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Jodi C.
Jodi C.
Survivor

Tracey E.
Tracey E.
Survivor

Bernard R.
Bernard R.
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Elizabeth H.
Elizabeth H.
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Shannon A.
Shannon A.
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Ron S.


Survivor

How to be just concerned about the stroke but not consumed by it

I was a Detroit Police Homicide Detective Sergeant. While working homicide, I was involved in some of the most sensational homicide cases from 1984-1993. One case involved the serial killing of 11 women. This aforementioned serial killer case catapulted me to local notoriety and national fame. This notoriety led me to being photographed and featured in the popular magazine, Vanity Fair.  This new found fame also led to the signing of a Hollywood movie contract for the rights, to my police career. I even opted to have "Mr. Denzel Washington," play my part in the prospective movie. All of the previous events occurred in April of 1993. One month later, I suffered a severe and devastating stroke. I went from euphoria and utopia to severe depression and sadness.

I became very depressed and angry. I became CONSUMED with the stroke and it's after effects. I also  had several near-death experiences, MIRACLES (pre-stroke). These painful stroke experiences came not as punishment as I thought but were realities of life. After several post-stroke years, I finally obtained victorious triumph. The master-plan over time made me see  that my stroke challenges and daily struggles matured me into a "CONCERNED BUT NOT CONSUMED," stroke survivor.

I'm Ron Sanders. I'm a 23 year decorated, retired veteran, Detroit Police Department Homicide Detective Sergeant. I retired two years short of my 25th anniversary, due to a duty-disability stroke. I'm 64 years old and divorced but now newly married. I have 3 grown children and 10 grandchildren. Prior to joining the Detroit Police Department in October 1969, I worked as a computer operator at two major Detroit banks and a Detroit natural gas company. During my 23 year career as a Detroit Police Officer, I worked several sections within the Detroit Police Department. Those sections included, Uniformed Precinct Patrol, City-wide Plainclothes Enforcement, Special Detail with the Michigan State Attorney General's Office and Wayne County Task Force, Detroit Police, Internal Affairs Section, Uniformed Patrol Supervision, and the Homicide Section. During this police career, I had at least fifteen near-death experiences. I call them MIRACLES. All fifteen of these near-death experiences are  documented. I currently live in a NW suburb of Detroit.

"THE" stroke has left me with an intelligible speech impediment and the use of a walker (for balance). There is no other paralysis, even though I suffered a stroke on both sides of my brain and the brain stem. I can do my own grocery shopping, banking, and I've taken handicapped driver's training. I belong to a fantastic church, with a very dynamic teaching pastor. Lastly, I have a very supportive family.  Since the stroke I've written a book that shows my journey from pre-stroke to post-stroke. I learned how to overcome the stroke challenge (which I explain in the book) and to live normally, despite the stroke. 
 
Following are three (3) of the near-death experiences (miracles) that serve as a prelude to overcoming the stroke challenge;

"THE" Stroke (Miracle 1)
 
It all began on May 22, 1993; I suffered a devastating and debilitating stroke, which left me with a speech impediment and also my balance was impaired. Because of the balance issues, here I was this strapping 6ft 1 inch Detroit Police homicide detective, left physically debilitated and using a walker, not to mention the other minor health issues that manifested themselves as a result of the severity of the stroke. It was a miracle that I survived, due to the severity of the stroke.

I used the fact that I was still alive, to propel me to overcome other post-stroke issues. This was done much like a lone survivor of a plane crash. Their thoughts are usually after such a horrific circumstance, "I survived this now I should be able to overcome anything." In other words I should be able to "overcome" any obstacle (stroke).  
                                          
MIRACLE 2

On this occasion, I was off-duty and in my sergeant's police uniform. I stopped at this familiar party store, located on a main street, in the city of Detroit. I was behind the counter and bullet-proof glass, talking to an employee.  A man entered, the party store grabbed a case of beer, and then ran out the store. I exited the store in an attempt to ascertain what direction the perpetrator escaped, in order to give to responding officers. When I exited the store and looked north, the thief immediately starting firing a weapon at me, while hiding in the alley in the rear of the store. I fell to the ground and returned fire nine times from my 9mm Smith & Wesson automatic pistol. I might add, I shot and emptied my pistol of nine bullets, nine times in record speed. Again, it's funny now but not funny at the time. After I ran out of bullets I ran back in the store behind the bullet-proof glass. I urgently requested if there was another gun on the premises. But the employees said no. I was not shot or injured and the on-duty police arrived and captured the shooter. He had traveled some distance away but he was arrested and placed in custody. He also was not shot or injured.

I later learned that the stealing of the case of beer was just a ruse, to lure the store employee out of the store to kill him. I also learned that the shooter and the employee had a prior verbal altercation.   

This miracle came to me after I survived the stroke. Inspiring me to believe that having the stroke was just another challenge to overcome. 

MIRACLE 3
In 1973, I was working a special assignment in conjunction with the Michigan State Attorney General's office. This assignment was called Special Detail 318. Why it was called Special Detail 318, I have no idea to this day. However, the assignment consisted of approximately 20 police officers, whose assignment was to bring to justice crooked police officers working at a particular Detroit police precinct. Part of my assignment/function was to guard potential witnesses, who would testify against the police officers.
 
One summer day I worked the afternoon shift, 6:00pm-6:00am. I arrived at a secluded motel room, where some of the witnesses were being guarded. During this shift change another officer assigned to the detail picked up his personally-owned department approved sawed-off shotgun. When the officer picked up the shotgun it went off. I was standing approximately 4 feet away from the officer and shotgun, with my back turned. When the shotgun went off several pellets struck me in the back. I yelled, "I've been shot!" I fell to the floor but no blood appeared.  It turned out I was just sprayed with some pellets (much like the highly publicized shotgun incident, involving Vice-President Dick Cheney). I never even had to go to a hospital.

Another miracle that occurred pre-stroke that had me reflecting that all of these near death experiences put the stroke in it's proper perspective. Meaning in short, that I had "overcome" challenges pre-stroke, I would most surely do the same, as evidenced in the opening and subsequent paragraphs.

 

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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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