At twenty-one years old, life was great. I loved sports, being with friends, attending college, having my own business, and enjoyed a relationship with a steady girlfriend. Then, one day in August of 1988, that all changed--forever. I had a bad headache and was prematurely diagnosed as having the flu. As my headache worsened, my speech became slurred and paralysis set in on my right side. I knew something was very wrong. After being taken by ambulance to the emergency room, I was told that I had a congenital malformation in my brainstem--and it was bleeding. My family and I were not ready for that diagnosis or for the long road to recovery that would follow.
Many people view a stroke, an aneurism, or a brain bleed as an "end of life" event. However, despite this diagnosis, I graduated from college, got married, had two healthy children, and landed a good job working in medical sales. Unfortunately, there were other major setbacks and challenges to come. Since that August day in '88, I've had two more bleeds, undergone major surgery, and faced that road to recovery again and again. At times I was angry, frustrated, and even depressed; but I somehow found the strength to live another day. I'm thankful for the progress that has been made in medical technology, knowing that what was once impossible is now possible. I'm a living example of it.
This is a true story--my story. Journey with me through the challenges I faced and the obstacles I had to--and did--overcome. It is my hope to inspire people of all ages who are dealing with life's challenges and hurdles. Learn how I developed a "can-do" attitude against all odds. My theory is: "Don't Quit!"
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.