Unknown Illness Places Cape Woman in Coma

Unkown Illness Places Cape Woman in Coma
By: Tiffany Sisson

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --A 35-year-old Cape Girardeau woman, full of life and vigor, has it all taken away. Jonie Koch thought she was simply suffering from the flu, but her family is dealing with so much more. An unknown brain disease has left her in a coma.
Doug and Jonie Koch married 15 years ago. The two sought adventure. Raised a family, and lived life to the fullest. "She's run five full marathons. She walks daily for her work, approximately 10 miles a day. She's always been in very good shape, very active person," explained Doug.
But, more than three months ago, Jonie's life slowed to a standstill. "She was really tired. She had some flu like symptoms, congestion, but that was all. She didn't really notice anything unusual," said Doug.
But, Doug knew something was very wrong, "There's a lot of uncertainty, not even knowing what it was. Some neurologist have looked at M.R.I.'s, and told us they're not sure of the damage to her brain, what's all been infected."
At 35, Jonie is in a coma at The Life Care Center in Cape Girardeau. Ten doctors at three different hospitals don't know what happened, only that Jonie has some form of viral encephalitis, a swelling of the brain.
Doug and their 12-year old son, Ben, can do nothing but wait, hoping for some answers. "I just wished that there was more that we could do. That's probably the most frustrating part. It's just a sense of hopelessness that there's nothing we can do to help out,' said Doug.
Jonie's coma does not leave her lying still. As she works with therapist, you can see the fight in Jonie, very much alive. "She's as tough as they come. If anybody can pull through, she can," exclaimed Doug.
Doug is a professor at Southeast University. He said his free time is torn between Ben, and being at Jonie's bedside.

Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for Jonie Koch & Family
Spaghetti, salad, bread, drink & dessert will be served.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
St. Andrew Lutheran Church

804 North Cape Rock Drive
Cape Girardeau, MO

Additional donations are being accepted through:
Regions Bank
c/o Jonie Koch Fund
407 N. Kingshighway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
(573) 335-0893

For more information on Jonie, visit her CaringBridge website: www.caringbridge.org/visit/joniekoch