“My name is Sarah and I’m 40 years old. Before the stroke I was a HR Team Manager. I was working on a high-profile project and I had just moved to a new house. I had been with my fiancé for 18 months. Life was great.
On Thursday 20th October 2011 at approximately 5pm, I had a haemorrhagic Stroke. I was doing a dismissal hearing and we had just adjourned to make the decision. The cause of my haemorrhage was an AVM that I’ve had since birth. An AVM is a cluster of tiny blood vessels that go nowhere! I had been under an awful lot of pressure and my AVM started to bleed.
I was left with a right sided paralysis and aphasia/dysphasia. I was in hospital for five weeks and then had Outpatient Physio and Occupational Therapies for six to nine months and Speech Therapy for 18 months.
My stroke has left me with some deficits. My right side is still very weak. I must wear a thing called an FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation). This is because when I get tired my foot drags. Without my FES on I tend to fall or trip over. I also have Botox in my foot every three months to stop my foot doing strange things!
My arm is working, but it’s very weak and my hand is not good. My short-term memory and concentration have also been affected. I get so tired, because my brain is working overtime to allow me to speak and to help my right-side to work. I need more rest than I used to. It is very difficult and tiring for my brain to think, process and organise. Fatigue makes it even harder#
The aphasia/dysphasia is the worst part for me. I was keen to be able to speak ‘normally’ again. I know now that this is the new normal for me. It can be embarrassing and frustrating, but I have come to terms with it. My aphasia is mild, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle every day. It’s like your words being held hostage by your brain! I still think in the same way as before, but I am not able to communicate my thoughts as easily now.
The AVM could have bled again, so on the 19th June 2012 I had stereo-tactic radio surgery. I had a metal cage screwed to my head! I went back to work a year after my stroke, and although I couldn’t go back to my previous role, I was working!! That was important to me and my speech came on immensely after going back to work too. Life is different now, not any better or worse, just different. It’s certainly given me a different perspective on my life.
I came across Different Strokes via a leaflet in my GP and went on their website. It was a godsend to know that I wasn’t alone! I go to a Different Strokes group in Loughborough. It’s really good to meet people that understand what you have been through. I’ve made friends for life!!
Looking forwards I aim to still make progress, even if it’s only very small steps now.This Christmas I am going to spend time with my family, because I’ve learnt through all of this, that’s the most important thing in life to me.
If I can say anything to a person who’s recently had a stroke, it’s “don’t give up”! Set yourself small milestones, you can do it!”
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:
2017-12-15T01:02:52+00:00 December 15th, 2017|Comments Off on Sarah’s Story