Christy's Story

Crystal Maksymowicz smiling


When 50-year-old Crystal "Christy" Maksymowicz suddenly lost her balance, she was taken to the hospital. The doctors diagnosed her with a hemorrhagic stroke.

The hairstylist, with over two decades of experience, faced significant challenges due to the stroke. She struggled with multitasking, paying attention to details and also had reduced dexterity in her hands. As a hairstylist, these skills were essential for her daily life and work.

Looking to regain her abilities and meet her goals to return to hairstyling and life, Christy went to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Frisco's Day Neuro Program. Under the expert guidance of the physician-led care team, Christy worked with her therapists to build a comprehensive rehabilitation program tailored to her unique needs.

She jumped right in. Physical therapy sessions focused on improving her endurance and cardiovascular fitness. She also had to relearn how to balance on various surfaces and improve her upper body strength to return to the work she loved.

With her occupational therapy team, she engaged in simulations of her work environment, refining her skills and gradually rebuilding her confidence. Speech therapy played a vital role in improving her cognitive-communication abilities, allowing her to regain independence in daily tasks. The introduction of yoga helped Christy find mindfulness and coordination in her hands while aiding her overall well-being.

The journey to recovery was not without its share of challenges. Christy pushed herself to the limit, participating in functional strengthening classes and outdoor walking activities accompanied by fellow patients who provided companionship and support.

She engaged in "brain games" that improved processing speed and recall, further sharpened her cognitive abilities. Therapists also took her through performed simulations, practicing and refining the skills she would need at her job.

Over time, Christy's determination began to yield remarkable results. Her endurance and stamina improved, allowing her to regain the ability to perform daily tasks with ease. Attention to detail, once a struggle, became second nature as she developed strategies to overcome cognitive fatigue. The use of her hands, essential for her profession, was restored through therapeutic activities involving cross-stitching and beading, which rekindled her coordination and creativity.

Reflecting on her journey, Christy described her experience as "Absolutely wonderful. Everyone was so kind and helpful. They really do care about their patients."