“My name is Jo Houghton I am now 45, I am a Diagnostic radiographer in Liverpool. I had my stroke in October 2015 just before My 44th birthday In January.
Before my stroke I was healthy enough, didn’t smoke or drink and exercised regularly. About 6-8 weeks before my stroke I had started falling over a lot I thought it was because I had size 9 feet & was generally being a bit more clumsy than usual. I also lost my hearing on the right hand side but again thought it might have been age related.
Everyone says that I had begun to repeat myself a lot and ask the same questions over and over, had developed really bad aphasia and I had really bad left sided weakness but I had put that down to wearing lead aprons in operating theatres as part of my job. One day in October I was working in theatre and I thought that the lights were very bright, then I realised I couldn’t see at all I had lost my sight. I had no idea what was going on but I was scanned as they thought I might have a brain tumour but it turns out it was a posterior cerebral stroke.
The most difficult part of the recovery for me has been my balance and aphasia. People look at you and say “you dont look as if you’ve had a stroke” or “you’re too young to have a stroke” It’s hard explaining to people that you forget things easily or cannot find the words when you need to and people assume you are drunk when you walk into things and lose your balance. Im super chatty but have lost a lot of confidence due to not being able to talk as fluently as I would like.
My life now well….I have tried my best to crack on as normal. I am back at work full time and all I can do is my best. I am not as fast as I was and my colleagues help me with words when I am lost or forget on bad days and when I walk into stuff – they just check that I’m ok and not too tired
I have two children to look after aged 16 & 17 and they didn’t really understand what was happening to me -they just thought I was tired.
I came across Different strokes and it has been a lifeline to me, especially looking to other people who too have had strokes for answers when you are not sure what is normal and what isn’t. It has helped to help me feel less alone. The facebook chats have been so useful, just to know that there are others going through the same thing as you and can give answers and advice is amazing. When you are sent home from hospital you feel very alone and there is so little information, you are kind of just left to it! Talking to others about where they are up to with regards to day to day life and tasks has been so helpful.
For christmas this year I will be working in A&E and after that home with my little family to celebrate and just being very grateful for what we have. I have joined a northern soul dance class to try and help with my balance. it’s only a basic class but it is good fun.
I would tell other stroke survivors to keep on keeping on. Initially when I had my stroke I had lost the use of my left hand side and was sent to a rehabilitation class. After the classes I used to sit in the car and sob because I couldn’t do things that I had previously taken for granted. Be patient with yourself and those around you. I struggle still day to day with my loss of vision which these days is mostly blurry and my speech, when I still stammer or forget but, dont give up we’re still here – so keep on fighting!”
This Christmas we want to raise awareness that stroke can happen at any age, we also want to share the impact that sharing experiences has on the lives of younger stroke survivors and their families. We provide services that put people in contact to share these experiences reducing isolation and benefiting all parties. Now we need your help! 2018 will be a big year for Different Strokes, as we embark on new projects to provide specialist support and resources for specific ages. We are also aiming to increase the number of local support groups around the country.
What can we raise in 12 days to support this work?
If you can donate this Christmas your gift will be part of something special, something transformational, something life changing to enable a younger stroke survivors and their family members to reclaim their lives.
We know this time of year puts a lot of pressure on everyone financially and if you are unable to help in this way then please help us by sharing our campaign on social media:
2017-12-15T00:21:44+00:00 December 15th, 2017|Comments Off on Jo’s Story