Regaining Control with Stroke Therapy: February 29, 2012

Lucie Williams was in church when she was struck by a stroke. By day’s end she’d suffered three. Doctors said it was a miracle she survived.

“When I woke up I found out that I couldn’t see properly I would see shapes and hear voices and my whole left side was paralyzed and I had problems with my speech.”

That was May of last year; she’s come a long way in just nine months.

“If I explain to somebody that I had three strokes at the same time, then I was paralyzed they say ‘no way you’re making that up that’s not true’. I say listen I lived it, I know,” says Williams.

More people are surviving strokes than ever before, meaning more people are living with the after effects. With the proper therapy many of them may be able to avoid being on the disabled list.

“If you have somebody that used to play golf, then you want to try to emphasize golf movements, because those are already embedded in the brain. With Lucie it was a lot of walking,” says Abe Abarbanel.

Abe is a stroke therapist with Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness.

”We had her push objects, we had her align her body and create some compression in her shoulder girdle, because walking is not just the function of your legs, it’s a function of your whole body.”

While its optimal to begin therapy immediately, experts find stroke survivors can always find room for improvement.

“We find that even after ten years we can still help people to improve their functional abilities,” says Abarbanel.

“I said I want to walk. I want to be able to do everything for myself, and I’m able to do it,” says Williams.

So Lucie is a walking wonder, in more ways than one.