My sister Sherry is my inspiration. She has determination, courage and tremendous will power. Sherry has been sick for a long time. Sherry became ill in her early 20's. Sherry and her identical twin have lupus, and antiphospholipid antibodies. They have both had numerous miscarriages, both had their spleen removed in the early 20's, both have lupus, both had idiopathic thrombocytopenia, both have had blood clots in their legs and both have had meningitis. Sherry suffered 9 miscarriages prior to the birth of her last son Jacob. Jacob is now 4 years old. She was bedridden for 6 of those months and had to give herself heparin shots the whole nine months of pregnancy.
Sherry's true nightmare began on July 8, 2003. She had a severe headache and went to the emergency room. She was admitted to St. Vincent hospital with bacterial meningitis. Sherry was in a vegetative coma by the second night. The neurologists didn't expect her to make it the first 24 hours. They told us she had severe brain damage from the swelling. They suggested nursing home placement and told us she wasn't a candidate for rehabilitation. Sherry remained in a vegetative coma for 3 months. She was paralyzed, comatose, had a tracheostomy tube, a feeding tube, and on the respirator and was completely unresponsive.
Our family was by her side 24 hours a day seven days a week. We did a lot of praying and began searching for a miracle. Sherry was a stay at home mom of two boys and a wife of 15 years. Sherry's life revolved around her family and we believed that god didn't give her Jacob (after all she went through) for us to raise. We knew the doctors had done everything possible, but we refused to give up. Our family has a lot of faith in prayer. We begged her to do something anything to let us know she was there. I begged her to squeeze my hand, or blink her eyes. I even told her that I was very worried about daddy to please give us a sign that she was going to be okay.
I didn´t realize the doctor was behind me listening to me beg her to wake up. He took me out of the room and said," for your own sanity it is very important that you accept things for what they are and the sooner you do this the better it will be for your family, Sherry will never be capable of any motor functions." what you see is what you get." Sherry can probably hear you beg her to squeeze your hand but the signals can´t get through. Both of the basal ganglia are dead and without that the signals can´t get through and I believe your best option at this point is the nursing home". I broke down at that point and begged God to take her home or lead us in the right direction. That night my sister brought me a story to read, it was about a child that had meningitis and was in a vegetative coma and in worse condition than Sherry. He had a near complete recovery after having hyperbaric treatments. I knew that was my answer from God.
I began researching these treatments and found out that they aren´t FDA approved which meant her insurance wouldn´t pay. They cost 200.00 each. We didn't let that stop us we began our quest to raise money to pay for them. Then we had to convince the doctors to allow us to transport her to the hyperbaric office. My mother told the doctor it was our only hope and that god was in control and until he told us different we weren´t going to give up. They agreed if we were willing to sign a release taking responsibility for her. Sherry has had 80 treatments to date. We have worked non stop for almost a year trying to raise the money for her treatments. We have held raffles, yard sales, been on the radio, held photo sessions, benefit dinners and currently working on a gospel sing to raise money.
We have struggled with her insurance company the whole time. We tried for a month to get her in a rehabilitation center and she was denied. They finally realized we weren´t taking no for an answer and agreed to give her a 10 day trial. They were sure to inform us that she would never tolerate the program. She stayed at Brooks for 3 months. When she was discharged they only agreed to pay for 60 days of physical therapy. They have denied two medications that cost 700.00 per month. The sad thing is there are thousands of people just like my sister that can´t get any help from the state and fight with their HMO´s on a daily basis in order to get the proper care. I am so thankful that we didn´t give up hope. We came very close at one point I even went to visit one of the nursing homes. This has been a very long emotional journey for our family not a day goes by without tears shed. There have been tears of joy, fear, frustration, and just plain old exhaustion. I am very thankful to god for all of our blessings. I believe with all of my heart that sherry will make a full recovery. The neurologists say she is a miracle and are amazed with her progress.