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Danielle’s Story

Welcome to Danielle's website. Danielle and our family appreciate your visit! Please send us a message, we read every one, and count them among our many blessings!

Life can change in an instant...

July 11th, 2010 was a perfect day, Danielle, her sisters; Taylor & Rachel and I (mom, Lynell) cantered the 8:30 mass at Blessed Sacrament. Jeff (Danielle's Dad) was in the choir loft with us, and Danielle went to the front of the church, I remember my pride as she gracefully approached the alter, and my worry, there had been a mistake in the assigning of the responsorial psalm and Alleluia we had been practicing, and we came into church a half an hour early to learn a new one at the last minute. I remember praying Danielle would do well. The music started, Danielle took a confident breath and sang beautifully, there was a bobble in the organ music, but she continued without error. I wanted to cheer and clap, but refrained, but anyone who turned around would have been blinded by my smile. Next I sang the Alleluia, and the girls and I all silently high-fived one another and hugged, we had gotten through the most difficult parts. We were using our God given talents to worship Him in His house, for His followers, it felt good! We got home and started to prepare a meal, Fr. Hoelfer and Jeff's sister, her husband, and children would be joining us for chicken on the grill. Everyone arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, at the end of the meal Danielle, cousin Riley, and sisters - Taylor and Rachel gathered around the piano and sang a song for Fr. Hoefler that they had written themselves, "What do you see?". Each girl had written a verse telling us what they see when asked, where is your home? It was wonderful. Again tearful pride and smiles burst from me. These girls are truly exceptional. We as parents are doing a good job, talented, well educated, well rounded young women, life is good. Soon after this it was time to go to Jeff's cousins to celebrate his (cousins) birthday at the lake house. There was swimming, and food, and laughter, a beautiful, perfect day... the lake had calmed down and although previous to getting there we had told the girls, "no jet skis, don't even ask, the lake will be too busy" the question was asked, by someone else. The lake was calm, very little traffic, but we were visiting, and had said, no. Danielle's then 18 year old cousin said he would take Riley and Danielle for a ride. Danielle was up on the deck with Jeff's sister and I, reading a book, typical Danielle. (I am smiling as I remember). "Mom, do you think I should go on the jet ski?" "well, your cousins will be leaving soon to go back to Australia, go make some memories", I responded. And so she put her favorite bookmark in her book, and skipped down the back hill to put on her life jacket, and I watched her ride away on the back of the jet ski. 10 minutes later, a second jet ski left the dock with Danielle's uncle, cousin and sister Taylor on board. As that 2nd jet ski left, we had no idea the fun, memory making leisurely ride dynamic would change to one of, 2 jet skis and a near deadly collision. Danielle's bookmark is still marking the last page she read. Do we blame ourselves, should we have explained the perimeters we expected to be followed? What could we have done to avoid the outcome? Many, many decisions and actions could have changed the outcome of July 11th, from one extreme to the other, there could not have been an accident at all, or, the accident could have been fatal. Danielle's Uncle and 18 year old cousin acted as hero's in the moments that followed, assessing the situation, realizing Danielle's needs were critical, giving her mouth to mouth, CPR and getting her to the dock as quickly as possible to receive immediate medical attention. The moments that followed Danielle's lifeless body being hoisted onto the dock will forever be engrained in my memory. I still have not asked details of what actually happened at the accident site from my family members, I don't want to ask them to re-live it, and it will not change the outcome. None of our lives will ever, ever be the same. I offer these facts not for judgment, but in the hope that you may encompass our entire family, all involved, in your prayers. We have not placed blame, but have offered forgiveness, in case the people we love blame themselves... Danielle sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, her recovery is slow, and challenging, we have faith in God's plan for us all, and we ask that if it is His Will, Danielle be Miraculously and completely Healed in the name of Jesus and for the Glory of God.

Please be part of a Miracle, Pray for Danielle. ~Lynell.

Latest Journal Update

New Doctors, Smiles and Answers.

The craziness continues in the Loftus house... Although EVERYDAY is CRAZY, and I can barely keep up... and most of the time I have a tremendous amounts of guilt that SO many things on my "to do" list often pile up, and our house is "picked up" but definitely, DEFINATELY NOT CLEAN. Danielle's care, therapy, appointments and keeping happy, healthy children and husband do take priority! That being said I FINALLY, FINALLY mailed event T-shirts and Pray for Danielle banners to those who ordered one... Thank you letters are next, is it odd to send a Thank you message for everyone's patience in receiving a Thank you note? HAHAHAHAHAHA! sigh, actually it is not that funny.

So let me fill in you in on this past weekend. On Friday, Danielle had her morning Physical and Occupational therapies, and then we packed up the handicap van with Danielle's feed, meds, supplies for the afternoon AND past history information, current med lists, information on current therapies and devices that we are using for Danielle's recovery and a anxious, hopeful feeling that our 1:00 appointment would be beneficial for Danielle. Where were we going? Washington University in St. Louis - School of Medicine to meet Dr. David Brody. A few posts back I mentioned that Danielle's current Dr. was a Pediatric Neurologist and as Danielle has turned 18, Dr. Peche needed to release Danielle to the care of another physician. We had told her how happy we were with HER care, her compassion and knowledge and asked her to refer us to someone with the same characteristics that we cherish in her care. Dr. Brody is the doctor she suggested. Dr. Brody specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury and currently sees 250+ patients. We did hesitate because he is IN ST. LOUIS, an hour and 30 minute drive... but decided to call and see if he would indeed consider Danielle as a patient. Jeff called his office, mentioned Dr. Peche, and Danielle's injury and he was given Dr. Brody's email, and told to write him a letter. Jeff immediately sat at his computer and drafted and sent an excellent letter. Within 30 minutes Dr. Brody's nurse called and said, "well that was fast wasn't it?" Jeff responded, "What do you mean?", "check your email" was her response. Sure enough, Dr. Brody had responded and CC'd his nurse, to request that she contact us and schedule an appointment ASAP, even though his calendar was full until May 2015! The drive was easy, the location was easy to find, easy to find parking... EASY! We waited only minutes after we checked into the front desk, to have Danielle's temp, oxygen, and blood pressure checked, we were then escorted to an exam room, and waited about 2 minutes before Dr. Brody came in and introduced himself. He asked LOTS of questions, which we were prepared for, supplying the current med list, records, DVDs with CT scans and MRI results. We discussed Danielle's sleep pattern and the importance of sleep/recovery, the cadence of her daily routine, therapies, devices, and medical equipment. He then did a routine exam, asking Danielle to move parts of her body, she was unable. He then wrote his request on a piece of paper and placed it within Danielle's field of vision, she did not respond. He checked her response to noise, by a single loud clap of his hands, she jumped and winced each time he did it. He pinched her toes and fingers, she reacted immediately with a groan and wince each time. He put a small mirror within her field of vision and watched her follow it with her eyes. He flexed her feet and hands testing her spasticity (muscle tightness) and range of motion. He then commented on Danielle's physical appearance, complimenting us, saying we are taking EXCELLENT care of her, which is always nice to hear, especially as inside, I am personally beating myself up, feeling like I don't do enough, that I am missing something, surely I can help her more!?!?!?!? Dr. Brody reviewed Danielle's most recent CT scan and walked us through the images, slowly explaining what we were seeing with such care and precision. He made sure to explain that A LOT of Danielle's brain is intact, reiterating there is A LOT of uninjured brain, BUT, that the location of the injuries are throughout her brain and much of the damage is in the Thalamus, which is responsible for consciousness... and so that is why Danielle remains in a semi-conscious state. He then told us a story of a man who was in a semi-conscious state, and 11 YEARS AFTER his injury... he re-gained consciousness and is making huge progresses in his recovery. WOW! He said he would love to think it is something he did... but sometimes, that is just the way it works, everyone is different, every injury is different, every recovery is different. He then went through Danielle's med list, and made a few revisions, which includes dividing her current Keppra (anti-seizure) medicine into 3 doses, rather than 2 to ensure a constant dose in her system throughout the day, reducing possible seizures (Danielle hasn't had a seizure since July), as well as a couple other changes to prepare Danielle for a new medicine that he considered a "Big Gun" with possibilities of bringing Danielle into to a higher state of consciousness. There will be possible side effects of seizures, and high heart rate, but he is also adding a med to be paired with this new med to hopefully counteract these side effects. We are aware of the risks... and the potential. Dr. Brody spent over 2 hours with us, and we left feeling very hopeful. Please pray that God has Danielle firmly in his grasp, and we are on the right track. As we were leaving for St. Louis that morning, my parents were half-way through their 7 hour trip to visit us for the weekend. When we arrived, my parents were there waiting to greet us, and we filled them, and Taylor and Rachel in about Dr. Brody, and the new plan.

Saturday morning, was a day I have been looking forward to for several weeks. A few months ago I received a Facebook message from someone I have never met, which happens often. :0) This particular person is a professional photographer in our area and I was familiar with her by name only. She sent a beautiful message, and the offer to photograph our family. I have to admit I hesitated, I have TONS of beautiful pictures of our girls all over our home, but not one of Danielle... now. I don't know, I just... I don't have words to explain, but, I just wasn't sure if I was ready to document our family as we are now. I hope that doesn't sound callous, or odd, but as the thought of a new family portrait started to bloom, I thought about our past Christmas cards, I used to LOVE creating our Christmas cards... and I think many of our friends and family loved receiving them. But I haven't sent any out since the accident, partially because of time, partially because my offering of the "picture perfect" family is now different that it used to be. I started thinking about what we would wear, how we could "pose", how we could share the photos... and I responded, "yes, please". We planned our outfits according to Photographer extraordinaire, Tara Long's suggestions and made plans, having to reschedule once due to the above Dr. appointment and weather, but on Saturday morning, we did it! Tara and her sister were there with props and guided us effortlessly through several different poses, without any stress or difficulty. We had a LOT of fun, my Mom and Dad were there, and our Yorkie, Teddy Bear, even got into a couple shots! This photo is our "sneak peek", Tara emailed it to me with the note "This makes me SMILE :0)" she definitely captured the fun we were having... as we were laying there, our eyes were watering, even though the sun was behind the clouds, we were having a hard time looking up into the camera. Tara told us to close our eyes, and on the count of 3 open them and look at the camera with a 'relaxed smile'. EPIC FAIL... no open eyes and not one relaxed smile!!! BUT I LOVE IT!!! I hope this photo made you smile too! http://www.taralongphotography.com/

Sunday was a relaxing day, we went to mass and enjoyed another FANTASTIC sermon from Fr. Jeff Grant, if you are in Springfield, and want to receive God's message in a way that is relatable and uncomplicated, come to Blessed Sacrament! We watched some football, Packers won, Bears won. Monday Mom and Dad headed back to Wisconsin, and at 10:15 we took Danielle to ANOTHER new doctor. Dr. Guthrie, in the Department of Rheumatology at Springfield Clinic. We packed up our information again, found a parking place right in front, sat in the waiting room for under a minute, went to the exam room and Dr. Guthrie, came in almost immediately! I don't know, what we did to get such quick attention, but I have to say, I am grateful!!! Dr. Guthrie introduced himself, and explained that he had already reviewed all of Danielle's charts, her current med list that was already on file, and had discussed Danielle's Osteoporosis with 2 other physicians in his office... giving us a 3 for 1 consultation! WOW again, this guy is AWESOME! He explained that Danielle's case is quite a bit different than the norm, as Danielle is only 18, and still producing estrogen. The question being "to treat, or not to treat?". Should medication be given to stop the bone loss now, as there is risk with every medication, or wait, and treat only if there is additional weakening, fractures or bone breakage. He asked our opinion. Our mutual answer, "Treat." With Danielle's unforeseeable future in a wheelchair, and her inability to speak, we need to be proactive. The bone loss will continue, and she can't tell us where her pain is, if she does indeed suffer a fracture or break. And so, Danielle is scheduled for the first of five, once a year injections. We also brought in the supplements that we received from our Chiropractor, Gene Sullivan, and the doctor said we are right on track... the Vitamin D3 and Calcium are perfect, and we should continue. We will follow up with bone density scans once a year. We also are scheduling an IV iron infusion for Danielle... I first heard about this from a post on the Pray for Danielle Facebook page, and then Dr. Brody suggested it, so Dr. Albracht has written the RX and that will also happen in the next month.

I know this was a REALLY long post, but I wanted to show you what your prayers are doing. Aside from the Instantaneous, Miraculously Healing we are all praying for... we have been Blessed with answers to all of our current concerns. Pneumonia - gone. New Neurologist - check. Osteoporosis - answers and a plan. Iron Deficiency - solution scheduled.

GOD HEARS YOU, Please keep praying for Danielle. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! ~ Lynell

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Comments

22 Comments

Diane Saleska
By Diane Brauer Saleska
If you ever need a place to hang in St. Louis, our home is open to you. I am Bob Brauer's sister. We are about 5 minutes from Barnes Jewish.
314.803.9355
Diane Mullhausen
By Diane Mullhausen
God works in crazy ways and it is comforting to know you Danielle is in good hands with her new doctors!
Sending lots of prayes to your family and enjoy those photos!!
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mary beth atwell
By mary beth atwell
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Jeanne Eide
By JEANNE
Awesome post, hopefully something great happens soon. Keep up the fantastic support and faith you instill in all of us!
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Terri Stanton
By Terri Stanton
First of all....I LOVE your family portrait! Darling idea. We have our challenges too but I focus on the fact we are so very, very blessed to still have Joseph with us, that I can smoother him with as many kisses and hugs as I want each and every day and even though he doesn't look like he did before his accident he is STILL one HANDSOME young man that is battling like an amazing warrior EVERY SINGLE DAY and I want to record the memories for him to see how far he has come! (was that the longest run-on sentence you've ever seen??? LOL) We are so blessed to still have our babies and can walk beside them holding their hand every step of this journey. Our love to the entire Loftus family!!!!
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Kim Curry
By Kim Curry
Love the Great News and the Family Photo! I believe that God brings people in to our lives that we need when we need them. Continued Prayers to Danielle and you and the family! Can't wait to see the rest of the photos of this beautiful family.
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Gail Okeson
By Gail Okeson
I am so inspired by you Lynell...you are a wonderful mother and I bless you and continue to pray daily for Danielle.
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Donna Fedor
By Donna Fedor
Love, love love that picture!! It IS coming!!
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Josette Harrison
By Josette
Good news and beautiful photo! Thank you for sharing.
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Alesha Gamble
By Alesha Gamble
Beautiful update and you are the most beautiful, perfect family inside and out! The photo is gorgeous!!! Prayers are still coming your way!!!!
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