WILMOT, N.S. – Brad Lightfoot’s family remains in shock after what seemed like a complicated sinus cold moved into his brain and caused him to have a stroke at his Wilmot home Jan 16.
Every day since then has been “an emotional roller coaster” for the family, according to his mother, Bonny Lightfoot, who has remained at his side with family members, including his father, Karl, siblings Erica and Tyler, and his partner, Raeanne Kerr.
Kerr says Brad’s loved ones have been “a mess, but keeping it together and staying together” as they wait for him to wake up.
Until then, it’s hard to say what his prognosis will be. Bonny says while doctors are providing the best care possible, they are still working to figure out just exactly what happened inside the 29-year-old’s body.
“We don’t know anything final. This has taken us - and them - by surprise,” she says.
“We are watching our son literally fight for his life.”
Kerr says Brad was quick to seek medical attention after a stubborn sinus cold began causing headaches, and later migraines. He was prescribed medication to take and told to pay attention to his infection and call if it got worse.
Lightfoot then went for a CT scan after the headaches continued. The procedure revealed some infection in his sinus, and he was given more meds and told, if they didn’t work, doctors would possibly have to drain the infection.
But on Jan. 16, Raeanne says she found her partner “incapacitated, he couldn’t talk to us or move his body.” She immediately called for an ambulance.
The family soon found out things had become much worse - very quickly. He was rushed from Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville to the QEII hospital’s infirmary in Halifax, where doctors confirmed through an MRI scan that he had suffered a stroke.
And all of this, says Bonny, was just all too familiar for her.
“I knew in my heart that it was a stroke. His father had one, and it was just too similar. When they said infirmary, that’s when I started freaking - the heart was pounding, and I didn’t know what to think,” she says.
“We are watching our son literally fight for his life.” – Bonny Lightfoot
Her son has since been through several operations, including one to drain the infection in his brain. On Jan. 23, Brad remained in a coma and loved ones remained by his side, hoping that his stubborn streak will prevail and he’ll pull through.
The outpouring of support shown to the family at this difficult time has not gone unnoticed.
“It fills our hearts,” says Karl Lightfoot, noting that the thoughtful messages are appreciated.
A fundraising campaign organized by a family friend raised nearly $9,000 as of Jan. 23.
“We’re sending out a humungous thank you to the entire Annapolis Valley. It’s so overwhelming, all this love and support. We’re at a loss for words – it’s like the whole of Nova Scotia is coming together,” she says.
The Lightfoot family is a close-knit one, and has found some light during this dark time, laughing as they describe Brad as a dog dad, a person full of humour, and someone who’d “do anything for anyone.”
“He’s the type of person everyone can be friends with – like you’ve known him your whole life – and he’s touched a lot of lives,” his mother says, while his brother, Tyler, describes him as “the best brother, son, uncle, friend anyone could ever ask for.”
The family has ensured that Brad is surrounded by love in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Their biggest hope, other than to see him wake up, is to have some clarity on what could have caused this sudden, life-threatening situation.
“Today was a peak day – it’s dangerous for him, and every day we have this we end up on that emotional roller coaster because he’s in and out of surgery. We’re praying he doesn’t have any complications today,” says Bonny, who encourages anyone feeling ill to immediately seek medical attention.
“These doctors are working hard, and this is new to them, too. You never know when something like this is going to happen.”
The Lightfoot family confirmed Jan. 29 that doctors have begun the process of taking Brad off sedation and beginning the process of waking him from his coma.
He remains in critical condition.