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Amy W.


Out of the wreck I rise - A brain stem stroke at 24

My name is Amy Wooddell. I have been a dancer since I was three years old and went on to graduate with a BFA in Modern Dance. I graduated, got married, and thought I had my life planned out. However, life took a 180 turn on May 23, 2010.

At 24 years old, I suffered a severe brain stem stroke from a dissected vertebral artery. The doctors were able to go in and break up the clot but later that night I hemorrhaged into my cerebellum. I fell into a coma for a week and woke up completely paralyzed and unable to speak. These symptoms persisted for 2 weeks (Dr.'s were afraid I had fallen into the locked-in syndrome and wouldn't be coming out of it) until I made the smallest movement with my pinky. That was just the beginning but to make a long story short after complications like a decompressive craniectomy, bacterial meningitis, a stomach ulcer, orthostatic hypotension, a month in ICU, a month in in-patient therapy at RIC, 6 months of out-patient therapy and 10 months post-stroke I was fully functioning with no assistive devices!

I lead a normal life with the occasional bout of mild vertigo and fatigue. I have no other residual effects! I won't ever dance like I once did (for safety reasons) but I am back to dancing and have found a new path... physical therapy. I recently returned to school to become a PTA. I want to help others in the way I was helped.

My husband has been my rock and we both thank God for the chance to share our story through a movement we started called National Orange Popsicle Week. Check us out at www.nopw.org


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