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Faces of Stroke: Julie

To stroke survivors, quality of life is an important health outcome. Coping effectively with stroke-related impairments plays an integral role in the overall recovery process.

Julie Hyman, 51, had a stroke at 37. At the time, she was busy juggling home, family and work. She knew her lifestyle was stressful, so she tried balancing it with things she enjoyed—gardening, painting and nature. Like so many people, she ignored the warning signs of her stroke, feeling that she was too young to have a stroke.

After her stroke, Julie felt that her life as she knew it was over. She was paralyzed on the left side and only had the use of one hand. She also had spasticity, a condition in which muscles become tight and stiff, making movement difficult or uncontrollable. Through rehabilitation and therapy, she was taught to “think-plan-act” for every action she wanted to take. Recovery was slow and long and relearning how to do simple things like tying her shoes was a major challenge. Doing things around the house was out of the question.

With therapy and treatment, some of her stroke-related problems got better, but other things, like her spasticity, did not. Julie consulted with her healthcare provider to choose the best option to deal with the pain and tightness.

Feeling better, Julie once again embraces her life. Getting back to the life she once knew and improving the quality of her life have always been important to Julie. Once again, she is enjoying the things she loves most—her grandkids, family, gardening and fishing. Julie is sharing her story to raise awareness about spasticity and advocating for a better quality of life for stroke survivors.

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