Teri Roberts, a healthy 56-year-old mother and grandmother of Valley, Nebraska, suddenly contracted a serious bacterial infection that nearly took her life on Dec. 22, 2014 – the day her family decided to turn off her life-support machine.
She had been in a deepening coma for 12 days.
Her limbs blackened as gangrene set in, and blisters began sprouting all over her body. Teri’s kidneys and liver began to fail, and her facial expressions indicated she was in terrible pain.
Her family, devastated by her rapid deterioration, gave up any hope that they would ever see Terri alive and well again. So they resolved to let her go.
But then a miracle happened just hours before her ventilator machine was planned to be turned off.
Her family was stunned when they saw her slowly open her eyes at Methodist Hospital in Omaha.
“For whatever reason, it wasn’t her time yet,” her 35-year-old son, Ryan Roberts, told the Omaha World-Herald. “She just magically woke up a little – about four hours before we took her off life support.”
“She was really a Christmas miracle,” he said, adding, “It was, by far, the best Christmas gift I’ve ever had.”
Teri, who had been suddenly stricken with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, soon learned that all four of her limbs would need to be amputated.
Her husband, Kent, showed her the damage that had been done to her body so she would know the challenges she faced.
“He held up her hands so she could see them, and she shrugged and said ‘OK,'” nodding her head, Ryan recalled at a Jan. 29 press conference.
But even after losing her limbs, Teri hasn’t given up on life. She plans to drive and walk again.
“I gave up on my mom, and she didn’t give up on herself,” Ryan said.
It’s unclear how Teri contracted the bacteria, but the grandmother of five initially believed she had the flu on Dec. 12. Her condition deteriorated so rapidly, she fell into a coma shortly after she was admitted to the hospital.
Dr. Patrick McCarville of Methodist Physicians Clinic told the press conference, “Most people don’t live into it as long as Teri did.”
Teri later had her hands amputated above her wrists, and her legs and feet were removed six to eight inches below her knees. Ryan said she has moments of frustration when she reaches for an object and then realizes she has no hands. She is being transferred to a rehabilitation center so she can regain her strength and be fitted with prostheses.
A GoFundMe page was created to help Terri with her recovery and remodel her home so she can return. According to the page, which had brought in $30,000 at the time of this report, she is “working her way back.”
“Teri has gone from feeding thru IVs to eating small bites of hamburger which helped increase her strength,” the page states.
“She’s regained liver and kidney function and her body has continued to heal. Teri’s response to [her amputations] was, ‘I’m just letting the other people ﬁnally catch up to me!’
“Her strength, determination and zest for life are simply inspiring. Teri has a long road ahead of her, yet her spirit is awesome! When you walk into her hospital room you’re greeted with a huge smile.
“She believes that everything happens for a reason and we just don’t know what it is yet.”
Watch a video of the family’s press conference: