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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Seeking a Cause

Stroke survivor Robert Cull’s medical team was persistent in trying to identify why he’d had a stroke and made an important discovery about his health in the process.

Revisiting PT After 15 Years

Stroke survivor Connie Stagnaro headed back to physical therapy 15 years after her stroke after surgery to correct a stroke-related condition. But this time was different than the first.

Speechless No More!

For Phyllis Weiss, a 65-year-old survivor from Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, each sound she painstakingly — but patiently — forms is a triumph. In her quiet, halting delivery is an underlying strength and vitality. Qualities that carried her through an entire year of silence.

Gratitude Schmatitude

Survivor, Quenby Schuyler, had never been a particularly grateful type of person. After her stroke, her take on gratitude changed.

Sharing My WOW

Life-altering events force us to look back on our lives. That was especially true for me during the first four months after my hemorrhagic stroke in 2013 at age 44.

Expressing Creativity Through Music After Stroke

Music lights up the whole brain, “like the sky during a fireworks display,” said Kyle Wilhelm, MA, MTBC in the Music Therapy Services department of West Music. This seems to bring delight as many survivors experience firsthand.

Forever Young

Something arrived from Social Security: “This is to inform you that we no longer consider you Disabled. As of now you are officially just Old. Your benefits will be decreased accordingly.” Seriously?

Tyree Russell’s Why

The wholesale car salesman from Chesapeake, Virginia, watched several relatives struggle with heart disease, but he didn’t realize a family history could increase his risk for it. “I thought I was invincible,” Russell said.

Profiles of Adolescent Survival

Shellby Watts and Erica Singleton both experienced strokes as children. Now 16 and 35 respectively, they reflect on their experiences and share how they’re doing today.

Finding Myself

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.
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Helping Others Understand: Post-Stroke Fatigue

Stroke is unpredictable, but one extremely common effect of stroke is fatigue. Some studies indicate that as many as 70 percent of survivors experience fatigue at some time following their stroke.

Helping Others Understand: Post-Stroke Fatigue Info Sheet

It can sometimes be hard for family and friends to recognize how much post-stroke fatigue 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.

Am I Losing Ground?

Survivors are sometimes concerned that they are losing function after they leave formal therapy – making gains while working with therapists, but feeling loss of strength and function even when continuing to do exercises at home. Rehabilitation experts weigh in on the topic.

Dr. Glen Gillen Weighs In on 'Am I Losing Ground?'

Occupational therapist, Dr. Glen Gillen, adds his perspectives to those of the physical therapists featured in "Am I Losing Ground?" in this supplemental web-only feature.

Half a World Away: Visual Field Cuts

Strokes can often affect vision and processing of visual information. The most common visual deficit is hemianopia, or visual field cut. Understand different types of field cuts and learn about potential treatments.
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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.