The wonders of the Almighty should never be queried because he is the author and finisher of our faith. A young and beautiful 23-year-old lady, Julie Saint-Fleur has taken her time to narrate how she escaped death after a terrible accident.
NAIJ.com exclusively gathered that Julie Saint-Fleur is a college student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), United States (US) studying Elementary Education. She plans on entering the world of Philanthropy through child care, as she is passionate about helping others get over their life issues and have experience in Crisis Counseling.
Read her full interview below:
1. How and when did you come about the burns (what actually caused it)?
ANS: Over the summer I had the role of taking food orders at a nightclub. The location had a tent set up outside of the kitchen, where fryers were placed to cook the food. The customers gathered around the tent to order their food and be served. On July 21, 2016 around 3:00 am as I was taking an order, two of the customers that were waiting got into a dispute. One of them pulled a gun out and began shooting at the other one. Amid the chaos, everyone got up to run and someone kicked off the fryer.
2. What were the chances of survival given to you by the doctors?
ANS: My burns were critical but I was not told I was going to lose my life, it was just lingering in the air. I had 3rd degree burns on my back starting from my neck down to my ankles. I was at a huge risk for infections and spent majority of my hospital stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
3. Seeing how badly the burns affected your body, did you ever think you will get your skin back or what were the things going through your mind?
ANS: When I first arrived the hospital I was told I only had 1st and 2nd degree burns. Upon hearing that I was put at ease and was no longer worried. I was then transferred to an actual Burn Center where I was told I had more severe injuries and I’d be having several operations to repair my skin. At that point I was nervous and did not know what to expect. I had seen burn patients in the past and their scars always troubled me. I thought my injuries would change my life for the worst and there would be no positive outcome to this but I was wrong.
4. What were some of the encouragements you got from families and friends?
ANS: My support system was absolutely amazing! They never stopped reminding me of how much strength I exerted. Being told how strong I was handling the situation kept me going. It helped me muster up the courage to go through this with a smile on my face.
5. How will you narrate your survival story (what were the things that kept you going)?
ANS: I will tell my story by using the lens of authenticity. I feel as if me being honest with myself and the people around me is the best route to take when giving my testimony. Throughout my healing process mentally and physically I kept myself in a glass box. I felt that to help others I had to be transparent about how I was coping. I kept going by reminding myself of the bigger picture: I survived. The incident could have been worst but it wasn’t which means I now had the privilege of finding the meaning behind this incident and using that to fuel purpose and a message to others.
6. Was there at any point that people made you feel you won't make it or even body-shamed you?
ANS: Being that I was very public about my injuries, sharing pictures on social media I had people comment nasty things like “your burns are ugly and these people are lying to you.” It didn’t bother me as much as hearing a close family member tell me, “Be realistic! Look at your burns, do you honestly believe you will be in a healthy relationship when there are a world full of beautiful women with flawless skin walking around.” That cut deep because it was coming from someone who meant a lot to me.
7. Seeing how well you flaunt your scars, do people criticize you and how do you handle it?
ANS: I have had people ask me why I don’t cover up, it’s not like my face was burned and I am still a very attractive woman. I always wave it off as their own personal insecurities that they are trying to push onto me. I always must remind myself that “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter do not mind!”
8. Were you in a relationship when it happened? If yes, how supportive was your man during your recovery days?
ANS: I was not in a relationship at the time of the incident but soon after I began dating a friend. He has been supportive throughout the entire process. He is constantly telling me that he sees no flaws and I am still undeniably beautiful. Days when I felt down he was always right there to pick me up. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive man.
9. This experience must have made you stronger and more confident, what do you advice people who are going through this same recovery process but are not proud OR confident about themselves?
ANS: We all have scars, some happen to have them internally and they are never seen. Our scars help illustrate our story and we should always be proud to share them. This isn’t an easy process but the first step will be self-acceptance. Once you make peace that this is your reality and you are still awesome with scars, the people around you will have no other choice but to accept it as well.
10. Aside medications, what were some of the things that made you heal fast and how long did it take you to get back on your feet?
ANS: If you have ever played a sport or went through physical training you may have heard the saying “it is only painful in your mind” or “it’s all a mind thing”. It truly is! I had to tell myself that life wasn’t over. I knew I had goals and I could not let them go astray because of this accident. I was motivated to get out of the hospital and get back to school. I left the hospital on a walker after 4 weeks and I used the walker at home for 2 more weeks after that.
11. If you were to describe your recovery process in one word, what will you say and was there a stage you lost hope in God?
ANS: Patience. I won’t say I lost hope in God but I did question the authority of God. I was hurt and I wanted to know “why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” “Why did God allow this to happen to me?” I knew in the end this was only a test and that something much greater will come out of it all.
12. What are you most grateful for?
ANS: Life. I don’t think I took it serious. I knew we all have to die some day and I always kept that notion. I was shown that life is precious and we must always live it to the fullest because in a second it can change forever. I’m grateful to still be living life.
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