I love words, Jeanee makes the joke about my public speaking: "Jamie just literally died and went to heaven, now she can talk on stage, with a microphone, and no one can interrupt her." I love words but I can't find powerful enough words to describe this past week. I will do my best, but I don't believe there are words strong enough to describe this past week.
I was invited back to Whistler CA for a one year anniversary of my crash. You see I am able to go back. I am cleared to ski and do everything active by my neurologist and have no permanent brain damage, my right side is equal now to my left now, my brain stem is healed and my personality didn't even change. Most people think I was just in a medically induced coma. I was, for 3 days, but stayed for 5 more days in a coma that wasn't medically induced. I naturally couldn't wake up. Before we went to Whistler I knew how much effort my family had put into my recovery but if you know my mom you know she gives out so many details and tells such great stories and she's my mom I thought she might be exaggerating a little bit saying my recovery was a miracle. I knew I was in a coma but thought my story had been embellished just a little bit. I found out this week the actual truth. And let me tell you that truth is so unreal.
On April 11, 2016 it was one year since my crash. All the women involved with the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival had an Apres Ski with me. Seeing me was such a release for every single one of them and for my family. At different times everyone cried. At one moment this women, Cate, in charge of the competition portion of WSI stood up. She gave me a bag. She told me how at my crash they cut off my bib. She kept my bib. She put a little note on my bib that said Cate is superstitious and kept my bib. She started talking to the bib: " you got this Jamie, if anyone can pull though you can" She kept the bib that was lucky enough to save my life. After I left the hospital she still kept it all wrapped up because she believed one time it would be important. One year later I clutched the bib that saved my life.
The festival ladies. You can tell they are all passionate and heartfelt which comes off in the festival.
That's one of the big things I learned this week. Every single person believed I would make it. On Facebook they had posts saying: "If anyone could pull through this you can" or " Jamie just likes attention so this is a great way to get some, but don't worry she will be back grabbing your attention all over again in a different way." Everyone believed in me and saw the glass half full. Cate said she kept my lucky bib that saved my life.
The bib that was cut off me in the accident. Returned at my one year anniversary!
Later on I saw the ski patrol that was my first response. I met the man that incubated me on the ski mountain. I met the man that pumped air into my lungs on the sled when I wasn't breathing. After I left in the helicopter the ski patrol started writing my fatality report. The are first response, not overly emotional and they literally told me they thought I had: " A one in a miracle chance of surviving." and that the way they handled and took care of me is "a legacy that will be shared world wide and live on in eternity."
The men who literally actually did save my life thank you Brian and Bruce!
My air getting pumped into me after the crash because I stopped breathing
The Helicopter at Whistler Blackcomb taking me to ICU
The whole week everyone who ran the World Ski and Snowboard Festival treated me amazing. My mom, sister and I had free tickets to Whistler, tickets to every festival event and party, and on the intersection night, the biggest film night the MC told everyone about my crash, my recovery, showed pictures, and said I was here now in Whistler. Then the camera was on my and I stood up and put both my hands over my head. I then found out Jeanee, and my sister Amy and my mom Fruit had talked about this exact night happening when I was in the ICU and the doctors didn't even think I would survive. Jeanee and Amy and Fruit thought I would be back in one year to Whistler, skiing and introduced at the festival. Their exact dream and vision actually happened.
Speaking of the ICU, I had never been to an ICU before I went to the ICU in Vancouver and was let in the Vancouver ICU I was taken care of in. The doctors and nurses all recognized me. One doctor was in a meeting and the head nurse showed my face at the door. He stared at me for five seconds. Looked over at fruit and Jeanee. Said: "Jamie, that's actually Jamie, you're back!" And burst into tears. Then he said he is an ICU doctor, they don't cry or get attached, but I made his entire year and he can't hold back his tears. He was the doctor who put a bolt in my brain that had never been used in all of North America. That means it had never been used in the U.S. either. The bolt was a new way to test the Oxygen level in the brain and they needed someone to test the bolt on. I was their test. He said they not only didn't think I would survive, if I did survive my mind would never heal, my brain stem wouldn't be able to be repaired, I wouldn't be able to walk none the less ski. They want me to come as living proof to show that their test, the new brain bolt, worked.
The Hospital. I was feeling overwhelmed and nervous
At that moment, it had been growing on me all week, I realized my mom wasn't embellishing my story. The ski patrol and doctors didn't even think I would survive, I became the first person in North America to be treated with the bolt. Everyone, my friends, people who had never met me believed in me so much, I'm not 100% sure why everyone believed so much in me but they did. I don't remember a month. When my memory came back I never thought I worked hard. I didn't believe I was in a hospital, I believed I was at summer camp or it looked like a hospital because I was in a movie about a hospital. I was happy the entire time. I went to the park everyday, played soccer in the halls, was visited by around eight friends or more per day when my mind came back. I do remember things like I could barley walk up a flight of stairs but practiced everyday and in a few weeks could run up 12 flights in 3:21 (I was timed) But it's mind blowing to think of how many people in how many ways my story already has impacted or will impact. It's crazy to think my story will save lives, and most people get a legacy when they die, I already have a legacy because I lived.
My head neurologist. Mypinder said me coming to thank him and being alive made his year. We are scheduling some motivation speaking events so my story is shared internationally.
It was a crazy year. There are so many people involved in my injury and recovery and I want to thank them all. My Injury will affect me for the rest of my life, but for me in the positive way. I have more doors open for me now then I can count. I have no idea why I survived so well. It's easy to write down but harder to believe the ski patrol and festival wrote down fatality reports for me right before I died when I left in the helicopter, yet I lived. And not only did I live I completely recovered. The festival and Whistler brought me back and treated me like the most important person in the world for a week, I met the first response and doctors responsible for saving my life. They both want me to speak at multiple conventions and told me: "my legacy will reach on internationally, I will save so many lives by being a test for the brain bolt and surviving so well." It was hard for me to take in and understand how much I am impacting so many lives. I am a bubbly, small, ditzy, happy, friendly little girl, I always have been and now always get to me. I get to keep helping as many people in the world as I can. My book began a long time ago, now everything fell (literally) Into place and the rest? Well the rest is still unwritten.