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Melissa F.



I was a healthy, active, and newly engaged 27 year-old on June 21, 2001, the day of my stroke. A blood clot formed in my brain stem, a major part of the brain that affects daily function. I had many of the warning signs, but not knowing much about stroke, did not put two and two together. The night of my stroke, I found myself in the hospital completely paralyzed, with no speech or movement. I could only move my eyes up and down.

To make matters worse, I was "locked-in", which is a condition where you are cognitively stable, aware, and know what's going on around you in your surroundings, but cannot verbally or physically communicate. I stayed in this locked-in state for about 9 weeks. The doctors wanted to make sure I was medically stable before any rehab would start.

Slowly, movement came back; I worked on my speech and eating and re-learned many daily activities, such as breathing on my own, writing and swallowing. I learned how to use a walker, walk up and down stairs and get in and out of a car. At the end of this time, I was discharged and able to go home. This was almost six months after the day of my stroke. 

I am now back to work, living independently in my own home, driving and walking and even have gone skydiving!


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