Tara P.

Photo of Tara P.

I am … a Survivor.

March 8, 2012 was just like any other day. I had school to do with three of my kids who I home school. My oldest was a senior in high school and attended the local public high school. That night was parent-teacher conferences for her. My husband came home and made dinner, just like he always did. We had dinner and I got ready to go to the conferences with my daughter. On the way out, I took some aspirin, as I had a small headache, which was not uncommon at all. That was the last time I would be in my house for 30 days.

At the conference, I felt a very “weird” sensation and told my daughter that I “had to go.” I stood up to leave and the teacher, Craig Amundson, saw that something wasn’t right and caught me before I collapsed on the floor. Right there, in the gym at my daughter’s high school, I was stroking out.

The paramedics came and took me to the closest hospital, where they confirmed that I had a stroke. It was a hemorrhagic stroke on the right side of my brain. I was transferred to Froedtert Hospital where they did a bunch of different scans and ultimately decided I needed surgery. So, March 9, I had a craniotomy done and the next stage of my healing started. I spent 2.5 days in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit. Then on March 12, I was transferred to the stroke wing at Froedtert Hospital.

My husband was told that I would never walk again, talk again, be able to take care of myself. He was told to start looking for an alternative place to live. We didn’t believe this was the future for me and our faith and prayer told us otherwise. Through our prayers, two days later, March 14, I was transferred to the rehab wing to begin rehab and help me get some semblance of independence. The doctors and therapists had no idea what was coming.

On March 15, one week after my stroke and 6 days after brain surgery, I took my first steps in my morning physical therapy session. That afternoon, I took my second set of steps for my husband when he came. I then spent another 23 days in the hospital going through two sessions every day of physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. I regained the ability to walk. I never lost my ability to talk. I regained the ability to take care of myself.

It has now been about 3.5 years since my stroke. I still have challenges, but continue to heal. I have good days and bad days, but I’m still here and getting stronger every day. I have very little sensation on my left side and many days walk with a limp. But, I know God is still healing me and making me stronger every day.