CAA Member Dianna Rasing.
Stroke survivor Dianna Rasing turns her life-changing experience into laughs
“I thought I used to be ballsy, but now I really have no filter,” laughs CAA Member Dianna Rasing. Six years ago, at the age of 39, Rasing suffered a stroke while swimming laps at Winnipeg’s Pam Am Pool. It was certainly a life-changing event, but finding comedic content was an unexpected side effect.
After a two-week stay at St. Boniface Hospital, Rasing spent another two months recovering at the Riverview Health Centre. Every morning, she reviewed a white board marked with her to-do list: speech therapy, cognitive assessments and occupational therapy. Though it was a lot of work, she credits visits from loved ones and journalling with much of her recovery.
One night, she pulled out her journal to show all the “ridiculousness of stroke recovery,” as she says. A friend quipped that she had a comedy routine right there. Seven months after being pulled from the pool, Rasing performed her first stand-up set at the Sick + Twisted Theatre, Winnipeg’s only theatre company dedicated to the experience of living with disabilities.
“I think I brought my stroke on myself, because I was swimming at the time,” she says to a packed audience. “So, I’m swimming and encouraging myself in my mind by saying, “stroke, stroke, stroke.’” Ba-dum ching!
Pre-stroke, Rasing says she never would have considered doing standup, but that’s the funny thing about trauma. “Don’t wait for a stroke to be your wakeup call. Make positive changes in your life now. Let my stroke be your wakeup call.”
When someone is having a stroke, every minute counts. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. If they have FACIAL drooping, ARM weakness and SPEECH difficulties, it’s TIME to call 911. Learn more at heartandstroke.ca/fast.