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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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.

Paying It Forward

Stroke Connection offered me the opportunity to participate in the Guided Autobiography program. Now I am paying it forward by facilitating a writing group.

There Are No Accidents, Even Cerebrovascular Ones

A stroke nearly took Mark Moore’s life, but his wife Brenda knew the questions to ask to get the care he needed. When Mark felt like giving up in recovery, Brenda knew exactly how to change his attitude.

After Stroke, Attitude Is Everything!

“A stroke or TIA presents many lessons, which I chose to ignore the first time, but not the second.” Survivor Vernell Bradshaw shares his story and the secrets to his successful stroke survival.

A Mile in Her Own Shoes

I finished my first official mile in more than seven years. Seven years might be a long time without running a mile, but time didn’t matter to me. I was just happy to meet my goal. At 16, I had a hemorrhagic stroke from an AVM (arteriovenous malformation), leaving my left side weak.

Gracie Doran's Why

At the age of 10, Gracie Doran had a stroke due to cavernous hemangioma. But that hasn't kept her from doing what she loves. “Dance is my passion in life,” Gracie said.
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Archive »For Survivors

Something's Different: Personality Changes After Stroke

Stroke can change a survivor’s personality. “If our relationships are like a dance, when personality changes, when someone fundamentally changes their dance steps, that requires other family members to change their dance steps as well.”

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.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

Working on Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are how we use our hands and coordinate the small muscles that control our fingers. Those skills, along with other arm functions such as reaching and grasping, can be affected by stroke. The stroke’s severity determines the extent of this weakness.

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.
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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.