Lisa remembers getting up early one morning, taking a walk with her church group, then having a cup of cup of coffee. She looked at her watch and realized she was going to be late to her personal training appointment.
And that’s all she remembers for the following five weeks, save for some medicine-induced dreams. She spent those five weeks in a coma, then in the Acute Rehab Unit, recovering from a brain aneurysm called a subarachnoid hemorrhage that registered as a 10 on a one-to-ten scale of severity. Most are fatal.
She characterizes her illness as a “marathon” in terms of recovery. “You aren’t better right away, and it takes effort…lots of hard effort to regain fully what is lost.” But, she says, when people see her in full recovery mode, “it helps them to keep persevering and never give up.”
Before she could get there, she started a CaringBridge site. “Every season of my life is on that website,” she says. “It was a lifeline for me to process all that had happened to me. It is the most amazing tool for communication and it was available to us when we really needed it.”
A New Path
“It’s interesting because I never set out of to do any of the things I’m now doing,” she continues. “This is much more than ‘Lisa having an aneurysm.’ It charted a whole new path for me, one that I wasn’t pursuing, but do now with a passion. I love what I do. I really feel that when I prayed for God not to let my experiences be wasted, He answered me tenfold.”
Lisa serves as the Chair of the Critical Care Team on a Patient-Family Centered Care Advisory Board at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. Leading meetings with a team of other patients who have faced life-or-death experiences, they advise hospital employees on patient care, marketing materials, and “helping to impact how employees do their job every day to take care of families.” Lisa also volunteers for CaringBridge and helps ensure Mission Hospital patients know about CaringBridge when they need it.
“If I knew what blessings could come from such a horrific situation, I would choose to do it again,” she says. “That is how special this has all been for me.”
Lisa’s health journey definitely had its ups and downs, not unlike many, but ended up taking her down a path that positively impacted her life. Has a health journey impacted your life in a positive way? Share your stories in our comments section.
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