stroke recovery angela wright

“The studio was welcoming and the environment was extremely supportive and positive. Having felt broken and like a “patient” for so long, it was wonderful to be treated just like all the other Pilates students”

In the fall of 2011, Angela Wright felt as though in many ways, she had it all. She was a successful sales executive, recognized for her professional contributions with a Senior Vice President title. She was on top of her game professionally and physically, leading a busy, healthy and active lifestyle including distance running in her spare time, having even completed the New York Marathon.

On November 6, 2011, Angela was on a road trip to visit clients in Northern, B.C. She tagged on some extra time to visit friends and while sitting at dinner, they began to notice a change in Angela’s speech and that her face had fallen. Angela had been experiencing an intense headache all day but having suffered from migraines in past, she didn’t think too much of it. Despite Angela’s protests, they called an ambulance and following visits to two local hospitals and a CT scan, it was confirmed that at 38 years old, Angela had suffered a “cerebral infarct” or stroke. At that point she felt okay—she was alert, walking and talking and soon medevaced home to Vancouver.

En route back to the city, Angela suffered a major brain hemorrhage requiring emergency brain surgery upon arrival to drain the hemorrhage and relieve the pressure. When undergoing the brain surgery, meningitis bacteria got into her brain and when she awoke, Angela couldn’t move her head and her neck was extremely sore and swollen. She was then placed on a powerful antibiotic to which she had an intense allergic reaction, resulting in an extremely high fever of roughly 47 degrees celcius. Once the team of seven medical professionals realized it was the antibiotic causing her fever, they took her off the drug and her condition started to improve, however, it became quickly apparent how much damage this sequence of conditions and events had caused; the entire left side of her body was paralyzed and the right, although initially paralyzed, was very weak. Physical rehab started as soon as possible and following two months in the hospital and an additional two months at a rehabilitation facility, Angela left the wheelchair behind and she was ready to go home.

Although now at home, Angela still had a long way to go. Her physiotherapist recommended Clinical Pilates as a rehab tool to work toward pelvic stability—a key element that would allow her to be functionally and confidently ambulatory. While she had left her wheelchair behind, Angela’s pelvis was so unstable and her core so weak, she didn’t feel safe walking two blocks to the grocery store.

Angela discovered Form Body Lab, just blocks from her home in Yaletown. “The studio was welcoming and the environment was extremely supportive and positive. Having felt broken and like a ‘patient’ for so long, it was wonderful to be treated just like all of the other Pilates students”. At Form, Angela’s rehab continued to progress well and she was confident that her special needs and required modifications were handled well by the various members of Form’s team. “I’m very happy to say that I’ve now been going faithfully about 4x a week for the past 3+ years and I cannot imagine where I would be in my recovery if it were not for Pilates and the talented team at Form Body Lab. Form owner Jessica has been particularly impactful. I tend to get frustrated and angry at my body’s challenges and she has helped me to recognize that I need to be kinder to myself and appreciate what my body is able to do.”

The entire team at Form is SO proud of Angela. “For the past four years we have seen Angela work diligently with our multi-disciplinary team of Pilates instructors, physiotherapists and RMTs. We met Angela when she was too afraid to go to the grocery store on her own and today she is back to working full time, travelling the world and living a full life. I am so grateful that we have been able to be a part of her journey and help her get back to living a happy, fulfilling life!” says Jessica. “The road to recovery can be long, and will often be a lifelong project, but if you do the work with the right professionals and the right attitude, I truly believe people can and will surpass surpass their own expectations. Angela is a perfect example of this.”