By Adele Hampton - 05/08/12 07:34 PM EDT
"I suffered a stroke on the 21st of January," Kirk says in the YouTube video. "And thanks to the doctors, nurses, and professionals of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the RIC, I’m walking again, leading to my hope to climb the 45 steps that my staff counted — from the parking lot to the Senate front door — to fight for the people of Illinois."
The 52-year-old senator was released from the hospital last week and enrolled in an RIC outpatient program and a research trial designed to develop new medical practices to help stroke patients walk again.
Doctors are optimistic about Kirk's recovery. He is expected to make a full mental recovery, but doctors initially believed the stroke would limit movement on his left side, according to a report in The Associated Press. However, doctors say Kirk has walked more than 10 miles since first entering the hospital in early February. The senator is also able to climb stairs and get in and out of vehicles.
"I want to thank the people of Illinois for granting me the honor to represent them in the United States Senate," Kirk says in the video. "I can't wait to go back to work."