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Jodi C.
Jodi C.
Survivor

Tracey E.
Tracey E.
Survivor

Reciprocal Empowerment
Reciprocal Empowerment
Healthcare Professional

Daily Inspiration
Daily Inspiration
Stroke Survivor

Sheila H.
Sheila H.
Survivor

Fierce G.


Suvivor

I had a massive stroke in 2008 at age 30. There are heights in my recovery I thought I would never reach. Though my stroke has forever changed my life, I certainly do not want it to forever define it.

I survived a massive stroke at age 30. Almost 3 years later, I am overwhelmed to think of things I have overcome. While I was thankful for my life and the Grace that saved me, the aftermath of stroke led to a lot of fear and insecurity about my future. Being unable to walk, do my hair, or wear fashionable outfits/shoes at age 30 were all major dilemmas, but more pressing were the fears and questions that kept me from sleeping at night...Will I ever have a man in my life who will love and care about me now that my 'imperfection' was apparent? Will I ever smile like I used to? Will I ever stop crying everytime someone asks me what happened? Will I be able to have children? Will I be a good mom if I can't braid daughter's hair? Will I become overweight and unhealthy now that I can't run like I used to? What am I going to do with my life? My world has been swept out from under me, I am 30 years old and have to go live with my parents in Indiana because I can't even shower by myself, What now?

Well the answer came in a whisper from God...slowly but surely. At first it was a walk down the driveway to the mailbox but then it became a lap around the neighborhood as the neighbors would wave, cheering me on. Then it was another lap more than the walk the day before. I slowly put motion and activity back into my life... it was the miracle of movement that saved me from my self-defeating thoughts. Once my mind made the shift, my body decided to follow. I then progressed enough to go exercise at a local YMCA where I would be surrounded by an elderly retired crowd on weekday afternoons who believed in me, as they spoke to me of inspiration. How could I possibly be inspiring? Look at me, my left arm is in a sling and I walk slow and funny!

Just 8 months post-stroke, I moved back to my job and to living on my own in California. I went through a year of recovery with little no guidance because I was unable to get much therapy for my remaining disabilities. I was 31 by this time and the medical community had a hard time believing I still needed help because I was physically young and appeared to be 'normal'...this is the difficulty for anyone who's suffered a brain injury. I have been the director of my recovery, without the help of doctors / therapists many times. Giving up was never an option for me. For the young, it is not enough to simply 'function'; as young survivors with a lot of life to live, we want it all back, and we won't stop trying until we get it all back. I now know it has been God and I all along. We work every day to put me back together, piece by piece.

Today, I am overwhelmed to think of the distance I have come. I have all the light in my life I thought I would never see again. Sure, I mourn the loss of the girl I once knew in the mirror, but the woman who has emerged through this fierce grace is truly the woman she was always meant to be. I even got my dimple back!

 

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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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Faces of Stroke

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