February 22, 2019

A resulting surgery led to a life-altering stroke that caused the loss of Kristy Lyon's ability to use her left side, vision deficits and cognitive impairment.
I had a congenital epidermoid tumor in my brain, and when they resected it, I had a stroke during surgery. So, when I came to, they realized I had almost full left side weakness. I came into rehab, I think it ended up being about ten days after I had my surgery. She virtually had no movement in her left arm or her left leg. She was unable to walk. She was unable to perform the basic self care tasks that you and I would be able to do. It was hard for her to think about how she was going to be able to go home and care for her kids. When I realized that the reason I was there, not to torture me and keep me away from my children, but that I really did need to get better, because I'd be no good to them if I went home and I couldn't do anything, when I realized that, I was able to move forward, I think, very well. It helped me clarify my goals and helped me with my motivation a lot. The most important thing for her, or for us, was to be able to get her to the level of independence so she was able to take care of herself prior to taking care of her kids. She taught me therapy... well, techniques for being able to do that without using my left side or using it in a way that I was able to assist it with my right side, things like that. With repetition and collaborating with speech, she was able to finally get dressed and put her shirt on and learn how to put her sling on, on her arm. A break through for Kristy was when she really started to be able to move her arm again, because it gave her a glimmer of hope that she would be able to use her arm again. It was just very slight movement of my fingers, but the fact that that happened was so joyful, I was so excited about that. And, it helped me realize that it was going to just keep building and, little by little, it would possibly come back. So, there might be a chance for recovery. If I could share anything for folks, it's challenging, especially coming into a situation. A lot of people come here and they don't know why they're here and they were surprised by the situation that they're in, where they may have a limitation of some sort. Just trusting the folks that are working with you and understanding that they really are experts and they've done this before for other people, and they've helped coach folks to recovery, sometimes full recovery. Just knowing that, I think, hopefully, could help people. That anything's possible if you keep a good attitude. With her therapy and her continuation of therapy outside, she was able to overcome all of her struggles and her obstacles and to really achieve her long-term goal, and that was to care for her kids. To me, that was very inspiring. I have had an almost full recovery up to this point, and I'm only seven months, eight months, out of surgery. So, I feel very blessed and very lucky that I'm doing so well. And yes, I am holding my children. I am doing everything I need to do for my children. Everything. I can't believe it. Because I was sitting in a hospital bed thinking about how I was going to do anything for my kids some day. And, here I am and I can do it. I feel very lucky.

In January 2011, Kristy Lyon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A resulting surgery led to a life-altering stroke that caused the loss of ability to use her left side, vision deficits and cognitive impairment. Kristy was suddenly unable to perform basic tasks.

After a four week stay in the rehabilitation unit, Kristy returned to her husband and family. In honor of Kristy's extraordinary determination and perseverance, she was honored and inducted into The University of Kansas Health System Rehabilitation Hall of Fame.

Explore more news, events and media