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one year of healing🌻

*warning for sensitive content- this post contains photos of blood and surgery

What a year it has been. 365 days of growing. Growing through pain, tears, laughter, fear and joy. Growing through the darkness and in sunlight. I've heard before that true happiness can be found when a person experiences and grows through suffering. I feel like I understand that a bit better now. Some of my hardest moments have happened in the past year, but also some of my happiest too. Tough moments like when I heard the doctor say to Brandon that my face may stay in a pug like form or the 10 months I fought the Air Force on my medical waiver to fly again. Yet, those painful moments were outweighed by the incredibly beautiful moments like being surrounded by loving friends and family, so many puppy cuddles from my girls, taking pottery class in Downtown Sacramento, enjoying farmers markets on Saturdays, backpacking Europe for 3 weeks, running 3 marathons within 4 months of my accident and so, so much more.

My days now do look different then they used to. I'm far less worried about being exactly on time, but I am more worried about having exactly what I need for that day. I have fallen into a new routine where my skin care takes significantly longer in the morning and evening than it used to and the first things I think about before walking out the door is- did I pack my sunscreen and aquaphor in my fanny pack? Should I bring scar strips? What type of hat would keep the sun of my face the best today? And if I'm going anywhere overnight I have to grab my night guard- it is essential to avoiding overnight teeth pain. I feel like I've gotten over the fear of people judging me as I shamelessly wear scar strips flying long missions at work or I cover my scars with bandaids if I'm going in the sun for the day. I've learned sometimes you don't ask for these things, but its our job to learn how to deal with them the best we can. I found by writing a journal it helped me carefully unwrap so many emotions, understand and evolve with this change and keep a level mind. I hope if you follow along with my writings it helps you in some way or challenges you to understand from a different perspective. If you struggle with long term pain- I'm wrapping you in a big hug. I know I will deal with this silently the rest of my life and it isn't easy. I'm always here for you. Below you will find photos that Brandon had me take to document the progress of healing and I'm so thankful he did. Our bodies really are incredible.



Dr. Tollefesen, my surgeon, didn't know how it would heal and honestly no one did. I'll be forever grateful to him for restitching my face when he felt like it wasn't perfect and for all the nurses who cleaned my wounds for the 4 days I stayed in the trauma unit. 4 plates, 40 stitches, 3 new teeth and my mouth wired shut for the first 6 weeks. I lived off smoothies for every meal (shoutout to my commander who shipped me Daily Harvest- it was huge). I lost 10lbs in a month & 1/2 and I started my road to recovery both physically and mentally. Below you will see photos of the break in my jaw, where they installed plates and wired my mouth shut.

To this day exteriorly I have healed so incredibly well. Dr Tolley is blown away by the healing and honestly... I can't believe it either. I give credit to the doctors and my dedication to scar strips and daily care.. even still a year later I do it every day. Sadly I fight the internal war that most people don't know- teeth pain. Since all my teeth weren't able to be re-aligned during jaw surgery they all sit offset. So every time I chew it's not comfortable and I'm hoping once I get braces it will fix that. I've had other people say how hard it must be- "it's your face." Which is so true- It's the first thing people usually see when they meet you... your face. We live in a society that increasingly uses fillers and correctors to hide every wrinkle, blemish or imperfection (which is totally okay for those who use it because I've used botox on my angry brow too haha) but a perfect looking face really is no longer my reality. I will carry scars with me every day and now I'm re-learning confidence. Finding my stride, determined to feel confident without makeup on and embracing these scars in all their beauty. I can truly say it has taken work, but I feel more beautiful today then I did before my accident. What a beautiful process🌻

I plan on releasing the entirety of #whenwebreak as a poetry book by the end of 2023

thank you so much for being here

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hi friend, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Jen. My husband calls me Jenny Lou, that's where the blog name comes from:) I am a cargo pilot in the Air Force and in my free time I love to create, write and be with my girls & people.

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