Meet Mary: Life Beyond Stroke


Meet Mary T, age 61

Occupation: Former Database Analyst.

Hobbies: Reading (Mary belongs to a book club); walking. Mary takes classes at Olli (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which is for people over 50 years of age) in Long Beach. She has taken current events classes, a yoga class, The Global Update, and Fear Not, I Speak Shakespeare.

Volunteer duties: Stroke Support Association Board Member; Stroke Support Association Hospital Visitor Program; President of the Democratic Club at Seal Beach Leisure World; Treasurer of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

When was your stroke (or strokes)? June 26, 2013, just after midnight.

What has been the most helpful thing you have learned since your stroke?
“Patience and perseverance. Recovering from a stroke is a slow process, so you want to be patient with yourself. Doing tasks will take longer. And you have to keep going. If you work at it, you will eventually be able to do it.”

What do you wish people would know about stroke survivors?
“Stroke survivors who come to support groups are people who are more accepting of their stroke and are willing to fight to get better.”

What are some of the difficulties you have experienced as a result of your stroke?
“Walking.” Mary’s immediate deficits included her right arm and right leg. Her speech was fine. After discharge from the hospital, Mary had two weeks of acute physical therapy, which enabled her to get markedly improved ability back in her affected hand. Later, she engaged in a set of exercises at home, and her hand is back to almost 100% now. Right after her stroke, she couldn’t even lift her arm.

What is your best advice for new stroke survivors?
“Things will get better. Be patient and persevere.”

What is your favorite thing about the Stroke Support Association support groups? “You meet new people who have gone through the same thing; you talk every week. I like the socialization and the education.”

Betsy Hardiman

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