Whether it’s a loving partner or a best pal, a true friend can help you overcome almost anything, and The Doctors share three amazing medical stories to prove it.
• Think you’ve made many lifelong friends? Meet two men who’ve been best friends for 91 years!
• Meet The Docs’ besties!
A Miracle of Medicine and Love
Nick and former beauty queen Jamie Hilton have been married nearly 12 years, and they’re not just spouses -- they’re best friends. During a fishing trip in Idaho in June of 2012, Nick saw Jamie plummet 12 feet down a ravine and hit her head on a boulder, in an accident that would change their lives forever.
“My wife is the love of my life, we’ve been married for 12 years, we’re best friends,” Nick says. “We share a lot of great hobbies and fishing is one of them. This trip we took was almost our last trip together.”
“I took the fishing line, all of a sudden I got a fish on it,” Jamie says. “I took a step back and that step was off a 12-foot cliff.”
“I watched her fall and as she hit, I saw her body go limp. Once I got to her, she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. She looked dead,” Nick describes.
While Nick’s cell phone had no service to call for help, another fisherman was able to contact 9-1-1. A boat took Jamie to an ambulance, and she was later airlifted to the emergency room at Saint Alphonus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.
Jamie’s brain was rapidly swelling, and doctors told Nick she only had a 50/50 chance of surviving. In an attempt to save her life, surgeons removed part of her skull to allow the brain to expand without being crushed against the bone. To keep the skull sterile, they stored it inside Jamie’s abdomen.
“My very first memory is waking up in the hospital and Nick telling me they had to take some of my skull and put it in my abdomen. I had never heard of anything like that before,” Jamie says.
After six weeks, Jamie’s swelling went down, and Dr. Manning removed her skull from her abdomen and reattached it to the rest of her cranium.
“The minute they put that skull back in my head, everything just regulated and my body just started responding. I had more energy, my headaches were gone, my body was healing,” Jamie says.
“This procedure is more common than you might think,” Dr. Manning says. “We’ve done nine in the last two years."
At the time of Jamie’s accident, the Hiltons didn’t have health insurance; however, friends came together to help them start a foundation to cover the lofty medical bills.
“Four of my dearest friends have told me if we earn money for this foundation, they will shave their heads at the end of the year,” Jamie says. “I love this because they’re dear friends to me, they’re beauty queens, but they’re willing to do this for us. It’s so touching.”
Breaking the Boundaries of Beauty
Meet 23-year-old Lizzie, a normal, everyday college senior, with one exception – she was born with a rare syndrome that only affects three people in the entire world. Medical professionals believe it may be neonatal progeroid syndrome, but findings have not yet yielded an official diagnosis. While doctors didn’t expect Lizzie to be able to crawl, walk or “amount to anything,” as Lizzie describes, she’s far exceeded their expectations.
“Growing up, I had no idea at all that I had a syndrome or that I didn’t look like anyone else, because everyone around me just treated me like Lizzie,” she says.
Because the condition doesn’t allow her to maintain fat or produce adipose tissue, the loose connective tissue between the skin and muscle, Lizzie is unable to gain weight and lacks body insulation. Weighing in at 60 pounds with zero percent body fat, Lizzie has faced a great deal of cruelty and bullying throughout her life due to her unusual appearance.
“When I first started school I think of it as a big slap of reality. No one wanted to play with me, sit next to me. I was called 'skinny bones,' 'grandma.' The worst thing I’ve been called is a 'monster.'”
But Lizzie’s biggest brush with bullying occurred on the Internet when she was in high school.
“When I was in high school, I decided to listen to music on YouTube. I was browsing videos, and I saw one that looked familiar. It was from an old TV show I was on when I was 11. It was titled ‘the world’s ugliest woman,’” Lizzie says.
“There were 4 million comments with tips on how to kill myself, asking why my parents didn’t abort me because I’m so ugly. Not one single comment was positive.”
People’s cruel comments struck a cord in Lizzie, but not one that caused her to hide, to change herself or give up. Instead, she turned insult into inspiration and made it her mission to help others feel beautiful, inside and out.