Altoona, Iowa, mom returns home after 5-month hospital stay

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Mom Hospitalized for 5 Months With Mystery Illness Returns Home

ALTOONA, Iowa (WHO) -– Healthy one day, 34-year-old Stephanie Keen was fighting for her life the next.

"They'd never seen a case like me before," said Keen, a mother of two from Altoona.

She went to the hospital in Des Moines last fall after experiencing shortness of breath and was later rushed to Iowa City in full respiratory failure.

"They weren't expecting me to even live through the helicopter ride over to Iowa City," she said.

Keen spent five long months in the hospital. Her husband, Greg, didn't leave her side the whole time she was in Iowa City. Family cared for their children at home.

"All December, all January, all February, all March -- some of March -- and then she came home," explained 6-year-old son, Max.

His mom came home just in time for his birthday.

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Altoona, Iowa, mom returns home after 5-month hospital stay
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"I feel great. My energy level isn't what it used to be yet," said Keen.

Chasing around Max and 19-month-old Mara will help build back her strength. She is still hooked up to an oxygen machine, but is hoping doctors give her a clear bill of health in the near future.

"We're all a family again," said Max.

Keen says she's living proof that hope heals.

"Don't give up hope," said Keen.

What made her so sick is still a mystery to doctors. Their best guess is that it was an auto-immune response to an allergy shot.

Not caught up? Hear her story when she was first hospitalized:

Mom Suffering from Mystery Illness Gets Second Chance at Life

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