woman cyclist Neuroscience

Tiffany Kennedy: Unexpected Stroke and Unbelievable Recovery

Tiffany was just 42, athletic, and in seemingly perfect health when she experienced an ischemic stroke. She had recently had surgery to remove a bunion on her left foot and was on crutches when she fell to the floor while at home. Her husband thought she had taken too much medication because he could not get Tiffany to sit up on her own. When her speech became garbled and she lost the ability to move her left side, he knew it was something more serious.

Tiffany’s husband took her to the ER in the small city of Edna, Texas. After realizing she was having a stroke, doctors were considering transferring her to a nearby hospital, but her husband was concerned the facility would not have the experts and capabilities to treat her. He arranged for her to be transported via helicopter to The Woodlands, Texas, nearly 200 miles from her home. 

When Tiffany arrived, the stroke team at CHI St. Luke’s Health–The Woodlands Hospital was waiting for her. She was immediately taken to get an MRI, where the clot was detected. After undergoing endovascular surgery to remove the clot, Tiffany spent four days in the ICU. By day four, when her physical therapist asked her to walk to him without a walker, she was able to do it and was released a few hours later. On Wednesday she couldn’t move the left side of her body and on Saturday she walked out of the ICU on her own.

“I owe my life to the team of doctors and staff that cared for me at CHI St. Luke’s Health,” Tiffany says. Talking to her doctors after her stroke, she learned that timing is everything. Being transferred quickly to a comprehensive stroke center was the difference between longterm impairment and full recovery. Words really can't express how grateful I am to everyone who helped save my life,” she says. “I am functioning as if it never happened. I am as active as ever, probably even more so now. The staff, nurses and doctors really love the work they do and it shows. I am living proof. They really care. I am eternally grateful.”

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