Melissa Whyte – Survivor

Life ahead is full of mystery and adventure, but we are going past ‘Go’ again, in the board game of life. We are thanking God who brought us together and it’s wonderful to know He is the One who gives us unending love.

Melissa and Brian

Where do I begin? I guess it would be good to start with who I am. My name is Melissa Whyte, Nee Hickson and I am currently 40 years old and living in South Australia. I met my husband Brian through his sister Rachel. I loved meeting Rachel at a Mainly Music meeting, where she brought her three children under 5, to participate in songs, craft and food that my church have put on, for other parents, grandparents and carers to get to know each other. I was there as a volunteer, to do the administration and socialize. I gave Rachel my brief testimony, and she said, “You’d be perfect for my brother!” We married the next year! We have been married since August 5, 2017.

My life got turned upside down when one month, I turned 40, and the next, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a miscarriage. We would end up having a total of two miscarriages, and named them Alex and Ezra.

We also have a miniature labradoodle called Violet, and a cat called Cassandra. I am currently unemployed but do a couple hours a week of volunteer work. My volunteer work is done at the Pentecostal church I go to, and Mainly Music is where I use my computer skills in administration, and friendships with the parents and grandparents who come. I volunteer as a singer for our Sunday services, and love being on stage, encouraging others to sing God’s praise with us.

I decided to tell my story because I want people to be encouraged. I want people to be able to count their blessings that God has for them, and to never feel like giving up.

Now to move on to why I am here to begin with.

When I was 16 years old, I was involved in a two car collision. This was back on January 12, 1998. The accident happened at a crossroad, and my driver turned right, when he should’ve waited until the car coming towards us went past us. We were hit by that car, side on.

Dean is a man who saw that our car had been in an accident, and as he was a volunteer fire-fighter, he thought to look and see if we had been injured. He saw that I was needing my airways to be unblocked, and saved my life, and helping the other one beside me. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for being the one to stop, check us out, and help us.

Melissa in hospital

The other vehicle had one passenger in it, who had slight bruising. The two men in the front of the car I was in also had bruising, and the passenger next to me had a brain injury too, and had her spleen removed. I was on the passenger side and the other lady injured was behind the driver. I sustained injuries that caused me to be in the hospital for 3 months. I didn’t have any other injuries except TBI and a seatbelt bruise, and a stroke that happened in the ambulance. We were airlifted to another hospital where they had neurosurgeons, for half my scull to be removed for the brain to swell, and surgery happened as soon as possible. I was initially placed in an induced coma for several days due to severe brain swelling. The neurosurgeons ended up eventually having to remove part of my skull due to the extreme swelling. I had to wear a special helmet that protected my brain until the swelling reduced and they could replace the skull piece they had to remove to allow my brain to swell without more damage than it had already sustained. After the swelling reduced, they were able to replace the skull and stretch the skin over it to allow it to heal. I did develop right-sided hemiplegia, right peripheral vision issues, and a traumatic brain injury indicated by a left-sided hematoma. The traumatic brain injury was diagnosed pretty quickly. I also ended up having a stroke. I have no memory of the accident, my first two weeks in the intensive care unit, or anything else in that time after the accident.

I have gone through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and have had the help of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) in Australia that supports workers along the way. I went from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to home in the country, an hour away. I had a lot of Chiropractic help, and that was in the next town. I did hydrotherapy as an outpatient for six months, going to the city once a week, and then found a physiotherapist who did hydrotherapy local, in a smaller pool. I had physiotherapy at my home, and they taught me how to walk up and down steps. A member of a Vision Impairment group taught me safety in walking, making sure I was not in any danger by listening for traffic. I still have peripheral vision issues, without being able to see anything to my right. I recovered in movement in about one year, but continued doing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Some lingering changes I notice still is the inability to converse as well as I have in the past and that admittedly causes me a great deal of frustration. Even with therapy I am still unable to use my right side much – therefore I cannot ride a bike, run, drive, or dance.

Melissa and Brian; Dean (rescuer) and his wife Helen

I am fortunate and thankful that I have the support of my family. I love them very much. They have seen me go through every aspect of recovery. They have seen me go through all the struggle and frustration and adjustment to a new way of life, and they have assisted me in working out solutions to move forward. My husband and friends know me the best. They know my abilities and my weaknesses. They know when I am experiencing mental fatigue and when I am not. I am grateful and love their support as well. In addition to all that, we have a life long friendship with my rescuer Dean and his wife Helen. Their involvement in our lives has been a Godsend. I was able to complete High School with assistance and perseverance. I had to attend 12th grade part-time over two years. There were some highlights to my final years of high school though. I was able to skydive into the school formal with my uncle “Hicky”, who is a world-renowned formation skydiver. Talk about making an entrance memorable!

Melissa Skydiving

I have learned to live as active a life as is possible. I walk to the shops occasionally and usually walk the block once or trice a week. If I walk any further, my hip will go out of alignment and I will be in enormous pain. I enjoy playing table tennis about once a fortnight, but as I can’t use my right sides in the usual way, I get my competitors to use their opposite hand to what they’re used to, so I have a chance of winning. I can’t play more than two games though, as I get a headache if I try.

Melissa Skydiving

Throughout my recovery process, there have been many times that I have been faced with being brought down, made to feel hopeless, and helpless. In those times, that is when I have felt God’s peace wash over me. I feel that many people who have been praying for my recovery have been helped seeing me overcome my adversity, and seeing my determination to make an effort to get better. I am focused on what the future holds for me and I thrive on encouraging others.

I want to leave a legacy that shows people that it is possible to overcome adversity. I want them to know it is possible to see past a persons difficulties to see them as capable. I want people to see past my difficulties and see what I was able to accomplish, even with so many things stacked against me. I want people to know that through all the hard work and effort, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We trust God and believe in His ability to heal me, and that He is a miracle-working God who loves us all. The circumstances we go through may seem unfair, but God is still our loving God, and peace that passes understanding comes from Him.

I have even been able to write my autobiography, “Blessings Every Day, Never Ask Why; Never Give Up” and get it published! I would love to share my story with the world. If anyone is interested in it they can reach me at blessingseveryday2020@gmail.com. I want to invite everyone to find my story as an eBook on Amazon.

Click Here to Access My Book

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