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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Hugs bring new meaning for mom following stroke

September 18, 2018

Jessica Lode says wrapping both of her arms tightly around her young daughter has new meaning. This after the new mom suffered a stroke Dec. 20, 2017.  The 34-year-old is working hard at reclaiming her identity and being a mom.  

Prior to her diagnosis, Jessica enjoyed running half-marathons and volunteering. The stroke caused partial paralysis on her left side, affecting her ability to walk and talk. Jessica’s priority focused on being a caregiver to her three children, including picking up and holding 19-month-old Kaylor. Therapy involved the Armeo 
Spring, specialized technology designed to regain  arm and hand movement through an on-screen virtual environment. 

“I went from basically doing nothing to now I can wash dishes with my left hand, open doors and clip my baby in her car seat,” Jessica said. 

Another goal was reclaiming her active lifestyle. Physical therapy focused on helping Jessica regain balance using the Proprio machine. The use of the ICARE, developed by Madonna, refined her walking ability and increased endurance.

Through hard work, determination and her care team’s support, Jessica spent just 11 days at the Omaha Campus. She continues to make gains in Madonna’s TherapyPlus outpatient program. Each week she works with occupational and physical therapists on everyday tasks. Support from of her husband, Jesse, allows the young mom to incorporate her toddler into therapy. Independence Square’s simulated bedroom/nursery is ideal for practicing safe lifting and holding her 
toddler, Kaylor. 

“She didn’t have any movement in that arm right after her stroke,” said Kelly Roth, OT, with Madonna TherapyPlus. “She has made leaps and bounds.”
Back at work, with Roth’s help, Jessica continues to hone her fine motor skills, including handwriting and typing. She’s returned to running and taking family walks on the bike trail. Jessica visualizes herself taking her motorcycle out for a spin on the open road soon.  

“I’m excited to get back to my old self. Madonna has helped give me the support and confidence to do the things I enjoy including my role of being a mom,” Jessica said.


Stroke survivor Jessica Lode and her therapy team worked hard to regain the skills she needed to resume her life role as a mom.