Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17 Remembered

Well, today is November 17, or as I like to call it, my "second birthday" since it's the day my old life ended and my new life began. It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone since that day eight years ago that will forever live in infamy in the hearts and minds of my family and friends. Although it was a physically traumatic day for me, I had it pretty easy compared to everyone else since I missed out on all of the emotional trauma since I was unconscious and off in my own little world. I'm sure the emotional trauma that my family and friends endured was absolutely heart-wrenching as they waited to find out if I would live or die and what my fate would be if I survived, Would I be doomed to a life of paralysis?

At the time of my accident my life was so averagely normal. I'd never even broken a bone or had stitches, let alone had any accidents or major health problems. I was a teenager and I, like most teens naturally assumed that that would always be the case with my life. I never dreamed that I would become one of "those" people – you know, the kind of person that everyone looks at with at least a small measure of pity and thinks, "thank goodness that's not my life." Ironically, I used to be that kind of person who would thank God for being normal when I saw someone who was either mentally or physically handicapped.

Who would've ever thought that this would happen to me?! Sometimes I'm just in awe that this is my life. I can't move and I can't even breathe on my own. I have to rely on my diaphragm pacemaker to make my diaphragm contract so that I can inhale. (Speaking of my diaphragm pacemaker, today also happens to be the anniversary of the surgery where electrodes were implanted on my diaphragm.) That was in 2006 – three years after my accident – and it's been one of the best things to happen since my accident so that I don't have to be on a ventilator any more. Ditching the ventilator is something I never thought I would be able to do, and it's been a huge blessing.. Sure, I still can't breathe on my own without the assistance of some sort of machine/device, but the diaphragm pacer is much more healthy, portable and convenient than being tied to a ventilator.

Try to take the time to truly enjoy life, to not take things for granted and to look for the positive in all situations, even in challenging ones. Life is too short to waste not being joyful! (I love getting comments, so if you want to make my anniversary extra special, leave me a comment!)

14 comments:

Julie W said...

This whole time I've been following you, and it didn't connect that the date of your accident is the same as my youngest daughter's birthday, although she was born in 2008. Isn't that truly the human experience, though: the extremes of happiness and the extremes of tragedy. Can't help but think, though, that from one date, two powerful forces spring forth. My daughter: the force of joy and you: the force of faith and hope. No, I can't imagine what it is like to not be able to breath on my own, and I'm so sorry/annoyed/frustrated that you deal w/ that every day. BUT I'm thankful and awed by how you've focused on your abilities, and how you are using your heart and voice to teach us all so many things.

Ronja said...

Happy anniversary, Heather! You are such a positive person and I love reading your blog. Especially your Movie and book reviews, I just read 'The help' because of you and enjoyed it. My husband had an accident which paralyzed his right arm 14 years ago on November 3, and wie always celebrate that day as well.

Many greetings from Germany!

Ronja

SHIRK FAMILY said...

Happy Anniversary/second birthday! Love Ya!

Cindy said...

Happy Birthday, Heather!!

I had never heard of a diaphragm pacer before. Sounds like a marvelous invention!! I'm so glad it's helpful to you!

jenn said...

Happy birthdayversary! You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and life.

*Elizabeth* said...

Yay for life!! I am proud of you for finding joy in your journey and for being a good friend to so many.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Laine said...

I can't remember how I stumbled across your blog, but I really enjoy reading about your outlook on life. Happy second birthday :o)

Laura said...

Happy second birthday, Heather! I love you so much. I'm so grateful that you ARE alive, and such an important part of my life. You are an incredible example to me, and I just love being around you! Your positive attitude is contagious. I'm grateful that we're not just sisters, but that we're friends, too! I look forward to MANY more second birthdays to celebrate with you.

Julie said...

Happy Anniversary! I love your blog, you are so amazing! Hope you have a faaaaaabulous day!

Amy and Jay said...

Hi!

I think I've been reading your blog for a year or so and I'm not sure I've ever commented. I can always count on you to put things into perspective for me. Sending joyful vibes your way!

Peace,
Amy

Mom said...

I am blessed because I got to spend your anniversary with you! You're the best--love you!

Tina said...

You are an incredible person Heather. Do you get tired of reading this from me?

Did you see Breaking Dawn yet?

Love Your Utah Friend,

Tina

Anonymous said...

hello - I somehow found you blog a few months ago, I am an Australian living in Japan - so Happy Second Birthday from over here!

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