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How old were you when you had your stroke? 16

  • Date of your stroke? 11/05/2012
  • What general area do you live in?  Prague, Oklahoma
  • Type of Stroke? Blood clot on left side of brain following dissection of carotid artery
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Injury to neck causing dissection. Also blood clotting disorder unknown before stroke.
  • What were your symptoms? What were you feeling during your stroke? Tell us the story of what happened. Had classic symptoms of stroke to morning of including right sided weakness, affected speech.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Madonna in Lincoln, NE
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Ability KC (then Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City)
What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

Biggest problem? SPEAKING! I have severe aphasia and apraxia. The communication center of my brain was affected by my stroke. So, speaking, reading & writing are very difficult. It does not effect intelligence but people don’t understand that. Most people treat me differently since my stroke and that is very frustrating. I have lost my independence. I can’t drive and that makes me sad. I am walking with the help of a brace and my right hand isn’t working the way I want it to but most of all I miss talking with my friends and family!

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

I was fortunate to get lots of cards, letters, notes of encouragement and visits while in the hospital. My family was always there for me when I was in the hospital. They attended therapy sessions with me and pushed me to work hard and keep trying. My church family has been very supportive and continues to be. I have had lots of people praying for me. I also tried to keep a smile on my face and encourage others. They were lots of kids I met at Madonna some of which had no one there for them. It was really sad. So, me and my family spent time with them, included them when we played games and we have prayed for and encouraged them as well.

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

I would encourage them to not give up, work hard and get stronger. Music does help me. I enjoy it and it helps when doing therapy.

Don't give up, work hard and get stronger!

What keeps you motivated now?

The hope that I will keep moving forward and making progress keeps me going. I try to count my blessings and find something every day to be thankful for.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself? 

Something you might not know about me: I used to be a runner. I have a horse named Kate. I love music, the sunshine, watching “House Hunters”, spending time with friends (and some of my best friends also happen to be in my family!), traveling and working with little children.

Any other missing details to your story?:

I am still me! I still want to go to college. I want to be a teacher. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. There has to be something positive that comes out of this..

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