ABOUT RECOVERY AFTER STROKE
So You're Wondering Who Bill Is?
The Recovery After Stroke Podcast is hosted by me, Bill Gasiamis. I am also on the road to recovery after stroke.
This community is for stroke survivors and their carers.
Why am I doing this?
Because, 1 in 6 people will experience a stroke in their lifetime and there is a lack of support for survivors when they leave hospital. Stroke recovery is a life long process that never stops.
To give your self the best opportunity to heal, there are some things you must do and some things you must avoid. Join us in the Recovery After Stroke membership and discover what you need to know.
Something Isn't Quite Right
When I woke one morning with a numb sensation in my big left toe, I could never have guessed that a week later I would be in hospital with a diagnosis of a brain haemorrhage. This was the view from my hospital bed.
Oh No! It happened again
Going home on doctors orders to do nothing for the next six weeks was a small price to pay for a bleed in the brain. “Sometimes these things just happen” I was told “and then they correct themselves and it shouldn’t bleed again” So when I started to feel symptoms of another bleed six weeks later, I began to worry about what the future may hold.
These are my MRI images.
Getting Back To Work
What? My behaviour may have played a part in the stroke?
When you are seeking to recover from a serious health condition there are many people you can learn from. I sought out as many people as i could. Listening to Bruce Lipton author of Biology Of Belief, speak and then having the opportunity to speak with him personally really shed some light into, how my lifestyle and behaviour may influenced negatively, my genetic predisposition to experience a bleed in the brain.
Stroke Safe Ambassador
The impact of stroke in the community was not something I knew anything about before my own experience at the age of 37. As I became more involved in the stroke community, I learnt how important it was to raise awareness in the general population, of how to prevent stroke, recognise the signs of stroke, and what to do if you suspect that someone you know, is experiencing a stroke.
I really thought that my body was in good condition before the stroke, as I had never really experienced any major illness in the first 37 years of my life. It turns out that there was more going wrong than I was aware of.
That's why I was a little shocked, when I went to my routine optometrists appointment and was told that I had developed cataracts in both eyes. This is me just before the surgery to repair my right eye.
There is a big push in Australia to bring stroke into the spotlight. Every year in September the Stroke Foundation runs Stroke Week, an event designed to raise awareness.
For stroke week 2014 I was interviewed by my local news paper about my experience and how stroke impacted my family life.
You can read the article here.
Although surgery resolved the bleeding blood vessel, complications meant that when I woke from surgery I was unable to feel my left side. I was booked into rehabilitation where the goal was to retrain the brain, to know when my foot was on the ground and to teach my hand to discern the differences between items I was holding.
Brain Surgery Proves I have A Brain
A few short months after my news paper story was published to raise awareness about stroke, I found myself experiencing a third brain bleed. After I drove myself to hospital, I had a visit from my neurosurgeon, the amazing Associate Professor Kate Drummond. Kate told me that due to the nature of my condition and the fact the the blood vessel continues to bleed, surgery was the only option.
This was a great opportunity to both resolve the bleeding and prove to my brother that in fact, I did have a brain.
Kates handy work..
This is me in recovery giving the thumbs up
to family and friends that came to visit.
Australia Catholic University Presentation
Stroke recovery and rehabilitation may appear to only occur in certain places like hospitals. For me part of the recovery occurred by sharing my story. Just 2 months after I was released from hospital, I was invited to speak at the Australian Catholic University, to a group of 3rd year occupational therapy students, so they can get an insight into what it's like for a patient to go through stroke recovery. Watch the video.
Working My Way Towards Stroke
New research about the lifestyle factors that increase the stroke risk is being done all the time. A study released by the Lancet, a medical journal publication website, found that overworking played a big role in stroke. I was interviewed about what happened to me and why I ignored the symptoms of stroke for more than a week. Watch the video here.
The best way to reach a lot of people these days, is via podcast. When I worked this out, I realised that it was the perfect medium for me to continue sharing my story.
The Recovery After Stroke podcast helps to raise awareness and offers hope to those impacted by stroke. Version 1 of the podcast was called the Transit Lounge Podcast, listen to episode 1 to learn how I came up with the name.
Carers Do It Tough As Well
When Bupa, the global health insurance provider asked me to be involved in their campaign to raise the profile of stroke, I jumped at the chance.
Bupa has been very generous in it's support of the stroke community and the end result of my involvement, was this gripping 90 second video, that was shared on national television and social media. Watch the video.
3rd Surgery In 3 Years
When I was lying in hospital in recovery after brain surgery, a routine chest scan by doctors discovered a lump in my throat the size of a baseball. This lump was interfering with my wind pipe and oesophagus.
Further tests revealed, that the lump was an enlarged Thyroid gland. Another surgery to remove the enlarged gland was booked in for May 2016. When I woke from this surgery the numbness in my left side was worse than before the Thyroid surgery.
Even during a serious health scare, there are often opportunities to learn.
While in rehabilitation a few years earlier I met a man that would teach me a thing or two, about the words we use and how they may support healing or not.
In this short presentation to a group of entrepreneurs in Melbourne I share what I learned. Watch the video.
Meeting Giulia Enders
What would you say if I told you, that a healthy gut was the key to a better stroke recovery?
Well it's true and the research to back up the above statement is overwhelming. I am committed to keeping my gut as healthy as I can, so any change to learn direct from the world's best is a bonus.
When Giulia Enders author of GUT was in town, I went to listen to her speak on the topic and managed to squeeze in a quick chat.
Learning From The Worlds Best
It could be said that I am a bit of a stalker of scientists and brain researches these days, but it's all in the name of what is best for my community. After the numbness in my left side became worse when I woke from Thyroid Surgery, I set out to understand what the cause may be.
When Dr Michael Merzenich, world leading researcher in the field of Neural Plasticity was in town, I went to hear what he had to say. After a photo opportunity and brief chat I was able to lock in an interview and get some additional information on what may have made my condition worse.
If you have had a brain injury this interview is for you. Watch the video.
Genetic Risk Factors Of Stroke Triples
Experiencing stroke may not be what you consider a great experience and I don't blame you.
I am grateful that it happened to me, in a time when medicine is so advanced and so many researchers are making it their life's work to find solutions to the challenges stroke survivors face.
In a recent interview, I spoke about how we might benefit from a recent study, that identified more genetic risk factors of stroke and many may be able toavoid stroke altogether. Watch the video.
Smokes Cause Stroke
The Cancer Council has long been raising awareness about how cigarettes cause cancer and heart disease but not many people know that smoking increases your chance of experiencing a stroke by double.
In this national awareness campaign I share my story about how smoking contributed to my stroke in the hope that other smokers may quit for good.