What could be worst for a mom than to see your child lying on a hospital bed, losing the whole life ahead of her? What could be worst for a child than seeing your mom cry in front of you and you couldn’t do anything to make her feel better? This is the reality that Victoria Arlen and her mom have for 4 years!
Victoria Arlen was in a vegetative state for four years. She used to be a bubbly and joyful child who loves dancing and swimming, not until she was 11 years old when she began to have a series of illnesses. Doctors were perplexed as this vibrant little girl began to experience fainting spells, asthma, and was even diagnosed with pneumonia. Her parents were helpless as their daughter started to shut down.
“There’s nothing worst in the world than seeing your child deteriorate in front of your eyes. And I was losing her,” says her mom.
Doctors eventually diagnosed her with two autoimmune diseases which caused severe inflammation to her brain and spinal cord. She quickly became comatose. To the people around her, she appeared to be brain dead but what they didn’t know is that Victoria is fully aware of everything that’s going on around her, she just couldn’t voluntarily move or communicate. She was locked inside her own body.
Victoria said during her interview, “I, at first, didn’t realize that I was locked in…then all of a sudden my mom’s not responding, no one’s responding, and I can’t move my eyes, and so that’s when I realized, “Oh they don’t know that I’m in here, they don’t know that I’m locked in.”
“…there’s no worst feeling than being aware but not being able to communicate or give your family any sign that you’re in there,” Victoria said recalling the feeling that she had during those years.
The doctors even told her mom that Victoria has zero chance of surviving and they weren’t even sure of what’s going on with Victoria’s body. Her family, especially her mom, became hopeless during those times. Her mom, who wasn’t a big crier, began to break down in front of Victoria. That scene caused her to become even more determined to survive. The situation may be hard but neither Victoria nor her mom ever gave up.
There came a point where Victoria suffered seizures for 20 hours a day. Doctors gave her a sleeping medication to completely relax her body. But the medication, instead of putting her to sleep, targeted her neurotransmitters which eventually caused her to have control over her eyes and even had an eye contact with her mom. And that’s when she began to break free from her own body.
“She’s like, ‘If you can hear me, can you blink? Can you blink twice? And I was like this crazy blinker. And she was like, ‘Oh my gosh! She’s in there.'”
She slowly recovered. It was a six months process of relearning everything. The doctors even told her that he could never walk again and that she would be paralyzed for the rest of her life. But Victoria was stubbornly determined.
“You’re not God so you can’t, you know, tell me what I can and can’t do.”
So after 10 years of being in a wheelchair, Victoria began to walk again. Not just that, but she even started dancing and even placed 5th in “Dancing with the Stars”! She also went back to swimming and even won gold in the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London.
Victoria’s life is really a testimony the indeed miracles can happen! “People kind of see the outside,…a lot of glitz and glam, but really, what do you stand for underneath? For me, I’m all about faith and gratitude, and hope.” Victory even goes on saying, “By the grace of God, I’m in the best health I’ve ever been in.”