This is my story about how I learned to overcome the effects of a traumatic brain injury, after my devastating car accident. I am just the average woman, who ran into misfortune. It could have happened to anyone.
We all have a choice though, when something of this nature happens, to just exist, or to pick up and live a full life, by learning how to deal with limitations. I chose the latter. My intentions in writing this are that I wanted to share, not just with accident victims, but also with the person who has lost any hope to see that change is possible. I am referring to the change in our outlook on us. We must love ourselves. I believe that is where inner peace and healing begin. I grew up figure skating, until I eventually trained to enter Ice Capades. I remember performing on the ice at the Los Angeles Forum, while auditioning. It was so smooth I felt as if I was gliding on glass.
The reactions of the panel were that my skating was good, but my thighs were too big. They went on to say that, with constant travel between shows, there’d be no time to repair costumes if the seams were split. Since I was young and had no thoughts regarding limitation of time, my reaction to their decision was. I’ve practiced long enough and now they want more? I don’t think so. I was disappointed but not distraught.
I will say though, that that similar determination to work for something would come in handy at a later point of this one’s life. Years later I was an instructor for Jack La Lanne’s Health Spa. Guess what? No more heavy thighs! It was not the kind of job with a future though. Later on, I was hired as a prop maker for Warner Bros. Studios. I worked on such shows as Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, Eight Is Enough... I also took jobs on my own, designing and constructing stained glass windows.
A certain night, December 6th, 1978 on my way home from work, I was broad sided by a truck, and fell into a coma.
I awoke sometime in January 1979, but it still took me an additional 5 weeks to regain awareness. Now that I am awake, I haven’t stopped. Hurdle after hurdle might have slowed me down temporarily, but I knew there was a reason that I was still here. I even attempted to return to my old job at the studios, but was unable to keep up. Another hurdle.
I knew for a fact that God allowed me to remain here on earth, but there were times when the reasons seemed very cloudy. I also knew that everyone of us had struggles of some sort or another, but life had become very challenging for me. Say that you’ve been striving very hard for something and you are just beginning to see the fruits. Suddenly, there’s this feeling of insignificance trying to tell you to just give up, that you will never achieve. Don’t listen. All of us have that weak inner self that is so much against our succeeding because it is scared and until we learn to recognize that voice, it has won.
I enrolled in Bible College sometime around August of 1985 and graduated in May of 1989. During those years, I came to realize that it’s okay to be different, because, I am enough. That, friends who couldn’t look past my imperfections and see my heart, well they were not the kind of friends that I needed. Once again, my goals in writing this book are not only to share my story with accident victims but also for the person who has not experienced a physical loss, yet they are struggling emotionally.
Ever since the day I began sharing my story with people, it was if I had been buttered up and frosted like an angel food cake. No one wanted to see me hurt any more than I had been already.
To them Pam was such an example of courage. What had yet to be witnessed though, was the anger inside, pushed down so deep that even I was not about to confront it. I was furious that this happened. Why me? Why not me was the question I had to accept.The realization would not arrive overnight. I speak to different groups about my story and how to never lose hope, or they will give in to that fear of defeat. Acting became a love of mine that I am not about to shake. I began studying in 2001 because I realized, if I can’t get there behind the camera, I’ll get there in front! This isn’t intended to be a self-help book, as I am just sharing my experiences and how I myself endured them.
Then again if it helps you in any way then more power to you. The time was around 11:00 p.m. when I turned onto my street. My house was a block down past the stop sign. I was planning on walking in the front door and heading directly to my bed, because I needed to be at the studios at 6:00 a.m. I approached the stop sign and unable to view oncoming traffic due to overgrown hedges I edged out. Along came a pickup truck, traveling at an estimated rate of fifty miles per hour. I was broad sided by that truck. Later on I was told that the truck left fifty- six feet of skid marks and pushed my car another ten feet.
Since the accident was only a block from my house, Mom heard the whole thing. With a mother’s intuition, my mom instantly arose and she ran down the street. There it was, my red Pinto. She ran to the car and there I was, shoved under the glove compartment. As it turned out, the yard that my car was pushed into was the house of the parents of a paramedic, who had by chance been visiting them at that moment. The paramedic Jack Barber saved my life. He was off duty when he ran outside after hearing the crash. I was told that he lifted my chin to open my airway as my mangled body laid waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
I had been thrown across the inside of the car, pushed over the stick shift and the back of my head smashed into a broken door handle. That was the night I left my former life behind!
to view my book or to order a copy please click on Book image below and visit: www.pamelajanse.com