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Donna Straugh

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I was born 3/31/54 and was raised in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1994, my daughter and I relocated to Arizona. We were survivors of Domestic Violence. I was 50 when I stroked on January 1, 2005. What a way to bring in the New Year. New Year's Eve I felt "weird" but couldn't figure out why. I thought I had an inner ear infection because I couldn't keep my balance. My daughter and I had planned a quiet evening . We rented movies and purchased party food. My New Year's Eve was spent in bed, trying to shake off whatever was bothering me.


When I awoke on New Year's Day, still having equilibrium problems, I showered, woke my daughter. We drove to the hospital. I drove myself to the emergency room, about a 20 minute ride. When I got to the ER I was still walking and talking, but not very well. It was early evening by the time my room was ready. Late in the afternoon, I fell and that ended my mobility until rehab began. My daughter, fortunately, was picked up by a friend and her family. Little did we realize that for the next 34 days she would be a guest in their home. I was in the hospital for 4 days then transferred to a inpatient rehab where I stayed for 30 days. Tests showed the stroke was from a clot in the right side of my brain. My days were filled with rehab, blood tests, and horrible food.


Looking back, I believe my stroke was the result of my life circumstances. I had been working a very highly stressful job for 8 years. I left that job in August 2004 - realizing if I stayed any longer I would probably have a heart attack - chest pains were prevalent until my last day. I started another position in October, 2004 - with insurance beginning in November.


When I was discharged from rehab and sent home, I was greeted by my department supervisor. You see, I was still on probation and, since I could not return to my duties, I was let go.


At the time of this life altering event, my daughter and I were residing in a two story townhouse, which we were buying. I had in-home therapy for about two months (they came 2-3 days a week). Kristi and her friend re-arranged our living room to allow for a twin bed and port-a-potty for me as I was not able to climb steps at that time. I came home outfitted with an AFO, hemiwalker, quad cane (to advance into), wheelchair, and port-a-potty.After I was home, we obtained a bath bench.


The social worker at the rehab was helpful but had told my daughter and I that I would never get any better and that I would never climb steps. Well.....It took 3 months but I did climb those steps and slept in my own bed AND showered!!!!


As my mortgage company was not patient and would not work with me until SSDI kicked in, we had to sell our townhouse. We're now renters.


Now I'm able to motor around our apartment on my own each and every day. There are good days as well as bad. On the good ones I motor around without my hemiwalker. I don't go outside walking without my walker as I feel quad cane don't give me enough support. I haven't fallen on my nose for about a year (YEAH!!) I'm able to get my meals and tackle daily chores (trying not to break things :big_grin: ) My left arm has no functional movement. On the bad days I hold private pitty parties. These have become less and less over time.


I am medically disabled, but I'm still somebody - I'm a Mom. My beautiful daughter has told me on numerous occasions that she's almost glad I had my stroke - at least now I'm home and not working too many hours.


In July of 2007 my daughter and I, along with our cat Crystal relocated to Pennsylvania to be closer to family.

I'm gaining more mobility thankfully as I'm spending more time alone as my daughter is always with either family or friends. Guess I'm in training for when she turns 18 in two years and goes off to college.



I have no clue as to what the future holds for me.....well....that's me - Donna/dstraugh known formerly as onesided me

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Donna -

Your picture is great! And as someone who has met you, I think you are great too! Thanks for posting your story of survival - you survived twice and you should be proud!


You daughter sounds like a jewell!



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Donna, You have a beautiful smiling face.


I am honored to have met you.

You and your daughter are really quite a team.



i will try to upload a pic of my family for you to see. Best Wishes,






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