We can't thank you all enough for your continued support.
As most of you know, through Facebook, that Juli has made amazing strides. Her vision is back to 95% of what it was pre-stroke. She no longer has to go to speech therapy. Visible improvements are vast. She is doing so well.
You probably also heard that the family home, the residence where my parents, Juli and her daughter Athena all live, was destroyed by fire on the afternoon of March 26th. As devastating a blow as this has been, we are truly blessed everyone, including the family dog, made it out unharmed.
Everyone has been so generous. Whether it be a donation of time, household articles, clothing, space, money and prayers, we are eternally grateful. We are truly a blessed family to have all of you in our lives.
In 5 days Juli will be allowed to leave the rehab facility for the day FOR THE FIRST TIME since she was admitted. In addition to that piece of good news, She OFFICIALLY HAS A DISCHARGE DATE!! I am including a post my sister Kristin wrote on the Juli's Journey Facebook page. It's a quick update. Juli still has months of therapy ahead of her and future timeline remains uncertain, but she will be going home at the end of the month!!!
POST FROM FACEBOOK:
Well, its official. Juli has a discharge date!!
We are thrilled that Juli will be moving back home soon, and she is counting down the days until she is home with Athena. Therapy will continue indefinitely on an outpatient, and/or in-home basis.
I got to spend another weekend with Juli. She's doing fantastic!
Her speech is coming along great - I can't believe the improvements she has made in her speech just over the last two weeks. So proud! She is able to change her volumes and tones of her voice much better, in other words its much easier to hear different emotions when she speaks now - in the beginning she was monotone and had some slurred speech - not anymore
In physical therapy Juli has been learning to walk unassisted with a walker, and is also learning to do stairs. These are an important part of her transition home. Right now Juli is able to climb between 4-8 stairs at a time, impressive considering less than two months ago she had difficulty sitting up unassisted!!
This coming Saturday Juli will be leaving the facility for the first time for a day pass to attend Beth's wedding. She is super excited to spend the evening with family and is looking forward to being a bridesmaid. We will definitely be posting pictures of her all done up!
I would like to take a brief moment to thank some special people who have donated their time and resources to help us get Juli ready for Saturday. From dress alterations, eyebrows, hair, and nails, those of you that offered your services and those of you that helped we are forever grateful. Its important Juli feels as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. She is a cosmetologist afterall - beauty is important! So thank you all.
And one last thing, Juli has overcome incredible obstacles in a very short amount of time. She has surprised us all. But her journey is far from over. She still has many obstacles to overcome and we need your continued prayers and support. I will continue to post updates between now and then, but please pray for a smooth transition home! Thank you all! ~KR
It's been so long since I've updated. I'm sorry for that, but it didn't stop us from hitting our goal. We have had such an outpouring of love and support from all of you, I can't even believe it. When I first set this site up, It asked for a goal and I had no idea what to put. It's impossible to know how much she could possibly need to pay her bills and take care of Athena while she isn't working. At the time we had no idea how long she would be in rehab, and when she would be able to work again.
We still don't know how much money she'll need because we still don't know when she'll be able to work, or drive, or walk completely on her own, but we do know she is making progress everyday.
Just a few short weeks ago, we were told there was no way she would be able to attend my wedding on February 22nd. Juli was not going to be told NO. The very next week she had wowed her doctors and therapists so much that they will be granting her a day pass to attend. She is amazing. And so are all of you. I can't thank you enough. Myself, my family and Juli are all so grateful to have your in our lives.
I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I have been sick and haven't been up to visit Juli in an attempt to keep her GERM FREE. However, my dad provided some great information for an update today.
SPEECH - her speech is coming along and the therapist is pleased with her progress.
VISION/EYES - The neuro-ophthalmalogist advised her to exercise her eyes, just as she would any other muscle. She needs to move them up and down and side to side to strengthen the muscles. This is something she is working on, and hopefully we will start to see some big improvements here.
BALANCE/MUSCLE CONTROL - The ataxia continues to be a problem. As you have seen in her videos, the strength seems to be coming along, but she has difficulty controlling some movements, and her balance is off. They have put her on a new medication to help with the ataxia.
In therapy today they had her wheel herself in the wheelchair down the hall to her room using her arms and not her feet. She did have to stop and take a break, but she did a great job!! While in PT they had her stand on one foot at a time in 10 second intervals.
It's amazing to see/hear the progress she is making every single day, she still has a long road ahead of her, but she just keeps moving along one step at a time.
Happy Birthday Juli. The Rehab facility has been the site of many big celebrations for you this year. Christmas, New Year's and now your birthday. Prayers that the next big celebration spent at the rehab facility is the day we get the news you are coming home!
Our family is blessed to have so many of you showing your support for Juli in so many different and wonderful ways. Between the thoughts and prayers, the positive energy, and the donations from those who are able, we are truly lucky to have such a strong support system behind us. I can't say it enough, we are so grateful. I am brought to tears with every notification I get. Thanks again.
Juli has officially been at the rehab facility for 2 full days. She is settling into her room and meeting the staff. She has begun her therapy regimen, which thankfully is a lot more concentrated and frequent then what she was getting at the hospital. She's been evaluated by the staff physicians.
The doctor told us that Juli suffered a lot of deficiency. Her eyes are still not functioning properly. She is unable to focus and has difficulty seeing. This is the greatest concern for the doctor, who believes that if they can improve her eyes the other pieces will come together a little easier.
She has ataxia, which affects her balance and coordination. It's difficult for her to control her movements. It's difficult for her to complete tasks that require fine motor skills. She is unable to complete even very routine tasks on her own. Aside from the big things like not being able to walk, or transfer herself from her wheel chair to her bed on her own, she can't shower herself, or brush her own hair. She can't text on her phone or sign her name. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that will make her better. The only way to get better is time, patience, determination and lots and lots of repetition.
I was fortunate enough to be there when she had an occupational therapy session this afternoon. I am in the process of going through the videos I took while I was there. I will post them as soon as I can.
It's going to be a long, hard road. Her moving to the rehab facility was certainly not a sign she'd be home soon, but it is definitely the best place for her to be until the day we do get to bring our sister home.
On the morning of December 10, 2013, after 3 days of having a stiff neck, and not feeling "quite right", Juli was driving home from work and suddenly lost her peripheral vision and felt numbness and tingling in her right arm. She called her mother and the doctor and went home for the day. A while later her father found her on the bathroom floor. She was unable to pick herself up and she her speech was impaired. After carrying her to the couch, he called 911. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Her body was like jello. She had double vision. There was significant numbness and she was unable to move the right side of her body. After multiple hours and many tests it was determined that she had suffered a Vertebral Artery Dissection (VAD).
VAD is dissection (a flap-like tear) of the inner lining of the vertebral artery, which is located in the neck and supplies blood to the brain. After the tear, blood enters the arterial wall and forms a blood clot, thickening the artery wall and often impeding blood flow. The symptoms of vertebral artery dissection include head and neck pain and intermittent or permanent stroke symptoms such as difficulty speaking, impaired coordination and visual loss. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebral_artery_dissection
With the help of physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists she is going through the process of retraining her brain and muscles to work together the way they always have, the way they should.
My sister, Juli, is a 27 year old single mother. She has a beautiful 7 year old daughter, Athena. She works as a school bus driver and takes classes at night to one day become a teacher. She's young and beautiful, smart and funny. Most importantly she's a fighter.
We are raising money to make sure Juli's medical expenses and everyday bills are paid and her daughter has everything she needs while she is away from home. We have no idea how long it will be before she will be able to go home, and once home, how long she will be out of work.
I'm so sorry to hear about the family home. I hope this little will help in some way. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all. Great news that Juli is making such amazing progress. Still rooting for her and her recovery. Lots of love George and Sophie xxx