Bismarck woman shares recovery story of stroke

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke.

In 2016, Bismarck resident Debbie Anderson had one, stayed in the hospital for nine days, and spent another month under constant care. Two years later, she was still having issues with painful headaches and difficulty with looking at screens.

After five months of outpatient therapy, Anderson says she's almost completely back to normal.

She started the appointment with what looked like a college party trick: juggling a bean bag while marching to metronome. The eye motion, marching and bag tossing are all part of her recovery from a stroke in 2016. Persistent headaches kept her from fully enjoying life.

"I like to be outside, walking, biking, traveling. I did some of those things with headaches, but sometimes you get tired of headaches,” said Anderson.

So to get back to what she loved, Anderson had to learn the simple things like walking, balancing and multitasking when she went for appointments downtown.

"As I got to know Debbie, I wanted to know what was important to her, what were her hobbies, her passions and what wasn't she doing now that she was doing before,” said Shawna Wing, an occupational therapist at Sanford Health.

But Anderson and other patients won't have go downtown anymore. Adult therapy has moved to a new location off of Interstate Avenue. With the new space, Wing says they'll be able to use more equipment, like this board for vision exercises while keeping what patients need under one roof.

"It's still a one-stop shop but its more therapy focused and the parking is better," said Wing.

Debbie will continue her exercises at home so she can keep traveling abroad.

"I feel like I'm back to what I used to be and that's really nice,” said Anderson.

With the extra space, the therapists say the dedicated space allows them to give patients a more controlled environment.