The family of Becky Garcia is seeking help from friends and extended family to make a direct impact on her quality of life by supporting her ability to live independently. Becky has a can-do spirit and is a happy person, and she has worked so hard to thrive after a debilitating stroke. We are trying to raise $2500 to purchase an amazing device called the Bioness H200 that will allow her to use her right hand again after 6 years.
In October of 2011, Becky was only 35 years old when she suffered a massive left middle cerebral artery stroke. She underwent decompressive craniotomy which meant that she had her left side of her skull removed so that her brain could swell without further brain damage and a carotid dissection. Becky was in a coma for a week after surgery and we didn’t know if she would live or die. She was being tube fed, had a breathing tube in her esophagus and doctors proclaimed that the left side of her brain had been deeply affected and she might never have full use of her right (dominant) side or if she would ever speak again. After regaining consciousness, she couldn’t walk, talk, swallow, or move her right side at all.
While recovering in the hospital for 3 months, she had to wear a helmet to protect her brain while her bone flap was still detached and the swelling decreased in her brain. She gradually learned how to swallow again after the tube feeding. Becky started to say single words like “reindeer”, when she meant “her glasses”, or “bacon”, when she meant “she wanted a cup”. Becky was wheelchair bound and it was a good day if she could slide a foot forward with help from two people guiding her, using a device.
After the 3 months in the hospital, Becky was transferred to a care center where she stayed for a year and started her long road back to recovery. She went through speech, physical and occupational therapy to try to regain use of her right side and her speech center. Becky progressed to learn how to stand holding onto parallel bars with one hand. Her speech was limited to one word requests and sometimes it wasn’t the right word for what she was needing. Like a toddler, she had to re-learn the English language one word at a time.
The next year and a half she lived at a group home and continued with speech, physical, and occupational therapy at Courage Kenney in Golden Valley, MN. With perseverance to get better, she was determined to live on her own and in 2014, moved to an apartment where she gets help with independent living skills, meals, and housekeeping tasks. Her family helps her order her prescriptions and takes her to doctor appointments.
To date, Becky has gone through A LOT of therapy to help her improve mobility and speech. We didn’t know if she would live or die when she had the stroke. She lived. We didn’t know if she would ever talk again. She now speaks but she has aphasia. It takes her time to get the words out and she does not talk in complete sentences. Since 2013, she has gone to school with other stroke patients to learn how to read and write using her LEFT hand. She continues to struggle with written language, numbers being especially hard for her.
Every 3 months she gets Botox shots for the spasticity she has on her right side: foot, leg, hand, arm. Without the botox shots her toes and fingers would be curled all of the time. She wears a brace on her right leg in order to be able to walk. Although this helps, she continues to struggle with spasticity on her right side.
Through the recommendation of her physician, she was introduced to the Bioness H200 Hand Rehabilitation System at occupational therapy. With the Bioness device (secured to her forearm), Becky’s fingers and muscles in her right hand/arm get stimulation so that she can straighten her fingers out and wash her hands to keep them sanitary. With the Bioness device, she is learning how to pick up objects and use her right hand again to open and close cabinets and doors, brush her teeth and use home items that use two hands, like a can opener. The Bioness device also decreases the spasticity in her right hand/arm. It is amazing to see Becky use the device in occupational therapy. If you could’ve seen the smile on her face the first time she picked up an object with her right hand since her stroke, you would’ve cried with joy! With this device, Becky would be able to use her right hand again after 5 years!
At this time, all other interventions have failed and the H200 remains Becky’s best remaining option for addressing her right hand deficits and tone management. She needs to use this at home on a daily basis, not just in occupational therapy.
It would be amazing if Becky is given the opportunity to be able to improve the quality of her life and continue to make strides in her improvement from this stroke. This device costs $4500 and we have been able to get an organization to pledge $2000. We need another $2500. We, her family, humbly ask for your help to raise the remaining $2500 by October 1, 2017, so she can use this device on a daily basis. This will make a huge impact on her life, since she is only 41 years old.
If you can help make this a possibility for Becky, we would be eternally grateful. Thank you for any help you so generously give Becky.
The Garcia/Schmitt Family