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How old were you when you had your stroke? 35

  • Date of your stroke? 01/25/2012
  • What general area do you live in? Orem, Utah
  • Type of Stroke? Acute stroke near brain stem, cerebellum
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Chiropractic adjustment my neck caused a dissection in my right vertebral artery, blood clotted to heal the tear, that caused the stroke.
  • What were your symptoms? Dizzy, lightheaded, losing voice, right side numbness, massive pain at the base of my head, vision impairment, right side large motor impairment, constant nystagmus with frequent severe episodes for about a year.
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
  • Where did you go for out-patient rehab?  PT who treated me at UVRMC also did the outpatient visits. I’m not sure but I think that was through Utah Home Health
What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

I made a remarkable full recovery. I learned to walk again. I started driving again 9 months post stroke. I still have challenges with my balance and mild vision issues, both are more severe when I am tired. I’ll stumble a little when I am tired, and if it is dark and I am lacking visual points of reference. At times, I have difficulty spitting out a thought and my memory is not as sharp. These are not things that disrupt me from living a normal life, fortunately. They are just subtle reminders of my experience, and help me remember to be grateful for my LIFE. Along with physical therapy, I used yoga to assist me in recovering. Yoga made the biggest difference in getting my balance to where it is today, and helping my vision through focus and concentration. I wrote my yoga healing story related to the stroke back in June 2012 (that quickly people could no longer tell I had physical deficiencies!). I will email you a copy of that story, as it is much more eloquent than this. 🙂

What was something that kept you going during your stay in the hospital that might encourage others?

I spent three weeks in the hospital. First, my now husband came every evening and spent time with me. Second, my sister visited frequently. I had many other visitors (friends, coworkers, and family) and I never turned down an opportunity for a visit. I made friends with the chaplain assigned to me. I got to know the nurses, I learned about their families, I heard there stories. I thanked them often, and this kept me in a place of gratitude. I wrote an affirmation on the whiteboard in my room “I am perfectly capable of healing. My body and brain know perfectly how to heal.” AND I printed a picture of me in toe stand (an awesome yoga pose) at the beach in Hawaii (where I was the week before I had the stroke) and I put that on the wall in front of my bed so I would see it all the time. My mom brought my yoga mat to the hospital, and I got on that mat as much as I could (I could only do floor postures at that point, but it kept me motivated and kept me in a positive frame of mind).

Get moving. In any way you can, as often as possible. Yoga, physical therapy, walking, thumb wars, ANY movement.

What keeps you going now?

Toe stand will be mine again!! Having goals and dreams keeps me going. After the stroke, I became a Registered Yoga Teacher and completed Health Coach Certification at the Institute from Integrative Nutrition, and started my own health and wellness business. My family supported me every step of the way. I practice and teach lots of yoga. It helps me physically and emotionally, and I want all people to have a taste of that! I have also since given birth to another baby and taking care of my family keeps me happy.

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

1. Get moving. In any way you can, as often as possible. Yoga, physical therapy, walking, thumb wars, ANY movement. Moving the body helps to rebuild neurotransmittors in the brain, so we can relearn more quickly. 2. Eat healthy. You feel as good as you fuel. Eat lots of brain food – like walnuts, high quality fish oil, etc. 3. Positive affirmations. Staying positive is mandatory. Write affirmations, post vision boards, whatever makes you feel uplifted and keeps you working toward goals. Yes, have small incremental goals that you can spend time on daily. Have big dreams! Be full of life.

Any other missing details to your story?

Trust your body’s intuition. That is what saved my life. The EMT who arrived on “the scene” told me I had vertigo. He asked, “do you really want me to take you to the hospital in an ambulance?” I was like, hell yes! I knew I was having a stroke. For that reason, I made it to the hospital in well under an hour and was treated quickly. The doctors all said it could take up to 2 years for me to recover. Most of my recovery happened within 5 months. Yay!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I am mother to 8 children in my blended family, ages 18 to 2 months. I love figuring out ways to get them to want to eat healthy. 🙂 Takes some creativity (like snakes made out of strawberries and bananas). And lots of patience.

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