My Story

As a junior in High School, I was a very fun, energetic, intellectual, positive, spiritual young woman. I had straight As in all my classes, I was one of the most valued members in my state champion debate team, I was good friends with tons of people in my and other schools. I had been miamaid president, and I had a firm testimony of the gospel. I planned on graduating from high school, going straight to a prestigious university, graduating within 3 years and going on a mission. But, God decided to change my plans. On the 12th of May 2010 my life changed forever. I was riding motorcycles with my sister. On my own little 50cc, the throttle broke, causing the bike to accelerate. Heading straight towards a backhoe, all I could do was duck my head and hope to make it underneath the arm. I was not so lucky; the bike ran into a stability wheel propelling me head-first into the huge metal arm.  My sister called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital. Given the severe nature of my injuries and my small size, the team at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center felt that my best chance, if I had one at all, was at Primary Children’s Medical Center, so they life-flighted me there.
CT scans showed that I was bleeding between my brain and my skull on both sides of my head, so they performed an emergency Frontal Bilateral Crainiectomey. That means that they took out the front and both sides of my skull. This is more skull than most medical professionals ever take out, even with a serious injury. They took out this much skull to allow my brain to swell without causing any further damage. I sustained one of the most severe Traumatic Brain Injurys (TBI) possible.
I then remained in a medically-induced coma for 2 weeks, undergoing the most aggressive protocol available to the doctors.  Medical professionals continued to question whether I should be kept on life support, when I didn’t respond to their attempts to bring me out of the coma.  Once I came out of the coma, I had to relearn everything.  It took a long time for me to relearn how to breathe on my own. While I was in the hospital , I had to do rehab for what seemed like 30 hours a day (even though it was only 5-6 hours a day). I had to relearn how to walk, talk, sit up, swallow, breathe, blink, etc. It was a lot of work. And it was painful.
On the other side of things, people were praying, fasting, pleading with Father in Heaven that my life could be saved. I got priesthood blessings on a regular basis. You can see this by reading the earlier entries of this blog. I was told that I chose to stay. I was told that I was being taken care of on the other side while I was in my coma. I was going to be okay; I wouldn’t be back to the person I was before, but I would make it out okay. All of the fasting, the prayers, the blessings aided in my recovery, more than one can imagine.
But when I got back home, nearly 2 dreadful months later, I would soon find out the hardest part of my recovery. Initially friends were supportive and loving. But by the time school started again (I was advised not to go back to school for a couple of years, but I went anyway), all of my friends abandoned me. Before my accident I was a very social person, so I had many people that I could call good friends. When I went back to school for my senior year of high school, people who knew me before couldn’t deal with the personality changes, the negativity and the challenges that had become my life.  One by one they drifted off to their new friends and relationships.  The loss for me was emotionally devastating. There were days I would go to school and honestly, not a single person would even acknowledge my existence. This was even more painful than having to walk up the stairs or on the treadmill after I had lost the ability to walk and was in physical rehab.
Even worse, this social misfortune didn’t end in high school. It continued with every new friend I would try to make whether it be at work, college, singles wards, wherever. Still to this day 5 ½ years later, peers will not associate with me.

Over the years, I cannot even begin to tell you how much nor how often I have needed my Savior. Whether it be the dozens of times I have endured too much physical pain than I can bear, or it be far more emotional grief than any single human being should ever have to face. My Savior has rescued me in all of these times. When I can’t get any motivation to do anything, He will send something or someone to support me. When my faith is wavering and I can’t see any hope, I will not lie, it is not always a great solution. I have had to go to a psychiatric ward twice, because I didn’t have any hope left. I couldn’t see a reason for living anymore, but He reminded me – through my prior self – that He will always watch out for me. He has shown me time and time again that He loves us no matter what, even when I cannot feel it, even when I don’t believe it. He has led me through times of darkness. Although I don’t feel joy very often, my joy is always in the Lord. I am so grateful to know that I have a Savior; a Redeemer who came to this Earth and felt my every single pain, heartache, loss and abandonment. I know that every piece of life is part of a greater plan. There are still unknowns and questions in my mind, but I have to act on faith. I’m grateful to know that I can have faith in God, the Eternal Father for the rest of the stuff that I don’t know. I bear testimony of God the Father, His son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I know of their reality, I know of their love, and I know of Christ’s everlasting and infinite atonement. 

2 comments:

  1. Shannon, it was so wonderful to meet you today in Institute. We immediatley shared a love for music and the spirit it brings. I'm inspired by your strength and your courage. Your story is breath taking. Never give up because there are many people out there who need your example. God allowed you to walk a harsh but heroic path so you could be a blessing to others. I hope I see you around the institute again. Love Brother Tanner

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    1. Thank you so much Brother Tanner. Don't let me forget to tell you about my return to life. I appreciate your kind words - words that other people haven't used before actually. I look forward to seeing you again very soon! :)

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