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Still running after stroke

Have you always wanted to run? Do you have doubts about running after stroke? Please do NOT let your stroke stop you from running, or learning to run. If I did it, then anyone can do it!

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 now great friend Melinda), 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!). However 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. Melinda taught me to focus on what I COULD do and not what I could not. I had limbs that worked so why not use them to their best advantage!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. Subsequently joining a running group and watching others who had begun to run following their own strokes, gave me that much-needed passion for being able to complete that first 10K run. Hard work and determination to succeed paid off. That same year, I completed my first 10K run and in a time of 69 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 and I have been running ever since (sometimes on and off, when my health hasn’t been too good)

Goal setting

I thrive on setting goals, not only in my running life, but generally. I know that goal setting is not for everyone but it gives me focus and motivation. Roll on four years from my very first 10K run and with over 50 community park runs under my belt, I am currently training for the City2Surf 14km run in Sydney on 11 August. (Check out my very red face of me and my run buddy Lisa on our evening 10K training run earlier this week!) Having a run buddy is essential and Lisa and I keep other accountable.

Me and Lisa 10 k run photo

I am very much looking forward to the City2Surf and hope to run the whole 14k, whilst sharing awareness of stroke, supporting the Stroke Foundation and specifically the Little Stroke Warriors Group. The LSW was set up by two amazing mums, after their children were diagnosed with stroke. We are fundraising for this amazing cause and together, we have already raised over $2500. Thank you to those that have generously donated to my run and here is the link should you wish to donate a $1 or two! Every little helps share awareness and resources for parents who need to cope with their little ones going through a difficult stroke recovery.

As a stroke survivor, I do not believe the words ‘I CAN’T’ exist, so if you are physically able, don’t make any more excuses and start now!

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 and balance physical and mental fatigue pre and post runs)
  • 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 is in my book A Stroke of Poetry and I wrote this, following my first 10K run. I share it often and know it inspires people 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.

Happy running and until next time, please stay stroke safe.

Shelagh


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Stroke stories are meant to be shared

Do you share your own stroke story? Sharing my own stroke story is something I never envisaged during my initial stroke recovery. Why? That’s because I was not in a positive, happy place but now, I see the importance of making something good out of my bad health experience and THE best way to move forward is with passion and positivity. I began by writing my stroke poetry, as my brain would only work in rhyme, and sharing this poetry on the many Facebook support stroke groups, such as Return to work after stroke, really helped me understand how others suffered and the fact I was not alone. This was very cathartic for me, as it emptied my head of the frustrations, sadness and often amusing times that are all part of stroke recovery. Many readers would thank me for my poetry and also comment that they were unable to put their own emotions into words. Here’s one of my many poems that can be found in my book A Stroke of Poetry and was taken from my own experience of mild aphasia and know that many stroke survivors suffer from Aphasia (A language disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate).

I UNDERSTAND

Please don’t talk to me in baby talk. It really isn’t good.

Even though my words don’t come out right, I can hear; I understood

Don’t finish all my sentences. When you talk to me this way,

as it’s clear you wish I’d hurry up so we can get on with the day.

Even though my words are jumbled, and I slur to get them out,

Inside I know what I want to say so give me time and please don’t shout.

It’s important for me to process what I think I want to tell.

Even though when the words are spoken, they may not come out too well.

Buckets of patience I know you’ll need to help me through this time.

But please, oh please be mindful, they are not your words but mine.

I know my brain will heal but you must give me space.

Having a conversation does not need to be a race.

Sometimes I may not want to join in as my what anyone has to say.

But that’s okay, I do not mind, as my brain needs a rest today.

During my career as a 25 year UK Police Officer, and the latter 5 years being a Detective Inspector, I found myself stood in front of groups of officers delivering either training or simply briefing search teams in regard to serious crime matters. WOW, how my life has changed! What I am trying to say, is that the bags of confidence I had during my Police career were lost after my stroke, and even though it took a while to return, my confidence is back! Different job, but I now love standing in front of audiences; whether that be ten women from the local slimming group whilst I deliver the Stroke Foundation Stroke safe programme, or as a Motivational Speaker, sharing my story to 150+ delegates at a health conference. It is all the same. It is me, Shelagh Brennand, Stroke Survivor, Stroke Safe Ambassador and author of A Stroke of Poetry; simply sharing my stroke story. Here’s a great photo of a ‘Conversations on the Deck’ event at a local cafe; sharing stroke awareness and my stroke story with interested locals.29.3.19_Conversations on the Deck_reading poetry and raising money for Sevgen

Sharing your own stroke story does not always have to be verbal and in front of a huge crowd, as there are many opportunities to write articles, or other writers sharing your story in magazines, newspapers and other publications. I found a great resource in the website Sourcebottle.com.au; where they connect expert sources with journalists and bloggers. Once registered, I would answer many ‘shout outs’ from journalists who wanted a positive story about becoming healthier, and moving on with my life after illness. I have also recorded a number of podcasts over the years and one recorded last year with the The Phoenix Phenomen is a way of sharing my story to the world. One of my latest media articles is a feature in the July 2019 edition of That’s Life Magazine, which is distributed throughout Australia and New Zealand. There are plenty more like this on the media page of my website so have a read, and you can see the variety of ways I have shared my story over the last few years. This may give you some ideas of how you can share your story.

I often use the words ‘You have to be in it to win it’ and although putting yourself forward for things can be daunting; they can also be very much worthwhile. Last year, I won a competition to have a short documentary film about my life. It was only released last week and the amazing film company Inspireflix love to film and share inspiring stories. My film is 8.5 minutes long and I feel that it  captures my life and the story I want to tell the world. The importance of sharing my stroke story is to tell others:

  • STAY POSITIVE
  • NEVER GIVE UP
  • ALWAYS SEEK SUPPORT

Please get in touch if I can help or direct you into sharing your own stroke story and until next time, take care and stay stroke safe.

Shelagh


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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

 

 

 

 


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My FIVE Stroke Survivor tips

Hi everyone.

I was recently invited by the Stroke Foundation, to be the guest opening presenter at a Young Stroke Survivors Positive Recovery Think Tank, held here on the Sunshine Coast, near to where I live (lucky for me not having to travel!). I love to take part in these events and get joy in sharing my story about stroke and how I recovered from my post stroke depression though poetry, exercise and positive thinking.

I was asked by the Stroke Foundation to list FIVE tips that I would share with the audience. This was not difficult to do as I live by them daily. Please let me share them with you here…

TIP NO. ONE – Awaken each day and pull on those positive pants!

original_positive-pants-good-luck-cardSometimes we awaken tired, grumpy, or with our head full of the huge list of ‘jobs’ we have to do that day. Maybe the weather outside is a little miserable, cold, and the sun isn’t shining. I have to say that sometimes I awaken like that but then I clear my mind of the negative things and work out how I will get things done with a smile on my face and not a scowl. However you decide to start the day usually means it will end like that, so pull on those positive pants and meet the day with focus and determination.

 

TIP NO. TWO – Focus on what you CAN do, not what you cannot.

can-cantAfter my stroke, over four and a half years ago now, I failed to focus on what I COULD do. I wanted my ‘old’ life back and was sad and frustrated that I could no longer do the things I once did, or that my brain would not work the same way. My personal trainer and my lovely friend Melinda taught me this tip. I know that it seems easy me sharing this with you all, but it does work! Once I stopped looking back to what I could no longer do and focus upon sharing my poetry with everyone, and using my able limbs to walk, climb and run, I soon realised there were so many things I could do. It doesn’t have to be poetry or exercise, but find something that gives you joy and focus on that. Go on..give it a go!

 

TIP NO. THREE – Be grateful

thANKFULOnce again, this sounds like a very simple tip. It actually is. Even though we may have had the worst day in our week, or feel we’ve had a terrible day for a variety of reasons, there is always something to be grateful for.  Your gratefulness could be simply for the gift of life, grateful that the sun shone and dried your washing, or that the bus arrived on time to take you to work. You may be grateful that you had movement in your limbs, that had not previously moved. Having a grateful heart makes us a better person. Go on, close your eyes and see what you are grateful for today. I bet you find something.

 

TIP NO. FOUR – Celebrate your successes, however small they may be

lets-celebrateI feel we should all celebrate our achievements and focus upon the positive and the smallest of ‘wins’ can change our mood and make us feel happy. I have a stroke friend who was recently able to tie his shoe laces. This task has taken months and we all celebrated this huge achievement with him. Can you remember when your child first walked or talked, or even tied their own laces? How excited were you for them?

Many stroke survivors have the smallest of goals to work towards so its important to celebrate these when they reach them. What’s your goal or something you have achieved recently?

 

TIP NO. FIVE – Love and live your life every single day

love_live_life_by_nikster08For those of you that follow my blogs, either on my website, on my Facebook page or on Enableme, then you will know how passionate I am about living my life to the full. Yes, I often do too much and my post stroke fatigue kicks in, but it doesn’t stop me. I love being outdoors, I love exercising by the ocean and in nature and spending time with family and friends just having fun. This year, I have added some slower, more mindfulness sessions to my life such as Tai Chi/Qi Gong and Yoga. Here on the Sunshine Coast I practice these in a beautiful environment at The Farm or with Dani. Perhaps find these slower forms of exercise that give time for just ‘you’ and share them with us.

I am not saying that you should follow these five tips, BUT they work for me and even if you haven’t had a stroke or a life changing illness, perhaps being more mindful about how you live your life isn’t such a bad thing. is it?

As always,

Stay healthy and happy.

Much love

Shelagh


Post stroke fatigue – it’s still what it is!

POST STROKE FATIGUE

It just hits me like a freight train! Little warning and BAM! I bet many of my stroke followers feel the same.

I wrote a blog a few months ago about Post Stroke Fatigue but have rehashed it due to the fatigue I have felt this week. Nothing much has changed this year with my fatigue, but I am still glad to say that as time goes on, although the stroke fatigue comes ‘a calling’….I do seem to recover better than I did at first. Always keep positive and hope that this little video puts your stroke fatigue into perspective and helps others understand that there is little you can do about it other than deal with it when its there.

Please let me know how you cope (or not) as may be the case.

Take care.

Shelagh

 


procrastination is the fear of time

Procrastinators – read this NOW!

How many procrastinators do we have among us? I am standing tall with my hand firmly raised in the air, shouting “YES!” I am one of them. Not all the time, but certainly enough on some days where it greatly affects what I get done.Dog procrastination

It’s Monday morning and I write my list of goals/actions/intentions to get me through the week. Up until a few weeks ago, my list used to be so long, I would have never got through it in a month, let alone a week. The list seemed daunting and I chopped and changed from one task to the next. Sometimes it became so overwhelming that I found other ‘useful’ things to do. By not getting through the dreaded list meant what I had to do was even more overwhelming..and so on. This attitude also reminds me of my son’s homework schedule!

I saw a post from another network site this morning about her procrastination and although this blog isn’t stroke related, it made me realise that perhaps I was blaming my lack of focus and procrastination about blogging on my stroke fatigue, and confusing brain. I seem to have deliberated so long about what to ‘blog’ that it has been almost three months since I posted a new blog. Time to make amends!

There is a famous saying: “Procrastination is the thief of time” (Edward Young), as my younger sister Patricia quoted to me not many weeks back. This got me thinking that so many of my Facebook posts and information could easily be turned into blogs, so, from now on, I will certainly try and procrastinate less, and just get on with it! My lists are starting to feature only 3-5 major tasks in the week and I am at last getting things done.

proc 4Here are 9 tips courtesy of www.unstuck.com). Have a read and let me know how you go.

  1. Remind yourself that there’s always more to be done than can be done. Then ask yourself if you’re getting the right things done.
  2. Make a smart to-do list by including only the items that you’re avoiding, not the ones you know you’ll do anyway. Then set deadlines.
  3. Break the task down to lessen the sense of being overwhelmed. Once you start to enjoy an accomplishment or two, you’re more likely to keep going and finish.
  4. Eliminate temptation to do something else. (Facebook being a HUGE distraction for many
  5. Bargain with yourself. If you finish the business plan now, you can go to the movies later.
  6. Focus on the success you will achieve and the joy you will feel.
  7. Come up with a consequence that will deter you from avoiding the task. If you don’t make dinner at home twice a week, you can’t go out on the weekend.
  8. Ask someone to help you complete the task.
  9. Make your intentions public. This will add pressure, but for some of us, avoiding embarrassment is the mightiest motivator.

Until the next time…have a wonderful week and procrastinate no more!

Stay healthy and happy

Shelagh

 


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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

 


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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


keep-calm-it-s-only-8-more-days

Only 8 days to go!

Shelagh-brennand

A few guests have asked me about the order of the day, so here is a reminder of the ‘whats’ and ‘what nots’ for the event.  It is only 8 days away so if you haven’t notified me whether you are going, please send me a private message, ‘Like’ the event on Facebook or drop me an email to shelagh@astrokeofpoetry.com. Thank you. Shelagh

 

A Stroke of Poetry Book Launch and Stroke Foundation Fundraiser

Sunday 29 November
Time…3:00pm
Remember it’s at Caloundra Power Boat Club in the Pelicans Room (upstairs)
Only cash on the day for book sales, raffle tickets, stroke wrist bands and bar purchases. Bring low denominations of cash if possible.
Kindly donated…Stroke Wrist bands. $2 each and entry into lucky door prize
Every guest receives a free drink of champagne or orange juice upon arrival. Tea and coffee will be available also.

Over 20 wonderful raffle prizes donated. All proceeds to the Stroke Foundation
Friends, family and everyone welcome. Spread the word.

Please RSVP by Monday 23/11 for catering purposes
Our singer/musician will be the lovely Caitlin Gibney
Even a few platters of nibbles on the tables to keep hunger at bay
Ted Gibbs, Stroke Ambassador will be talking about Stroke awareness and prevention
Remember this is an afternoon of celebration, fun and fundraising
You can wear whatever makes you feel comfortable but if you would like to wear something blue in support of the Stroke Foundation, that would be great. Contact me for further information on FB or shelagh@astrokeofpoetry.com

Please keep following my blog over the coming week for more news on the amazing raffle prizes being donated and the wonderful reviews from those who have already read my book.