Walking the Runway to Recovery

2011 was a tough year - but after surviving kidney failure, a stroke, seizures, high blood pressure and a Lupus diagnosis, Deborah Williams advice is to never give up.



 

Pc0060100

Survivor, mom and model Deborah Williams


I experienced kidney failure back in October of 2011, when I was 42 years old. I dropped down to 86 lbs. and had a fever of 105.6. Later, in December, I had a stroke, seizures, high blood pressure, a concussion and was diagnosed with Lupus. Even though I was blessed enough to wake up in the middle of the night and fight my way through the remainder of the stroke, I was in bad shape after it occurred. I don’t know about you, but I could feel it happening. My ring finger on my right hand began to curl up, and I used all the strength I had to force my body to move until I felt the stroke pass. At first, I could not talk, and could barely walk, see, hear, read, write, reason or remember. I do remember feeling like I’d been in a bad accident.

When I spoke to another friend of mine who is also a survivor, she told me a stroke is sometimes called, “the stroke of God’s hand.” Well, if that is true, God all but slapped the taste out of my mouth! I can laugh now, because I was blessed enough to recover.

I have a doctorate in theology. I’ll tell you, it is one thing to study the Word, but it is entirely different to walk it out. I never lost faith. I think every meal I consume comes with a side of hope. I notice as I continue on my road of recovery that I am more careful about a lot of things: my diet, taking vitamins and minerals (I am no longer on any medications), choosing who enters my circle and who I call my friend, and I make sure I get some rest. Rest is so important! I hug my kids more! (Poor guys! As if I weren’t already overbearing, LOL!) I forgive and forget faster. I understand my worth better and know God spared my life for a purpose.

Don’t give up. I am not going to lie to you by telling you it is easy. It isn’t, but you are worth it! Make that your mantra.

Since my stroke, I got my health insurance license and was picked up by Wilhelmina Model (Agency). I was so excited to walk the runway again — in four-inch heels, no less — I think I left my signature on it! I am currently studying Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety through edX/HarvardX. Because of some of the bad experiences I (and others) have had while in the hospital, I want to use what I am learning to advocate for better hospital services for those who are not able to speak for themselves. When I was infirm, I asked my family to be my voice. I think you understand.

I would tell new survivors: Everything is still in there, and you can regain your memory, and possibly do even better than before. Don’t give up. I am not going to lie to you by telling you it is easy. It isn’t, but you are worth it! Make that your mantra. Whatever friends you lose, you lose. You will find out who your real friends are, and remember, you have a friend in God. I did not seem a likely candidate for stroke, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone. I am grateful to God for my speedy and miraculous recovery, and I hope and pray for you.

DEBORAH WILLIAMS | Survivor
Philadelphia

- Advertisement -

This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement or recommendation of either the linked-to entity or any product or service.


Stroke Connection. Download the free app today.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

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.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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!