Holly C. Vancouver, Washington
A stroke didn’t ruin my life, it changed it. When I was 32 years old and eight months pregnant with my first child I awoke in the middle of the night and the left side of my face had gone totally numb. I first thought I was experiencing a complication from a recent root canal, but my instincts quickly turned to “stroke.” I woke my husband and he called 911. I don’t remember much of the next week, but it was explained to me that I had suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke deep in the right side of my brain. I stayed in the hospital until I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Chloe Elizabeth, then went straight to a local stroke rehab hospital for the next three and a half weeks. By the time I was discharged I had regained my ability to speak, walk and swallow. I continue outpatient and home rehab to regain use of my hand and arm. I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, and therapists who forever changed my life. Sure, what happened to me was tragic but as a result I now have some very dear, forever friends. Every day has a different challenge, but I try to face them head on and with the opportunity to overcome them as I raise my daughter in my post stroke world. I want her to have respect, patience, and compassion for others that have physical and mental challenges. I must seek every positive in this situation I’ve been placed in. I choose to do the best with what I am and what I have and to see my future fulfilled and happy. I will continue to strive for as much recovery as my body will give.