After Stroke: Christopher’s Experience

"I am very thankful for those that support people like me, and our families, who are living with a stroke."

“I am very thankful for those that support people like me, and our families, who are living with a stroke,” says Christopher Munn.

Christopher Munn was on his Tuesday evening 10K run when he began to experience having a stroke. He suddenly saw flashes in his left eye and had a sharp headache. But when he went to the hospital, they told him it was probably a migraine. He’d never had a migraine before. Two days later, during an office meeting, he couldn’t move his right side.

Christopher Munn_03

“Others noticed. I couldn’t talk. I tried but couldn’t get anyone to understand,” he remembers.

Chris was nothing if not active and healthy before his stroke. He regularly ran with the Owen Sound Running Club, spent time canoeing or skiing outdoors, attended book club meetings and renovated parts of his home.

But the stroke changed all that, greatly impairing his mobility, speech and lifestyle.

“The first night in the hospital after my stroke, I needed to go to the washroom,” he explains. “I wasn’t used to my leg and arm not working. I tried to get up and slid to the floor.”

Christopher Munn_02
Christopher with a fish during a fishing activity at Aphasia Camp

March of Dimes Canada has helped him get back on his feet, offering support programs and subsidizing what his benefits do not cover.

It took seven weeks of rehab to be able to walk with a cane, and he needs ongoing physio three times a week to keep him mobile. He also joined the MODC Aphasia & Communications Disabilities Program (ACDP) for weekly speech therapy, and attends the After Stroke Support Group once a month to help integrate him back into a normal life.

Picture1
Chris and his wife during an adaptable bike ride at aphasia camp in St. George, 2016.

“[March of Dimes Canada] staff and volunteers are wonderful – so encouraging and supportive,” he says.

Today, Chris is adapting to a new life. “I miss jogging and hiking. I go for walks,” he explains. “I am trying to adjust to doing things differently.” It takes a great deal of effort, but he’s able to complete small tasks around the house, have conversations, and read books. He’s also taken up new hobbies, including art and dance, and is optimistic that with continued support, he’ll one day be able to bike again.

Christopher Munn_05
Chris titles this “The Healing Power of Nature”

In Canada, over 400,000 people like Christopher have survived a stroke. We are helping families like Christopher’s by offering support, rehabilitation services, education and caregiver support through our nationwide After Stroke program. Visit the After Stroke website at afterstroke.marchofdimes.ca for more information and resources.

Ralph’s Journey

1200x630_Ralph

Words by Ralph.

There are many things I am proud to have accomplished in my life.  Today, I am proud to add stroke survivor to that list.  March of Dimes Canada helped me get my life back.

My stroke left me feeling like I lost everything in an instant.  I became a guy who could not dress himself. I needed assistance with pretty much everything. I felt helpless, but most of all scared.

Thankfully, I learned about March of Dimes Canada Conductive Education® (CE) Program and all the ways in which they help stroke survivors return to independent life. Having already been in physical therapy for almost two years, I was skeptical as to how much more they could do for me. But participating in their Stroke and Fitness Program, I soon learned that I needed to stop focusing on what I couldn’t do and instead channel my energy into finding solutions to reach my milestones.

It’s been a long journey but one I am proud to have made.  Through MODC I have been clawing back to the point where I now live alone and I can do most of my daily chores independently. With each passing day, I regain more and more of my self-worth and dignity; I am no longer the guy who needs help with everything.

When you suffer a stroke, you lose everything in a matter of seconds, and it takes the rest of your life to gain it back.  March of Dimes Canada taught me if I want it back, I have to work for it.  It’s been three years since my stroke and I plan on working hard every day to get better and live as normal a life as I can.  The only thing that can stop a stroke survivor from getting better is giving up.  I’m not giving up.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without you.  Thank you.

 

If you’d like to help other stroke survivors like Ralph, please visit: https://marchofdimes.akaraisin.com/SpringGivingMay2018