Terry Sykes’ motto is “I’m down, but I’m not out.” Terry has had to remind himself of this often since suffering a major stroke that required months of hospitalization.
However, this stroke wasn’t Terry’s first. Previously, Terry suffered a “minor” stroke, for which he underwent carotid endarterectomy. According to the American Heart Association, carotid endarterectomy is “surgery to remove fatty deposits (plaque) that are narrowing the arteries in your neck. These are called the carotid arteries. They supply blood and oxygen to your brain. If plaque and other fatty materials block an artery, it slows or blocks the blood flow, and you could have a stroke.”
Shortly after surgery, Terry suffered his second stroke. More severe, this stroke caused life-threatening swelling of his brain. The medical staff told his family it was unlikely Terry would ever walk or talk again.
But according to Terry, God had other plans. Terry’s wife, Cathy, chose for him to transfer to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. At NCLTAH, Terry continued to work to wean off machines that assisted his breathing and heart rate. This is where Cathy found her hope and Terry found out he was a “medical miracle.”
Terry improved rapidly and transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to begin intensive therapy. This therapy would help Terry relearn how to eat, talk and walk again. Participating in physical, occupational, and speech therapy challenged Terry. However, Cathy says, “he kept trying and never stopped.” Terry said his therapist at the hospital “never gave up on me”.
With Cathy as his “cheerleader,” Terry continued to fight. Every chance he got, Terry asked to do additional therapy beyond what was required. “It doesn’t come as fast you think,” he said. “Truly, if you do what the therapists tell you, you will get back on your feet.” And Terry did, walking out of the hospital to go home on his discharge day.
Terry continues to participate in outpatient therapy. He says that coming in for therapy “feels like coming home.” Terry is working towards returning to the back-breaking work of owning his own business. He hopes to be back hiking in the mountains and hunting. Cathy knows he will thanks to Terry’s determination, the amazing work of the hospital staff and the power of prayer.