AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. (KTVU) - 15-year-old Audrey Benton is working her way back not only to her beloved high school water polo team in American Canyon, but to the way she once was.
Last June, while on vacation with her family in Belize, Audrey was bitten on the ankle by a poisonous snake. Not just any snake, a fer-de-lance, one of the most poisonous in Central America. It struck Audrey while she and her family were walking on a sidewalk at a resort.
Within seconds she was unconscious and having seizures. Her family rushed her to a Belize medical clinic.
"I was absolutely convinced tis is here she was going to die. I could not at that moment believe she was able to survive what was happening to her," said her mother Sarah Thompson.
"I just remember waking up in the hospital with my mom and family," said Audrey.
Audrey was flown by air ambulance to Florida. She had also suffered a stroke, perhaps triggered by anti-venom.
Recovery has been steady. But far from complete. She is still working to improve certain fine motor skills and has some trouble expressing thoughts.
"There are thousands of mental tasks we do in a day. And she is essentially learning how to do almost every one," said her mother.
Audrey is not ready to attend school where she was a candidate to be class valedictorian, but she expects to be ready for water polo.
"I'm competitive. It makes me feel good being in the water. Doing swimming helps with that," she says.
For her mother, watching Audrey slowly regain her abilities is a joy. But it is laced with uncertainty.
"The future has a little bit of fear mixed in with that hope. It's a very complex emotional situation to be in," she said.
But through it all Audrey’s family has received support, financial and emotional, often from people she doesn't even know.
"There are a lot of different angels in the world. And they come from a lot of surprising places," said Thompson.