Stroke of luck

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This post replaces the original, published on 2016/05/24

Hi, this is Kathy James founder of ShrinkRap. In 2016 I decided to share my personal experience of stroke, and in particular with The Anat Baniel Method

On December 26th,2015 full of Christmas plumptiousness I arose full of energy and decided to head to my local rec. center to work off some of the excesses of the previous day.

I felt rather sanctimonious as I skipped to my car, thinking how wonderful I was to be making this effort while the surrounding neighborhood seemed quiet, and basked in holiday sleepiness.

There was nothing unusual as drove off that alerted me to what lay ahead.

I was struck by how cold I felt as I started my workout, so much so that I kept my gloves and hoody on! But after 25 minutes or so I was sufficiently warmed up to remove them as I moved into my mat work having completed my initial cardio warm-up.

I suddenly became aware of a slight tingle in my head, and then with some consternation, I began to experience left-sided numbness in my tongue and face. With slight uneasiness, the thought crossed my mind that this was not good, and possibly signs of a stroke. I mentioned this to the fellow working out next to me, he felt reassured knowing me as a regular, that I was just working out a bit too hard, and advised me to take a seat.

Then the numbness started to radiate down my entire left side, I lost my balance and decided to lay down. That is when my fellow gym mates realized that all was not well, and the lifeguards from the pool were summoned and a 911 call was made. Within 30 minutes I was having an MRI which would show that I had suffered a brain bleed in my thalamus. I had indeed suffered a stroke. By this time my husband and children were at my side.

I maintained an eerie sense of calm, oh well I’ve had a stroke I’ll see the neurosurgeon and then go home. It was only when I needed to use the bathroom that I realized I couldn’t move. I was admitted first to the hospital then after 2 weeks there, I was moved to an intensive stroke rehab unit where I would spend the next 8 weeks.

During this time I followed the regime of treatment that was prescribed, I had no energy to research my stroke. I just slept (a lot), and followed the treatment protocols that the doctors there prescribed for me. By the time I was discharged from the hospital I had regained some independence, I was able to walk with a cane and dress myself. But I still lacked sensation in my left hand and had issues with movement in my left arm and shoulder. The left side of my face responds with an unpleasant sensation of tingling in response to hot and cold when eating ( and spicy food), and there are times my head feels as if someone has vacuumed the left side of my brain!

Following discharge, the questions started to come, as did my online research. I wanted answers, and couldn’t find them. Answers that my treating professionals didn’t seem to have, or at least the answers I needed to hear.

I think I was looking for someone who had gone through a similar experience, I wanted to be able to share timelines of recovery, what I could expect, and when would it happen. I still haven’t found this and it is why I decided to share my own experience.

I want to caution anyone reading my account, that I am no medical expert, I am writing this as a personal account of how stroke has affected me, and my journey of recovery.