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20’s

Amy | 24 | KS

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 24

  • Date of your stroke? 05/23/2010
  • What general area do you live in?  Shawnee, KS
  • Type of Stroke? Ischemic brain stem stroke
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Dissected vertebral artery from chiropractic manipulation.
  • What were your symptoms? The day before – leading up to my stroke I had dizziness, dots in my vision, tingling sensation in my face, nausea and vomiting, when I had my stroke I had tremors in my legs, I lost sensation and strength on both sides of my body ( I went limp) and slurred speech.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? Yes
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago now The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Shawnee Mission Medical Center
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Chronic fatigue. Overstimulation. Vertigo. Headaches.

What keeps you motivated now?

My husband, my daughter, the trust I have that God has a plan for me and a reason for my stroke. When I go through seasons of being really frustrated with my residual effects, I remind myself how far I have come, how supportive my family and friends have been, and how blessed I am to have an experience that has led me to the person I am today (that doesn’t always help because let’s be real, sometimes residual effects just plain suck).

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

Every stroke is different. Every recovery is different. Give yourself grace and patience as you recover because it can be difficult, but don’t ever give up. Know that you are not alone in your recovery, your symptoms, your residual effects… Find someone to relate to it makes it easier to know someone else’s has had your experience.

Every stroke is different. Every recovery is different. Give yourself grace and patience as you recover because it can be difficult, but don't ever give up.

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

Your life is what you make of it. Yes, I had a plan for my life that did not involve having a stroke. Yes, I had a stroke that tossed most of those plans out the window. Yes, I have residual effects that interfere with day to day life. However, I am a big advocate for making the most out of any situation. I had to make new plans. New plans that fit my life post-stroke. I accepted my new limitations and quit hanging onto the past because I knew I couldn’t go back. I wanted to move forward and own my stroke not let it own me. I also have an amazing husband who has helped me along the way.

Any therapy tips you picked up during your time in therapy that might help others? 

Work hard. Never give up. Be persistent. Even though recovery is tough and not much fun, therapy is there to make you stronger and to get you as independent as possible. If you don’t put your full effort in you won’t reach your full potential.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

Obviously, I have a weird obsession with orange popsicles. I LOVE lattes. And sometimes I say weird things in my sleep.

How did you hear about NOPW?

I started it silly!

Follow NOPW on instagram HERE!

What is your motivation song? 

Monica | 29 | PA

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 29

  • Date of your stroke? 07/03/2016
  • What general area do you live in?  Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
  • Type of Stroke? Ischemic Stroke
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? No, not yet!
  • What were your symptoms? I was at work and began to feel very distant and disoriented, It took me fifteen minutes to tie an apron around my waist which so lasted realized after being educated was probably because of weakness in my arm.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? Yes
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Wellspan Surgery and rehabilitation hospital
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Wellspan Adams Health Center
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects? I’ve lost mobility in my left side, I’ve begun to see improvements in my leg my but my arm is still very much paralyzed. I no longer have any inflection in my voice.

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

Recovery is a marathon not a sprint! Our body’s have been through something very traumatic. It will be a slow recovery but it’s doable.

What keeps you motivated now?

My family and the hope of having the life I’ve always planned for myself! I won’t let this stroke stop my life at 29.

Celebrate the tiny improvements they make up the big gains!

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

Celebrate the tiny improvements they make up the big gains!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I’m a quirky/fun person in general! I went to culinary school. Cooking is my passion and my favorite hobby!

Any therapy tips you picked up during your time in therapy that might help others? 

Just keep pushing, if you keep your mindset strong the body will follow.

How did you hear about NOPW?

From Instagram! 

Follow Monica on instagram HERE!

Paul | 29 | KS

By | 20's, Male | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 29

  • Date of your stroke?  10/06/1990
  • What general area do you live in?   Currently, I live in Overland Park, Kansas (suburb of Kansas City). My stroke happened while I was living in Ocala, Florida
  • Type of Stroke?  I had a left middle cartoid artery disection.
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? They are unsure as the why I had a stroke.
  • What were your symptoms? The only symptom I had was a slight headache the moring of my stroke. I was a young healthy man. I played tennis twice a week, ran 3 miles 2-3 times a week, my blood pressue was normal, heart was healthy, chosterol was normal and I do not have a famliy history of stroke.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab?  I did not have any in-patient rehab.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab?  I had speech and occupational therapy at the Ocala Rehab Center in Ocala, Florida

What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

Initial deficits were: total paralysis on right side of body (arms, hands, legs, feet, face…), Global Aphasia, the most severe type of Aphasia. Global Aphasia is where the survivor produces few recognizable words and understands little or no spoken language. I had severe speech deficits, couldn’t comprehend basic commands, unaware of my situation, no recognition of letters and numbers. Days after my stroke, I had not t even spoken one word. The doctors had concerns that I may never speak, I would have memory loss and the doctors were concerned that I may never walk, talk or have a rational thought again. The doctors did not paint a positive future for me.By the grace of god, I regained feeling on my right side within ten days of my stroke. My paralysis went almost completely away. And I started to walk. A true blessing that is unexplainable even 24 years later.

Communication skills, not so lucky. I have still never spoke a word yet days after my stroke. My entire family sitting by my bedside, a friend walks into my hospital room and I said with perfect pronunciation, “Hello Mike, how are you”. My family was astonished and so happy to hear me speak. Unfortunately, this was the only clear words spoken for some time. It took many months to learn to put together a sentence with somewhat clear pronunciation. Years later and still today it is my speech that prevents me from achieving full recovery.Also, I have fine motor skills deficiency where my right hand and fingers doesn’t act as I would want them to. From what I know, there is a part of the brain called Basil Ganglia where communication passes through before it goes to the extremities. There is a slight delay as it passes through the Basil Ganglia. The most obvious would be my hand writing. I am right handed but I cannot write with my right hand. I have what is called, Micrographia. Simply put, my hand writing starts out with the first letter fairly legible but quickly the letters to follow get extremely smaller. As I get to the third or fourth letter it is so small that it is illegible. I have worked for hours upon hours, days upon days, weeks upon weeks, months upon months trying to find a way correct this opportunity. There were no suggestions from the professional therapist other than to write one letter, wait a few seconds and write the next letter. This works in theory but not in real life. After about seven months into my recovery, I decided that I will teach myself to write with my left hand. Twenty four years later, I am a left handed writer. In fact, I use my left hand for so many things that I consider myself ambidextrous.

Initially after my stroke I had short term memory loss but through therapy, time and my will to get back to normal I no longer have any memory loss. At least none that I can remember. Life is funny; you have to have a little fun with it sometimes. I do sometimes have a hard time with word retrieval.

My stroke has been a life altering event and has impacted the lives of my children, friends and other family members. Also, it has taught me to appreciate life and how precious life is and that life is short. I try to live each day as if it is my last day, At the same time, plan for the days to come.

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

I had prayer in my life, I had friends and relatives willing to help but what the biggest help came from within me and my will to survive, will to return back to the man I once was and a work ethic like no others. I didn’t take the medical professionals advice when it came to rehabilitation. I continued to ask for more time in rehab so that I can get better and so as quick as humanly possible.

What keeps you going now?

I have so many positive and encouraging people throughout the years and they all have played a part in my post stroke life. In recent years, once I started talking about my stroke more with people, I have found that compassionate people offer only positive thoughts and encouragement. The lesson here is get out there and tell your story of survival to help others.

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

Set aggressive goals (short term, mid term and long term ). My long term goal – complete and full recovery to resume my life as it once was. I will continue to reach for the stars but if do not get there, its okay, It’s okay!! I have done so much more by trying. Continued progress results in a victory in the end. I’m sure of this.

Have hope, be determined and find your inspiration. An inspiration is a person or persons or a thing, hobby or a job that pushes you or inspires you to achieve greater things. At the time of my stroke, I had two lovely children. My daughter was five and my son was just three years old. It is from them I got my inspiration to work every day to get back to where I once was. I could not have them growing up with their father in the state that I was once in. I did not want to interfere with their development and in fact, I wanted them to be proud of me for things accomplished and not proud for just living with a stroke.

My children are my “Why”. Why I will not only survive the Stroke but prosper as a Stroke Survivor. I love my children more than life itself.

When all the layers of who I am are peeled off and how I go about my life is quite simple and It can be summed up this way: Positive thoughts, love life, life is sweet, closeness with family, and a belief that I am always getting better each and every day and never settle for the obvious. Bitterness, why me or feeling sorry for myself, I have too little time for this thinking. Life is too short there is nothing good to come from this thinking. That being said, I have had these “why me” thoughts but do so very seldom and never for longer than one day. When the sun rises again, it is a new day. Surround yourself with those who love you for who you are, believe in yourself, do for others and be grateful for the blessings you have received.

Surround yourself with those who love you for who you are, believe in yourself, do for others and be grateful for the blessings you have received.

Any other missing details to your story?:

I want to share my story and help others. The uniqueness of my stroke, the early diagnosis and prognosis of recovery, the rehabilitation process and the post stroke work, I want to share my experiences with others. And my 24 years living and working with my stroke, I have insights and wisdom through real life experiences that I want to share to help as many people as I can in their post stroke journey. I can be most helpful in so many ways to these courageous people.

How did you hear about NOPW?

Amy and I were volunteering for the American Heart and Stroke Association, doing a radio interview and her story and her desire to help other truly inspired me to join forces. I feel blessed to have met Amy and her husband Johnny. They are a fantastic couple that I know they will do great things for young stroke survivors nationwide

Molly | 20 | PA

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 20

  • Date of your stroke? 07/28/2007 
  • What general area do you live in?  Bedford, Pennsylvania
  • Type of Stroke? Carotid Artery Dissection
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? I was ejected from a motorcycle.
  • What were your symptoms? I had no symptoms; I don’t remember the actual accident.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? UPMC Montefiore/UPMC Presbyterian – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Speech and Language Services, UPMC Bedford Memorial – Bedford, PA
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?No one plans on having to learn to read, write and talk all over again as an adult; for me, it was from my ABC’s and 123’s, pretty much everything. To make it even more difficult to learn to talk, I had broken my jaw in the motorcycle accident and it (my jaw) was wired shut for a few months. It is so frustrating not being able to find words to communicate with others.Now, my aphasia is mild and is typically only noticeable when I haven’t gotten enough rest, but people who don’t know my situation usually call me out on it. The fact that I am now a horrible speller drives me crazy. I had lost some peripheral vision after the accident, but a lot of it has come back.

What keeps you motivated now?

Life keeps me going, as well as my friends and family.

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

I like to tell people that the best way to recover from a stroke is to be patient and positive; it’s all about their attitude. I could have listened to what my neurologists told my family, but I chose to prove them wrong. Even though, I was angry and upset about the situation; if you don’t like the situation you are in, make a change, it won’t change on its own.

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

My neurologists told my family that I would most likely wouldn’t be able to go back to college, work or take care of myself. Who thinks that they can tell a 20 year old girl what they can and cannot do? My main supported was ME; my goal was to prove my doctors wrong. My parents and sister were the most helpful people while I was in the hospital; they were and are beyond amazing. My sister kept my family calm and updated my friends on my status; she pretty much lived with me in the hospital. My friends and family were pretty awesome at sending me cards, notes and messages on a regular basis. My favorite professor from college called me regularly when I was in rehab to check on me; that meant everything to me.

It’s all about your attitude!

What’s your favorite motivation song?

“Better Things” by The Bouncing Souls – a cover of The Kinks

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I am a cat lady, but I only have two cats; their names are Betty and Stuffing. I like camping and kayaking. I play a lot of video games.

How did you hear about NOPW?

From Instagram! 

Follow Molly on instagram HERE!

Matt | 28 | CA

By | 20's, Male | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 28

  • Date of your stroke? 12/02/2008
  • What general area do you live in? Sacramento, CA
  • Type of Stroke? Accidental
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? During my second brain surgery for a tumor (epidermoid-very uncommon about 1.5% of all brain tumors) the surgeon accidentally cut a blood vessel.
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? Vallejo Kaiser Rehab Facility, California
  • Where did you go for out-patient rehab? South Sacramento Kaiser, California

W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

I’m still struggling with left sided hemiparesis. I cannot run (unless I have to and it’s ugly). Hard for me to button my right sleeve on a dress shirt.

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

Knowing that God lives. Support from my wife, family and friends. Help and encouragement from therapists (physical, occupational, speech)

You can make it through this. You are not alone.

W hat keeps you going now?

Being able to look back and remind myself of how far I have come. After the stroke I was on a feeding tube for two weeks, in a wheel chair for 4 months, etc… I get encouraged every time I do something new that I have not done before. I feed off friends and family when they tell me how inspirational I am in their lives.

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

Never tell yourself your not going to be able to do something. The doctors will tell you that most of your recovery will be in the first two years, for me I see major improvements 5 years later.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I am an avid bike rider.

Amy Jo | 29 | MO

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 29

  • Date of your stroke?  12/18/2012
  • What general area do you live in?  Kansas City, MO
  • Type of Stroke? Ischemic
  • What were the known reasons for your stroke? Carotid artery dissection. I was working out before I had my stroke, I had no symptoms.
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab?  Mid America Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Mid America Rehabilitation Hospital

W hat was something that kept you going during your stay in the hospital that might encourage others? My friends and family were the absolute best! I got some great care packages, socks ,blankets, books, treats. Those things helped a ton and were invaluable! My mom and boyfriend traded nights to stay with me so I didn’t have to be alone which really helped me through my time at the hospitals. I knew the Lord was with me from the start like He always has been. I used a lot of my free time to pray and build a relationship with Him which is why I truly feel this was a blessing in disguise.

What keeps you motivated now? My friends, family and future self keep me going! You probably think it’s weird, but I say my future self because it helps me focus. I can just hear her encouraging me to keep working because she knows how good it’s going to get. I will never give up on myself! I see the recovery happening, I mean I went from absolutely no movement on the left side to walking on my own, driving and working again in less than a year so that tells me the best is yet to come! If you know someone going through recovery stay on them and encourage them always!

What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

I still have left side weakness in my limbs. I lack motor function in my hand and still walk with a brace sometimes, without it I walk very slow. I was fortunate to have no cognitive problems. I can think, talk, eat and remember things the same as before.

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

NEVER NEVER NEVER give up!!! You are in charge of your recovery, don’t wait for someone to “fix” you. Also don’t let anyone tell you you will never be able to do something! Keep pushing towards your goals. And another thing, set short term goals. There is no fast lane through recovery. If there were, trust me, I would have found it! I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME. Philippians 4:13
Look up this survivor for inspiration Tom Balchin helped me reading about him.

NEVER NEVER NEVER give up!!! You are in charge of your recovery, don’t wait for someone to “fix” you.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I’m a weirdo and like to laugh at myself!

Any other missing details to your story?

 I was a working Fire Fighter when I had my stroke and I am determined to go back one day! I am still working for the Fire Dept and I thank God every day for that. It’s not gonna be to far out of reach!

Sarah | 27 | TN

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 27

  • Date of your stroke? 08/26/2013
  • What general area do you live in? Nashville, TN
  • Type of Stroke? Right hemisphere ischemic stroke
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Birth control and a PFO hole in my heart.
  • What were your symptoms? Left side paralysis, face drop, slurred speech, confusion.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? Yes

W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects? The residuals were degenerative. The strike was on a Monday and I was out of the hospital that Thursday. Over the next year mobility in my left arm and hand decreased and spasticity of my hand increased. My left foot turned inward and on its side and my toes became spastic. I had tendons transferred in my foot to realign it, but it made the dystonia worse. Botox showed no effects on improvement. I had my left foot amputated ~2.5 years later.

How did you hear about NOPW?

They were kind enough to reach out and provide a community of people in similar situations. Follow me HERE.

Trust yourself to succeed and recover and you will make it farther than if you don't try.

W hat was something that kept you going during your stay in the hospital that might encourage others? Adversity comes in all forms. Sometimes you have an amazing support system to help you through and sometimes you don’t. I had no support through the manifestation of my stroke’s residuals and ill-guided advice for correction. I found my strength and made the decision to trust my own instincts instead of the doctors and have the amputation. I haven’t looked back since and searched out and found an amazing support group to help me along the way.

What keeps you going now?

Knowing that after 3 years life has finally regained a forward momentum.

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

Trust yourself to succeed and recover and you will make it farther than if you don’t try. The mind is a powerful thing and might seem like it’s taking away when it is, in fact, giving you an opportunity to find your strength and start anew.

What is your favorite motivational song?

“Oh No” by Goodbye June

Laura | 22 | KS

By | 20's, Female | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 22

  • Date of your stroke?4/21/2014
  • What general area do you live in?  Kansas City
  • Type of Stroke? Venous sinus thrombosis
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? I started taking birth control. But I didn’t know I had increased factor VIII (promotes blood clotting) at the time.
  • What were your symptoms? My jaw muscles got really tight one side and then I had the “worst headache of my life” for 2 days before going to the hospital.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? I was at Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? I never had outpatient rehab.
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?I recovered very quickly, physically that is. I was in the middle of medical school when it happened and managed to return to school within a few weeks. The biggest challenge at first was being able to differentiate between background noise and a direct conversation. It was very hard to be around a lot of people at once because I was unable to block out the unnecessary sounds/noises in order to focus on who I was talking to. I also had a lot of trouble understanding various accents. I remember talking to a lady (I think she was Indian), and I couldn’t understand her accent, so my fiance had to restate what she said for me to understand. I felt bad that I couldn’t understand her myself.
    Now it’s been almost 2 years. I still think about my experiences almost every day. I deal with a lot of anxiety/depression/PTSD. I no longer have difficulty understanding various accents. Even though all my physical problems are resolved and managed, my health mentally is tough to balance. Some days are good, some are bad, and I take it one day at a time. I will never be able to forget my experiences, but they make me who I am. They help me to be compassionate and caring.

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

My family flew down from KC to be with me in the hospital. Several of my friends visited and brought some food for my family so they wouldn’t have to leave. I had some truly amazing nurses, too. Both in the ICU and in telemetry, the nurses were great. They inspired me. They made me realize that I didn’t want to necessarily be the doctor writing all the medical orders. No, I wanted to be the nurse who spends 12 hours a day with their patients, caring for them, meeting their physical and medical needs, but also being their emotional support. My nurses felt pain when I was in pain. My nurses also smiled and laughed with me.

What keeps you going now?

Now, I’m on a different path. Since then I got married to my then fiance. I quit medical school and went to nursing school instead. I want to be like the nurses I had in the hospital. I still love the science of medicine, but I love caring for people more. Being able to spend time with them, help them get better, cry when they cry, and laugh when they laugh. I’m graduating in August this year as an RN, and I’m so excited to be doing what I’m really passionate about.

I quit medical school and went to nursing school instead. I want to be like the nurses I had in the hospital. I still love the science of medicine, but I love caring for people more.

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

Look through inspirational quotes on pinterest. Find a comedy show to watch on TV and escape your reality for a moment. Find some music that makes you happy and embrace it. Still, when need I need a break from reality, I escape into a different world (usually the ’90s sitcom “Friends”). It lets me leave behind my anxiety, my depression, my intrusive replays of what all happened to me. I can be free from that for a little while. After you start feeling better, I say find out what your passion really is and go for it. You will never be who you were before. And now you are more, you are better. This has strengthened you, even though you may not feel it now.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I’d rather sleep on top of my made bed and use blankets than sleep under all the covers. When I wake up in the morning, my bed is always made!

Justin | 27 | CA

By | 20's, Male | One Comment

How old were you when you had your stroke? 27

  • Date of your stroke? 09/30/2015 
  • What general area do you live in?  Riverside, California
  • Type of Stroke? Unsure
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? The reason for my stroke was a blood clot due to heart failure that I did not know I was experiencing at the time.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles.
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?Thankfully I do not have any huge residual effects. I have noticed however, that the strength in my left hand is not the same that is in my right hand.

What were your symptoms? What were you feeling during your stroke? Tell us the story of what happened.

Before my stroke I remember driving home on the freeway with intense stomach pains and an extremely painful headache located at the center of the top of my head. The headache eventually went away, but I had severe stomach cramping all night on the side of my stomach. I eventually was able to relieve myself, and when I finally did, I could not lift myself off the toilet because my legs did not work. I had to crawl to my bed from my bathroom. Because I did not know that I experienced a stroke, foolishly I took a nap to see if I would eventually get feeling back in my legs. Upon waking up, I found that I did, but then realized my thumbs did not properly work when I was typing during texting.

That was my first stroke. A few days later, I experienced my second stroke. This one was much more scary, and this is when I first went to the hospital after I had it. I was in my room and all of a sudden my body stiffened and I collapsed on my bed (thankfully) stomach first. My legs began to move uncontrollably, and I was in a state of confusion. I immediately called my brother with slurred speech because I just knew something was wrong. At that time I felt and sounded drunk to put it best. Instead of calling my mother, I decided to text her because speaking was very difficult for me. Texting was difficult because I had the words in my head, but I could not form them in sentences when I began to text. At this time both of my arms were completely numb. I remember digging my nails deep into both of my arms and scratching really hard, and still I had no feeling.

That night I went to the hospital with my left hand moving around uncontrollably in circles, and I vomited a green colored liquid. My legs were weak, and I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. It was a very scary moment in my life.

My last stroke was thankfully while I was in the hospital. I remember taking a nap and waking up to my complete left side of my body numb. I had slurred speech, and the left side of my face drooped. I was also blind for a moment, and it took me a week to get feeling back in my legs so that I could walk again, This was the first time during my strokes that I actually cried and felt really unsure about my future, and if I was ready to live with a disability, or possibly die.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

Although others do not agree, I generally think of myself as a really boring person (lol). Before my strokes, I have always wanted to model, and I finally got the opportunity to do professional modeling with big named companies and brands. It has been a cool experience, and it is something that I hope to continue in the future. I also like to paint, and do crafts.

What keeps you motivated now? 

Living a healthy lifestyle keeps me motivated now. First, I worked out at the gym for the outer appearance. now I work out and eat healthy to help prevent another stroke. Family and faith is also a huge motivator for me as well.

Remain determined. Do not get discouraged!

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

Share your story! Doing something like this, or even talking to someone that you are just now getting to know can help you or someone else so much. Recently I have met two new friends my age that have experienced strokes themselves. Our community unfortunately is not as small as one may think. I have developed lifelong connections with these two individuals, and I am thankful to know that I am not alone.

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

Please don’t let anxiety get the best of you. I was already an anxious person before all of this, but now every time I experience my hand or foot going to sleep, I immediately freak out and pray that I am not having another stroke.

How did you hear about NOPW?

Some years ago I remembered hearing a story about Malcolm in The Middle star Frankie Muniz having a stroke at a very young age, so I googled it, and came across the NOPW website through the comments on the article.

Follow Justin on instagram HERE!

What’s your favorite motivational song?

My favorite motivation song is “Through the Rain” by Mariah Carey. I listened to that song every night in the hospital, and it really helped me through the process. When visiting hours were over, I got extremely lonely, and that song stayed on repeatedly.