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Stroke Inspiration – it’s out there if you look for it!

When we think about inspiration, what image or feeling does that conjure up? Would it be fair to say that we are more inspired by ordinary people who have done amazing or extraordinary things? The Oxford Dictionary define inspiration as: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.(mass noun). Since my stroke, four years ago, I became inspired by others. I read books, journals and followed those on Facebook and the internet who I felt had moved on with their lives following a great setback. My close friends I have come to know; Ida Dempsey and Neil Collie trained to run marathons and they too, had suffered major setbacks after stroke. If they could do that…then what reason did I have not to do the same? They were my inspiration to run.

Meaning of life

Many people tell me I am an inspiration.  Yes, I moved forward with my life in a positive way, I too began running and wrote my poetry. Yes, I self published my book, A Stroke of Poetry, and I am training for my next 10km run in June and I now deliver Stroke Safe presentations to the local communities but I do not feel inspirational in the sense of the word, but feel I have a purpose and meaning in my life to share my experiences in order to help others. If others see me as an inspirational person, then surely that’s a good thing. I feel like I am just me. Just ordinary Shelagh with a positive mindset and a desire to get better and fitter everyday and tell the whole world that they can live a happy, positive life. I am part of a Facebook group, Attempt 2 Run After Stroke, where stroke survivors share their experiences of being able to run and swap running advice. This week, I read a post from one of the members, who is now my friend and has approved me posting his comment. His name is Lama Nishit, a ‘nearly 44’ stroke survivor from Darjeeling, who suffered his stroke 2 years ago. This is his post..

“Doctors said I had a massive stroke, I was almost dead. It was more than three hours before I received any treatment. I might not have been here today if my concerned colleagues hadn’t travelled to my place when my flat owner had called them. They then took me to Krishna institute of medical sciences. I had an ischemic stroke, a blood clot in the brain. I was given statins ,aspirin and many more injections and medications to thin the blood. Oh and they inserted stents in my clogged arteries. Once my condition was stable, I began rehabilitation. Luckily I stayed in the hospital for 15 days. I was devastated, I thought my life was over. My right side was completely paralysed and I was in a wheelchair but I tried to remain positive and take one day at a time. Lifestyle may have raised my risk of a stroke. As a smoker, I had developed a two pack a day habit. I drank occasionally and neglected my fitness over work. Stroke does not discriminate by age, it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. So folks you can prevent strokes by making healthy lifestyle choices. Strokes can happen to healthy people too. The risk factor is higher among people who do not follow a healthy lifestyle.”

Lama

  Lama Nishit

I have followed Lama on his running journey now for several months and he is truly an inspiration to me and many others who follow his progression from what you read above, to a stroke survivor who is now running and determined to keep running. Lama comments: “In order to feel better, you have to feel good about yourself.” That is very true and if anyone out there feels that they cannot move forward, please seek advice from the Stroke Foundation or hop onto Enableme to seek inspiration from others who have had the same feelings that you are now experiencing. Email me or contact me through Facebook. Remember you are not alone in your recovery.

Please let me know how you go, whether this is with your exercise or any small part of life that you have improved since your stroke..I would love to hear about it.

Stay healthy and happy always.

Shelagh

 


Sensory overload post stroke – it’s not music to our ears!

DoesSensory overload n’t every girl (well, soon to be 54 year old woman) like to go out, have fun and PARTY?! I know I always looked forward to a great night out with the girls, a meal out with friends and in fact, any social occasion really, as many of my UK girlfriends will still tell attest to! (Keep your stories to yourselves ladies). The Beastie Boys sang….”You gotta fight for your right to party  and it would be true that since my stroke, my party days diminished almost immediately but I am happy to say that I have been fighting for my right to party ever since, and gladly, the social scene for me is once again returning…slowly…but returning. I hear you ask…‘Why does having a stroke prevent you from going out and having fun?’ Not including the fact you are recovering and somewhat fatigued, there are just TWO words that affect all stroke survivors. SENSORY OVERLOAD

Sensory overload happens when too much sensory stimulus is occurring at once — it can be triggered by a crowded room, a TV turned up too loud, strong aromas, fluorescent lighting — or a hundred other things. Many stroke survivors experience this feeling, which causes further fatigue, migraines and the general feeling of being unwell.

Do you experience this feeling? Do you worry that it will never go away? As I approach my four year ‘stroke’ anniversary, I reflect upon a poem I wrote for my book A Stroke of Poetry. I was a very sociable person pre-stroke and loved going to parties and I found the frustration of not being able to continue to do this, extremely sad and overwhelming. Please read my poem and then I will tell you how I feel now, because it does get better over time. I am happy to say that I am once again a Sunshine Coast socialite!

 

The party animal no more

I used to love to go out socialising, with friends and family.

But nowadays, the evenings are somewhat of a chore for me.

I have to rest before I go, or I’m shot by half past eight

Forget it now if you want me to drink as well as stay up late.

 

I love my food and like a drink, but not in the same vein as before

If I try you’d have to pick me up from the restaurant floor.

The noise and chatter are just too much; I just don’t stand a chance

And as for any live music, well please don’t expect me to dance.

 

When I get tired, my slurring starts, it’s not too good to hear.

Then a burning sensation starts in my face and goes from ear to ear.

It starts off in my ears, moves to my cheeks and flows to my head.

The throbbing, burning pain I feel, I just need to go to bed.

 

The brain ache, well, it then takes hold; I can’t stop it, although I try.

I just have to excuse myself right then and there before I start to cry.

My friends, they know me now so well and do not despair with me.

Our get-togethers suit my tired brain, they are as quiet as can be.

 

The places that we go, where there is little noise

They help me so immensely, and I’m grateful for choice.

A party animal, I once was, but for now I’ll take it slow.

There are plenty of quiet places to choose for me to go.

 

So the evenings, they’re spent mainly home, cuddling with my son

Now, is that such a hardship as I’m such a lucky mum?

That poem was written during my period of post stroke depression, where I desperately tried to fend off my negative feelings and heartache because I wanted to be the ‘old’ me. I didn’t like the ‘new’ me as I couldn’t go out, I hated noise, I detested crowded spaces and noisy chatter. I began to suffer migraines with any small amount of sensory overload. My friends were supportive but I really did not want them to know how bad I felt.

My husband David and son Patrick adore listening to rock music but I could not listen to any music in the house for fear of headaches. I could only meet with one person at a time as the added chatter was too overbearing for me. So, what did it do? I made excuses. Yes, I didn’t tell friends that I was unable to attend an event because of my sensory overload, but I lied to them to avoid having to explain how I felt. I was embarrassed about the fact I could not hold a simple conversation without getting a headache. I could not visit restaurants or bars because they were noisy either with music or full of people all talking at the same time.a true friend

I recall an upsetting conversation with a close friend. I had declined an invite to an important event for her and she discovered that I had lied. Her reaction was “I understand how you feel. You can tell me the truth. I am your friend.” Gladly, she is still one of my close friends but I had to tell her that she didn’t understand. Unless you have been through a stroke, the anxiety of not being able to continue as ‘normal’ and the added stresses of going out, nobody knows how you feel. However, I did learn that good friends are there to support you and help you through the tough times, if you let them in. Once I realised that, my life became easier and friends and family accommodated my needs whenever we ventured into the big wide world of socialising.

This year, I went to my first concert since my stroke and saw the amazing Adele at the Gabba in Brisbane. I took my ear plugs but I didn’t need them. Yes, it was loud, but there was little chatter between my sister Patricia and my friend Angela so I could focus and listen to the music. It was brilliant. I sang and danced and had a ball. Last Sunday, I drove with my husband David to Sirommet Wines in Brisbane and enjoyed the voices of Cyndi Lauper and Blondie. Wow! This was very loud. Eventually my ears adjusted and again, because there was only David and I and not a huge crowd of people chattering away, I could focus on the music, sing loudly, dance stupidly and thoroughly enjoy the concert.

It was halfway through the concert that I actually realised that I had no ringing in my ears, no headache and felt well. It has taken me four years to feel this way and it felt good. It does take time. be patient and you will get there. I promise.

Here are five simple tips which may help you cope with sensory overload. For further information, please visit Enableme, which is managed by the Stroke Foundation and answers any problems you may have.

 

  • Take a sensory break – you may feel overstimulated by conversation, so excuse yourself politely. If you are outside of home, visit the rest rooms or take some air outside. If at home perhaps consider a rest somewhere quiet. All my friends know of my stroke issues now so most of all….be honest. They understand your needs.
  • Find a balance – it is important that your basic needs are met so please don’t feel you have to sit at home lonely for fear of overstimulating environments. Try things in small doses. It may not work at first but keep trying.
  • Set your limits – try visiting busy places at quieter times of the day, or meet with friends at a place that has no live music. You may need to limit the duration of conversations.
  • Give yourself time to recover – it may takes hours or days to recover from an episode of over stimulation. Ensure you take needed rest and ‘alone’ time is the best option.
  • Consider coping mechanisms to deal with over stimulation – have you thought of yoga and/or meditation? I have taken up yoga this year and love it. It certainly works for me.

Please let me know how you go and if you are struggling with sensory overload. Send me a message  with any similar issues you face and perhaps some tips on how you cope.

Until the next time,

Stay healthy and happy

Shelagh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Colour Therapy ‘blue’ me away

When you were a child, did you ever like colouring? I remember my mum giving me lots of plain paper and a variety of colouring pencils and I could draw and colour for hours. I was taken to the hospital once when I was younger as I thought it would be a good idea to try and stick a crayon up my nose and see how far it went. It got stuck and I needed a Doctor to remove it! You think that would have put me off colouring for life, but it didn’t. 

After my stroke, almost 4 years ago, I became depressed and very anxious about where my life was heading and how I could be of use to the world. These seem such silly thoughts now, as I am exceptionally happy and have a pretty good idea where I’m going!Dont forget quote

My brain on many days was so full of anger, not being able to do what I could or wanted to do, but I found colouring cleared my brain and helped me relax enormously. The only decision I needed to make was which colouring pencil to choose. I could float away in my own little world and sit in my comfy chair and not have to interact with anyone for a while. I have always liked some uniformity and routine but since my stroke, my brain is much less organised and ‘anything goes’. It didn’t matter what colouring pencil I chose..it was the act of colouring that made everything seem OK. I am a great believer in the saying ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good.’  I believe that any form of colouring is therapy, if it makes you forget your woes.

In August 2015, I attended a book workshop, pre-publication of A Stroke of Poetry and a participant suggested that I should include some colouring pages within my book. “What a great idea,” I thought. I had previously coloured some Mandalas and enjoyed doing these but I needed to find some suitable colouring pictures which would not be too difficult for those recovering from stroke.

I researched the benefits of colour therapy, as I wanted to include colouring pictures in my book as a helpful tool, rather than being there just for show. I quickly learned that use of colour as a Therapy is a truly holistic, non-invasive and powerful therapy which dates back thousands of years. It aims to balance and enhance our body’s energy centres/chakras by using the colours of the light spectrum, which can help to stimulate our body’s own healing process. Learn more .

LovebirdsFor days, I trawled the internet and eventually discovered two lovely artists. Georgina Westley, a British Graphic Designer, had drawn a gorgeous design named ‘Lovebirds’ and I immediately knew I needed it for my book. Georgina was extremely honoured that her artwork is in my book and she wrote a very pleasing review.  Many of my book recipients have coloured the Lovebirds and here is one by my friend Tracey who commented that it kept her calm during one of her daughter’s intense tennis matches.

I also sourced some simple but effective Mandalas from the lovely Sharon Morgan, from Adelaide which were posted on her website Manifesting Mandalas. Sharon was pleased to have them in my book and knows first-hand how much colour therapy helps those with depression and anxiety. Sharon runs workshops where she helps people to draw and colour, to release their negative thoughts and help them soothe their troubled souls. In January 2016, my son Patrick was admitted to hospital with appendicitis and was quite poorly so I stressed a little during his operation. I coloured some of the Mandalas which made me calmer and helped me forget my worries, even for a short time. My colouring isn’t perfect and that doesn’t matter, if it helped me stay calm. Mandalas coloured from book

Within my book are additional pages entitled; ‘My Thoughts, poems and artwork’ which encourages the reader to write down or draw their own thoughts and feelings and hopefully take away the sadness and negative thoughts that they may be experiencing. 

Let me know your own thoughts on colour therapy. There are many adult colouring books available but if you would like to order a signed copy of A Stroke of Poetry, so you can release that ‘inner artist’ in youI will even throw in a packet of colouring pencils!

Here’s hoping that you have some colour in your week!

Shelagh

 

 

 


Running after stroke – never say never!

Have you always wanted to run? Do you have doubts about running after stroke?

My running story

Prior to my stroke in 2013, I would say that I was a reasonably fit person, although I never ran or took part in any basic fitness training. I would walk a lot and think that kept me fit. Around 10 months’ post stroke, following my post stroke depression, I met my personal trainer, and my positivity and zest for life began to return. I threw myself into fitness (sometimes to my own detriment as I would spend days in bed following a short mountain climb!). I loved it. I loved the feeling of climbing to the top of a mountain or kayaking across the Pumicestone Passage where we live and just being with nature.10k fun run 2016

It was only during the early part of 2015 that I took up running and trained for a 10K. I started with a simple Couch to 5K  running app and it gave me the basics for running. I then joined a running group and got the much-needed passion for being able to complete that run. Hard work and determination to succeed paid off.

In 2015 I completed my first 10K run and in a time of 1 hour: 9 minutes, so I was very pleased with that. I ran the first 8.5K and only walked up a very steep hill near our local Shelly Beach. I completed the same run again in 2016 (in the howling wind and rain) and it took me two minutes longer. Here is a photo of my husband David and I in 2016, just before we ran the 10K fun run.Shelagh park run

I am currently training for the next one in June 2017 and YES, it hasn’t been an easy ride but I have, and continue, to put in the effort needed. I now do the local 5K Park Run on Saturdays and try and run 2-3 times each week, in addition to other training. Here’s a photo of me at a recent Parkrun, storming to the finish line, with my last breath!

As a stroke survivor, I do not believe the words ‘I CAN’T’ exist. Unless you are physically disabled to do so, you too can run.

Here are five tips worth knowing that have helped me run:

  • Manage your running with your fatigue and you will do OK (i.e. take rest before if needed)
  • Drink plenty of water before your run so you don’t become dehydrated
  • Try and find a running buddy to keep you motivated
  • Find your local Parkrun. It’s free and it doesn’t matter how slow you go at first. Just keeping trying and there are plenty of people there to cheer you on.
  • NEVER give up trying. Always believe in yourself and you CAN do it if you really want to.

Here is a poem, entitled ‘I did it!’ which I wrote following my first 10K run and I hope that it inspires you to get out and run. It would be great if you could comment on this post and share your running tips and your achievements, however small they may be and let’s keep each other motivated.

 

                                                              I Did It!

When we first came to Australia, seven years ago, this year.
Our Lady of Rosary was Patrick’s school. Many memories we still hold dear.
Each year they organise a fundraiser, held here on the Coast.

The Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run it is, and well attended by most.

There’s a 10K, 5K and so much more. It’s a beautiful family day.
You can even take a 3K walk and participate that way.
So, the first year I attended I did the 3K walk.

Run? No chance. You’re having a laugh. I’d much rather walk and talk.

As the years progressed, I saw those runners coming through.
I thought “Maybe, am I serious?  Is that something I could do?”
I’d watched my good friends running and some had suffered a stroke like me.
They’d trained and got so fit again. That’s where I aspired to be.

Even after my stroke recovery and getting fitter by the day.
Without the correct training a 10K run? There was no way.
So my friend suggested a personal trainer based here on the Coast.

If I joined their runners’ eight-week plan maybe a 10K I could then boast.

So, with my personal trainer, and boot camps through the week.

I added on the running course. I tell you it was no mean feat.  
Many mornings up at 5am. Is that really a time to rise?
Some training sessions were really tough. The trainers I grew to despise!

I hurt my knee on a training run. That really set me back.
Physiotherapy sorted that out, and the day came around real fast.
I was feeling very nervous but my mind set got me through.
If I was going to achieve this goal of mine. I knew what I had to do.

As I ran downhill to Moffat Beach, the finish line in my view.
I saw my son waiting to run with me. Tears welled and then I knew.
I’ve really gone and done it! I’ve actually run 10K.
A goal I thought I would never reach I well achieved that day.

 

from: A Stroke of Poetry

by Shelagh Brennand                                                                         

 

Stay healthy and happy (and run!)

Shelagh


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Happy New ‘Stroke’ Year

2017 is here! Tomorrow will already be the month of February, so I thought it about time that I wished all my followers a Happy New ‘Stroke’ Year. My last blog was October 2016 and the lack of posting was due to being busy and illness and fatigue towards the latter part of last year. I had a very busy 2016 and I needed rest to regain my health and fitness.IMG_0278

Saying that, after a superb Christmas, we sailed on the ‘Ovation of the Seas’ to New Zealand where I had a wonderful relaxing time with my family and lots of friends. We enjoyed the New Year at sea and upon our return, I spent some valuable, quality time with my 15 year old son Patrick (photo taken on one of our stops in NZ). I can honestly say that I am now raring to go (perhaps at a slower pace than last year!) for what I am certain will be an interesting and successful 2017.

The last major event of last year was the Pop up Book Shop, co-organised with my good friend Mary Barber, Tamarind Book Club. It was held at Caloundra Power Boat Club, on 6 November 2016, and we hosted 32 self published author tables. There was excellent feedback from those that attended in addition to our wonderful local authors who had the opportunity to sell their books.

Joan BenbowThis photo is of myself at the Pop up Book shop and the delightful, sprightly author, Joan Benbow, who was our oldest author at the event. I have provisionally booked an ‘Author Talk’ at the residential complex where Joan resides and very much look forward to meeting her and her friends once again. Although the Pop up Book Shop was a tremendous success, not only for the authors, but for the local community, it was immensely time consuming and we have decided that we will not host another Pop up Book Shop this year.  I have recently created a Facebook group; Self-Published Authors, Sunshine Coast which I hope will bring together current self-published authors who reside on the Sunshine Coast, and also welcome new authors, where we can share our successes, our events and other helpful advice to help us in our writing journeys. If you are a Sunshine Coast self-published author, please ask to join our group. I may be involved in other Pop up Book events on the Coast so please ‘Like’ my Facebook page to stay in touch with what’s happening this year.

During December last year, I visited Brisbane and undertook some ‘Stroke Safe’ training with the Stroke Foundation, but due to illness, I was unable to complete the course. In early February, I am delighted to say that I will be returning to Brisbane to complete the necessary training and then be a fully fledged Stroke Ambassador. This title will then qualify me to not only speak about my stroke, my book, A Stroke of Poetry but I will be delivering the ‘stroke safe’ message to community groups on the Sunshine Coast and further afield if required. This is a purely volunteer role and I am once again delighted to assist the Stroke Foundation in educating everyone about Stroke. If you would like me to visit your health organisation, stroke group, school or any association on the Sunshine Coast, please email me at shelagh@astrokeofpoetry.com.

Jo MaleChristina MI was thrilled with the results of the Christmas competition (and judging by the photos my recipients were thrilled too!) as two lovely, very worthy ladies, were the lucky winners of a signed copy of my book and a hand made Christmas card. Lovely Jo Male, who I recently got to know during 2016, whilst involved with the 2016 Vintage Calendar Girls Calendar and Christina Malfitana, one of my ‘on line’ stroke friends from Queensland were very happy when my book popped through their letterbox just before Christmas.

As always, I will continue with the marketing and sales of my book, which can be purchased on line, or at some local book stores on the Coast and I can still post out signed copies if required. Following the success of my Christmas Special last year, and as Easter eggs are already in the supermarkets, I am offering an Easter Special which includes a reduced price, signed and gift wrapped book and a hand made Easter card, so order early. Please hop onto my website for the various ways you can purchase a book.

As I sign off until next months blog, as always, please stay healthy and happy.

Much love

Shelagh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


October

October’s Stroke Roundup

October is the month of Halloween and often regarded as ‘Pinktober’ and dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer. I have managed to squeeze in three breast cancer events, Patrick’s 15th birthday party, strategy meetings for marketing my books, helped organise the Vintage Calendar Girls Gala Launch and progress the Pop up Book Shop event so I have been tremendously busy. I feel this October has also been filled with book sales and Stroke awareness and maybe I should refer to it as ‘Stroketober’ for me!

Queensland Mental Health Week ran from 9-15 October and I was invited by Cecelia Scahill, a Mental Health Recovery Nurse, to present at Caboolture Hospital. Caboolture HospitalThis was a lovely morning and I had a most receptive audience and spoke about how I used poetry and exercise to get me through my post-stroke depression. The positive feedback was tremendous and here is a photo of me being presented with some lovely flowers from Cecelia.

I am always keen to tell my story, raise awareness about stroke and help others with similar health issues and a few weeks ago, I was interviewed for the October edition of Profile Magazine. You can pick up a free copy of Profile Magazine at various cafes and retail outlets on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a two page article and you can read it here.

I mentioned last month that I was involved in raising awareness about Rare Cancer, through my involvement with the Vintage Calendar Girls 2017 Calendar. The Gala Launch was well attended at Old Petrie Town on 22 October. Caroline Hutchinson, 92.7 FM was MC for the evening and celebrity Barry Hall spent the evening signing the calendars, and brought along his delightful girlfriend Lauren Brant and posed for lots of photos. It was lovely to have my hair and makeup done and dress up for the event. VCG picHere is photo of me with Barry and my super friend Allison, who posed with us on the front page of the calendar. If you would like to purchase a calendar or follow the Vintage Calendar Girls and their plans for the 2018 Calendar…here is the link

Last week I visited Unity College and had the pleasure of chatting to Class 3.3 and their lovely teacher (Mrs Lennox), who also happens to be my good friend Majella. Each week, her class are taught issues about health and we decided it would be a great idea for me to speak with them and teach them the signs of stroke (FAST). They were very welcoming and they were all eager to learn and thankful for the goodies I gave out. I truly believe that you are never too young to learn about stroke or how to detect/prevent a stroke.Class 3.3

On Saturday 30 October, my good friends and trainers Melinda and Amy, MAB Personal Training and Adventures, organised a Boot Camp in recognition of World Stroke Day. It has been some time since I attended any boot camps and my aching body the following day was testament to the fact I dragged myself up and down those sand hills at Currimundi Lake! Thank you to everyone who came and supported this event and with $5 from everyone’s boot camp fee and donations, we raised $70. I will be sending this to the Stroke Foundation with my next payments from my book sales.

For several months now, my friend Mary, Tamarind Book Club, who helped my organise my own book launch last November, and I have been organising the first Pop up Book Shop to be held on the Sunshine Coast. It is to be held this Sunday, 6 November, at the Caloundra Power Boat Club and 30 authors will be hosting tables and showcasing and selling their books. We have a number of children’s authors who will be facilitating colouring tables and a ‘story corner’. Entry is with a  gold coin donation in support of the ‘Buy a Bale’ charity and you can read about the event here. I will be hosting a table and selling ‘A Stroke of Poetry’ for $20 but every purchase will include one of my hand made Christmas or Greetings card. A lot of work has gone into this event and runs from 10am – 1pm and there are so many beautiful books to be bought so come along with your Christmas list and I really hope to see you there.

That’s it for me for this month and as always, please stay healthy and happy.

Shelagh


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Septembers Stroke Successes

As September draws to a close, I can say that it has been a very busy month for stroke awareness and for events involving A Stroke of Poetry. On 2 September, I attended an awards ceremony in Brisbane where I received my certificate due to being nominated as a finalist in the creative category of the Stroke Foundation Stroke awards 2016.

AwardI felt very humbled to be chosen alongside some remarkable stroke survivors and supporters of stroke and it was a lovely day. Highlighting survivors of stroke at a very young age is hugely important and I met two amazing people on that day who were more than worthy of their awards (HUGE shout out to Sarah-Jane and Macey-Lee).Awards ceremony

Stroke Week  (12-16 September) was eventful and book signings at Books of Buderim and Rosetta Books, Maleny, brought some lovely people to these bookstores, where I could share my stroke story, sell my books and raise awareness about stroke.

 

Here are some photos of my book signings and why I continue in raising awareness to fight stroke…….

 

Banner RosettasBooks of Buderim

My beautiful friend Yenny Stromgren held an exhibition of her Everyday Light Warriors interviewees at the Junction, Noosa, during the month of September. This was a huge success, as she held it on the same day as ‘R U OK?’ day and she posted two of my poems I wrote during my post stroke depression.Me at Noosa

I was very proud to have them on the wall in amongst the photographs of those inspiring people she had the pleasure to interview. Please listen to my podcast and many others on her website. Although I was ill during the evening of her opening night, I was able to see the exhibition before it was all packed away for the next venue and we managed to get some lovely photos and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with this amazing woman.

YennySo..what’s happening in October? Marketing A Stroke of Poetry will continue with great gusto as usual and although I will be supporting Breast Cancer during ‘Pinktober’ through having fun at a few events, I have been able to share some book packs as raffle prizes, so I still leave my mark!

During Queensland Mental Health Week (9-15 October), I will be presenting at Caboolture Hospital and sharing my story, specifically in relation to coping with depression and how I found inspiration through poetry and exercise.

On the exercise theme, October 29 is World Stroke Day and Melinda Bingley, my good friend who owns and operates MAB Personal Training and Adventures is organising a special boot camp where some of the proceeds will be donated to the Stroke Foundation. Check out my Events page for more details on both these events.

On a personal note, A Stroke of Poetry have sponsored a page of the Vintage Girls 2016 Calendar and I  am helping my super friend and founder, Misty Bland, organise the Vintage Calendar Girls Launch on 22 October, in aid of Rare Cancers Australia. I will be dressed in my finery once again and showing how, at 53, I can still be a front page model of a calendar! If you fancy joining us for an evening of entertainment at Old Petrie Town, hop on line to buy a ticket or calendar.

Also, and finally, I hear you gasp, with my good friend Mary Barber, Tamarind Book Club, we are hosting a Pop up Book Shop on 6 November, so I am busy helping Mary with the organisation of that event. More information on that event next month.

I believe that brings me to a close for this month!

Have a wonderful October and as always, please stay healthy and happy.

 

Much love

 

Shelagh

 

 

 

 


Just keep swimming

The Rotary Club support ‘A Stroke of Poetry’

    “Inspiring”

                   “Motivating”

                                      “I was truly enthralled with your story”

                                                                                          “I love that you want to make a difference”

Inspiring 2These were all wonderful comments made to me after my stroke presentation to The Rotary Club of Caloundra last week.

For those of you that have met me or heard me talk, you will know that I LOVE to talk. I love to talk about anything and everything. Since my stroke, I am still troubled with ‘sensory overload’ and talking for too long, in busy, noisy places, with too many people and other such factors, affect my brain and give me headaches and bring on my fatigue. However, talking about my stroke, my book and presenting to groups of people who are interested in listening to my story, I seem to do OK and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

When I presented to my son’s school, as part of the Womens International Breakfast event in March this year, one mum, the lovely Julianna was so inspired by my stroke story, that she wanted me to present to her local Rotary Club at one of their weekly breakfast meetings. I was extremely honoured to do so, to a gathering of around 35 people who greeted me with such warmth and positivity.Rotary Club of Caloundra - With Chairman for the day

What a superb group of people who, themselves, inspire me with their motivation to do such good in our community. I sold ten books and although I donate $2 of all book sales to the Stroke Foundation, I matched that for the Rotary Club and they were certainly thrilled with that! This photo is of myself and Rotary Chairman for the day, Arnoldo Mendez, who gave me a very warm and kind introduction.

So…that takes me to this last week…following on from my presentation last week, I have been quite ill.

I do suffer with fatigue but having not been able to shift the horrid feeling of weakness, aching and lacking in energy, I decided to visit the Doctors who advised I may also have some sort of virus. Blood test results await! It made me seriously think about all the stroke survivors who suffer each and every day with chronic post stroke fatigue and are unable to function. I feel lucky enough to have only this temporary feeling but it was not until my friends watched a video that they truly understood how fatigue can be so disabling. The Stroke Foundation regularly publish literature and videos to assist those stroke survivors, carers, family and friends to help them understand about stroke. This video about fatigue hits the spot. Please take time to watch it and it may provide an insight into fatigue. As my ‘Dory’ featured image shows, we just have to keep ‘swimming’ when things just don;t go to plan.

What’s in store for the weeks ahead?….

Being nominated as a finalist in the Creative Stroke Category of the 2016 Stroke Foundation Awards means I have been invited to a gathering next week of the finalists from Queensland and hope to meet other such inspiring people who have made a difference to others. Also, as National Stroke Week beckons (12-18 September), I have my ‘Fight Stroke’ pack and I am planning book signings at local book stores, presentations and hope to raise awareness about stroke and health. October brings not only Breast Cancer month, but World Stroke Day is on 29 October and there may be a little something being planned for that. I shall keep you posted on events as they happen.

As always, please stay healthy and happy.

Shelagh


Happinness

I’m a 2016 Stroke Foundation finalist!

I truly believe that life is what you make it. Creating happiness in your life works both ways and if you live your life being happy, then you get happiness in return and shower happy thoughts on others. Well, that’s my simple philosophy anyway. Why am I talking about happiness in this blog? That’s because so many great things have happened to me in the past two weeks that I feel compelled to share my happiness with you all.

I was nominated for the 2016 Stroke Foundation Awards, in the creative category and have been listed as a finalist with some amazing people who have inspired me along my own stroke journey. Have a read about these inspiring stroke survivors and see what you think. The winner will be chosen this month but whatever the outcome, I feel a winner in every way at the moment.

Meeting new people and sharing my story where it has inspired them, makes me immensely happy. I now have the support from some local Medical Centres, here on the Sunshine Coast, who have stocked and are selling my books to patients. My heartfelt thanks go to Alive and Kicking Medical Practices who have four Medical Practices and are selling my books at their Brightwater and Parklands Practices. I have signed each book with an inspirational message, so if you live nearby, pop in and have a browse. Parklands sold one on the first day which was super news. I am also happy to say that my own practice, Golden Beach Medical Centre are selling my book and their August newsletter will feature a story about my stroke and my book.

3D cover high resI have always supported the local independent book stores and in addition to the support from The BookShop at Caloundra, I am happy to add, that Books of Buderim and Rosetta Books in Maleny are also supporting my business and A Stroke of Poetry is now available for purchase at these beautiful book stores. A book signing event is being planned at Rosetta Books in the coming weeks..further details to follow when confirmed.

I was lucky enough to conduct a recent interview with Profile Magazine which will feature in their October issue, focusing on health and well being, so needless to say I am very excited.

Young Stroke

Recently I met up with the Young Queensland Stroke Support Group, formed by Chris Kay (I can class myself as ‘young’ even though I am now 53!). They meet every 6 weeks or so here on the Sunshine Coast and discussions arose about strategies to cope with some areas of stroke recovery but we also laughed and joked about anything and everything. It was a fun meeting and looking forward to the next. This is a closed group but if you are a stroke survivor and fancy a catch up, just send a request to the Facebook group and look forward to seeing you there.

 


Thank you card

Thank you

I received a lovely ‘Thank you’ card in the mail this month, and a receipt and letter from CEO Sharon McGowan (which also happens to be my maiden name), thanking me for the $400 donation sent to them. It is a great feeling that, as a self published author, I have sold almost 200 books and can begin to donate $2 from each book sold to the Stroke Foundation. In her letter of thanks, Sharon McGowan pointed out, ‘a stroke occurs every ten minutes in Australia. It is the biggest cause of death and leading cause of disability, and the personal and social cost to the community is high’. The acknowledgement from Ms McGowan that donations enable the Stroke Foundation to reach more people in more communities across Australia – and save more lives – makes me happy that I can make a small contribution to this goal.

The BookShop

Whilst thanks are being mentioned, I would sincerely like to thank Graeme Bowden, owner of The BookShop at Caloundra who has supported, and continues to support, the self publication of my book A Stroke of Poetry,by selling my book in his lovely independent book shop; thereby helping me raise much needed funds for the Stroke Foundation.

THANK YOU Graeme for everything you do in support of all local authors like myself.

There are lots of things happening in the next few weeks…..further independent book stores across the Coast will be stocking my book, newspaper and magazine articles are being prepared for publication of my story and a ‘little birdie’ mentioned I have received nominations for the 2016 Stroke Foundation Creative Awards. I feel it is going to be an exciting time ahead.