YPG Member Story : Meg Wiggins

I Graduated from Bentley University In 2012 with a degree in marketing.  After graduation, I got a job at Liberty Mutual in sales. A couple months later, I was given the opportunity to go back to grad school at Bentley on a lacrosse scholarship. I played lacrosse in undergrad at Bentley and redshirted my first year, so I would have one year of eligibility left. It was such a great opportunity I couldn't pass it up. So I left Liberty Mutual, and in January 2013, I started grad school and began training for spring lacrosse. I had a great semester and I finished my lacrosse career third most goals scored in program history.  Life was good!

Memorial Day was coming up and my friend Kate and I were going to the Cape for the weekend like we had for the past couple of years. We love the Cape, and we were very excited to meet with our friends. We went out Friday night, and the next day they found me unresponsive.  I couldn’t communicate and I couldn't walk. They called 911 and took me to Cape Cod Hospital. Later that day, the test showed I had suffered a massive stroke.

I was transferred to Brigham and Women's Hospital. I was in the ICU for five days where they were monitoring my brain for swelling. My stroke was on the left side of my brain, So my right Side Was affected. I lost the use of my right leg, right arms (I'm now lefty) and my language. I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. I couldn't move my right arm at all. I couldn't dress or undress myself. There was a tube in my nose because i couldn't swallow. There were a lot of doctors going in and out for the five days I was there. They did endless tests, but to this day they have not been able to determine what caused the stroke. Finally, I was moved me to Spaulding to start my recovery.

I spent the next four weeks working on OT PT and speech. I had three therapies a day. I think for me, speech was the hardest. My speech therapist, Rebecca, was absolutely amazing. She helped me with letter sounds, the alphabet and numbers. Because I couldn't talk, she gave me index cards with sentences like,  "I'm thirsty" , and "I want to watch TV" so that my friends and family would know what I needed. After a lot of hard work with Rebecca, I began to talk slowly, a few words at a time. Over time the words flowed more easily. Jeff worked with me for OT. He was really funny! He did a lot of work with my arm. He helped me with personal care, he helped me get in and out of the wheelchair, and he started working with me regain the use of my arm. Debbie was my physical therapist. She was always smiling. We did a lot of walking-every day, and a lot of other therapy in the gym. She also helped me learn to walk with my leg brace

After four weeks, I finally got to go home! Then, I began my outpatient therapy. I chose to do my rehab at Spaulding.  I live in Acton and sometimes it takes an hour and a half to get there but that’s OK. I could’ve gone anywhere for therapy, a lot closer to home, but I chose Spaulding because there is no other place like it. I still have all three therapies, PT, OT, and speech. But, with a new therapist. I have speech three times a week with Rachel, Who helped me write this and she's helping me learn reading and writing again.  OT is with Stephanie, we are doing a lot of one-handed techniques so that it will be easier to cook, clean, and eventually get an apartment. And then there's Uvarshi for physical therapy - she’s helped me learn to run. Its not pretty, but I can run... I have some good days and bad days.  Things are different now.  What used to be the simplest tasks are now difficult for me.  I can’t drive yet, I can’t go out with my friends like I used to and I’m living at home with parents!!! If it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends and boyfriend I would be in a different place right now.

 It has been almost 8 months since I had my stroke.  I feel really fortunate to have been at Spaulding for my rehab and I told my parents more than once that I would just like to live there! I have had access to State-of-the-art Equipment and the best technology available. More importantly, the people that I have worked with have changed my life. For now, I’m still improving, working really hard, and very hopeful for the future.  I hope to get my license again soon, get a job in my field, and eventually finish grad school.  That’s my story.  Thanks for listening and I hope to see some of you at Spaulding soon!

See Video of Meg's speech from YPG's Winter Wonderland Celebration below :