Journey of Miraculous Proportions
By Steve Setera
Dharma Masters, seniors and gathering:
My family and I are very much appreciative of the generosity, concern, prayers and thoughtfulness of the CTTB family, DRBA, and of so many people both here in the US and Canada and in Asia.
I have been asked to discuss Amanda’s recent health situations as, without any doubts, there were several miracles, some I don’t recall. In my mind, she has survived and is in recovery due to the direct intervention of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. When Amanda was born she was dedicated by her mother to Guan Yin and her dedication to Guan Yin and Master Hua is the foundation of her life.
Da Bei Zhou is playing continuously in our home and each driving trip begins by chanting of the mantra many times.
Please allow me to discuss a few miracles on this journey:Amanda survived her first aneurysm burst of 18 Feb. This was originally thought to be a viral meningitis attack but was confirmed to me by the Head of Neurology at University of California San Francisco Medical Center that that was the first burst of two aneurysms – she had had a binomial event, two aneurysms looking something like a peanut. The doctors, nurses and staff at UCSF MC were completely astounded that she did not suffer any irreparable damage from that first attack as she received no real medical assistance, yet seemingly recovered in two and one-half weeks – as one would do with viral meningitis. However, she did experience severe back pains, which was caused by the blood draining from her brain down her spine. The reason for the pain is that this blood is old blood – after circulating through the head it did not get back to the heart and the system to be oxygenated and purified. This old, dirty blood is very irritating to the veins. This is something that she will probably have for two months or more.
The miraculous reason she did not suffer more severely from the burst aneurysm is that the aneurysm clotted stopping the blood flow. This is very abnormal as burst aneurysms typically bleed profusely draining into the skull causing severe brain damage and ultimate death if not corrected. When Amanda suffered the “Thunder Clap” headache causing a very serious headache she began reciting the Da Bei Zhou and the pain would lessen and eventually ceased after several days. We believe this is the reason the aneurysm clotted and she survived the stroke. A “Thunder Clap” headache coming on suddenly is an indication of a burst aneurysm. In three months we need to return to the hospital for this clot to be dissolved as having a blood clot in your brain is not something that is encouraged.Second burst, second miracle: on 10th March she was seen walking slowly to work at the Jyun Kang restaurant. But once there she collapsed unseen at her dishwashing station. No one saw her fall and as she laid motionless and unconscious on the floor she was found by Chris, Jason’s daughter, who with the rest of the restaurant crew responded quickly and efficiently calling 911 and finding me through Dennis in the AO. She could have collapsed anywhere on her walk, there are many places from our cottage to the restaurant where she could have gone down and not be seen by anyone for quite a long time, but it was a miracle she fell where she did, when she did. When I got to her shortly after she fell and held her head in my arms she was very life less and unconscious. When the ambulance arrived the crew acted swiftly and took her to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center. The ER staff responded quickly and determined that her condition was beyond their capabilities and ordered a helicopter for a life flight to UCSF MC.
After she flew off, Abigail and I collected a few items and drove to meet her in SF at the Medical Center. Just before our arrival in SF her doctor called asking for consent to insert a tube into her skull to drain off the errant blood from the aneurysm. She was taken in shortly after we arrived. During this time, Dr Scott, one of the Neurology Doctors explained that after the blood was starting to be removed there would be a brain scan in the morning to determine the type of surgery. As it turned out Dr Scott implanted platinum coils into the aneurysm through an opening in her groin. This was to pack the burst and close off the bleeding. Very much star wars!
There are two types of strokes: 85% of strokes are Ischemic strokes which are caused by blood clots; the second type is a Hemorrhagic stroke which occurs when a blood vessel bursts (an aneurysm) allowing blood to flow into the surrounding tissue. When this happens the part of the brain that is normally fed by that vessel does not receive any blood and can also cause dangerous swelling in the brain causing severe physical damage and death. This type of stroke is more fatal and is the type Amanda had.
After this procedure she began to improve somewhat particularly after following a 4 hour operation to clean up some excess blood around the aneurysm which was causing spasms and could have caused further aneurysms to occur. Shortly after this, Dr Scott told me when he first saw Amanda as she entered the ward he felt that she would go flat – a kinder way of saying she would not survive. He said that only 3-5% of patients in her condition survive. In other words, 95-98% do not survive. He felt it quite miraculous (his words) that she was doing so well and that ‘someone was watching over her.’
In my mind without a doubt, that someone is Guan Yin Bodhisattva due to Amanda’s strong connection to Guan Yin.
Having learned of his assessment I have wondered why she came back as she could have chosen to stay on the other side. Basically I do not know why she chose to return, but only surmise that she realized her work is not finished here and also her daughter Abigail needs her.
The restaurant staff passed a chanting recorder for her to which was attached a picture of Master Hua. 24 hours a day she listened to Da Bei Zhou and still does at home – it is right beside her at all times. During the Guan Yin session she listens to Guan Yin’s name.
So much of these events has obviously orchestrated by Guan Yin Bodhisattva as even the day we returned to CTTB which was several days earlier than we were told, was the first day of the Guan Yin Bodhisattva session. Amanda told me the other evening that the kindness and compassion of Guan Yin allowed her to celebrate my birthday on the 9th and to return to CTTB on the day of celebrating Guan Yin’s birthday and also to be with Abigail on her birthday...of which today is her 15th birthday.
On Sunday, the day Amanda was discharged from UCSCF a nurse told us, “Remember this saying, ‘Time is brain’ as if someone does not get aid within four hours irreparable brain damage typically occurs.” This is why the staff was so much amazed at her condition during her recovery as she had no aid from the time of the first aneurysm until the second which was 20 days. Many times different doctors and nurses would come to her room and check her reflexes and hand-eye coordination. Yes, twenty days, not hours with no medical attention, but twenty days with no apparent damage. If the first aneurysm had not unnaturally (miraculously) clotted she would have suffered severe brain damage and possibly been killed. Even with the second burst it was 8-10 hours before the implant of the tube to drain blood in her skull.
Time and again I could over hear comments from the nurses regarding her very rapid recovery.
Amanda’s strength and recovery has been due to her great dedication to both Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Master Hua.
She has also been benefiting greatly from prayers and kind thoughts from people both in the US and in Asia. All of this positive energy is providing an environment of peace, love and healing.
Amanda has not been living in denial and accepts her situation for whatever the reasons – we don’t know, may never know why but accept this as a life changing event. She does not have any of the characteristic causes for strokes – either kind of stroke. We understand that 10% of the people who have strokes get them for no known reason. When I was told that there was no physical reason for her strokes, I could only surmise that the reasons were spiritual.
Abbot Heng Lyu visited on one of the first days that she was semi cognizant. Afterwards he told me that her healing required her to be calm and compassionate, he stated this a few times. This is a good teaching for all people all the time.
Another miracle has to do with the arrival of Anne, Amanda’s eldest sister. When Amanda was admitted Anne said that she would arrange to get her visa and come on over from Malaysia to help for two weeks. She arrived Saturday night and Amanda was discharged on Sunday.The characteristic causes for strokes are:
High Blood Pressure
For any stroke warning signs call 911 immediately:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg – especially on one side of the body;
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech;
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination;
Sudden severe headache with no known reason. This type headache will have a popping sound in the head. She did experience that on the first attack.
This last warning sign is what happened during her misdiagnosed first attack – the second attack she just collapsed unconscious.
During these two weeks and driving 5 hours each day back and forth while I was constantly chanting Guan Yin’s name I was able to think over the events many times and came to realize many things...