Tracey Laverick

Minutes Moved:

818 minutes

I’m taking part in Stride4Stroke to help prevent, treat and beat stroke!

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.

In Australia currently, 12% of people say they won’t have exercised this week. One million strokes a year globally are linked to physical inactivity. One of the things we can do to reduce our risk of stroke, or secondary stroke, is to keep active.

So this November I’m taking part in Stride4Stroke to raise vital funds and awareness for Stroke Foundation.

Stroke Foundation is committed to raising community awareness about stroke and stroke prevention, advocating for increased access to specialised stroke treatment and rehabilitation care, and supporting research into innovative treatments for the benefit of all Australians.

Please join me in my fight against stroke today by donating and helping share my story.

Thank you in advance.

My Updates

New Year 2011

i wrote this blog for New Year 2021. 

For most, the promise of good things to come. 

We feel that way too, but it’s hard not to take some time to reflect on the significance of the day to us.

January 1, 2021, marks ten years since that fateful day when Mark had a catastrophic stroke which changed the course of our lives.

Gone are the plans, goals and dreams that we had. Things such as, where we would see ourselves in 2021, and plans we had as a family. Certainly not where we are now.

I grieve the loss of my old life. I grieve the husband I had and the conversations we can no longer have. The plans we can't make. Sometimes, but not often, I miss the friends that have disappeared - the ones that found it too hard or uncomfortable.

But, if I stop and dwell on the “what could have been”, it would be a sad life.

On this day I allow myself the time to have a cup of coffee - something I learned early in this journey. I wallow and I take a moment. After that it’s time to put my big girl pants back on. 

I want to reflect on the things that are good, the things that make it ok. The parts that are not only good, but great and very positive.

And I think of Mark, he’s had the biggest loss of all but he doesn’t complain.

I stop and think about what an awesome man I’m married to. How he has the biggest smile and most positive attitude of anyone I’ve ever met. How he continues to strive for improvement (not that he isn’t perfect just the way he is) so he can continue to kick goals.

I think of all the special friends that I have now. The ones that wouldn’t have been part of our lives if it wasn't for stroke. These days I just can't imagine life without them.

I think of the friends that include me in their travel plans, even when I can’t, but they still ask. I thank them for that.

Mark’s special friends, his mates, the ones that call in and have a drink with him. The ones that know fake bourbon still gives him a “dusty” morning.

I think of our families. Wow, where do I start. Their love, and support, and the list of things that they have done for us over the years, is endless. 

For example, in the early days when I could only leave the house three hours a week, they managed to get Sam, our daughter, to swimming, dancing, school, home, to collect from school if sick, play dates and all her extra-curricular activities.

They’d hang with Mark as times improved to allow me to attend these things myself.

Modified Hawks Nest worked tirelessly so that Christmases could be celebrated together. They took Sam on holidays and camping (something I’m not sure I’d have ever done!). They helped with driving lessons, bought groceries, gave me company, and for basically anything that was needed they stepped in and helped out.

Finally, to our 'Team Laverick' support workers and therapists. You keep me sane, you keep Mark on track and adjust so easily to the swings and roundabouts that life throws us.

We have many, many things to be grateful for, and after “coffee time” that’s exactly where our focus will be.

We will make plans. We will set goals. Most importantly we will be grateful.

Thank you, you’ve all helped us on this journey, we are very appreciative of your support.

Happy New Year. May 2021 bring love, peace and happiness to you all.

Why I do the Stride4stroke

I know I’m bombarding you with #Stride4Stroke but that’s my November challenge.  A huge thank you to all my sponsors. You are making me stay on track and get my  active minutes up. 

This  one is a super long read. 

It’s a rehash of a blog a few years back with additional information. 

Here’s my blog of why I do this. 

Why do I #stride4stroke
Well I think the simple answer most of you know. I do it for Mark, my fabulous husband. He's put up with me for nearly 23 years.

Why does Mark have these strokes? The doctors aren't 100% sure but they think the most logical reason is from radiation treatment Mark had in 1979 - some 40 years ago.

From age 13 Mark's fought health issues. Seizures that couldn't be explained. At 17 (when CT technology came into existence) a brain tumour was discovered. Mark has his first brain surgery thenand told that he may not walk or talk again - not my guy! 19 - back to it again. His health has always plagued him but it's never stopped him. Fatigue was an issue and slurred speech when extremely tired.

I met Mark when he was 36 - I never knew he had these issues until he sat down and told me one day - it was more to explain the slurred speech as it was sometimes confused with people thinking he was intoxicated.  He also wanted to let me know then he’d had some health issues. 

Mark never let his health stop him from doing anything. He was fit, active and by all accounts healthy.

2002, at the age of 40 Mark had his first stroke. It took a while - 3 - 4 days before he went to the Dr - his symptoms were so mild and I knew nothing of the signs of stroke. Lucky our GP did and it was off to hospital. After a few days and lots of tests we were told that Mark had a stroke.  Main outcome for Mark was fatigue. He struggled for a good while to do anything more than 3days work. Our daughter was 2 and his son 12. This didn’t stop him from giving them both his all. After his weekends with his son he would often be exhausted but wouldn’t let that stop him from kicking a ball, riding a bike or having a hit or cricket or tennis. Mark never wanted illness to define him.

Life ticked along very nicely until ...

1/1/11 - well Mark had a doozy of a stroke then. A huge bleed. 5 months in hospital. What a game changer that was. Life as we knew it came to a screeching holt. A handbrake turn. I learnt what the terms ABI, TBI, Ischemic,  haemorrhage, spasticity and aphasia all meant.  I learnt how to use wheelchairs, lifters, hoists and all sorts of other equipment. By osmosis I became a speech therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, carer, support work and avid stroke supporter.

Two businesses stopped. There was time for nothing other than trying to function. Thank goodness for fabulous family who stepped in and did so much to help with all of this and see that Sam, our 10yo, got to school, was fed, got to after school activities and provided to her emotional support that we had been zapped of.

Over the next few years Mark worked like a warrior determined to always be the “best me I can be” - his new catch phrase. I became a project manager and Mark was the project. Co-ordinating his support, appointments, therapy work, homework, everything we could do to get Mark to achieve this goal. This was now the 3rd time Mark had been told he wouldn’t walk or talk again.   Not my Mark! It took years but he was able to get to the ANZAC Memorial Walk in Newcastle and 4-6 times a week he’d walk that walk. He’d add stairs. He was kicking goals. He was certainly more cognitive as his “brain fog” cleared and we did some great stuff. Trips away, laughs and lots of great memories. He really was a bit of a medical marvel making such gains that they didn’t expect. Don’t get me wrong he had many medical deficits still but my old Mark was shining through. We could discuss a lot more together, things most married couples do everyday, more things where Mark could and would give his valued opinion. His aphasia was still moderate and most discussions were 3-5 words but he could always get his opinion across.  A lot more of the old normal was creeping into our life.

Don’t get too used to that.

2/12/18 - slap! Changes occur in Mark. I’ve been living stroke for 16 years by now you’d think I’d know the signs. No. I think he has a UTI so we head to the GP.  Thankfully they do and it’s back in hospital for 2 months, rehab, more equipment for home and we are back at the starting line. Again Mark is so determined and fully participates in his therapy, his homework and Team Laverick learn how to live this new normal.  

In May 2019 something else has changed and there’s been a further decline. Strokes aren’t showing up but Mark’s poor brain has been put through the wringer, it’s possible they are in areas that aren’t easily visible. Whatever is going on is doing it’s best to keep taking a piece of him. 
19/3/21 you’ve got to be kidding me!  Nope. Here we go again. This time his sight from his good eye is ripped away. This takes his walking away as he can no longer use his walking stick.

What it’ll never take though is his determination, his bravery, his beautiful positive outlook on life and his smile.

I’m one lucky lady to have been blessed with sharing life with this amazing man.

Stroke has bought with it many wonderful new friends, paths crossed that wouldn’t have been, experiences had that wouldn’t have been, character building and many life lessons.

Stroke hits the whole family it’s not just the person that suffers the stroke, it’s the family and friends too. Nobody gets it harder than the suffer but all are impacted.

So I #stride4stroke for Mark, for Sam, for me and for all the stroke families I know and don’t but are affected by stroke.

Aphasia & Apraxia

Words I didn’t even know.  Words that I am sure unless they have impacted on you or a loved one you wouldn’t know either.

They are part of Mark’s stroke that sucks.

Physically most of you would see that Mark has very limited mobility in his right side.  The obvious disability.  It’s crap & for the someone that was so very active must be very frustrating.  Mark in the true amazing guy that he is never shows me any signs of frustration.  He just takes it all in his stride.  I wish!!!  The last stroke took the walking part away because if you can’t see the walking stick out of your good eye then you don’t know where to hold it or trust that you are putting it somewhere that will be safe to take the next step. Again this doesn’t really phase him.

If you don’t know what these words mean please google them.  Remember when you do that Aphasia is loss of words not intelligence.  I can assure you Mark knows what is going on & can be as cunning as a cut snake if he is trying to sneak another chocolate or fake bourbon.  Just ask anyone that has been here for dinner.  They know he doesn’t need the words to charm his way into what he wants.

This memory came up on my Facebook feed today.  I remember that day so well.  The three of us cried real tears of joy. 

It’s these invisible little critters.  The ones that stole his speech away.  The ones that make communicating with others so hard. The ones that make asking his daughter, wife or friends “tell me about your day” near but impossible.

Imagine that you have the words but you can’t get them out.  You can’t ask your daughter, who was only 10 at the time of Mark’s stroke, “tell me about your day”. 

Imagine all the times you’ve had something on your mind but you just couldn’t get it out.

Imagine having a group of friends over & you just couldn’t contribute to the conversation.

Imagine what that must be like.  I try but I will never know what it is really like for Mark.

What I can do is stride4stroke.  What I can do is raise awareness of stroke.  What I can do is share our story to hope that you can share it & it helps someone recognise the early signs of stroke or to take action to reduce their risk of stroke.

If you would like to support me on my Stride4Stroke journey the link is here & if you aren’t able to do it financially, please share my blog of our journey. 

Stoke Sucks ... Finding something to be Grateful

Grateful.

Odd how I can even think of, let alone use, that word when I am writing about Stroke & our experience.

Today I was talking to two people separately about being Grateful.

One was my talented & very helpful handyman David & the other Kelly, one of my stroke wives, who has been such a rock to me throughout this journey.

I can package up Mark's stroke in any way shape or size but at no stage at any stage of mine or Mark's life did we ever say or wish for "Stroke" to be a part of our lives.  To know what brain injury was.  To be fluent in ABI & TBI.  To know what that acronyms actually mean.  But we do.  It was NEVER EVER on our Bucket List.

Choice - curl up in a ball & hate on everything that has happened or grab the life we have embrace it.  Live it, love it & truly really embrace it.  One of my friend lives by the motto, Fake it Till You Make It.  Well for the last 11 years I have learnt how to really Fake it in some shitty moments.  It wears off though and you start to make it.

I look for the things to be grateful for here are a few.  I am sure during this month I will share more.

1.  I have the most amazing family & friends.  I have a true "call on for anything" group.  Not just one person a TEAM.   Thank you - you all know who you are.

2.  We live in New Lambton.  The John Hunter Hospital is literally a walk away, HMRI is on the same block.  We don't have to travel for medical assistance.

3. Neuroplasticity - All of Mark's medical, therapeutic & support team not only know what this word is, they practice it.  Seriously 15 years ago mainstream health would have considered this as "Witch Doctor" type of thinking.

4. The NDIS exists now to provide supports to Mark.  I can work now because of this.  It comes with angst, stress & battles but without it Mark wouldn't be at home.

5.  I still have Mark.  I love him & he loves me.   Can't be better than that.

Yes Stroke sucks.  Lots of things in life do.

I am using November to fundraise for the Stroke Foundation.  I am doing what I can to  make sure that all my friends are Stroke Aware.  

Help me out if you can.

Today is about appreciating our daughter

For those that are my Facebook friends you will notice that I have been very absent from my sunrise walks.

As most of you know Mark requires 24/7 care. In order for me to have my morning walks I needed somebody else in the house. Even though Mark was sleeping during these times (he’s not a morning person) I couldn’t leave him in the house alone.

My morning walk was more than just some exercise it was my catch up with Kelly (fellow stroke wife)  and Zen.

Last year Sam moved out but now is back home and occasionally sleeping here I can get back in and see those beautiful sunrises. Oh, plus I have become very lazy so getting back into routine is proving a struggle.

That’s not all Sam does to help out at home.  There at lots of little things but here’s an example of what she did last night.

I arrived home with Mark from a long weekend at Hawks Nest. Sam had just arrived home too from work. Without complaint she took over hanging out with Mark so that I could:

  • Safely unload the car

  • Water the garden

  • Unpack

  • Get some washing on

Hanging out with Mark might seem like the easy part of this but all of these things are not possible without someone keeping a steady eye on him. Mark’s impulsive behaviour mean he could be up to any type of risky activity without constant attention.

I am telling you this guy can move from 0 to 100 in no time if he is zeroed in on something and you have to keep your wits about you.

I’m not sure how many sunrises I’ll make but I plan on reaching my goal during the month of November one way or another.

So, THANK YOU Samantha for all the little things you do. They add up to HUGE things.

Dad & I love you very much & so proud of the beautiful human you are.

When I start my day like this I know it’s going to be fabulous. I hope your day is too.

Some days I grieve The loss of my husband more than others

This might seem a strange thing for me to say considering my husband is alive. (Originally when I wrote this sentence I said "alive and well". )The stark reality is that I don’t know I can use the word "well" to describe Mark.

Mark is now has four recorded strokes. I say recorded because there's certainly been times over the years when he’s had some type of neurological episode that medical attention hasn’t been needed to record whether there’s been another stroke or not.

Brief summary:

Age 40 - 2002 - First stroke - minor clot - resulting in extreme fatigue

Age 48 - 2011 - Huge bleed - resulting in loss of movement in right side = wheelchair, global aphasia - inability to understand what was being said & inability to talk, cognitive deficits

Age - 55 - 2018 - Clot stroke - cognitive decline, physical decline

Age 59 - 2021 - Clot stroke - loss of sight in left eye, physical & cognitive decline

So when I say I grieve the loss of my husband it’s my pre stroke husband that I grieve.

Don’t get me wrong I love with all my heart the husband I have now. Some days I just miss my old one a little more.

Both versions of my husband are Extremely cheeky, Handsome and always wearing his big smile.

This is the last week of October which means Stride4Stroke is about to start.

Those that know me personally know that the  Stroke Foundation and all it does is extremely important to me. 

So now is the time I’m going to start bugging you all to help me raise as much as I can for them.

Stride4Stroke 2021

It's that time again when it is time to think about Stride4Stroke.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am passionate about the Stroke Foundation & what they do.  Research, education, awareness & support.
Stride4Stroke will start again in November but just incase that is "too close for Christmas" funding time & you have some lazy funds you want to donate I thought you might like to be reminded now! :-)

So far I have helped Stroke Foundation deliver…

Advice and support from a health professional on StrokeLine

Stroke recovery packs to 3 survivors of stroke.

Training to a StrokeSafe volunteer to deliver community talks.

Funding to stroke researchers to find the next game-changer in stroke.

Thank you to my Sponsors

$1,000

Snl

You are an inspiration to many. Your commitment is unwavering. All the best with your strides! - SNL

$515

Prue

Stride away!

$515

The Hub Preschool And Early Education Academy

$515

Selina Nichols

You’re incredible! Go Team Laverick xx

$261

Margaret Laverick

You are an inspiration Tracey to Mark and Sam and to all who know you.

$200

Mark Resevsky

$200

Helen Braggett

You're a fabulous advocate Tracey! Love you both xxx

$156.60

Matt, Cal, Al

$156.60

Anonymous

$143.03

Dianne Griffiths-northey

$104.40

Philippe Phan

Such a wonderful cause Tracey. All the best

$104.40

Helen

$104.40

Mark Laverick

Move it baby move it.

$104.40

Marie B

Your energy, contribution and commitment to the community and your family/ friends is exceptional, Tracey! You make me want to be a better person :)

$104.40

Josh And Niomi Parkinson

Endlessly inspirational. Xx

$100

Judy

$100

Alison Cameron

Tracey we are all on your team!!!!

$91.87

Gary & Marg Wand

Team Laverick all the way!

$78.30

Bruce Harvey

$78.30

Pam Lawrence

You go girl love you ❤

$75

Libby Schneider

Love your energy & commitment x

$63

Kieran Resevsky

$52.20

Colleen Bryde

Great work Tracey.

$52.20

Bruce

$52.20

Sarah & Craig Harvey

$52.20

Scott Lambeth

$52.20

Anne Tournay

Good luck. You are an inspiration!

$50

Anonymous

$50

Belinda Beaumont

The whole Laverick family are heroes! Well done Tracey. I hope you are able to manage more sunrise walks.

$46.98

Lorraine Dailey

You make it easier for me because I know you understand xx

$46.98

Lara Mitchell

$46.98

Margaret Metcalfe

Well done Tracey

$46.98

Anne Hellou

$45

Lynda & Mal

$41.76

Karen & John Metcalfe

$31.32

Julie James

You go Tracey You go Mark You go Sam J & P xx

$31.32

Guy Hawksworth

$31.32

Rachel Newlin

🥰 DE STROKE the world Trace !!... 1 step at a time lovely x

$26.10

Karen Lawrence

$20.88

Kelly Gamage