Finding Myself



In July 28, 2000, I lost myself after suffering a massive brainstem stroke at age 37. I passed out in my apartment in Atlanta, and subsequently called 911 and told the operator that I was dying. In fact, I did die in the ambulance. I had emergency brain surgery, was admitted to the ICU, and ultimately spent several months in rehab to relearn every function that I had once done without thought.

The following months were pivotal to my recovery. After being weaned off a breathing machine, living through a second surgery to insert a shunt in my brain, and going through intense physical, occupational and cognitive rehabilitation, I was released from rehab an unemployed, disabled and broken individual who was forced into early retirement.

I started my journey looking similar to how I looked prior to the stroke but certainly not feeling the same. My injuries were internal. In a period of 24 hours, I went from being an executive vice president of a national not-for-profit fundraising company to an unemployed housewife. The friends I had prior to the stroke forgot why we became friends. As a survivor, the world looked different to me.

Then and now 15 years later, I struggle to find myself. The person I was prior to the stroke was a frequent flier, traveled all around the country, was adventurous and pretty fearless. After the stroke, I was afraid of flying, not interested in traveling and questioned things that once gave me pleasure. On a positive note, the inability to maintain a full-time job has allowed me the time to garden and cook — two things I always wanted to do but never seemed to have the time. Miracles do happen.

JENNIFER WHITE | Survivor

St. Louis

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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.

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. We have trained several members of ASA's national call

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.

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.

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 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
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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.

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!