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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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.

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.
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Archive »For Survivors

Helping Others Understand: Post-Stroke Depression

We know that it can sometimes be hard for family and friends to understand how profoundly post-stroke depression may be impacting a survivor. We encourage you to share this article with the people in your life to help them understand.

Understanding How Post-Stroke Depression Affects Your Loved One

The Stroke Connection team knows that it can sometimes be hard for family and friends to understand how profoundly post-stroke depression may be impacting a survivor. We encourage you to share this quick-reference sheet with the people in your life to help them understand.

Plan Ahead for Emergencies

For stroke survivors with aphasia, physical or cognitive disabilities, emergencies like those our country experienced last year and in recent months — hurricanes, floods, wildfires, frigid fronts, earthquakes and mud floods — can pose life-threatening challenges. The only way to meet any of those challenges is to prepare ahead of time for these events.

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.
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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.