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Turn to Support Groups for Help

Posted by Leigh Kost Jan 08 2016

Dear Leigh: My mother had a stroke several months ago. I feel like I have no one to talk to who understands what we are experiencing. What do you suggest? -Jessica

Leigh Kost: Personally, I found it extremely helpful to join support groups both online and in person. For me, Facebook offered a lot of good stroke support groups, but you must be careful. Facebook is an unregulated social media source. Live support groups are also helpful. Check the support group registry for your area at Stroke.org.

Your local hospitals may also have information regarding these. The challenges of a stroke survivor are unique. I have found only other stroke survivors really understand the challenges, so I highly recommend seeking them out.

Dear Leigh: I often refuse invitations to eat out at restaurants because I am embarrassed that I can’t cut my food. Has this ever happened to you? If so, how do you handle it? -Jill

LK: I did feel that way at one time. Then, I realized the restaurant staff would likely help me if I asked. I asked and my problem was solved. Now, whenever I eat out, I ask the server to have the cook cut the meat into bite size pieces and explain that I am unable to cut the meat due to a disability. I have never had a problem once I adopted that policy.

Dear Leigh: The most obvious indication that I had experienced something is the fact that I have a brace on my foot. In fact, people often ask how I injured my foot. When I say that I didn’t injure it, that I had a stroke, the conversation becomes very uncomfortable. I don’t want to lie. How should I respond when asked this question? -Susan

LK: Rather than saying you had a stroke, politely say either it’s a long story or the injury was very involved. Either answer will alert the questioner that further conversation isn’t welcome.

Dear Leigh: I have seen people celebrate the anniversary date of their stroke. This makes no sense to me. Having a stroke is a terrible thing. Why would anyone want to celebrate it? -Colleen

LK: I believe people celebrate the fact that they survived a stroke, not had one. Many people are not fortunate enough to survive. When people celebrate the anniversary of their stroke, possibly, the majority are celebrating life and their second chance.

 

Leigh Kost is a stroke survivor who wants to help people within the stroke community cope with the emotional and lifestyle changes that can occur following a stroke. She gives advice based on her own personal experience. She is not a healthcare professional and cannot give medical advice. You can submit questions for Leigh at AskASurvivor@stroke.org.

The material provided in this column is designed for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed reflect those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association. You should not rely on any information on this page to replace consultations with qualified health care professionals to meet your individual medical needs. 


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