A Frightening Day at the Gym
On March 20, 2007, while working out at the gym, Lisa Foto experienced a massive brain hemorrhage due to a ruptured aneurysm. Thanks to the quick thinking of her trainer, she was rushed to Mission Hospital, in Mission Viejo, California, where she spent the next five weeks in a coma while the doctors repaired, watched and waited for her to wake up.
“They said on a scale of one to five, with five being the most severe, that my brain hemorrhage was a five,” said Lisa.
Help for Family
A hospital employee introduced Lisa’s family, who were inundated with phone calls from people asking for updates on Lisa, to CaringBridge. The family asked that friends and family not call the house or the hospital for updates, but instead check out the CaringBridge website that they created.
Lisa looks back at this time as being the “easy” part for her. It was her family that needed the support the most. Her family would get so exhausted from what was going on at the hospital. “The last thing you want to do is go home and make hundreds of phone calls and repeat the same story over and over again because it’s not a fun story to begin with,” said Lisa. “It’s very stressful for the whole family.”
After preparing everyone for the worst, doctors and nurses saw Lisa pull through with a remarkable recovery. Lisa shocked her nurses by posting to her CaringBridge website within a week of waking up from her coma.
“God calls the shots for each one of our lives, but he also has provided me with a support system of friends and family that is pretty big,” said Lisa. With CaringBridge Lisa was able to “tie that support system together pretty tightly.”
After her miraculous recovery, Lisa decided to switch from CaringBridge to a blog since she was no longer in a crisis situation. She remembers putting her heart into her blog entries but not feeling satisfied because she wasn’t receiving feedback, so she ended up switching back to CaringBridge. “Everyone was so happy when I started using it again,” said Lisa.
Even though she’s no longer in the height of her medical crisis, the site keeps her connected and provides an easy way for her to ask for help without feeling like she is bothering people. She can post messages reminding everyone that she doesn’t have her drivers’ license and her friends will offer her rides, instead of having to feel like an inconvenience by always asking for a ride.
Woman with a Mission
Before the aneurysm ruptured, Lisa had been going on mission trips with her church. She is happy that she’s able to continue with those trips, and she’s added another mission to her life’s agenda.
She now visits Mission Hospital and talks with families who have loved ones in a coma. Hospital staff members call her a gift from God and love how patients and families can relate to her. She provides families with a list of helpful resources and included on that list is CaringBridge.
“I don’t know personally how I could have gotten through this whole last year and a half of my life without the tremendous support from everybody,” said Lisa. Her experience has made her want to help others, to give them hope when they need it most.
Despite the seriousness of her medical crisis, Lisa maintains an optimistic appreciation for her experience. “Looking back, I honestly would not trade one part of the story. If any of it was changed, where I find myself would be changed too,” she said.