Doctors did not expect Jovanna Calzadillas, lying in a coma and tethered to a respirator, to ever recover from the bullet lodged in her brain.
The Arizona wife and mother was one of more than 500 people injured during October’s Las Vegas massacre, when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock open fire from the window of his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.
He killed 58 people, making him the man who pulled the trigger in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Thousands were gathered to see country star Jason Aldean, who was only two songs into his performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when bullets began to fly. Jovanna dropped to the ground, blood pouring from the back of her head.
In the coming weeks, surgeons would tell her family to consider removing her from life support.
On Wednesday, she finally went home. Surgeons called her recovery “profound” and “amazing.”
Jovanna, in soft and halting voice, said she got better for two simple reasons: Her children and herself.
“I will not quit on them and I will not quit on myself,” she told reporters during a press conference at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
“Even though I will not be the same old Jovanna, I will come back stronger,” she said. “And I have one last thing to say: Si, se puede.”
Yes, we can.
Her husband, Francisco, said he did not heed the words of physicians who said she might never recover.
“The hardest part for us was the unknown,” he said. “We as a family, we left it in God’s hands and here she is.”
Jovanna joked that she now gets to boss around her husband, and “smack him” with her cane.
She has months of physical therapy ahead to help her regain the use of her legs and one arm.
“Her progress from the first day I met her is nothing short of miraculous,” said Dr. Lindley Bliss.