In August 2007, Monica Jorge gave birth to her second daughter, Sofia, but just hours after she was born, the joyous day took a tragic turn. During delivery, Monica contracted a rare, and oftentimes deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Defying the odds, Monica survived, but many of her vital organs did not. The doctors removed Monica's uterus, ovaries, gallbladder and part of her colon that same day. Later, they were forced to amputate both of her arms and legs in order to save her life.
"[I thought]: 'Do it. I've got to go home, I have a life to live and it's not here, and until you amputate, I can't move forward,'" Monica said during her first Oprah Show appearance.
It's been more than three years since Monica's life was turned upside down, and she and her family are still adjusting to their "new normal." In that time, Monica has made great strides, but as a family, they've also faced some setbacks.
Tony, Monica's husband, lost his job as a maintenance mechanic, and the family's living situation is far from ideal. Their modest rental apartment isn't designed for a person with physical disabilities, so Monica must rely on Tony and her two daughters, 12-year-old Madeline and 3-year-old Sofia, to complete everyday tasks like loading the dishwasher and cooking dinner.
"There's a few challenges that I face in the kitchen on a daily basis, and one of them is the cabinets because the top ones don't have handles and the bottom ones have the little grooves for your fingers to open them," she says.
Oprah calls Monica one of her most memorable guests and a "warrior mom."
"I think about you getting up every morning doing what you do, and it gives everybody else such encouragement," Oprah says. "If you can do it, we can do it."
Despite daily challenges, Monica says she's doing well and keeping her spirits high. "We're still doing our everyday routine and getting better each time," Monica says. "My famous line is, 'It is what it is.' We take things as they come. It's better than the alternative, and for us, the alternative would be me not still being here. Anything is better than that. We look at everything as a blessing."
While Oprah's production crew was filming this update with Monica and her family at their home, a cameraman accidentally broke one of their chairs. Oprah insists on replacing Monica's chair...so she enlists the help of interior designer and fellow talk show host Nate Berkus!
Nate takes time out of his busy taping schedule to track down a replacement chair for Monica—and that's not all.
Nate says he wants to do something special for Monica because she's one of his biggest sources of inspiration. "Whenever I'm facing something, I think of your story, and I think of what you've meant—not just to everyone who watches this show, but everyone," Nate says.
Oprah and Nate call Monica's family to the stage to tell them they're not just replacing the broken chair. They're also joining forces to make Monica's dream come true. "No more renting," Oprah says. "No more teeny tiny apartment. No more little bitty bathtub. No more cabinets that you cannot open and using your 3-year-old to help you...because we are buying you your very first home!"
Cameras will follow Monica and her family as they go house-hunting. After they find their dream house, it will be paid for in full. "That means no mortgage and no rent," Oprah says. "You guys will fully own it."
Then, Nate and his team at Lowe's will customize the Jorge home to make it completely accessible for Monica. Finally, to make this house a home, Nate will do what he does best. "You will be surrounded by beauty because I think your house should rise up to meet you every single day," Oprah says.