As part of Inflame’s social media team, Elizabeth is an integral part of promoting the site and creating content to post on Instagram and Twitter. Elizabeth is a burn survivor. After a recent surgery, she felt the Lord place a desire on her heart to share her experiences, what she’s learned, and how she’s seen God working through her life.
What has inspired you to share your story?
There are a lot of misunderstood things about the burn community, like we aren’t able to perform certain tasks, or shouldn’t be allowed to do certain things because of our battles and scars, but that doesn’t make us incapable of doing whatever we need to do. We are still human, just like you.
Could you share a little summary of what’s happened up to this point?
So I was burned on May 8, 2011, by a crawfish pot falling over and scalding me on 30% of my body. I was brought to Shriners Hospitals in Galveston, Texas, and had my first surgery immediately to clean out the wounds to prevent the infection that had already started. I went through a second surgery a couple of days later to do skin grafting. I did “tub” every day, which was cleaning the burns and reapplying medications. Pain is an understatement. I went through lots of physical and a little bit of mental therapy. I eventually was released. I went for followup appointments every 3 months, which turned into 6 months, and then 9 months, and annual checkups. I switched from a burn doctor to a plastic surgeon, who is my doctor today. We started a new treatment plan in 2018 which consisted of more surgeries and more visits. I had my first laser in June of 2018. I wanted to watch it heal overtime and let my body finish growing to see what my scars would do. I just had my second laser surgery a few days ago. We are waiting for this surgery to heal to see what the next course of action will be for my burns in the future.
What have you learned through your fight?
I have learned many things through my fight as a burn survivor. I learned that if I put my mind to something (and listen to my doctors!) I can do anything I want. I have learned that this was always a way for Christ to show me how He can shine through me and bring others closer to Him, just by being myself and embracing my skin and scars. Finally, I have learned that other people around me are just like me, and I’m just like them. Just because I have scars and have been through this pain, doesn’t mean we aren’t all made by the same God and loved by Him as well. We are all made for community and we are all part of one Universal Church.
How are you able to stay hopeful, joyful, and grounded in Christ through otherwise difficult, challenging struggles?
I’m able to stay hopeful, joyful, and grounded in Christ because I know His plans for me are so much greater than I could ever imagine. If I wouldn’t have suffered these burns, I wouldn’t have reached and felt the pain of so many burn victims and survivors. Being a burn victim is by no means easy, but it has definitely helped me grow into my skin and love who I am and whose I am. I know that Christ is the author of my book, and this is only a chapter in my book of life.
What advice would you offer to someone feeling hopeless and defeated by the obstacles that lay ahead of them?
Trust and have a radiant surrender. Our Blessed Mother lays out a perfect picture of surrendering to the Lord and His Will. Follow in the steps of Our Mother and surrender. Just give your life to Christ and let Him control it. Let your hands and feet be His.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for your faith-filled testimony. You’re such an inspiration to us all! If anyone wants to see or hear more, go check out @inflamecatholic on Instagram to see Elizabeth’s takeover with some behind the scenes of her surgery, daily life, and prayer routine!
Our Lady, guide us as we strive to follow your example of perfect surrender. Embrace us with your motherly love, and through your most holy intercession, fill us with hope and trust in the Lord, despite all the challenges we may face in life. Pray for us!