Survival Journeys

Though strokes often have common effects, each one is also different. And each stroke survivor's journey is as unique as the individual themselves. Survival Journeys features stories by and about stroke survivors, sharing their experiences and insights.


 

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My Long But Satisfying Road to Recovery

Survivor Dirk Vlieks had completed more than 40 triathlons as he stood at the starting line of the Honu Half-Ironman on June 3, 2006. A stroke in the brain stem would prevent him from finishing that day. But it didn’t prevent him from doing everything he could to try again.

A Letter to My Daughter

Stroke never only impacts the survivor, it touches all who care for them. Survivor Delanie Stephenson pens a touching letter of apology to her daughter, Katie, for all the ways Mom’s stroke changed their lives.

Why I Paint

Survivor Denice DeAntonio didn’t think she was artistic and thought her stroke had left her too visually impaired to paint. Now she finds herself enjoying trips to the store for art supplies and gathering friends for painting parties.

This, right now, is the only life I know

When she awoke from six and a half hours of neurosurgery, she had no memory of the prior 34 years of her life. She didn’t recognize her husband, children or parents. “I forgot the first nine years of my marriage,” she said.

Taking the Stage for Aphasia

As John Daggan worked on the life-participation approach to his aphasia, he discovered and dusted off his Actor’s Equity card from his early days, then began turning New York City open auditions into opportunities to educate the public about aphasia.

Venous Strokes: Rare but Real

After an elective surgery, Sharon Wilson had some worrisome symptoms. Problems with her vision, dizziness and eventually, leg pains. Despite the problems, she went to work, where coworkers encouraged her to get to the hospital. Thank goodness she did.

The Truth About Caregiving

I have been a caregiver most of my adult life, both professionally and personally. Not only am I the mother of two adult children, I worked in health care as a nurse for over 20 years. On December 6, 2008, I had a massive hemorrhagic stroke. After that fateful day, I was no longer the caregiver.

Take Baby Steps Toward Your goals

“I don’t want you to worry.” Those were the words that made Danielle Robbins panic when she got an early-morning call from her sister Sara on May 12, 2012. Sara told Danielle that she thought their dad, Stephen Bishop, had suffered a stroke.

Beyond All Expectations

When Virginia McKinnon came home from work on Aug 9, 1988, she found husband Robert on the floor in fetal position. His determination and persistence and the value of support from others have been beyond all expectations.

Accepting Who I Am

After a massive stroke due to four ruptured aneurysms, Beth has never given up and never will.
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Archive »For Survivors

Maintain What You Gain

A year or two out from therapy, survivors may feel progress has stopped or that they’ve lost some of their rehab gains. That would be a good time to get some more therapy. For survivors on Medicare, it is part of their benefits.

Helping Others Understand: Post-stroke Central Pain

We know that it can sometimes be hard for family and friends to understand how profoundly post-stroke central pain may be impacting a survivor. We encourage you to share this article with the people in your life to help them understand.

Helping Others Understand: Post-Stroke Central Pain Fact Sheet

It can sometimes be hard for family and friends to recognize how much post-stroke central pain may be affecting a survivor. We’ve created a quick-reference sheet that you can share with family and friends to help them better understand.

Finley the Service Dog: A Story of True Love

Finley, my Golden Retriever service dog, was rescued as a puppy, but ultimately, I was the one rescued by him. He is a hard worker, always ready to do his job, a constant AND faithful companion.

Service Animals

Mary Burch, Ph.D., director of the Good Canine Program at the American Kennel Club, and Michelle Williams, public relations coordinator at Canine Companions for Independence answer questions about what to know when considering getting a service dog.
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See allReturning to Work

Stroke Survivor Goes Back to Work . . . for Herself

As I approach the eighth anniversary of being in private practice, I think about how it all came about and how if I hadn’t had a massive hemorrhagic stroke, I might not have been so bold as to open my own business.

The ADA Turns 25

Starting in the ’70s, the disability rights movement learned an important lesson from the civil rights movement and got organized. Their goals were the elimination of attitudinal, communication, transportation, policy and physical barriers so as to integrate people with disabilities into society.

Returning to Work After Stroke

For many younger survivors, going back to work is often the measure for recovery. Here's some excellent guidance if you're working toward getting back into the workplace.

Working My Way Back

My journey started on September 8, 1995 at 5:30 p.m. I was 47. I got up from my chair and said I did not feel good and then collapsed onto the floor.
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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!