My life changed on May 6, 2006.
I remember leaving my house to go shopping. Like many times before, I was driving on the highway and listening to music. After that my next memory is waking up in the emergency room. When I opened my eyes, I remember my family and friends looking down at me crying. When I tried to speak I was unable to form a complete sentence. I started to cry. I had no idea how I had ended up there.
Once I regained consciousness, the doctors informed me that as I was driving, someone had thrown a piece of metal from the bridge above me. It crashed through my windshield and struck my head, leaving my skull significantly fractured in two places. I had gone through extensive tests and was even facing a major operation due to internal bleeding. As a result of the trauma, the doctors informed me that the impact was causing ongoing seizures…and they didn’t have a solution.
Although at the time I had worked in healthcare for over 10 years, everything about the situation was so foreign. I could not understand why this was happening to me and why my doctors didn’t have the answers to my many, many questions. What was going to happen? Would I ever return to my normal life before the accident?
Just as I was losing hope, I was introduced to a brilliant research team. After evaluating my situation they decided to put me on Epilepsy medication to control my seizing. The medication was the answer and after months of being in intensive care, I was finally able to start my rehab.
Through this team’s dedication and research, I was able to return home to my son, who was five years old at the time, and most importantly, regain my life. One year later in October 2007, I decided to start a new career path and work for the research department at Cleveland Clinic Hospital. I worked there for nearly 10 years until I relocated to San Diego in 2016.
This life-changing experience has made me incredibly passionate about supporting research. Research is vital in improving patient care. I am now a Site Manager for StemExpress in La Jolla, San Diego. Through our work, we are able to provide biospecimens to researchers all over the world. These researchers are developing new medications, cures for significant diseases, and new treatments for people like me.