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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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).

But You Look So Normal

By now I am used to the odd looks people give me when I say that I’ve had a stroke.
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Archive »For Survivors

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.

Helping Others Understand: Post-stroke Central Pain

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

Helping Others Understand: Post-Stroke Central Pain Fact Sheet

It can sometimes be hard for family and friends to recognize how much post-stroke central pain may be affecting a survivor. We’ve created a quick-reference sheet that you can share with family and friends to help them better understand.

Finley the Service Dog: A Story of True Love

Finley, my Golden Retriever service dog, was rescued as a puppy, but ultimately, I was the one rescued by him. He is a hard worker, always ready to do his job, a constant AND faithful companion.

Service Animals

Mary Burch, Ph.D., director of the Good Canine Program at the American Kennel Club, and Michelle Williams, public relations coordinator at Canine Companions for Independence answer questions about what to know when considering getting a service dog.
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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.
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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.

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!