A Letter to My Daughter



Dear Katie,

I’m sorry Mom had a stroke. I thought I was healthy and doing everything right. I’d take you places, do fun things with you, help you with your homework. I was doing the best I could. I was Super-Mom and always would be. Or so I thought ….

Then, all of a sudden, the stroke hit and — BAM! — I wasn’t there for you anymore. I left you with no explanation. The last thing you heard me say was “I’m going to die.” You witnessed me having the stroke. At the hospital, you watched as I was rolled away on a stretcher. I remember you holding your grandmother’s hand as I was taken away from you. I couldn’t talk by then, and I wanted you to know I loved you, but you couldn’t feel what I was thinking. I can only imagine what was going through that pretty head of yours.

I’m sorry I didn’t see you for two weeks. That I couldn’t talk to you on the phone and have you tell me about what you did in school that day. And when you did get to see me in that hospital bed with tubes in my nose and machines beeping, I couldn’t even hold you. Your eyes were so big, you barely said a word.

I’m sorry our visits that summer were either in a hospital room or outside in a hospital garden. When we should have been running and enjoying the summer sunshine together, I was relearning to walk and talk. I thought about you every day, and you were my motivation to get better and come home.

I’m sorry that once I came home, it was more difficult than we thought it would be. I was an emotional wreck and couldn’t help you with the things I used to — picking your clothes out, packing your lunch, helping you with homework — I couldn’t do any of that. Others had to step in to help you with basic needs. I thought you would forget me, your mom.

I’m sorry that as you’ve gotten older, you feel like you need to protect me: at home, in public, everywhere. When I have an emotional episode, you are the one comforting me when I should be comforting you. I lay my head on your chest and sob. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I feel like you mother me more than I mother you, and it breaks my heart.

Survivor Delanie Stephenson takes a selfie with her daughter Katie

I’m sorry you’ve had to grow up before your time. That friends couldn’t come over because Mom was tired, or I couldn’t take you to the movie because being around people makes me anxious. You shouldn’t have to deal with half the things you’ve had to. But you did them all, without complaint.

I’m not sorry for the one thing the stroke did give us: time. Time for you to talk and me to listen. Time for me to get you on the bus and off when you get home. Time to be more involved with meetings at school and to take you to whatever extracurricular activity you want to do. Time to see you for the beautiful young woman you’re becoming, inside and out.

Although it may seem like Mom can control everything, unfortunately I can’t. But there’s one thing I can control and always will: my love for you.

I love you, Katie Elizabeth.

Love,

Mom


 

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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-art 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.

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.

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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Stroke & Parts of the 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.

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!