Heather's story

Heather Stinson

“I found ‘my people,’ folks who understood what I was going through and who continue to stand by me throughout this journey. Quite simply, Kessler is my ‘happy place.’”


Finding the needed care and support

“I knew something was wrong.”

For months, Heather Stinson just wasn’t feeling well. She went from doctor to doctor only to receive a lot of “maybes” — maybe it’s Lyme disease or lupus, multiple sclerosis or an autoimmune condition. As the numbness in her legs increased and more extensive testing was done, Heather learned she had a mass on her spine that was pressing on her spinal cord.

She underwent delicate surgery at Overlook Hospital that left her with paralysis in both legs. “I was devastated... frustrated and angry. But I realized this was my fight to fight — and I was going to do that with everything I had. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t think it would be this hard. I have two special needs children and nothing was going to stop me from being there for them... from being the very best parent I could be.”

At Kessler, Heather found the care and support she needed, not only from her inpatient and outpatient treatment teams, but from her fellow patients. “I found ‘my people,’ folks who understood what I was going through and who continue to stand by me throughout this journey. Quite simply, Kessler is my ‘happy place.’”

Among the many milestones she has reached so far, Heather drives and can chauffeur her kids to their many activities. She has returned to work as a clinical quality nurse with a managed care organization. And she has maintained her ability to laugh. “Even on my worst days, I try to find that one thing — that one glimmer of hope — to hang on to.”

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