By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
“I heard a pop in my head and I knew something was wrong,” John Moses said of the Sunday evening in 2012 when he had bleeding deep in his brain.
Moses’ ordeal began one year to the day after his father had died. The family had just spent the weekend celebrating his life, so the first thing he thought to do as he sank to the floor in his then-girlfriend’s apartment was reach for his phone.
“I wanted to call my sister and ask her to go to my mom’s house. To let her know I’d be in the hospital,” said Moses, now 54, of San Antonio.
He was in and out of consciousness as EMS arrived and took him to the hospital.
Later, he learned that his doctor had informed his family gathered at the hospital that the bleed was too deep in Moses’ brain. Nothing could be done.
“He told them there was a ‘zero percent’ chance I’d live to see the sun rise,” Moses said, adding with a wry smile, “I looked it up later and sunrise that morning was at 6:38 a.m. I was still alive.”
Once Moses’ condition stabilized, his neurosurgeon, Jean-Louis Caron, M.D., treated him with an experimental procedure as part of a clinical trial. The treatment, which is still in clinical trials today, involves drilling a hole into Moses’ brain and, guided by computer imagery, threading a catheter, or a thin tube, to the site of the bleed. Some of the blood is aspirated, or sucked up, through the tube. The rest is dissolved with clot-busting drugs.
“Dr. Caron told me I was one of the procedure’s first successes,” said Moses. “He said that’s better than being one of its last failures.”
Moses was invited to attend neurology conferences in San Antonio and Dallas.
“I was the show-and-tell kid,” he said. “The doctors asked me all sorts of questions about my experience.”
Moses did not escape unscathed, however. His left arm and leg were virtually paralyzed. But after two years of arduous physical rehab he completed his first 5K walk in 2014. His goal is to do three more in 2016 and perhaps even a 10K.
He still can’t use his left arm and has had to teach himself to do things with one hand that most people do with two.
While many in his position would resign themselves to a lifetime of wearing loafers, Moses proudly points to the laces on his low-cut hiking shoes.
“I can tie them myself, making bunny ears with one hand.”
Fortunately, the stroke did not affect his mental capabilities.
“While I was in the hospital I dictated a 26-point letter detailing things the company I worked for needed to do while I was out of the office,” he said.
Today he is an independent software engineering consultant. And he continues working to improve his physical abilities.
“I talk with the folks at the rehab center so they can guide me to the next level of my recovery,” he said. “My story is not done. I want to continue to improve, to continue to live life.”
Photos courtesy of John Moses