Monday, November 18, 2013

More Scars

Ava Jane is just a year old so identifying our similarities is a little more difficult then it will hopefully be in the future when she's older, but there is definitely one thing we have in common, its scars. Her's were much more serious and certainly life threatening while mine all occurred in extremely dramatic ways. Mine happened in 1998 and 2001, long before blogging was a reality of mine. As I've been thinking and thanking the Lord for Ava Jane's life and His provision for her as the one year anniversary of her congenital heart problem was diagnosed and surgery took place, He has reminded me of how He protected me so many years ago. These experiences are all part of God's story in Me so I thought I'd share the stories of my own scars with y'all.

In 1998 I was a cheerleader and our squad was preparing for National's in Orlando, Florida. We'd had quite the hardship in that out of 12, almost all of us had had some kind of minor or major accidents from shin splints to broken noses, wrist surgery to sprained ankles. We were within a few weeks of leaving for the competition and we were pulling many extra practices when it happened, one early morning before school. We were in a tight "V" formation and doing full squad tumbling. It came to the point when we all threw our back handspring and "whack" that's when it happened. It was not a compound fracture but it was pretty bad! I had what looked like two elbows, which is.not.normal and never good! I was in a good deal of pain and because of how bad it looked, they immediately called 911. Ultimately I ended up with 2 broken bones, in the O.R., having 2 plates and 12 screws put into my right arm bones. After a year and having many problems, they ended up removing all the metal and doing scar revision on both scars.

Gotta love those 90's glasses huh?!
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We did great and ended up in second place even with all the injuries and set backs. I think the main thing that I learned from that difficult experience was perseverance. We were all pressed to our limits yet, we hung in there and gave it our all the entire time. Even in our suffering, as we gathered as a squad with our families and others from Walnut Valley, praying together that God would bless our efforts, He answered and we were thrilled to have gotten the experience of seeing Him heal and help us all the way to National Competition in Orlando.
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My other scars are too numerous to count. These happened the day I was headed home for the summer after finishing up my freshman year of college. My good friend, Kambry's Mom was having a portion of her lung removed and I was hoping to be there to sit with her during the surgery. But I was tired. I'd been up since 4:30am studying for my last final, then with Adam's help, we'd packed up my entire dorm room then I was headed toward Little Rock. I was on I-40 with my cruise set on 70 mph when my eyelids closed and I fell asleep. That's not a good combination! Next thing I knew when I woke up to gravel and rocks hitting my fender wells, I was off the interstate and almost off the shoulder. I over corrected and that's all I remember. I flipped my 4x4, 2 door Blazer three complete times. I rolled from one side of the interstate to the other and God, in His sovereignty had me land in the ONLY spot along that corridor of road construction where there wasn't a concrete barricade. I'd blown out every piece of glass in the car, broke off the back two axels, knocked off tires, and completely totaled the vehicle. My head had drug the ground during each rotation, my left arm was badly lacerated, I had a half-dollar size amount of hair ripped out of the top left side of my head and I had glass stuck all over my body. I couldn't feel my fingers or toes so they put me in a C-collar and loaded me in the ambulance...I don't remember that ride or much about being in the hospital.

Thankfully I had my Pi Phi license plate on the back of my vehicle and a guy named Blake Rutherford stopped because his sister Martha was also a Pi Phi and he thought he might know whoever was in the car. The rest of this story I can't recall myself because I suffered a concussion, I'm solely going off what others tell me happened. Blake didn't know me and I, to this day, have still not met him, but I owe him a great deal of gratitude. He somehow found my purse amidst all the debris and chaos of my car and called my Mom. When she answered and he said, "Ma'am, my name is Blake Rutherford, your daughter has been in a terrible accident and is headed to Johnson County Hospital", she didn't think he was serious. She says that she heard lots of people and cars in the background and she thought I'd pulled over with a group and we were pulling some kind of a prank, but for those of you who know me, I'm not a prankster. When he stated, "this is not a joke, its for real" my Mom and Dad (who were eating lunch) threw their food away walked out the door and headed straight to Clarksville. If Blake hadn't have called my parents they would have not known about the accident because the police said that since I was over 18 years old it was a breach of confidentiality, really? What the heck?! I was in desperate need, in the worst situation and they needed to know about it, so "thank you Blake for making that call to them"!

I was all alone and scared to death, I literally thought I was gonna die or be paralyzed. When they put me in the MRI machine I was so scared that the only way I could keep myself calm was to sing "Amazing Grace" simply because that was the only song I could remember at the time. It was one of the most scary times of my life. I'll never forget the relief I finally felt when my Uncle Jerry, who lives in Alma, arrived at the hospital. He was the first of family to arrive. I'm pretty sure I went into hysterics at that point and I kept saying "I'm so sorry" over and over and over again. One other funny thing I kept requesting from people was a "Dr. Pepper and a Cocker Spaniel", I'm not sure what kind of combination that is, but I kept asking for it! That morphine did crazy stuff in my mind, I did.not.like.it!

Amazingly I was only kept in the hospital one night. The feeling came back into my extremities and they said it was probably due to all the trauma my neck and head took as it drug the asphalt. Incredibly, all I had was a bald spot and a ton of jagged stitches on my left tricep down to my elbow and hand. God had been so gracious, he literally SAVED.MY.LIFE!

Here's what I saw after being released...
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My Uncle Jerry, Dad and Cousin Brett went back to the scene and helped get my car and ALL (literally ALL) of my belongings secured. It had been pouring down rain so everything was muddy, or covered in axel grease and had the oh so memorable and distinct smell of hot asphalt since the road had just been laid.
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It's worth noting, that in this last picture, my hair was "dyed" red from all the blood loss, in this picture you can tell that my hair was two-tone, and that was even after a shampoo. To this day I cannot stand the smell of burning asphalt, it sends me into flashbacks every time.
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As I stood there that day, after having been discharged from the hospital and seeing all the damage first hand, it was ironic that the scrap yard where my car had been taken was right beside a business that sold headstones for burial plots. As we stood there praising God for keeping me safe and for sparing my life, the headstones were there reminding me of what could have been. Thank the Lord, I have been given another twelve years, I've had the opportunity to marry my best friend, have four of the most precious children and had many chances to share God's story of saving my life.

So scars, they're not pretty to look at, especially mine, which for some reason I scar keloidally which means they are very raised and red (or now, they are pink in color). After seeing three cosmetic surgeons, all said the same thing, that there really wasn't anything to do surgically except to do some injections to see if the scars might flatten out a bit. So every few weeks I would go and get corticosteroid injections and they'd have to go up and down each individual scar injecting the medicine; it was very painful and not fun at all, but I do have to say the scars are mostly flat now. I've had all kinds of weird answers to the question, "what's on your arm?" People have asked if I was attacked by an animal, did I have a bad case of poison ivy, what's that purple stuff on your elbow (it is asphalt that is permanently "tattooed"). Each time it comes up I've used the opportunity to tell God's story of saving my life. According to the policeman who worked the accident, "there's no reason why she's still alive"...well, yes, Mr. Policeman, there is, His name is God and He had a story to tell! I'm thankful to be here and to be able to tell it!

2 comments:

shawnapaine said...

Yes, share those stories!! Our scars have stories to tell...stories of how merciful God has been.

Tales from Goshen said...

Courtney, oh my goodness. What an amazing tale of God protecting you! And praise the Lord for those scars which are testimonies of God's goodness to you - in addition to living a life that reflects God's hand, you are able to display on your skin that same message of God's love and goodness. I'm amazed by that story. And I think I know the Blake Rutherford you mentioned. If it's the same guy,. he worked with my husband for several years...

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