Reflecting on my stroke journey (so far)

It is almost 5 months since having my stroke which turned my life upside down. I didn’t, and to some extent still don’t, believe that it happened to me. I was fit and healthy, never smoked, don’t drink, ran 5-7k three times a week and did lots of walking in between. I had a stressful job and did lots of volunteering but loved it all.

So what have l learnt along the way:

  • [ ] That having a stroke was more life changing than I imagined it would be when I was sat in the hospital absorbing the news.
  • [ ] That “early days” in stroke terms goes on for months.
  • [ ] That stroke survivors need oodles of patience. Not my forte :grin:
  • [ ] I never knew how tough it would be to do some of the most basic things. I will never forget the delight I felt when I managed to squeeze the toothpaste out the tube with my affected hand. I will never take anything for granted again.
  • [ ] This, with the exception of losing my beloved dad to cancer, is without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.
  • [ ] What proper fatigue really feels like. No more moaning about feeling tired if I’ve had a hard day.
  • [ ] No matter how hard the day always get up and face it head on.
  • [ ] That my recovery is going to take significantly longer than I expected and that I was being unrealistic when I thought I’d be back at work in a couple of weeks. (Nothing wrong with hope I suppose😁).

But amongst many negatives I have tried to find the positives:

  • [ ] I never realised just how many great friends I had. They have been amazing.
  • [ ] I’d never have met (ok virtually but met all the same) so many lovely people as I have on this forum.
  • [ ] The amazing support I have had from my work colleagues.
  • [ ] The things I thought mattered before really don’t. I no longer get stressed because the housework hasn’t been done or the towel isn’t folded correctly (yes, really, these things used to bother me).
  • [ ] That no matter how bad I feel there is always someone significantly worse off than me.
  • [ ] That I’m more resilient than I ever imagined I could be.
  • [ ] Rest is a good thing and I don’t need to feel guilty for sitting down and doing nothing.

I don’t know what life has in store for me going forward……probably best I don’t know. I am trying to work out what the new me will be like and what the new normal will be but whatever it is I hope I can embrace it and come out the other side a better person.

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a brighter future and a successful journey through recovery.

I really appreciate all the support from this forum. It’s a great place to share and learn with no judgements. You’re all amazing & inspirational people.

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@Mrs5K aghh well said and thank you for sharing with us. I think we can all see ourselves in some of your blog. I think this forum is better than counselling we all help each us with advice, support and knowledge. Think forward positive thoughts! Onwards and upwards :hugs::blush::blush: best wishes Loraine

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Hi @Mrs5K yes indeed it’s a long hard slog but you’ve survived, you’re here to fight and push forward, as you say onwards and upwards :grinning:

Stay strong, stay positive, take care

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Yes, I like that idea. Keeping positive has helped me along the way.

Rest is indeed a good thing in recovery. What I have found is that building rest time into my daily plan is important. Learning to pace myself has been a major part of my condition management.

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Thank you. You have summarised the impact of stroke very well. After six years, I treat every day as a new challenge. Fortunately, I am retired but stroke changed my life overnight. I still have fatigue and my walking varies in quality, but I have learned that small things are much more important than big things. Good luck to you in your onward journey.

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Thanks for sharing your story it does get easier but it’s never easy but we kearn to cope. It’s still early days yet stroke take times to learn how to adapt but you can do it with kind regards des

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@sunnyday yes, I always try to stay positive. Sometimes with more success than other times. But however low I’m feeling I always get myself up and moving………you just never know the day could greatly improve as it goes along.

Thank you @John_Jeff_Maynard I think I’m finding the fatigue to be the biggest challenge. My walking ability varies from day to day but I can hobble about most days so will take that. This morning balance is a bit off so just hobbling slower :grin: guess we all find ways to adjust as time goes on x

Thank you Des @Des_murphy that’s very true. I’m now finding ways to adapt and hope to continue along in a positive way. Best wishes Ann

@Loshy this forum has helped me loads……definitely better than counselling. I’m so glad I found it.
Hope you are feeling a lot better now and not pushing yourself too hard. xx :hugs:

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@Mahoney yes, the one thing we all have in common is we survived it. Anything else has to be positive :grin:. I’m grateful for the support of everyone on this forum it has helped me loads along the way.
Best wishes
Ann x

Thank you @Mrs5K . Lovely post well put. :heart:

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Hi, It was great reading your account of your stroke. It made me feel so.much better. I was so surprised that I had a stroke, I used to go to the gym and do a spin class and walk the dog 3 to 4 miles a day.
I am still finding it difficult to walk very far. I suffer with balance as well. I had my Stroke last December so is it a long time or is it normal?
I like you have stopped worrying if there is dust on the TV or doggie prints on the floor. Life is too short.
I wish you well and a good recovery
Dolla xx

Thank you Dolla, @Butcherd01 glad I helped to make you feel a bit better.
Sounds like we had our strokes around the same time. Mine was early Dec. I am told that it is very early days yet………when I asked how long early days went on for I was told 18 months :grimacing:. My stroke has affected my balance and whilst on the whole it is improving I then get a day like today where I feel really rough and my balance is all over the place again. I think it’s a normal part of the recovery process but frustrating all the same.
I wish you well in your recovery too.
Best wishes

Ann

I love your summary. I had my stroke last May but am still being told it is early days😂. Fatigue is definitely my biggest problem now. I do really well with planning my days for a while and then get overconfident and push myself too hard. Then it can take me several days to pick up again. Stay positive, rests lots, be kind to yourself and take a day at a time

Beryl

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@Brhodes001 thank you for your kind words Beryl. Fatigue is the worst bit I think. Just when you think you’ve cracked it it creeps up & takes you by surprise again :grin:
Best wishes

Ann

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Really interesting, thankyou.
I’m just over a year post stroke
One thing I would recommend is a smart watch - I invested in a fitbit & it raised my awareness of my health considerably. I now know when to stop, slow down, have a break, sleep better etc. Very, very useful tool - I think the Stroke Assoc should get a bulk discount & give to all their wonderful survivors
:grinning:

@JP1702 now there’s an idea :grin::grin: I too have a fitbit & it is a useful thing. Trying not to be too fixated on the step count though as it’s not that high at the minute :rofl: the sleep, heart rate bits I use loads though.

Oh don’t worry about the step counter. Fitbit has a Readiness score - indicates to me when I’ve run my body battery dry :rofl:
But it’s good to have the tools available

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Hi I have been trying to work out for just over a year now since I had my stroke how to explain to people how it feels like having to cope with life after a stroke and I resonated with what you said ‘life gets easier, but it’s never easy’ that’s exactly how I feel, so many thanks for that :blush: Debbie