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Kathy L.



John Kawie - My Hero

John Kawie's determination and spirit helped me overcome the adversities of my stroke.

After my stroke in February 2006, I started doing some research on stroke and survivors of stroke. I came across a name John Kawie (an author who wrote Brain Freeze, a story about his life as a comedian overcoming stroke) and read a little about this man. He seemed very interesting and had overcome his struggles with therapy and went on to start working again. At the time, I had just started therapy for my stroke and anyone that has gone through this gruesome time knows "It ain't easy".

I got so much inspiration from reading about John that I had to email him and tell him that if he could do it, so could I. I never once thought that I would hear back from this gentleman, but I received an email that told me I could do anything I put my mind (or that part of my mind that still worked) to do.

This is how my stroke happened: I was at my desk typing on a Friday afternoon when I started feeling a little funny. All of a sudden, I did not have the use of my right side and I started talking funny. My co-workers took me to the hospital ER where my husband met us. My blood pressure was unreal (200 something over 100 something), I could not walk without help, could not talk right, and could not touch my finger to my nose. The ER doctor said I had carpel tunnel syndrome and sent me home. I still was not feeling well the next morning so my husband took me to my doctor who said I had had a stroke. The stroke was a bleeding stroke above my left ear causing me to have paralysis on my right side.

I started therapy within the week and was able to walk and talk but not very well. My doctor thought it would be a good idea to go back to work so after two weeks I was back (part-time) at my job as an administrative assistant with an engineering firm. I was also going to speech, physical and occupational therapy three times a week. Looking back on it, I don't know how I did it. My family and therapists were great. My family got me where I needed to go and my therapists made me learn all over again.

To make a long story short, I quit my job last year at the engineering firm after 32+ years and went to work at the State Supported Living Center as a Rehab Therapist Tech. I love my job helping our individuals who are mentally retarded and physically challenged. When I emailed John of my change in occupation, he could not believe it, but he said "Kathy, you are my hero." God had given me a second chance and with his help you can see that John and I have overcome a great deal.


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