Determination helps stroke survivor recover and achieve goals

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Fall is a season when you’ll see a lot of gardeners out getting their flowers and yards ready for the cold winter months ahead.

It’s a place Kathy Jones loved to be until she had a stroke.

“When I got up, I stumbled a little bit, but I just thought, ‘Well my knee is still pretty darn sore.’ So I didn’t think anything about it,” remembers Kathy.

She doesn’t let much slow her down, which is why she didn’t understand why she was stumbling as she let her dogs out one November morning in 2014.

“We hit the living room, and we both took a nose dive, and I slid on the hardwood under this chair over here,” she explains.

“The whole left side was just shot. In fact, I still can’t – I can move my arm a little bit. I can’t raise it.” – Kathy Jones

Kathy says she couldn’t get up and she started to sweat and shake and knew then that something was wrong.

A few phone calls got around to the nurse next door who came to see what was going on.

“She knew immediately what had happened and that’s when the ball got rolling,” says Kathy.

Kathy had a stroke. A ride in an ambulance and four days in intensive care led her to rehab where Kathy was faced with several challenges.

“The whole left side was just shot. In fact, I still can’t – I can move my arm a little bit. I can’t raise it.”

Acupuncture, Botox and lots of therapy helped some, but her determination likely helped the most.

“My brother has season tickets for K-State football so when September rolled around I said I want to go to a game,” laughs Kathy.

So Kathy and her therapist went to work on climbing stairs.

“I did steps till I was blue in the face, but I was able to go to the game!”

With a lot of hard work, Kathy has come a long way in the time since her stroke and now she shares her experience by volunteering at the same place that’s helping her recover.

“I go around to all the patients and just shoot the breeze with them.”

She still has a few goals ahead of her.

A short-term goal she says would be to work on walking without her cane.

The long-term goal – get back out in her yard with the new mower she bought just before her stroke that’s now in the care of her nephew.

“He told me if you can start mowing, I’ll give you back your mower. So, I want my new mower back, and I want to be able to mow,” smiles Kathy.

Another one of Kathy’s goals during her recovery was to walk a mile at the Wichita Heart Walk.

As you might imagine, she accomplished that goal too and has gone on to volunteer at the American Heart Association.

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