Cassandra's Story

Patient doesn’t let stroke define her but refine her

 As Executive Director of Community Affairs for the Detroit Medical Center, Cassandra Gray is one of the health system’s biggest advocates.  Little did she know how much she would come to rely on the medical teams she promoted.

 It was Sept. 1, 2012, Cassandra woke to her alarm and started talking with her husband.  When she responded, she realized she sounded funny.  Both Cassandra and her husband knew she was having a stroke.

 Detroit EMS got to their house in five minutes and took her to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital; metro Detroit’s first certified primary stroke center. 

 The stroke affected her right, dominant side. Walking, hand movements and talking were next to impossible.  Despite great care, she had made little progress in her recovery and knew her next step had to be the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.

 “Everything on my right side was dangling – my hand, my leg.  I was devastated and frightened.  Thanks to the support of my husband who slept at the hospital with me every night, I refused to let the stroke define me.” 

 When she got to RIM, she was immediately placed in occupational, physical and speech therapy where she had to retrain her right side.

 “They were the tops.  I wasn’t just a number on an ID bracelet.  My team of therapists cared about me like a family member.  I received the best therapy and exercises for my situation.  It was amazing how quickly I turned around.”

 Less than a month later, Cassandra walked out of RIM with the use of her arm, leg and able to talk again.  She continues to exercise on her own at DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s Brasza Center five days a week. 

 “When I return to work, I am going to tell the people I interact with how much is possible when you partner with great medical teams like those at the DMC.”

-Cassandra Gray