Health Plus: Coma survivor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Coma survivor

A medical diagnosis can happen in an instant, but its effects can last a lifetime.

That's what happened to one eastern Iowa woman when a pea-sized brain tumor sent her on a journey doctors say is a miracle she survived.

Here's Health Plus:

This is Sue Harriman in 1988.

At 18-years-old the Waterloo woman had no idea how much her life would change in the coming years.

"You just have to learn it's your new normalcy. And this is the way life is gonna be from now on."

Today at 40, she is paralyzed from the waist down after she miraculously survived what doctors said she wouldn't--nearly 20 brain surgeries and three years in a coma.

"Most of what happened to her really is not fully explained medically, yet she makes this remarkable recovery which I think is just amazing," says Dr. Ara Jenevizian with Covenant Clinic.

Sue's medical problems started when migraine headaches led to the discovery of a pea-sized brain tumor that caused fluid to build up inside her skull.

Complications from all the risky surgeries made her chance of survival slim, then she slipped into a coma for 3 years.

Perhaps the worst part, Sue had two young daughters.

She missed three years of their lives.

"You have a chance to have a normal life when this stuff happens to you. I mean, even though I'm confined to a wheelchair, I still have the means to get out to do stuff," she says.

"These 3 years of being in a coma and recovering from that. I think the way she's dealing with it is amazing based on what she went through," says her doctor.

She truly is a medical miracle.

Sue says she would not be alive today without support and prayers from her family and church.

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