"About four hours before we took her off life-support," son Ryan Roberts says, his mom awoke from a 12-day coma. Teri Roberts, 56, went into a coma in December after getting a rare skin bacteria that led to toxic shock syndrome. Her family, devastated at the apparently impending death of the previously healthy and active Nebraska woman, planned to tell doctors a few days before Christmas to take her off the ventilator. Instead, she suddenly awoke, and her husband explained to her that her hands and feet, black with gangrene, would need to be amputated. "He held up her hands so she could see them, and she shrugged and said, 'OK,'" Ryan Roberts tells the Omaha World-Herald. This is just the latest hardship the family has had to endure: Teri's only other child, a daughter, was murdered in 2013.
The family just took the story public last week. It's not clear how Roberts contracted the bacteria that led to her condition, but her prognosis looked grim as she lay in the coma: Her limbs started to die, her kidneys and liver started to fail, and she developed blisters all over her body. Ryan and his father made the difficult decision after much discussion of what Teri would want—and what her chances were of coming out of the coma. But, hours before their scheduled meeting to inform doctors, she woke up and told her family she didn't want to die. Her kidneys and liver began to recover, and her hands and legs were amputated last month. She was set to leave the hospital this week, start rehab, and be fitted with prosthetics, and Ryan says she's determined to walk and drive again, and adds, according to KETV, that the experience has taught him to "never give up." Her insurance won't cover all the medical bills, so a GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $32,000 so far. (A boy who said he went to heaven while in a coma recently admitted he was lying.)