My name is Dee and I was invited to join the Flamingo Group. We all have stories to tell; from ill health, bereavement or sad situations that we find ourselves in. Well this is one of my stories which I am going to share with you.
In 1995 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and in 2017 had a major stroke which easily could have left me with some form of disability one way or another, but it is the stroke that I am going to talk about. It affected the left cerebellum which affects balance, speech and co-ordination, along with the usual stroke problems of memory, and stroke fatigue to name but two.
When the Paramedics arrived, they thought that I had hydrocephalus or a brain tumour even after numerous CT & MRI scans but thankfully for me, this was demoted to a stroke. I had to learn to walk again, Alan had to feed me, there were many things that I had to re-learn. The consequence of the stroke was that it affected all of my senses at first. These being smell, taste, hearing and sight. It also took four months for me to be able to turn my head from left to right and look up and down without losing my balance or feeling sick. I can now get up in the morning and gently work till midday but then have to lay down for a couple of hours as my speech and balance problems start. I do get fed up with people that think that I am in full health, as I am not the same person that I was, so don’t expect more than I can give.
I write poetry which I find very therapeutic and I can express my feelings through this. I wrote my story through poetry after about 8 months of having the stroke. Two years have now since passed and I would say that I am about 75% recovered, but I still have a way to go.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking my cherished husband Alan for the love and care in looking after me for these last two years. He is my hero.
MY STROKE 21st SEPTEMBER 2017
When I awoke from my stroke, in a hospital bed I did reside
The last time I was in a bed my husband was by my side
Amnesia gone, my face all purple & red
From where I’d fallen over, after getting out of bed.
I thought I had vertigo, a chronic headache, dizzy & sick
Paramedics said; hydrocephalous or brain tumour, take your pick.
MRI’s, scans, doctors, nurses & pills
Taking care of us patients, to cure all our ills
A few days later, some good news
I’ve been demoted to a stroke
The new diagnosis has given me hope, recovery now from where I was broke.
There are long dark days ahead of us now, our journey just begun
Emerging from a deep black hole, and then travelling towards the sun.
Life is a gift & I’m pleased to say I’ve been given a second chance
It’s up to me to get better, my recovery to advance.
My dearest husband, my soul mate, now has to care for me
As well as doing the shopping, cleaning, washing, cooking, gardening & making the tea.
I long for the time when I’m up and about and feeling more like me,
When I can say to him, sit down my love and I will wait on thee.
My taste is too sweet, or too salty, noise too loud, light too bright
My sense of smell heightened, double vision now sorted back to normal sight.
I’ve lost ½ stone thro sickness, Alan tempting me with tasty meals.
I can walk a few steps now with my zimmer frame my trusty set of wheels.
I went home in a wheel chair, with pink bows customised for me
A kind & loving thought from my loved one to help with my recovery
Off to the park as soon as I can, with the sun upon my face
Poor Alan pushing me & flagging, to a snail’s pace.
I couldn’t turn my head from left to right without feeling dizzy & sick
There’s one word missing from my vocabulary and that is the word “Quick”.
My balance, co-ordination & speech have been affected, especially when tired
My gait is very wobbly, a sight not to be admired.
But oh the fatigue is debilitating and for that I have to rest
I can go out for an hour at most, it surely is a pest.
Slowly 8 months have passed by, and we have, for us resumed a normal life
When we go out now, Alan is not my carer, but we are husband & wife.
I can cook the odd meal now, do gardening sitting down, I can’t do the shopping .
But I can potter about and clean and tidy, drive short distances & do the washing.
All this may seem trivial to an able-bodied being,
But for us it is a triumph, small victories, to keep us living.
But for the support of my family & friends, my recovery would have taken longer.
As the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.
We laugh much more now, over the silly things I say & do
And have become much closer, Our love for ever true.
Endless crosswords & word searches I have completed to stimulate my brain,
I went to sleep one person woke up another, never to be the same.
My poor family the fear & pain I have put them through
Will haunt me forever, that is true.
My stroke could have been so much worse, & I’m grateful for what I’ve been dealt.
But I can still walk and talk, sing & dance, laugh & joke, that’s more than some poor souls have felt.
I’m getting better in small increments, then it plateaus out
Until such time I improve again, small steps, nothing to shout about.
And so it goes on & on for months, with tiny things improving.
But nobody else would notice, that my recovery is still moving
Exercise & rehab, walking & talking all helping to make me well
Forever optimistic, full of positivity, but only time will tell.
Dee, May 2018