On May 5th, 2014, Malena Lola became trach free. It was a moment that liberated us on so many levels.

Malena Hawaii

Malena Lola was able to experience her neck free of the trach, the trach ties, the speaking valve. She was able to finally breathe through her upper airway, to experience inhaling and exhaling through her mouth and nose. She was able to experience speaking without a speaking valve.

Breathing. Speaking. On her own.

It’s amazing how such simple actions that we perform everyday, hundreds of times, can have such powerful meaning.

I will forever remember watching Malena Lola see herself in the mirror without a trach for the first time. She kept staring at the stome – the hole in her neck where the trach used to be. She touched it. She lowered her chin and touched her neck with it. She wasn’t able to do that before. Her chin would always touch the trach instead. Now her neck was totally free and she was exploring what that felt like.

It was magical and fascinating to watch her explore her new trach free neck.

It was even more magical and moving watching her explore her voice, her speech.

I still get teary eyed sometimes when I hear her say “mommy”. I feel so blessed to be able to hear my daughter’s voice.

And even on days when I am so tired I can hardly think anymore…even on days where the idea of being stranded on a desert island seems just about perfect…even then, when I will hear my little girl call me “mommy”, I remember how precious it all really is.

Her voice.

Her mighty spirit.

Her breathing.

Her existance.


This very moment.

Right now.