On Thursday, November 29th, I became dizzy, lost the use of my legs and eyes, and passed out. This had also happened to me one week earlier while shopping. I was taken to Davis hospital at around 8 in the morning. Throughout the day on Thursday, I started to lose her ability to swallow and to speak. At about 4pm, they ran an MRI and determined that I had a massive blood clot at the base of her brain. They life-flighted me to the University of Utah where a team was waiting to perform emergency surgery to remove the clot. My Dr. was in Los Angeles at the time and after arriving at the University of Utah, she began the surgery. During the surgery, she, (the Dr.) determined that the blood clot was too large and the vein too weak to allow her to remove the clot. She performed a procedure that was entirely revolutionary and experimental in an effort to save my life. She placed a several stents in the vein at the base of my brain to allow blood to that part of the brain. Miraculously, I survived the surgery. Everything past that night is a miracle to my Dr., and my entire family.
That day changed my life.
My sister took my baby girl, who was only days old, and cared for and loved her for the next year. My in laws moved from their home 5 hours away, into my home to love my boys through it all.
I lost my ability to swallow so I had a tube placed into my stomach to feed me. I couldn't breathe on my own so I had a trach. My face was permanently paralyzed so speaking is next to impossible and I need a gold weight in my eyelid just to blink. In the hospital, I was unable to talk or write so I had to use sign language. I am unable to use my right hand and have limited use of my left. I had a muscle contracture in my leg that made my toe point downward, like a Barbie. I was unable to move, let alone walk. I remember the first time I rolled on my side, two nurses were there and cheered and were nearly in tears. For a long time, I was in a wheel chair, with a feeding tube, totally helpless and relied heavily on others for everything. Yes, everything. Due to where the stroke damaged my brain, medically that was as far as I was expected to progress.
I had very intense therapy while in the hospital and my stay there lasted 3 ? months and included numerous stays in ICU, IMCU, Neuro Accute, and Rehab. After leaving the hospital, I still needed 24 hour care and my wonderful mom (a nurse) stepped up and took me to live with her for the next 14 months. She helped me bathe, gave me my numerous medications, put up grab bars, and mothered her sick little girl.
I have many permanent effects from the stroke, though I have made significant progress. I still walk very slowly and shakily, still have very limited use of my hands, swallow with great difficulty, and look, as my son puts it, like Harvey 2 Face from Batman. I have had continuous therapy and around 17 surgeries (I lost count). Even now I have very specific exercises I need to do daily.
I am home now with my 3 children and my unreal husband. They are what make me happy. My husband cooks, cleans, carries glass for me, and does so many other big and little things that I would need forever to name them all. Every day he puts his arms around me and tells me that he loves me. My kids open doors, hold my hand, and generally take care of me. But my favorite thing ever is when we all hang out and do absolutely nothing but laugh, and chat.
Just today I got the boys off to school, read with my daughter, did her hair, drove her to kindergarten, went to the dentist, drove carpool, helped with homework, made dinner and ate with the family, read with the boys, tucked the kids in bed before having some much needed quiet time with my husband. It's these "boring" days that I live for.
So many miracles have happened in my life. Rather than feeling forgotten or alone, I have felt peace, love, and hope.