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Caryn


Survivor

On a Saturday afternoon in mid-August in the year 2007, I was 36 and 5 months pregnant with my second daughter. That day I had a stroke. The day was out of the ordinary from the beginning, usually my husband Todd would have been at the office. However that day was really unusual. He was not only home he saved my life by believing me when I was telling him I was having a stroke and by acting quickly. I had a hemorrhagic type stroke due to a rare type of aneurysm called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). I remember that we were talking in our kitchen and I remember telling him to call my mother. The next thing I knew I was in an ambulance and my little brother was saying goodbye and crying. I was completely confused as to what was going on. Someone had told me I was being transported to another hospital apparently I had been in hospital, had brain surgery and was going to another hospital for rehabilitation. Still confused I said ok. My next memory was sitting on a hospital bed with two people sitting on both sides of me and I just knew I didn't understand why they were almost on top of me completely invading my personal space. I found I could not sit up on my own. In the weeks ahead I would find out that I also could not walk. I did not understand much but I knew I was really, really angry. People were always telling me what to do, how to do it and I could not even go to the bathroom on my own, being pregnant did not help that situation. I found myself once again angry with everyone and everything. That anger continued for about three years. I then found myself in the grip of a severe addiction to benzodiazepines and my family had had enough at that point.

Going through the process of recovering from stroke and addiction, I have found my true self again and I can say that my life is so much better because of those two extremely painful struggles. I have learned about gratitude, hope, acceptance and forgiveness. I learned I am enough just the way I am. I love life and believe each day is a gift from god. I am now present in my life. I am so grateful to my family and friends who have stood by me through all the pain.

From the time I can remember as a child I have been in a rush to go, go, go and go nowhere. I have learned to slow down and enjoy my life and enjoy watching my girls grow, learn and play. I now believe in myself more than ever. I also know that god is at my side no matter what.

I am now enrolled at URI to finish my B.S. which has always been an important goal that I never really believed I could do.

 

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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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