According to Courtney Walden, who’s undergone 40 operations since the accident over three years ago. It’s been a long road, but I’m getting better every step of the way. A campfire mishap at Courtney Walden’s Georgia house about three years ago resulted in third and fourth degree Burns over her entire body. Courtney is still recovering from her injuries. Now she claims she couldn’t ask for a better life.
Walden tells People that she is very blessed. God has provided me with a plethora of blessings. I survived because the fire inside of me burned brighter than the fire surrounding me, says Courtney Walden, who proudly displays her new tattoo across her arm.
I survived because the fire inside of me burnt brighter than the fire around me. Last September, on a cool Friday evening in Tallapoosa, Georgia, the newlywed was enjoying a night outside with her spouse of two months as they celebrated their one year wedding anniversary at their house.
Caroline, her four year old daughter, was found sleeping in the house in the distance. Her husband was cooking tuna steaks and asparagus over an open campfire. As she sat in front of the blazing bonfire gazing at the fire, she confided in him that she was feeling under the weather.
The 27 year old bride was looking through her Facebook account on her phone when she looked up to discover her husband stoking the bonfire with gasoline, which she had missed. Suddenly, the campfire burst, saturating her face and blonde shoulder length hair with searing heat and instantly and simultaneously submerging her entire body in it.
Flames engulfed her from head to toe, her flip flops melting against her skin as she screamed for help. It was then that she remembered what she had learned in school as a child and fell to the ground. However, stop, drop and roll would not be enough to save her from the raging inferno. The fire, which was fuelled by gas, only grew in size. His wife was completely enveloped by fire and her husband fell to the ground and began smothering her, hoping to put out the flames.
I recall urging him to hurry up and call 911 and I begged him to please do it, Walden expressed herself. When I got into the ambulance, all I could think about was praying to God to please let me survive. Please let me live. Please forgive me. Please forgive me.
Please accept my apologies. She was subsequently flown to WellStar Medical Center in Cobb County. It was the 30 September 2016. The woman claimed that when she got to the hospital, her entire face was swelled beyond recognition. 36 days after going into a medically induced coma, she awoke in the intensive care unit burn unit with fourth degree Burns on her neck and thirddegree Burns on her hands, legs and feet.
I was aware that the flames that engulfed me from head to toe, but I had no idea what to expect, she explained. She recalled that the first time she saw herself in the hospital. She was on the verge of passing out and having to go lie down. I was completely disgusted. I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself.
I was on the verge of having a panic attack because I was so self conscious about my appearance and what do you think the rest of the world will think of me now? I sat there thinking, why would anyone want to be with me? I was perplexed. It’s unlikely that anyone will ever want to see with me again. However, the grief she could feel as a result of her appearance would pale in comparison to the actual pain she would endure.
The woman underwent more than a half dozen procedures, with the most recent occurring while she was in a coma. They were doing skin transplants, adding skin to my neck, wrists, legs, feet, you name it. I have a perfect flip flop burn on my left foot from that night, she explained. She was released from the hospital after 51 days and was able to return home. However, before she could enter, she insisted that her relatives removed all the mirrors from the room.
I just didn’t want to look at them because I didn’t want to see myself in the mirror because I go from being this gorgeous person on the inside and the outer to being this hideous person on the outside while still being lovely on the inside, she explains. Her daughter, on the other hand, noticed her. She raised her little glasses to her face and looked her in the eyes. She couldn’t comprehend what was being said. She was completely unfamiliar with the person in front of her.
She had the appearance of a stranger. She was apprehensive at first. She essentially simply stood back after she stepped in the door until she heard my voice, she explained. She stepped up to her mother and put her small arms around her, refusing to let her go until she was satisfied while pleading with her mother to stay with her. After she discovered she was who she claimed to be, tears streamed down her face.
Her mother was still there and she recognized that her mother was going to love her no matter what happened, and she will always love her no matter what happens. It’s a love that’s stranger than her Burns and more forgiving than her scars. And it was this love that gave her the will to survive as well as the strength to confront the challenges of her future. She demonstrated to me that no matter how I appear, I am still loved and will continue to be loved by others. And here I am surrounded by people who like me and they’re able to see me today because of my radiant inner beauty.
My daughter, she’s my rock, she’s my everything, she added of Caroline, who is now five years old and used to hold her hand and help her walk when she couldn’t do it on her own. A short time after she returned home, her family was met with even more grief. She returned home to find that her marriage had failed to resist the emotional toll that the fire had had on her relationship. Two weeks after she had returned, I was sitting there thinking about how I was going to care for my daughter now, says the author. How?
Because I had absolutely no idea how I was going to prepare food for her. I couldn’t even open a bag of chips, a string cheese, a soda can, or anything else you can think of. Walden, on the other hand, claims that God provided her with the strength to learn to make butter knives her best friend in order to open things with butter knives. I learned how to do so that same morning when I didn’t believe I’d be able to do it anymore. God gave me the strength I needed to make toast for myself and my kid, and I’ve only become stronger and more driven since then.
When I look in the mirror now, I see someone who’s beautiful, courageous and inspiring, someone who is capable of overcoming any obstacle with God at her side, and I’m confident that I can accomplish everything he sets out for me because he isn’t going to let me down. She’s been unable to work as a result of her injuries, and she was fired from the Cappuccino facility where she’d been employed prior to her tragedy. She also lost her home as a result of the event. Because of the severity of her hand injuries, it’s unlikely that she’ll be able to return to work in the near future. She, on the other hand, is fine with it, and she notices how far she’s come in a single glance.
Here we are today, and I can prepare a meal for her. I’m able to do it now, and it’s the best feeling in the world to be able to feel like a mother once more, she said. I don’t really think negatively. I think positively since I’m in a good place right now. I’m here, and I couldn’t have done a greater job.
New House, new Perspective There are scars on her face, neck, hands, feet, legs and arms. But she’s gained a new perspective on life because to the support she has received from her family and friends, as well as from her community in Waco, Georgia, volunteers from Walden’s Church and community have banded together to construct her and Caroline a new home on the land owned by Walden’s parents. Giving her and her daughter Caroline a fresh start in a new life. She was able to fully open her eyes for the first time three weeks ago. She had been partially stitched shut to allow them to recover.
She’s currently doing physical therapy twice a week, as well as laser procedures once a month to maintain her health. She believes her Pinky fingers may have to be amputated since the scar tissue is curled around them making it impossible for her to use or bend them at all. However, after nearly two months in the hospital and 20 procedures so far as well as a projected twelve more surgeries over the next two years, the medical expenditures have begun to pile up on the family’s shoulders.
As a result, a GoFundMe page has been established to assist her and her kid. To date, the page has raised approximately $350,000 of Walden’s $500,000 fundraising goals in six months, nearly half of her total goal.
She attributes her ability to remain cheerful and pray to her family and community and she hopes to inspire others by demonstrating how to live and learn what’s actually important. The inside is what matters, not the outside. As I want everyone to know just because you’re going through something and you could have a scrape or a scar and you get down about it, I want everyone to know don’t get down about it. It’s the inside that counts. It’s been a long road and I’m getting better every day, she explains.
My Burns do not define who I am as a person. Thanks for reading.