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Many younger people (in their 30’s and 40’s) are having strokes and are stuck in a rehabilitation process designed for eighty year olds. I was a dedicated runner and professional outdoor sports enthusiast when I had my stroke at age 47. I had to be creative and forceful in my rehab to take advantage of my youth and strength. I was seriously debilitated (paralyzed from my face to my toes on the left side), but my vision, speech, and cognitive areas (memory, reasoning, geographic orientation) were largely left intact. Exercise was already a daily habit easily replaced by dedicated physical therapy. After the first very hard month in the hospital, I had to push my therapists to give me more than their established routines. I had to insist with my family that I was capable of doing more than the doctors said I could. I took risks that might have proved fatal to an elderly stroke survivor but they enabled me to regain my former life. This is my story, it’s not a model rehab program. It might be just what you have been craving to hear is possible in stroke recovery.

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