I’m a survivor of stage 4 cancer and still standing after a recent traumatic car accident that left me hopeless. This accident happened February 28, 2017, when I suffered a brain injury, internal decapitation (head and spine separated), punctured lungs, and broken hip. This has been a roller coaster ride for my family and me. Being told that I had to be bound to a mobile wheelchair with no other expectancy was a huge challenge that we had to face. Not to mention the thought of riding in a car again, which was a fear that I was left with.
I clearly remember my release date. My nurse helped me get into a car that was down in the rehab department. As I sat in the car, I began to get nauseated and it was like I could see out of my peripheral vision the accident occurring all over again. I cried and close my eyes. As the nurse grabbed my hand and told me to take a deep breath, I opened my eyes. Just then, a calmness came over me and I began to feel so much better. I sat in the car for about 30 minutes. At first, I didn’t want to look over towards the driver’s side, remembering that was the side I was struck on. But I made myself look. I was determined, going forward, that fear was no longer going to be a part of me because I was safe in the master’s care.
I was on my way to going home and ready to face the challenges that awaited me. My family had all come together and built a ramp, which was another requirement for my release. It was done and ready for my arrival. I came home April 25, 2017, greeted by the biggest support team anyone could ask for. As you can imagine, I was full of tears—but they were joyful tears.
Still, having to depend on someone else for everything wasn’t something I could ever be comfortable with. But it was amazing to experience so much love from people to whom I have the pleasure of being a daughter, sister, niece,cousin, mother, and best friend. While my release date was April, I was out and about in my wheelchair by July, thanks to my sister, who took time to fix me up and take me out to malls and different shopping centers. Shopping was something that she and I loved to do prior to my accident. I was also blessed with a cousin (whom I really consider a brother) who would come each morning and do therapy with me before he punched the clock.
God placed some really great people in my life for the support that he knew I would need in order to push me to the place where I could begin to see my way forward.
It had been months since I had eaten, since I had to have a feeding tube placed in my stomach, due to the fact I couldn’t pass the swallowing test because my throat was still inflamed. I had been on a liquid diet since the hospital and had to come home on one. One day, my aunt cooked a dish with gravy, and I just wanted to taste a little bit—but she was one of the few who believed in following ALL rules with no exception. However, on this particular day, she decided to fix me some gravy, not knowing it would push me to a whole new level. This was new. Being on canned milk for almost four months through a tube in my stomach was what I had let myself get used to. I chose to step out on faith and try the gravy that was left over the next day with some rice I had convinced my mom to make. I was able to successfully chew and swallow!
When it was time for my next swallow test, through fasting and prayer, I passed it and was able to get the feeding tube removed. I didn’t go right back to full-course meals, but gradually I got there. My family prepared a traditional Sunday dinner each Sunday, which was established by my granny, who was considered the best cook in the world by our family. I now could look forward to sitting with them to enjoy dinner.
I’ve found positive people who are determined not to allow me to give up, and it’s a blessing to have them in my corner. When you’re used to being a certain way and it’s taken from you, it can be overwhelming. So setting small goals and reaching them makes for great milestones.
Find the positive in every encounter you’re faced with. I can reassure you that your outcome will shift. Stay ENCOURAGED—and remember that you can’t appreciate the sun without the rain. And behind every storm, the rainbow is PROMISED.