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I died when I was two. For seven minutes, my heart did not beat. Then, the doctor brought me back to life. This is where my story begins.
It was in February of 1981 when I became deathly sick from what they later determined was contaminated water. By the time my mom got me to the emergency room, my body had become stiff as a board and all my vital signs were gone. The doctor was waiting outside the ER when we arrived. He walked to the car, picked me up, and took me straight back to a room where he began working on my lifeless body and did not stop until he got me back.
The nurses and doctor had many concerns to discuss with my mother. They began to explain to her, with the doctor performing CPR on me for over three minutes, there was a possibility I may have some brain damage. They said they would have to run some tests to determine if any part of the brain was actually damaged, but until they could order the test, they would have to monitor me very closely. The test they would begin with would be a CT scan, which would determine if there was any bleeding, swelling, or brain injury present. Then, once they got that done, they would also order an MRI to diagnose the extent of the damage if any was found.
The test revealed there was damage done to the right side of the brain which could result in several different side effects such as: movement disorders, sensory disturbance, impaired vision, not realizing the left side of the body even exists, and language problems, just to name a few. But the doctor was more concerned about the next few days and months to come, because they were going to be the most critical. He told my mom, “there is still a possibility Star will not make it out of the hospital alive.” I had gone into a coma-like state and was not responding at all, due to not having any bloodflow to my brain during the time he worked to bring me back to life, and everything in my body had begun to shut down. The doctor said, “it’s going to take a miracle for her to make it through the night.”
The next morning was the scariest for them all, because my brain had begun to swell. The doctor explained the reasoning for the swelling was the lack of oxygen to the brain. This could result to there being more brain damage or possibly even death, so the doctor and nurses would monitor me very closely until the swelling went away. They also spoke with my mom and tried to make her understand, if I was to get to go home after all this, I would not be the same little girl she brought into the hospital, and they wanted to make sure she understood that. They told her there was a big possibility if I made it out of the hospital alive, that I may be considered a vegetable for the rest of my life. This meant I would not be able to do anything by myself and would need 24/7 care. They asked mom if she would be able to handle that and she told them, “I don’t care if I have to carry Star on my back for the rest of my life, I will as long as she is with me I will do what has to be done.”
After four to five months of being in a coma-like state, I began to show some improvement and responding a little. The swelling in my head had went down and the test showed no signs of any other damage. The doctor began to talk about sending me home from the hospital, but he had one last talk with my mom to reassure she was ready for what she may be faced with when I was released. They told her I was a “miracle child” to have come out of this alive.
The nurses told mom the results to the test they had recently ran showed I had no memorization skills and would probably have to be taught everything over again. It would be like having a newborn baby again. She reassured them she would do whatever it took and would never give up on me. So, they released me from the hospital and gave mom instructions and doctors to follow up with.
Once released from the hospital, my mom did just as she said she would and never gave up on me. She worked with me day-end and day-out. On my yearly check-up to the doctor who saved my life, I was able to walk into his office without mom's help. When the doctor saw me, he walked up to me, picked me up, and was crying with excitement. He couldn’t believe I was actually able to walk and talk to him. He hugged my mom's neck and said, “What a miracle this is, Dianne, you have done an amazing job!”
Mom said, “I can’t take all the credit, the doctors and staff at Rogers C. Peace have done a lot also.” She thanked the doctor for everything he and his nurses did for me while in the hospital, gave him a hug, and waited for him to finish up with me and we went about our day.
After running a MRI and another CT scan, the doctor confirmed I had damage on the right side of my brain. This could result in many problems once I got a little older, such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty identifying a problem and how to solve it, not remembering dates, times, and places, and not being good at arranging information, planning a party, giving directions, or maintaining a topic during a conversation. Also, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, which means the right side tells the left arm or leg to move.
As a result, my brain trained my left leg backward and I have what they call “drop-foot.” It’s a term doctors use to describe when someone has problems lifting the front part of their foot. Some symptoms may include dragging of the toes or foot, a limp foot, or tingling, numbness, or pain in the foot, just to name a few. There are ways to help with it, but it is not completely curable. Some things I do to help with the joint pain is wear my brace and do my exercises I got from my physical therapist.
Star Lynn Julian is a mother of two sons: Stephen Hunter Julian, who is seventeen, and Tyler Ryan Julian, who is fourteen. This book, My Story Isn’t Over Yet, is the first book I have ever written and I hope everyone enjoys reading it. It's not only a book, but it’s a reminder for me God isn’t done with me yet. I hope this book helps people see there are miracles that happen in the world, and no matter how tough things get in the world around us, we should never give up. I want to thank all the nurses and doctors at Hillcrest Hospital and at Rogers C. Peace for making it possible to be here today and writing this book for everyone to read. I also want to thank my mother, Dianne Greene Brown, for never giving up on me.