When Camre Curto’s memory was wiped after she suffered a seizure and stroke while giving birth to her son, she had no idea who her husband Steve was.
She did, however, understand that he was a very special person, as she later told him, “I don’t know who you are, but I know I love you.”
Those last six words have inspired a new book written by the couple that tracks their extraordinary love story, from its romantic beginnings to its devastating setbacks.
“Everything in the book is a memory of what we’ve gone through and what I’ve missed,” Camre told Good Morning America of But I Know I Love You. “I enjoy [reading] it very much, but … sometimes it’s hard for me because it shows me everything that we have been through and that I don’t have inside of me.”
The couple’s challenges began when Camre, 31, gave birth to their son Gavin, now 7, and went into eclampsia after suffering undiagnosed preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Gavin was born via emergency C-section weighing just over 4 lbs., while Camre was placed in a medically induced coma.
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When she awoke, the couple told GMA, both her long-term and short-term memory were gone, and she did not know who she or her family were — or that she’d just given birth.
Steve told the morning show that Camre’s recovery was slow, and that she had to relearn simple tasks like cooking, brushing her teeth and getting dressed in the morning.
“We were sitting on the couch and she told me, ‘I don’t know who you are but I know I love you,”” he recalled. “That has always stuck with me. That has been the driving force behind everything.”
With help from her occupational therapist Jessica Smith and Steve, Camre has now relearned many basic functions, and is even able to remember Steve, 38, and Gavin.
“With my husband and son with me, that is what is getting me through all this. Every time I see Gave and Steve, there’s a huge smile on my face and inside me,” she told GMA. “The love of family is what means the most and what is getting me through the day.”
Camre suffers epilepsy and frequent seizures, and the medication she takes to control the seizures may also affect her memory, which makes her recovery process all the more difficult.
“One of the things that she always tells me [is] that it’s extremely difficult to not remember your son’s first steps or the first time he said, ‘Mama,’ because that’s really what moms talk about sometimes,” Steve said. “So we role play conversations and do them over and over.”
Their book, But I Know I Love You, was self-published by the couple in September on their fourth wedding anniversary.
“This is the true-life account of one man’s determination to create a family with the woman he loves even though she doesn’t have a clue who he is, or even they have a child,” the book’s description reads. “Steve Curto proves that real love isn’t hearts and flowers, but showing up every day, doing what has to be done, and never letting go.”