Updated: Apr 23, 2021
Hey everybody! I was absolutely thrilled that Bioness reached out to talk to me about my experience as a stroke survivor using their devices. Below you can find the article, thanks so much for reading!
Maureen's Stroke Recovery Story: The Power of Perseverance & Technology
After suffering from a stroke in 2015, Maureen set out on her recovery journey. Unique to her care, Maureen has been aided by each of Bioness’ devices from in-house rehabilitation, to day-to-day living as she works to get back to traveling and publishing her own book.
In September 2015, while her partner was away working, Maureen Harrop was home in Flagstaff, Arizona, and began to lose feeling throughout the left side of her body and thought she was suffering from a stroke. Barely being able to move or speak, she fought to dial 911. After being transported to the local hospital, she was informed she had suffered from a massive Ischemic Stroke in the Basal Ganglia area of the brain. Prior to her event, Maureen, a former flight attendant, and her partner were avid travelers with a passion for exploration, sightseeing, and experiencing different cultures. Wanting to get back to her lifestyle, rehabilitation was of top priority.
The Role of Technology Throughout Recovery
During Maureen’s first day in the hospital, she had an unusual experience when her therapist jumped on her bed and said “Whenever you start your therapy, I want you to say ‘I’ll give it a try’ no matter what.” That day she promised her therapist she would - and she stayed true to her word, even through the hardest days at therapy.
Over the next two years, Maureen spent five days a week at Attending Rehab Without Walls, formerly SWAN Rehab in Phoenix. It was at this facility that she was introduced to Bioness’ technology, starting with the Vector System to relearn how to walk. The Vector provided 1:1 patient-to-therapist support to provide Maureen with the confidence to walk again, as it supported her weight with controlled fall protection.
After relearning the basics and feeling ready to be on her own, she progressed to the L300. With the help of functional electrical stimulation technology, she was able to progress from four steps, to ten steps, and eventually, walk on her own again. While that helped take care of half of her left side, Maureen still struggled with utilizing her left hand and arm. As such, she began using the H200 Wireless for additional help with functionality including reaching, grasping, and pinching. While it has taken a lot of work and exercise, her left side is starting to return to its pre-stroke function.
Not Letting COVID-19 Stop Her Goals
When the pandemic started in 2020, Maureen, like everyone else, was greatly affected. The biggest impact on her recovery process was having to switch from in-person clinic therapy to in-home therapy. She quickly went from two in-person therapy sessions a week, to none. During weekly visits to her rehabilitation pre-COVID, Maureen was able to utilize the fourth and last piece of Bioness technology, BITS, to help her rebuild cognitive and motor functions that were damaged during her stroke, including eye tracking and movement.
Another immense component she has been missing is the person-to-person interaction, whether it is between her physical therapy staff or other patients, where morale, mood and attitude can vary, which can ultimately impact recovery. Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on her journey, Maureen remains motivated and positive, and will begin anew to work with her therapists once the COVID-19 public health protocol is lifted to meet a huge goal - to visit Germany in 2022.
When it comes to the mental impact of suffering from a stroke and knowing how harrowing her past experiences were and ongoing journey continues to be, Maureen thought a lot about who she was, who she is, and who she wants to become. While no longer able to do everything she once could, Maureen remains positive and determined to get her life back with a little help from the Bioness technology. Naturally, Maureen has a positive core that kept her fueled to fight for mobility and independence. Today, taking her experiences as a stroke survivor, she is working on her own book as a one-stop-shop for people looking into the topic. Not only is she in the process of crafting this book for survivors, caregivers, family, friends, etc., but Maureen also manages her own website, Stroke Recovery Solutions.
Maureen says the difference when using the Bioness technology is night and day. When using the L300 Go & H200 Wireless, she feels confident she can perform daily activities and keep up with those around her, often receiving compliments from friends and family on how far she has come. Coming out of her therapy sessions with BITS, she feels more “clear-headed” and ready to take on the day.
Maureen continues to be passionate about traveling, exploring and sightseeing - she knows that between her perseverance, and the help of technology she will continue to live an adventurous and full life.
Check Maureen out using the Bioness on her YouTube channel below!