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My Story

Jennifer’s Story

I’m probably not what you picture when you think of a stroke survivor. An avid runner, self-described health nut, and barely 39 years of age, I was in the best shape of my life before I had my stroke. I knew about stroke, the risk factors, and warning signs – I couldn’t believe a stroke would ever happen to me. But on June 24, 2012, a stroke changed my life forever. It left me weak, tired and unable to use my left arm. I was put on medication for preventing a second stroke immediately, and then sent home with instructions for follow-up care including physiotherapy.

A few months after the stroke, I started getting muscle spasms and tightness in my left arm and elbow. My family doctor suggested talking to the physiotherapist so that she could add some specific stretching exercises to my routine; however, my elbow – and soon my fingers – became even more difficult to straighten despite physiotherapy. I was concerned that I might never be able to use my hand again. My physiotherapist gave me the name of a Stroke Rehabilitation Physician she knew and sent me back to my family doctor for a referral. My family doctor set up the referral and soon my Stroke Rehabilitation Physician diagnosed my condition as spasticity. I am now working with a physiotherapist who specializes in post-stroke rehabilitation and I’m receiving medical treatment for spasticity. I’m happy to say that I’m improving every day.

It took research and commitment to finding answers to finally get to the right specialists who could help me get the treatment I deserved, but it was well worth it in the end. I can finally move my fingers for the first time in almost two years. It may not sound like a lot to someone who’s never had a stroke, but when I squeeze my daughter’s hand I know it’s a feeling I’ll never take for granted again.

Marilyn’s Story

My husband had a stroke three years ago, just two months shy of retiring from his job as a police officer. John received good care in the hospital and shortly afterwards. I thought I knew quite a bit about stroke, having had a father who suffered a stroke when I was young, but one of the biggest eye-openers for me was how stroke can affect someone long after they’ve had it.

In my husband’s case, I noticed his right hand beginning to spasm and curl about six months after his stroke. It was very odd to me. John said he couldn’t control it and it was becoming quite painful. I did some of my own research on the physical effects of stroke and came across “spasticity.” It seemed to me that this is what John was experiencing. There are many healthcare professionals out there who have lots of general knowledge about stroke, but it seemed that spasticity was something that needed to be addressed by a Stroke Rehabilitation Physician. I found a Stroke Rehabilitation Physician nearby and went to our family doctor to ask if we could be referred to him. Our doctor set up the referral and suggested we continue with physiotherapy and stretching exercises in the meantime. A few months later, John saw the neurologist, got set up with a physiotherapist who specializes in spasticity and started receiving medical treatment.

John continues to take things day by day, but since starting treatment, the spasms have been more controlled, and he is experiencing less pain. He is even starting to pick up some of his old hobbies, including cooking and experimenting with new cuisines. Stroke was hard on both of us, but John and I are confident that with continued treatment and a commitment to physiotherapy and exercise, we’ll both be OK. In fact, I have some fantastic French cooking waiting for me at home right now!

Did you know...
50,000 strokes happen every year

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