Seven Years Out: The road to recovery from a stroke-like episode

Seven Years Out: The road to recovery from a stroke-like episode

Seven Years Out: The road to recovery from a stroke-like episode

Randy loves to read, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with his family. He enjoys going to the gym and took up aquatic therapy to exercise and make new friends. He’s come a long way since he experienced a car accident, which led to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke-like symptoms as a result back in 2017. Recently, after seven years of outpatient physical rehabilitation, he has been discharged. I had the honor of speaking to him recently to hear how “Randy 2.0,” as he refers to himself, has transformed and how he is embracing his path forward.

Randy’s care journey

After the accident, Randy described waking up in the hospital like being in a foreign land. He didn’t recognize where he was or who was around him. Those early weeks in the hospital focused on regaining an understanding of who he was, and where he was. Although he was in a strange place, Randy was thankful to have support from his mother and godmother, who visited him every single morning.

After months in the hospital, he was evaluated for discharge by his care team. Together, they decided to transfer him to a long-term residential rehab facility where he could continue to work on his recovery journey, starting with small victories. For example, at the rehab facility, Randy worked on his motor skills – starting with building up the strength to sit up on the side of his bed for 12 seconds at a time.

Randy spent 19 months in the rehab facility before returning home.  Once home, he continued to receive care and with his physical and occupational therapists, they developed a comprehensive strategy for him to continue making progress towards his goals. To accommodate his new mobility, his house required renovations to meet accessibility standards.

Impact of spasticity

Throughout his recovery journey, Randy has faced many obstacles, from regaining his strength, to adjusting to new family dynamics. One challenge included muscle tightness which he experienced on his left side, and his neurologist identified it as spasticity.

For Randy, spasticity impacts his arm, complicating daily tasks from opening a car door, to tying his shoes. Randy’s occupational therapy team reminds him to “just use it” – meaning using his left side for anything and everything from turning on a light to holding a toothbrush to improve mobility.

To help regain movement and strength to his affected side, Randy followed a schedule of physical therapy to improve his spasticity in addition to receiving targeted injections to help loosen the affected muscles. And he can tell when it’s time for a session when his left side feels tighter and harder to move. But with work and focus, things that were once difficult to do, like putting on deodorant by himself, he’s now able to do.

Getting back to what he loves

In my conversations with Randy, he has taught me that while every day has been a challenge, a positive mindset is everything. For Randy, that means reminding himself that progress doesn’t happen overnight – he focuses on the big picture, and how “the little moments” add up to progress.

By listening to his story, I’m also reminded about the importance of a strong care and support team that you can trust. Randy’s support network has been key to coaching and motivating him through exercises to regain range of motion – allowing him to focus on the future and what he can and will be able to do.

I admire that Randy has goals to take a walk across a five-mile bridge near his home, and to mow his own lawn, in addition to continuing to advocate for his community. Randy has also discovered a passion for helping others going through a similar experience. One way he does this is through volunteering his time to tell his story to medical students, so they can better understand what the recovery journey entails. For Randy, he knows how much perseverance the road to recovery takes. Whatever the future holds for Randy, I am certain he will embrace it with his “one day at a time” attitude.

Randy was compensated for his time by Ipsen.


Chris Watters

Vice President, Franchise Head, Neuroscience Business Unit

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ALLSC-US-001309. May 2024

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