My Activity Tracking
My target 200 kms
Cat and Mouse
Next week will be a year to the last stroke Mark had. The one that stole away more of him. Just when he was seeing his hard work paying off. He had started to gain strength, slept less and was starting to kick some independence goals -SLAP! I liken this all to a cat (stroke) playing with its prey (Mark). They let them just get far enough away that they think they are ok and have beaten it - then they pounce again. Each time they steal a piece of my hope but I refuse to lay down. Team Laverick will continue to fight!
What does Stroke mean to the family?
Whilst stroke has striped so much from Mark, the ripple affect to Sam and I isn’t exactly a tickle!
You know those memes where you see photos split with - perception-v-reality?
You may all think I’m living the high life.
Well the fact is I have a good life. I’m blessed, truly with great friends, an amazing family and a sensational support network. Mark has amazing carers, truely fabulous people. Each of them have become part of our family. We are certainly very very lucky. They all give Mark the best care and bring out the best in him. Help him with his home therapies, accompany him to appointments when I can’t, attend to all his care needs, joke with him, pass him tissues when he watches a soppy movie and sneak him a chocolate to satisfy his sweet tooth.
What comes with this is having “visitors” allll the time. And when I say all I mean all!
Many of you may say, “Tracey’s never home - she’s always out!” “Swanning around, always going somewhere, where’s the next lunch, holiday, outing... always out doing something.” Living the dream.
Well I lost my home the day Mark came home from hospital back on 25/5/11. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining about this in any way shape or form. I love having Mark home. I love the carers that come. I couldn’t care for Mark on my own. I need to work for both the financial and mental side of things. But the fact remains that from 8am - 6pm most days I have an extra someone in my house. Not sure how many of you reading this are parents but reflect upon your morning of getting ready and trying to get the kids to school. Now do that while you have an extra someone in the house. Don’t lose it, remember there’s an extra set of eyes on you all, no they aren’t there to judge, you know they don’t, they really are part of the family, but they aren’t, but they are, but they are there. I’ve done all of this as an adult, adult processing, adult don’t give a toss what people think, adult choices. Try doing that as a 10yr old. Then do it as a tween, a teenager, go on now go through puberty and do it, do your hsc, have a boyfriend, have a breakup, learn to drive, smash your car, have a tantrum. Live that life almost longer than you haven’t. How you doing?
We do ok.
Materially: I miss my bath - I really miss my bath.
Emotionally: I really like to just lay on the lounge and not “do” some days.
Parenting: I often wonder if I’ve made the right decisions. I missed not having Mark to tag at times. I was good cop, bad cop, shit cop, stuff up cop and awesome cop all rolled into one.
Reality: The decision to bring Mark home and not put him into an aged care facility is still is the right one I believe. Is it hard? Shit yeah! Is it an emotional roller coaster? Absolutely! Did it mean we were together as a family unit? Yes!
So when you see me out and about remember this is my recharge time so I can be there and be strong for the two most important people in my life - Sam and Mark. Stroke has changed our family’s world and that’s why I am asking for your help in donating to this cause so we can support the work of researchers in this area.
So where are the funds going?
Most people don’t know much about stroke until they or someone they know has one. It’s commonly said amongst as “stroke families” - you become a member of a club you didn’t know existed and you fast track to life member because it’s a lifetime membership instantly.
My Stroke Journey is a resource produced by the Stroke Foundation for stroke survivors, family members and carers to help with the transition from hospital to home and onto recovery. In 2018 78% of stroke patients received My Stroke Journey. In 2020 a new version for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will be delivered, along with versions in 12 community languages. The funds you are raising go to help the Stroke Foundation make My Stroke Journey suitable for more people than ever before. They are focusing on ensuring 100% of patients receive My Stroke Journey.
So if you’ve been thinking about sponsoring me times ticking before stride4stroke will be over.
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 21 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.
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 this year 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. 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.
This November, I’m taking part in Stroke Foundation’s Stride4Stroke to help prevent, treat and beat stroke!
Stroke attacks the brain- the human control centre, changing lives in an instant. The impact of stroke can be devastating for the individual and the family. But stroke’s impact doesn’t need to be this great, research indicates that around 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
So, I need your help to Fight Stroke. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s nothing compared to those who are impacted by stroke. Please sponsor me today to support me and together we can Fight Stroke!
Your donation will help the Stroke Foundation support those affected right now and fund research to help prevent stroke, save lives and enhance recovery. Thank you.
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Thank you to my Sponsors
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