“My brain tried to kill me on Halloween, 2011. My daughter luckily knew the signs of stroke and saved my life by calling 911. They did a CT scan at the hospital, but it came back clear. My stroke wasn’t confirmed until I underwent a MRI the following day, showing a large stroke in my right frontal lobe. At the time I was a litigation paralegal, newly divorced and was a single mom to kids ages 18, 13 and 11. I was very lucky. I had no speech problems and was up walking...with a walker at first, then on my own, the very next day. I underwent 30 days of inpatient acute rehab, relearning how to walk properly (walking over small hurdles and climbing stairs), occupational and speech therapy. I was in the hospital 30 days then was transferred to a brain injury rehab facility for another 30 days. Following my release from there, I attempted to go back to work but I quickly became aware I was not able to do the work I used to be able to do, so my employer offered me long term disability (Thank God!) and after a long 5 years finally was approved for SSDI.
My stroke recovery definitely hasn’t been without challenges. I have had a total of 7 post stroke seizures, have chronic migraines and have been diagnosed with Central Pain Syndrome. I still suffer with short term memory loss. Also, my ex husband took me to court challenging my custody of our kids stating because of my medical issues I was unfit to be a good parent. Thankfully the judge ruled in my favor, and it has been difficult going from being a mom to having my kids become my caregivers. My daughter put off her first two years of college to stay home and care for me. Thankfully I have been able to watch all 3 of my kids graduate from high school, and be a part of my daughters wedding. I am so thankful my stroke gave me so much more time with my kids, and we are a very close family (minus my ex of course).
My favorite saying is ‘The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.’ My faith has never been stronger. Currently I do not work per the Social Security Administration’s determination, but am able to support my kids (my two boys, now ages 21 and 18 now live with me and put up with me. One of the best things I did was to become involved in stroke survivor support groups on Facebook, where I have met and talk to other stroke survivors daily. We all help each other get through our daily struggles, whether it be pain, neuro fatigue or family issues. Never give up hope! We are survivors for a reason!”
-Jenni, Stroke Survivor