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New services, specialists and quick thinking at Sanford save the life of one Roseau woman

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Stroke care and technology will be a major focus at the new Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

As the hospital get closer to opening, the new and growing technology has already saved on Roseau woman's life.

Melissa Lundgren has been playing piano since she was 8 years old, and like every holiday season, she played a few songs.

This time it meant a whole lot more.

"Being able to play piano again was one of my big goals,” said Melissa.

This past November, at just 30-years old Melissa suffered two major strokes, something extremely rare for her age. 

"This is not the first thing you think about when you see someone as young as Melissa,” said Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon, Dr. Alexander Drofa.

It all started one morning around 3:30, when she woke up with a numb arm.

She and her husband quickly realized something was wrong.

They went to the local ER and after a few tests she was airlifted to Sanford, unsure of what was next.

"They thought I was coming down for a pinched nerve or a herniated disk,” said Melissa.

Within 15 minutes of arrival, she was prepped for emergency stroke surgery.

That same night, Doctors discovered she was having another stroke and quickly brought her back in to the operating room.

She now has to go to physical therapy three times a week and uses home equipment.

"My living room looks like a therapy department,” Melissa joked but, the reality of what she went through isn't something she takes lightly.

"If something doesn't feel right -- go in. It could have a very different story if I didn't."

Her surgeon, Dr. Drofa says Sanford has become one of the leading hospitals in the nation for stroke care - which saved her life.

"She was at the brink of losing half of her brain."

Melissa knows she has a long road to full recovery, but she's ready to take it on with a song of perseverance in her heart and at her fingertips.

If everything goes well, Melissa will be able to go back to work on February 1st.

Cassandra Rohlfing

After working part time at WDAY-TV during her college career, Cassandra – who goes by Cassie, joined the WDAY news team full-time in January as an Online Editor/Weekend Producer. She switched over to Reporter/Multimedia Journalist in June and is excited to work on stories you want to see!  She was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, ND and is part Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Cassie graduated from  North Dakota State University in December of 2015 with a degree in Journalism, and an emphasis in Broadcasting. Cassie bleeds green and gold and is an avid Bison Football fan who attended every home game in her college career, thanks to being a part of the Gold Star Marching Band. Her hobbies include binge watching TV shows on Netflix, attempting to work out, and getting outside when she can. If you have any questions/story ideas feel free to email or call. 

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