Thursday, May 14, 2015

Heart Walk and strokes

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, I am walking in the Treasure Valley Heart Walk. I am walking because I can.
The fact that I can walk at all is a miracle considering I had two strokes in January of 2012. I had a torn carotid artery. The second stroke happened in the hospital, and it was massive.

I lost 20% of my brain. I lost all communication, have aphasia, apraxia, and I could not even remember my own name.

Yet, I was lucky.
Here are some statistics about strokes in the United States:
·                  Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year— that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.
·                  On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
·                  Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
·                  About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
·                  About 185,00 strokes—nearly one of four—are in people who have had a previous stroke.
·                  About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes(http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/types_of_stroke.htm), when blood flow to the brain is blocked. That is what I had.
·                  Stroke costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat stroke, and missed days of work.
·                  Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.
After 18 days in the hospital, I started intense therapy at Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services (STARS) including physical therapy, occupational rehabilitation, speech therapy. I did also did acupuncture, hypnotherapy and other vision therapy for reading and writing.
In three years, I had over 400 hours of therapy.
Ultimately, I resigned from my job as the Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors because I could not work because of the severity of my strokes.  
Nevertheless, I try to continue helping others. After the stroke, I successfully won reelection for the College of Western Idaho 10 after the strokes.
Last year's Heart Walk
In January of 2013, Governor Otter appointed me to serve on the Board of Idaho Housing and Finance Association and the Housing Company. I am also on the Board of the American Heart and Stroke Association. In December, 2012, I joined Risch-Pisca, Law & Policy, PLLC as a Legislative Consultant working part time.  
My passion is to educate people about strokes. I talk to students and participate in many stroke support groups. 
Life is precious but it is difficult when you have a stroke. I hate the term “my new normal,” but I am grateful that I can participate in events like the Heart Walk. Many stroke survivors cannot. 

1 comment:

Robert F. Crocker said...

The fact that I can walk at all is a miracle considering I had two strokes in January of 2012. I had a torn carotid artery. The second stroke happened in the hospital, and it was massive stroke rehabilitation services in india