Couple that survived St. Johns plane crash appear on Oprah

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

MESA - A Valley couple appears on Oprah a year after nearly dying in a plane crash.

Stephanie and Christian Nielsen survived with broken bones and burns over most of their bodies. It has taken months for them to recover.

Stephanie was known before the crash for her popular blog for moms- called "The Nie Nie Dialogues."She has since become known for her seemingly impossible recovery.

She and her husband shared what life was like for them now on Oprah. Oprah introduced Stephanie by saying, "She survived the unthinkable and is here today. Come on out."

We watched the Nielsen’s Oprah appearance with family members in Mesa. A year ago Stephanie was in a coma in which a friend and pilot died. Stephanie told Oprah how her husband, Christian, saved her life. She said, "He opened the airplane door when it was on fire"broke his back and toe doing it."
Christian's parents beamed at times and cringed at times during the show. Mary Nielson, Stephanie’s mother says, "I don’t like seeing the plane crash pics because that's what gets me."

In Oprah's studio, Stephanie wore heavy makeup to conceal scars but the extent of her injuries became more clear when she let a crew follow her daily routine at home.

She explains, "I get in the shower and scrub everything good. It hurts bad." She adds, "The whole process takes 2 hours." Nevertheless, it is necessary, along with special gloves, to help her skin heal and ward off infection.

Stephanie is again able to take care of her four young children but says they, too, had a hard time adjusting to her change of appearance. Stephanie says, "At first they didn’t want to come in and see me. Those were hard days.  Awful."

But things are better now and, while she never complains, Stephanie does reflect on life before the crash. "That's that and was beautiful and lovely and this is now and this is beautiful and lovely."

Mary tells 3TV, "I thought they looked sooo good. Nielson family members in Mesa say Stephanie does not like to fly, but they are glad she shared her inspirational recovery with everyone.

Stephanie and Christian just moved their family from Mesa to Utah but they will be back as they both continue going through surgeries and treatments at Maricopa Medical.