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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Jan Thomas's Why

She woke up in the hospital, terribly confused and unable to speak. She didn’t know that she had had a stroke and with it, aphasia.

Determined to Make a New Normal

I’ve learned that every person’s journey is different. When I realized that my recovery was not going to happen overnight, I cried myself to sleep for a month. After that, I was determined to make a "new normal."

Stroke Survivor Eric Barr Shares a Piece of His Mind

One year after a near-death experience and three strokes, this professor of acting rolled on stage to do a one-man show about his experience.

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.

Because of My Stroke

It was inconceivable during those first weeks, when I was critically ill, that good would come from having a stroke. However, I found out later having a stroke provided new experiences and opportunities. One day, this became very clear to me.

Melynda Rackley’s Why

It was the day she gave birth to her daughter Kayla. She was excited and scared heading into the operating room for the C-section. Her mother, Betty Young, was by her side, gripping her hand for support. Immediately after the birth, however, Melynda screamed because of a severe pain in her head.

Tedy's Team Turns 10

Like most young stroke survivors, Tedy Bruschi wanted to return to work after his stroke in February 2005 at 31. But considering he was a starting linebacker for the NFL’s New England Patriots, some might have questioned his decision. Now Tedy Bruschi’s team of dedicated volunteers continues to make a difference in raising awareness for stroke.

Tedy's Team Turns 10: A Message from His Father

Silence was Frank Mastrangelo’s first clue that something was wrong. "I was driving my two children home from summer camp in June 2006, and they were in the backseat yelling about something and then it all went completely quiet," he said. He turned around and saw their mouths moving but heard no sound for half a minute.

Tedy's Team Turns 10: A Stroke on the Ice

After homework, she didn’t watch TV or play video games, she practiced her stick handling in the driveway or cellar with a rubber ball and hockey stick. People began to refer to her as an "Olympic hopeful." All that changed when 12-year-old Jamie had a left-brain ischemic stroke on Aug. 9, 2009.

Enjoying My Second Chance

At age 13 I experienced a grand mal seizure. I was scared to death. Seizures were soon a common occurrence in my life for the next 34 years. Eventually during one hospital stay it was discovered that I had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
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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.