Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Nikki's Story

In October of 2019, I survived a traumatic and fatal car accident. I almost lost my life and my boyfriend passed away. Among my many injuries, my spleen ruptured, I had a deflated lung, and I needed resuscitation. Eight months later, my physical and cognitive recovery has been absolutely remarkable. With five fractures in my pelvis, I was walking in two months. With a traumatic brain injury, in just a few months, my cognitive healing was beyond what the doctors originally told my family and I it would be. However, my emotional healing has been a completely different story. 

It has been a story of ebbs and flows. 

I have post-traumatic amnesia. I have no recollection of the accident or my first three weeks in the ICU. My first memory is waking up in acute rehab at GW Hospital. This was the third hospital I was transferred to, over a total of five whole weeks. When my brain began allowing me to record memories again, I woke up in that hospital bed feeling disoriented, as if I woke up in a nightmare. Over the past eight months, my mind has been in a dissociated state, where nothing has felt real. A feeling where, it is as if I never woke up from this nightmare when COVID-19 hit with a global pandemic only a few months after. 

Throughout my recovery, in the midst of healing from my physical pain and the emotional grief - I found gratitude. By waking up each morning to grab my journal and write my blessings each & every day, it was magical. I am grateful for how resilient the human body proves to be. I am grateful for my body’s ability to again grant me the privilege to walk, run, dance, and hike again without pain. I am grateful for my brain's ability to heal, allowing me to read, write, and again speak my truth. I am grateful for my lungs capacity to again fill me up with another fresh breath of oxygen, filling me with life. I am forever grateful for the support that came to my side in a time of immense need. 

Then, eight months later, my healing and gratitude gifted me with the courage and bravery to share my story.

I write my story, in honor of my recovery, in honor of my story of survival. I write, out of the love that remains in remembering the legacy and beautiful moments I shared with my partner Joao David Ferraz. I write, in hopes that through hearing the stories from my beautiful support system that came to my side, I will be able to recreate the three weeks of my life that I lost.