Slaton woman relearns her life - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Slaton woman relearns her life

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At 51-years-old, Janice Tipton of Slaton is a wife, a mother and a grandmother.

Until last fall, she had worked at the same insurance company for 20 years, but it only took a second for something to happen that changed her life dramatically.

At their son's wedding in September, Janice began to feel ill.

For weeks after that, she suffered fatigue, fever, nausea, aches, which are all flu-like symptoms.

Janice had a seizure and was unconscious for a week.

She had been infected by the West Nile virus which also triggered a form of dementia.

For 2 months, Brady Tipton, Janice's husband, has been Janice into therapy not expecting a miracle, just hoping for improvement.

"There was a point she didn't even know me. I would tell her who I was, but she wouldn't know," said Tipton.

Dr. Timi Tumokumo, who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Covenant Medical Center, has been working along with Speech Pathologist Michael Barrett to help Janice recover from the damage caused by the virus.

West Nile Virus comes from the bite of a mosquito infected with the disease.

According to the CDC, 70 to 80% of the people infected will shake off the virus with no symptoms. Those with a pre-existing condition are most at risk.

For Janice, it was likely her Rheumatoid Arthritis that made her vulnerable, falling into the category of less than 1% of the cases in which the virus invades the central nervous system.

Therapists will tell you Janice has come a long way in her recovery.

One therapist is helping her with reasoning skills by playing a game of Connect 4.

When they began playing that game weeks ago, Janice could not even grasp the little disks to play the game. Now, she can play, but not win.

It will take more therapy to understand the strategy.

And there is something else that will take much longer to bring back.

"The memory is going to be our biggest challenge," Tuamokumo explained.

Meanwhile, Janice has friends and family to offer their support.

Becky Egert has been a family friend for many years.

She visits Janice often and has been very concerned about Janice throughout this ordeal.

"It's been very hard, very hard on her kids. There was a time the kids would come and she didn't even know she had kids," said Egert.

Egert is also quick to compliment Brady. She called Janice and Brady's relationship 'the ultimate love story' when describing Brady's devotion to his wife.

"Brady is up here all the time. He is here every morning, every day at lunch, and every day at night," said Egert.

"My prayer is a full recovery. It's just small steps every day. But we've been married 32 years and she's my other half," said Brady.

There is a way to prevent West Nile Virus.

The CDC recommends using an insect repellant with Deet, .

The Tipton family allowed us to do this story, hoping others would realize how serious this virus can be and vital prevention is.

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