We’re Emily and Bethany, sisters and co-founders of LION, and we wouldn’t be writing a blog post today if not for Emily’s stroke in 2016. She is the survivor who inspired this whole adventure, so what better place to start than with her story!
(Written tag-team style with commentary from Emily in quotes. She has aphasia.)
On January 2, 2016, Emily traveled back to grad school in Indiana after spending the holidays with family. She remembers watching a movie (“Top Gun!”) with a friend that evening when the right side of her face started to feel weird. Her friend had EMS training and recognized that Emily was having a stroke.
“Basically, I almost died.”
Our family gathered within 24 hours in Indianapolis, IN. Testing that day revealed she had experienced a massive hemorrhagic stroke. Her brain was under incredible pressure from the brain bleed and there was no way to know the extent of damage. The prognosis of the first neurosurgeon:
“Basically, dead. But I showed them!”
Fortunately, the second neurosurgeon who examined Emily offered some hope. The choices were: 1) wait and let the brain absorb the bleed. She would most likely have more strokes from the pressure. 2) High-risk brain-pathway surgery that would relieve pressure on her brain