Stroke survivor stories - Mrs Jayatilake

The stories of stroke survivors are what drives our fight at the World Stroke Organization to achieve our goal of a world free from stroke. Welcome to our stroke survivor stories series, which we'll pop up on the blog every Thursday, you may wish to contribute to this poignant narrative of stroke globally. Please contact

Where were you when you had your stroke?  

It was early October 2016, I was a fifty three year old stenographer at a leading institute in Colombo. I had brought my breakfast to my office and was engaged in my routine work. Suddenly, I wanted to phone my husband. I was trying to talk but I noticed that my speech was slurring. My husband too had noticed this and thought that I was pretending. As the slurring continued, I could not convey my message to my husband. He said he would come to my office and he advised me to go to hospital.

Could you access hospital?
I met my husband at the hospital and met a doctor. The doctor advised us that I had the symptoms of a stroke and needed to get admitted immediately for a CT scan of the brain. I was frightened, and was admitted to Colombo South Teaching Hospital. The CT scan was done but it was normal. After the overnight sleep, I got up in the morning. Then I noticed that the left side of my face, left arm and left leg were paralysed.

What expectations did you have for your treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and recovery?
I was shocked. My husband and son were close by my side with desperate faces. One of my relatives volunteered as my care giver. I was frustrated and helpless when I thought of the care I rendered towards my family. Daily I cried, asking God why I was given this sort of terrible punishment. Despite counselling, I was not cooperating in physiotherapy and occupational therapy.  I did not want to live because how could I engage in my routine household work or my office work with the weakness of the left side of my body.

What was your experience of treatment and/or rehabilitation and therapy?
After two days in the hospital, I was transferred to the stroke unit of the National Hospital, Colombo. The day I was admitted to the stroke unit, the doctor ordered a repeat CT scan of my brain. Next day, I was seen by the senior consultant neurologist and told that as I had four major risk factors for stroke, they would commence medications to control these to prevent further strokes and at the same time commence daily physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

What has helped you in your recovery?
At the end of the stroke meeting, the entire stroke unit team was around me, the consultant neurologist was talking with me but I was not answering. She recognised that I was depressed and she read my thoughts correctly. Since then I engaged in my routine exercises with  courage and hope. At last, after two months of extensive schedules of continuous physio and occupational therapy, I was able to walk with support but my arm remained weaker than my leg. My speech was back to normal. I was able to eat prepared food, dress with help, and able to do toileting with minimal support.

What have been/are your fears?
My fear was what further disability I would have and whether I would die. Now I am leading a totally different life style - which I do not like, but I keep hope and I’ll be engaging in more and more meditation in the future. 
Stroke survivor stories - Mrs Jayatilake Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Thursday, February 09, 2017 Rating: 5

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