Four months ago, 57-year-old Michele De Leeuw was with her husband at her Sterling Heights, Michigan, home when something terrible happened. She had a massive heart attack and went without oxygen for fifteen minutes, although paramedics were able to help her husband, Karl, perform CPR on her until help could arrive.
Still, it was not good at all for Michele, as it can take just six minutes for a brain to fail if blood is not pumping properly to it, and going ten minutes without blood flow is regularly a cause of permanent, irreversible brain damage.
Therefore, Michele’s situation was dire after she arrived at the hospital. Six days after being admitted, her husband and two kids were informed that she had an estimated 5% brain function, along with just 25% heart function. With this information, Karl had to decide about what he’d call the hardest decision of his life – whether to take Michele off life support.
Ultimately, he felt he had no choice and agreed to do so, but just minutes later, Michele did something amazing. She started to breathe on her own.
Even then, the doctors warned Karl and their kids not to get too optimistic – after all, she likely suffered permanent brain damage and was unlikely to recover. However, Michele continued to defy expectations, waking up two days later, talking on her own a couple of days after that, and feeding herself within a week of when she was taken off life support.
Since then, it’s been a difficult road, but Michele has conquered all of the tests in front of her. She has undergone open-heart surgery and recovered her faculties with the help of speech and physical therapy. She was even able to go home in time to celebrate her 26th wedding anniversary with her husband. “She’s a miracle lady,” Karl said.