Brain pixabay pic

Losing your identity after stroke

Welcome back to my blog and even though it has been some time since I last wrote, I plan to be blogging more frequently, and I very much hope you enjoy what I have to say; so please feel free to share with others who may benefit from my words and perhaps leave me a comment as to what you would like to read.

In this blog, I would love to talk about the issue of losing your identity after stroke and specifically, the emotional side of stroke recovery. I was stirred to write this blog after receiving and reading a wonderful, insightful book about stroke identity (but I will come to that soon). Like many, I felt in the early days that my brain had been taken and replaced with one I did not want or even liked very much. I lost ‘me’ and so many parts of ‘me’ that I resented the person I was. My brain was slow and I had difficulty forming words and sentences. Bring on the depression and this made a great recipe for not being able to move forward with any form of positivity or focus. Does this resonate with my stroke survivor friends out there?

 

My brain worked in rhyme shortly after my stroke and this helped me enormously to deal with the emotions I was feeling;  such as the frustrations, forgetfulness and often sad times I was going through. For those who have read some of my poetry from my book A Stroke of Poetry, one poem entitled: Who stole my brain? is a perfect example of some of the emotions I felt following my stroke and I know these feelings are experienced by many stroke survivors all over the world. Who Stole my Brain poem.jpg 2

Perhaps this poem explains the seriousness of losing ‘me’ but a light-hearted touch upon the fact it is actually still OK to feel like this. As a Stroke Safe Ambassador, Motivational Speaker and passionate stroke advocate, I still campaign to have the voices heard of those who are struggling emotionally – what I refer to as one of the many invisible disabilities of stroke.

Now about this amazing book I mentioned and think we need a short drum role for the truly amazing Debra Meyerson and her recently published book Identity Theft – Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke. I first connected with Debra, a former Stanford Professor, on Twitter some years ago, following her own severe stroke, as she was keen to conduct research with other stroke survivors. Many examples of those she has interviewed are featured in her book. Some, sadly, have not been able to accept their life changing stroke and thereby unable to move forward positively, but there are other examples of hope, inspiration and those who feel their stroke was meant to happen.Book cover - Identity Theft

Debras story and her own stroke recovery is inspirational and this book was written to help others cope with the emotional part of any stroke recovery. It follows her severe stroke that left her physically incapacitated and unable to speak and covers in detail, the emotional journey of her recovery, including the fabulous, selfless support provided by her husband and children.

I had many tears reading this book as although I am lucky to have been left with no physical disability, my early stroke recovery identified so much with Debras words, emotions and ‘day to day’ feeling of being lost in a person you once were and is the first book where I truly felt connected to what I suffered. Debra was kind enough to send me additional books so if you feel this is something you would like to read, drop me a message and let’s share the love and inspiration from the amazing Debra E. Myerson PhD.

Thanks for reading and always be ‘stroke safe’Signed copy Identity Theft

Shelagh

 

 

 

 


It is quote

An inspirational story

Please meet Anne and Barry Rowbury.

Anne

Here’s her story….

I first met Anne early last November as Gillian, my hairdresser who has her own salon (Hair Garage) at Little Mountain told me Anne was one of her weekly clients.  Anne had suffered a severe stroke and after hearing about my book, she was keen to meet me and purchase a copy. Gillian coordinated our appointments one day so I could be at the salon to meet Anne. She is truly an amazing and inspiration lady and although she has limited mobility and limited vocabulary, dealing daily with Aphasia, Anne smiled and tried to converse the best she could throughout our time together. Anne’s philosophy was..and I quote her own words.

“It is what it is”. 

Anne and Barry were unable to make the Book Launch or my previous book signing due to other commitments, so yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting them in their own home. Barry tells me that the medical team at Nambour Hospital believed Anne would not last more than 24 hours but she baffled them all and continues to recover her health. Anne spent 6 months in rehabilitation, learning to walk and talk again, things not predicted by any of her medical team due to Anne only having 50% brain function.  A nursing home was arranged for Anne post rehab as she needed 24/7 care but Barry, her lovely husband, insisted that he would care for her at home. That was almost four and a half years ago and Anne has continued improve and celebrates her 72nd birthday next week. I truly believe that Anne’s attitude to life is so inspiring and Barry is clearly very proud of his wife.


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‘A Stroke of Poetry’ to help with Aphasia research

A few weeks prior to the book launch, I was contacted by Michelle Attard (Speech Pathology PhD student), from La Trobe University, who requested a copy of my book. Upon receiving the book, she was more than complimentary in her feedback and since then, we have communicated with regard to how my book can assist her in the work that she undertakes. I am very pleased to say that during 2016, Michelle will feature some of my poems in a research project with people living with Aphasia. Aphasia lab

Michelle said: ” I’m hoping this will inspire them and help them understand they can tell their stories in a range of different ways.”

A Stroke of Poetry was written with the sole purpose that it could help not only stroke survivors, but anyone who has suffered a traumatic illness or depression and needs to find hope and positivity to move forward with their life. Michelle’s use of my book in her research fills my heart with joy and this is the reason I wanted to share this news with you all.

For information about the research go to http://www.aphasia.community/resources/current-research-projects or contact Michelle Attard (Speech Pathology PhD student) at m.attard@latrobe.edu.au