Overcoming this disease, although long and tedious, is possible. This is the message conveyed by the testimony of these five people, who explain, first-hand, the ravages of the strokedefined as that cardiovascular accident produced by the sudden alteration of blood circulation on its way to the brain.
According to estimates of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN)stroke is the leading cause of mortality in women and the second in men, in addition to the first cause of disability in Spain. And, although it is often associated exclusively with older people, the truth is that 16% of cases occur in people under 50 years of age.
From the Foundation Stop Stroke and on the eve of World Stroke Day five patients offer a hopeful view of the disease.
Here are the voices of stroke survivors:
At 18 he suffered a stroke, attitude was key in the face of adversity
Jaime Gómez-Lavin is an exceptional case. Coming of age was accompanied by a cerebrovascular accident uncommon in young people, the stroke.
A run to the hospital, four days in the Intensive Care Unit, two on the floor and a sentence that still resonates:
“90% of recovery is determined by your attitude and the other 10% by your body.”
Five years later, Jaume still remembers that day when, carefree, he played football. Only this time it was different. Something wasn’t right. The right side of his mouth did not respond, his hand failed. Not knowing what was happening, he tried to seek help from a colleague, but he was floundering: at just 18 years old, he was suffering from a stroke.
He vividly remembers what that first doctor who treated him in the hospital said: how he dealt with the disease would determine his recovery. Thus, extrapolating this advice to all aspects of life, rehabilitation begins the day after hospital discharge.
With a lot of work and perseverance, in addition to whole afternoons spent trying to regain the mobility of his hand, despite the frustration that this entailed, he can now boast of a normal life.
Sport has been the rehabilitation tool.
Currently, as a student of physiotherapy and INEF, overcoming the stroke serves as an inspiration: all the physiotherapists who were part of this recovery process showed that this was their path.
“I was strong, but I didn’t know I was this strong“
At 39, he was living a busy, stressful life, but it was a good life: there was no lack of sport and good habits. That’s why when he suffered that one hemorrhagic strokeeverything fell apart: 33 days in a coma, 2 and a half months in hospital… Now, at the age of 43, he has achieved a lot and still has a long way to go: “I was strong, but I didn’t know I was this strong“
The key to getting where it is now? Don’t stop, don’t give up, pause, embrace the bad days accepting them for what they are, getting out of them in the process.
“We don’t stop improving until the end of our days”.
Sonia González is part of the 10% of cases that cannot be prevented. one brain malformation it was the reason why he suffered from this disease which, as he points out, is certainly invisible at earlier ages.
Today he uses his experience to help others: the project he is now working on, “Guide brain damage” from the Freno a l’Ictus Foundation, aims to guide patients on the procedures after medical discharge and the beginning of rehabilitation.
“I see life as a gift“
Her greatest hope was to be a mother, however first motherhood it had a sweet and sour taste. Araceli Martínez suffered a stroke at the age of 36, while giving birth to her twins Manu and Lea.
She eats it for 15 days, hospitalized for two to three months and, during all this time, separated from her children. Doctors told him he would never walk again.
The sequelae of his stroke were mostly engines: the left side of his body was left with limited mobility; his left arm, dysfunctional. But, despite everything, it gets better step by step.
Today, at 41 years old, he perceives what happened to him as an opportunity to evolve, to be better: “I see life as a gift“.
And he takes the opportunity to point out something he considers essential: it is necessary change the discourse regarding the patient and overcoming the stroke. Because the expectations of absolute improvement during a year do not always occur in all patients to the same extent, or in the same times.
The truth is that it happens gradually, it never ends.
“I have seen signs of improvement from minute one until today. It all depends on how you look at it. Improvement is not linear, but abstract”.
Her situation inspired her to found Braining Mum: a beacon that shines in the darkness, an association that tries to welcome all those people who have gone through or are going through their situation. Because support, empathy and understanding are basic pillars for recovery.
“I learned that you are a new person. You are not less, you are different”.
His hands suddenly dropped, he began to speak in spurts. In fifteen minutes the right side of the body was not responding. Her husband immediately knew what was going on.
Luisa Vives, aged 45, suffered a major stroke. “girls“, “thanks” and “waters” were the only words that Lu, as they all say, was able to speak clearly during his stay in the hospital.
Today, four years later, the consequences that the disease has left behind are evident, but not limiting. Certain insensitivity to temperature and aphasia (difficulty writing, reading or speaking) have not been enough to stop her.
Even more, they have given him a new perspective: now he sees others, he sees more than before. He sees their particularities and respects them, without letting prejudices determine his way of assimilating the world. He understands and wants others to understand him.
If there’s anything he’s learned from all of this, it’s that clinging to the idea of “me from the past” is a mistake: “You are a new person. You are not less, but different.”
It is clear that it is not easy to do, nor immediate. It’s a process, a transformation, it’s understanding where you are and redoing your life, living it, find another way. “You can be everything”, concludes the patient.
Lu heads the association “Hello, how about aphasia?” in order to accompany all those who, despite understanding, feel misunderstood: because, as she points out, even if sometimes she cannot convey what she wants to say, she is not stupid. he understands He can understand it.
Like her, there are many stroke patients whose most obvious sequela is aphasia. Most of them let this language disorder win the battle, when what they should be doing is talking. try it
Sport as a goal to overcome stroke
From leaving the hospital in a wheelchair to getting on a bike and taking part in extreme competitions. At the age of 39, Julio Agredano suffered a stroke that made him reconsider his way of living life.
He weighed 103 kilos, he had cholesterolwas hypertensive and lived with him work stress. It started from a complicated situation, but it was possible to overcome it, set a goal, overcome obstacles, achieve it.
And it is that two broken clavicles, several injuries due to a fall and the motor consequences of the stroke itself, such as the lack of coordination or balance, have not prevented him from clinging to overcoming. On the contrary
“With the bicycle, as in life, when you take inertia, you move forward”, he underlines.
After the stroke he spent a year recovering in a clinic for four hours a day. With tenacity he ended up overcoming most of his difficulties and took away a new philosophy of life.
And it is that, on medical recommendation, he started doing sports: although he tried running and swimming, it was in cycling that he ended up finding a great hobby.
For him the important thing is set goals, whatever they are. If you work for it, whether you get it or not, you move forward. The point is to fight. Success is the process, not reaching the goal, he says.
His experience was what inspired him to found and chair the “Fundació fre a l’ictus”, which today brings visibility to “a disease whose prevalence is greater than what is known about it”. aim