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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- After being kept in Shantel Chapman's abdomen for six weeks, a section of her skull has been re-implanted in her head.
The piece was replaced on Saturday, six weeks after it was removed to reduce pressure on her swollen brain in the wake of a stroke that Chapman suffered after delivering her third child.
It was placed in her abdominal cavity so it could receive the blood it needed to remain alive while the swelling in her brain subsided.
"It has been done before, but it's still a pretty rare procedure," said Janet Frank, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman. "The other option would be to freeze the skull, but we don't really have that capability here."
Chapman now undergoes therapy to help her learn to use her left hand again.
She suffered the stroke Nov. 5 after leaving the hospital.
"We were about four blocks from our house, and I noticed she dropped her drink and started slurring her words," said Geoff Duncan, the father of the newborn and Chapman's fiance. "I looked at her and asked if she was OK and she said yes, but the whole left side of her face just dropped."
Duncan said he was pretty sure she was having a stroke. He called 911 and got her home to meet the ambulance.
Chapman said she had no clue what was happening to her at the time.
"Geoff told me I was having a stroke and he was going to call 911," she said. "I was like, 'There's no way I'm having a stroke.' But when I went to step out of the van I just fell. I knew something was wrong, because I had no left-side control at all."
Doctors said Duncan's quick response helped minimize the damage from the stroke.
Since the accident, Duncan has balanced time between his full-time job at Harmon's and helping Chapman with her rehabilitation and caring for their son, Geoffrey Lucas Duncan.
Harmon's has also set up a fund in Shantel Chapman's name at America First Credit Union to help the family with medical expenses.
Chapman said rehabilitation is going well, and the same doctors who gave her a 20 percent chance of survival after removing a portion of her skull are now amazed at the pace of her recovery.
They plan to eliminate the cause of her stroke -- a small hole in her heart that one in six people are born with -- when she is strong enough for another surgery.
Doctors allowed Chapman to go home for a few hours on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas morning but won't decide when to release her until later this week.
She's struggling with the thought of going home and then having to come back, but the family is looking forward to the time together and the chance to share their gratitude.
"She's just glad to be alive," Duncan said. "She tells me that every day."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)