November 29, 2010, at the age of 13 1/2, between two of her nightly ballet classes, Rachel was careflighted to Children's Medical Center with what we would learn later was a massive cranial bleed. Totally out of the blue. The doctors didn't give us much hope of her making it. Our little dancer was paralyzed on her left side, and no one could tell us much, except "wait and see". The next few weeks were critical. After six weeks,she actually felt that blood pressure cuff on her left arm-which had been inflating every ten minutes for weeks. That was the first of many firsts. Finally after two long months, and through numerous setbacks, (but mostly through many answered prayers) Rachel was out of the ICU!
Rachel moved on to Baylor Our Children's House rehab hospital for the next three months. Rachel worked with Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Neuropsychologists as her brain began to heal. More prayers answered. She slowly recovered and learned to walk again, shedding first her wheelchair, next her walking assistant, and finally the leg brace! Week by week, Rachel's hard work paid off, and her brain began to remap different ways of doing things.
After much repeated testing, the doctors decided that Rachel's stroke was a tiny blood vessel that was malformed, (AVM) which for no apparent reason, had bleed that night. Rachel had gamma knife surgery in January 2012, 14 months later, to seal that blood vessel from any further problems. She will undergo testing this fall to prove the success of this procedure.
Rachel has made huge strides in her recovery. Her doctors continue to be amazed at her continued progress even now, 2 1/2 years later. She has regained more movement in her left arm, but she has not regained her left hand movement yet. She works almost daily with her Saebo, to strengthen her hand. She continues to work diligently, with a beautiful and cheery demeanor in her four (or more) therapy's weekly. Most of all, we are amazed at her beautiful spirit, and we are truly blessed to be her family.
Rachel has moved from the art of classical ballet to the art of charcoal and paper. She has found great joy drawing ballerinas in charcoal, among many other artistic achievements. She just had her 16th birthday (nothing short of SWEET), and hopes to have her drivers license soon! we continue to be amazed at her joyful spirit, her incredible drive, and the blessing that she is to those who know her. We are so very thankful for each of the miracles and blessings along Rachel's journey, one of the greatest being our friends at Kenna's Kids. The generosity and financial blessing at such a incredible time of need for our family has been nothing short of a miracle.
Watching God's plans unfold,
Rebecca and Mark Herrera, Amanda, Marcus, and Rachel
At 6:00 on Monday Night, 11/29/10, between Rachel's two ballet classes, Rachel started crying to friends Jessie and Debbie that she had an excruciating headache. The girls proceeded to help her to the bathroom and aid her when she became inconsolable and began to lose function of the left side of her body. The girls then laid her on the floor and comforted her and the staff called 911. The paramedics arrived and she was taken to Plano Medical Center where a CT scan diagnosed with a cranial bleed and was then care-flighted to Dallas Children's Medical Center Downtown