Portrait: Rolf

In 2020, I dissected both of my carotid arteries while swimming. My survival chance was 2% but I strongly believe that with rehab and willpower, you can achieve the unexpected.

A little bit about Rolf 

In March 2020 I dissected both of my carotid arteries while swimming. Two weeks later I woke up with three blood clots on the left side of my brain. During surgery, I suffered a 4th infarct and they had to remove this blood clot as well. I spent 8 weeks in ICU, 4 of which I was in a coma. I also got three sepsis.

My survival chance was 2% and the doctors thought that if I was to survive, I would be a lifelong nurse case. I ignored that prognosis and I never gave up.  

Symptoms that remain  

I was left with upper limp paralysis; my left hand still needs some work. I have mood swings on some days and mentally sometimes it is just tough. My frontal lobes were affected most and therefore organisational difficulties are sometimes harder to accomplish. My short-term memory ability has been reduced quite a bit compared to my former life.  

Hobbies and support 

I still enjoy running and cycling but unfortunately, I should no longer swim. My wife and brother were huge supporters of me. I couldn’t have done it without them. 

The highlights of my recovery 

One year later on the day I ran a half marathon. And I am now fully back to work, working around 45-50 hours a week at a global Investment Bank. Rehab remains my daily task and my left hand still remains weak. SameYou helped me especially after my hospital stay with its rehab programme.   

Advice I would give another survivor 

Often doctors' prognosis is wrong. I had the worst of all prognosis and now I am fully back to life with only a few small negative side effects. I strongly believe that with rehab and willpower, you can achieve the unexpected. The brain can rebuild lots through neuro plasticity. I really would like to encourage every stroke survivor to never ever give up. Stroke recovery is a long-term process. Be consistent and take one step at a time. It will pay off. Mental health remains tough on some days because my life has changed a lot but through meditation, I know I will fight that battle as well. 

A quote that I like

Be brave, consistent and never ever give up believing in your recovery. The brain remains under researched and can achieve wonders.

 

Rolf recently did a TEDx talk about his brain injury recovery, you can watch it here

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