"I've had to learn how to show up for life, even in a body that's hard to show up in," says #KatherineWolf of @hopeheals. At age 26, soon after becoming a mom, Wolf suffered a brain stem stroke with no warning—and now she's sharing her story: "40 days on life support. 2 years in brain rehab. A severely disabled body. A marriage challenged to survive."
When Wolf first felt dizzy, nauseous, and came down with a headache, she didn't think her symptoms were serious. "I was a young woman with no health issues. I'd just had my first baby, a boy, six months earlier," she explains. "Suddenly the headache became so bad that I fell to the kitchen floor on my arms and knees. Instantly, my limbs became fully numb. I began throwing up, but luckily I was able to call for my husband, Jay, who dialed 911. I lost consciousness as paramedics were wheeling me out of our apartment on a stretcher."
After being rushed to the ICU, Katherine underwent a 16-hour brain operation that left her on life support for 40 days. "I have no memory of that time whatsoever, and as you can imagine, waking up was absolutely horrific," she says. "I couldn’t eat food, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t believe this was my new life; I didn’t even understand what had happened to me. I had hardly heard of a stroke except for someone’s grandparent having one. Surely, a healthy 26-year-old woman couldn’t have suffered a life-threatening medical event associated with the elderly."
Against all odds, Katherine's condition continued to improve and she never let her stoke define her. "I am alive and well, and even though I can’t do certain things and my body is very disabled, I am here," she says. "I had a second baby several years ago, so I now have two kids. Life has really gone on for me." Watch our Instagram Story to learn more about @hopeheals, and why this tragedy *never* stopped Wolf from loving life.