A part of Steve Valenzuela’s right brain was damaged in his stroke, meaning he lost movement in his left leg and arm — making walking, standing and basic movements impossible. So he spent months tackling his stroke recovery, trying to relearn the basics. Watch his emotional journey below.
That is how Steve Valenzuela of Tonopah describes the first steps he took as his stroke recovery reached a crucial turning point.
“There were a lot of people there, because I’d been there for so long, who were rooting for me,” Valenzuela says. “I almost had to stop because I was crying so hard. Everybody was crying.”
Valenzuela was spending a normal evening at home when he fell after experiencing weakness in his legs. He managed to get himself to his kitchen and take a couple of aspirin. He went to bed, got up the next morning and went to work. Then the weakness returned even stronger.
Valenzuela didn’t know he was having a stroke. He ended up at Renown Regional Medical Center, but it was too late to give him treatments that could have stopped more of the stroke’s damage.
Stroke Recovery Takes Time, Effort
After Valenzuela spent days in the Intensive Care Unit to prevent another stroke, he was admitted to the Renown Rehabilitation Center. He had lost movement in his left leg and arm from the damage to his brain. With help from physicians and a wide range of therapists, Valenzuela worked nearly every day for three months to regain his cognitive skills and movement to his leg and arm. Among that work includes time with the exoskeleton suit, a therapy tool that helps patients re-learn the correct patterns for walking.
“I just can’t believe how good the staff is here,” Valenzuela says. “Every one of them has the same thought and that’s to get you or whoever they are working with better and get them up and running.”
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