Tony Thomassey – Never Quit!
By Carl Boockholdt
Strokes affect different people in different ways. Most people cite aphasia, paralysis, and difficulty speaking as the primary affects a stroke had on them. On the other hand, Tony Thomassey talks about the impact a stroke had on his emotional state.
On May 28, 2013, Tony had a hemorrhagic stroke that affected the right frontal lobe of his brain. It is believed that drugs given him to fight an infection he acquired after a routine outpatient surgery were the cause of the stroke. At the time of the stroke Tony lists double vision, inability to walk, headaches, loss of balance and the inability to see his mood swings as the symptoms of the stroke. After 6 months of hospitalization Tony re-entered the world with the lingering deficits of neuro fatigue, mood swings, compromised balance and was prone to saying inappropriate things.
As a highly successful pharmaceuticals salesman, whose success was built on the ability to promote, establish, and maintain excellent interpersonal relationships prior to the stroke, one could surmise that his mood swings and saying inappropriate things were the product of the stroke damage and not a characteristic of his pre-stroke life. In fact, when asked what was the hardest thing he had to deal with in the first year after the stroke Tony responded, “Emotions. I was a complete lunatic for the first 24 months”.
In the nearly 10 years since the stroke Tony has seen improvement. He attends Silver Sneakers classes, lifts weights, walks, swims, and bicycles. Tony also runs a youth football organization. Although he is not currently enrolled in any clinical therapy program Tony recognizes that therapy has enabled him to walk better and become more cognizant of his remarks and how his actions impact others.
Tony gets a lot of support from his family and friends in his ongoing recovery. He noted, “Every stroke survivor has a different experience and so much of it is based on upon the support they have received from their family. I was fortunate that my family was with me every step of the way”. He goes on to say, “The folks in the Silver Sneakers classes are great. They look after me like I was one of their kids!”
Tony refers to himself as “a complete miracle. My prognosis was that I’d most likely die or be a vegetable. To be able to walk, talk, care for myself were not in the expected outcomes.”
Tony admonishes other stroke survivors to “Never ever quit, make the most of what you have and enjoy life, every moment.”
No doubt about it, Tony Thomassey is a Stroke Survivor who CAN!
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