Photo Credit: Rochdale Online

Research reported that 85% of stroke survivors are being warned that their healings would be restricted to their experiences within the first year.

Yet, here is Tristan Maynard, a stroke survivor from Rochdale inspiring others with his story.

73 year old Tristan had a stroke in March 2018, this made him paralysed down his right side and totally incapable of moving his right arm, leg or lower back.

While recovering on the stroke ward, Tristan inquired of the consultants and nurses about his prognosis. He said: “The consultants at Fairfield Hospital were first class, although they didn’t give me any idea of timings for my recovery which, later, I completely understand.

“However, the stroke patient next to me was recovering from his third stroke. He told me incorrectly that any progress at the end of the first month of recovery is ‘as good as you’ll get’. That motivated me and I thought I’d better make the most of the first month. I was absolutely determined to get as well as I could, as soon as I could.”

Tristan could only move his little finger after the first month, but with serious physiotherapy, he was able to walk with the aid of his walking stick. After this, he was referred to the Stroke Association’s 12 week Moving Forwards After Stroke programme, an exercise and education programme in partnership with GM Active.

Tristan intended to walk his daughter Nichola down the aisle at her wedding, without the use of a stick and he put his mind to it.

Tristan said: “After six weeks intensive therapy at home I started the programme, and found meeting other stroke survivors so helpful. From there we started the exercises and I set the goal of walking Nichola down the aisle.

“On the day itself, I was so determined with a room full of people looking at me; I didn’t want to trip up but everybody’s hard work paid off and it turned it into a pleasurable occasion. It was incredible, and a big relief.”

Eighteen months into his recovery, Tristan was still suffering from serious pain. He said: “One consultant told me I’d never get rid of the pain. I just thought ‘No chance!’ It spurred me on even more. Whether lying in your hospital bed paralysed like I was, or further into your recovery, everything the health staff say is so important.

“Stroke patients are in a very sensitive frame of mind. Fortunately what I was told gave me motivation; now, two and a half years on, I’m walking unaided and getting better every day.”

Research reported that 85% of stroke survivors are being warned that their healings would be restricted to their experiences within the first year. Due to this, stroke survivors are left fretting about their recovery.

When informed about the timing of their recovery:
Nearly all stroke survivors noted feeling low (91%), worried (91%) and afraid (90%)
More than three quarters (77%) of stroke survivors felt furious
One in five (20%) stroke survivors did not feel any hope at all.

The charity is disclosing these new outcomes as part of its Hope After Stroke campaign to accentuate the significance that hope plays in people’s recovery.

Over 1,000 stroke survivors were studied. Other conclusions disclosed:

Over one in ten (15%) people were informed that their healing would be as good as it gets when they left hospital.
One in four (24%) that significant part of their healing would be restricted to the first two to three months after leaving hospital
One in four (26%) that significant aspect of their healing would be within the first six months after leaving hospital
One in five (19%) that most of their healing would be within the first 12 months after leaving hospital
Only one in ten (9%) were informed that their healing would proceed years after leaving hospital.
The assessment was conducted in August 2019 however, the charity worries that the situation is likely to have worsened over lockdown.

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association said: “It’s shocking that so many people are told that there is a time limit to their recovery. It can be demotivating and soul destroying, when we know evidence is to the contrary. It makes our job harder but even more important.

“We know that stroke survivors cling onto even the smallest glimmer of hope. This is what powers them on to achieve what many thought would be impossible. I’ve heard so many stories of remarkable people making recoveries even 20 years after their stroke. This survey was conducted before the pandemic and while shocking then, it’s likely to have become worse as people’s fears of coronavirus and not wanting to burden the NHS overtake their hopes. Hope is the bedrock to rebuilding lives.”

Juliet added: “Rebuilding lives after stroke is a team effort. It takes the determination of stroke survivors and carers, the generosity of supporters and the dedication of the healthcare and research communities. We connect people affected by stroke with the stroke community so they can see the possibilities for recovery. People report that our support services have been a lifeline for their recovery. Whether it’s the Stroke Helpline, My Stroke Guide or our recently launched Here for You service, we’re determined to be there for the people who need us most.”

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