Steve was at home watching a movie when things got… weird.
“About a third into the film, I noticed that the audio level from the soundtrack was starting to irritate me. It wasn’t much after this that my head started to feel as if I was about to faint..."
He was right – it wasn’t normal. Steve was having a stroke. He tried to call 911, but couldn’t physically do it. By the time he reached the dispatcher, hours had passed. He remembers hearing the sirens and being put in the ambulance – but that’s it.
Several weeks and a craniectomy later, Steve was at Magee. He spent time as an inpatient and then transitioned to Day Rehab at the Riverfront Outpatient Center. Tracy, his partner—both in business and life—was by his side the entire time.
“I had to truly learn what ‘one step at a time’ meant,” said Tracy. “At first, his recovery seemed very slow. I needed to accept this was a process and it would take a great deal of patience on my part—as well as Steve’s—to come to understand.”
The joys and struggles Steve and Tracy experienced during Steve’s recovery are experienced by every couple dealing with the aftermath of a stroke. They wanted to share their story to show other families that they aren’t alone.
Throughout May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month, Steve and Tracy each blogged about their experiences from their perspective. From the day of his stroke, to relearning to walk, to returning home, Steve and Tracy shared it all on Magee’s believe@Magee blog—including Steve’s difficult transition to life in a rehabilitation hospital.
“I went from living a life of complete freedom to a life of complete micromanagement,” he said in one of his blog posts. “My meals, digestive process, medication, etc. were all regulated. After all I had been through, this was one of the most difficult transitions. I’m not sure I ever got quite used to it.”
These candid posts were very well received and were shared all across the web. Today, Steve is getting back to the things he loves, including returning to the photography business he runs with Tracy. In fact, their work was recently featured at the Art Stroll in Media, PA. For both Steve and Tracy, this is a bright spot in an otherwise challenging time—and the future’s getting brighter every day.
“It has been a long journey and not an easy one,” said Steve. “It has tested me in ways that I never imagined. It’s shown me things about friendship, shown me things about myself and things about others. Despite the obvious un-pleasantries, to put it mildly, all of these have been invaluable lessons, and I feel blessed to have experienced them. I can see my future, and I believe there is a way back. And I’m getting there.”