Sharad Tekalkote reminds us that there can be 'life after stroke'

Where were you when you had your stroke?  
I was at the Expo Centre at Whitefield in Bangalore. ​I had gone there at 10 am to visit some dignitaries. I spoke to my boss at 12:30 pm and as soon as I put my phone down, I just couldn't speak again. I was not aware that I was having the stroke; while my brain bled furiously I took a bus to the hospital 30 kms away.  ​
Can you tell us a little about your life before stroke?  
​I was the Chief Operating Officer in an education company before the stroke. I exercised regularly, swam at least 20 laps four times in a week, gym at least 3 times in a week and running every day. On the weekends I used to go to practice martial arts, I’ve got a black belt!   

What expectations did you have for your treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and recovery?
I expected to recover fully, but alas that was not the case, I went through the various treatment and recovery stages.  ​ I thank the medical fraternity for the treatment - initial and continuing follow up, which helped me physically survive a major life threatening stroke. Thereafter I was fortunate to be referred to other medical professionals and the strong support I had from my family, for regaining my physical strength, communication and psychological stability and finally regaining my self -confidence to function independently in mainstream life. 

How has life changed for you and the people around you since your stroke? 
​I had a haemorrhagic stroke, I struggled with my speech for about 3 years, before the stroke I was a voracious reader and public speaker but all that changed. 

How are you working to reduce your specific risks?
​I take medicines daily coupled with ohm chanting and meditation. ​The past 2 years I am going to the gym and yoga. 

What has helped you in your recovery?
My son Dev, as I wanted him to be strong and independent, because of which I had to triple my efforts through rehabilitation. In the course of my recovery I met several stroke afflicted individuals and I realized my good fortune and the intense need for the stroke affected individual and caretakers to have access to a support group catering to their individual needs at different times in their recovery period. Acknowledging what has happened, and accepting how life has changed is an important step in the recovery process and meeting stroke survivors can help with this. Counselling services aim to encourage the stroke survivor and his caretakers  to talk about their thoughts and feelings and help them to come to terms with what has happened to them. With proper guidance of the counsellor, they will have the opportunity to look at how the stroke has affected their life and discover ways of moving forward. Having the space to talk things through, at their own pace, can be very helpful. They can gain a clearer picture of what lies ahead and help to feel more in control of their life by working out and trying to find solutions to problems. The basic principles in counselling are that each person has intrinsic worth, is unique, is capable of change, and has strength and responsibility to change, so to act on the belief that 'there is a life after a stroke'.

What have been/are your fears?
My living is based on my talking, I was a sales guy, my biggest fear was that I never could speak again. ​

How did your family and friends feel and respond?
Family was my biggest ​strength and friends are my biggest supporters.  

For more about Sharad’s story visit:

Sharad Tekalkote reminds us that there can be 'life after stroke' Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Thursday, March 08, 2018 Rating: 5
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