Tamiyko Prince worked many years as a social worker to support her family. A single mom with three kids and a stepdaughter, Tamiyko was no stranger to hard work. Indeed, while working full-time and caring for her kids, she got her Master's degree. Once she retired, Tamiyko pursued her passions of singing, dancing, doing hair, writing poetry, reading and being outdoors.
But everything stopped one morning when she woke up and didn't feel right.
Recalling the incident, Tamiyko said, "I got up in the morning and I felt off. I would call my 13-year-old son, but he kept saying he couldn't understand me. The next day, I still wasn't feeling right. Once I got to the hospital, I could barely speak. When I went to go to the bathroom, I fell three different times. They quickly admitted me after that."
Doctors determined Tamiyko had suffered a stroke. In the hospital for nearly three weeks, she couldn't speak, couldn't walk and her right arm was stuck in a bent position. Her whole right side was swollen and she could barely move her right arm or leg.
"It was very painful," she recounted. "I knew everything that was going on, and it was very scary." Once she was medically stable, Tamiyko's physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help her regain her independence.
Recovering from a stroke may be one of the greatest challenges a person will ever face. Confronted with serious communication and mobility barriers, Tamiyko and her family searched for a rehabilitation facility. Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth and its Day Neuro Program came highly recommended. The Day Neuro Program is an intensive, daily outpatient program that focuses on the recovery of patients who have had a traumatic brain injury, stroke or other neurological disorder.
Upon admission to BSWIR – Fort Worth, the physician-led rehabilitation team worked with Tamiyko to put a treatment plan in place. Her goals were clear: regain her speech, improve the functionality of her right side and attain independence in day-to-day activities.
Tamiyko benefited from a range of hands-on therapies and innovative technologies. In physical therapy, she focused on improving strength, balance, coordination and mobility, using the LiteGait bodyweight-supported system. Tamiyko's occupational therapists simulated her home environment to teach her the strategies to safely perform daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals.
Understanding her love of music, therapists incorporated it into many of the sessions, which often resulted in dancing. Boxing with recreational therapy, exercise monopoly with physical therapy and various speech exercises that improved her confidence were among her favorite activities.
As part of her speech therapy, she named the NBA teams to help with her aphasia and recognition. "Before, I was intimidated to talk to people because my speech was so affected, but once my confidence got better, I would talk to more and more people because I had the confidence to try," she explained.
As her rehabilitation progressed, her speech and cognitive abilities improved. A significant milestone was the moment she started walking with a forearm crutch. "It was scary, but I knew I was getting better," Tamiyko said. "I knew I was tough before, but I'm even tougher now."
Reflecting on her experience at BSWIR – Fort Worth and its Day Neuro Program, Tamiyko emphasized the strong support of the therapists and the love of her family, even during difficult times. "At the beginning, when I was struggling, it was so encouraging here," she said.
Tamiyko praised her caring family: "My oldest son and my sisters really helped to support me and encourage me. My sister put her own life on hold to come help me. My daughter doesn't live here, but she called to encourage me and support me. My youngest son is only 13, so it was overwhelming for him, but now he knows mom's back. My sister really helped him to adjust to what was happening."
As Tamiyko looked forward to her outpatient journey, she left this advice for any going through a similar situation, "Patience is definitely a must going through something like this," she recalled. "With all the things you're going through, actually having someone to take the time to ensure you're getting all the things you need to be cared for, going to the doctor, getting your affairs in order, getting better. It's just as important to have patience with yourself as it is for your family to have patience with you."
Lastly, Tamiyko expressed her gratitude for her care team, "I just want to say to all my therapists: you are all awesome. This team is so balanced. Where one therapist would leave off, another would pick up. It was seamless."