Brian’s Empowered Stroke Story

Brian O. White, Stroke Survivor

Hello! My name is Brian White and I’m from Lexington, KY. I am a stroke survivor since December 2019 and this is my story.

I was grateful to have met my wife at the age of 22 and we had one son. We lived in multiple cities from Nashville, TN, Gary, IN, to Beaufort, SC. Fall of 2017, unfortunately, I had one of the biggest losses a father can bear– my son was killed in a car accident. Shortly after on September 26, 2019, my wife suffered a massive brain aneurysm and passed away 3 days after. I lost my family and my job that year in Beaufort, SC. A few months later on December 9, 2019, I suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 45.

The stroke left me paralyzed on my right side. When I had this stroke, I lost my house, car, and life savings. Over the next serval months, I went to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services to learn how to walk again and gain mobility again on my right side. My recovery has been remarkable. At first, I could not walk, shower, or stand. I began therapy at the rehabilitation hospital for 2 months. I had lost my home and could not be discharged home. I

was blessed to be able to move in with a family from the church I pastor. I received home health therapy and worked hard to regain my mobility again. I finally graduated to be able to go to outpatient therapy at Beaufort Memorial in Beaufort, SC. I received additional physical and occupational therapy for another year. With hard work and motivation, I was able to walk and drive again after 7 months of intensive rehab therapy.

There are daily challenges that I am working to overcome and learning that my body and life after stroke may not look the same as pre-stroke. Even though I had a year of therapy, I still had nerve and neuro-muscular issues that have led to foot drop symptoms and weakness throughout my right side. Walking is still difficult and I have pain with movement. It is difficult for me to engage my leg muscles in the right moment, and in the right way to walk normally.

My goal is to continue engaging my body in body and find exercises that work for me. I continue to use the therapy exercises I learned on my own at the gym and I use the pool to be active. The one thing that worked incredibly well for me was the Bioventus L300 walking device. It is an amazing device that adapts through wireless technology and can figure out when your foot is on or off the ground. It adjusts based on my movements and helps me walk without having constant foot drop, weakness, and pain. The Bioness device also gives electrical stimulation to my leg muscles so I have more control when I am moving my legs, bending them, or straightening my knee. For the first time, since my stroke, I felt like I was walking more naturally. This device would really help give me my independence again. My quality of life would dramatically improve once I can go back to the activities that make me feel like myself again. Unfortunately, insurance was not able to cover the cost. I am glad I found an organization focused on helping people like me and understanding that we need more support to improve our lives. I am grateful to be featured in the YESS Foundation’s Giving Tuesday and I am very thankful for the community’s support in helping me gain the joys in life back.