Steve Mallory


I had my stroke in June of 1994 at age 36. I was in France on business. The stroke started with dizziness/vertigo while in bed on a Friday morning. Saturday after dinner it hit with a minor but still scary force. I was fortunate that a few of my colleagues were at dinner with me and they immediately called an ambulance and I was rushed to the hospital. I thought it was only fatigue. I had been working 12 hour days and was on the edge of burning out. The next night the full force stroke hit. Luckily I was already in the hospital. The stroke was an inner tear of the left vertebral artery and it caused a brainstem stroke. The tear blocked the blood from flowing in the artery. The tear repaired itself but the damage was done.


The stroke severely affected me as it caused total paralysis; quadriplegia. Only my eyes could move and only then from side to side, I couldn't talk either. What made this nightmare worse was that I was in a French hospital. I love France but their hospitals are nothing like the United States. Besides having a huge communication problem I was not able to talk to them but could not understand them as well. I was treated to a tracheotomy without my knowledge that it was about to happen. I cannot blame them though they could not communicate with me either and they were doing it to save my life.


After two weeks there and another three weeks at a hospital in the states I finally went to a rehabilitation hospital for two months. Luckily, work was paying for all of this, we were very fortunate. They flew my wife to France, paid for everything while we were there and then when we first returned kept paying her hotel bill while I was at the other hospital in the states. Four days before my discharge at the rehab hospital my arm started to move. It progressed for several months after that. Just about everything started some slight movement. My swallowing was improving too.


Although I'm still quadriplegic, I can raise my arms off the armrests and up from down by my sides (or by the wheels). My legs are getting strong too. I can stand up (with assistance). I hope to do more things because of this improvement with my physical condition.


I regained my speech in January 95 but it's still dysarthic, meaning that all of my tongue and facial muscles are extremely weak. This causes difficulty with forming words to pronounce them properly. This coupled with my weak breathing, caused by the quadriplegia, adds up to a speech problem that even few Speech Language Therapists could imagine. Although my speech is very soft at least I can communicate.


Eating has improved greatly also. I can eat and drink just about anything now. It is a big relief from pureed foods. I had therapy three times/week (for almost three years). I was happy to now be able to tell my therapists how I felt. I was not able to for a long time. I could tell it was hard for my therapists to know how to treat me. I tried to give them feedback when I could. As long as improvement continues I'll be happy.


You don't realize what you take for granted until something like this happens to you. My two girls, ages 15 and 18, are adapting to their new version of me pretty good. My wife of 20 plus years has been excellent and is always there for me.


I always look at things that they could be worse... they were.

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Steve,read your story what a trip.Let me say you look great,its a tough road but we somehow make it.You were so young,I was 43 and thought I was young too.I'm 49 now and still crossing my fingers(right hand only) that I never have another.You have the support of your family and thats great.I wish you much luck on more recovery and better days. Laree Martz I have a profile posted if you'd like to take a look.

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Steve: I read your story tonight and was very moved. You are so courageous and I admire that; I had my brain stem stroke a year ago and have been very fortunate. I was in a medically=induced coma for a month and they didn't think I would live. God had other plans, as I feel he has for you. I hope I can stay as strong as you in this journey of recovery. I know you do a lot for this site and it is much appreciated. Thank you.


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Amazing story Steve, I admire your courage. I think if you showed the French doctors some dollar bills their English would have increased very quickly. At least my observation.

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Hi Steve,

WOW! What a story! I am thrilled you are on the mend. Everyday a new day, something new and improved wishes for you!

Brightest Blessings!

Billie Jo

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You are quite an inspiration Steve, I too had a brain stem stroke, although not even close to as severe as yours. I commend you on your courage and determination. Its through your strength that gives me the positive outlook to continue to give my all in therapy and endure the struggles of everyday life. I thank you for this site as it has changed the way I look at being a survivor. I look forward to the chats every day as I feel only other stroke survivors understand me. I just donated a little to the cause. I wish I could give more but this situation has left me without any income. Thank you again for the wonderful work you have done for others it really has meant a lot to me and many others.


God bless you! berdoosteve

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My stroke started with dizzy and vertigo as well. Both eyes. At least that is when i noticed somthing was wrong. All the Best Steve Bob.

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