my body to believe everything was okay. Instead of getting caught up in everything that was going wrong,
“I decided to focus on all that was going right and all that we could be grateful for.”
She also set strict boundaries, which allowed her to focus on her recovery. “I told my doctors to call my mom or husband with test results so I could focus on healing. Instead of looking up symptoms on the internet, I would read about people who successfully healed themselves, which encouraged me.”
Searching for answers
It took a few years to find answers as Bizette’s doctors in the Philadelphia area sent her around the country to places like the Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian and John’s Hopkins for a diagnosis.
“Our story was so rare that we became a case study for grand rounds at Lankanaeu Hospital outside Philadelphia,” shares Bizette.
Along her journey, Bizette added alternative therapies to her medication regimen, including homeopathy, reiki, yoga, meditation, shamanism, reflexology, and energy work.
“I did meditations where I visualised my doctors telling me that I’m healthy. But I wouldn’t just visualise it, I would feel like it was actually happening.”
These experiences became so visceral that a wave of happiness would wash over Bizette.
“Tears would run down my face like I actually received that call. I know now that the feeling part is the most powerful element of the meditation because it sends positive energy throughout my body and into the universe. When we are happy, then we attract more happiness to us.”
Bizette’s unconventional approach eventually yielded the results she wanted, much to her doctors’ bewilderment.
“No words can explain the incredible feeling of gratitude and happiness I felt when I actually received the call that my fight was over. I made it! My doctors can’t explain my miraculous recovery but they feel so much has to do with my positive attitude and my sheer will to literally fight for my life. I am so grateful to be back to full health and off all medications!”
After regaining her health, Bizette wanted her body to look as strong and healthy on the outside as she felt on the inside.
“I have worked so hard and continue to work with my trainer. I may have a few scars but I just consider them badges of courage that make me stronger.”
Bizette’s trainer developed an amazing workout routine and eating program. “I see him twice a week in his boutique gym. He then loads workouts on an app that I follow on the other five days.”
Bizette does strength training six days a week and cardio twice a day, every day. She still includes yoga and meditation as daily practices, and she eats a balanced, clean diet.
“I often get asked why I train so hard and the answer is simple – I was in the hospital for over a month and when I came home, I couldn’t walk up one step or hold my preemie, who weighed only 2kg at the time.
“Every day that I wake up healthy, I want to move my body because I can and because I know what it’s like to not have the option. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for my life.”
Bizette now shares her success story to encourage others who are grappling with a difficult diagnosis or going through a tough time.
“I want them to know that anything is possible! I’m living proof! I was told I would never again attain full health and that I would be on medications the rest of my life, but I’m living the most beautiful, healthy and happy life without any medicines. Never stop believing or fighting for the life you want to live!”
Gym images by Flawless Focus
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.