OVERCOMING THE ODDS: Wharton HS student named prom king in midst of health battle

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Wharton High school student recovering after stroke. (KTRK)

On Sunday night, 17-year-old Jose Arvizu can't wait for the alarm clock to ring in the morning.

Nicknamed "mouse," he's returning to Wharton High School for the first time in nearly two months after collapsing during his mother's birthday party in late February.

"I couldn't breathe," he recalled. "I was taken to a hospital in Bay City, and flown to Houston. I don't remember anything after that."

Jose survived a brain aneurysm, complicated by a blood clot and stroke.

At Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center, he underwent brain surgery to reduce the blood that had accumulated on his brain and to stop the bleeding. After ten days in the hospital, he was transferred to Shriners Hospital for intensive physical therapy.

He slowly regained his voice, but his left leg and arm remain weak. He uses a cane to move, and he gets tired easily.

"He's a miracle," said his mother Patricia Arvizu. "The doctors are amazed at his recovery."

Last night, Jose attended his senior class prom, where he was named Prom King.

He went with a date.

"I like being back with my friends and teachers and classmates," he said. "It makes me happy."

"It's really increased my faith," his mother said of the event that brought her to her knees. "I was worried that he might not be able to walk."

She said she watched him put one foot in front of the other on the living room floor.

Jose's next milestone is to walk the stage at graduation in June.

"I was worried I might not be able to get back because the school year has gone by so fast."

Judging from his progress, that goal seems entirely achievable. He is also in the school's ROTC program and has plans to enroll at Wharton Junior College after graduation. He dreams one day of becoming a lawyer.

His mother is concerned about ongoing medical costs, a new ramp for Jose at their house, and other adaptions that may be required as his recovery continues. Both parents have taken unpaid leave from work during his hospitalization and rehab.

It's a story about a second chance at life for a young man and the family that loves him.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with medical expenses.
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