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Sewing the Way to Recovery Cynthia Chisek, Eau Claire

Seamstress, Cynthia Chisek, had fallen asleep on the couch and when she woke up she was shocked to discover she had no feeling in the left side of her body. She instantly fell to the ground. Cynthia called for her husband who dialed 9-1-1 and the ambulance rushed her to Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph.

Once at the hospital, Cynthia received a CAT scan, MRI, and angiogram. The tests determined she had suffered from a brain bleed which caused her to have a stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. This can occur when a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).

As soon as Cynthia’s son heard his mother’s diagnosis he called neurosurgeon, Christian Sikorski, MD, who previously had cared his own medical issues. Cynthia was in the intensive care unit (ICU) for five days, and then in a step-down unit where Dr. Sikorski oversaw and monitored her care.

After being discharged from the hospital Cynthia’s journey to recovery wasn’t over yet. She was transferred to Lakeland Hospital Watervliet to undergo inpatient rehabilitation. Upon arrival, Cynthia recounted how fabulous the staff was. They all gave her their full attention from the moment she arrived.

During her month-long stay, Cynthia performed rehabilitation three hours a day with her occupational therapists, Angel and Nate, physical therapist, Renee, and speech therapist, Lisa.

“Whenever I had a concern or questions, the person I needed would help me right away—it helped me have confidence in my recovery,” said Cynthia. “Everyone was so encouraging, they pushed me to work as hard as I could so I could gain my mobility back.”

Cynthia’s occupational therapist, Angel knew how important sewing was to her patient and wanted to make sure Cynthia could still do the hobby she loved when she returned home. Angel brought in a sewing machine and started working it into Cynthia’s rehabilitation. “Thanks to Angel and my team, I now have full mobility of my arm and I’m able to continue my passion of sewing,” said Cynthia.

Cynthia’s husband was able to be with his wife every day, and received guidance from her therapists on his role in her recovery.

“Especially towards the end of my rehabilitation, my therapists worked extra with my husband and made sure he was involved in my therapy so he was as prepared as he could be to help me at home,” said Cynthia.

After returning home Cynthia continued her physical and occupational therapy at Lakeland Rehabilitation in Coloma. Throughout it all she keeps a positive frame of mind and knows that she can continue to count on her rehabilitation care team to provide the support she needs for a full recovery.