The Stroke Association of Victoria is proud to be celebrating National Stroke Week from 31 August – 6 September.
This year we’re celebrating everyday Victorians who contribute to our stroke community.
My name is Lindy Cooke, I was born with a hole I my heart. I had open heart surgery at 9 and developed atrial fibrillation at 12. At 26 I had a permanent pacemaker implanted. Unfortunately, at 47 I suffered a massive stroke to due atrial fibrillation. I couldn’t walk, use my left hand, swallow or even sit upright.
After many weeks of rehab I recovered enough to go home and live independently.
I had a visit from Gillian Simmons (SAV Life Member) as an inpatient – this visit changed my life; I joined a stroke support group and found support and friendship with other stroke survivors. Then I became Group Leader of the Generation X Stroke Support Group which met once a month for lunch at the Lower Plenty Hotel.
I moved to the Mornington Peninsula where there was little stroke support, so I created the Mornington Peninsula Stroke Support Group. The group meets once a month at the Rosebud Hotel for lunch – unfortunately due to COVID-19 it’s been difficult to have our meetings, so I have created a Facebook page to share ideas and stay in touch (Mornington Peninsula Stroke Support Group).
Initially, I was only able to use an electric wheelchair. I’d lost the use of the left-hand side of my body and the dignity of being an independent able-bodied adult. I felt I was being treated like a child- being dressed, fed and taken to the toilet. Physiotherapy and exercise continue to assist me in my recovery and now I am much more independent.
I tried to return to paid work but wasn’t well enough, so I’ve decided to start volunteering and the local Community House, National Stroke Foundation and the Stroke Association of Victoria.
I am finally seen as ‘Mum’ again and am able to cook meals for my daughters and their families – this made a huge difference to my life as a stroke survivor because I could finally contribute again.
Every stroke journey is different but in every case it is so important to have a strong network surrounding you. I would particularly like to thank the Cranbourne and Knox Stroke Support Groups for their continued support.