Tag Archives: stroke

I’m a Survivor

AllisonMy name is Allison O’Reilly and I’m a native Washingtonian. In 2010, at age 49, in what should have been a normal weekend, my life changed forever. I experienced a brain stem stroke that put me in a Locked-In Syndrome. Until the stroke, I was an active woman engaged in a career, family and the challenges of daily life. In an instant, I went from Director of Marketing of a Fortune 100 company to a life struggle to regain my independence and self being. I am sharing my inspirational story to provide first person insight to the medical community and family members to instill hope in other stroke survivors. I live in McLean, Virginia, with my husband, Kevin of 22 years.

Two weeks prior, I had just had a clean bill of health. I am just an average person and if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Do you know the identifying symptoms of a stroke? I didn’t.

My book is a story of inspiration, love and hope, as well as, sharing lessons learned during a devastating time. You can really learn a lot about yourself when faced with adversity.

It is a personal look at the overwhelming challenges of a brain stem stroke, the painstaking process of relearning everything, the meaning of patience and the responsibilities that fall to a loving husband who wants the best possible treatment for his wife.

You never know how people will react to a tragic event. Will they rise to the occasion or step away?

Have you been affected by a stroke or another unexpected, life-changing illness or know someone who has? How did you get through it?

“Out of the Darkness” – My New Book

"Out of the Darkness"   by Allison O'Reilly
“Out of the Darkness” by Allison O’Reilly

My inspiration for writing “Out of the Darkness” was to share my experience. I am just an average person and if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Locked-in Syndrome is very rare, occurring in 1% of strokes and the outcome is usually not good. I was very lucky… so to speak.

I am trying to make something good come out of this nightmare. I had a massive stroke and the book shares my will and determination to fight for my life and independence.

This is the story of my miraculous recovery in the face of enormous odds, the task of relearning everything, the overwhelming challenges, and the lessons I learned about myself when faced with adversity. Having a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with encouragement is most important.

I want survivors, caregivers and the medical community to look at stroke patients by what they can do or their potential, not what they can’t do.