Since my stroke I've spent the whole time trying to be positive and to always look forward. But I guess today is a good time to look behind me and for reflection. 12 months ago today while laughing and joking with my 21 year old son in the kitchen a large blood clot caused an ischemic stroke in my cerebellum.. A cerebellar infarct... I didn't know what was happening , it came out of the blue my speech instantly wasn't there... the words were but they wouldn't come out... As I am a joker my son initially thought I was messing about. I tried to speak again and he could see the fear and confusion on my face... He shouted my wife and that's when A strong electric sensation ran down from the top of my head down my face and all down my right side.. My arm didn't feel like mine and I still couldn't speak.. My son instantly phoned an Ambulance.. I was sat down looking at my family... It felt surreal I've never been so scared but at the same time felt so calm.. so hard to explain. I was looking at my wife my son and my other 18 year old son.. I could see the upset and fear on their faces but I couldn't speak.. I remember calmly thinking "Oh not now, they are too young, I don't want to leave my wife and son's now".... The ambulance arrived I was aware of all that was going on but still had no speech and no feeling in my arm... I lay for around 20 minutes outside my house in the ambulance with my wife and son's not allowed in. Finally the ambulance door opened and I heard an Ambulance man say to my wife " I've got to warn you he may not regain his speech. We are going to blue light it to the hospital but may need to blue light it straight to Walton. (Brain, head trauma hospital)... I was wheeled straight into a CT Scan... My first scan was clear, and though I still couldn't speak was told by a doctor it was a migraine and I should be able to go home in a few hours... My wife explained that I manage my Migraines there is a set pattern and I have done for 20 odd years... This was so different and sudden.. Another Doctor thankfully said he wasn't happy and wanted me to have an MRI.. The result was a large stroke in my right cerebellum.. It didn't show on the CT because the Cerebellum is underneath and protected by thick skull bone.. The MRI however showed exactly the extent of the stroke and permanent brain tissue death. Thankfully My speech returned... The use in my arm and leg improved incredibly. My consultant spelt out how serious my stroke was, how lucky I am to be here and how remarkable I was doing. I was 47, didn't smoke, seldom drink. Always been a sportsman. They have found no reason as to what caused the clot, Still don't know.. I take the medication hoping and praying that it never happens again..But if I live in constant fear then I am not living.... Initially I could potter around for 20 minutes and then the stroke fatigue would hit... I slept for large chunks of every day for months.. Friends and family flooded to see me, but that has all melted away.. I got very good at telling the story, even adding bits of humour into it... I still manage my fatigue but am able to go 6 or 7 hours now before the fatigue bites... When it does I still get that drained, brain fog feeling, numb gums and an ache at the back of my head. Almost feels like a virus setting in. I wake up every morning with a dull fuzzy head, like Ive had a bottle of red wine without drinking it. My right arm from the elbow down is numb and weak but improves during the morning. Due to my short term memory issues my wife still calls me Dorey from Nemo ? 12 months on I'm still not fully back in work, I long to return to my Area Sales manager job, but currently still doing a couple of hours a day from home on a long phased return basis. People look at me and say I look well, some must think I'm fine now , what was all the fuss about... I look like the same old Darren, I sound like the same old Darren but I don't feel like the same old Darren.. People including friends and family don't understand, think I should be over it now.. They think fatigue means tired.. They can't see the fatigue, They can't see the dizziness, they can't see the short term memory and concentration problems, they can't see the emotional issues and fears and the tough phsycological 12 months I've been through... I know that I am a stroke survivor, I I know I have achieved so much in the last 12 months and I know my recovery still continues every day moving forward... I am still a positive person with my sense of humour intact.. However I do feel there is a real lack of stroke awareness... especially the after care when you leave hospital.. I didn't know about fatigue etc.. this site and talking to other stroke survivors has been a god send and a huge help during my recovery... Anyway, in a strange way the stroke has enhanced my life, I don't take anything for granted anymore, I always tell my loved ones how much I love them, I can now hear the birds singing in the morning... I've been given a 2nd chance at life and I am determined to make the most of it... Thanks for listening, good luck with your own journeys , I'm proud of you all... stay positive and keep smiling .... Darren.
Darren, You have summed up everything about stroke clearly and concisely. I can identify totally with what you have said. You also have the right positivity and I am sure you will recover further. My fatigue is still there and,like you, I get a bit tired of ‘you look well’. I hope things will now get even better. Like you, I love life more intensely now. To be here is a bonus.
Thank you John Jeff Maynard and thank you for your words of support and comfort over the last 12 months it had meant a lot and made a big difference to me... wishing you good health a continued recovery .. Take care Darren.
Hi Darren I have followed your recovery on here as your stroke was very similar to mine. You are so right in everything you say. Like you, I find that humour makes the recovery side of things more bearable. I think I've mentioned before that my husband calls me Sergei when I get that strange 'meerkat' look usually when I don't understand something or get slightly disorientated. I'm just over 12 months now and try and look how far I've come rather than how I used to be. I also consider myself extremely fortunate to be alive and am doing everything I can to ensure my recovery continues. Life and family are so precious. Take care.
It’s so good to read about someone’s experience and feel that they just ‘get it’. Thank you for saying exactly what I feel. I identify with it 100%. I admire your positivity I’m sure it helps with recovery and definitely helps others. X
I got such a lot from reading your story Darren and how much the emotional side and short term memory is similar to my own experience. Stroke fatigue is an awful feeling and the way you feel in a morning mirrors my own feelings which I struggle with most days but gets better as the day goes on. I had a lacunar infarct in February and I think it’s quite hard for others to appreciate how you feel inside sometimes.
I’m a fair few years older than you but take so much from your positivity - how you don’t take anything for granted and feel you have been given a 2nd chance, it was so uplifting to read.
Hoping you continue to get stronger every day and keep that positivity. I look forward to hearing how you are doing.
with best wishes
Thank you for your kind reply Anne, other people sharing their stories and experiences of the fatigue and other symptoms helped me so much.. it put my mind at rest what I was going through and how I was feeling was similar to others. I wasn't alone... Stay positive keep smiling and I hope your own recovery continues to go well. Many thanks Darren.
Thank you for your kind reply Sharry.. I know that other people sharing their stories and feelings helped me so much.. I didn't feel alone.. If my story has helped just one person just a little bit, then I am really happy about that...hope your own recovery continues to go well and if I can be of any help just get in touch. Take care, and thank you Darren
Thank you so much for all the support advice and experiences you have shared to over the last 12 months... You have really helped me...and I can really associate with your experience too. Love the Meerkat story, as I say I'm like Dorey the blue fish with short term memory loss in Memo.??? your so right about a sense of humour really helps with recovery and yes life, loved ones and friends are so precious.. your doing so well with your recovery, while supporting others on here too. Wishing you continued good health in your recovery take care and Thanks again Darren
Well written Darren. It is wise to look at what you can do and not what you can not. Just as you do. I have read thousands of postings over the past few years. It does seem that those with a positive outlook recover better than those without the positivity.
So what lies ahead ? Year two has its own peculiar passage. I guess the workplace takes over and all effort goes in to that. I hope you will post from time to time and say how your recovery progresses.
And I wish you every success as the new Darren.
It's so nice to read stories like this and know we are not alone in recovering from a Stroke ??
Inspirational. I agree about the aftercare and not realising the long term impact but also trying to be positive and think about how to change my life to adapt and for the good.
Hello Darren, this is my first post although my wife has been reading all the comments to me and shared my story.
It was very interesting to read your account. I can identify with most especially the feelings in the morning, feeling still tired. I can cope with a hangover if I’ve had the pleasure the night before but without the pleasure, the hangover is extremely annoying! Lol!
Thank you for sharing. I am not alone after all.
John, Good to see that you have started posting. Stroke is all the more frightening because,probably, most of us did not expect it. Like many, I was not overweight and thought myself fairly fit, until........Recovery is a battle, but with support and positivity it can be done. Two years ago, when I started walking again, it was a case of walk a few yards come back and, next day, add a few more. After a great effort over time I could reach the end of the road, so I thought ‘if you can get this far, you can get round the corner’ and so I could.
However, the fatigue still hits me every day and I have to rest. It always comes on about 11.30am, when I’ve only been up 4 hours. I last until 1 pm and then get into bed. After an hour I can get up and carry on till 11pm. There seems no rhyme nor reason to it, but it lingers on.
I wish you much life and happiness ahead.
I’m a 69year old woman who surrered a stroke in 2013i just reads post from Amanda who had s stroke a year ago I still feel some of the things he does fatigue numbness in right arm headaches occasionally just as he said I too was told I was lucky to survive the stroke I have a wounderful son and wife and grandchildren they keep me going I’ve achieved such a lot since it happened more than I expected I’ve got to grips with the internet which I need asi don’t enjoy shopping each thing I manage makes me proud of myself my husband died 3 years before my stroke he was a very strong person so anything I achieve now is a bonus my son boosts me saying how proud he is of me there is life after stroke if you survive it you may not feel the same but your here thank god I thank the NHS who acted quickly and saved too much damage for that I’m truly thankful and with further research many people will benefit lm sure good luck everyone keep well and try to enjoy life yours Lesley thanks for listening hope this helps
We stroke survivors are all in this together and will try to spread the word! My daughter sent me a postcard 'Nice try stroke - but I'm still here' which sums it all up. Good luck Darren - sending you positive vibes and good wishes as you get on with your life.
I read your post with tears in my eyes and am able to relate to so much. I was the same age as you when out of the blue i had a brain hemorrhage. So much of what you say, i went through too. It's now 4 years and unbelievably I'm still improving. Positive outlook, a sense of humour and determination make a huge difference. Amazing how a small thing like a flower bursting into bloom is so beautiful and so appreciated! So pleased you wrote this post. Loads of luck going forward Darren.
Thank you so much for your kind words Belinda... If my story has helped just one person then it was worth taking the time to write. We are all on here to help eachother...Wishing you well with your own recovery. You are doing amazing. Keep smiling and take care Darren xx
Thank you so much for your kind words Linda... We certainly are all here to help eachother.. Wishing you well with your continued recovery too. Darren x
Thanks Jason... your certainly not alone... The people on this site have helped me so much during the last 12 months... If my story has helped just one person then it was worth taking the time to write... good luck with your own recovery and keep smiling ... Darren