Rare cardiovascular subclavian artery aneurysm. That wasn’t on my bingo card. But then again, not much of these last few years was on either mine or anyone else’s bingo cards, and yet, here we all are, just trying to deal.
In many ways, my entire life has been a series of unexpected twists and turns, some planned, some not, but they all follow the same theme: how can I turn this experience into a net positive? But it wasn’t always this way. Let me take it all the way back for a moment.
When I was 9 years old, my mother decided mothering wasn’t for her, and she left.
Little 9-year-old Lucy didn’t take it well. She rebelled, she found solace in local gangs, she blamed her dad, she blamed just about anything and anyone she could find, and she happened to grow up in an environment where kids with needs aren’t treated like kids with needs; they are treated like everyday criminals, and it doesn’t matter if you’re just a child.
Being arrested, put in handcuffs, and in the back of a police car, then transported to the juvenile detention facility where I was mug-shotted, fingerprinted, strip-searched, put in an orange jumpsuit, and locked up in a cold cinder block jail cell was just another Tuesday in my neighborhood - and that was just for ditching school.
These early traumatic years have informed my life perspective and approach ever since.
Fast forward to the moment a few months ago when my phone rang after a CT scan of my neck was done because of a mysterious neck strain.
“Hi Lucy, it’s Megan (my doctor is a physician assistant, so she chooses to go by her first name).” My mind immediately started racing. “This isn’t good news,” I said to myself, “They never call when it’s good news.”
She begins to deliver the news as best as possible so as not to inspire immediate panic. “Well, it seems you might have an aneurysm in your subclavian artery. It was at the bottom of your scan, and we’re not entirely sure, but you need to get it checked out.” My mind processes the only thing I know about aneurysms - am I bleeding out internally right now? Isn’t that what an aneurysm is??? (turns out that’s not what an aneurysm is) Am I DYING???
Sensing my obvious confusion as to why I’m not already dead or if I might be dead at any moment, she begins to calmly explain that they don’t believe the possible aneurysm poses an immediate threat, and theoretically, we could wait and get scheduled with a vascular surgeon in a few days for follow up but aggressively “suggests” that going to an ER without delay is the better choice.
I understand immediately.
I finish up a work call, call my brother and give him my pin and passwords and instruct him to empty all my accounts should I die so as little as possible gets stuck in probate (like most Americans and especially people of color, I have no will or trusts set up - that’s obviously changing).
Facing possible death is a hell of a thing.
We all know we’re going to die eventually. We all understand that it can be at any moment. Many try to live with that in mind and embrace the carpe diem mentality. Or if you’re an elder millennial like me, YOLO, but with only the possibility in mind, it’s pretty easy to forget that we truly aren’t guaranteed another day and fall into our old ways of letting dumb shit steal far too much energy.
There are still too many details about my condition that are unknown to determine what the actual risk of sooner-than-expected death is, but rather than causing additional consternation; it instead added a certain amount of freedom from the shackles of everyday worry. While my vascular surgeons figure out the best solutions and paths forward (my condition is so rare that there are virtually no identical cases that inform an accepted and clear treatment path; leave it to me to continue to choose the path less traveled...), all we can do is cross the decision bridges when we get there.
In the meantime, rather than focusing on what could be a premature death or other less-than-desired outcomes like permanent disabilities, my focus has gone to the now. My life. My business. My loved ones.
My personality is a problem-solving one. With that same determination inspired by my experience growing up in (and still living in) a white supremacist, class-based oppressive system that almost claimed me as one of its millions of unlucky victims, I immediately turned to how I was going to keep both the media company I launched and me alive at the same time.
I’ve always been absolutely astonished at just how many Latinos live in the U.S. and how little power we wield.
There are 60 million+ Latinos in the U.S., the majority of whom are bilingual and are English-dominant, not the other way around as mainstream media would have everyone believe. And yet, name other media outlets besides the well-known Spanish-language brands we all know.
Movie studios continue to ignore us. History tellers continue to erase us. And brands everywhere continue putting “Hispanic” audiences in their minuscule multi-cultural budgets despite Latinos continuously leading consumer-spending numbers and trends.
But why would they care when no one makes them care? They still reap the rewards of Latino dollars without having to put in any additional effort at all. Why fix what’s not broken for them, right?
That’s where media brands like Luz Media, Remezcla, Hip LATINA, Futuro Media, Latina Media Co. and even white-owned mitú who just recently merged with John Leguizamo’s NGL Collective, come in. None of these brands, however, will amount to much of anything if they don’t thrive and grow into nationally recognized brands. Latinos can make that happen.
Ultimately, Luz Media decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign because 1) I just don’t have any quit in me even when I really want to, and 2) I can’t possibly imagine the pitiful state of affairs for Latine media with even less Latina-owned media, rather than more. At the end of the day, we’re really just hoping the Latino community will fight for us as hard as we fight for them.
I’m confident that years from now, when Luz Media and I are still here, we’ll look back on these tough days and be proud of all that our community was able to accomplish - together.
You can support Luz Media here and watch our story below:
The Luz Media Story Hits a Bump in the Road youtu.be