My name is Karyn Schirmers (Lindberg). My sister passed away from a brain stem aneurysm in May of 1996. Her story has been placed on this web site by her best friend, Michele Proctor. (Please click here to read Michele's narrative) It's been three years now and I finally have the strength and spirit to write about her.
Janelle was truly an angel sent by God to help us through life. I truly believe that she will guide our family until we leave this earth. She left this earth on a such a short notice.
At the time of her seizure, I was up North at my best friend's graduation. I arrived in Minneapolis at home with my financé waiting at the door. All he could say was Janelle was hurt and we need to go to the hospital. We lived pretty close to North Memorial Hospital, but we passed that one and kept going. At that time I knew something was truly wrong.
We went to Abbott Northwester Hospital. When we arrived we were told to go to ICU. As we arrived to the unit, all I could see were my parents at the end of the hallway. I knew it was bad! My Mom and Dad hugged me and told me that Janelle was really bad. They explained what had happened, but at that time I had never heard of an aneurysm. I was able to see her. I could tell she recognized me. All I could do was cry and pray with her in the room.
We stayed at the hospital with family and friends until 11:00 p.m. My parent's had asked my sister, Christy and my financé to go home and rest. We did, but let me tell you I don't think I slept a wink. I felt like I was in this awful dream and couldn't get out.
The next morning I brought fresh clothes for my parent's to change. My sister had made it through the night. My sister cherished Teddy Bears so I brought one to set next to her bed along with her favorite Nike hat. She loved to wear baseball hats!
They did an angiogram in the afternoon. We had hoped for better news, but that was not the case. We were told that they could not do brain surgery because of the location of the aneurysm. I knew at that time we would have to say good-bye to Janelle. She again made it through the night so, the next afternoon they did a new procedure on her. It was suppose to take several (4 hours) hours, but after two my Dad got a page from the doctor. We immediately went to the desk. The doctors were waiting in a conference room. It was the worst news a person can receive that your sister had gone brain dead. All I remember was my Uncle Dean holding me while I cried and tried to stay alive myself. At that time, I felt so scared and lost. All I wanted to do was leave the conference room. My grandparents were brought in along with a close family friend. The waiting room was full of all our family, friends, and co-workers. After this the night was a blur.
We decided to leave the hospital as a family. I said good-bye and my heart fell to the ground. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her. She was still hooked to all the machines and her teddy bear was next to her.
Janelle wanted to be a donor! She was truly an angel sent from God to help seven people live on.
After three years, I feel safer because now I know she is in a better place. My husband and I had a little girl, Abby Janelle, last March. I know she was with us! Her spirit will always live on. Someday Abby Janelle will learn of her angel auntie.
This has felt so good to share and learn more about others. Thank you for your support!
Karyn and Paul Schirmers
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