Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miracle Mary

June 23, 2010 Day 5

“Did I tell you what happened?”
As I clicked ‘send’ on yesterday’s morning update, I received a text from Brad: ‘Amazing miracle. Mary is awake, conversant and 100% clear with a near perfect memory of everything.’ Thankfully, he videotaped the entire 6 minutes with his iPhone because Catherine and I had spent the night at home.

Mary proceeded to tell Brad what happened Saturday morning, June 19, 2010. This was comforting to us because we have been so upset knowing that Mary was alone from 9am-5:45 pm, when I found her at home, in this state.

‘Dad! Did I tell you what happened? I woke up and was getting ready for work. All of a sudden I had the most horrible headache in my entire life. I really thought I was going to die. It felt like the worst headache I had ever felt and then BOOM, a vein or something burst in my head. It was like a nail or broken glass broke in there.'

‘And then Mom came home and she was freaking out and then she said ‘Uh-Oh! Something’s wrong.’ And then Bishop Williams came over-he's my Dr too!--and then I remember going on the ambulance. I threw up in this building here, but it wasn’t a big deal.’

This window of ‘awake Mary’ continued for 90 minutes. Catherine and I got to see the tail end of it. When she saw Catherine she asked, ‘Did you come here just for me?! I love you Cath.’

‘Je parle Francais.’

Dr. Shanno told us on Monday that it is not uncommon for patients like Mary to lose entirely any secondary languages they have learned. We were so disheartened! Mary is nearly fluent in French. She is in 300 level classes at BYU, tutored at a Provo elementary school, and is set to go to France next spring for study abroad.

During her ‘awake’ period yesterday, Catherine asked, ‘Mary, do you remember how to speak French?’

‘Je parle Francais.’

Catherine: ‘How do you say, I love you?’

‘Je t’aime.’

I said ‘Je t’dore Mary.’ She quietly replied, ‘Je t’adore.’


The next several hours, Mary slept completely sound. We are sure the morning wore her out. For the rest of the day, her neurological tests were not as great. She was almost always jumbled in her speech . But we were assured that there will be highs and lows. She still was excellent in her physical responses: ‘Mary squeeze my hand-now let go…Mary raise your left foot-now your right...’ All crucial responses~all correct.

Later, she was not answering some of the questions correctly and the nurse kept asking them. So after the 4th question, her answer was, ‘That’s gonna cost you more money.’

Buck Up Mary!

Some of Mary’s closest friends in high school were the guy athletes. She was a 2 sport Varsity athlete; soccer and ran state track all 4 years. She is a fierce competitor and pushed herself just as hard as she would push her teammates.

Mary’s good friend Sam Beck from track, and church, is in Africa on a 2 year mission. Sam’s mom told us yesterday that he emailed his family and said ‘Tell Mary to buck up! She can do this! If I can handle Africa~she can handle this!’

Mary is up for any challenge!

Always a missionary~even semi-conscious!

Mary’s Dr was checking on her and explaining her current status to me. He had thankfully seen Mary that morning as well, during her ‘awake’ time and said ‘This is a very different Mary than I’ve seen so far!’

When he was finished, I asked Mary, ‘Do you have any questions for your Doctor, Mary?’

‘What religion are you?’, Mary asked sincerely.

‘I am Presbyterian. But I haven’t been to church in many years.’, he replied with a smile.

‘What religion are you, Mary?’, he asked her.

‘I believe—in Jesus Christ, Joe…---it’s been a long time---and faith, lots of faith.’

‘My brain hurts so, so bad.’

Mary had very strong pain in her head for the rest of the day. She asked many times, ‘Why did this happen? My brain hurts so, so bad.’

The Doctor showed all of us the CT scans on the computer and explained everything about the AVM and the blood clot. It was so cool to see video and film of her brain! It was sobering to see the size of the clot~it is the size of a business card!

The Doctor said he is not at all surprised with the level of pain Mary has and that her speech is jumbled and that she is so sleepy. In fact, he would expect her to be in much worse condition for the size of the clot she has.

‘Are you staying at our house?’

Phillip and Jessica arrived last evening. She immediately knew them by name.

When she saw Phillip she asked if they are staying at our house.

‘Oh good. It’s soooo comfortable there.’

They were able to see Mary’s scans, and meet the Doctor.

After our amazing tutorial on Mary’s brain, Phillip said to Dr. Shanno,

‘Just don’t forget~you cut open people’s brains and save their lives.’

What can you say to someone who is truly working days and nights to save such a precious girl?

‘Please pray for me.’

It is truly humbling to be with Mary-even for a few minutes. She is so faithful. She asks all of us to pray for her or with her many times a day.

‘Phil I need you to fray. Fray so much. Wait--am I saying that right?

‘It’s ‘pray’ with a P’, Phillip answered.

‘Oh yeah. Pray. Please pray that tonight they’ll fix it. And in the morning--when I wake up, I can get this out of here and go home.’

Miracles really do happen every day!

With love and gratitude~

Peggy and the Fam

Mary, Jessica, Peggy

Gerbera daisies from the Dunn Family

First real smile we've seen so far!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mary ~ Day 3

                                Mary's pretty toes are always sticking out from the covers

June 21, 2010

Mary had a very good night last night with quiet, still sleep. When she first saw me this morning she said 'I want french fries-please Mom? Why can't I have them?'  

She was awake and lucid for about 2 minutes and so we tried asking her questions about the 19th~the day of her hemorrhage~she was alone until I found her~9 hours later.

She was so concerned about 'What is wrong and when can I go home?' 

She has great care-she has had the same nurse, Tad, both nights and he returns tonight. Brad says he looks like a young Ray Liotta. We are so impressed with how efficient he is with Mary's care. And he works so quietly.  He brought in another cot for Catherine so she could stay here with Mary and I. 

Mary will have 2 procedures this afternoon~an angiogram and an embolization. They will seal off any further bleeding and give the surgeon a clear 'photo' of what the options will be, down the road, to remove the AVM and remove the clot. Dr. George Shanno is her neurosurgeon and is specialized in this condition.
She is expected to be here for 1 week. 

Small victories are keeping us going.  Today the nurse asked her what the date is and she said,'The 21st or 22nd.'  We almost cheered! 

We are so appreciative of the many outpourings of love for Mary. She will be amazed when she learns of how many people have reached out to her. 

If you want to know more about what an AVM is, just go to and search AVM. The best definition is the first one.

We'll keep you posted!

Much Love-Peggy and the Fam

*Mary’s quote from last night to her nurse: 'Sir will you please help me find the restaurant?'  
(We are keeping a list of everything funny that she says!)