Apr 24, 2009 Latest post:
Dec 19, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family (our prayer warriors) updated on Jenna Evans' progress. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story.
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Jenna Evans was injured in a golf cart accident on Friday, April 24, 2009, in Peachtree City, GA. She was life-lined to Atlanta Medical Center, downtown Atlanta, with injuries to her throat, which compromised her airway, did damage to her trachea, crushed layrnx and had lacerations to her face.
After 4 months in the hospital and 1 month in rehab, Jenna was moved from SICU to neuro intensive-care in Atl. Med. Ctr., moved to Piedmont Hospital for stent surgery, moved to Scottish Rite for rehab and finally home with extensive day rehab with Scottish Rite. For the first 5 months, she dealt with a 1 and 1/2cm tear in her trachea, collapsed lungs, chest infection which was causing damage to lungs and doctors had to perform a bi-lateral thoracotomy lung surgery (chest wash on both lungs), then following surgery the next day, May 23rd - bacteria moved into her blood stream, kidneys went dormant while her body was fighting infection, two lung tissue patch surgeries to cover air leak/tear in trach (had to go through same area under breast cutting all the way to middle of back), scopes, feeding tubes, lung drainage tubes, enduced coma, breathing ventilator among many other procedures as her body was having airway difficulties. Stent was placed over trachea tear successfully to help with healing and to protect her from any further lung infections, July 7th. Company representative had to be present due to the new, still tested material for this stent. September 1st stent was removed with CT showing tear was covered with new tissue and scar tissue, along with breathing trach and feeding tube removal. With short distant walks Jenna experiences a hard time catching her breath but she is breathing fine on her own. With extensive therapy to strengthen lungs for better breathing, muscle strengthening to walk again and memory exercises for brain that was asleep for so many months, she is on her way to meet her goals. Jenna was determined to return to high school as a Senior. Jenna started half days in her wheel chair Sept. 23rd with the hopes of graduating in May 2010 but her body would not allow it. Thanks to the staff at McIntosh High School she was only 2 classes away from graduating. With our move back home, W. Lafayette, IN, she graduated from High School in Dec. 2010.
As healing and strengthening has occurred we have hit several surgeries. We have lost count after 60. Scar tissue builds up in the airway due to her injury and use of trachs and ventilator. It wraps around her vocal cords along with trapping the muscles from moving. The scar tissue blocks her airway which stops her from building up her lungs and receiving the air she needs. They stated it is like breathing out of a straw. November 19, 2009 dr. had to place a stent in the larynx to stop scar tissue from building up and cutting off her air, plus had to recut the trachea area and place another trach tube.
Surgery Jan. 20, 2010 went well but trach breathing tube still in. Much healing had to take place. The viral bronchitis that she had in Feb. 2010 placed her back in hospital and then received C-diff from the antibiotics to hit the infection. Surgery March 30, 2010 went well as no stent was placed and doctor happy with her airway. Jenna was hoping to have trach out in April, around the anniversary date of her accident, but more granulation and scar tissue was found and surgery was done May 28, 2010. Moved to Indiana and ENT here said everything has healed well and trach was taken out June 9, 2010. Still showing problems with scar tissue between vocal cords. Received mono July 7, 2010. Had surgery Sept. 20, 2010 for more scar tissue. Immune system down-causing a slow recovery. More surgeries for 2011. Just had another dilation and scar tissue surgery March 5, 2012. Many steroid injections to try and slow down scar tissue. Dr. not happy with the way trachea tissue healed. She has a "shelf" where the trach was for a year and half and dr. states it will eventually need to be cut out, resection. He is saying probably in 2 years. With that surgery comes 2 weeks back on ventilator and a fairly long hospital stay.
It has been 9 yrs since her accident and we are thankful that the issues she is dealing with are correctable and the doctors feel confident that she will be able to build up her endurance. We have lost count of the surgeries (70+). Maybe someday there will be a transplant that can be done for her vocal cords but for now she has no voice. She has a raspy, whisper sound as she pushes air through one working vocal cord. She has 55% use of her left lung and about 94% of the right. She is 50% closed in her trachea as we work hard on keeping it at that percent. If she has any further narrowness or collapsing they will have to go back to a plastic trach.
Thank you for your continued prayers as she still fights infections trying to settle in her lungs and as we try and be patient for healing on her larynx and vocal cords. Doctors state her left lung will not ever be 100% but they also didn't think she was going to make it past the infection that took over her body. God has made Jenna a walking miracle. As her trachea heals along with getting stronger with her breathing and muscles, her body will be able to build the immune system and be able to fight infections like it should. Jenna, 28 now, has been blessed with a wonderful loving husband and now a little boy. Yes, against all odds that her body would be able to carry they had a little surprise and her body did ok. Their little boy is from a miracle mom and is a miracle baby. She is our hero as she is always smiling, shining the light of Jesus and moving forward to her goals as her health allows. People all over North America are praying for Jenna and God hears those prayers and brings her peace and comfort. Please continue to pray for Jenna as she recovers.