18 months on from my sudden Stroke.. A large clot causing an Ischemic Stroke in my right side cerebellum at the age of 47.. A cerebellar infarct.
Though being determined and positive I am still fighting the daily battle with Stroke fatigue, Headaches, dizziness and short term memory and concentration issues.
I have fought back from only being able to stay awake for 2 hours to now being able to go 8 or 9 hours before the fatigue bites and that includes me currently challenging myself with up to 4 hours per day of intense laptop spreadsheet working from home..
I was always fit, I used to run 8 miles every other night. I have never smoked, drank little and had no problems with my blood pressure or cholesterol .. Yet I suffered what my MRI scan showed to be a large stroke. My consultant could not emphasis how lucky I have been. My wife cried. After initially losing my speech it returned. Physically apart from a numb right arm and stiff fingers first thing in the morning and pains in my muscles in my right chest, I'm doing well.... My post stroke symptoms are all hidden... Even though I have been tee total for 18 months Every morning I wake up feeling like I have had a bottle of red wine the night before, without having the pleasure... alcohol would just add to my dizziness and bring on the fatigue sooner...
Friends , family and employers don't seem to understand.. Their lack of awareness seems to lead them to "ask are you better now", like a broken leg has now healed... They don't get that I have a permanent brain injury and that my recovery goes on... To them I'm the same old Daz, I must be... I look the same, I sound the same... But I don't feel the same... They all suddenly have become medical experts by saying ," you look so well, you don't look like you have had a stroke" or "It must have been a warning, a small stroke"...
It wasn't the real medical expert my consultant has said again how fortunate I am to be a stroke survivor even luckier not to be physically disabled.. he has seen smaller clots and strokes result in both. But he knows cognitively I have not escaped, I have hidden disabilities ... however he has congratulated me on my positive approach and determination towards recovery and to what's happened.. He says my attitude is quite remarkable... I am frustrated that they have found no medical reason as to what caused my stroke. So like others I live in a little fear of having another one.
I am still battling to increase my hours at work to 5 hours per day, introduce some driving and ultimately get back to my full time Area sales manager role covering North Wales and the Midlands... Im 48 I cant give up. I have achieved a lot so far and have to set myself targets to improve further... However there is a fine line in doing well and doing too much on a good day... I manage my fatigue every day but some days come crashing down and hit a wall... on bad days the headaches are painful, like brain freeze from an ice Lolly and I can sleep all day.
Others don't see that though, they just think I'm fine, after all I look fine... I feel the next advert for Stroke awareness should be about the effects of stroke and post stroke symptoms.. To others I look like a nicely polished sports car on a garage forecourt. What they can't see is that there are major problems with the head gasket... anyway thank you for listening and good luck with your own personal journeys and own recoveries. Remember to keep smiling.. best wishes to you all Darren