Tracy Leyden - Labels
In 2013, Tracy had a stroke in her brainstem. She had to relearn everything, including breathing, swallowing, speaking, sleeping, learning to control and use her arms and how to walk. She is the proudest mother of one son and lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband.
Recently, with the death of Luke Perry at age 52 from a stroke, stroke has come back into the spotlight again. It took the death of a young person (relatively speaking) to reiterate the symptoms, causes and statistics about stroke to the public.
In many of the news stories, I heard disbelief - “Luke Perry, dead at 52! Of a stroke?!?”
It almost became offensive. But it sure was an eye-opener. People are learning that strokes can happen at any age - but can they tell me the difference between a massive or major, minor or mini stroke.
I had a “minor” stroke. I am six years post-stroke. I had to learn to breathe, swallow, speak, sleep, etc. All of life's basic requirements. And a few of my favorite things.
My life and future were shattered. But I did only have a “minor” stroke.
I met a man whose wife told me he had a “mini” stroke - his deficits, too, were massive - right side paralysis, aphasia, feeding tube. Another acquaintance at rehab told me he had a “massive” stroke - he was heading back to work the next week.
In my humble opinion, all strokes are MASSIVE to us stroke survivors.
When people hear of our stroke label, they immediately jump to inaccurate conclusions.
Her stroke was minor - she will resume life as normal. Then when they ask me to lunch or shopping and I can't do it they think I am either ignoring them or faking it.
You can’t always see my inabilities. Many are invisible. Cognitive, brain fatigue, sensory issues and my swallow difficulties are all invisible. I have adapted to mask most of my physical disabilities. But since I had a “minor” stroke - it’s back to normal, right? WRONG! I am permanently disabled - but you wouldn't realize that from my label.
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