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Ryan F.


Healthy Stroke Survivor!

My Stroke: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I was 36 years old and leading an unhealthy lifestyle. I did not exercise, was not eating right, had high blood pressure and was overweight...a recipe for disaster. But, I thought nothing would happen to me because I'm young.

My two year old daughter and 10 week old son were brought into the ambulance to see me before I was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago due to a ruptured vessel deep in my brain. It was determined that an AVM ruptured too deep in my brain to really do anything. Surgery would have done too much damage...but for some reason the vessel closed itself off and after countless CT's, MRI's, Cerebral Angiograms and days spent in the ICU, I was released. I was left with a blind spot in each eye and the seizure disorder of Epilepsy.

After months of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to turn my life around. I started walking my daughter to school, then to and from school. I found myself walking 6 miles a day several days a week. I eliminated alcohol which quickly led me to eliminate desserts and meat. My lifestyle was starting to change and I was feeling great! My family joined a church and a church member reintroduced me to cycling. I was now walking and cycling, so I started running!

Now, at age 39, I have run several half marathons this year, participated in a bicycle fundraiser in which I rode 100 miles on a Saturday and another 50 miles on Sunday. I have also lost 6 inches off my waist, 40 pounds overall and no longer take blood pressure medication. Next step...triathlon training for next year.

My stroke is the best thing that has happened to me. It was a wake-up call and I still have the daily reminder of blind spots to keep me motivated. I will always take anti-seizure medication to combat the Epilepsy. My family was on course to live a life without a father, husband and son. Anyone can turn their life around and it is never too late to start!


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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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