Marianne's whole right side was paralyzed. The family waited by her bedside and prayed. "We believe in the power of prayer," her mother said. And there was a lot of it. Her mother called the "prayer team" at her church. From there one person called another. Word, and prayers, were relayed from church to church, state to state. Within days "we had people across the country praying for her," said Wilma.
For a week, there was no change. Then, eight days later, Marianne started to move a toe. A few days later, a foot. The paralysis was slowly fading. The recovery had begun.
Just after Christmas, Marianne was released to a nursing home. Therapists predicted it would take a year before she was ready to go home. They, too, had underestimated Marianne. Less than three months after her collapse, Marianne arrived home -- walking and talking, and ever so grateful.
Marianne lost vision in one eye and part of one toe from the lack of circulation. But her prognosis is good. She and her family say they don't know much about miracles. But this, they say, certainly comes close. Her doctors approach it much the same way.
"I cannot remember ever seeing someone with so many strokes and so many problems before surgery walking out of the hospital," said Dr. Gillinov.
"Luck? Divine intervention? Some of both."
For more Medicine on the Cutting Edge stories by John McKenzie, click here.