was just 39 when he had a stroke, changing his life but not his strong
By Christine Weiser
David Miller, 39, went trick-or-treating with his daughter on October
28, 2005, he had no idea it would be his last day of life as he knew
it. He and his daughter strolled through their hometown of Coopersburg,
the ghouls and goblins, gathering piles of candy.
night, David’s wife, Karen, said she didn’t think he looked “right,” but
they didn’t think much of it. After all, David a member
of St. James Lutheran Church in Coopersburg — was a young, fit police
last thing they considered was that David was having a stroke.
“I went to bed, and when my wife came in about 20 minutes later, she woke
me up to say I was snoring. I tried to get out of bed, and hit the floor.
My normal life was over.”
David was paralyzed on his entire right side, and his cognitive and
speech skills were severely affected. He was taken to Lehigh Valley
he stayed for four days, and then he was released to Good Shepherd.
“I had to retrain everything,” he says.
David began an intense rehabilitation schedule that included physical,
speech, and occupational therapy. After about a week of inpatient
therapy, David went home and continued his therapy as an outpatient.
His hard work has paid off. He now runs three miles every other day,
and hopes to return soon to his work as a street police officer in
County. He credits a positive attitude and the support of his family
for his amazing recovery.
“My wife has been a huge help,” says David. “Without
her I wouldn't be here today.”
He also mentions the encouraging words of his mother, Ruth Miller,
retired director of ministry resources for the Northeastern Pennsylvania
“My mother always told me to stay motivated,” David says. “She
kept telling me that it will keep getting better, to keep trying.”
David still has challenges with language, but even this gets better
every day. He continues to pass physical and cognitive tests every
day, as well
as attend the stroke support group at Good Shepherd for more encouragement.
As he thinks about going back to work, he is anxious to return to his normal life.
“Since the stroke, I tried to do very little differently,” he says.
By working hard to learn these everyday things all over again, and
keeping a positive attitude despite tremendous hurdles, David Miller
now expects 2007
to be a great year.
Note: David’s recovery odds were increased by treating
the stroke quickly. Although certain demographics make some people
(high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, etc.), David Miller
is proof that strokes can affect healthy, active people as well.
About 700,000 Americans
each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average,
a stroke occurs every 45 seconds. Learn more about stroke symptoms