1. It can happen to anyone: young, middle aged, elderly, men, women, children .
2. When it happens you are ‘out of it’ for at least a week. I experienced a sort of out of body experience.
3. Your emotions are shot. My first reaction was fear and anxiety and that lasted several weeks.
4. You can become ‘hospitalised’ very quickly. My first time out of hospital made me long to go back.
5. You need to draw on all your strength and determination to recover. I had overcome many challenges in life so knew I had to overcome this.
6. It ‘s like being a child. I had to learn to stand, walk and tie my shoelaces.
7. Recovery is slow. You think it will take weeks, but it takes months to make even modest progress.
8. The brain is both remarkable and deceptive. I had dreams where I was my old self...running, jumping etc., I also found my brain could bring back what I thought of as ‘natural’ functions eg putting your coat on in a certain way.
9. You learn who your friends are. People you thought you knew can be quite uncaring.
10. Never give up. You do not know how far you can improve so you have to keep on trying. Mishaps will happen, falls are likely, but the more you exercise and work at it, mishaps will diminish.
11. Post stroke fatigue is daunting but eases. Mine hasn’t gone, but I can cope with it if I rest when it comes on. Too much conversation or physical activity affects the brain’s ability to cope.
12. Life is precious so live it to the full. At 75 my time is limited, but I ain’t going quietly and I’m certainly not going to down and dwindle away in despair.