Meet Annamaria — Stroke at age 9

Translated from Italian

My life after the stroke was at age 9, it was 1979. I remember everything as if it were now ….. it was a day like many others and like a thousand other times I was at the Italian Tennis Federation for my weekly course. That day was dedicated to athletic training, it was the part that I liked less, there was less competition, it was a different job from being on the tennis court during a game but it was still important and I would have given the best of me. The teacher was categorical with all of us, no discounts, 10 running laps of the track and then we would have worked on the shot and the speed. It was interesting. I completed the 10 laps and from there began my most important game, one in which you have to play every point to the end, giving the maximum !!!! The diagnosis was ‘ischemic stroke in the subcortical area, right gangliobasal capsule (striatum-major cerebral infarct) with left spastic hemiparesis focused at the distal crural level’.

Annamaria, now in her 40s

Initially I haven’t thought about anything, I did not realize the hemiparesis, I was not aware about what was happening. The doctors were shocked about the way the event had occurred, but it is thanks to them, their competence, humanity, honesty and stubbornness and to that of my parents if I managed to get up and recover promptly. They stimulated and bet the agonistic part that was in me and they always believed that I could get up again. Unfortunately, an important dystonia of the left foot was replaced by a resistant and very painful drug, after only a few days while I was recovering from hemiparesis. Still today this is something that involves me with so much pain and so much physiotherapy.

Life has nevertheless resumed its course. I went back to school and here the teachers were unique. We were a class of about 20 pretty excited children, on my return to school (I had to do a quiet life, I was taking a hard drug as a therapy), I found a class of “little angels”, all quiet and ready to play the games I wanted; the only obligation imposed by them: to have me strictly during after school to be together and recover the lost stolen time from our friendship. I believe that what happened was a lesson of life for me, thanks to all those who surrounded me and helped in their own way: from the “bad” nurse (only to my eyes) because he wanted me to cut myself meat alone, to the doctors who fought like lions with what they knew at the time, to my family in whose eyes I have always read sincerity, affection and determination. Many interventions, many experiences, many different approaches to the problem and then getting in touch with a French neuro-orthopedic that in addition to correcting my foot problem, he became my master of life, alongside my current kinesiologist who was for me fundamental and allowed me to completely avoid the wheelchair that other orthopedists had prospected, allowing me even to return to the tennis courts, no longer to compete but to have fun.

I can certainly say to have won my most beautiful match, thanks to a wonderful teamwork.

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