Life After Stroke: Anna, Perinatal Stroke

Translated from Italian

We are the parents of Anna, 4 years old, diagnosis of cerebral ischemia in the uterus that only came when the baby was 10 months old. The outcome of ischemia was a left hemiparesis that resulted in a mild motor damage to both the upper limb (mainly the hand) and the lower limb.

From the time of diagnosis it was a frantic succession in search of what could be the most effective therapies and strategies to try to recover the motor deficit and it was not easy at all. We live in central Italy, far from the big cities and the most advanced hospitals in dealing with children with these problems and then let’s just say it — who had ever heard of the fact that children could even have a stroke?

We were taken care of by the local health center with two weekly physiotherapy sessions but we understood that it would not be enough. We would have to do more. There was a time when we groped in the dark, the hardest period for sure.

Finding the Fighthestroke association on Facebook, coming into contact with many other families who were in the same situation, has helped us in an incredible way both emotionally and practically. At last we no longer felt like the aliens, there were others who were living what we were living, with a wealth of information and suggestions to exchange with each other. We needed this to make huge strides.

We approached first-level hospital centers in pediatric stroke, the Gaslini Institute in Genoa. We did a day in the hospital where they collected blood samples for the study of possible genetic causes. Anna was taken care of for rehabilitative care and in 2017 she had a 6-week intensive hospitalization of CIMT (Constraint Induced Movement Therapy) protocol which gave significant results for the recovery of the use of her hand. Never would we have arrived at these centers without Fighthestroke and the families that are part of it.

Anna has made great progress. The work has been constant for 3 years now and it is certainly not easy to manage everything with another child and our respective jobs. Without the help of our parents, I do not know how we would have done it. At the beginning of this adventure, our winning card was to meet a psychotherapist who gave us the tools to manage everything on an emotional level. I really recommend it! if you feel overwhelmed, ask for help, do not be afraid.

Fightthestroke’s motto is “fight and smile”. We do it every day, sometimes with more difficulty, but we believe it is the only answer to the thousand questions we do every day. Always struggling, looking for how much more is correct and effective for Anna, but with her head held high. With the smile and the positivity that our fighter deserves more than anything else.

Thank you to Fight the Stroke for their help in gathering stories from Italy!

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