January 26, 2016 is the day I literally died. It was also the day I got my second chance at life. A little back story about me. I was working full time in healthcare for over 20 years while going to school to become a nurse. I loved my job and I loved attending school.  Although it was hard work, it was worth it to feel that sense of accomplishment.

Pain. Pain changed my whole life as I knew it. I became ill and in anywhere between severe pain to a dull annoyance everyday, all day. Millions of tests later it was found that I had several genetic diseases including: a joint disease, autoimmune disorder, blood clotting disease, fibromyalgia and more. These are all diseases with no cures, I can only try to manage them for the rest of my life. At 35 the rest of my life seemed like a long time. My dreams of becoming a nurse went out the window, along with the job I had working with cancer patients as a nurses aid.

After numerous procedures trying to reduce my pain I was prescribed opioids. I also had bad anxiety, so I took benzodiazepines. For over 5 years I took the medicine as prescribed with no issues. The dosages slowly went up over the years to a point that I needed a lot of the pills to even function during the day. At this point I knew I was addicted. I realized that every time I complained to my doctor that the pain was worse he would give me more medicine. I also started doubling the doses and then going through withdrawals because I would run out of pills. Then I started to steal my parents pain pills and xanax. This was around the 7th year of taking the meds. I was living with my parents at that point and decided I wanted help to get off the pills. My dad helped by locking up my pills and giving them to me on schedule. That worked for about 2 days until I figured out how to get to my pills again. So back to way too many pain pills, anxiety meds, muscle relaxers and sleeping pills. I overdosed a few times but it wasn't scary enough for me to stop. I used to be a girl who loved life and to make people smile but I had become an empty shell of a person, a zombie in a bathrobe shuffling from my room to the coffee pot with eyes glazed over.

The rest of my story is how it was told to me by family and friends. The day was like any other, bathrobe, coffee, eyes glazed. I went to bed and woke up in the intensive care unit of an amazing hospital. I had overdosed. While blacked out I shot myself in the chest. I had struggled with my mom over my gun and went to my dads room and shut the door, shot myself then opened the door and told my mom “mom, I shot myself” and then collapsed to the floor. The bullet tore through my left lung in two places and skimmed my heart. I was rushed to the hospital where on duty happened to be two surgeons instead of the usual one. A lung surgeon and a heart surgeon. Even with the two doctors working on me I only had a 2-4% chance of surviving. I cannot imagine the pain, worry, stress and anxiety I caused everyone. Being on life support for two weeks the doctors told my parents that when they took me off life support that I would probably not be able to breath without assistance still and I would have to live in a nursing home. But to everyone's amazement I started talking and within two days was up walking with therapy. I was in the hospital a total of 8 weeks.

I am now a little over 3 years clean. Though I still have the original pain and anxiety that led me to the pills to begin with I have an amazing doctor next to me helping to control my pain and anxiety without pills. I am a perfectly imperfect Beautiful Disaster. Sometimes you have to struggle through disasters to emerge just as beautiful as you were on the other side of crazy.


-Sally Blottiaux

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February 07, 2020