I was 32 years old when I had my strokes. I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, or APS, which caused my blood to clot. The clot ended up in the right hemisphere of my brain, causing both strokes.
A little bit about Laura
My name is Laura Lo and I am a stroke survivor. My strokes were a year and a couple of months ago - November 25, 2022. I was 32 years old. I had one stroke in the morning and another in the hospital that evening. I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, or APS, which caused my blood to clot. The clot ended up in the right hemisphere of my brain, causing both strokes. Later that year, I was also diagnosed with lupus.
Leading up to my stroke, I noticed some brain fog and issues with my memory. During my strokes, I had a loss of speech, a blind spot in my vision, facial droop, and confusion. I had no sensation or control over my left side as I began rehabilitation. As a singer and music teacher, my inability to sing or match pitch felt devastating.
Who were involved in my recovery
My recovery journey has been full of highs and lows. I've worked with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, mental health therapist, yoga teacher, acupuncturist, chiropractor, sound healer, voice coach, rheumatologist, neurologist, general practitioner, and OBGYN.
It's been a challenge learning to trust my body again and move at a slower pace.
The ups and downs of recovery
The highs have been really high, though. I married the love of my life and found immense love and support in our community of friends and family! I learned how strong I am, and got to focus on what really matters. Healing has been a messy process full of mistakes, tears, fury, and grief.
Me and my support team have tried to keep a sense of humor through it all, and I am so grateful to still be here with them!
What helped me manage the lows
Recovery can feel really lonely, even with lots of care and support. Listening to the stroke stories podcast and the neuronerds podcast and hearing about other survivors' experiences has helped me feel less alone. Identity theft is a really impactful book about the experience of life after stroke. I follow other stroke survivors and lupus warriors on social media, and it really helps to relate to others going through a similar experience.
My humble advice
To my fellow stroke survivors and their caregivers: We are on a journey. All we can do is take it one moment at a time.
If you’d like to view Laura’s special wedding moment, you can watch it here