Judith was only 37 and working as a landscape gardener when, suddenly, one Monday afternoon in March 2017, she felt “weird”. She was sent home from work and in fact her boss’s wife was so concerned that she took her to the hospital, where she stayed for the next 8 months.
Judith had an aneurysm which has affected her mobility on her right side and her speech. Her parents were told she had a 50:50 chance of survival and when she survived, they were then told their daughter would be in a wheelchair all her life and would never be able to speak again.
Judith proved them wrong on both counts. Though her right had side has been badly affected, she is able to walk with a stick and, though you can tell that something has affected her speech, she is now very talkative indeed!
Following Judith’s discharge from hospital, her mum got in touch with Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke to see if our support would be suitable for her daughter. Aneurysm and stroke have similar long term effects as both can result in damage to the brain so NICHS’s support has met Judith’s need too.
Judith met with NICHS’s Stroke Family Support Co-ordinator who suggested a number of our support services.
Here’s what she has to say about them all:
NICHS’s Post Rehab Exercise Programme (PREP) – “I loved this. It has helped me realise that I can still do exercise despite my disabilities. It helped me get back to living independently, which is very important to me as I live by myself. ”
Taking Control Self-Management Programme – “The people I met at Taking Control have all become friends. At first, some people were embarrassed by their conditions and did not want to talk. But Taking Control provides an environment where you can talk about your condition without feeling stupid and everyone understands, because everyone there has some health issue they are facing. .”
Belfast Young Stroke Group – “This is just great craic. Meeting other people in the same boat as me has been very important. It’s great to have fun with them.”
Horse-riding – “When the NICHS Stroke Family Coordinator phoned me to ask if I wanted to go horse-riding, I honestly asked her if she had phoned the right person! But horse-riding has really helped my balance which has also increased my confidence when I’m out and about. I absolutely love it”
“I’d like to thank everyone at NICHS. Their support has made a huge difference.”
Find out more about the stroke support that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers.