Friday, November 2, 2012

10 years ago....

Yes I have lots to catch up on (as usual) but today I wanna focus on TODAY!

10 years ago I was just about to turn 17, had just been in the Miss Bonneville pageant (my high school pageant), won talent award, was living it up at high school, fun, friends, didn't care about the future or hurting peoples feelings, could careless about my family, was a good girl but at the same time just wanted to not worry about "rules" and just live life and have fun (but not in a bad way, if that makes sense... I was good!). My parents thought I was nothing but trouble, not because I was but just because I was so rebellious to THEM and anything they had to say. My brother and sister hated me cuz I was so rude to them cuz I thought I was better then them. Basically... I just was not who I should have been.

10 years and a few months ago I found out I had some health problems. It started out with a really bad cold, my guess mono but I never was tested. As I recovered I just slept all the time... and more and more and more. I was a sophomore and couldn't stay awake in any of my classes. We figured I would get over it. Then summer came and I started getting dizzy, a lot. My eyes would roll back into my head and I would just go limp. I couldn't breath, could barely stand, my heart would race then slow down extremely slow, my chest would hurt like my heart was going to burst. So we went to the doctor and started looking into it. They told me I have Neurocardiogenic Syncope; basically my autonomic nervous system had been damaged (probably from the virus I had had) and it could no longer regulate things properly such as blood flow and heart rate.
I remember having a hard time with it, not the news that I had health problems but just that I wasn't normal and was going thru so many tests and it was just annoying and in the way and I couldn't stay awake for nothing! I remember the homecoming parade and I had a heart monitor on under my dress... it was embarrassing to me.

Well, life went on. It was 4 days after the pageant and 3 days before my 17th birthday. I had to go into the school that Saturday to help do a fundraiser for choir at a craft fair. My dad and I fought over who would get to drive. I was already a freak, could never go anywhere or do anything because of family rules, I didn't want to have to have my dad drive me when everyone else get to drive themselves by junior year. So he gave in.
Several hours later, I took my friend Joyce home south of the school then proceeded home. I had to go the long way, up and around a little town called Ucon, because the short way called for me to cross Hwy 20 and it was scary! No over pass, cars going super fast, trying to get across that hwy at just the right moment and missing 4 lanes of on coming cars. My parents wouldn't allow it and I thought it was smart as well. I wonder if I could have crossed there and been home 5 minutes sooner if I would have avoided my crash? hmmm.... Well I was 5 minutes from home, in my own ward boundaries, and started to feel really sleepy. I had done it before, my eyes would get heavy and I would feel like I had no strength left and would swerve into the other lane, but I had always been able to shake it off and pull back into my lane. Not this time!

I tried turning off the heater, rolled down windows a crack, changed the station... nothing. I could not keep my eyes open. The last thing I remember was thinking it was strange that there was green grass (it had just snowed earlier in the week and was melting and the grass was poking thru.) I guess I had driven off the road into that grass and snow. I guess I realized it and tried to correct but jerked it too far, sent it spinning around, and crashed into a pole on the opposite side of the street, facing the other way. And thus the death of poor Stutterin' Stanley (my dad's old beat up, red and silver Ford Ranger).

I don't remember any of this. It is like my mind couldn't handle it and blocked it all out. I would like to remember it now, but probably good I didn't remember it then.

The truck hit going about 60 mph, breaking the pole in half and knocking out all surrounding power and smushed the passenger seat clear into the drivers seat leaving only the small spot I was sitting. It was a good thing I had dropped my friend off or she would have died for sure. Although I wonder if she had been there if she could have helped me, woken me up, helped me correct the car properly, or kept me awake to begin with. I dunno...

Thankfully the pole had stopped me from going face first into a steep ditch face first, but still did a lot of damage. The windows were smashed, the truck was now practically in a C shape from being  literally wrapped around the pole, the front license plate had had the top half sheered off and thrown from the car. As for me, I had been protected except for my face. I had been wearing metal sunglasses and when I smashed my face into the steering wheel (no air bags) it did a number on my face. My forehead between my eyes was cut open clear to my skull, my nose had busted, and the right side of my nose has been sliced wide open, plus a few other cuts and bruises.

Someone had been driving right behind me and pulled over immediately, calling 911. I guess I was bleeding a lot (as head wounds do) and they were all worried I had head trauma. When they got there and were trying to get me out of the car I, still coherent (although I don't remember it now) fought them like crazy. I kept telling them I had to get home. While fighting, I pulled a muscle in my upper leg (the only pain I had the entire recovery was from the stoopid pulled muscle... geesh!) I was then rushed to the hospital. I ended up get 3 hours of plastic surgery to reconstruct my face. The accident in all ended up costing $30,000 and I am now the proud owner of a telephone pole off of Ammon Rd!

I guess everyone that saw the accident and all of the paramedics and police all said I shouldn't have survived the impact. So when the officer went to my parents house to tell them, he didn't sound hopefully. He told them I had a head trauma and it seemed pretty bad.

My dad and brother were home, but my mom was at some weaving and spinning demo so they rushed to get her. Maren I think was up at school but not sure how or when she came. Not sure much about who came to the hospital or when or how long surgery took or what my face even looked like (no pics before surgery dang it). I have papers signed with who was there and heard stories, but I don't remember anyone there. Not quite true... I do have a faint image of Mark Asper (guess I had been asking for him so he came the next morning).

The few things I do remember of my overnight hospital stay was a faint image of an old balloon, left from the rooms previous tenant, that was slowly sinking... I remember hearing something about Mark "giving" that balloon to me... I think I still have it! Ha! I remember red jello (what I ate that morning) and I remember faintly a mirror covered with towels (they didn't want me to panic when I saw the damage done to my face). Other then that I don't remember anything until later that evening (over 24 hours after the crash). I remember waking up to either Steph or Heather Dursteller (my sister's bestie and sister as far as I am concerned) laying on the bed next to me. I remember feeling comforted by seeing whoever's face it was and knowing they were there. I remember having the 2 of them take me to the bathroom several times cuz I couldn't walk with my pulled leg muscle. I couldn't even sit down without it hurting super bad and they had to help me get my pants off and sit me down. I am sure I was embarrassed  but I don't remember that now. I only remember how good they were to help me. I remember puking from the pain meds. I know my mom was there and either Maren, my sis, or Heather or Steph (not quite sure who all was in the bathroom) but one was holding my hair back and another holding my leg cuz every time I heaved it jerked my leg and I would scream in pain. Ahh.. good times! I remember being worried about some CDs I had borrowed from someone that had been in the truck and I was really mad that they ruined my cute outfit.. well and the blood didn't help much with that either!

I have heard stories and faintly remember my craziness while on meds. Something about the curtains being made out of swiss cheese and there was a turtle book that talked that floated in the air. I am sure there are others that I don't remember or know about. I guess I also told people that there were people in the car with me (I certainly don't remember this nor do I remember saying it); I said that Grampa Anderson (gone for 20ish years was beside me) and Brother Davis, gone for about a year or so, who had been in our ward and an amazing home teacher, was on the dash board holding my face with his hands. I dunno... crazy though huh?

I don't remember everyone that came to visit, but I guess I got a LOT of visitors. I do remember feeling like my room was a flower shop. There was flowers and balloons and stuffed animals everywhere. I remember feeling shocked and humbled at how many people cared if I was alive or dead. People I thought hated me even came. I kept most of the flowers (dried) until I got married and moved out and still have all of the cards and most of the stuffed animals.

I remember at the time everyone said I was handling the situation very well and at the time I was. There was one point when Heather was helping me to the bathroom and I saw my face in the mirror and I said something like, "one of us got real ugly!" and Heather said, "It was me, huney!" I remember thinking it was pretty funny. The first time it bothered me was a few days later when I went to school to get my books and homework. It was pretty embarrassing with all my scabs and the kids staring at me. It was when I was back in school that my face started to really bother me. Only a few weeks later was a school dance and I had to get invited by my good friends boyfriend cuz no one else would invite me. I felt pretty ugly! It still bothers me at times but not like it used too. The scars have faded from what they were so that helps. The rest of the year was awful and tear filled and I was an emotional roller coaster and I really struggled but to be honest... the whole experience was a blessing, a miracle, and I am grateful for the trial it was and who it has made me.
Do I still struggle? yea... my face bothers me at times and my sleeping/dizziness drives me CRAZY! I just wish I would be normal and feel something besides tired and drained and worrying about who I am gonna take with me if there is at next time.

I am blessed every day so far with the spirit with me, angels surrounding me and my car to keep me and my little family safe, and a cell phone and family that is always willing to stop no matter what and talk to me to keep me alert.

I am blessed and grateful for the priesthood and prayers and faith. My Gramma had given up a night with the grandkids to go to the temple a few nights before and felt urged to put my name in the temple. It reached the prayer roll the morning before my accident. I also received a blessing (probably several) but the one I remember was because the doctors were concerned that I would lose my talent (singing) due to the damage done to my nose. So very grateful I still have that gift and can use it and enjoy it!

 I am blessed with knowing that the person I was and the person I have been since coming to from that accident are two very different people. It was like Saul on the road to Damascus. The Savior came to him and said, "Saul, why persecuteth thou me?" And when Saul came to he turned his life around and was a devout follower of Christ. I feel like that was me... it was my Saul moment and I have never been the same since.

I am blessed with my scars to remind me of the way God humbles his children... my parents and leaders had been praying for me and they got what they wanted and it was hard. God will always humble his children and it won't always be pretty and I want to live my life that I NEVER have to be humbled like that again!

I will be forever grateful that God saw enough in me to give me a second chance... to let me change and try to become better. I won't see perfection in this life but I will always try; try to be a better daughter, sister, mother, wife, try to be a better friend, and a better disciple of Christ. I know that God had things for me to do here. At the time, I didn't know what they were but I do now! I see my purpose for life in my little boys! God needed me here for them and that alone I will be forever grateful!

I am grateful for all the people that were in my life then and since then. There are so many I could not name them all... but you all know who you are. You all mean so much to me and I will never forget your friendship and kindness and love over the years. Old friends, new friends... you know who you are!

Every single one of you that stopped by to let me and my family know you loved and supported us. all of you that have let me know you care and supported me since then. Those friends that were there and have come and gone over the years and supported me and held me up thru my difficult trials. Those boys, and now man, that have made/make me feel beautiful- looking past my scar face and seeing the beauty in those scars. For those leaders that kept believing in me. For my parents who have supported me and helped me and loved me. For siblings that decided I wasn't all that bad and have been my best and most trusted friends. For all those who have put up with and understand my sleeping and never once judged me for it. For a hubby who puts up with it more then anyone else, leaves a sleeping wife each morning, comes home to a sleeping wife each day and messy house because of it, and who loves me despite all I am (that alone is a trial!). For my boys that make me feel like the most important person in the world and who need ME, exactly who I am. For my Heavenly Father and Savior... for forgiveness, their unconditional love, and for the second chance at life I was given.

Here's to another 10 years of lessons to learn, memories to make, friends and family, and LIFE!!!!!

            My face the day after surgery. The tube was to drain fluids out of my wound on my forehead.
My face a week later ( the day I went to get books from school). I had to go into the Dr. to pull out the 3 ft of gauze that was packed up each nostril. Having that pulled out was NOT fun!


 My truck. That small piece of un-shattered glass where the steering wheel is.... that's was the only space left and it was where I was sitting!

4 comments:

Rose said...

You are amazing Janna!! I am so grateful you survived!! Congrats on your 10 years!!!

Alli @ Cupcake Diaries said...

Oh Janna, I'm just sitting here in tears. You are so amazing! What a story. I remember when that happened and it's so interesting 10 years later reading all the details of what happened. What a blessing that you're still here with us. I think you are so wonderful and I appreciate your honest feelings in this post. I really needed to read this today and have realized a few things about myself as I've read this. I want you to know that I just love you and always have. You're a great friend and I'm so happy to have read this post! It was very touching and made me cry. Love you, girl! :)

The Wright Family said...

Wow! I'm sure glad you're here with us Janna! Love ya!

Sky said...

What a beautiful post, Janna. You are a BEAUTIFUL person, inside and out! I'm grateful to know you :)