Huffpost Fifty

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Gloria Gaynor Headshot

How I Survived

Posted: Updated:
Getty Images
Getty Images

The "Queen is dead," was the report rumored to be circulating around my record company. A few weeks before, I had fallen on stage, jumped back up, and continued my show, including the rigorous choreography. I went out to breakfast after the show, gone home and off to bed. The next morning I felt refreshed. But then I reached for the phone to call my boyfriend and could not turn completely over. I tried to turn over again and felt an excruciating pain that hit me in my back and ran down my left leg into my foot. I tried to move again, but I realized I couldn't. I thought, "Oh my God! What has happened to me?" In agony and bewilderment, I managed to reach the telephone on the back of the bed. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital in traction.

I opened my eyes and there stood my boyfriend, clearly shaken to the core. "What happened", I said. "Why am I here"? Linwood replied, "You called me, you were screaming. I couldn't understand what you were saying. I couldn't calm you down, so I hung up the phone and rushed over. You were still screaming when I got there. I called an ambulance. They came and the paramedics gave you something for pain. It made you almost like delirious and calmed you down. I came with them into the elevator and to the hospital in the ambulance, and here we are." The doctors came in just then. They said I was paralyzed from the waist down, probably because the fall I'd taken caused a slipped disc that rested on the spinal chord. Thorough examinations revealed a ruptured disc that had to be operated on. After four months in the hospital I was released. Three months of physical therapy fraught with uncertainty about my career and ability to become financially stable again, ended with me approaching despair.

Instead of succumbing to despair, I decided to turn to the only one. I was sure He knew exactly what my future held, because He held my future. I began to pray and trust that God would work it out. I certainly didn't know how, but I believed He is faithful and He would do it. That evening, a message was delivered to me that said the record company wanted me to record a song they liked, and the producers would write the "B" side. When they presented me with the "B" side song, I was not only sure that this was a great song, but also that it was God's answer to my prayer. The song was "I Will Survive." God was not only giving me an answer, but it was a resounding "YES." Not only was He saying, I would SURVIVE, but that this song would cause me to triumph and be the catalyst for so many others to survive and triumph over the traumatic and seemingly insurmountable situations and circumstances that come into their lives.

Since that day, "I Will Survive" has been my constant companion whenever the odds seem against me. Oh yes, there's no doubt about it... "I Will Survive."

Call for Personal Stories of Survival, Inspired by Gloria Gaynor's Song "I Will Survive"
Have you survived an illness, personal tragedy, abusive relationship, financial ruin, or other life experience that brought you to your knees? Did the song "I Will Survive," by Grammy Award-winning songstress Gloria Gaynor, inspire you to rise, survive, and move forward? If so, we'd love to share your story in a new book of personal narrative essays that tell the story of how you survived the experience and how the song influenced your life (essential). We're looking forreal-life stories that read like fiction -- similar to the stories in the Cup of Comfort book series, compiled and edited by Colleen Sell. The book will include 50 stories of 1,000-1,500 words each. For each essay selected for publication in the book, the author will receive $75, a complimentary copy of the book signed by Gloria Gaynor, and a signed photo of Ms. Gaynor. Submit by April 30, 2013, to or