My name is Ron, June 30, 2012 I had a TIA (mini stroke). In later testing it was found that I had as many as 20 TIA’s. I always thought they were bad headaches. Strokes were for “old people”. F.A.S.T. Face. Arms. Speech. Time., never applied to me the headache was the worst.
I was given a second chance, starting with lifestyle changes; work less, eat better, get regular rest and relaxation and most important more follow up visits with the doctors.
About a year after my stroke my doctor suggested I get out and meet people instead of sitting around reading. I needed to keep my brain busy.
I decided to give back and got involved with March of Dimes, Peers Fostering Hope program. We are trained to meet with newly diagnosed stroke patients in the Stroke Unit and or later in Rehab. In a nutshell to let the stroke survivor know they survived possibly the worst day of their lives and there is hope they can get better.
During training I was asked to get involved with Toronto Stroke Networks, Patient Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) where later I became a Co-Chair. PFAC is a group of stroke survivors, family/caregivers. We shared our stories good and bad and are involved working with Doctors, Therapists, various members of the stroke units and Administrators to improve patient care.
A very important part of this is the family. A stroke not only effects the patient it affects the whole family. In meeting with patients with family members present I get more questions from them.
In my involvement in both programs I’ve met so many dedicated hard-working people whose main goal is improving outcomes for stroke survivors.
Most stroke survivors will tell you recovery is “As bad as the stroke was it’s over, now it’s time to get better and prevent the next one.” “It’s hard work.” “It’s a marathon not a sprint,” and “Celebrate the little things”.
Everyone’s goal should be a full recovery but, unfortunately that’s not always possible yet. You might have to adjust and make the very best of what you have.
Not so long ago a stroke was looked at as incurable, there was no chance for recovery. Now within the first few hours of a stroke decisions are made in what treatment will be best followed by types of rehab will be needed.
Surgical procedures have improved to lessen the amount of recovery time after surgery. Whether using the Clot Buster (TPA) or doing a Endovascular Thrombectomy (EVT). Back to F.A.S.T. most important is T for Time the quicker a diagnoses can be done the treatment can begin. The faster the clot is dealt with or the bleed stopped the better chance of a positive outcome.
I’m not a medical professional so I can’t discuss medications or treatments. But during my stroke journey I’ve learnt many things about strokes. The number one thing is a stroke effects no two people the same. This is the same for recovery. Stroke survivors that I have met that made amazing recoveries have been; determined, worked hard, didn’t let setbacks slow them down or loose their determination, accepted the fact they might not get back to 100% of what they had before their stroke. They also had; full support, patience and love from their family and friends.
This blog I hope will be used to help someone just diagnosed with a stroke and their families get information about what to expect next.
For survivors and family to share their stories both good and bad.
I will include stroke news as it becomes available along with links to organizations that are there to help you along your recovery journey.