Representative Gabrielle Giffords fought against odds to stage a remarkable recovery from a bullet wound to head five months ago, but hasn’t yet regained her full communication abilities, an aide has said.

The US Representative from Tucson has made progress in compression but her ability to communicate more fully is still challenged, making it doubtful if she would be able to run for re-election in 2012, chief of staff Pia Caruson said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“... When it comes to bigger and more complex thought that requires words, that’s where she’s had the trouble,” Caruson said. Giffords, 41, uses gestures and facial expressions to communicate basic needs, she added.

Besides seriously wounding Giffords, the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, had killed six people. One of the people killed was a federal judge. A federal court last month ruled that the 22-year-old shooter was mentally unfit to stand trial.

Bullet injures to the head are usually fatal but Giffords, whose husband is astronaut Mark Kelly, made a miraculous escape from the clutches of death. But her political future, and the possibility of returning to active normal life, remains in balance. She has until May next year to decide if she wants to run for re-election.