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Celeste: 2 Years, In Her Words

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On May 13, 2014, my life made a 360 degree turn! I was working in my office with a colleague at Reliant Rehabilitation of Dallas. I stood up to drink a cup of water and the cup dropped, my right side of my face drooped & my right arm was oscillating without control. My mind yelled, “ALERT! SOMETHING IS WRONG!!” but I couldn’t say a word.

I was transferred to Medical City of Dallas immediately via ambulance. I had an embolic stroke (actually 2 blood clots) in the left hemisphere of my brain. In the ER, they administered tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) to dissolve the clots to improve blood flow in the middle carotid artery. One of the clots was “stubborn” I guess and I had brain surgery (intracranial angioplasty and stenting).

I woke up in ICU in silence and had right sided hemiparesis (right arm was flaccid (no muscle tone) and sensation deficits. I have Apraxia (oral motor speech) and Aphasia (express & understand language). After my stroke, I couldn’t read, speak, nor form sentences. Thank GOD my spelling and memory was intact to write simple words to express my needs.

I am a Physical Therapist practicing over 20 years and my position before the stroke was Chief Therapy Officer managing staff, hospital policies and rehab patients/families. I transferred to Baylor Dallas inpatient for a week for all therapy disciplines (Physical (PT), Occupational (OT) and Speech (ST)) then Pate Rehabilitation (Anna location) outpatient for ST for 8 months. My discharge from Pate was January 28, 2015 and I was a little torn. I was sad to leave my “safe place”, happy because my speech was better and scared to jump into life again!

I gained more Faith in GOD and more fight for my life and my daughter, Tylar. A lot of crying (an emotional battle) during my storm but those tears were a symbol that I’m thankful & humbled because GOD shielded and blessed me with a strong support group…family and friends! I didn’t work for nearly a year and gradually started PT per diem then full time in June 2015. GOD IS GOOD!! I joined B.I.N.D. last year as a volunteer to connect with brain injury survivors and to increase awareness & knowledge in the community. Brain Injury Network of Dallas is a bridge to build relationships, mentorship, support for survivors and their families and a platform for patient advocacy!

Celeste Larkins
Stroke Survivor May 2014

2015: Impact Report

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“BIND needs the stories of its members told.  Today is not the time for the silent treatment.  These stories of stroke, traumatic brain injury, infection, and brain tumor removal are sad, but also show remarkable strength.  The feats that our members have conquered are inspiring.  Their progress, compassion and determination, strengthened by becoming a BIND member, must be…..”

Click here to keep reading:

2015 Impact Report PDF

~Valerie Gotcher, Executive Director