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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No Coincidence

Her 3-year-old, Alexis, had been up all night crying because of a terrible ear ache when Sarah decided to take her to the emergency room at 3 a.m.. As she filled out Alexis’ admission forms, she lost feeling on the right side of her body.

Wild Thing

Comedian and stroke survivor, John Kawie has the perfect stroke survivor dog, Travis. But Travis has a friend …

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.

Our Strange Story

Morgan spent five days in critical care and seven on a regular floor. Throughout his stay, specialists ran test after test for the cause of the stroke. I had a lot of urgent questions, but there were few immediate answers.

Expect the Unexpected

At age 9, I had a hemorrhagic stroke, a bleeding into brain tissue, and the result of a brain tumor. The tumor was growing into nerves surrounding the brain stem. A blood vessel had ruptured, and the time frame between onset of stroke and onset of treatment was closing fast.

Spring Break 2017: The Cerebellar Hemorrhage Edition

Awakened by what I believed to be a sinus headache, I wanted to go to the bathroom for some sinus meds and an Aleve®. Sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the floor, I proceeded to stand up. Then…BOOM! I collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

How Having a Stroke Changed My Outlook on Life

Like most of us, Sandra Donald of Notting Hill Gate, United Kingdom, didn’t have time to have a stroke. At age 55, her life was a hectic dance among competing responsibilities. But strokes don’t care how busy we are, and after hers, she knew she had a lot to learn about living with it.

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.
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Archive »For Survivors

At-home Exercises for Stroke Survivors

Check out these exercises for stroke survivors to help with everything from balance & walking to fine motor skills, complete with video instructions.

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.”

Post-stroke Dental Care

Dental care is a conglomeration of fine-motor skills, so stroke can have an impact on a survivors’ teeth and gums, and that in turn can increase stroke risk.

When They Don't Know What They Don't Know

Sometimes stroke survivors appear to be in denial about some effects of their stroke. But what if their refusal to recognize a deficit isn’t denial, or any other psychological response? Anosognosia refers to a person’s lack of awareness of their own deficits. It can happen in people with stroke.

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.
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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.

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!