In just an instant, Karen Escamilla says her life changed forever.
“Everything is different—how I wake up, how I talk, how I eat,” Escamilla told FOX31.
The 20-year-old was involved in a road rage incident in October and says a 16-year-old pulled out a gun and shot her in the face.
The bullet went through her cheek, and got caught in her sinuses—which her family says is a miracle.
I’m just grateful that I’m alive,” said Escamilla. The interview was difficult for her, because her mouth is wired shut. Some of those wires will have to stay in her mouth for another four months.
“My jaw shattered in seven places, so I have to let that heal before I can do any surgeries,” she explained.
For now, all of her meals come from a syringe. “I won’t be able to eat until May of next year.”
A juvenile suspect was arrested and is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder.
Escamilla has remained optimistic about the future.
This is not who I am,” she said, pausing as tears rolled down her face. “I’ll be normal again, and that’s what I’m hoping for—is that I can put this behind me and move on from something so tragic.”
But that will come with some big medical bills.
Insurance isn’t covering the costs associated with Escamilla being airlifted last month to a different hospital.
Plus, the surgeries that are deemed “cosmetic” aren’t being covered either.
“It’s really hard to focus on the medical bills when you’re focusing so much on her recovery—because that’s really the ultimate goal,” said Escamilla’s boyfriend, Isaiah Wright.
Wright has started a GoFundMe to help cover some of those costs.
“We’ll be grateful for whatever we get,” he told FOX31.