Debra Hanmer

Added by on April 13th, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

I was 38 years old when I went to the hospital to have a giant aneurysm on my brain repaired. The doctor told me the risks, which included a stroke; however, the prognosis of leaving the aneurysm was very grim and I made the decision to go ahead with the operation. The operation was successful, but six hours after surgery I had a debilitating stroke that left me unable to walk, talk or do much on my own. Eventually, I began therapy at Goodwill NeuroRehab Services (WestSide location in Lewiston, ME). Here is where I made significant progress: I received occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, neuropsychology and attended many therapeutic groups. What I liked was everyone working together as a team helping me reach my goal of being more independent. The groups gave me the opportunity to interact with other clients who also had a brain injury. I finally felt that I had found people who understood what I was going through. I was not alone!

I had a difficult time accepting that I was no longer the person I was before my injury. I had changed. I had to learn to like the new me. My progress seemed so slow; I wanted everything to happen overnight. It helped me to write a list of all the progress that I made-no matter how small since the stroke. When I was having a bad day, I would review this list. I am still amazed at how much progress I have actually made.

I now am very happy with my life. I have returned to driving, being a wife and mother and attending to my household duties of cleaning, groceries and laundry. I have worked now at Goodwill NeuroRehab Services (WestSide location) for ten years as a Peer Support Rehab Technician, working with clients on their goals and encouraging them to become more independent.

Ken Christian
Senior Director, Communications
Goodwill Administrative Office

Updated 1 year ago by Calvin Gilbert