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One Woman, Two Strokes

Posted on January 10, 2019 in Stroke

Two-time stroke survivor offers insight from experience

It was a good day for gardening. Or so it seemed.

Brenda Epperson intended to spruce up the flower garden at her new home in West Knoxville. As soon as she bent over to plant a bush, she knew something was wrong.

“I said, ‘If I stay bent over long, I’m going to pass out,’” Epperson recalls. “So I raised up, and that’s what I did. Out I went. I wasn’t joking.”


Keith Woodward, MD, a vascular and neurointerventional radiologist at Fort Sanders Regional, performed a thrombectomy to remove the clot that caused the stroke. During the procedure, , a small catheter is threaded through the groin all the way to the brain, and a gentle vacuuming process pulls the clot free.

When Epperson woke up she was a little stunned by the results.

“Honest to God, I was just back to normal as ever,” Epperson says. “I told Dr. Woodward it’s a miracle. That’s just all there is to it.”

Epperson was released from the hospital the next day.

Doing it differently

The experience was especially surprising for Epperson because this wasn’t her first stroke. Her first stroke occurred in 2012, but she delayed going to the hospital and missed the window of time for interventional treatments. The result was a significant hospital stay with inpatient therapy. When she got out of the hospital, Epperson had to live with her daughter for a while and go to physical therapy on an outpatient basis.

In 2018 with quick action and thrombectomy at Fort Sanders Regional, it was a much different story.

“It was nothing compared to the first time I had a stroke,” Epperson says, “It was totally amazing. It still blows my mind!”

Life hasn’t been easy for Epperson. A cancer survivor and heart patient, she has seen her share of sickness and sorrow. But with the stroke care she received at Fort Sanders Regional this year, she has the strength and ability to keep enjoying life to the fullest.

“I’m just so grateful, because I’ve been through so many things,” Epperson says. “I’m a survivor – I’m a proud one – and I’m also very thankful.”

To learn more about stroke and the services offered at Fort Sanders Regional click here.