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After a stroke, one mom had to relearn speech. Now she's working to become a speech therapist

“When I have a client who has had a stroke – I get it," said Katherine Wolf.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Katherine Wolf doesn’t take a moment of motherhood for granted.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,” Katherine said, taking a deep breath. She was sitting on her couch with her son Everett between her and her husband.

“Just getting to celebrate every month that I get with him is really special,” she said.

Seven weeks after she gave birth to Everett, she had a stroke. Within just a couple of months, five more strokes would follow.

Katherine is just 26 years old.

“She did not move the whole right side of her body for three days,” Katherine's husband said. “And then eventually she was able to twitch her fingers."

Katherine was diagnosed with Moyamoya, a rare blood vessel disorder that causes the vessels that supply blood to the brain to narrow.

Brain surgery partially corrected the disorder, but not before damage was done. It took weeks before she could hold Everett and walk. And talking took even longer.

She remembers a moment when she thought she was telling a hospital aide her name, but it came out jumbled.

“Instead of Katherine, it came out ‘thrinkanets,’” Stephen said. “I will never forget that.”

As a sixth grade English teacher, Katherine had made a career of words and books and literature.

But suddenly, she didn’t know what words to use when, until she met a therapist named Tiffanie Morgan at a Baylor Scott and White Institute for Rehabilitation Center in Fort Worth.

Speech therapy was difficult, but it worked. Every once in a while, Katherine still searches for the right word, but therapy taught her tools to help her cope.

Therapy also ignited a new passion.

Because she couldn’t focus well or multi-task, doctors told Katherine she probably shouldn’t teach in her own classroom again. So, Katherine is now a student again. She is studying to become a speech therapist.

“I think that my new calling is to work with and speak for the people who can’t do it on their own,” she said. “When I have a client who has had a stroke – I get it.”

Katherine is currently working on another bachelor’s degree with hopes of earning a master’s in speech therapy soon.

There’s been one more surprise in Katherine and Stephen’s life – she’s pregnant again. It is a high-risk pregnancy because of health issues, but she is currently feeling well. And baby number two is due in December.

“Part of me wants to yell at life, ‘Come at me!’ You know what I mean? Like, ‘You can’t take me out – come at me again! I dare you!’” she said, adding with a laugh, “Well, please don’t actually!”

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