We have all done something stupid when we were young, and have made decisions that we would regret later in life.
This is part and parcel of growing up, of maturing and learning how to be one’s own person. These periods of trials and tribulations that come our way during our adolescence are undeniably challenging.
Yet the way we respond and handle these things are important – it informs just how we are shaped by adversity, and how we become better people.
Admittedly, persevering during these times of trouble is easier said than done, especially when you are still in your youth.
Not only is the situation already difficult in and of itself, but the brain of the adolescent is still developing.
The volatility of their emotions are at an all-time high, and the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions is still trying to catch up.
In other words, these youth feel pain and suffering more deeply and more intensely, which is something that should not be simply dismissed.
This turmoil that one must face on the cusp of adulthood inevitably leads to these young adults making life-changing decisions.
In the case of Katie Stubblefield, it was an attempt at her own life. When she was 18 years old in 2014, she discovered that her then boyfriend had been cheating on her.
She broke up with him, but that wasn’t the end of her troubles. She soon had to undergo surgery for her chronic gastrointestinal problems, and shortly thereafter her mother’s job at the school Katie went to was suddenly terminated.
Overwhelmed and desperate, Katie took a gun and tried to commit suicide.
The attempt failed. Instead of killing her, the shot shattered parts of her forehead and her cheekbones, and completely destroyed her nose and sinuses while leaving her brain completely exposed.
According to Dr Brian Gastman, who worked at Cleveland Clinic (the hospital that saved Katie’s life), the girl’s case was one of the worst face traumas he had ever come across.
The girl’s chances of survival were grim – with her brain exposed to the elements, she could die of infections or seizures.
Miraculously, the girl made it through and recovered. It was, however, not without cost – she had essentially lost her entire face.
After proving to have survived, it brought up the question – should she attempt a face transplant?
After 20 surgeries to save her life, Katie decided that she wanted to undergo such a procedure, should the opportunity arise.
Now 22-years-old, she is a very different person who had no memory of the suicide attempt, and is horrified at the trauma she had put her parents through.
At this age, she also happens to be the youngest person in the world to undergo a full face transplant.
Despite all the concerns and the problems that Katie and her medical team had to work through, Katie once again has a face.
She will still have to undergo some physical therapy to relearn eating and talking, but it truly is a miracle to see just how far she’s come.