Her Story, My Why
Hearing the doctor say, “I don’t think she’s going to make it.” was like being stabbed in the heart. My mother had a rare, yet severe stroke and still defied the odds. She was in a coma for a few months during which time they had to perform a craniectomy. Since she was unconscious, they had to insert a G-tube, perform a tracheotomy and put her on a respirator.
As days turned to weeks, the doctors were less hopeful for a full recovery, let alone survival. My family took it upon ourselves to keep her going, doing things like stimulating her senses. We’d play music, rub different materials on her hands, wave scents under her nose, etc. We believed she could hear us and we wanted her to know we were all there fighting for her. Once she woke up from the coma, she then graduated to a vegetative or semi-conscious state for 7 months. From the first moment she fell ill, we never left her side. We had sleepless nights in hospitals and nursing homes making sure she was turned every 2 hours, moving her joints numerous times a day, keeping a log of her meds, just to name a few. Once she moved to home care, we were trained on administering meds, feeding her, changing diapers, etc. We became her nurses, doctors, and aids. About 10 months post stroke, they felt she was ready for the skull replacement. So February 24th is considered her new birth date. It truly was!!
When she woke up from surgery, we started to see our mom for the first time again. She grew stronger each day. Soon she was eating on her own and they removed the tracheostomy tube and G-tube. She was determined to walk and get back some normalcy in her life. Just when things were looking up, we almost lost her again. She went into septic shock and flat-lined a few times. The hospital wanted me to sign a DNR order since she lost over 8 minutes of oxygen during CPR. I refused, demanding they prove she’s brain dead before I would even consider it. She had come so far and I was not about to let her go because of an infection from a kidney stone. We pushed doctors further than they were willing to go, demanding answers and offering solutions I researched. I learned to question everything along the way. The doctors did not have an explanation to how she recovered with no additional brain damage and why her body was recovering so quickly from the infection. She’s been referred to as a miracle patient, but I believe it was our fight and determination as a family that pulled her through.
As time went by, she grew stronger and we pushed her daily to do therapy and set goals for her to reach. She pushed herself each day with the ultimate goal of walking down the aisle to renew her vows on her 50th Wedding Anniversary.
About a year after her cranioplasty we started to notice dips in her skull and could start to see screws through her scalp so we took her to the neurosurgeon who said she had the worst case of bone flap resorption he had ever seen. We started the process to get a mold and plan for a replacement cranioplasty. She came through yet another surgery with flying colors. The doctor told us her skull was so thin, he said imagine a shattered hard boiled egg, and having to pull out each piece one by one. Within days of surgery she was laughing and right back to her happy, dancing self as she went back to rehab.
A few short months later her story ended due to a burst aneurysm. Just 6 months shy of her 50th Anniversary, she tried to stand on her own and fell. She told us she was fine, even laughing and dancing, after her fall but we decided to take her to the ER as a precaution. She passed out in the car just minutes before arriving at the hospital, just 2 hours and 9 minutes after her fall. They told us she had an artery bleed in the brain that they could not get under control which caused brain herniation. It was confirmed there was no brain activity so we took her off life support and let her go in peace.
My mother was admitted to over 12 facilities between hospitals, rehabs and nursing homes and the information we received was so vague and contradictory. I experienced first hand the frustration of fighting for my mom and understanding what was going on. I found my passion in researching ways to solve challenges and understand what was happening to my mother. I wanted to learn how to create a better result. She is the reason for this site and my purpose. Her story lives on through Wellness Resource Support.
Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and rebirth. Her transformation was nothing short of a miracle. She had less than 10% chance of survival after her initial stroke and we turned that into a meaningful 2 years and 7 months. She is our butterfly!
Now that you've read her story,
we’d love to hear your story.
This experience taught me so much about the medical industry and being a caregiver. My family and I were faced with many challenges along the way. The one thing that pushed us through was knowledge. Having sympathetic support and knowledge can make the difference between life and death. The driving force behind my website is to help patients and families understand what is happening and to empower them with knowledge to make the best decisions. As a child I always had interest in the human body and figuring out a simple explanation for why things happen as they do. As I matured, this way of simplifying medical terminology and helping others understand became my purpose. I invite you to read my blogs because I know you’ll find value in my resources and experiences.