As many of you are aware, for the past six weeks I have been at the Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY recovering from the house fire at my off-campus apartment in Plattsburgh that left me critically injured. This upcoming Tuesday, I am finally able to go home to Highland Mills, NY after my three week inpatient rehabilitation here at the hospital. I will be continuing my outpatient rehabilitation at Cornell Hospital in New York City this upcoming Thursday for as long as necessary, as 25% of my body sustained third degree burns. As upsetting and painful as you all would assume this has been for me, I have to tell you all that I have never been so grateful for the past 21 years of life and the years to come. I have never known what it is like to be a patient in a hospital, nor have I ever understood what it would be like to experience real life-altering trauma. I have a new profound respect for all of those around me here at the hospital, as well as for the nurses, doctors, etc. in which have assisted me to get to where I am today. After waking up a week after the fire, I spent several days apologizing to the nurses and to my family because I can't imagine how upset they were to see me in critical condition, and I spent days crying about how blessed I am to still be alive, and even days crying about how unfair life tends to be to some of us. Through it all though, there is one thing that is certain, I am going to carry on and get back to where I once was with more courage, strength, and dignity than I had before, and much of it I owe thanks to all of you. Although I have not responded to anyone's posts or attempts to reach out to me, I appreciate it all and without your love, support, and donations, this would have been all the more difficult during this period of recovery. I do not know how to even begin to express my gratitude to everyone, and I did not even know the amount of respect and love so many people have held and still do hold for me. It is amazing that sometimes it takes something as horrible as what I've been through to truly understand who is really there for you. I love you all, and again, I thank you all for making this treacherous and terrible experience easier for me to cope with. Despite that the next six months or more I will have to spend all my time focusing on continuing my recovery to ensure that my wounds heal, my arms and hands can still function properly, and to replace many of the materialistic things that Brian Carroll and I have lost, I look forward to seeing, speaking, and visiting with you all and returning all the love you have given me. I am determined to move forward and even this will not hold me back from my future. I am medically withdrawn from SUNY Plattsburgh this semester but I plan to finish my degree in the near future, but all you Plattsburghers can expect to see me soon! You haven't seen that last of me and my hooping! (I have even been hooping for all the patients here in rehab and for my old burn unit nurses). As for all my fellow Monroe friends, I look forward to catching up with you during my time spent at home. To my family, thank you for being by my side through all of this and I know how hard it has been for you too, that is why you deserve nothing but great things from me. Overall, the point of this post is just to relay to all of you how grateful I am to be alive, and to have people as wonderful as you all surrounding me. There will never be the right way to properly thank you all, and words cannot begin to express it, but I just need you to know that everything you have done has meant so much to me. I love you all and I'll be seeing you.
This has also been posted on my Facebook as well, with special thanks to many of you who have taken great strides to help in my time of need. However, I would also like to thank those of you who have anonymously donated and to those of you who do not even know me and have donated too!
Monday, October 28, 2013:
Alexa is now in the rehabilitation unit at SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY with one week left to go until she will be arriving home in Highland Mills, NY. She is steadily healing and increasing her ability to move and function as she did before. She still has many wounds however and the road to recovery will continue upon her departure from Syracuse. She has been telling us all how grateful she is to be alive and has a wonderful spirit that inspires us, other patients, and even the nurses. We are sure that she will continue to find happiness in even the darkest and most dreadful experiences. She also has relayed to us how moved and once again grateful she is to have seen the support and love from the Plattsburgh community, friends, family, etc and wishes to eventually find a way to thank you all and give love back. She is so focused on this recovery period at this time that she cannot find the proper words to share with you all. In the meantime however, she is highly motivated by all the support and donations, and if anyone is interested in continuing to support her while she is in rehab, the address is:
SUNY Upstate University Hospital
Acute Rehabilitation Center
2N Room 2216
750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
Alexa looks forward to speaking to you all soon as well as being surrounded by your great spirits to get her back to where she once was before.
Sunday, October 13, 2013:
One week after her major surgery and Alexa has taken her first slow steps around the intensive care unit with mild assistance. True to form, in the process of her relentless drive to fight through the pain and become independent again she took the time to inspire another burn victim in her unit who has not walked in two months to get up and take her first steps as well! Her compassion for others even in her darkest days continues to teach us all lessons to live by.
We have filled her room with all of the wonderful cards she has received as well as the "Help Alexa Heal" sign that her amazing friends made for her fundraiser in Plattsburgh thank you so much!
She will be starting a three week rehabilitation program in the next week and we are trying to have her moved to a rehab hospital closer to home. We will let everyone know where she is as the time to move her approaches.
It is with the love and support of her family, friends and her beloved Brian that we pray each day will bring her closer to wellness and HOME! The kindness and generosity of her friends and absolute strangers alike has renewed our faith in humanity and we are forever in your debt.
Here is an update, written by Alexa's Aunt Carolyn, and sent on Sunday night, 9/29/13
We are beyond relieved to report that Alexa has come off of the respirator and is breathing on her own with the help of oxygen. She is fully aware of the events that took place on Sept 20th and with her usual grace and courage is apologizing for inconveniencing everyone, thanking us all for being there, asking us if we are okay and if anyone else was hurt, she is an unbelievable inspiration and I am so proud to be her Aunt.
She is spending quality time with her equally inspiring love Brian. The devotion they have to each other is a thing of beauty.
She has another major surgery next week and has a very long way to go in healing her lungs and burns. Again, we are moved to tears at the support which has been extended to her and our family.
Please keep your posts of encouragement coming as we are starting to read them to her daily. Feeling all the love is what makes her smile and will be a very important part of her recovery. Thank you!
To Alexa's friends in the Monroe - Woodbury community: Claudette Costa is gathering donations of clothing and accessories to give to Alexa. She lost all of her stuff in the fire.
Claudette will be in Monroe this weekend of 9/27. Please contact Claudette if you would like to give to a clothing and accessorie drive for Alexa.
This update was made by Alexa's Aunt Carolyn on Wednesday, September 25:
"Alexa is still listed in stable but critical condition and remains on a respirator.
She underwent her first major surgery yesterday to start grafting some of her burns.
We feel so blessed at the outpouring of support and love that has been extended to Alexa in her time of need. Everyone's posts of support and stories of good times shared with her help our family get through each hour. We thank all of you from the bottoms of our hearts, and we will continue to provide updates on her condition."
This update was texted to me by Alexa's mother earlier today, September 24:"Alexa is still in critical but stable condition. We ask for everyone's thoughts and prayers, as today Alexa will undergo surgery. Thank you everyone for all your support. She really needs it!"
(Sue Limato authorized this update to be shared.)