How old were you when you had your stroke? 20
- Date of your stroke? 08/26/2016
- What general area do you live in? Lees Summit, Missouri
- Type of Stroke? Ischemic
- Any known reasons for your stroke? Unknown
- What were your symptoms? What were you feeling during your stroke? I felt like my legs started to tingle. Then my right leg lost most of the feeling. I was in my car when this happened and I tried to walk inside my apartment but my leg couldn’t hold me up. I crawled inside my house and sat down. I called my mom in a panic and neither of us knew what was going on, but she knew something was wrong so she jumped in her car to drive the hour to get to my house. She wanted me to call the ambulance, but I didn’t think it was that serious, I thought maybe I have pinched a nerve in my back or something. So when she arrived, she drove me to the hospital. By this time I could barely feel my leg and my arm felt heavy and tingly. Then when I had and MRI they found the location of the stroke at the very back and bottom of my brain.
- Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
- Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Lawrence Memorial Hospital
- Where did you go for outpatient rehab? St. Luke’s Health Center (East Location)
Any therapy tips you picked up during your time in therapy that might help others?
It’s okay to get angry and frustrated. My long-term memory wasn’t affected, so I could remember everything that I used to do with ease. My physical and occupational therapists would have me do tasks that I would never have thought twice about like brush my hair. I would get frustrated and really sad. I was in denial I think. So I think it’s okay to not feel great about the situation. But the most important part is to acknowledge those feelings and get up and try again. It takes a lot of trying, a lot of patience, and a lot of processing. Find a person you can trust that will listen to you and all the emotions you have to feel and process.
What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?
My fine motor coordination is not the best. I have a hard time remembering short-term tasks.
What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?
Find something to be grateful for. I found myself only being able to be thankful for being alive. I couldn’t find anything else, until I realized being thankful for being alive is the best thing to be. Things will be different every day going forward, but find one thing to be grateful for in each day. Every day you wake up, count it a blessing.
What keeps you going now?
This is my one life. My one chance to love, live and experience wonder. I took a job in Germany and I have been living in Europe for nearly a year. I would have never done something like this had I not survived the stroke. I learned that everything in life can be changed in a second, and that keeps me motivated to keep going. I relish being able to walk without struggle now and that keeps me motivated. I love being able to exercise for more than 10 minutes without fatigue and that keeps me motivated. I love my life because it’s short and never guaranteed and that keeps me motivated.
Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others?
I’ve learned that not everyone will understand the struggle that you go through. Not just physical but the mental battle you have to do every day. Not everyone will understand and that’s okay! I would encourage others not to get down when you talk to someone and you just know they don’t quite understand. But then I’d also encourage others to live their life boldly and take chances. Use the experience to change your outlook on life, and never take it for granted.
What is something quirky/fun about yourself? Any hobbies?
I have been a ballet dancer since I was 2 years old. After I recovered enough to move around, I went into teaching ballet because I could no longer perform. But I fell in love with teaching and continued it for a few years until I moved to Germany. I can speak French and have been learning German since I got here, so languages are a big love of mine. I also love baking decorative cakes and traveling.
What’s your favorite motivation song?
Anything by George Ezra or Bleachers!
How did you find out about NOPW?
My physical therapist from St. Luke’s told me!