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13 Truths Stroke Survivors Wish Others Understood

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Everyone who has a stroke is affected differently, and some may experience problems on a certain side of their body (for example, a stroke on the right side of the brain can impact the left side of the body). Others may have difficulty eating, breathing and moving if they experience a stroke at the base of the brain.

And even though the World Stroke Organization reports that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime, the average person knows little about what happens before, during and after a stroke. So the Mighty teamed up with the National Stroke Foundation of Australia and asked stroke survivors what they wish others understood about their experiences.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Not knowing the cause of my strokes is something that terrifies me daily. I don’t know if I will have another and if I’ll be alone with my daughter again if I do.” — Rosie Bell

quote from Rosie Bell: 'not knowing the cause of my strokes is something that terrifies me daily.'

2. “Your life changes. Your previous life is no longer, and you are now on a different path.” —Karen Kelsey

3. “Some days are better than others. Some days it’s hard to be strong.” —Adam Colbourne

quote from Adam Colbourne: 'some days it's hard to be strong.'

4. “I’d tell people to get your blood pressure checked! Ironically, my mum had a massive pontine stroke on World Stroke Day seven years ago and died 10 days later. I’ve only just turned 40 and have hypertension too; I am on anti-hypertensive medication as a result. I learned from experience. It can happen to anyone! My mum didn’t smoke or drink and she walked every day.”
Cecelia Cooke

5. “Every day is a struggle mentally and physically… Although it gets better over time, it’s a lifelong rehab!” –Ida Dempsey

quote from Ida Dempsey: 'although it gets better overtime, it's a lifelong rehab!'

6. “[There’s a] need for rehabilitation after [the] hospital discharge.” —Tracey Roberts

7. “Side effects of stroke [can be] invisible.” —Astrid Pianto

quote from Astrid Pianto: 'side effects of stroke [can be] invisible.'

8. “I’m still fighting to get the word ‘aphasia‘* known in the wider community and it’s hard.” —Wendy Corp

9. “Healthy people have strokes. I never smoked or drank alcohol. I played weekly sports until 83 years of age.” —Narelle Huett (on behalf of her father)

quote from Narelle Huett: 'healthy people have strokes.'

10. “After nearly four years… [it] still takes a lot longer to do things.” —Jen Jay

11. “Strokes do not discriminate. Any age/gender/nationality/fitness. It can happen to anyone.” —Linda Steuer

quotes from Linda Steuer: 'strokes do not discriminate... it can happen to anyone.'

12. “Living alone after stroke is more lonely than loneliness.” — El JustEl

13. “Never give up hope! I was told I would never walk again. My left side was paralyzed, now look at me!” —Ariadne

quote from Ariadne: 'never give up hope!'

*Aphasia (or dysphasia) is a communication problem that may affect many stroke survivors. This can make it difficult for people to “find the right words, use long sentences or understand what others are saying.”