Text Size




Faces of Stroke - Logo 100px  transparent

Jolene C.

Stroke Champion

My life changed at age 42

At age 42 I had just completed my first semester of my first year of nursing school and was on my summer break. It was always a dream of mine to become a nurse.

I was working as a CNA in a local hospital part-time. I loved helping patients assigned to me. I would literally be running for 8 hours, aside from sitting briefly to eat a meal or to chart. I loved my job!

I was married to my best friend, Tom. We had been together for over 20 years. We used to work side by side. I loved him deeply but was oblivious to the fact that he was an alcoholic. He hadn't worked in a year. I also had two other part-time jobs to pay bills. I was stressed, frustrated and full of worry about making enough money.

I had a ischemic stroke while working as a CNA, thankfully the best place to be. Without going into any specific details following this emergency, I simply wanted to share that I lost my ability for speech and my right hand/arm were also affected. I could walk, my ability to comprehend what was asked of me was intact. I was alive! The only thoughts running through my frantic mind was I needed to get back to work as soon as possible. Without speech and no response from moving my right hand forced the scary reality of my "situation".

Fast forward to a year after (2008) I still stumbled with many complex words, my right hand wasn't showing any improvements. I wasn't able to work or return to nursing.
Tom was my champion, fetching me whatever I needed, helping me practice my speech. Always by my side. I needed to learn, the hard way, to ask for help.

Tom passed away in 2010. Again, without going into details, it was a shock to me, his family and scores of friends...

Grief gave me a fire in my being. I was conscious of my future, my desire to become a nurse has not stopped. I work each day on improving my speech. I force myself to talk. I also force myself to use my right hand/arm vs my dominant left.

To those who've become a stroke champion (what I like to say vs stroke survivor) I say show the world that stroke cannot destroy your essence of your being. Your soul's perfection is still intact! Do your best each day to reach one or two or how many goals you feel to accomplish.

Peace, love and repetition daily! :-)

I'm engaged to a wonderful man!


All active news articles

Share by

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.

Printer Friendly Version

National Stroke Association

9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112

Stroke Help Line logo