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

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.