Matthew Dean - Stroke Survivor

matthew dean stroke hero

I had my stroke January 6, 2018 at the age of 37.

I was on duty as a fire fighter, and on my way to a call. I had no warning signs of a stroke. My right arm just went dead completely. I tried to sit down, thinking it would go away. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was unable to speak. Then I tried to say something out loud, and I wasn't able to say any words at all. Luckily my legs still worked, and I found my way to our dispatcher and got the help I needed. I was rushed to the Emergency room where I received a TPA injection after finding an ischemic stroke on the left side of my brain. I was then transferred to a bigger hospital, where I spent 4 days in the ICU. The TPA injection worked, and my abilities came back by the time I left the hospital. The therapists in the hospital all told me how they couldn't believe how fast I was gaining my strength back. I told them I have a strong will to overcome challenges.

At home, over the next several weeks I suffered with extreme anxiety and flashbacks of the stroke. It was a moment of surrender and acceptance of my situation and deciding to try to live in the present and not the past or future that washed away my anxiety. I was back on duty as a firefighter in only 6 weeks. I have since lost 21 pounds. I now look at my stroke as a gift, since I have a completely new perspective on life now. Even though it was a terrifying event, it came with many gifts. Every day I wake up alive is a great day.

two seniors in super hero capes

Do you have a Stroke Hero in your Life? 

Who has made a major impact in your post-stroke life? Who has gone above and beyond? Whether it’s to recognize small encouragements or big gestures, now’s your chance to say thanks.