I wanted to thank everyone who reacted and responded to my desperate
cry for help, I really thought it was going to get only worse 🙂
I then checked with wordpress support on the advice of a blogger and
this is the answer I got:
raincoaster replied to a forum topic that you subscribe to
in response to the topic “photos disappearing from my posts”:
You could have just waited this out. Typically when it happens (it has happened four times that I recall in my six years of being here) the problem is caused by an issue at one of the server facilities hosting the images, and they return after a few hours, once the problem has been fixed.
What a relief! All is well that ends well 🙂