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Amber M.


There is Life after a Stroke

Hi my name is Amber Morris. I am 23 years old and was born on the beautiful island of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. I was baptised into the Seventh-day Adventist church at the age of 20 on April 12, 2008. After one year of being baptised I was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a golf ball growing in my brain. Due to the limited medical facilities in the Virgin Islands, my mother moved me to Florida to live with my aunt and seek medical attention. It was extremely hard for me to find a doctor because I was just at the age where I could no longer be on my parents insurance, and because I didn't have any insurance there were not any doctors willing to have me as a patient, so I started to give up hope.

I prayed to God desperately asking him for a miracle on my behalf. After scrolling through the phonebook for what seems like forever, looking for doctors and receiving the same answer from all of them, my aunt decided to carry me to Florida's women and children's agency to see whether or not I would qualify for Medicaid. After long days of lines, questions and answers, the agency said that I didn't qualify, but if I had a child, I might have qualified for Medicaid. Day by day we brainstormed, trying to find a way to get my surgery done; then finally God gave us an answer to my prayers in the form of an ad with a number on a city bus telling us to call for information on Medicaid. The following day we called and we explained my situation and about how we have been searching for a doctor to see me. We were told that here in Florida, most doctors will refuse to see patients if they didn't have medical insurance. When we explained to the person at the Medicaid office what happened at the Children and Family agency, she told us that they were wrong and that I definitely qualified for Medicaid because of my case, and was advised to make an appointment at SS so that I could apply for Medicaid.

After applying for Medicaid, we continued our search for doctors while we waited for SSI's decision. We finally found a doctor, Dr. Phillip St. Louis, who actually agreed to see me for consultation even though I did not have insurance. After my initial consultation with Dr. St. Louis, there were lots of testing, MRI's etc, and it was decided that surgery need to be done as soon as possible. After discussing with my family, surgery was scheduled. On August 14, 2009, Dr. St. Louis performed my first brain surgery, which was a success, praise be to God! Due to the location of the tumour however, the entire tumour was not resected for fair of a stroke. After my first surgery I stayed in the Florida hospital for two nights; the hospital experience was very new to me because I've never really stayed overnight in a hospital for more than one night before. The nurses were very nice; they did everything they could have possibly done to make me feel comfortable.

Three months after my surgery, I was given a follow up MRI and it was discovered that my tumour had grown back to at least twice the size of the first tumour. It was recommended that I undergo a second surgery or try some chemotherapy to see if the tumour would shrink any. I was very nervous and scared when I found out that the tumour grew back. I at first I didn't want to have surgery again but my parents and my doctor assured me that having another surgery would probably be the better option because radiation have not proven effective on the type of tumour that I had. So, I decided to have the second surgery on December 28, 2009 . With this second surgery, the entire tumour was removed, however, during or after the surgery; there was a blocked artery which caused a stroke, paralyzing the entire left side of my body. I spent the next week in the intensive care unit, then one month in the Inpatient Rehab facilities. The rehab nurses and rehab therapist were very nice and helpful in getting me back on my feet. My mother relocated to Florida temporarily in order to assist with my care as well as to support me and to encourage me during this difficult time in my life. It is very hard for anyone, especially a young adult to cope with having a stroke, especially if they have to go through it alone. Fortunately I had my mother with me every step of the way. Family and friend's support can make the difference with a person's recovery.

There are also hospital support groups to help re-introduce stroke patience's into a social atmosphere. While in the hospital, my recreation therapist was Karen Kalich. She kept us active so that we won't feel self pity. She got us involved in what was happening around us and reminded us that life still goes on. We were taken on outings, field trips, picnics etc. We played games and had group socialization.

I am getting stronger every day; there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome, but with God's help I am conquering them one by one.

I have applied and was accepted to Valencia College and will start classes in the fall on a full time basis. I have registered for classes and I am excited to start this new chapter of my life. Most people might not agree with me on this, but there is life after a stroke.


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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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