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New Beginnings: Suzy’s Story

Suzys story


Suzy and Asher were in love and looking forward to starting their future and a family together when their lives changed in the blink of an eye.

The young couple met while pursuing their MBAs at Wharton and went to work for the same investment banking firm after graduation. The COVID pandemic forced them to postpone their wedding plans as much of Suzy’s family was from out-of-country and international travel was nearly impossible.

Last December, Suzy and Asher were only a week away from taking a long-awaited trip to Singapore to visit her mother and pick up their wedding rings when Suzy, 31, experienced the “worst headache” of her life and collapsed at work.

She arrived at Bellevue Hospital in New York City with her eyes ‘fixed and dilated” – signs of a potentially poor prognosis. Doctors said Suzy suffered from an intracranial hemorrhage caused by a ruptured left temporal AVM, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain, and rushed her to emergency surgery.

Despite the “one-in-a-million” odds against her, Asher refused to give up hope for his fiancée’s recovery throughout her prolonged, eight-week coma. Suzy occasionally opened her eyes and responded to small commands in both English and Chinese, glimmers of hope that buoyed Asher and her loved ones through long days at her bedside. 

In January, Suzy was transferred to Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut for intensive rehabilitation and vent weaning. Asher’s mother and retired neurosurgeon, Margaret, said that the decision to choose Gaylord was a simple one based on the hospital’s “expertise and reputation” for exceptional outcomes.

At first, Suzy was too weak to keep her head upright and she required an overhead lift to transfer from the bed to her wheelchair. She relied on a ventilator to breathe and received nourishment through a PEG, a feeding tube inserted into her stomach.

With help from her Gaylord pulmonologist and respiratory therapists, Suzy quickly weaned from her trach and spoke her first words, “Asher,” since the beginning of her injury.

Suzy’s rehabilitation journey was interrupted by a brief hospital stay at Yale for a shunt. She returned to Gaylord Hospital where she was welcomed home by the caregivers she calls “family.”  

Her family says that Suzy is the “Miss Congeniality” of Gaylord, and is often be found waving and chatting with her fellow patients and therapists alike. She continues to work hard in therapy to relearn how to walk, improve her arm function on her right side, eat a normal diet, and improve her speech.

Unwilling to postpone their joy any longer, Suzy and Asher recently said “I do” in a small spring wedding ceremony on Gaylord’s picturesque campus.

“It was a beautiful way to help them restart their lives together,” said Margaret.

“Suzy is everyone’s miracle!”