Stroke survivor stories - Letlhogonolo Modise, South Africa

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 Sarah.Belson@stroke.org.uk


Where were you when you had your stroke?
I was at school for a choir workshop. I wouldn’t say the way it happened was obvious. I didn’t experience any of the symptoms of the face drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulties, though my friends did make sure no time was wasted once they knew what was going on. It was a fast reaction to a stroke.
We were about to start warming up then suddenly I started feeling strange. My first reaction was to run out thinking I needed some air. The feeling continued. My friends who followed me outside tried whatever they could think of. I was sitting. Next thing I was lying on the floor with my eyes closed. I could hear my friends calling my mother and one of them crying, not knowing what was going on.

Could you access hospital?
Yes I could. Though I feel a lot of time was wasted on the road travelling to different hospitals and finding out certain equipment could only be accessed in one of the hospitals.
I’ve always thought to myself that’s how my chances of survival became slimmer.

What expectations did you have for your treatment, rehabilitation, recovery?
My expectations were to get discharged from hospital where I had rehabilitation and get back to school to finish my final year of High School. Basically I thought I wouldn’t take years to recover from a stroke.

What was your experience of treatment and/or rehabilitation?
The first three years of rehabilitation were tough. My mind was on how my friends were at a different level of education than I was.
My emotions were still in shock from what happened.
I believe if you are emotionally ready for something then you won’t struggle to get yourself to where you want to be physically. I personally think I took longer to get to a certain point of recovery in my first three years compared to the years after those.
Through positive thinking I’m able to push myself to work harder.

What has helped you in your recovery?
Support from both my family and friends. Reading spiritual books in order to resolve my emotions. Ever since my emotions were resolved I feel more confident about the journey I’m currently on, the recovery journey. Having one of the best therapists was also a great addition to my recovery.

What have been/are your fears?
Before I feared missing out on life as I thought I was left behind as I was on a different level of education as my friends, but as time went by I have overcome that fear.  
Recently, I fear my children and their children having a stroke. I wish no one else has to experience a stroke. The struggles that come with it weren’t easy to get over. At such a young age it made things even more difficult to understand. When you have plans with your friends for your future and having to see that dream become impossible at the age and time you planned for it to happen. It hurts… a pain you wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
I fear my children or their children blaming me if they ever experience it.

How did your family and friends feel and respond?
At the time it was happening I believe their emotion was the fear of not knowing what exactly is going on and not knowing what they could do. The feeling of helplessness. But everyone just responded with support through prayer and visiting my family and me.
I feel blessed to have such supportive family and friends. Having people support you without asking makes a person wonder what did I do to deserve so much support. If the support was less or no support at all I think it would’ve made life harder and acceptance almost impossible. I probably would’ve taken longer to get to where I currently am in my journey to recovery.
Nobody should go through this alone.


Stroke survivor stories - Letlhogonolo Modise, South Africa Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Thursday, March 30, 2017 Rating: 5

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