I had my stroke in September 2012. It came on with no warning. I just felt a little bit dizzy and two or three minutes later I was semi conscious on my living room floor.
I was very fortunate to get thombolysis quickly. The drugs help to break the clot up and improve the blood flow to the brain. This has meant that I have recovered well and now am back to leading a very active life. I still tire easily and my wife thinks my memory is not quite back to what it used to be.
I remember talking to the NICHS Stroke Family Support Co–ordinator in my house shortly after I got out of hospital. She told me about “PREP,” which is a physical activity and education programme for people after stroke.
My balance improved during the 6 weeks on the programme and reached the level it used to be. I also learned gentle stretching exercises which have been of great benefit to me not only at the time but even now.
After PREP, I started on the Taking Control Self Management Programme, which was more intensive.
It was on this programme that I gave serious thought to volunteering and I have volunteered for NICHS at the recent NI Stroke Conference. I and another person sat on a panel to share our experiences with local health professionals. I think opportunities like this are useful to help people understand what it is really like for us and that can only help others in the future.
Find out more about the stroke support that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers.