Jessica S.

Photo of Jessica S.

I am … a Caregiver or Family Member.

I am sharing my sister, Melissa’s story because she is not able to herself just yet. On Tuesday, April 8th 2014, Melissa was outside of her daughter’s lacrosse practice jogging on the track. She suddenly collapsed and suffered a series of eight brainstem strokes. She was 42 and in excellent health. She ate mostly organic and exercised daily. They did not know in the ambulance or at the hospital what was happening to her. The next day an MRI confirmed swelling in the brain and a small bloot clot was found. Melissa spent time in a coma, weeks in the ICU and brain rescue unit to be discharged to an acute rehabilitation center but was diagnosed with Locked In Syndrome. Unable to perform necessary therapy, she was transferred to a nursing sub-acute facility where she lived for over a year. With a fight, we were able to get her back to an acute hospital but she won’t have much time. Melissa’s left side was affected and she can hardly move it. Her right side is getting stronger and she is able to do more things now. She can stand with assistance and is working on taking steps. She says words every now and then but for the most part is silent. She has 100% cognititon. She has an amazing attitude and demeaner. Her calm is infectious. I have never met a more gentle and beautiful person inside and out. She has two young children and a husband she cannot live with. The grief this has caused our family has been insurmountable. With that said, the support from family and friends has been overwhelming. Melissa has a strong place in her community and they have stood up to help from extensive fundraising to providing meals for her husband and children. At this point we have all been able to develop a level of acceptance that this happened, but Melissa and none of us will ever give up to push for a full recovery. She is a true hero.