Surviving a Stroke: the Recovery Process of One Mother - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Surviving a Stroke: the Recovery Process of One Mother

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Woman recovering from stroke and coma Woman recovering from stroke and coma
POST FALLS, Idaho -

Every 39 seconds someone has a stroke, and it's the number four reason people die in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association.

Six years ago, Dawn Wass, 35, of Hayden, Idaho became a statistic when she suffered from a stroke while breastfeeding her then three-month-old daughter.

She spent the following seven days in a coma.

Now she's continuing the process of relearning. Wass suffers from a common learning disorder known as aphasia.

"My brain is dead, so I need to redo learning again," says Wass.

Wass attends speech therapy classes where she must relearn how to read and, in some cases, write. Her speech therapy pathologist, Linsey Willoughby, says Wass suffers from both receptive and expressive aphasia, meaning she has trouble expressing her thoughts. Wass knows what she wants to say, but at times will come across a word she is thinking but can't physically figure out how to say it.

Wass says this is the most aggravating part, "I can't read and so, it's really hard with all of that. I want to read again. I did reading like, books, three days and then I want another book. Now I can't read anymore and it drives me crazy."

But her kids have kept her sane, often helping at home as well as with her speech therapy sessions.

"If I can't find the words, Lauren and Jack will say no it's not right and fix it," says Wass.

Overcoming a stroke, coma, and raising two kids while trying to relearn how to read, Wass was out in Post Falls today celebrating with other Stroke victims at the 'Saving Strokes' event. The golfing seminar is aimed at getting stroke victims outside and reacquaint themselves with everyday life, something Wass has been trying to do herself.

"If you can't do it, somebody will help you," she said. "I have my phone, I have apps and I can do everything now."

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