Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s massive stroke at age 37 changed everything. Including how we think about brain recovery.
In 1996, Taylor was living the dream, studying neuroanatomy at Harvard. A stroke was the last thing she expected. “I’m a busy woman!” she recalls thinking. “I don’t have time for a stroke!”
During her eight years of recovery, she became her own experiment. As she says, “How many brain scientists get to study their own brain from the inside?”
Her New York Times bestseller, My Stroke of Insight is based on a TED talk that’s now one of the five most watched TED talks of all time. Taylor is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2008 and has appeared as a guest speaker on Oprah and numerous other platforms. Ron Howard is making a movie about her life.
On April 4th, Taylor was recognized yet again, awarded the highest civilian honor in Indiana, the Sagamore of the Wabash, at Butler University.
What’s so great about a stroke, you ask? Watching your own speech, movement and self-awareness centers shut down one by one can’t be much fun. But there was much to learn—and that kept her going. Without her curiosity, humor, and mother (“a true angel in my life”) Taylor probably wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Still, eight years is a long recovery. The financial toll these days can be devastating. As the risk of stroke increases with age, it couldn’t hurt to find out about stroke policies from your association and AMBA.
Meanwhile, as Taylor has scientifically proven, staying positive can help.