In June 2009, I was an outgoing, positive, strong willed and independent 38 year old. One morning I felt sick so I went in the bathroom and sat down on the floor. After a few minutes I realized I was not going to be sick and went to stand up, only to realize that I had no use of the left side of my body. I knew immediately that I had had a stroke; later I’d find out it was a hemorrhagic stroke or brain bleed (15 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic, but they are responsible for about 40 percent of all stroke deaths; yea to being in the 60th percentile), but I couldn’t understand how or why? I was completely paralyzed on the left side for months. Through lots of therapy, family and friend’s encouragement and prayers, I started to get better. I regained most of the function of my left leg with the exception of my ankle and toes, but with the help of an AFO (ankle brace) I learned to walk again. The arm and hand have not been as cooperative but I do what I can.
Seven years later I can only change one thing in that first sentence and that’s my age. I’m not saying it’s been easy and I am quite a different person. I think the hardest part was the acceptance that my life would never be the same as it was, but also realized that it did not mean my life was over- just different, as some of us call it “finding the new better you”. I believe the key to finding this “new you” is by staying positive. Now you may say “What?” and yes it’s not easy and I wasn’t positive everyday and probably not very much in the beginning but by keeping the positive self talk to “I will get better” I saw a difference and it still helps today. Stroke recovery doesn’t end when therapy does, it actually never ends. You have to keep working at things and finding the positives in your life every day. I also believe in giving back and sharing my experience with new survivors, students, therapists or whoever will listen.
And if you know me at all, you know I have two passions. First the Dallas Stars, this is where I can go and be part of functioning society and nobody really knows something is wrong with me except that I walk a little funny and only use my right arm, but we are all there for the same reason so we are all the same. Go Stars! Second is BIND, this is where I also feel normal and help others feel normal; we all understand the struggle. I am especially thankful to be a part of BIND where I can use my voice and experience to advocate for education and awareness of brain injuries. As well as be a voice to new survivors to let them know that they CAN and WILL survive and thrive!
~Carrie “The Boss” Price