My Story of Stroke
I've had three strokes, caused by two ruptured Brain Anuerysms at age 35. I was diagnosed with Lupus stage 4, EDS type 4, Vasculitis, and Brain Anuerysm disease. Strokes can happen to anyone at anytime at any age. Know the signs!
Hi, my name is Amanda Breckenridge, I am a stroke survivor! Music is my passion, especially singing! I grew up singing in a family gospel group. I was on stage at church singing by age two. My mom would stand me up on a piano stool and I'd sing with everything in me. I knew from an early age that the Lord was the light of my life. I love my family with all of my heart, I am so thankful for a great husband and children who are so supportive of me.
In 2001, I suffered a stroke when an aneurysm ruptured in my brain. I had been in a car accident earlier that week, when a CT scan showed an abnormality in my brain, which would later become my worst nightmare! Several tests were performed that week, I was to follow up with a Neuro surgeon on the following Monday, but while talking on the phone with my doctor the aneurysm ruptured! I screamed out to God help me! God help me now! The strokes knocked me to the floor in front of my young children who began to cry as they feared what was happening to their mom! I knew that if God didn't move quickly on my behalf that I would die. Time is everything in a stroke! Especially a massive bleed to the brain!
I was taken to the hospital then air lifted to the nearest trauma Neuro unit 60 miles away! I spent the next few months there. I was inoperable! The only thing they could do was keep me stable. The doctors knew that I had another aneurysm just waiting to rupture at any moment!
I was finally sent home. I couldn't have visitors because I was so sick! My family was taking care of me, with visiting nurses, doctors, and therapist. One week after my return home, I had another brain aneurysm rupture, this time even more severe than the first. I had only a five percent chance to live. I was temporarily blind, I couldn't walk, talk, or do anything! The strokes had destroyed my left vocal cord, and weakened my right vocal cord, so all I could do was whisper.
I had a seven hour Craniotomy (Brain surgery)! I was not expected to come through this, and if I did the docs thought it wouldn't be possible for me to ever do anything except exist. My friends and family joined together and prayed their hearts out! People who I didn't even know were praying for me. I've never seen more love poured out in my life as I did when people joined together when I couldn't even pray for myself, they reached God! A miracle happened because of that Love. I had to learn to walk, talk, and do most everything again! But by the grace of God, he pulled me from the wreckage and I was on my way to recovery!
I've had a craniotomy, over 40 angiograms, test after test, been in so many hospitals, university hospitals and research centers across America. I was told I was going to die day after day. I was diagnosed with Lupus stage 4, Ehlers danlos type 4, Vasculitis, Aneurysm disease, 3 massive Strokes, seizures, short-term memory loss, and I was temporarily blind! But through it all I have met so many wonderful people! God has opened so many doors for me to be able to share this Testimony!
Whenever I was so sick and weak from the strokes my doctor came into my room and said "Amanda I know how you love to sing, but you need a miracle, your left vocal cord is destroyed by the strokes and the right one is weak". I just looked up at my doctor and held my weak hand up to the Lord and whispered in my weakest voice, I will sing again" he smiled and said I believe you will Amanda.
To look at me now, it's hard to believe I've been through so much! It's my desire to send a message out to everyone, especially stroke survivors to never ever give up! We may not ever be a hundred percent again, but we can reach our goals with a lot of hard work and a positive attitude! We have to keep trying! I was able to attend a Christian artist training facility where I was taught voice lessons and vocal technique, music (guitar and piano) for four years and I did this post-stroke!
I sing with one vocal cord, and I write music all though I have a brain injury. You can do anything! Keep the faith, you'll get there. I want to encourage each and everyone of my stroke friends and all stroke survivors out there to keep trying and please never ever give up! I enjoy making videos of my songs and adding stroke survivors pictures to the videos. Some of my stroke friends enjoy singing along with my videos and I like to give them a few techniques to strengthen their vocal cords as well! It's fun and encouraging!