Lifelong Friends



Survivor Delanie Stephenson (second from right) with her mom (far left) and her “Holy Therapy Trinity” friends

I didn’t see my therapy sessions as work. It was a time to laugh and share with my girlfriends.

My Holy Therapy Trinity — When Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists all work together.

Whenever I heard the word rehab before my stroke, alcohol or drug rehab was what came to mind. When I heard I had to have therapy, I really didn’t know how it applied to me.

I was a bit nervous to start all my therapies (speech, occupational and physical) at my subacute hospital. I received a little bit of therapy in ICU, but honestly that time period was pretty hazy. The Lord saw my fears, and to comfort me He sent me three therapy angels: Mary, Linda and Elizabeth.

Mary was my PT. She was such an encourager, helping me to improve physically and spiritually. Linda was my OT. Our time was full of giggles. She helped me forget where I was for a little while each day. Elizabeth, my SLP, was the most serious of the three. But when she fed me applesauce for the first time, I had the biggest smile on my face. These three women were my biggest blessings in recovery.

In all therapies, I had come to expect each discipline to work independently from each other. Each having separate goals. But these ladies had different ideas. The “gym” was also where all three had their offices, so when I saw one, I usually saw them all. If Mary was working on PT, it wasn’t unusual for one of the others to be helping. I remember one time, one was behind me spotting me with the wheelchair, one had the gait belt and a third had a sheet around my waist, holding me up. #teamwork

The best day during my stay at the subacute hospital was the day they put me in a stander, and I was finally able to stand for the first time on my own since my stroke. Family, nurses, CNAs, Mary, Linda and Elizabeth were all in my room. Once I stood, I had the biggest smile on my face. There was clapping, cheering, and tears. It really does take a village.

I actually enjoyed going to my therapy sessions in my subacute hospital. I didn’t see it as work. It was a time to laugh and share with my girlfriends. I think because of this, I worked even harder. I truly don’t think I’d be where I am today without my therapy trinity.

It’s been almost seven years, and I still keep in touch with Linda, Mary and Elizabeth. We’ve gone to get coffee and exchanged Christmas presents. We are there for each other during the ups and downs of life. They aren’t just my former therapists; they’re lifelong friends.

So, when in therapy, open up. Ask your therapist how their day is going. You might just meet a therapy angel. At the very least, they might make you smile.

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Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
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AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
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Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Occipital Lobe

Our occipital lobe, the smallest of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex, controls how we visually interpret our world.

When Stroke Affects the Cerebellum

The cerebellum contains 80 percent of our neurons. Its job seems to be to make things better. We talked with neuroscientist Jeremy Schmahmann about how stroke affects the “little brain.”

When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
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Departments

Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Helping Others Understand

Stroke affects people differently and many of the effects of stroke can be complicated. Helping friends and family understand how a stroke is affecting a survivor can help everyone involved.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!