The physically fit child then experienced fainting spells, asthma, and was even diagnosed with pneumonia. Doctors were perplexed at first, especially since the vibrant young girl who was incredibly active in dance and swimming was withering away before their very eyes.
Then just two weeks after she began feeling horrible, her health took an even more drastic turn for the worse. The bubbly and joyful child became paralyzed from the waist down.
Doctors realized that her brain and spinal cord were severely inflammed, which was being caused by two autoimmune diseases. It wasn't long before Victoria completely lost the ability to speak to her family, to eat and move.
She quickly became comatose. Her family, including mom Jacqueline, were crushed.
"I was losing her."
Victoria suffered seizures for 20 hours a day. Doctors gave her anti-seizure medication that was to completely relax her body.
What Victoria's family didn't realize is that she remained in that vegetative state for several years, but eventually she woke up at some point. Doctors initially believed this comatose state was permanent.
However, Victoria could hear every word being spoken in her presence. She could see people in constant motion around her.
But she could not communicate with anyone to tell them that she was still there. That she was trapped in her own body.
"I was kind of like a ghost living in this shell of a human being. The lights go out August of 2006 for me, as far as memory goes. And then it was January of 2009, when all of a sudden, I'm aware. I'm thinking I'm having a full-on conversation, realizing I can't move my eyes, and I can't move my head. And no one's responding to me."
Victoria was frightened. But she was determined.
"I was constantly fighting this pull to just give up. But I had so much I wanted to live for."
Finally, four years later, Victoria somehow managed to move a bit. She even made eye contact with her mom!
"She's like, 'If you can hear me, can you blink? Can you blink twice? And I was like this crazy blinker. And she was like, 'Oh my gosh! She's in there.'"
It took another six months for Victoria to learn how to use her body again, to speak and to eat. Doctors didn't know the full extent of damage that had wracked her body while ill, spending 10 years in a wheelchair.
She was told she would never walk again, but Victoria wasn't going to let that stop her. She was bound and determined to live a normal life.