Penny Wohlford


I've been contemplating for quite some time after reading other bios just how to approach my own. I want to share my story with others not only to hopefully give those who are new to this lifestyle some encouragement but to also share my struggle with those who have been there for a while.


While we all know that we have our crosses to bear some have a longer path to carry them while some have heavier crosses to carry I would like to put myself into the category of one who probably has a longer road to carry, but a road well worth going along however long it may take me.


On May 21, 2002, my life as I knew it came to an abrupt halt. While I was taking a dressage lesson on my horse I experienced a mild stroke. Fortunately my horse was very gentle with me and walked me over to my instructor. Because of her I am alive today. She immediately took me off my horse and got me to a small hospital. They did a CAT scan and knew I was in big trouble and took me directly to the University hospital in Salt Lake City. It was there when I came out of the MRI, my AVM ruptured. Because the neurologist stayed with me instead of looking at the results of the scan they were able to get me into the operating room right away to stop the bleeding from permanently damaging my brain stem. They had to completely resection veins in my brain that were in this mass that I probably had at birth. The surgeon said that it was the worst that he had ever seen yet he expected me to fully recover. I was in critical care for ten days on life support.


I did about one year of physical therapy in my town of Park City Utah. From there I pretty much took it upon myself to do my own therapy at home. I did purchase a neuro-move and an e-stem unit which I have been using for two years. The only reason I still use them is because the therapists say that they are beneficial for keeping the muscles active. At this stage I can use my left hand minimally in assisting me with carrying things. I can't open it at will unless I'm in a certain position. Because of this I have great hopes that I will get more function back. I can move my fingers too.


I guess I'm fortunate in that I have very supportive friends, husband and family. It's because of them that I continue to push myself to get better.

We all say we USED to be able to that, what I say now is that I still do that just in a different way. I've been riding my horses since five months after I got out of the hospital. I needed help getting on and saddling them but now I do it completely by myself. However I always ride with a friend. One year after my brain incident I entered a dressage horse show and managed to show successfully in a little different fashion, but we did it. I've also been on many trail rides in the mountains and have had no trouble with any of it. I also ski, not as aggressively as I used to, but I can still enjoy the mountains and the cross-country trails. I try to keep fit by swimming. When I first started last fall I could barely swim 100 meters, four lengths. I now swim a half a mile, which is 36 lengths. I just started swimming without a floating device. My next goal is to swim without fins, which gives my weak side an advantage so I will eliminate one then two.


I would be happy to e-mail with anyone whose needs a little boost. That's why we are all still around, to help each other. RIGHT. Penny Wohlford from Park City Utah. Stroke Network Member Name Penny.


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Hii Penny,my name is Laree I live in So. Cal. I read your bio this evening and saw your beautiful dogs.I think you are to be comended,riding and compeating that is great.No we may not do things as we use to but atleast we are doing them.I remember laying in the hospital bed looking out the window at people coming and going all day and wondering would I ever be back in the game of life again as before? Yes I am and so glad I'm on this side of it.Well I just wanted to say hello and keep up the great work.Take care Laree

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