Hello my name is Tessie DiFulco. I have been pretty optimistic all of my life. Growing up, I loved volleyball, appreciated the gift of playing volleyball; accented the very thing I did well. On January 31, 1985, I was 18 years old and driving to Nicholls State University (NSU) with two friends in the front seat. It was raining and the road was wet and slick. The oncoming car crossed the median crashing head on into my car. I was in the second week of my second semester, hoping to play ball in college. That cold mid-morning, the ability that I loved most changed.
I have a traumatic brain injury. I was in a coma for 2 ½ months and in the hospital for 4 ½ months with left side paralysis. There my passion shifted. The beginning of my coma resembled an intimate union with God. I had a sense of being nowhere that I had ever been on earth, such peace and tranquility filled me. I was very sensate during my coma and remember some discomfort, little pain. The thing I believe woke me up most was my dad persistently screaming, “Tessie, squeeze my hand!” As I began to respond on command, my neurosurgeon finally pleased said, “Tessie is going to make it!” My recovery was fast considering. My rehabilitation was almost like I imagine heaven to be. Like, I was in heaven, and my medical team and therapists in both hospitals were beautiful angels. My drive for excellence had remained, and I worked hard in my therapies. In less than one year after my accident, I returned to NSU and graduated in 1991 in Family and Consumer Science.
30 years later, here I am with great depth of soul. God has replaced volleyball with Himself. I am married to a wonderful man. My communion with Jesus is strong, and my husband respects and encourages my spiritual growth. Today I very much focus on gifts received throughout my life. The gift of prayer: praying for others, with others, and writing prayer has been a blessing I hold dear to my heart.