After 13 years of being diagnosed with Addison's disease, Stefano Montanari, 35 years old had an Addisonian Crisis that changed everyone's lives forever. What Stefano and his wife, Tonia, thought was a virus, a 24-hour bug, landed Stefano in critical care at St. Francis Hospital for 8 weeks.
Addison's disease is a rare, chronic endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient steroid hormones. In Stefano's case, he does not have them at all as his body thought they were foreign and attacked them. Stefano takes steroids daily to fulfill what the adrenal glands do. An Addisonian crisis is an intercurrent problem in someone known to have the disease and can be life threatening. In the case of Stefano it was.
The nanny was home watching his 9-month-old son Luke at the time. Stefano decided it was best to stay home to rest that Monday April 15th. As the nanny was taking care of Luke downstairs, she heard a thump, as if someone or something fell on the ground upstairs. Little did she know what she was about to encounter. Stefano was on the floor and the nanny called Tonia who told her to call 911. Paramedics arrived immediately and brought Stefano to St. Francis Hospital.
Once admitted to ER, Stefano went into cardiac arrest and the doctors revived him after 40 minutes of CPR. He then underwent a procedure called the Arctic Sun Temperature Management System, a medical device used to induce therapeutic hypothermia. This was done to help reduce the risk of the ischemic injury to the brain and preserve organs following a period of insufficient blood flow due to the cardiac arrest. During the procedure, four different blood pressure medications were used to maintain his levels. The side effects of the amount of blood pressure medication and the Artic Sun procedure caused a lack of blood flow to his extremities. He suffered from compartment syndrome in his lower limbs and right arm. This now became a matter of life or death again for Stefano. Toxins were being released in his body. Tonia, who is currently four months pregnant, and his family had a tough decision to make to save his life. The doctor performed a bilateral(both legs) above the knee amputation on Stefano and were able to save is right arm. This was the most difficult decision for his wife to make. Tonia and his family had to exhaust all options in saving his life and unfortunately without the amputations, the toxins would have continued to travel and eventually would have attacked his entire body. After the procedure, we all waited and prayed for Stefano to wake up. At the same time, he had acute kidney failure. His kidneys were not able to filter out all the toxins and therefore he was undergoing dialysis. Doctors were also unable to state whether there was brain injury or not and Stefano had less than a 14% chance of survival.
One week after the amputation, Stefano responded to a basic command "stick out your tongue". Every day, every second was crucial. We had prayers from every religion, belief and support from all over the world. Stefano continued to progress and we kept on believing and staying positive. Kidneys came back, no longer needed dialysis, and little by little things were getting better. The day that he was able to identify his wife was one to never forget, Stefano mouthed the words "I love you". From that point on he slowly came back mentally and remembered his family and friends. He is a known miracle and inspiration.
After 8 life-changing weeks, Stefano is currently in a rehabilitation center in Manhattan. He is breathing on his own and his upper body is extremely weak and with hope, guidance and time he will regain the strength he needs to become independent. He continues to fight and can't wait to get home to his family.
Stefano is a professional and avid photographer, expert skier, world traveler and loves spending time with his family. His dream is to teach his children to ski and embrace life to its fullest. Stefano's life will never be the same. We can, however, come together to help create the best possible future for him and his family.
Life has changed for the Montanari family. We are currently going through the process of getting his home ready so he can move around in a wheelchair for now, feel independent, and in time be fit for his new legs, C-legs. This fundraiser will help the family with the costs associated with getting and maintaining the cost of C-legs, hospital bills, immediate modifications necessary on their home, and a converted mobility van for transportation. Please help spread the word and donate if you can. The outpouring of emotion and support has been nothing less than wonderful and the family is extremely grateful for your prayers and warm words.
If you would like to send a check:
528 Central Place
Cedarhurst, NY 11516
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