After a burn trauma, your life changes. Not just a little bit, but the whole damn thing. Who knew that creaming would take up so much time and effort? It takes some getting used to.

Of course, it’s important to listen to your surgeon, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and so on. It can be quite traumatic, though, after a serious burn injury – to be ordered. “You must do this, you must do that.”

Burn survivors hear the same things: “Keep out of the sun,” “cream three times a day” and “visit your physio,” – that is definitely one of the things that we hate the most.

However, we’re grateful for all our burn professionals and medics. They have re-sculptured the biggest organ on our bodies and have saved our lives.

Hearing so much advice from professionals, I think it’s only fair to hear advice from burns survivors themselves, for we live, breathe and see our scars all day, every day. It’s a burn survivor to burn survivor kind of thing.

Here are some advice messages;

I like to tell new survivors to do what I did which I call, “looking back to go forward”. Most of us get depressed when we don’t see any progress with our physical growth.

I was bedridden my first nine months post burn and lost so much muscle mass I had to be lifted by a crane and was sat in a wheel chair because I didn’t even have the strength to roll over in bed. I started going to therapy and got depressed because as hard as I was working I didn’t see any progress. Later on, down the road, I adapted that “look back to move forward and it helped me a lot. I may not have seen any difference from day to day but if I looked back I could see that I had made progress.

A year ago I was in a hospital bed. Nine months ago, I was in a wheelchair. Six months ago, I was using a walker. Three months ago, I was using a cane and going to high school football games, and now I walk 3.5 miles every morning with no aid at all.

Looking back at what I have accomplished is what helped me the most.

 – Mike Driggers, El Dorado, USA.

There are no quick tips or tricks when dealing with burn trauma. The best advice is to get the professional support they need. If they don’t deal with the burn trauma in the early stages then they will be dealing with the impact later in life.

 – John Westhaver, British Columbia, Canada.

I was burned 26-years-ago and it was not handled correctly by the hospital where I was treated. I was an infant so I had no say and my mom followed the instructions that she was given. Now all this time later I am dealing with a ton of problems because of the way it healed.

My advice would be to keep seeking help. PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) should be worked through, no matter how great or small the trauma was, even when you feel like you have a handle on everything.

Do whatever it takes to get through day to day and push forward. It can be depressing to be limited or not see progress. Physical therapy is hard, mentally and physically but it helps.

If I had known growing up that I would be in the position I am in now I would have looked for help early on. You don’t have to and shouldn’t have to just “tough it out”. Get the help and push forward.

– Ashley Williams, North Carolina, USA.

I was badly burnt three months ago. I would recommend that people stay in therapy. If they have to wear splints, please wear them. I also found that Crisco oil helps me. I was using another cream that my doctor gave me but I ran out, so he then suggested Crisco and it’s been doing good.

– Jasmine Hon, London, UK.