Palmdale resident Anthony Roosevelt Stokes knows firsthand that no two strokes are the same. In the winter of 2011, he was at home with his wife when he noticed his left leg was dragging. As he tried to explain what was happening, the left side of his face drooped and he couldn’t speak, so his wife called 9-1-1. The paramedics who came recognized right away that he was having a stroke. They administered a medication to stabilize him before taking him to Palmdale Regional Medical Center for diagnosis and treatment. Anthony stayed at the hospital for a week before starting a stroke rehabilitation program. “I had to learn to walk and talk and to basically do everything all over again,” he recalls.
A little less than six years later, in late 2017, Anthony had a neck pain that prevented him from turning his head. Figuring it was a muscle strain, he took an over-the-counter medicine for it, but when he woke up the next day, he noticed his lips felt numb. Over the next few days, the numbness spread to the right side of his face and then to his right arm, which is when he went to Palmdale Regional Medical Center and learned he was having another stroke. “The second one wasn’t like the first one. I didn’t even know it was a stroke.”
Having a stroke puts you at a greater risk of a secondary or recurrent stroke. In fact, a quarter of the 800,000 strokes adults experience in the U.S. each year are recurrent strokes.*
Now a survivor two-times over, Anthony attends the Stroke Survivors Support Group at Palmdale Regional and has learned from speaking with other survivors that each person experiences stroke differently. His advice to anyone who has had a stroke is this: “Don’t give up. You have to keep trying. I did not think I was going to come back from the second stroke. It was hard, but I can do everything now. I don’t need to use a cane or a walker.”
Attending a rehabilitation program is key for recovering from a stroke according to Neurosurgeon Kamran Parsa, MD, who oversees the stroke program at Palmdale Regional. “Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are all of paramount importance. You need to have the correct professionals involved to help you develop the new pathways in your brain to regain the functions that you lost. The entire collaborative staff at Palmdale—from physical therapists, speech therapists, nursing directors and staff, ICU and the pharmacy—everyone has provided wonderful input to make this a great program.”
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