Bilateral Stroke SurvivorMy life came to a screeching halt at age 29 with a bilateral stroke on August 31, 2013.
Pre-stroke I did everything right. I went to college and majored in Computer Science and Math with a minor in Physics while holding down a part-time job. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Then, I went on to have an awesome career as a Sr. Software Engineer.
My stroke affected my left and right frontal lobe and left temporo-parietal area of my brain. My stroke left me with many deficits including global aphasia (expressive and receptive/audiological processing problems), apraxia, slight hearing loss, and a gait. In the beginning, I couldn't speak nor could I understand anything. To communicate with me, my family would write notes because I could read and write. My rehabilitation started in ICU. I wrote my alphabet.
In rehabilitation, my therapists wrote notes explaining how to perform my exercises. As an example, my speech therapists would write in a notebook "repeat scissors" so I would know what to do. My therapy consisted of the following:
- Gait - I worked on my balance in PT. My gait cleared up itself quickly.
- Expressive Speech - My speech came back with words. Then, words worked up to sentences. Then, the sentences built up to conversations with one person. Then, I started having conversations with two people. Then, I went to participate in group meetings with accommodations.
- Apraxia - Got better with more speech practice.
- Receptive/Audiological Processing - I learned how to adapt by lip-reading. I'm a great lip-reader now. I did many PHOENOME and listening exercises in therapy. Eventually, after many hearing tests, we found that I do have a slight hearing impairment. My hearing aids make it easier to hold conversations. However, this is still my biggest challenge.
I tried to go back to work with accommodations after a year post-stroke but that didn't get to happen. My confidence sank. I went from a fully successful person to someone on long-term disability. I've always thrived at being productive. I've had to go to counseling.
After being in day-neuro for a year, I was discharged to a speech/hearing clinic. I still go to speech therapy twice a week at 2 years 8 months post-stroke. I consistently meet goals. My husband has been great and helps with my speech exercises.
Overall, I've made a great recovery. I'm functional and have a great quality of life. I drive, go to my appointments alone, and shop. My ultimate goal is to return to work and I will keep striving to get there.