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Old 07-02-2010, 08:35 PM   #1
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Things I've learned since my stroke

Things I've Learnt since my stroke
Its now 18 months since I suffered my stroke and I've learnt a lot of things about myself, some that I like & some that I don't.
I've also learnt a lot about strokes that only those who suffer & survive a stroke could understand.
First of all I now know how lucky I was that although at the time I was seriously ill, because of where I had the 4 bleeds within the brain, I am not greatly physically impaired.Apart from a strange tingling & numbness down my left side I look to others exactly as I did before my stroke.
My main problem has been constant & persistant head spins (Vertigo) & nausea since leaving hospital (although in the last 3 months the head spins have diminished greatly and the nausea has lessened to a comfortable level that is tolerable) I now no longer feel I'm at sea in a bad storm with no way of curing my seasickness. I still have problems when trying to walk more than several hundred yards, back comes the queasiness and lethargic feelings which I don't know if they are products of the stroke or side effects of medication that I am now forced to take.
Back to things I've learnt, I think the first thing that I felt was WHY ME, I was a fit 65 year old, not overweight going to the gym twice a week, walking a lot and renovating a smaller old house that my wife & I bought for our old age.
High blood ptessure inherated from my mother was the cause although healthy eating and exercise did not keep me safe like all the health messages over the years had said they would.
I have come to terms with what has happened, it happened like everything else in life happens, randomly and not always for a specific reason.
Straight after the stroke I experienced a whole range of emotions that I've come to realize are a normal response to a major trauma in one's life.
SHOCK
It was quite a shock to me when I awoke from my 2 week coma & found that everything seemed unreal & was not really happening to me especially when told that I had had major organ failure with a heart arrest, loss of lung function & loss of kidney function & loss of liver function. Days & nights of ventilation, feeding tubes through the nose, kidney dialysis & a mulitude of tests soon had me on a fast track to a full recovery or so I thought.
DENIAL
Over the next few weeks denying that all this had happened to me helped me cope with everything that was going on around me.
The head of ICU sat down with me in the middle of the night & explained that denial may be a product from the damage the stroke had caused to my thinking processes. His talks & time he spent with me was of great comfort to me during that harrowing time.
ANGER
I got angry with a couple of nurses during my hospital stay which was unusal for me as I have a great respect for the profession of nursing & its caring nature. This was one of the aspects of the stroke that I didn't like about myself.
A FEELING OF LOSS
One of the first impressions I was aware of when awakening was that a couple had stolen part of my memory & I can still picture them to this day standing in front of a 1950's style black car & I could not understand how or why they had done that they did.
I have accepted all the other feelings of loss such as the inability to make decisions, the loss of confidence in my abilities, the loss of driving & independence, even the slide down the family hierachy structure to one of dependence on my wife/carer instead of being the main breadwinner.
ANXIETY.
For a long time after my stroke I was very anxious about what had happened to me & what was to happen to me in the future & I suppose I still am to some degree but I have been able to accept my mortality & so therefore have come to terms with my stroke & the feelings of fear that I had.
All the problems that I had before my stroke are still there except the high blood pressure which is now at an acceptable level & I know that life is unpredictable with or without a stroke.
I have been fortunate in having a very understanding wife/carer to help me through this period of my life
I hope the above notes don't sound too self centered but will help others to understand some of the things that may be happening to them.
Wayne

 
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #2
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

wayne,
Thank you for sharing such an emotional peice. Please don't think that your were self-centered. It was not at all sounding that way. What you shared moved me to tears and I never thought at a point that you were self centered. wow I bet that felt good for you and I hope it did.

that was a alot to write for you, but i hope it was good to get it out. thank you for sharing so emotiion.

for me, just that you know, that I am different person too since the stroke. I am serious that I cried every day for 2 months after my stroke and still do but not every day. I was like i had to realize that I can't work anymore and i did everything around the house and don't now. my wife got us a lawn guy because and can't even to that. it is not physcial it is mental if that makes sense. yes it is hard to not be "the man" in the family anymore.

my wife went to her parents 50 yearly anniversiyl and I told her I could not go becasue i can't handle alot of people. well woiuldn't you know that the first day she was gone and I was scared. I am a football, guirtar type of guy and that is riducalous for me. but I had to call a neighbor to say i was afraid (for what I don't now) but didn't you know that 2 couples came over and we sat by the pool for hours. I didn't know that our neighbors cared but they do.

one thing is that one of our neughbors is a doctor, but he is salt of the earth, sweet brother, but he wanted to start telling me what I need to do about my stroke. I asked him did you have a stroke and he said no - i said well there is nothing to do for it now, i just want friends and that is all.

So wayne i am so happy you wrote all of that. It took me an hour to read, but i know that is was moving and inspring and i hope you got a little peace just by writing.

tim

Last edited by Positive Cynic; 07-03-2010 at 07:25 AM.

 
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

Wayne,

Great post, and it really hit home with me. My strokes have many of the same components..the BP being the cause, the organ damage, etc. But the phases of recovery were even more similar.

I am seven years past my strokes, and I still have impossible to control BP, which leaves me wide open to another one. I am so happy you have gotten yours to a safe level Do you take medication to help with that?

The sense of loss, the loss of confidence, and the anxiety have taken a huge toll, but like you, I have come to terms with the hard facts.

The things I have learned about myself, and my family is immeasurable. Without the major trauma, we could not ever know the depth of our loved ones hearts, or the depth of our own human spirit,

Thank you Wayne, your words gave me a lot to think about, and a deeper sense of togetherness with other survivors.

 
Old 07-03-2010, 11:15 AM   #4
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

Wayne, thank you so much for your story. I am so new to all of this and so scared and your story is so validating. Your stroke was much worse than mine, but I think I am as afraid as you were and are. It sucks!
Hope you enjoy the 4th of July

 
Old 07-03-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

the teach,

If I may make a small break in your thread Wayne, to welcome the teach into our wonderful group of stoke survivors. I think you will find this place as special as we all do, where you can get all of our support and questions answered. I encourage you to start a new thread, where you share your story with us, so we can get to know you, and support all of your concerns. We are here to help, and welcome you with open arms..Janet

Oops, now I see your thread...Excuse me!

Last edited by writeleft; 07-03-2010 at 12:59 PM.

 
Old 07-03-2010, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

Quote:
Originally Posted by eemgee View Post
Things I've Learnt since my stroke
Its now 18 months since I suffered my stroke and I've learnt a lot of things about myself, some that I like & some that I don't.
I've also learnt a lot about strokes that only those who suffer & survive a stroke could understand.
First of all I now know how lucky I was that although at the time I was seriously ill, because of where I had the 4 bleeds within the brain, I am not greatly physically impaired.Apart from a strange tingling & numbness down my left side I look to others exactly as I did before my stroke.
My main problem has been constant & persistant head spins (Vertigo) & nausea since leaving hospital (although in the last 3 months the head spins have diminished greatly and the nausea has lessened to a comfortable level that is tolerable) I now no longer feel I'm at sea in a bad storm with no way of curing my seasickness. I still have problems when trying to walk more than several hundred yards, back comes the queasiness and lethargic feelings which I don't know if they are products of the stroke or side effects of medication that I am now forced to take.
Back to things I've learnt, I think the first thing that I felt was WHY ME, I was a fit 65 year old, not overweight going to the gym twice a week, walking a lot and renovating a smaller old house that my wife & I bought for our old age.
High blood ptessure inherated from my mother was the cause although healthy eating and exercise did not keep me safe like all the health messages over the years had said they would.
I have come to terms with what has happened, it happened like everything else in life happens, randomly and not always for a specific reason.
Straight after the stroke I experienced a whole range of emotions that I've come to realize are a normal response to a major trauma in one's life.
SHOCK
It was quite a shock to me when I awoke from my 2 week coma & found that everything seemed unreal & was not really happening to me especially when told that I had had major organ failure with a heart arrest, loss of lung function & loss of kidney function & loss of liver function. Days & nights of ventilation, feeding tubes through the nose, kidney dialysis & a mulitude of tests soon had me on a fast track to a full recovery or so I thought.
DENIAL
Over the next few weeks denying that all this had happened to me helped me cope with everything that was going on around me.
The head of ICU sat down with me in the middle of the night & explained that denial may be a product from the damage the stroke had caused to my thinking processes. His talks & time he spent with me was of great comfort to me during that harrowing time.
ANGER
I got angry with a couple of nurses during my hospital stay which was unusal for me as I have a great respect for the profession of nursing & its caring nature. This was one of the aspects of the stroke that I didn't like about myself.
A FEELING OF LOSS
One of the first impressions I was aware of when awakening was that a couple had stolen part of my memory & I can still picture them to this day standing in front of a 1950's style black car & I could not understand how or why they had done that they did.
I have accepted all the other feelings of loss such as the inability to make decisions, the loss of confidence in my abilities, the loss of driving & independence, even the slide down the family hierachy structure to one of dependence on my wife/carer instead of being the main breadwinner.
ANXIETY.
For a long time after my stroke I was very anxious about what had happened to me & what was to happen to me in the future & I suppose I still am to some degree but I have been able to accept my mortality & so therefore have come to terms with my stroke & the feelings of fear that I had.
All the problems that I had before my stroke are still there except the high blood pressure which is now at an acceptable level & I know that life is unpredictable with or without a stroke.
I have been fortunate in having a very understanding wife/carer to help me through this period of my life
I hope the above notes don't sound too self centered but will help others to understand some of the things that may be happening to them.
Wayne
When I had first had my strokes, I was soooooo scared. I had a 5 month old my girl & a 22 month old little boy. /I didn't think I would live long enough to see them grow up. I wanted my husband to take their pictures & have them aged-progressed. So I could see what they might look like. I think that was my biggest fear. I bought these 2 beautiful kids into the world & I wanted to see them grow up. Thankfully I got over that. My daughter is now almost 6 & my youngest son is 7 & one son is 12 & the other son is 18.I am still scared at times, but not nearly like I was. I thank God each & every day for allowing me to be here with them.

Last edited by Alberta1967; 07-04-2010 at 05:54 PM. Reason: forgot something

 
Old 07-03-2010, 06:59 PM   #7
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

G'day everyone,
thanks for the replies, Its made my day enjoyable to read your replies, I'm sorry Tim that it took you so long to read it I had written a lot more but condensed it down to make it less boring to read.
Tim, I must admit I'm much more emotional now than before my stroke but my wife thinks thats a good thing thats come from having the stroke, reckons it makes me more human. Like you I find it a bit hard in noisy places. We also have some great neighbours who call in regularly to see how I'm going.
I'm also like you in saying sorry to my wife constantly.
Writeleft, thanks for the reply,
Yes, medication is what has got my blood pressure down, before my stroke I was taking a single BP tablet & a diuretic but my BP got out of control just before my stroke & the strategy that Drs came up with was to give me a small dose of all the different types of BP meds instead of a lot of one type & that seems to be working for me.
The Teach,
Welcome to the board, lets hope that we can help you through the periods ahead.
As I'm in Australia we don't celebrate your 4th July although I just listened to a radio programme as a tribute to 4th July about how many American Civil war veterans are buried here in cemetaries. Apparantly a lot came to Australia as whalers or in search of gold.
It also stated that the first person to fire a shot in that war came from here.
Wayne

 
Old 07-04-2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

I meant to say I have learned not to be afraid of living.

 
Old 08-10-2010, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

Quote:
Originally Posted by eemgee View Post
G'day everyone,
thanks for the replies, Its made my day enjoyable to read your replies, I'm sorry Tim that it took you so long to read it I had written a lot more but condensed it down to make it less boring to read.
Tim, I must admit I'm much more emotional now than before my stroke but my wife thinks thats a good thing thats come from having the stroke, reckons it makes me more human. Like you I find it a bit hard in noisy places. We also have some great neighbours who call in regularly to see how I'm going.
I'm also like you in saying sorry to my wife constantly.
Writeleft, thanks for the reply,
Yes, medication is what has got my blood pressure down, before my stroke I was taking a single BP tablet & a diuretic but my BP got out of control just before my stroke & the strategy that Drs came up with was to give me a small dose of all the different types of BP meds instead of a lot of one type & that seems to be working for me.
The Teach,
Welcome to the board, lets hope that we can help you through the periods ahead.
As I'm in Australia we don't celebrate your 4th July although I just listened to a radio programme as a tribute to 4th July about how many American Civil war veterans are buried here in cemetaries. Apparantly a lot came to Australia as whalers or in search of gold.
It also stated that the first person to fire a shot in that war came from here.
Wayne
Wayne,
I hope you get this. I can't believe that you wrote a month ago. Thank you so much writing to me personal. My stroke is taking it's energy in my. I am sure you know buddy. I am just in my 8 month since my stroke and feel so tired all of the time. I was all gung how after my stroke, like i will beat this and will get back to work. well, it didn't happen and is not going to. i try everyday to be positive, but my life as it was is gone, so i have to build a new life. that is good. I am happy you have a wife that supports you, like I do too. That makes it a little easier. I think that you are one of the first person to post back to me after my stroke. I really appreciate that. I have also met some more good friends here too. You have had your stroke alot longer than me, so I appreciate your insight. We all have our struggles, but having i a stroke is like a bond that no one could understand - not even our lovely wifes - though they try.
I just wanted to say hi, i hope you find this someway. A month is a long time to not say hi
God Bless,
tim

 
Old 08-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #10
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

G'day Tim,
Glad to see you're back posting again.
I was only thinking yesterday that I might start a new thread to ask if you are still online.
I was starting to worry, I know how dufficult it is having to realise that we may never be the same person we were a little while ago. it seems to have happened so quickly going from an active lifestyle to a couch potatoe.

Wayne

 
Old 08-11-2010, 03:41 AM   #11
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Re: Things I've Learnt since my stroke

Quote:
Originally Posted by eemgee View Post
G'day Tim,
Glad to see you're back posting again.
I was only thinking yesterday that I might start a new thread to ask if you are still online.
I was starting to worry, I know how dufficult it is having to realise that we may never be the same person we were a little while ago. it seems to have happened so quickly going from an active lifestyle to a couch potatoe.

Wayne
Wayne,
Couch potatoe is a good way to call how we are! We have on demand tv and there are literally hundreds of movies for free, so i have been watching movies. it is funny that i cry at any emotion in any movie I watch. i just can't help it, I think my wife gets tired of me crying when we watch movies, but it is like a flood of emotion since my stroke. it is so ridiclous that I will even see a puppy in a movie and start crying. I had to sell my business which was video and editing just pay bills. It almost killed my inside to let the equipment go i have had for years for pennies on the dollar. So the emotions just don't let up. I get out a little more since my stroke, but the confidence in myself it had has been gone for some time now. I hope i don't sound negative. Just letting out some frustrations is all.
God Bless,
tim

Last edited by Positive Cynic; 08-11-2010 at 03:44 AM.

 
Old 08-11-2010, 02:27 PM   #12
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Re: Things I've learned since my stroke

Hello friends. I am happy to see this post pop back up.

Just looking at the title makes me think of one more important thing I have learned...

Surviving stroke creates a sense of power, just knowing I have the ability to start a new life from the point of the devastating strokes, until now. To know how happy I am, when others might only see the obstacles. To know that I have the right attitude, which holds such power to heal. And lastly, to have had the incredible luck to find support that I need. I am humbled by the power of the human spirit, which is something that takes a huge life changing event to even appear, and then much more to understand. It is a gift that only comes the hard way. It takes going through the stages of recovery to arrive at...acceptance. That has taken me 6 whole years of life post stroke to arrive at, and boy is it a sweet landing!

Was that really one thing I learned? I feel like I just snuck through the express line at the grocery store, with way more than the allowed items...Oops!

Can I suggest an article out of a book called "After the diagnosis" by Dr. JoAnne LeMaistre. This section is called "Coping with chronic illness" but it relates very well to stroke recovery. It is 11 pages, so I suggest you print it out for easier reading. The book was written by a doctor who herself was faced with major illness, which inspired her to write this book.

< edited >

Love to all! Janet

Last edited by hb-mod; 08-11-2010 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Please don't post unapproved websites, per Posting Policy. Thanks!

 
Old 08-11-2010, 06:41 PM   #13
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Re: Things I've learned since my stroke

G'Day Janet
You are a lot further advanced in your thinking than I am, I certainly haven't felt any sense of power, more the opposite now I'm not the main fixer of things round the house although my granddaughters still reckon I can fix anything that's broken, I find that my thinking process is so slow & it tires me out trying to do the simplest of tasks.
Sorry your last post got edited but I did manage to make note of the book title.
Sounds like it might make a good read although I don't read much since the stroke as it knocked out part of my vision and it makes me very tired to read even a couple of pages as I have to scan back & forth along the lines
Wayne

 
Old 08-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #14
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Re: Things I've learned since my stroke

G'day Tim,
I know what you mean about the emotions, since the stroke mine have been all over the place.
Sorry you had to sell all your video gear it must have been a wrench to see it go, it is such an event as that that reinforces the fact that life has changed for us & that other people around us just don't understand what we are going through.
Hang in there Tim I'm told it does get better as time goes on.
Wayne

 
Old 08-12-2010, 05:04 AM   #15
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Re: Things I've learned since my stroke

Quote:
Originally Posted by eemgee View Post
G'day Tim,
I know what you mean about the emotions, since the stroke mine have been all over the place.
Sorry you had to sell all your video gear it must have been a wrench to see it go, it is such an event as that that reinforces the fact that life has changed for us & that other people around us just don't understand what we are going through.
Hang in there Tim I'm told it does get better as time goes on.
Wayne
Wayne,
I have nothing to say really. I am just talking if that makes sense. I am trying to get back here on the healthboards. My wife had surgery and it was so hard on her and i was not the best mental health to help her, but I had to you know? It has been 2 months since her surgery (thyroid was taken out) and is about so hard on her, and I have to be strong for her, but some times I just don't feel like it, I am tired so much all of the time. I used to cook for the family everyday. I love cooking, but I just don't even feel like most of the time and that is just not like me. It is a big adjust to my wife too understand what is going on with me, while she has to deal with her own problems. But we have each other and we love each other, so we will get through it.

Are you ok Wayne? I know you had some physical problems too. How are you doing ok about that? Well that's all for now. It seems like when I post it is just like a stream of conscience with no thought. but I know that stroke survivors understand that. I have a thread I started with people that write books. It is going well, but after my stroke I try to get on and don't seem like I am welcome, and I started it. So that is just weird. It seems like I can't adjust to "normal" talking on forums. That is why this one forum is so important. I can say things here and probrably don't write the best, but everyone here understand that. And I don't have to apologize my bad typing. Does that make sense?
bless you
tim

 
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