Beauty Behind The Scars-Part 2

IMG_7346Before I go into this next post, I wanted to share something with you all, in hopes that someone out there has some advice. For four years I have been dealing with insomnia, unsure of whether it is anxiety, PTSD, or another reason causing it (possibly a combination). I was addicted to sleeping medication in the hospital, and after two years I was finally able to ween myself off of the harsh medication, only to put myself on another medication. The day I began school last week my sleep dropped from minimal, to nothing at all. I have been up most nights, thinking of whatever has occurred that day, a book I was reading, a song I heard, and planning the many things I must do the next day. No one functions well on little sleep, and for someone like myself, everything is heightened on these days. My emotions are wild, my mental health declines, and every part of my body aches. I have stuck to a routine, used different medications and essential oils, read before bed, and experiment with different ways to get comfortable in bed. However, nothing seems to be working currently. I am reaching out to anyone and everyone, what has worked for you during a stressful time? Anything is greatly appreciated. Now for Part 2, of Beauty Behind The Scars. 

FullSizeRender-12Close to two weeks ago I exposed the story behind my thigh burn, as well as the area they took the skin for the graft. The impact was so severe that the air bag exploded, leaking the chemical gas. As I said before, the air bag still saved me from a significant amount of damage. However, some of the gas reached my face and burnt my chin. I never saw what it looked like for the first few weeks, but Zoe described it as “cartoon like” due to the swelling causing my chin to be triple in size and stick straight outwards. The burn took several months to heal, needing weekly trips to the burn clinic. A chin strap was used every night during my first year after the crash to help the scar tissue. I remember being so aware of this scar, so upset with the aesthetics. One day in the trauma unit, a nurse informed me of a male who was just brought to Foothills Hospital after being in a car crash. The entirety of his face and head was burnt from the air bag. I never had the chance to meet this man, but I hope he recognizes the beauty behind his scars.

FullSizeRender-13I had broken both femurs in the crash, one in two spots, the other in one. However, both were transverse fractures (going straight in a horizontal line), which ultimately resulted in a loss of height. When I was in the coma, I had several surgeries that my father had to give consent for, one was the very difficult insertion of my right femur rod. Many of you saw the photo of my mother that Liam took when she was in the ICU, attached to tubes and completely swollen. While I am unsure of just how swollen both me and my mother were after the crash and for the first few days/weeks, I can only assume it was quite significant. The femur rod could not enter my body due to the swelling, and they informed my father that they would have to attempt the surgery another day. The two attempts to insert the permanent rod FullSizeRender-14unfortunately left a very large scar, starting at the top of my hip going about a third of the way down my thigh.

A memorable part of the story behind this scar is the day I was told how severe my femur breaks were. In addition to these breaks, I had broken my pelvis in five spots. The day they revealed this to me was a painful day, both physically and emotionally. I was told by a team of doctors that while I would be able to walk again, it may not be for close to a year due to the combination of the pelvic, ankle, and femur fractures. Absolute devastation poured over both me and my dad. A few weeks had past, and I was then informed that it looked as though the femurs were beginning to heal and the pelvis was setting. After a few weeks of zero movement from the waist down and the support of “braces”, the estimated time for walking turned into 8 months, six months, and then the day came that I was to weight bare on my right leg, just six weeks after the crash. It is by far my longest scar, while the thigh burn is by far the widest. I was self-conscious of almost all of my scars for many years, but the longer I lived with them, the more I saw them as a part of me. Like many of us in this world, and many of us who are a part of MADD, I tattooed the scar this summer in such a way that it reflected how I now felt about it. It was once my “frankenscar”, it is now unique, eye catching, and beautiful.

-Maia

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9 thoughts on “Beauty Behind The Scars-Part 2

  1. It is amazing to hear the difficult parts of your journey and understand the challenges, the intensity and dismay of the individual moments, the internal strength that you accessed to survive and also the ability to turn your scars into stories and beauty💜 It is so inspiring to share your experiences – thank you Maia

    Sleep can be tough – my sister created a playlist of songs that she found soothing and listens when she is struggling. Audio visualization s and relaxations can also help and for some – melatonin

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  2. You’re story is heartbreaking. I’m sorry you are struggling to sleep. I take zopiclone to sleep but very hard to stop using it and doubt I ever will. A person becomes very dependent on those meds. I never realized how much damage an airbag could do until your mom told me. Your tatto is beautiful and so are you. Please keep sharing your story. I hope it brings you some kind of peace in your life.

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  3. Your courage is awesome. Your strength phenomenal. Your journey tough. No one can or will be able to know just how hard your journey was and will be. What we do know is that you are a fighter and you will persevere.
    As to sleep…. Up until a few years ago, I never had trouble sleeping. Now, not so. For me, there is some help in learning mindfulness, in learning how to stay in the moment helps. I have stripped my bedroom of all electronics and have minimal lighting in there. It is for sleeping only. Where it gets really bad, I get up and go sit outside doing my centering. Some days it works, some nights it doesn’t.

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  4. thank you once again for sharing your story. very moving and inspiring to read.
    re: insomnia… Anie Boudreau is a yoga/pain therapist in Nelson. She works with chronic pain, PTSD, addictions, breakdowns. After some severe complicated physical traumas years ago, about which she shares openly, she studied and worked to become a master at dealing with PTSD, chronic pain, addictions, etc., in part to manage her own conditions, but in particular, she devotes her work to helping others in self care, optimal management of chronic conditions, and healing.
    She is remarkable for her skills and knowledge, and her empathy and caring. Best of luck Maia, love to you and your amazing family. with love and appreciation for being so open. Peter Clement contact for Anie…..Anie Boudreau 250 505 9807; anieboudreau@gmail.com

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  5. I am a friend of Jim henman and Myles Goodwyn , my name is mario Moro and I suffer from anxiety , I am first Gen Canadian as my parents are from Venice Italy area. Italian/ venician is my first language…. my best med for sleep is my grandmothers ,4 camomile tea bags or more in a cup to relax and sleep…..,,, hope this helps you … I know the feeling …..

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  6. I’ve used melatonin when I’ve had trouble sleeping, as well as hot bath with a good book. For me staying away from anything with caffeine after 3 pm really helps as well. I also find writing things down really helps to unclutter my mind of “to do” things. I also play the A-Z game, changing it up all the time…people in the family A-Z, places I’ve travelled to, camped at, foods and so on. I rarely make it through alphabet because I fall asleep or get stuck on x. I really hope you find something that works for you. Love n hugs. Kath. PS your scars and tats are beautiful!

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  7. Thank you Maia for continuing to share your story. Many of us walk around with scars some that we can see on the outside and many of us with deep scars on the inside. I can see how your scars are shaping you into a healer and changer for the future.
    As for the sleep i might suggest a mindfulness meditation audio. I also saw these wonderful weighted blankets. Great for anxiety and restlessness. Another option might be CBD oil. Lastly, I read an article recently about the brain and sleep and it was saying that should be awake or wake up during the night, not to turn on lights or look at a computer screen, I guess the light triggers the brain to think it is time to get up, making it difficult to get back to sleep. Okay, one more..maybe bodywork or cranial sacral therapy which will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.
    Looking forward to your future musings.
    Liz

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    1. Hi Miai: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I too, suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a car accident many, many years ago. Although my injury occurred in 1974, I can still have a lot of problems with sleep. I have found over the years and trying several different methods, the best thing to do is to learn to relax your mind. I know this is a very tough thing to try to learn to do but once you can achieve this, you will find things get easier. For me, the first step was to learn to accept what had happened. Then like you, I tried several different things but to no avail. Finally, after speaking to a neuro psychiatrist, he had prescribed a prescription which helped tremendously. The drug Is called Trazodone. HCI – 100mg. I take one when I am ready to retire for the evening and am usually within 5 minutes and when I wake up in the morning, I feel well rested. That and Power of Suggestion or learning how to meditate have been the answers for me. If you wish, you could speak to your Dr. about it and see what he has to say. As I mentioned, I have an idea of what you are going through as I went through an ordeal very similar to yours. Mine happened in 1974 and still affects me to this day, so it is best to learn to accept this and learn to relax your mind. I went to school with your Mom, a couple of her sisters and one of her brothers, Stephen. They are wonderful people and I am sure you are also. Take care, continue sharing your story (so many can learn from it) and lastly I wish you lots of luck with your present and future parts of your recovery. Heather Morrison, Nova Scotia.
      P.S. With regards to my accident, I suffer from PTSD, don’t remember much of that night, and was diagnosed by the Drs. while in the hospital that I may have been unable to walk for the rest of my life. I am very happy to say I had no problem walking once I came out of my coma and can finally say I accept what has happened. I may not like it, but I do accept it. Good luck with your future endeavors.
      Heather

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  8. https://mysleepbutton.com/support/do-it-yourself-cognitive-shuffle-sdi/

    I find this helps when I can’t sleep. Mostly I will do a word like Maia and then choose individual words like m – mother, a -air, i – individual, a – another, then on the last word I would start again, so another and use each letter to make a word. Somehow this resets your brain to not stress and shuts off thoughts. Sending love, light and sleep.

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