Our last post about Aimee Copeland was a sad one. A beautiful, loving, healthy 24 year old woman of Georgia suffered a devastating zip line accident that escalated from twelve staples in a deep leg gash into the amputation of her left leg, right foot, both hands, and part of her torso at the merciless hands of the flesh-eating bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila, commonly known as necrotizing fasciitis.
But now, it fills me with joy to be able to deliver good news about Aimee, to tell the beginning of a happy ending. After a fresh air-deprived 49 days inside the walls of the Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta, Aimee has ventured outside for the very first time. Less than a month ago, doctors gave her little chance of survival. Last Sunday, her condition was changed from “serious” to “good.” Last Monday, she was out in the sunshine with her parents. Fittingly, her father, Andy, remarked in his blog that “the sun has returned to her life,” noting that she had a bright smile and a “beauty of survival, of resilience.” This Tuesday, Aimee has been discharged from the hospital, and is headed to a rehabilitation clinic. In a whirlwind of good news, Aimee is well on the way to recovery.
A unique aspect to Aimee’s ordeal (more than the fact that she suffered such a rare bacterial infection) which I believe to demonstrate her courage and strength all the more is the fact that she spent the majority of the time off pain medication. She is in the midst of obtaining her graduate degree in humanistic psychology, and is writing her thesis on nature therapy with at specific focus on holistic pain management. It is with this belief in natural healing that Aimee turned to meditation to cope with her immense pain in the past months. Not only does she preach mind over body, but she proves it. In the brief period that she begrudgingly turned to morphine, where most of us would welcome it, she stated feeling like a “traitor to her convictions.”
Safe to say, “traitor” is the last word that comes to mind when I think of Aimee. She has become a renowned success story, both for her defiance of the odds in her very survival, but also for her resilient spirit. When faced with operation after operation, Aimee remained ever positive; she is quoted on her father’s blog as having responded with a simple and resounding, “Let’s do this,” after having asked about prosthetics. Her sunny outlook that has earned her national attention: Universities have teamed up to donate blood to Aimee (of which she’s required astronomical amounts), organizing nation-wide blood drives and encouraged alumni to contribute.
“I don’t have any regrets about what has happened. I don’t focus on what I’ve lost; I would rather focus on what I’ve gained. I feel like I’ve been blessed. I am blessed to have the opportunity to experience something that not many other people have had the chance to experience. I am blessed to have the capacity to share my experience with others and have a chance to improve the quality of someone else’s life. I’m blessed to be different.”
What we see here is a display of pure, inspiring courage. Her life is forever changed, and yet her spirit remains as buoyant as ever. Her father shares that “in all my 53 years of existence, I have never seen such a strong display of courage.” Most people leave the hospital weakened. Not Aimee. She has plans bigger, and an outlook brighter, than ever – Aimee plans to walk across the University of West Georgia stage and received her Master’s diploma. Yes, walk.
Image via: CBS Atlanta