2 years ago today

Today is the second anniversary of my stroke.
Two years ago at this exact time I was still feeling “normal”. About three hours from now I was lying on my floor paralyzed.  2 days from now I was fighting for my life.  New Years Eve 2013 was the worst day of my life.  January 1, 2014 was the best day of my life.  I had looked death in the eye and told it I wasn’t ready yet, and started the uphill climb to where I am today.  And i’ll continue on that climb for the rest of my life – but that is  not as bad as it may seem.   I’ve learned a lot about myself  and what I’m capable of, and I’m very proud of what I’ve done so far.   The doctors didn’t think I would survive the night and I did.    Then they figured I would be in a home for the rest of my life. I am – but it’s my home and not an institutionalized one.   I still have problems and  i’ll have some for the rest my life, but what those problems will be I’m really not sure yet.

But that’s OK. What happened, happened and I have accepted that.  As far back as I can remember after the stroke I understood that my life would never be the  same.  I think being able to accept that as soon as I did has made the transition to this new life a lot easier.  My wife often tells me she is surprised that I have such a positive outlook after all I have been through but the fact that I’m here today to write this it a perfect example of why I have that attitude… I am here and not just a memory.  So don’t ever feel sorry for me because that would really hurt Me.  I have never felt sorry for myself and no one else should either.  Instead, look at what I have accomplished and feel proud of me.

So here’s to another year.  It will be a good one, just like the last one was.

So have a happy new year and I’ll talk to you on January 1, when I have more to write.  Be safe.



In case you missed me in the news

I was on the CTV evening news on December 7 ( clip no longer available ) about 4 minutes and 45 seconds in.

And in print in the Winnipeg Sun ( clip no longer available )

Both articles talk about the importance of a Stroke Unit in Manitoba and how all 3 parties have promised to set one up if elected.

Making an election promise is one thing.  Doing it if elected is another.  I plan on making it my priority to try and make sure it happens.  Can you help?

I also plan on asking the NDP why, if this is an election promise, don’t they start putting the wheels in motion now instead of waiting for the election.  This is an important issue and the sooner it starts the sooner we can start saving the lives of stroke victims.


It can’t happen to me…

** This post is not the kind of post I regularly make, and I went back-and-forth about whether I should write it, but I think it’s very important lesson to share.  You’ve been warned. **

It can.

It doesn’t matter what kind of physical shape you’re in, or any other factor, it can happen to you. There are different factors that can make the likelihood greater such as your weight, whether or not you have diabetes, smoke etc. but the bottom line is strokes can happen to anyone, anytime.

I’m not saying that you actually say those words or even think that but when you come across someone who’s had a severe stroke like the one I had, you probably look at them, feel sorry for them and probably don’t even think that you could be in the same situation.   You can.   

When I was in rehab there was a younger person, probably in his early 30s who had a stroke that, from what I could tell, only affected his speech. For the whole time I was there he did not utter a single word (that I can recall, but my memory is very sketchy of that time).  We both had physiotherapy at the same time so while I was trying to learn how to walk he was in there doing things like jogging and lifting weights. Think I couldn’t  even do before the stroke. Yet he he was in there trying to do it as much as he could to recover from the stroke.  Riverview (the place I went to do my rehab) is not somewhere you get placed if you have a mild stroke so whatever happened to him must be on the inside, because on the outside  he looked just fine.  

There were other people both younger and older (mostly older) in rehab with me that if you looked at them would wonder what it was that caused them to have a stroke. 

So next time you see somebody that’s had a stroke, and there’s a lot of us, please remember that that can happen to you. Every day in Manitoba six people are diagnosed as having a stroke. 15% of the people who have a stroke in Manitoba are likely going to die. That’s a very scary number.  I was on the brink of being in that 15% but we must’ve hit our quota for the month and I was spared. 

There is an election coming up and all of the major parties have said that they will fund a stroke unit in Manitoba. This is a good thing. Hopefully that will bring that number down.

So remember it can happen to you.  The odds of you not having a stroke are in your favor, especially if you take care of yourself, so do.   I sincerely hope you never have to go through the agonizing pain and suffering of having one because it sucks (I don’t remember the first two weeks of my stroke so I guess I’m lucky).

 And now I am going to go back to my positive attitude.  It actually sucked to write this post.


Heart and Stroke Foundation Stroke Unit Campaign 

This article is still accurate. I had my stroke before this article was written and to this day nothing has changed. I was in Riverview (The rehab place mentioned in the article). They have 30 beds available. I occupied one for over 3.5 months. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has started an e-advocacy portal to make it easy for Manitobans to send a letter to their MLA outlining why a Stroke Unit would be beneficial here. If you’re from Manitoba I highly encourage you to go to the portal and send a letter to your MLA. I would consider it a favour to me and a favour to any Manitoban who has a stroke if you would do this. You might even being saving your own life someday! 

Some interesting facts:

For every minute delay in treating a stroke, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells, 13.8 billion synapses, and 12 km of axonal fibres (Saver, 2006).

Each hour in which treatment does not occur, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging (Saver, 2006). 

It took them two days to finally stop the bleeding in my head. Those two days definitely did a lot of damage to my brain. I don’t know if the stroke unit could’ve help me in my case due to the severity of my stroke but I sure would’ve liked to have found out.  

Click this link to send a letter to your MLA telling them to build a Stroke Unit in Mantoba.