Susie Wells

Dear Thomas L. Clouse, M.D.,

I wanted you know how much your website helped me.

In late September 2010 I had a massive stroke. I was having very bad migraines then one morning I felt nauseous, and then it happened. Suddenly I was partially paralyzed but managed to drag myself to the living room to call 911. Problem was the phone was on the table behind my couch and I couldn’t reach it. I must have tried 4 or 5 times, falling and busting my lip on the coffee table every time before I finally made the call.

In the emergency room I had another stroke and both were confirmed on a MRI. I was in the hospital for six weeks which involved inpatient rehabilitation and then continued with outpatient rehabilitation therapy. It was found that I have Prothrombin Gene Mutation 20210A or Factor II and will always be on Coumadin.

My friend, Anna, kept telling me that I would go back to work. The doctors told me that I needed to get on disability but I decided to try and I did go back to work. The first week while holding onto the walls as I walked to the bathroom I thought I had really messed up. My right foot would turn in and my legs seemed to stay apart which made it difficult to walk, and the walls seemed to move. That’s when I came back to my desk and Googled “Walking with Ataxia” and found your website. I read all of your encouraging words and went back to your website time and time again. Slowly I was able to walk further and better. But still sometimes I would get so discouraged because I didn’t think I would ever get back to normal again.

When I was in rehabilitation I was told that I would not regain much after the first year. But, I know now that it is up to every individual. I do believe going back to work helped me a lot. I’m a Project Manager and have four people that work for me. Having to do my job everyday made a big difference. I also know that finding your website helped me by making me turn my right foot out, bringing my legs together and holding my head up when I walk.

I still have some weakness on my right side. For the first couple of years I couldn’t do a lot with my right hand/arm because of this I would use my left hand. The bright side of that is my left hand became really strong. Now I’m more ambidextrous.

In the beginning I was in a wheelchair, then moved to a walker, so when I went back to work I was moving very slowly. But, if you ran into me today you would not know that I had any problem at all. The few little problems that I have are not noticeable unless I point them out. I also found that if I don’t walk for a few days I can really tell the difference so I try to do something every day.

Today while walking at work, on my break, I thought about you. I wanted to write and let you know that even if everyone doesn’t contact you to let you know how much you have helped them it doesn’t mean that you haven’t. Your website was a life saver for me!

Thanks again,

Susie Wells