Nine years ago Missi Hedrick went to bed and fell asleep in one world and awoke the next day in an entirely different world.
Before February 15, 2011 the world Missi knew was pretty normal for a 41 year old single mom with 3 kids. There was her work at the medical research firm where she was a documentation specialist. Her days were filled with writing protocols, research logs and essays, with an occasional business trip to L.A. Then there were her kids, her 3 beautiful, smart and talented children. Two cheerleaders and a percussionist kept Missi on the go with dance recitals, choir practices, band concerts, plays, games and all the other melee of activities that make for a very packed schedule. And what would the world of a single parent be like without the occasional stressing over relationships, bills, drama at work and the rest of the not so ideal aspects of the real world. That was the world that slowly, gently faded from her view as Missi drifted off to sleep the night of February 14,2011.
That was the last Missi saw of the world she had lived in and become comfortable with since she could remember. When Missi woke up the next day it was to a bizarre new world, a world where she couldn’t speak or move. Confused and terrified Missi tried to reach for the phone, only to fall out of bed, giving herself a black eye in the process. After an excruciatingly long struggle she managed to dial her mom’s number. But when her mom answered all Missi could do was utter “Huh,huh,huh” into the phone. Having had an aneurism herself, Missi’s mom knew what was happening. She immediately called 911 and rushed to Missi’s house.
For the past 9 years Missi has fought to make her way through this strange new world. The ischemic stroke left her paralyzed and unable to speak, read or write. After some time the paralysis went away but in spite of months of therapy she is still unable to speak well. Although she is talking more now she still has to rely on her phone to record conversations and messages. Interestingly, Missi has always had a passion for singing. And even though speaking continues to be difficult her ability to sing came back on its own. She sings a lot and music is an important part of her life.
Facing the challenges of regaining a functional life after the ravages of a stroke left Missi wrestling with bouts of depression for the first seven years following the stroke. Not only had she lost physical and mental abilities but she lost her job and even had friends abandon her. Missi gives a lot of credit to her kids for always being there for her. She fondly quipped “If I need help all 3 of them show up. I am here because of my children”.
In spite of her new world’s adversities Missi’s life continues to improve. And while she credits her family for her success she also points out, “I never give up! I was depressed for 7 years but I am living again. I got many blessings, three kids and three grand kids. I am living life like I should.” And recently, after years of boredom Missi has landed a job in the apparel department of Walmart. She loves her work.
Now that she has her life back on track Missi hopes she can help others who are going through difficult times. To that end she has this advice for fellow stroke survivors: “Don’t ever give up, PLEASE! It’s a long road recovering from a stroke. I did it and you can too. It’s ok to be depressed. But don’t give up!”
Missi Hedrick is definitely a great example of how Stroke Survivors Can!
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