Shelli Eldredge's dream vacation nearly killed her.
After a moped accident in Hawaii broke nearly 50 of her bones, fractured her skull, snapped her spine and left her in a coma, doctors didn't have much hope for her recovery. One recommended stopping life support.
But her husband, Dr. Stephen Eldredge, couldn't give up.
"We made the decision we were going to move forward at all costs," he said.
Then Shelli defied the odds -- after about a month in a coma, she woke up and started speaking. She’s now back home in Utah, talking and walking with assistance. She’s working hard in physical therapy three times a week with the goal of returning to her active life.
Shelli Eldredge said on TODAY that she feels lucky to be alive and believes something more than modern medicine was responsible for her miraculous recovery.
“I think it’s more. I do,” Shelli Eldredge told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “My doctors were so great. They were so good, but I mean, everyone, even the doctor said 'She doesn’t have a chance of coming back.' I just think we’re so blessed and hopefully I’ll find my mission and can help other people.”
The accident happened in June, while she and her family were taking in the sights on mopeds. Her son Alex, 17, was the first to notice she wasn’t with the rest of the family.
“When I realized she wasn’t behind me, I turned around and came around the corner,” he told TODAY. “There I saw her lying on the ground wrapped around the pole. I’m just glad she’s with us today.”
When her husband first saw his badly injured wife, he thought she had died.
“It became pretty apparent that she wasn't going to wake up,” said Stephen Eldredge, who believes she was hit by a car. “Our whole worlds had been turned upside down.”
And despite a brain injury Dr. Eldredge believed was medically impossible to recover from, his wife began to show signs of life. The turning point came when Shelli Eldredge laughed after her husband told a joke at the hospital.
“We looked over, and I said, 'Shelli, did you hear that?’” Dr. Eldredge said. “And she raised her eyebrows. I thought to myself, ‘If I have my wife and that's all I get, that's OK.’"
Days later, she began to speak and move, and eventually returned home, defying the long odds against her. Today, she uses a wheelchair but can walk with help.
"My kids got so excited when I could stand up and when I could walk,” said Eldredge, who doesn’t remember the crash or being hospitalized in Hawaii.
Eldredge hopes to make a full recovery, though she acknowledges the frustration of not being there yet.
“I know I’ll be able to do it and finish it and get back to normal, but it’s hard seeing everything you used to do and not quite being able to do it yet,” said Eldredge, an avid cyclist.
For now, she’s feeling good. “I’m feeling great, much better."
Today, her sons are just happy to see the progress their mom is making day by day.
“She’s a lot stronger than I thought she was,” said Eldredge’s 13-year-old son, Jordan. “She’s pulled through a lot of stuff. It’s just kind of hard watching her go through it, but it’s easier to see now how much she’s gone through, and how good she’s going it.”