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How old were you when you had your stroke? 34

  • Date of your stroke? 9/22/2013
  • What general area do you live in? Olathe, KS
  • Type of Stroke? Venous Thrombosis
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Numerous tests were performed in the months after my stroke, but no reason was ever found.
  • What were your symptoms? I woke up in the middle of the night, and my right arm felt like it was asleep. I had been sleeping on my right side, so initially, I wasn’t alarmed until I tried standing up and realized I couldn’t move my right leg either. Several hours later, at the hospital, I developed a severe migraine that lasted all night.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab?  At the time of my stroke, I lived in New York City and was in the acute physical therapy rehab at New York Presbyterian for two weeks until I was discharged and moved back to Kansas.
  • Where did you go for out-patient rehab?  I did physical and occupational therapy at the KU Spine Center at KU Med for nine months.

W hat is something you have learned that might encourage others? The body is amazingly resilient with great muscle memory, and the speed and ability for it to recover often depends on your physical condition before the stroke, so take care of your body. Stay active! As ironic as it may seem, I was a healthy, active personal trainer when I had my stroke. Doctors told me a huge part of my ability to recover function of the right side of my body was because I was already in good physical condition. The other part was my attitude. Always stay positive and remember to look at how far you’ve come since your stroke. When I get discouraged, I look back to when I couldn’t even walk or move my fingers.

W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Because I suffered hemi-paralysis on my right side and was right handed, writing is still very challenging and is shaky and looks like chicken scratch. My whole right side is weaker, and I still have gait issues if I walk more than twenty minutes.

When I get discouraged, I look back to when I couldn’t even walk or move my fingers.

W hat advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now? Similar to what I said before, the body is amazingly resilient with great muscle memory, and the speed and ability for it to recover often depends on your physical condition before the stroke, so take care of your body. Stay active and positive. Attitude has a huge impact on your speed and ability to recover. Also, it’s extremely important to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Make your recovery and yourself a priority!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I lived in New York City for seventeen years, so I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, and I’m down for trying new things. Life is too short not to. I also dye my hair red for fun and take my dog Bandit everywhere. I’m obsessed with him!

What keeps you going now?

 I still have muscle weakness and balance issues, so as a personal trainer, I’m constantly motivated to challenge myself. I may not be able to do the same weight or have the same stability or quickness, but I practice everyday to improve on these. The only way to improve on something is to practice, practice, practice!

How did you hear about NOPW?

I volunteer at the KU Sports and Spine Center and Jennifer Medellin told me about it, so I went to the J.C. Nichols event where I met Amy. Also I follow NOPW on Instagram! Follow me HERE.

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