The Amazing Liz
Mariner’s Point stroke survivor shares story to educate others
From her room at The Village at Mariner’s Point in East Haven, Connecticut, Liz Hindinger enjoys a view of Long Island Sound. There is serenity in such a view – an escape, perhaps, from the long and arduous road she has traveled since a fateful day 12 years ago that changed her life forever. It changed her, but it did not deter or dampen her remarkable spirit and determination to make a difference in the lives of others.
Twelve years ago, Liz was 42 and living in Ludlow, Vermont. For a divorced mother of three – ages 7, 11, and 13 – life was busy, but in that predictable sort of way. The kids had schoolwork, sports, activities with friends. And then, everything changed.
The headache came first. It was unlike any she had ever experienced. A doctor prescribed medication for migraines, though she had no history of them. The pain persisted. It was debilitating and lasted for days. Liz drove herself to a local medical center where she collapsed, unconscious. She was flown by helicopter to a trauma center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. When she awoke her right side was paralyzed, her speech slurred.
She had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.
The next few weeks remain a fog to this day. She would spend three months in an inpatient rehabilitation center learning to walk and talk again. It was painful, frustrating, and exhausting. But Liz was determined to return to her children, who were being cared for by dear friends. Progress was slow, but steady. There were setbacks, but she never wavered.
Family and friends provided the motivation. She returned to her brother’s home, ready to begin a new life journey marked by what she describes as “perpetual rehabilitation.” It was not easy in the beginning. But Liz had goals, people who needed her. She returned to her role of mother, attending games and plays. She embraced the beauty of family and friends who rallied to support her. She focused on what she could do, rather than what she could not.
One of those friends was Lora Miele, with whom Liz had bonded as the two raised their children together in Ludlow. Lora was struck by Liz’s drive and determination. She wanted to be a part of her friend’s journey. She wanted to do more, and found an outlet in “Tedy’s Team,” a foundation created be Tedy and Heidi Bruschi after Tedy, the former New England Patriot star, suffered a stroke in 2005. Lora reached out to “Tedy’s Team” to join as a fundraising runner for the 2016 Boston Marathon. She completed the marathon in Liz’s honor.
More recently, Lora decided that running was not enough. She approached Liz with the idea of writing her story to educate others. Liz agreed. “The Amazing Liz and her Stroke Journey from A-Z” was published in April of 2021. Liz is quick to remind people that it is Lora who deserves credit for the book.
“All I had to do was have a stroke,” she says with a laugh.
The book takes readers through, not only the warning signs, but the feelings stroke survivors may have, what assistance they need, and how to help them along their journey. It is designed to teach kids of all ages. It is a celebration of Liz and the life she now dedicates to educating people about stroke awareness, healthy living, and recovery. Proceeds benefit “Tedy’s Team” in honor of Liz.
For Liz, the book is special in that it speaks to children, as well as adults. She knows, of course, how difficult a stroke can be on families.
“A stroke can be really scary for children,” says Liz.
Looking out on that Long Island Sound, Liz now focuses on blessings and opportunities. The blessings of her young adult children, and her caregivers. She looks at the medal Lora received for completing that 2016 Boston Marathon in her honor, as it hangs in her room at Mariner’s Point, a reminder of the long road they have travelled.
She thinks about the book and the opportunity she has done to educate others.
“This is my journey now,” she says.
The Village at Mariner’s Point