Roseanna Bowles suffered her first stroke in 2020. She was able to call for an ambulance, but by the time it arrived at her home, she could not move. So, the EMTs had to break down her door to take her to the hospital. When she later rebounded, she was sent back home, where she essentially recovered within a few weeks.
The story might have ended there, except that over the next several months, Roseanna kept on having strokes—at least six more of them. They were all small, but they kept coming, and doctors did not know why. And though she always seemed to be able to recover without permanent damage, Roseanna grew uneasy.
“You start to wonder what is going to happen next,” she says. “And, of course, you get nervous, worrying that the next one might be really, really serious.”
It was only after intensive investigation that Roseanna’s medical team at St. Michael’s Hospital determined what might be causing the problem. Roseanna has chronic scoliosis, a condition that results in abnormal curving of the vertebrae and some bony protrusions. As a result, they speculated, certain neck movements caused her bones to press down on her vertebral artery, temporarily cutting off blood flow to her brain.
In August 2022, following extensive consultations, Dr. Vitor Pereira, a neurosurgeon and the Schroeder Chair in Advanced Neurovascular Interventions, inserted a stent to protect the artery from getting further damaged or blocked. Roseanna has not had a stroke since.
The stent procedure, however, left her weakened. And so, she was referred to Providence Healthcare for a few weeks of rehab, which she says made an enormous difference.
“I can’t say enough about how great the people at Providence were. They were kind and supportive but absolutely determined to get me moving, keep me moving and make me stronger. And they made me feel so much better about everything—there was always a focus on what I could do, never what I couldn’t.”
This past October, Roseanna was given a clean bill of health. How did she celebrate? By going dancing with her friends for the first time in three years. Seventy-six years old, seven strokes and a stent insertion, and apparently, she still cuts a mean rug.
“I am so delighted to have my life back. Fun with my friends, family vacations––they’re all possible again, thanks to St. Michael’s and Providence.”
There was a period of time when Roseanna Bowles began to fear that her independence, happiness and activeness as a senior were going to be taken away. But they weren't. And she will be forever grateful to the people at St. Michael’s, who got her back on her feet, and the people at Providence, who got her dancing again.
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