The picture of perfect health, I had spent decades exercising and eating right. Yet, on July 23rd 2010, with no warning signs, I had a stroke in my sleep.
My husband awoke to discover that something was radically wrong with me. In retrospect, we think that a change in my blood pressure medication might have induced the stroke.
Overnight, my life was changed forever. Unable to speak or move one side of my body, I was rushed to Duke Hospital where I remained for six days. I then completed six weeks of rehab therapy at New Hanover Memorial Hospital. Four years later, I have regained mobility in hand and arm; I can walk with the assistance of a cane; and I have regained about 80% of my speech, but it has been, and will continue to be, an uphill battle.
I spend much of my time pursuing a wide range of therapies and treatments to help with my post-stroke condition. Many of these therapies assist with restoring shoulder plasticity. After paralysis from a stroke, excessive burden falls on the upper extremity, especially the shoulder. It’s as if the muscles are turned on all of the time, and they cannot relax. If left unchecked, this can lead to pain and functional limitations such as rotator cuff tears or degenerative joint disease. Consequently, I get regular Botox injections in Chapel Hill for my arm and hand (the Botox relaxes the muscles and allows for increased movement); I get massage, and I also get acupuncture treatments.
Of all the therapies I pursue, I especially enjoy acupuncture because it addresses mind, body and soul. Robert’s technique, his sensitivity toward his patients and his passion for acupuncture are a perfect combination. Over time, I’ve gotten to know Robert so well that I don’t just think of myself as a patient, I think of myself as a friend. Whether Robert is needling my body’s meridian points to relax my muscles, sharing strategies on how to cope with my fear of falling, or we’re chatting about the delightful tradition of the “Show Us Your Shoes Parade” at the Miss America Pageant, I feel right at home. I leave his office feeling uplifted, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
As someone who has spent the past four years engaging with professional healers of all kinds, I can tell you that Robert is the genuine article, a caring professional who can be trusted to do all that he can to assist in one’s complete journey toward optimal health. I’m determined not to give up my fight, and I’m delighted to have Robert and Acupuncture Associates on my team.—S.D.