Getting Back to Life, LLC

Kelli J. Smith's journey

My name is Kelli.
I was a working at a Bank, started as a teller in 2002, shortly after that I was promoted to Sales Manager (Assistant Branch Manager) and I took a brief job change. Shortly after I returned, I was promoted to BSSR (Branch Sales and Service Reprehensive) which was a fancy name for a floater who was a jack-of-all-trades in the branches I visited. New Jersey, Pennsylvania mainly. I loved it. Mother of two, my oldest one races Dirt bikes so I was constantly busy driving to races and being the banker for bike repair. My youngest son was beginning his love for Legos... Still loves them.  Supporting the dirt bike and my wallet, I worked part time at a local Big Box store and I loved it.  As busy as I was, I managed to get a full day off from both jobs and my (ex) husband and I were going out to lunch after I visited my chiropractor because I was always told a manipulation would help any health issues I was experiencing.  I loved natural healing.

 Now this part gets kinda spotty:

After my neck manipulation I heard a ‘pop’ and grabbed my left side of my neck saying I had pain. I told the doctor I needed to sit down for I felt like I was going to pass out.  My (ex) husband noticed I was starting to sweat. I said: “I see two of you. I learned later that was because my eyes started to move outwards. I started to speak but my ability was gone so I moaned.  Then I remember my right side going Flaccid, felt like a melting candle and had no control over it. In my head I recognized I was having a stroke and couldn’t speak and couldn’t understand that was happening to me.
I remember I tilted my head to the left, and that, unbeknownst to me, was pinching off the artery that was dissected causing my stroke. I was put on a teleconference with a Neurosurgeon in Texas who informed me I was having a stroke and needed to go into surgery immediately. I know I was flown by helicopter to another hospital in another big city who were more adapt to help me.
The rest of my stay in the hospital and rehabilitation afterward is like a dream and only find out what happened from family who were with me during my recovery. My memory before the stroke as well as the past 8 years of my recovery is not there.  Some things do come to the surface of my brain and I can express situations but what I say is like reading a book and telling as story. Just words with no meaning.

My (ex) husband helped me with trying to remember but I looked at him more like a stranger. I knew him but lost the first 9 years of our marriage. My children are the hardest to talk about. I have no memory of being pregnant with them or birthing them. I feel more an Aunt most times though I am trying to regain the maternal feeling. My parents were equally difficult for I know who they were but only now, in the present. I can’t remember them from my youth, partly for I can’t remember that as well. Good news is I have a twin sister and she helps me fill in the gaps but again, no memory of her before now either.

With all that going on, started to feel sorry for myself and that led me nowhere. I decided that life was mine to make, for everyday truly feels like a new day so make the best of it. I have had the privilege to meet other stroke survivors who, unlike me, have their memories of their past life before stroke. I shared my story and they realized that, despite all of their troubles, it is possible to find that positive nugget and start life over and adapt with changes and make the best of it.  
I don’t have many memories of my recovery since my stroke and  I have to ask those around me to reassure me that I’ve got better. At the end of the day as long as I’m happy with my life, that’s all that matters.