I Believe in Me: Katie’s Story

This holiday season, in the lobby of Magee’s 6th floor Creative Therapy Center and Healing Gardens stands the Believe Tree. Patients and guests have created ornaments with their messages of hope and healing for the new year. When 49-year-old Katie Dunbar began working on her contribution to the tree, the words came quickly: “Some people believe in Santa Claus,” she wrote, “but I believe in me!” 

Katie, who lives in Darby, PA, came to Magee in November following a stroke that occurred after heart surgery. The first few days in rehab were tough, but Katie pushed through. She would arrive in the gym and couldn’t remember how she got there. She was unable to lift her left arm and leg. 

“In the beginning, I cried every day. I was so homesick,” Katie recalls. 

To try to get better as soon as possible, Katie took advantage of all that Magee has to offer. In addition to her daily physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions, she worked with art, recreation, horticulture, and music therapies, as well.

“When I’d get to therapy, I’d forget all about how sad I was,” Katie says. “My therapists gave me so much confidence. I believe Magee believed in me.”

Katie’s therapists encouraged her to try new things each day, and she focused on working hard and learning as much as she could. 

With her discharge date scheduled for this week, Katie is thrilled to be heading home to spend the holidays with her family, including a granddaughter born just days before she arrived at Magee.

“I know I can’t do everything I used to do around the house, but I can help,” Katie says. “And I think the room will just change when I get there.”

To learn more about the Stroke Program at Magee, click here.

Top photo: Katie with her speech therapist, Aimee Aranguren, M.S. CCC-SLP

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