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Stroke Survivor: From Paralysis to Power

At the age of 33, Kate Adamson was a wife, mother of 2 small children and a physical fitness advocate on her way to becoming a certified trainer.  Without warning, a near fatal double brainstem stroke changed Kate’s life forever.

“When I went to bed the night before I was thinking about a luncheon for my girlfriends the next day.  That next day never arrived!  I woke up in intensive care—bewildered and frightened.  I was so scared, isolated and lonely.  I was completely paralyzed.  The only thing I could do was to blink my eyes.  I had no way of communicating with the outside world.”

In other words, Kate was trapped in her body—screaming silently and helplessly.

“Few people can understand what it is like…much less understand my struggles.  Here I am—lying in bed with thoughts racing through my mind about my 18 month old and 3 year old.  I needed to be home—not in the hospital.  I was a fitness fanatic.  Suddenly, I couldn’t go to the gym.  What am I going to do?  I thought I was having a really bad dream.   But, I wasn’t.   I couldn’t even move my head.  The only thing I could do was to blink.  I could think and blink.  This was the only way I could communicate with the outside world.”

Steven Klugman, Kate’s husband, brought an alphabet board to the hospital.   He used a pencil to point at the letters.  His wife would spell words by blinking when the pencil was placed on the right letter.  Her husband made sure the hospital staff knew his wife understood what was going on around her.  He wrote a note and placed it over her bed.  It read:  This is a human being lying here.  She understands what you say.  Please treat her as a person.”

For the next 3 months, Kate underwent extensive physical rehabilitation.  Physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Kate day after day.   In time, Kate, who had been a prisoner in her body, beat one-in-a-hundred odds to regain mobility and function.

“Never give up no matter what.  I know it’s tough staying positive when you’re going through a crisis.   You want to give up and throw in the towel.   But, you can’t.  You will get to the other side.  I love this expression—‘this too shall pass.’  You need to reach out and have a support system.   A gentleman recently called me and told me  his wife is in the same situation I was in.  I asked him what he was doing to take care of himself.  He has to be able to care of himself to give his wife strength.  He also has to stay in the moment.  It is one day at a time.  We can’t look back or down the road.”

Right now, Kate is using the gifts of her tragedy to inspire people to live their dreams.

“Life handed me a tough situation.  I could give in to it or I could learn from it.  I made up my mind to learn from the experience and grow as a person.  The stroke actually gave me purpose in life.  Yes, I suffered a lot.  People say ‘why you’ and I say ‘why not me?’”

As an inspirational speaker, Kate Adamson shares her story in hopes of letting others know it is possible to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

“I ask these questions: ‘What if we focused on our abilities rather than disabilities.  What would that look like?  What might be the results?’  Maybe it is good that we recognize our limitations—but isn’t it better to recognize that despite our ‘limitations,’ we are unlimited in what we can do and be?”

Kate Adamson is the author of Kate’s Journey Triumph over Adversity.

For more information about Kate, go to her website: www.katesjourney.com 

 

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