No Two Strokes Are the Same

My sister had a stroke 10 months before I did. She was 29 at the time, and I was 33 when I had mine. Hers was due to a clot from the carotid artery to the brain, and mine was in the brain stem. I was given TPA; she wasn’t because she just had surgery. She lost the use of her left arm while I was diagnosed with pseudobulbar affect and depression. My sister doesn’t use a cane, and I do. I tell any and everyone about my stroke while she’d rather move on with her life. Yes, we’re sisters who had strokes, but we’re different as night and day.

In the past when I heard someone had a stroke, I used to picture someone of the older generation with a cane, but that is not always accurate. Not only the age issue, but not all stroke survivors deal with the same effects of stroke. Some have paralysis of limbs or locked-in syndrome. Some have to use some type of assistive device. And there are those who might have emotional or cognitive issues.Add Row

How a person reacts to a stroke is different as well. Some don’t want to talk or dwell on it, while others become stroke advocates. Then you have everyone in between. Neither reaction is right or wrong. You should respect the stroke survivor’s opinion as to how they want to deal with their event.

Depression, isolation, and fatigue seem to be three of the main things stroke survivors have in common, but again it is a case-by-case basis. If they want to talk, let them talk. If they want to be quiet, respect their decision. Just like no two people are exactly alike, stroke survivors should not be compared to each other. We all heal at our own pace, have our own set of issues we face, and ways of coping. It can all depends on where the stroke took place, age of the person, what type of shape they are in, how much family support they have, etc.

No two strokes, like no two people, are the same.

The author and her sister

The author (on the right) with her sister (on the left)

Editor’s note: This piece was published with the permission of the author’s sister.

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