I was woken up early in the morning of December 22nd. A call, a birth. As a new student midwife, each time my phone rang before the sun rose, my heart leapt and I knew it would be a beautiful and wondrous day. This day in particular, I had no idea what I was in for. The entire day was a perfect one, accompanied by a magically heavy snowstorm (one of those really peaceful ones that reminds you of Narnia). My friends were all going to see the new Star Wars movie that night, and I didn’t care one bit that I was probably going to miss it. I left Durango as the wet snow started to pile up, taking care at each curve or stop. Driving in snow is one thing, driving in slush, yuk! It throws you from side to side with little to no warning. I was going nice and slow on 160 all the way home, got a call from my husband on the top of Yellow jacket pass telling me the movie was awesome, and he was headed to pick up the kids. I was excited to get home around the same time as them to tuck in my beautiful boys.
I had the same person following me the majority of the drive over, while people passed us slowpokes. I was coming down a hill just outside of Pagosa when I hit some deeper and icier slush and slid a little. I didn’t panic and tried to correct it, but instead just fishtailed the other way. Attempting again to regain control, I realized I was sliding a little further each time. All of a sudden, it felt like someone shoved the back of my car and I was spinning in circles down the middle of highway 160. I saw headlights and wondered if it was the people following me, or if it was oncoming traffic. It all happened so fast, but I remember thinking (so calmly, it was kind of weird), “Okay, I’m gonna go off the road. I don’t think I’m going too fast, it should be alright. It shouldn’t take too long to get back out. I probably have a cell signal…” Then everything in the car hit the ceiling as my car flipped and rolled down the hill I wasn’t expecting. I saw my window hit the snow, then face the sky. I saw my windshield splinter out like a spider web. I felt my foot pressed down firmly on the gas and knew I couldn’t remove it or I would tumble too (I did have my seatbelt on, but it didn’t hold me down very well. I know it made a huge difference though!).
My car landed upright about 10 feet from an icy creek and about 40 feet from the road. I knew I hit my head a whole lot on my window so I took a second to orient myself and make sure that foot was OFF the gas! Before I knew it, someone was at my door trying to get it open. We had to break it open, as it had taken probably the most damage. I stood up right away and regretted it. The truck that was following me saw the whole thing and they were able to call 911 immediately. A plow truck came around the corner about a minute later and turned their lights on. I sat in the front seat of my car while we called some people letting them know what happened. I remember freaking out about my headband. I knew I was wearing one. I think it fell off. Where is it? Where’s my freaking headband?! (This poor guy) I found my headband and decided to walk up to their truck to get warm. As soon as I got up there, the ambulance arrived and I hopped in the back to be checked out. My head hurt pretty bad and by now I was feeling the other bumps and bruises, but nothing serious that I knew of. We were discussing whether or not I should get checked out at the hospital or not when my neck decided to do this weird spasm, so off to the hospital we went. They gave me
some pain meds for the drive and I think I was winking and shooting finger guns within a few minutes.
I had a CT shortly after arriving at the hospital and Blake was there soon after that with two sleepy boys in tow. The Doctor came in with the results and told us the neck CT was clear and I could take that funky collar off. Then he pulled up a chair, sat down, and heaved a big old sigh. “So. On the brain scan we found what we like to call an “incidental-noma”. It’s a mass about the size of a nickel in the left occipital portion of your brain. We compared it to the CT you had two years ago, and it’s new. The old scan was completely clear. We’ll need to…” He went on to explain what the next steps would be for us, and asked which doctor we would like to see through this ordeal. I don’t know how to explain what those first few moments felt like. I started running those words over and over in my head wondering if I heard him right. By this time, it was almost 2:30 in the morning and I had almost been up for 24 hours
I wanted sleep. But sleep meant getting back in a car. Thankfully by that time my mind was so overdone I don’t remember anything about leaving the hospital or driving home. I could’ve been sedated for all I know. I was in and out of it until the sun came up to reveal a beautiful puffy blanket of snow covering our whole valley. I didn’t know where my car was and Blake didn’t feel comfortable leaving me right away to go find out, so in the truck I got. I tucked in a ball and hoped for the best. My husband is a wizard at driving in the snow so there were no scares. We slowly called our close friends and family to let them know what happened. And that was it. That was the start of this new stage of life. The say there are two ways people deal with traumatic events. Some people’s brains block out everything and they are barely able to recall anything about the ordeal, others remember every single detail and their brains like to replay the feeling of rolling and swerving and “Brain tumor” over and over and over. I think I know which one I am. I’m thankful every day for the way things turned out. It’s scary and overwhelming but it is exactly where God wants us to be right now. So here goes it…