Christiansburg man finds strength after stroke
Whatever Happened To?: Community journalist Travis Williams shares this update on Christiansburg’s Jordan McCoy who suffered a stroke in February. Read Travis’ first article on McCoy here.
CHRISTIANSBURG — Jordan McCoy woke up on Feb. 25 feeling much different than he ever had before.
The 19-year-old awoke unable to use the right side of his body or clearly communicate. Everything he attempted to say sounded like “gibberish,” said his mother, Tracy McCoy.
McCoy was rushed to Carilion New River Valley Clinic in Radford, where doctors concluded he had suffered a stroke and sent him to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to begin the rehabilitation process.
Ten months and hundreds of hours of therapy later, the now 20-year-old McCoy is back driving, working and planning his return to college in January.
“I’m free, man,” McCoy said.
That freedom is of a high value to the man who found himself unable to even walk on his own that February morning.
“I tried standing like 15 times and just fell down,” Jordan McCoy said.”Everything on the right side of my body was dead.”
McCoy said many of the other details of the first days following the stroke were a blur. However, for his mother, they were quite clear.
Following many tests, Tracy McCoy said the doctors believed the stroke was caused by a condition called patent foramen ovale, a small hole in the heart which allows blood to bypass the lungs. This limits the blood’s oxygen content and makes clotting more likely.
Though patent foramen ovale is a serious long-term condition, at the time, McCoy’s immediate recovery took precedence. During his first two days at the hospital, Tracy McCoy said her son regained the ability to feed himself and was even able to smile using his entire mouth.
After five weeks of therapy in the hospital, McCoy returned home, able to walk with the use of a cane and leg brace and able to fully express how he felt.
“I feel great,” McCoy said that day in March.
What was also fully expressed was how much the community cared about the young man.
Tracy McCoy said her son received more than 350 visitors during his hospital stay, while a Facebook page dedicated to updates on McCoy’s progress had more than 740 followers.
Efforts were also made to help with McCoy’s medical expenses through a fund set up by McCoy’s former track coach at Christiansburg High School, Shane Guynn.
Though McCoy knew hours of occupational, physical and speech therapy were in his future, he also knew coming home was the first step toward regaining his independence – one he was happy to have taken on his own.
Now every step McCoy takes is without the assistance of a cane or brace and many are quite quick as he works the dining room of Christiansburg’s Texas Roadhouse.
McCoy, who worked at the restaurant prior to his stroke, returned to his role as a server in October, around the same time he was allowed to begin driving a car.
He said he has regained about 90 percent of the functions on his right side and that he continues to get better each day. McCoy no longer needs to attend physical or occupational therapy and now only goes to speech therapy twice a week.
He’s even rekindled some his trademark dance moves.
“Yeah, dude, I dance all the time,” McCoy said. “I even do the Carlton every now and then.”
Friend Kevin Cox said it seems most people McCoy encounters today see him as 100 percent recovered.
“He’s pretty much back to normal,” Cox said. “[People are] like, ‘Wow, how you been? You look great.’”
Though his regained mobility and strength give the appearance that McCoy has been affected little by the stroke, McCoy said it has greatly affected his worldview.
“It made me open my eyes to everything in the world,” McCoy said. “I just had the stroke and realized there’s people worse off than me. If I had one pair of pants and a shirt, I would be happy.”
Cox agreed and said his friend had always been one to enjoy life, but McCoy had turned it up a notch since the stroke.
McCoy’s eyes have also been re-opened to the strength of his relationship with his family members, whom he said he would have never made it without.
“My mom and dad, I love them so much. My whole family, I mean I loved them before, but I definitely love the heck out of them now,” McCoy said.
Perhaps McCoy’s new worldview has also motivated him to decide on a career.
McCoy said he plans to return to New River Community College this spring, with hopes of becoming a history teacher. He also wants to begin substitute teaching.
McCoy would also like to inspire people by sharing his own history, especially his past year of life.
“I’m going to start a book on the stroke… because it would be a cool story to hear what I went through at 19,” McCoy said.
McCoy said he hopes to begin his book in 2013.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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