Inge Irving, 85, is a two-time stroke survivor living in Morningside Heights.
Q: How did you know you were having a stroke?
A; My first stroke was 15 years ago. I was sitting in my office. The room was spinning and I was sweating. I felt like I was in control of my body, but I couldn't walk straight or raise my arm. The second time was three years ago. I wasn't feeling well and my son took me to the emergency room. They kept me in the hospital for a few days. I was in my hospital room and got up to go to the bathroom. I couldn't walk properly and my speech was mushy. They took an MRI and said I was having another stroke.
Q: What has changed in your life, since your stroke?
A: I used to be fairly active, so it's been hard. I've been in physical therapy for rehab and I do a lot of rehab on my own. I try to make the best of what I have. It's tough to ask for help, but I've learned that I have to. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I'm very tense. I read in a stroke magazine about meditation. I tried it, and now in the morning I do meditation and breathing techniques. It helps me relax and start the day.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to share with other stroke survivors?
People need to accept themselves. I'm more aware of my body now and I accept it for what it is. I try to push myself, but not beyond my limits. Also, it's important to have an advocate, like a social worker or family member. They will help you take charge of your care and your life. Laughter is also very important!