I am … a Survivor.
“This stroke will not break me” … this is my mantra that I repeat at each step as I train to run my first marathon, the TCS New York City marathon on November 1st, 2015.
Until November 1st, 2014, I was busy being a supermom, running my own Branding/ Communications agency, Modern Global Communications, which specializes in professional athletes such as tennis sensation, Maria Sharapova and NFL Quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick.
After a business trip, I traveled to the Berkshire Mountains for a wedding. The morning of the wedding, I felt great. I ran 8 miles and danced the night away at the reception. My husband, Mark pulled me off the dance floor at 4 am.
Upon returning to my room, as I was crawling into bed and experienced that strange feeling like you’re about to sneeze- and everything went black.
My husband sprang into action and immediately got medical help.
After the CAT scan, the medical team advised my husband that due to the massive size of the stroke, 1. I would be in a permanent vegetable state, 2. I would never be able to have feeling in the left side of my body, or 3. There could be a miracle.
The medical team at the Berkshires administered TPA upon my arrival to the ER. The challenge was to wait and see how much swelling would happen in my brain. There wasn’t a neurosurgeon on call so my husband and the medical team had to wait to see what the next step would be.
Unfortunately, I seized and had to be intubated and placed in a medically induced coma. My family was asked to come the hospital for what was believed to be my last days.
I was then medevaced to Yale – New Haven Hospital as they had a team that specialized in neurology. I woke up in the neurology ER at Yale- New Haven Hospital.
I first asked my husband if we could go back to the wedding. I was extremely thirsty for the sugar and salt cocktail administered to reduce the swelling of my brain.
My road to recovery was long. I was left side neglect. I had no feeling in my arm and my face was droopy. My speech was slurred. I slowly began to work on physical therapy to work back to regular speech, and facial strengthening exercises to work on the droop.
I had to learn to patience. I was used to being supermom and jet-setting the world for work. During my recovery, I slept most of the day. I slept more in the months of recovery than I did in the first five years of my career.
After months of recovery, I was exhausted. I didn’t have enough energy to walk to the end of my driveway.
My son, Colin was still having a hard time adjusting to the traumatic experience of the stroke.
One day Colin said to me, “Mom, when will you start to run again?” At that time, I was barely able to get out of bed, brush my teeth, or stay awake for more than several hours.
I began to walk Colin to school then I began to slowly jog.
Running the New York City Marathon has always been on my bucket list. I’ve made excuses for the past 6-7 years as to why I could not run it.
I’m terrified, but this stroke will not define me or break me.
I’m running with no feeling in my left arm, but if I can inspire a fellow stroke champion to keep believing in your recovery and keep to physical therapy, positivity and patience…. You will get there. Each mile and each step of this marathon is a part of the belief to come back strong.