Quantcast

Arizona woman shot in head during Las Vegas massacre to leave ho - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Arizona woman shot in head during Las Vegas massacre to leave hospital after 'profound' recovery

Francisco and Jovanna Calzadillas were all smiles at a news conference on the eve of her release from the hospital. (Source: Barrow Neurological Institute) Francisco and Jovanna Calzadillas were all smiles at a news conference on the eve of her release from the hospital. (Source: Barrow Neurological Institute)
"Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger.' (Source: Barrow Neurological Institute) "Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger.' (Source: Barrow Neurological Institute)
A photo of Jovanna and Francisco Calzadillas. (Source: Andrea Bernardo) A photo of Jovanna and Francisco Calzadillas. (Source: Andrea Bernardo)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A young Arizona mother who was shot in the head during the nation's deadliest mass shooting is preparing to leave the hospital after making a "profound" and "amazing" recovery, according to her physicians.

Jovanna Calzadillas was one of the hundreds injured during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. She was attending the concerts with her husband Francisco 'Frank' Calzadillas, who is a Salt River police officer.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Wife of Salt River police officer in critical condition following Las Vegas shooting]

The bullet traveled through Jovanna's brain when she was shot.

Her brain injury was so critical, doctors in Las Vegas did not expect her to live and advised taking her off life support. Frank said the doctors had started talking about donating her organs. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Las Vegas Mass Shooting]

But Frank never gave up hope.

"I had a dream that Jovanna visited me, she hugged me and kissed me and she said, 'Everything is going to be OK,' and she walked away. And I called her mom and said, 'We're keeping Jovanna alive. She's going to be alright,'" he said. 

Eventually, Jovanna woke up. 

[VIDEO: Jovanna Calzadillas statement about shooting and recovery]

She was transported by air to Phoenix on Oct. 19, where she began receiving medical treatment at Barrow Neurological Institute and Select Specialty Hospital.

Dr. Lindley Bliss was one of the first to meet Jovanna, whose prognosis, he said, was "considered pretty grim." At that point, Jovanna was unable to breathe on her own. 

"It was unclear if she would recover," Bliss said.

Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger.

"The hardest part for us was the unknown," said Frank.

Bliss said Jovanna's family and their unwavering support were integral to her recovery. "Their support and her hard work were just something that’s truly memorable. Her progress from the day I first met her [on Oct. 19] is nothing short of miraculous," he said.

“They have been by her side every step of the way and are always willing to do anything that needs to be done to help her improve," agreed Dr. Christina Kwasnica, who has headed up Jovanna's rehabilitation.

[VIDEO: Las Vegas mass shooting victim's journey to recovery]

Jovanna is one of the first critically injured victims from the tragedy to both make and discuss her recovery publicly. 

She said her two children, ages 11 and 3, and her family inspire her.

"I will not quit on them and I will not quit on myself," she said. "I feel strong and positive, plus I get to boss my husband around."

"She has been a go-getter, really has worked hard at everything we've given her," Kwanisca said. "We’ve been excited to watch her progress." That progress is a testament to Jovanna's determination.

[RELATED: Valley woman shot in head in Las Vegas massacre making progress]

The bullet damaged the area of Jovanna's brain that controls language. At first, speech was frustrating. 

"The first word she said was 'god d*** it.' And her dad told her, 'Mija, don't say that. You're supposed to be the miracle child,'" said Frank. 

Now Jovanna is learning to walk again. She still uses a wheelchair, but does not plan on being in it for long. 

[VIDEO: Jovanna has been undergoing intense physical therapy to learn to walk again and use her right hand]

"On October 1st, a part of me changed that night. Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger. We will not let people like him win. We will not live in fear," said Jovanna. 

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Jovanna will return home for the first time since she left for Las Vegas. She will immediately begin outpatient rehab.

"If she thought this was hard, we're going to make it doubly hard on her," Kwasnica said with a smile at Jovanna. "But that OK but it's the hard work that gets you to where you want to be and I know she can do it."

 He added that every night he prays for those who lost family members or friends in that massacre.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Powered by Frankly