GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – As a physically fit 41-year-old, Green Bay’s Joe Kasprzycki doesn’t fit the stereotype many associate with stroke risk. However, he is among a growing number of younger adults who are now stroke survivors.
Kasprzycki Is vigilant about taking care of himself. This father of four plans to be around for his wife and children for a long time to come.
“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make a point to be as healthy as you can through diet and exercise,” Kasprzycki said.
However, even that kind of dedication wasn’t a health guarantee. In fact, it was when Kasprzycki was working out that he noticed some concerning symptoms.
“I went to grab my pull up bar and my left arm just wasn’t working, It wouldn’t respond to what I was trying to have it do,” Kasprzycki explained. “I remember saying out loud ‘What is happening?’ and I couldn’t understand what I was saying, because my speech was slurred.”
Being as health conscious as he is, Kasprzycki knew what the acronym BE FAST stands for and suspected right away what was happening.
- Eyes, vision trouble
- Face, is one side drooping
- Arm, weakness
- Time, or Terrible headache
“Once I looked at myself in the mirror, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I think I’m having a stroke.’”
Kasprzycki’s wife was able to get him to the hospital within an hour of the onset of symptoms.
“We like to say, ‘time is brain,’” said Karen Floriano-Heimerl, Aurora BayCare Speech and Language Pathologist. “If you get medical attention as soon as possible, when you suspect a stroke, that can make a tremendous difference in their outcome.”
Floriano-Heimerl says Kasprzycki’s quick action is one reason he had such a successful recovery. She worked with him for just a few months to overcome an initial deficit common to many who’ve suffered a stroke.
“When I started working with Joe, a lot of his goals were based in cognition, memory and concentration,” Floriano-Heimerl explained. “Usually, the person can picture it in their brains, they know what it is, they just can’t get that specific word.”
Kasprzycki worked just as hard re-training his brain as he does keeping his body fit.
“We worked a lot in the beginning with him figuring out how to pace himself, Floriano-Heimerl said.
“You got to get your brain back in shape again,” Kasprzycki explained. “That’s really what she helped with a lot.”
With the ultimate payoff, still yet to come.
“My oldest daughter graduates high school this year then we have three more right behind that,” Kasprzycki explained. “All the family vacations, all the time spent together at sporting events and different games, watching the kids out playing basketball football, soccer gymnastics, track , all the above. Just being there for all those moments.”
If you’d like to find out your risk for having a stroke, go to: aurorabaycare.com/assessments to take quick online quiz.