‘In an instant, my whole world was taken from me’
Fiona Bardon

‘In an instant, my whole world was taken from me’

TEACHER Fiona Bardon woke up feeling sick in August 2019 and suffered a seizure at home, breaking her shoulder as she fell, before being rushed to A & E and told she had a stroke.

Fiona from Terenure tells how “in an instant, my whole world was taken from me” and is backing an information campaign ahead of World Stroke Day on October 29 as an essential tool in the recovery process.

“To say I was lost is a complete understatement; I wasn’t able to complete tasks independently.

“I had no energy, I was hugely fatigued and I wasn’t able to regulate my emotions. I was incapable of communicating my thoughts. I was under constant supervision so I felt like I was back to being a child.”

The estimated 25,380 stroke survivors in Dublin are being urged to join a series of live and recorded talks offering supports ahead of World Stroke Day.

The Irish Heart Foundation is co-ordinating the series of expert-led online talks to provide vital support to patients who need help coping with the after effects of stroke.

This is in addition to the charity’s monthly in-person stroke support groups at Rua Red Arts Centre in Tallaght, St Bernadette’s Community Centre in Crumlin and Young Stroke Survivors’ Network in Kilmainham.

Before World Stroke Day, survivors, families and healthcare professionals are invited to register for the Irish Heart Foundation talks – seven of which are live via Zoom and three of which will take place in the Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Life after Stroke Facebook’ group.

They include discussions on secondary prevention (Oct 26), involving stroke nurses from Dublin’s Mater Hospital and focussing on medical and lifestyle methods to reduce a patient’s chances of suffering a further stroke.

A talk on October 25 offers advice on supporting a stroke patient returning home from hospital, how to navigate daily tasks and adjusting to cognitive changes.

Others focus on managing fatigue (Oct 24), mindfulness for relaxation and stress management (Oct 25) and State grants/entitlements for stroke patients (Oct 28).

Healthy eating and lifestyle advice (Oct 27) is also examined, while participants will also hear personal stories from other stroke survivors (Oct 26).

“We want to reach people living with stroke, their carers and healthcare professionals,” said Helen Gaynor, Head of Community Services with the Irish Heart Foundation.

“Stroke affects the whole family. Isolation is often a major factor and some people can’t meet socially, they may have lost confidence, so talks like these where people can meet others in similar situations is very empowering.”

For more details and to register for the free talks, taking place between October 24-28, go to: irishheart and then world stroke day talks.

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