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

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.”

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.

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

Going Back to Work After Stroke

A stroke can be a life-changing event that often includes overcoming physical, cognitive or speech barriers. Making the decision to return to work, despite those barriers, as well as the process of finding the right job, is unique for each survivor.

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!