Friday, September 20th, 2019
“Quahana ran that way!” is the statement my mother normally heard when she went to round up my sisters and me after Sunday worship services. The Roadrunner was not just a cartoon in my house; it was my life. Laughing, smiling, painting and running was my DNA. Fast forward many years to a warm day in July when I’d just returned from a trip to London for an art conference and I collapsed on my living room floor as I was lacing up my sneakers for you guessed it; a morning run and workout. A carotid artery in my neck; a young woman who had never had a major medical issue; spontaneously dissected (i.e. tore) and subsequently a stroke resulted (with a 10% survival rate!). What followed was weeks in a rehabilitation hospital where I was treated by some of the top specialists and therapists in the country and the world. But what they all shared in common was a clinical belief that stroke recovery typically halts after three years. However, what I know to be true is that I’ve made more recovery after year three than I ever have BUT there is more recovery to be made.
It has now been seven years and therapy has long ended along with significant progress but what hasn’t changed is my belief that God heals through many avenues; including doctors, therapists and medical technology. I don’t run but I do walk; I don’t paint with my natural hand orientation but I do attempt to draw with my opposite hand and I most assuredly don’t give up or stop believing that full recovery is possible and available to me. The stroke may have paused me but it didn’t stop me. In fact I completed my Doctorate in Theology (not Art History or Roadrunnerology!) in the years post stroke and am a minister in training. My hands and feet are critical not only to painting and running but to lovingly spreading the Word of God.
Recently I came across an article about new neurological recovery techniques being used by occupational therapists in the Carolinas and my ever-lit flame of hope was fanned. But as we often find during long term recovery, there can be necessary costs involved which can prove challenging for the patient. These techniques along with the devices in my Wish List, while not an exhaustive list, will serve to help “retrain” my brain to use the hand and foot affected by the stroke to act as they were designed to operate. And that is why you are here reading my very private, but ultimately triumphant story. This intensive stroke rehab bootcamp has partnered with me to help me participate via this Fund My Therapy campaign. This treatment has proven and very real results that have been shown in others affected by neurological conditions like stroke who thought their recovery had ended in year one, year two, year three and even year 23! These dear people are now thriving and using their limbs again in ways they thought long gone. And I want to be counted among that number.
So rest assured that every penny, nickel, dime and dollar you graciously contribute to Quahana’s Masterpiece Recovery will go directly to my treatment and medical equipment for continued and significant progress at the Salia Rehab Bootcamp in Charleston, South Carolina and ultimately my home of Saint Louis, Missouri. This painting roadrunner asks you today, “Will you help me paint and run again?”
Please consider donating by click on the campaign link below!
All God’s blessings to you,
Dr. Quahana Hendree