Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finally, A Good Day

I finally had a great day after a series of down and out, depressing and painful days. It started with a wonderful cup of coffee which led to coffee out at Denny's for breakfast followed by a quick look at the Presbyterian Bazaar and ended our outing at Wal-Mart where we did some errand shopping. We then came home and started in on carving pumpkins. This year we went with simple, classic faces. Nothing really fancy.

(Dad cleaning out the pumpkins)

(Me drawing on one of the pumpkin faces. Nice tissue expander on my back eh?)

(Mom also drawing on face on the pumpkins)

(Dad, the Master Carver, carving out our designs)

(Our finished products for Halloween 2010!)

(Silly Daddy)

After the carving of the pumpkins was done, we got ourselves ready for the Oregon vs. USC game. Dad and I wore matching Oregon Ducks pajama pants and we ate finger foods for dinner while we watched the game. And the Ducks won!

And now here I am, writing at the end of a very wonderful and best of all, pain free day. I have also had a switch in medications to hopefully help my restlessness and help me focus and concentrate better. And so far I think it is helping! I saw my therapist and told her I felt like I had ADD or ADHD and then I saw my psychiatrist who handles my medications and told him of my new symptoms and he took me off one medication and started me on a different one that I think is actually helping. It may be too early to tell yet but I certainly have felt better the past two days.

Tomorrow is Halloween, my second favorite holiday (Christmas being my favorite). It is the beginning of the holiday season. I love this time of year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Little Yet Big Message from Apolo

I was watching the Today Show this morning (as I do every morning) and Apolo Ohno was on as a guest with his new book, "Zero Regrets." And the reason I'm writing about this this morning is because of two things he said. Really his entire interview was inspiring but two things he said really reached right through to my heart. He Said, "It's about living with the cards you were dealt," and "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Those two quotes are really important to me and I think to many of you who are reading as well because for me, at least, I have been so stuck on my past that I have been unable to move forward and live for my present, for my future. I've been stuck on how I "started," instead of focusing on how I will "finish." And I've been stuck on how I started, on my past, because I didn't do everything right. I have regrets from my past and I can't get past them. But I need to retrain my mind, and my heart, to move on from that. It's become an old excuse for not doing all that I can NOW. It's an old excuse for not picking myself up and doing what I need to do to "finish" with no regrets, knowing that I did everything to make the most and the best of this second chance I've been given.

And as for "living the life you were dealt" I also have a hard time dealing (no pun intended) with the cards I have been dealt in my life. I ask the question "why" everyday I wake up, every time I look in the mirror, every time I'm invited to a gathering where there will be a lot of people, every time I get a stare, every time I go into surgery, and every time I'm in pain. Instead I curse God. I'm going about this all wrong. I need to stop asking "why," and just accept that these are the cards I've been dealt with in life. That perhaps these cards I've been dealt are a blessing, rather than cursing God for them for my eyes have been opened to what is most important in life. The cards I was dealt put me at the bottom of life and because of the "deal," I really have nowhere to go but up, if I can learn to play these cards right. And I think I am learning to play them right. I am looking into going back to school and I am slowly getting out more and being more confident when I'm out with people. It's unfortunate that it took a terrible accident for me to gain sight again of where I want to go with my life, but these are my cards, MY cards, and I must learn how to live life with those cards.

Thank you, Apolo, for inspiring me to live my best for at least today and, hopefully, keep those words in the forefront of my mind so I can live my best for the rest of my life too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making A Second Chance Count

I got one of those "forwarded" emails from my mother the other day that I usually don't pay attention to no matter who they're from but for some reason I opened this one and I'm so glad I did because it had a wonderful message inside:

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.

I have written a many posts about not taking things, even the simplest of things, for granted and I have posted about how your life can change in a split second so life your life to the fullest and love with all your heart those that you love. I've written about how I've been given a second chance and how my life has not been easy since my accident. But I have never talked about how life, even mine, is worth it no matter how hard it is. I love the lines, "If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it."

I have been given a second chance at life, but I have not grabbed it with both hands because I am afraid I have nothing to grab on to. I feel like I've lost everything good that I had in my life when really the most important things that I had in my life i still have, which is my family and my friends. And in the friends department, I have actually gained. But besides my family and friends, what is it in this second chance I've been given that I can grab with both hands? A career? That's a big iffy and very far away right now. Love? forget it. Money? forget that too and that's only important to me so I can one day take care of my parents as they have taken care of me. Beauty? I lost that in the fire. God or Faith? I question even the existence of a higher being right now. So I ask again, what is it in this second chance that I can grab with both hands? I feel like I'm reaching and reaching but grasping nothing but air.

"Nobody said life would be easy. They just said it would be worth it." Life is not easy for me, that's for sure. But I'm still trying to figure out how my accident still made my life worth it. What good came out of it other than the better friends I have? I listed several things in the paragraph above that I don't have now because of the fire. I lost so much in that fire. So how is life still worth it? I'm trying hard to rebuild my life but I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. The last 2 1/2 years of my life have been surgery after surgery and then in constant recovery. Despite the great advances in my reconstruction, I feel like I'm in a stationary position with no energy to move my feet and do something great with my life.

I want to make the best out of this second chance I've been given. So? What do I do? I'm looking into going back to school because I want to finish my psychology degree and because I love learning and I feel like my brain has turned into mush. I need to revive it. So at least I'm making an effort there. But I live my days inside the house, and usually in some state of depression. What can I do with my daily life to cheer up? To make life worth it? To make this second chance count? Because I've been given one and I must live it better than I did the first chance. I must not repeat my mistakes. I must aim for an unbound and free life full of joy and love and opportunities. I will not allow myself to get cornered again in a life I didn't enjoy. I must promise myself that I won't stop reaching until I finally am able to grab onto my life with both hands and live it. There may not be another chance for me. This is it. GRAB ON AND LIVE IT!

Friday, October 22, 2010

"It'll Be All Right Again, I'm Ok"

"It'll be all right again, I'm ok."

I was inspired by those seven simple words, sung by the musical group "Sugarland," to write this morning. Will it ever be all right again? Will I ever be ok? I like to fantasize that those words will ring true in my life one day. But I don't think it'll just be all right again by itself. I have to be proactive in making it all right again. it won't just be so by itself. Nothing can be so by itself. You must always be proactive for things to happen in your life. Unless you're bloody rich, things you want in life won't just come to you such as your career and even your love life.

However, sometimes, things go wrong in your life and make it even harder to achieve such things. That's where I'm at right now. Something terrible has happened in my life and to my body and even damaged my heart to where I have to learn to pick myself up and stop thinking the way that I do about my life. I must rewire my brain to think, "it'll be all right again, I'm ok." I must be an electrician of my own brain and heart. But I feel like such damaged goods that rewiring is impossible. How do I become proactive in my life like I was my first couple of years in New York City? I worked so hard those first couple of years. But now I fear I must work even harder because of my circumstances. I know I have taken the first couple steps in going back to school but paying for it is holding me back because I don't want another loan. And I'm scared of taking those steps to getting my life back. When you haven't had a life in 2 1/2 years it is exciting to get a life back but it is also scary because you are finally picking up the pieces in your life and putting them back together, like a puzzle that has been torn apart by God.

It's scary to think what that puzzle of your life is going to look like now that the pieces have changed. Because the pieces have changed, the shape and colors of the puzzle of my life have changed. Even the ultimate picture has changed and I don't know what that picture is going to look like. I don't think anyone really knowns what the picture of their puzzle is ultimately going to look like because it is constantly changing, but, for most people, it is constantly changing in a positive direction. The puzzle of my life was torn apart and changed in a negative way. I was burned. My life was burned. But I must learn to be the electrician of my own mind and rewire it to think positively, to think "it'll be all right again, I'm ok." And once I can do that, I can pick up the pieces of my broken puzzle with confidence and bravery and not be afraid of what I will see as I put piece by piece together.

It'll be all right again, I'm ok.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grab the Reins of Change and Enjoy the Ride

Today I took my second step in getting my psychology degree by going to meet with a psychology professor about what exactly it is that I need to do. The psychology requirements have changed a bit but seeing as how I've already done everything that was required of me when I graduated they are not going to make me do the additional requirements. So what I need to graduate is 36 of any credits. We also discussed doing a practicum in the Spring (I'm planning on returning to school in the winter term). I plan on doing my credits online and i plan on doing this very slowly as I have to travel to doctor appointments and surgeries all the time. So only a class or two at a time.

Marie asked me if I knew what I wanted to do with my psychology. Good question. What do I want to do? There are two areas that I am interested in - forensic psychology and dealing with trauma patients. Now I know what you're thinking...GO WITH TRAUMA PATIENTS! That is also screaming in my head too. Not to toot my own horn but I would be rather excellent at dealing with trauma victims being as I've been through a terrible trauma myself and have first hand experience. I really think I could help trauma victims/survivors.

So is this where I'm destined? I still can't help but think about my acting. I know one of my friends, who I have copied her email on here before, would tell me to go with the change. I always thought of change as a good thing. In fact, I loved change. But this kind of change is pretty big and life-changing, if you will, and I'm not sure I am ready to go forth with it. But the more I think about graduating with a SECOND degree the more excited I get. I need to let that excitement soak through me like a sponge and flow with the change that it brings. I shouldn't be afraid of it because that only seizes my body with anxiety like holding on to an electrical wire, unable to let go. Change is what you make of it. And when it happens you must make the best of it. You must take charge of it instead of letting it take charge of you. For when you let change take charge of you, that's when fear and anxiety set in and seize you like a prisoner. I am slowly learning to flow with the change and take charge of it. Rule it. But I am only slowly learning because I am still holding onto the past. I didn't do all that I could with the opportunities I had available to me and I curse myself everyday for not doing all that I could. I became a bum. And I am so angry at myself for becoming such a bum. So because of that it is very hard for me to take charge f the change that has happened in my life because i'm holding onto the "what if's." "What if's" are a poison that kill you slowly. And the only antidote is to accept what has become your present, or in other words, accept the change that has become your present and use that change to shape a future that will not repeat your past.

So what is the change that has become of my life? I was in a horrific accident that forever changed my life in ways many people will never understand. I am changed physically and emotionally and my career path may be changed. I still dream of being an entertainer but I have chosen to accept my reality and the change it has brought with it by going back to school to finish a degree that I can work with despite the change in my physical attributes. I dream of the day that I can let go of the past but yet I am afraid of that day. For what will I have to hang on to then? I will then be forced to grab onto change like a runaway horse and pull myself up onto it. Only I must grab the reins and resist the urge to stop it but to let it run, run as far as it's heart can go and enjoy the ride.

Friday, October 15, 2010

At Least 10 More Years

I had another doctor appointment yesterday in Portland for another expansion. But we talked a lot about future reconstruction plans and he really looked me over, the wheels turning in that brilliant surgical mind of his.

As you can probably see in the picture in my last post, I have some nasty bunch of scars underneath my chin. He suspects there is a contracture in those scars pulling my bottom lip. He has tried a graft twice on it and it just keeps pulling. The release on my neck should have released it but it didn't so he's suspects it is those scars underneath my chin. So he has decided to put in a tissue expander in the lower part of my neck to expand that and then advance it (pull and stretch it to where he wants to put it) up under my chin and around my mouth where I've developed some other nasty thick scars. Now hopefully by excising (cutting off) those scars under my chin and advancing the new expanded skin my lip should pop back into place finally. That is the theory. But boy is it going to suck having a tissue expander in my neck!!! The other problem with my mouth is my upper lip. It is being pulled inward helping to make my lower lip more pronounced but that is going to be an easy fix he said. He's just going to put fat injections in it and puff it out. Hey, you know something good might come out of all this...i just might get Angelina Jolie lips! LOL!!!

He also talked about, down the road, putting tissue expanders in the parts of my arms that aren't burned and then excising the scars on my arms and advancing the good unburned skin around so I will no longer have scars on my arms anymore! You know what that means? I'll be more confident in wearing short sleeves and tank tops AND most of all, BEING IN THE SUN AGAIN!!!

So on November 8th, Dr. McDreamy will be advancing the tissue expander I have expanded now in my right scapula around to release the contracture in the right side of my neck, doing a z-plasty on the left side of my neck, putting in a tissue expander in the front of my neck AND releasing the contractures in BOTH arms. Five different operations being done in on swoop. I am not going to be a happy camper with the pain. I'll be in the hospital for at least seven days again.

Doctor Vangelisti also kinda laid it down on me his projected time for how long I will be going through surgeries. I will be going through reconstruction for at least 10 more years. Yup, that means I'll be nearly 40 if not more than that and still going through reconstructive surgery. My jaw dropped inside my head. I can only hope that i'll be able to take care of myself at some point in that time frame to where I can get out on my own and live my own life again. As much as I love my parents and have immense appreciation for what they have sacrificed for me to take care of me, I will die if I'm still at home for all that time. 10 FUCKING YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It better all be worth it in the end. 10 YEARS!!!!!! I'm gonna go cry now....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1cm Away From Normal!!!!

We traveled to Portland today for two doctor appointments. One was today, this afternoon, with one of my OT's (occupational therapists) from the burn center to do some measurements on my neck mobility. And it was GREAT news! My neck extension was 16cm (a normal neck extension is 17 cm)!!!!! And the degrees to which I could rotate my neck left and right was: to the left, 75 degrees and to the right, 80 degrees!! My last measurements, which were BEFORE this last neck surgery were: neck extension - 14 cm, rotation to the left and right both - 60 degrees. Yay!!! I'm 1cm away from having a normal neck extension!

My OT, Helen, and I took a look at where I was in July of '09 when we started tracking all these measurements I was as follows: neck extension 5 cm!!!!!, rotation to the left and right both - 30 degrees! Can you believe that?! My chin was completely captured. It was basically tucked to my chest. I want to show you pictures of it so bad but I'm sooo scared. It's pretty shocking. I'll show you some day when i'm feeling really brave. I'm actually feeling pretty confident right now and probably would put it on this post but I'm on my mom's computer and she doesn't have the photos. Maybe I'll come back later and add them :)

Anyway, it was a good news day. Tomorrow, however, will not be so good. Tomorrow will be a day full of immense pain. I have to get my last expansion done before surgery and these expansions hurt. I'm also gonna ask Dr. V. a couple questions about his future plans for me - like some dermal abrasion for the scars on my face. Sand those puppies down! Get rid of them! We'll see what he has to say....until my next post!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rock the Socks off of the World

You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. (Job 11:16)

Yesterday I wrote a post about what I have done with my life. I was having a bad, BAD day. I cried nearly all day. But later in the afternoon, I received an email from a follower and friend of mine that gave me conflicting feelings. I agree with her in many ways but in other ways, I don't think she fully understands the sufferings of a burn survivor. But I do fully agree with her that I am not the only person in the world who has suffered or who is suffering. I know that. But there is something different about the suffering and recovery of a burn survivor. I'm not saying I'm special in any way. But I would like to anonymously share her letter with you because it did impact me.

"As a follower of your blog, I want to both hold you to comfort you and knock some sense into you to help you focus better. Your life is not over. And your dreams do not have to be destroyed. I know I left a comment on one of your previous blogs that encouraged you to change your perception…I will continue to say that to you. It is time to let go of the dreams that are holding you back, and start dreaming in the structure of now.
While faith in a deity is great, you must always remember that our deities (no matter what religion) are in EVERYTHING…that means in YOU, in the wind that blows through the trees, in the grass that grows in your yard, in the water that you consume. LIFE is in everything, including YOU.
.....It was not until I realized that it wasn’t about finding blame, that it was about accepting change. It was about finding a way to use that change to rock the socks off of the world around me and to keep honoring the universe for having blessed me with the growing experience it gave me.
Here is where we are different, and I humbly accept this. I have never been dependent on people as you have to be in this struggle. I cannot imagine the frustration you feel even as you describe it in your blogs. The patience you must be learning can only be wondered at. It is amazing to me that you do even the few things that you do, that you are finally going out in public, that you are having coffee and dinners with friends. How amazing that there are people who love you enough to have waited for you to come out of your coma, to be by your side as you face surgery after surgery. How amazing that there is a following of people who want to know more about your life and your daily battles. And how awesome of you to share them.
I hope for you that you will learn sooner rather than later that it is not about the glory we receive for things accomplished that makes life worthwhile. It is not about the awards we could win. There is so much more to life than making it out better than the people around us. I’m afraid that the mentality of “doing better than this” is largely an Eastern Oregon mentality, and it pangs me to think that you are falling into it. Growing up in La Grande causes most kids to say “I’m better than this. I deserve better than this. I can do better than the assholes at school who thought they were better than me.” The truth about this behavior is that, sure, it could happen. But WHY does it HAVE to? Why can’t we be content with trying? Why do we have to get so angry with ourselves and try to place blame on others when we don’t quite make it out better than or even on par with the rest of our classmates? It’s a nasty and hard lesson to learn, but when we finally realize that what we have is as amazing as our perception allows it to be, then we win. This stupid game of having to prove ourselves b/c we made childish promises in high school will end, and we begin living.....
....Sarah – I don’t understand your daily physical struggle, but I understand emotional turmoil. I understand suicidal tendencies, I understand fear, and I understand anger all too well. I’ve lived all of those struggles. I am hopeful for you that your perception will change. That you will see how amazing and beautiful you are. The human beings that focus on the outward appearance, the human beings that feel only pity for you – well shame on them! What misguided, undereducated ignoramuses. Sarah, in all of your recent photos, not only are you able to lift your chin, but the sparkle is coming back into your eyes. There is evidence that you KNOW you have something worth living for. Don’t let broken promises to yourself bind all that is good and hide it away deep inside you. Continue to let yourself glow, because you do damnit! You glow! I don’t remember anything about your physical being before the accident more than I remember your eyes and your voice. You still have those eyes. Those “Lilly hazel eyes” if you will. And they speak volumes.
I would watch you acting any day because I am sure you’ve not forgotten your training. Damn, because of your charisma, I’d watch you sit and read a book aloud. It is awesome that you share your story…I pray that one day, you will be able to focus on the amazingness that is you and the beauty that you possess.
Whoever told you that you shouldn’t ask “why” could be correct. However, simply changing the form of the question doesn’t necessarily change the content. “What” might not be the better question either. Maybe instead of asking questions you could begin, like a scientist, with a theory.
“I hypothesize that as I heal, my fears will disappear.”
It’s easier to watch and make (or even let) things happen that way.
If I could wish anything for you, Sarah, it would be that you are able to let go of whatever you are afraid to speak about. Your comments sound sincere, and as I read them, I can’t help but wonder what you are hiding—that you are afraid to share.
It’s not necessarily for the world or blog followers to know what you are afraid of saying. That’s fine, I just hope that you have someone you can go to and not feel judged by, because the pain in your heart and mind is what tugs at me. I wish I had answers for you lovely lady. Please keep sharing as that is the only way some of us have of knowing how you are fairing each day.
And lastly, I hope that I can always be one of your supporters and followers."

The woman who wrote this email is an amazing woman for what she has overcome in her life so she does speak from some experience. I adore her and I highly value her opinion. I love it when she writes me letters.

However, she writes that I am still hiding something, afraid to speak about something. I don't think I'm afraid to write anything or am hiding anything. Do you? I have cursed myself and I have cursed God over and over again. But am I still hiding something?

"Don’t let broken promises to yourself bind all that is good and hide it away deep inside you," she writes. I am afraid that she is right there. I have let broken promises to myself bind all that is good. I am stuck on my past because I didn't do all that I could with it. So now I'm left with those "broken promises" that are the very vain of my existence everyday. I think of them everyday. They are like the black plague preventing my ability to move forward.

"It was not until I realized that it wasn’t about finding blame, that it was about accepting change. It was about finding a way to use that change to rock the socks off of the world around me and to keep honoring the universe for having blessed me with the growing experience it gave me," she writes again, hitting the nail right on the head for me. I wrote about change in a previous blog post and here she reminds me of it again. I want to blame God for what he has done to me when what I really need to do is accept the change, find a way to use it and "rock the socks off of the world" with it. But what do I have to offer the world now? I wanted to offer the world the greatest entertainment they'd ever seen whether on Broadway or on film but in the great chances that I can no longer do that, what is it that I can offer now? Or maybe I should put it this way: what is it that I can offer now that I will love just as much?

Well thank you, my friend, for writing such an inspiring and through-provoking letter. You are an amazing human being and I'm so proud of you for overcoming your struggles. You have inspired me to accept this change in my life and as you put it so wonderfully use it to "rock the socks off of the world."

What Have I Done With My Life?

I am 28 years old, 29 in January, and am having a hard time realizing I really haven't accomplished anything in my life. What have I done? Moved to New York City? No. That's nothing. I remember when I was in highschool I made a promise to my health teacher that by my 10 year reunion I would have made my first blockbuster movie. Well that never came to pass because I had my accident and it destroyed everything in my world. So I am now 28 going on 29 in 3 months and I haven't done anything. In fact, I've had to practically start over. I had to relearn how to walk, how to climb stairs. I'm living at home again. When will I get back on my feet and start living my life again? When will I finally be able to leave my parents home and take care of myself? I have this crushing weight of a feeling on me that I will still be here when I'm 30, even 31. Do you know what that does to your psyche and emotions?

So many of my friends are lawyers or doctors or even has won a Rocky Mountain Emmy. And what am I? A burn survivor whose about to go through her 25th surgery and is living at home with her parents. A burn survivor who dedicates her days to cross stitching and reading. How accomplished is that? I had such a bright future ahead of me and it all came crashing down on me. I've done nothing in my life and this bothers me a great deal. I have such a long ways to go yet. What will I be able to bring to the table now that I'm a burn survivor? I feel like I hold no cards anymore.

Every single day is a struggle for me. It seems like I'm either in surgery or in recovery. I'm barely coming out of recovery for this last surgery and I'm going right back in to another surgery and it's going to be a doozy. The doctor is releasing both sides of my neck again and releasing BOTH arms all at the same time. I'm not going to be a happy camper. And I'll be back in serious recovery. I feel like I'm never taking a step ahead in my life. I know I'm making advances on my body with all these surgeries, but I'm not going anywhere in life as compared to many of my friends. What a horrible feeling that is. I feel like a loser.

Why did you do this to me God? I still don't understand! What do you want me to do? I'm so confused and lost. I HATE you for what you have done to me and for destroying my life! I have to admit, there are days where I wish I had not survived and that is a terrible thought to have. But how much longer must I suffer? Have you forgotten me? I'm tired of the sorrow I carry in my heart everyday. I'm so very tired of it.

"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart?"
~Psalm 13: 1-2

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My "Anam Cara" Corrie

I have a REAL, TRUE BEST FRIEND in all the sense and she wrote me an email this morning that really touched me and of course, made me cry. But she said some very profound things that I wanted to share with you. Her name is Corrie and we have been best friends for 22 years, since the 1st grade. We lost touch for awhile, however, and unfortunately, but we are making up for it now and I hope for the rest of our lives. She is a beautiful human being inside and out and you'll see that in the words she wrote to me. Here is her email:

"SB, for some reason, I've not been able to post comments on your blog but I just caught myself up on it and I wanted to tell you that I am so proud of you. You are doing an amazing job and your words are so healthy. Even the angry ones. I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by finishing your Psychology degree. And even by considering the burn nursing. Because what you have, my dear, is a voice. You don't pretend like everyday is easy and you are humming your way through the pain. You are real. You thank the Lord and you question him. Both are very real feelings that you could absolutely share with others that are struggling with physical pain as well as mental/emotional pain. Whether you are counseling someone, or physically helping them with their injuries, you would be perfect. And this doesn't mean that you'll never get back on that stage again. Who says you can't have two dreams??? :) Trust me, there are days when I wonder why in the heck I joined the military. It makes me move away from family and friends, and I don't get to express myself creatively. (one of the problems with a military of individuals) My true passion is with decorating and with fitness. I've gained ten pounds since being in Seattle because my job makes it hard to get in a routine. But I can only take one day at a time and try to do my job well and proudly. And then do what I can, when I can with my other dreams. You've got a long life ahead of you sweetie. Don't give up on any of your dreams. I love you more than anything and can't wait to see you again. I pray that God eases your pain each day and you feel the love that is pouring towards you from all of your friends, family, and followers. If nothing else helps you today...I hope knowing that you are my ultimate inspiration does. You help me each and every day, my friend. Thank you.

Love, Corrie (Your Besty)"

Both her and I wear rings that read, "Anam Cara" which means, "soul friend." She is truly my soul friend and her email this morning really helped me get through my day today because i knew it was gonna be a hard one after the night i had with no sleep whatsoever. She is truly an amazing human being and I'm so lucky to just even know her, let alone be her best friend. She says that I am an inspiration to her and that still brings tears to my eyes because that is my aim with telling you all my hurts, pains, anger, and sometimes the happy times in my life exposed here on this blog. But she inspires me in return. That is one of the reasons why we make such a good pair: We inspire each other. I hope I inspire you other readers and followers as well otherwise I'm not achieving my goal with this blog.

Corrie, thank you for that beautiful email this morning. It got me through my day and it made me realize that it may be possible for me to hold on to my acting dream. I love you Corrie and I miss you everyday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Split Second is all it Takes

I've had some hard days since my last expansion last Thursday and it got me to thinking today after I made a comment on a friend's FB page. Please, my friends, readers, and devoted followers, read this and take it to heart and live what I tell you:

Live your life to it's very best everyday of your life for your life can change in a split second and your world can come tumbling down on you. Such is what happened to me. Unfortunately, I did not live my life to it's very best everyday before my accident so it's hard for me to be at peace with my new life because I can't look back on my life and say, I did the best I could, I tried everyday, and I lived to the fullest everyday. I took advantage of a lot of things. I took advantage of living in a great city like New York after a couple years of living there. I got used to it and stopped taking advantage of this great city that had so much to do in it. I began to hate my life because I didn't know where I was going. I had lost sight of my goals, my dreams. I began just working my job and going to auditions less and less with each passing day. I began going to see Broadway shows less and less and stayed home more and more. I slept a lot, I became depressed. Very depressed. And that's why I came home; was to get my priorities in order and turn my life around but I never made it. My accident happened before I was able to make those changes and really re-evaluate my life.

My life changed in a split second. I went into a coma for a month and when I awoke, my life was changed forever. Everything I knew about my life would never be the same. I cannot describe to you the first time I saw myself in the mirror. For the longest time, they covered up the mirrors in the bathroom so that I wouldn't have such a shock without being prepared. But when the time finally came for me to face the burn it was devastating. They took down the paper that was covering the mirror and I kept my eyes to the floor for what seems like forever before I finally lifted my head to see a monster. I had no idea who was looking back at me. I was so scared that I would forever look the way I did that day. I have never cried like I did that day. I felt as if my life and my world was over. I even felt sorry for my family to have such an ugly and disfigured family member. I felt I would embarass them.

My life has never been the same since. I have gone through 24 surgeries and am heading into my 25th November 8th (I just found out). And my life will never be the same. And that scares me to no end. I cry often and with all my heart poured out in tears. What did God want me to learn from all of this? Was it simply to live my life better? Because if that was His intention He could have found a better grand plan than to hurt me so badly, inside and out. I just don't understand yet what He wants me to do with my life now. I've sent in a re-admittance form to go back to school to finish my Bachelor of Science in Psychology but is that where I belong? I still feel like I belong on the stage and on film. I can't get rid of that feeling. Everytime I watch a movie my heart lurches to be in front of that camera and it sinks at the same time knowing that dream may never come to pass.

So please, my dear friends and followers, live your life everyday to it's very best for it can change in a split second, like mine did. Even if it's a bad day, just be happy that you're alive. And make sure you tell those people that you love, that you love them everyday for you never know when yours or THEIR lives can change in that split second. A split second is all it takes.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Well, it's official! My mother faxed in a re-admission form to EOU this morning to go back to school to finish my Bachelor of Science in Psychology! Oh boy, I'm scared. My advisor, Ken Bush, is going to email me how many and what kind of credits I need to get in order to finish this up so I'm waiting on that now. I have put in on the form to start in the winter so I'm pretty nervous cause that's coming on. Of course, I'm going to do this all online, as long as the courses that I need are offered online.

So I am trying to move forward in my "what now" part of my life. I think that's really healthy and important for my psyche; to focus on the "what now" and try to push past the "why me" for awhile. However, I don't think I am ready to move on from "why me" because I am still upset with God for what has happened and don't understand why it happened but at least I can focus on something else for a little while and feel like I'm moving my feet forward. Key words: "a little while." I'm sorry but I'm afraid wondering "why me" will stay with me for quite some time. But at least I have taken action on the "what now."

I can't wait to tell you what classes I'm going to have to take! I hope this is the right thing to do right now. Actually, I feel it in my heart that it is, but am I really ready? I sure hope so cause the motions are set in place.

Loss of a World-Renowned Burn Specialist

A terrible, terrible accident occured this weekend. A world-renowned burn specialist was killed in drunk driving accident. He treated a couple Burn Survivor friends of mine and they are mourning his loss. In fact, the whole Burn Survivor community mourns his loss for he was ahead of his time in Burn Reconstruction. I'm sure some of his ideas have played a part in my procedures.

I can't imagine what it would be like if one of my own personal Burn Doctors such as Dr. Pulito or Dr. Vangelisti (Dr. McDreamy) were to be killed. Particularly Dr. Vangelisti as he is the one who is making great advances in my reconstruction. If I lost him I don't know what I'd do.

It is a terrible time in the Burn community. Please pray for all those who wear his work on their skin and/or were affected by him in some way in their lives. He was a great man and this is a great, GREAT loss. I'm so sorry Haley and Michael.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Betrayal?

An Anonymous person commented on my post the other day and left this scripture from James for me:

My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need.

I wanted to share it because I found it a most perfect scripture that I have never heard of! I like it very much because it pertains to me almost perfectly. My troubles are testing my faith, and my patience for that matter. I am in pain again today. I had a pain-free day yesterday but it has returned and it kept me from going to church today and I fear it will keep me from going to a meeting I so desperately need to go to tonight, but I am going to try with all my might to make it to this meeting.

As a follow-up from my last post, I have been thinking a lot about the question, "What now?" I got a Bachelor of Science in Music (vocal performance) but was sooo close to getting ANOTHER Bachelor of Science in Psychology as well but was short a few credits. My mother thinks I should finish up that psychology degree but I don't have the money to do so. But I also want to finish it up so I think I'm going to look into any disability programs or disability financial aid they might offer and see if I can get it for cheaper. With my mother's kind pressure, she has got me to thinking about burn nursing. Since I have been there and AM a burn survivor, she thinks I would make a fabulous burn nurse, and deep down I do too. But a part of me feels like I am betraying my dream of being a performer if I think seriously about doing something else with my life. Because there is nothing I want more than to be a performer on Broadway or on Film. That is my dream. But is it realistic now because of my injury? Because of my scars?

So, what now? Do I at least go for finishing my psychology degree? And do I go for nursing and at least have it for a real career to fall back on in however many years it takes for me to re-enter the world on my own again? That thought scares me half to death. And does it betray my dream? Does it mean that doing those things is the death of my dream?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Do I Do Now?

I am still reading, "Our Scars Are Beautiful to God" and I came across another passage that I wanted to share:

"I believe that when we go through a trial which wounds us so deeply, God can use it to teach us valuable lessons. Some of those lessons are a deeper understanding of who He is, of who we are and of what we truly believe. Our faith grows in the petri dish of struggles in the laboratory of life. One of my most valuable lessons, through all my wounds and scars, was a decision to stop saying 'why me' and to begin asking 'what now?'...During the difficult months that followed the loss of our child, I strugged with God. Just as Jacob wrestled with God through his dark night of the soul, I wrestled as well. How could He love me and allow this to happen? Why would God withhold my dream? Is He able? Is He kind? Is He really there?"

I know that God is trying to teach me a valuable lesson through my accident but I still struggle so deeply with those very questions Sharon Jaynes (the author) also had. I know I should stop asking "why me" and start asking "what now" as Sharon realized but I don't know how to understand the "why me" and I don't understand how God could withhold my dreams and possibly even destroy them. How can He be an all-loving God then?

I have a dear friend, well he is actually my acting manager, and I talked to him today and he said, as I cried on the other end, that he made a deal with God that he would never ask "why" as long as I survived. Well I did survive and he has kept that deal. He refuses to ask why or respond to me when I ask him why. he told me, "It was a terrible, horrific thing that happened to you, but you lived and I believe you lived for a reason. I believe you lived to tell you story to help others and one day you will look back on all of your suffering and understand." Well, how long will it take for me to look back and understand? I'm tired of suffering. I'm tired of the pain, as I posted last night. Today I am still in pain and I sit here crying again it hurts so bad. None of my painkillers seem to be strong enough to overpower this strength of pain.

I am tired of asking why and I'm sure you're tired of hearing it. So instead, I will ask, what now? What do I do now? I am suffering greatly and I just don't understand how this God of yours can let me sit here, in relentless pain and crying my eyes out. I don't know what to do now. I'm so confused and ANGRY! of all things.

Please stop the pain, I beg of You.