Danielle Parise

Danielle Parise, Brain Injury Survivor

Danielle Parise, Brain Injury Survivor

My name is Danielle Parise, I am 34 years old, I am very creative and smart. I have a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa, a massage therapy certificate, and the majority of a nursing degree. I am married to an amazing man named Matthew, we are high school sweethearts.

On January 31st 2013 I had gone into the hospital to finish my very last clinical for nursing school, it was a week and a half before graduation. I went to the hospital that evening with a terrible headache. Although I thought nothing more than just a terrible headache, boy was I wrong.

At some point that evening I was working with a patient when I felt ill, I went to the restroom; I did not return to my patient, as I was laying on the bathroom floor dying of a brain anyerism, someone eventually found me and got me to the nearest emergency room, where I was given a bleak prognosis, to which I was then rushed to Iowa city for emergency brain surgery to fix the hemmorage that had resulted in a stroke. 

As my family struggled with whether or not I would live, die or be a vegetable for the rest of my life. They rallied for me and picked out therapists and an amazing brain injury rehabilitation center in Ankeny Iowa, called on with life. After my multiple surgeries, and coming out of a coma, I was taken to on with life, where I started a completely unexpected new chapter of my life. They were amazing. They nurtured not only my body, but helped heal my heart heal as well.

As I spent the next 8 months recovering at this amazing facility, in the meantime, my husband had been making our home suitable for me to eventually come home to, such as putting in handrails and making our shower into a walk in /sit down. Eventually after months of therapy, I was ready to start having overnights at our home to see how I would do with the new lifestyle change.

Thanks to our family and friends, coming home was a great experience. Eventually after the 8 month long rehabilitation, I was able to return to our home to live with my husband and 2 fur children once again. I was extremely disappointed that I could no longer be a nurse, or to be able to do most of the things I used to do, I became extremely depressed and thought and talked about possibly ending my life, due to the fact that I was now "just a burden." I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I sought help from a psychologist, which helped tremendously, I now work for a chiropractor as a receptionist and enjoy life very much. I couldn't be more thankful for all of the support from friends and family, I couldn't have possibly made it through this horrendous experience without all of their love and support. I am grateful to be alive and to be able to help people again, at my job and through my personal experiences with this ordeal.