I was just about to turn 33 when I had my stroke. My wife had just left me and I had to move back into my parents house, leaving mine and my children’s home and watching everything I had built up over 10 years being thrown in a van as rubbish.
I had been suffering severe headaches for months with stroke like symptoms and was continually told it was migraine, although I am unsure if this was caused by ex wife stating it was just migraines. I had been misdiagnosed for months, if not years, following episodes 5 years previously, shortly after getting married and the birth of my daughter. At this time a thrombus was discovered on my heart to which I was treated with warfarin. The stroke like episodes quite obviously stopped, but after 12 months or so off the warfarin gradually started to re-occur. I became extremely worried and couldn’t talk to my wife as she kept closing me down stating it was stress or depression. So I hid my collapses and weakness. It wasn’t until I lost consciousness at my parents and mom had to call 999, that I realised how serious these headaches potentially were.
A couple of weeks passed and mom and dad started to feel more confident about me being on my own, so I took our dog for a walk. They returned to find me being carted off in an ambulance having collapsed and fallen down stairs. Luckily I managed to call 999 and slur that I had no feeling in my left hand side. After what I thought was going to be another wasted trip, I eventually was told unfortunately I had a stroke and it appeared I had several others in the past. After several days in, it was felt due to my emotional liability it would be better if I went home.
I had no visit from my wife or children, even though she worked on the ward I was situated. Two days after my release I received the paperwork from her solicitor telling me she was divorcing me. I fought my arse off to try and get as well as possible to return to work so I could make payments for CSA, etc. I was back for 2 weeks, still under my phased return, when all staff were called into a meeting to be told we were potentially going to be made redundant. As it got closer to the redundancy date we were being given no information. So I was forced to find alternative employment, who wanted me to start prior to my official end date.
Having then worked at this company in a far lower skilled job for several weeks I had a complete breakdown. My brain just stopped working. I couldn’t concentrate, I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. It was the scariest moment of my life. I thought I was better until this point. It’s not a race, it’s a slow steady recovery from a stroke, something I learnt the hard way several times. I had very little help other than from my parents. It’s coming to 12 months now since my stroke and I’m still not 100%, but I am not in a wheelchair like I was at one point just to get me out. I no longer walk using a stick and my dexterity in my hand is getting better all the time, although I still have bad days. My cognitive issues aren’t apparent to most people, so I have become one of the hidden people with disabilities.