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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A Special Thank You

A tribute from survivors to any medical personnel who have ever worked with a stroke patient.

Lilian Tsi Stielstra's Why

Walking up the stairs, she felt “pins and needles” in her left leg. A few minutes later, her left arm had the same sensation. Then the left side of her face felt numb. “I realized it was a stroke because it was all on one side,” Lilian said.

Helpfulness & Kindness on a Steep Path

Sometimes we find ourselves in sticky situations. A stranger’s kindness can make a big difference. It did for Richard Lambert, “I told the man that I thought God might have sent him to help me. He was wondering about that, too.”

Wandering Back

One of my passions is travel; you could say I’m a wanderer. Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been drawn to adventure. I had been planning to visit California for the first time, but now it seemed impossible and daunting.

The Letter

Comedian and stroke survivor, John Kawie, writes a fan letter to his stroke as the 20-year anniversary of its arrival grows near.

A Central Pain Syndrome Survivor's Perspective

“Living in constant, intractable pain is not only disabling, frustrating and isolating, it is an invisible disease in itself, affecting the lives of both the patient and their loved ones.”

Running 2020: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Survivor Amelia Habicht enjoyed running and had competed successfully enough to be awarded in her age group. A stroke disrupted - but did not end – her participation in competitions.

Learning to Be a New Person

She was a wife, had a job, one child in daycare, another in kindergarten. All this came to a screeching halt when she had a massive brainstem stroke that left her unable to talk, walk and swallow.

My Approach to Healthy Healing

How I bounced back from a stroke and found humility and clarity in the process.

The Poetry of Survival

Poetry uses words to process emotions, and stroke appears to bring up plenty of emotions. We present to you the poetry of five stroke survivors...and an invitation (and guidance) from a poetry therapist to liberate your own muse.
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Archive »For Survivors

Memory: It’s Complicated

As with so many things involving the human brain, memory is complicated. There’s long-term memory and short-term; there’s skill memory, language-based memory and visuospatial memory. But the overarching issues of memory are storage and retrieval, and each can be affected by stroke.

Is My Memory Loss a Masquerade?

Memory challenges after stroke are not uncommon. But sometimes, what appear to be challenges may be other stroke deficits masquerading as memory problems. Here are some things to consider and ask your healthcare provider about.

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.

Kitchen Tips to Keep You Healthy

Many survivors have special dietary needs, making meal planning essential. And survivors often deal with fatigue, so preparing and freezing meals in advance is a great option. Here are some important “tips of the trade.”

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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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.