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Remarkable Recoveries: Caroline's Story

A financial professional overcomes the challenges of a stroke and returns to pursuing her dreams.

Caroline

A financial professional overcomes the challenges of a stroke and returns to pursuing her dreams.

The way that Caroline describes the day she arrived at Spaulding Cape Cod sounds like a scene right out of a movie – “the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and not a cloud could be found in the sky.” This picturesque day was in stark contrast to the morning just one week prior when everything changed for Caroline.

Caroline, 38, had just began a new job as a financial analyst for a prominent Boston firm and was preparing for an important meeting the next day when she began to feel ill and see scattered flashes of light. Determined to make a good impression on her new colleagues, she brushed off the symptoms and finished up the day. The following morning Caroline awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. Contrary to her typically punctual self, Caroline had inadvertently slept through her alarm and was hours late to work.  

“I remember being so tired that I couldn’t even lift my head,” said Caroline. She did not wake up again until the following day when she was awoken by the sounds of her sister and doorman opening her apartment door. Caroline was so weak that she could barely walk and was repeating herself. She was rushed to the emergency room where she was told that a blood clot had traveled to her brain, causing a stroke. After a week of being treated with blood thinners, Caroline was transferred to Spaulding Cape Cod to begin her rehabilitation.

“As soon as I arrived at Spaulding Cape Cod, I was welcomed with warmth, compassion and care,” said Caroline. “I felt relieved. I knew I was finally where I needed to be to really heal.” 

When Caroline was first admitted to Spaulding Cape Cod, she was experiencing difficulties with her speech, language and swallowing, as well as cognitive challenges such as short-term memory loss and impairments to her problem-solving and organization abilities. Caroline worked closely with her team of therapists at Spaulding to address these issues through different therapeutic exercises. 

“My therapists helped me tremendously,” said Caroline. “Here I was, finally in the role I had spent years training for, and suddenly I couldn’t recall simple words, do calculations in my head, or balance a checkbook.  As a financial analyst, this was incredibly frustrating and scary.”

“The impairments Caroline experienced from her stroke presented challenges both in her ability to function independently as well as her ability to be able to return to work,” said Jan, Caroline’s speech-language pathologist. “But she was positive and motivated throughout her time here, which makes a huge difference in recovery.”

“Not only did my therapists help me with the physical and cognitive challenges I was experiencing, but they supported me on an emotional and psychological level as well,” said Caroline.

Caroline gradually grew stronger, both in mind and body. She is now happily back to work and enjoys the successes she experiences each day. “I feel so lucky,” said Caroline. “The support of the wonderful community of people who rallied around me and my amazing therapists at Spaulding are what have gotten me through this journey.”

2nd Annual Stroke Recovery Research Symposium

Click here to view the agenda from our last Stroke Recovery Research Symposium held on November 18, 2016.

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