INDIANAPOLIS — A Westfield mom believes the rare tragedies she's faced were essential for her to be a Best You.
13News stopped by Ashley Miller's home in Westfield during the morning routine with her daughters, and when we heard about how rare this very scene is we had to share it.
You see, back when Ashley was 18, she was thrown from a truck in an accident.
"The paramedics said they found me face-first in the ditch," Ashley said.
X-rays revealed the severity of her injuries.
"I've broken dislocated my neck, I broke my back, shattered my pelvis, my tailbone, my hip sockets, punctured both lungs, and they said if I would have moved even one centimeter the wrong direction, I would be paralyzed with my neck injury that I had," she said.
And she lost a lot of blood.
The IU Health doctor waited for the LifeLine helicopter to land at Methodist Hospital, keenly aware of the odds.
"Blunt trauma. CPR is less than five and maybe less than one percent survive," said Todd McKinley, an orthopedic trauma surgeon.
Ashley doesn't remember much of this time. Those who do help fill in the blanks.
"The nurse reached out to me after the car accident and said my last words were 'tell my mom I'm sorry and that I love her,'" Ashley recalled.
She has lost track of the number of surgeries. She remembers rehab and depression. Her medical team remembers her stubborn resiliency.
"You can't put a number on human will," McKinley said. "And that's what pretty much kept her alive is, I think, her will to survive."
"This was eight years ago, and my mind has always wondered 'who were the people who saved me? Who were the people that were in the helicopter with me that night?'" said Ashley.
Just recently, she learned it was Lisa, Eric and pilot Ivan.
"Seriously, thank you for everything that you did, and now I have two babies, a family of my own just because of you doing your job," she told the LifeLine team.
The visit was welcome for them, too.
"For us, it's eight minutes," Eric said. "For you, it's been years and years."
They often wonder what happened next.
For Ashley, the years since included a surprise pregnancy and a rare diagnosis.
"I really felt like God hated me, and I really didn't know why all of this was happening to me, but now that I look back on it, I would not change one single thing," she said.
Madi is now 6.
"She is severely developmentally delayed. She has epilepsy, she's in a wheelchair. And now we're teaching her how to walk, so I had to re-learn how to walk again. I know she can do it. And it's crazy how life works out," Ashley said.
They're life lessons she recently started to share online, posting with the Instagram handle "Love Beyond Rare"
I named it after Madi, because I feel like there's love beyond a rare diagnosis. There's love beyond a car accident. She has taught me so much in life, and I really think that this is where I'm supposed to be, right here, today," said Ashley.
Ashley believes being a mom and a wife makes her a Best You, and her audience grows every day.
"If I could just help one person know that it's going to be okay and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you may be dealing with something so traumatic and so hard right now, but there is a light, and you will overcome it ," she said.